Maidens of the Kaleidoscope

~Hakurei Shrine~ => Patchouli's Scarlet Library => Topic started by: Iced Fairy on June 04, 2012, 06:56:00 AM

Title: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Morning After (Deadline December 31st)
Post by: Iced Fairy on June 04, 2012, 06:56:00 AM
Two years ago a woman's fantasy became reality, in a form never seen before.  A massive writing arena, known as the Weekly Writing Coliseum.  The motivation for spending so much labor on the WWC was to encounter new stories, creating original artistic creations.

It is here, within the WWC that many ascended to new heights of skill and fame, and where many new stories entered the libraries repertoire.  In addition many new styles of contest have been tried, including some created by librarians.  The WWC has risen and fallen, but it still stands, a monument to the greatness of our library.

However the old arena has become a little too crowded.

Thus we are now unveiling a new battleground for our noble writers.  A field that extends through time and space, to draw in the greatest warriors of all time.  Behold, the new Weekly Writing Coliseum!


With this, the second thread of the WWC, we're beginning with one of the most audacious plans yet.  A free for all battle against some of the strongest writers in the field, the Iron Librarians!

For the next four weeks the Weekly Writing Coliseum is open to all challengers new and old.  Every single week a writer may submit an entry, and each week the Iron Librarians will post their own works.  Those brave challengers who defeat the iron Librarians shall win the admiration of their peers and the Wordsmith title as their own!

And what is the theme of this contest?  Simple.  A writer may pick any contest they have not entered before as the theme of their entry!  Simply list what theme you are working on, then begin writing.  Will you write one story each week?  Or pour all your effort into a masterpiece for the end of the month?  That is for you to decide.

Come forth, and show us the stories hidden within your soul!

Week One Begins Now!
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: GuyYouMetOnline on June 04, 2012, 07:08:15 AM
Could we perhaps get a list of prior themes?
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Iced Fairy on June 04, 2012, 07:14:28 AM
The first post of the old thread contains all the prior themes. (  If your name is not Iced Fairy there should be a wide variety of themes to select from.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Von Stein on June 08, 2012, 02:44:38 AM
Reimu hung in the air above the Youkai Mountain, a letter falling to the earth from her hands.
The mountain itself was obscured by the smoke billowing up from its surface as every inch of the mountain was burning.

"You promised..."

The fire of the mountain reflected off the tears in her eyes, eyes filled with the rains of sadness, which however were not enough to quell the raging inferno of wrath contained within them as well...

It's been another boring day at the Kakashi Spirit News, and Hatate was surfing her phone through various pictures, trying to figure out what to write about.

"Hrm, is there like no good news these days? So what if Alice created a new meme, she does that like every week! Wait, I heard something about some ship called the Titanic sinking in the outside world, I don't think that has been written about yet... wonder when that happened ag-"

Her thoughts were cut off when the lazy atmosphere of the room was interrupted by a knock on the door.

"It's like open, welcome to Kakashi Spirit News, what news do you have for me?"

Without so much as getting up or even looking up, she shouted her stock phrase at the door.
The door opened, and two girls enter.

The first had dark skin, dark hair in a tight ponytail, and wore glasses, and a black business suit with appropriate skirt from which a ghost tail was waving about lazily. She looked to be in her late teens early twenties.
The second looked much younger, perhaps ten, of a very pale complexion and wore a white, fairly nondescript dress that appeared to have erratic thin blue lines on it, and a paper boat on her head, from the latter of which long golden hair floated. She had a large, friendly smile on her face while her companion sported a more appropriate professional expression.

"We would like to make a proposition, Lady Himekaidou."

Hatate tore her eyes away from her phone and looked at the newcomers.

"Is that so?"

The businesslady nodded, and pointed at her younger companion.

"With her aid, all of this Gensokyo will listen to you."

The young girl beamed brightly at knowing she was this important, while Hatate considerable perked up.

"Is that so~?"


Patchouli and Yumemi nearly jumped from their seats, as Reimu had clearly gone insane there.

The two had met for exchanging intellectual discussion at Reimu's shrine, since it had become somewhat of a hotspot for various creatures to mingle.
 Reimu was fine with having two more intelligent guests than her usual crew and hosted their tea party gladly.
The discussion of the two geniuses clearly went over her head, but with two minds like those around, it was no surprise that she'd be confused. 

Reimu's eyes were virtually spinning when she heard her mail getting delivered. With Patchouli and Yumemi too engrossed in their discussion, Reimu took the chance to catch some fresh air, idly excused herself and got the mail.

Above reaction came next.

"Yesyesyesyesyesoh, oh Jigoku YES! This is it, this is it!"

Patchouli and Yumemi came out of the shrine just to be greeted by a Reimu shaped cloud slowly dissipating as Reimu became a small speck in the sky in the distance.

Yumemi looked after Reimu, and turned to Patchouli.

"You don't think she got one of those..."

Patchouli held up an torn envelop in response and nodded.

"She did. This is bad."

Patchouli scanned the horizon and sighed.

"Where were we?"

The two returned inside to continue their discussion.

Reimu flew towards the majestic Youkai Mountain, screaming joyously the entire way, ignoring the voice of her intuition screaming at her to go back and think about this. She bowled over Momiji without even taking notice and managed to land largely unbothered in front of Hatate's house.

"Where do I sign?"

Reimu busts the door in without so much as a knock. Hatate nearly jumps through the ceiling from the shock, but the other two girls don't so much as flinch.

"So you have come for our proposal. Good, I knew I could count on you of all the people. Please do take a seat here and fill out this form if you would be so kind, mylady."

The business woman points to a share and a piece of paper with a fountain pen next to it while the young girl waves.

"Hiiiiii~, ladysir!"

Hatate shivers in her chair as she sees who just busted her door down, rushed to the chair, filled the paper out, gave all three people in the room a big hug, and flew right back out, shouting a

"See you all in a week~<3" at them.

"Do you have any clue who that was, Boipelo-san?"

The business woman took the papers hastily filled out by the shrine maiden and stuffed them into a folder, a satisfied expression on her face.

"Do not worry yourself, Lady Himekaidou. Lady Awiti and I will be able to guarantee your full safety."

The young girl smiles and nods.

"Haaaaai~! All the paperwork's in ooooorder~! Nothing can go wrooooong~!"

Hatate was still trembling despite the reassurance, laughing very nervously.

One week later, the Youkai Mountain was in flames.

Reimu dropped the letter, the voice of her intuition saying sadly "I told you so..."

"You promised."

She let out a scream of anger. Despite all she had done already, she was still angry.

Two shapes appeared from the smoke, coughing heavily. It was Boipelo and Awiti.
Reimu pointed her Gohei at them.

"This! This is your fault!"

Awiti looked at Reimu angrily while Boipelo was still busy getting the smoke out of her lungs.

"You big damn meany! We just wanted to survive!"

Finally having stopped coughing, Boipelo adjusted her glasses and gave Reimu a pained smirk.

"Tch. You gullible b****! You really believed that letter, didn't you?"

The businesswoman lost any trace of her professionalism.

"We merely wanted a place to live, and for that you need money."

Reimu's eyes grew cold as she readied herself for the incoming massacre.

"This is Gensokyo. You do not need money to survive here. But for stealing mine..."

Boipelo, sensing the miko's aura and nearly being snuffed out by it's pressure alone whimpered, finally realizing how deep in night soil she was. Awiti however was still staring angrily at Reimu.

"Don't hurt my mommy, you gulibelbeach! I'll protect her no matter what!"


Reimu didn't listen and large amulets began flying at the young girl, who's dress suddenly became aflutter , and send out sheets of paper everywhere.
She took hits from the amulets, that visibly shook her, but the mass of paper seemed to slow them down enough to not hurt her majorly.

Reimu scoffed, and send more amulets out, several of them into boundaries that warped them in a full circle around the paper girl.
 Awiti grimaced as more amulets slammed into her, and she began dodging in earnest, redirecting some of her paper shield now at Reimu, creating a typhoon of pages, sending them all towards Reimu.

 The shrine maiden frowned as she flew to the side, and gasped, when she noticed that Awiti had no problems continuing to trail the paper beam towards her, even as Reimu flew faster.
Awiti stayed on target, and Reimu was enveloped in papers, which had formed a tunnel around her, sending paper 'bullets' her way continuously, her clothes and skin suffering small cuts everywhere.
Reimu screamed again in anger, and rushed through the center of the stream of papers, enduring the cuts.

She prepared to punch the young girl visible at the other end, when suddenly the tunnels wall below her broke up, and golden light flooded the area, the a spirit lion flying towards Reimu, passing right through her, and filling her with pain, causing her to scream.

Awiti and Boipelo breathed heavily, despite the latter not needing air, as the endless stream of amulets finally stopped. They looked down as the cloud of papers dissipated into nothingness along Reimu's scream.

"Did we beat her?"

"I hope s-"


The ghost and youkai jumped back, as Reimu's scream rose up again, once more filled with anger, her flaming aura blowing all the left over papers away and revealing her still floating, badly cut, but not down for the count.

"I will end you both! I will end you and get back what is rightfspark?"

She stopped talking when she heard the all too familiar words Master Spark being said.

One moment later Reimu disappeared in a beam of light.

The letter Reimu dropped read as such:
From: "mrs mariam " [mrs.boipelo4@{at}]
Message-ID: [akkb3ijd93k2j2kgi8{at}]
X-Mailer: NitocosMail
X-Originating-IP: [ed.uf.afe.ww]
Mime-Version: 1.0
Subject: HELLO
Date: Sat, 04 Aug 2012 03:19:50 +-3985720357
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Dear Friend,
Greetings in the name of the lords. I am delighted to write this letter to you hoping that you will understand my predicament and respond. My research tells me that you are a soul most trustworthy. I am Mrs. Boipelo, wife of the late Lunarian head of state, Yagokoro Smith. I am in possession of ?50 billion Japanese Yen of Gold, which I want to invest in your plane. For clarification purpose, this gold, is deposited with a security company disguised as a family treasure. It is not an ill-gotten wealth rather; it was generated from my organization - family support program (F.S.P.) This money (JP?50B) was deposited in a private security firm onmoon. This transaction is 100% risk free. Me and my daughter has lost all we had as our bank accounts were frozen and assets siezed even my Interstell Passport but was just released to me two months ago. For your acceptance of this offer to help; I will give you 20% of the total gold, another 5% will be used to offset any costs to both parties in the course of the transaction.I and my children wish to use our part of the money to buy a palaca of living for ourselves in your country, and the rest will be kept for investment  package also in your country.If we must do this business successfully, we must  keep secret and unknown to public. At this Jucture I want to forwarn you of the many scams that go on in my name and names of other dignitries in the country as I have even recieved letters bearing my name.
Looking forward to your quick response.
Yours sincerely,
Mrs. Boipelo

Pour gagner une Playstation 2, envoyez un SMS avec le code PS au XYZWE
(0,35 euro hors co?t du SMS).

Reimu drifted back to concsiousness. The futon was so nice and comfortable. Just five minutes longer she thought. That damn loud yelling in her ear could wait a few mi...yelling in her ear? Oh no, and so many ze's added to the end of the sentences...

"Marisa, what is it?"

She woke up, and found herself back at her shrine, in her futon, Marisa grinning over her.

"Gotcha good this time, eh? I knew that new catalyst would work wonders, ze!"

Reimu remembered that she got Master Sparked while... while...

"Oh right, what happened to those two thieves?"

Reimu rubbed her head as Marisa responded cheerily.

"Made a fortune off of insurance scam, ze! They build a mansion across the Misty Lake wich Remilia leveled, and used the money from that insurance to build a palace near the Forest of Magic."

Reimu rubs her face.

"How long was I out?"

"About a week, ze! By the way, why did you attack them that harshly anyways? You burned down the entire Youkai Mountain!"

"They stole from me! 72 yen!"


Boipelo stared in disbelieve at the shrine maiden as she and her daughter enter the room.

"We never took your money, you know, Lady Hakurei?"

"But I wrote it over to you in the papers! It said I give you my 72 yen and you give me the 20% in a week on there!"

"That paper was just a front, you big dummy!"

Awiti chimed in.

"We just wanted to look convincing until we could make our real move."

As it turned out, the duo knew perfectly well that no person targeted would be stupid enough to actually believe a word that was written in those letters. Their plan was simply to overload everybody with so much letters that they could start business as a waste management company, giving Hatate a percentage for the initial help and for advertising them once the time was right.
But because or Reimu's rampage that never became necessary. Hatate saw the storm coming and quickly took out an insurance towards her house. When that storm hit, and her house was burned to a crisp, she made a good sum and shared that with the duo...

"You've got to be kidding me..."

Reimu couldn't believe her ears.

"You guys managed to scam yourself into Gensokyo... because of me?"

Awiti beamed.

"Yes, thank you~."

"Thank you for the tea, Lady Hakurei. Please be more discriminating in what you believe in your mail."

Patchouli and Yumemi appeared in the room.

"Yes, back home we have long since learned not to believe in these types of messages. Anyways, thanks for the tea and take care."

Reimu stared at the leaving duo blankly.

"Those two where still here? How long was I out again?"

Marisa, Awiti and Boipelo laughed.

Since nobody else has posted yet, I figured I'd take the opportunity to open the new page of the contest with the topic of WWC's first contest. Nigerian Spam Mail. :V

I jumped through several different topics (self insert, badfic, sports) before settling on this... so here we are... let the games begin and oh please, don't hurt me for writing this! *scared cower*
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Iced Fairy on June 09, 2012, 04:34:53 AM
Come on you slackers!  It's getting close to the end of week one!

Try Haiku or Spam if you need something done quick.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: capt. h on June 09, 2012, 05:04:36 AM
Come on you slackers!  It's getting close to the end of week one!

Try Haiku or Spam if you need something done quick.

A little sparrow,
A hungry ghost, A full moon.
Goodnight poor sparrow.

Crud, it has to be spellcard themed.

Song of the Sparrow,
Meet the ghost of death's hunger.
Goodnight poor sparrow.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: PX on June 09, 2012, 06:13:13 AM
Butterfly spirits
Float gently in the spring breeze
Towards your soft face
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: AnonymousPondScum on June 10, 2012, 02:23:05 AM
Type: Haiku
Subject: Food
Status: GO!


An oni, a gourd
A long night out on the town
A lake of vomit

Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: GuyYouMetOnline on June 10, 2012, 04:39:28 AM
Your last line has six syllables.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: AnonymousPondScum on June 10, 2012, 04:41:15 AM
Fixed! :derp:
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Iced Fairy on June 11, 2012, 06:53:18 AM
It's been a quiet week in my hometown of Gensoukyo.  No new comers.  No big events.  And only twenty or so danmaku fights.  Just lazy days leading to lazy evenings where you could go out with your family and watch the fireflies gather.

This was all great for the village, but up on the mountain it was a little different.  It started out fine.  The crow tengu flew around having fun, writing joke articles on flower shows and in depth resturant critiques of ramen stands.  Filling up the pages of their papers with articles saying things like ?The broth has a deep and full body with hints of many exotic seasonings,? and ?The expert  cut of the tuna cooked sweetly to perfection in my mouth.?  They started competing with each other to make the descriptions more and more extravagant, pouring over their thesauruses to pull out words like ?ambrosial? and ?saliferous? and ?effluvious.?

But after the third or fourth page of this they started getting tired.  They'd reviewed all the restaurants that served enough sake to be worthwhile.  Visited all the flower shows, twice.  Once to see the flowers and once just in case Yuuka had shown up.   And the only words that were left in the thesaurus were words like ?saltish? and ?yummy.?  The well of the news had run dry.

Now the Crow Tengu have a saying.  ?When the well of news runs dry, throw down a tsurube-otoshi and see what you can pull up.?  A lot of the younger tengu think this is a figure of speech, but in the old days they'd actually do this.  They'd go sneak up on a tsurube-otoshi, very carefully approaching from above because they don't usually look up.  Light wing beats and all that.  Then they'd tie a rope around it's bucket fast as they could, run over to a well and then toss the bucket down!  After that they'd just pull the rope up and see what they got.

Things being as they are what they usually got was a bullet or two from an angry tsurube-otoshi.  Apparently they don't like being tossed down wells.  They frown upon it.  However crow tengu don't care about those sort of things.  They care about their headline.  And while ?Tsurube-otoshi Breaks Tengu's Nose? isn't the most flattering of headlines, it does sell papers.

These days there aren't any tsurube-otoshi to throw down wells up above ground.  So the tengu have to make do with a substitute.  Fortunately Gensoukyo was built around a substitute for those youkai traditions that couldn't be transferred over from the real world.  I am of course talking about bothering the shrine maiden.

It started out simple.  The tengu who got out the most were first, since they had already been planning articles on flower shows and restaurants.  They geared up, got their cameras, and started bothering Reimu about long term subscriptions.  The kind that last three years and come with a lottery ticket for a prize you actually don't want, even if you could win it.  Second came the sharper tengu, the keen eyed story thieves that were always on the lookout for new headlines.  They saw the first group coming back with broken noses, and arms, and the smile of a tengu who has a full camera.  So they grabbed their cameras and rushed out to question Reimu about what the other tengu had seen.

After that it sort of grew on it's own, like a tree in good soil or a snowball war when the fairies show up.  The slower tengu came to get their pictures of a fight with Reimu.  The conspiracy specialists came to ask what Reimu had against honest hard working reporters.  ?First responders? came to report about the sudden increase in reporting.  ?In depth reporters? came to interview the other reporters about their reporting styles.  The ?media critics? came to complain about how no one was doing serious investigative journalism.  The reporters who had already been here came back to catch up, because their original story was no longer new and fresh.

In the end no one really remembered how this had started.  There were tengu reporting on reports of a critique of a report about reporting critiques.  And chances were when they were done there'd be another reporter standing right behind them, asking for their ?expert analysis? of the news they'd just finished compiling.  It had become a self sustaining news event, reports feeding new reports, like ouroboros eating its own tail.

It was a couple hours in that one of the ?media critic? types opened up a drink stand as a satirical protest.  Of course the reporting had been going on for so long even the tengu were starting to get tired and hungry.  He sold out all his stock within five minutes.  Seeing that business was good some of the youkai who'd been watching just for fun ran in and opened up their own stands.  Soon there was a rush of people running back and forth to the human village to restock, which meant some of the more curious humans wandered over and started browsing the booths.

So just as quickly as it had appeared the tengu's ?big scoop? turned into the ?Gensoukyo Correspondence Appreciation Festival.?  The alcohol started flowing, and the tengu put away their cameras, and eventually even Reimu stopped shooting everyone and just tried to relax while shaking down the vendors for money.

This might seem like a strange way for a festival to form but Gensoukyo has a long history of festivals and businesses starting up because of a passing whim.  Especially if that whim was to annoy someone close to them.  In fact four of the best known shops were built just to annoy someone.  And the most famous example of that would be the Kirisame family.

Back when the barrier had just formed Kiichi Kirisame was one of the finest onmyouji in Gensoukyo village.  They said she was so good she once sealed a youkai with chopsticks and an squid bowl.  Just stabbed the chopsticks into the ink sac, scribbled a sealing charm, then went back to his rice.  Impressed the heck out of the cart owner.  He didn't know you could use squid ink for sealing charms you see.

Now that last story might be a bit of an exaggeration, but even so Kiichi was the kind of guy people made exaggerations about.  He was a figure of legend.  People looked up to him, respected him.  So when he finally settled down and had a son, everyone was certain his son would follow in his footsteps, Kiichi most of all.  He went so far as to name the boy Takemi, to 'try to get a little extra courage in early.'

Kiichi did everything he could to make the boy a great spiritualist.  Long trips to stand under freezing waterfalls, memorizing ancient writings, and calligraphy lessons every day.  A lot of people thought he was pushing the boy too hard, but Takemi loved it.  While the other kids played hopscotch he'd scribble kanji in the dirt.  He knew four languages before most of his classmates mastered one.  He'd even complain about the bathwater not being cold enough in the summer.  He was a perfect student, everything his dad could have hoped for.

Then one day, when Takemi was about fourteen, he walked in and said, ?Dad, I'm going to become a hatter.?

Kiichi kind of blinked and scratched his head a bit and asked, ?But why?  You've been training all this time to become an spiritualist?  Why quit now.?

Takemi just sighed and shook his head.  ?Dad, one day you have to grow up and get a real job.?

?What do you mean a real job, Son??

?Youkai incidents are on the decline, Dad.  And with the shrine maiden monopoly there's no room for growth in market share.  Hat's are new.  Hats are in.  There's a big market for hats.?

?There's more to life then money son.  This is a family tradition.  You'll shame the family name if you become some second rate tailor, Son!?

?I'll show you, Dad!  I'll become the best hatter in the village.?

Well as you can imagine that didn't go over well.  The argument lasted about a month, the burning passion of youth clashing against the iron will of tradition, before Takemi left home and took up as an apprentice to the village's tailor. 

There he mastered the way of lace and frills.  He learned how to make good proper stiff brims and flexible headbands.  And at the age of sixteen he opened up his own store, the ?Kirisame Hat Shop.?

It was an incredible success.  People who loved hats went there.  People who didn't love hats fell in love with hats.  People who hated hats bought ribbons and bows so people would stop asking them if they needed a hat.  Even youkai came in to buy hats.  Hats became the new big thing.  He personally was responsible for the hat's place in Gensoukyo.  Takemi Kirisame was the best hatter in the village and for him everything was perfect.  He was in hat heaven.

Time moved on, as it always does, and Takemi married a nice woman who knew how to weave silk, and had a son of his own, Shinzo.  Takemi was ecstatic.  Takemi taught that boy everything he knew about hats.  How to make them, how to fix them, how to find the best hat for someone.  Every little trick and tip that made the Kirisame Hat Shop the best store in Gensoukyo.

Shinzo hated all of it.  He hated the sewing.  He hated the lace.  He hated the customers.  He hated everything about that store.  It got to the point where he would knock the hats off of people around town then run away.  He kept his hair short so he wouldn't need hairclips.  He started distrusting umbrellas for being too hat-like.

As he got older would sneak away from his lessons and run off into the fields to help the farmers plant.  He'd go fishing way out past the safe areas of the village.  He started hanging out in bars, trying to learn how to be 'tough' and 'cool.'

Takemi tried to compromise with the boy.  Started planing camping trips in the woods out where his father trained him.  Explained how tough a shop owner needed to be tough and strong to protect their stock.  But it didn't go anywhere.  As soon as Shinzo got back in the hat shop his head drooped and his shoulders slumped, and he just started going through the motions again.

Finally Takemi decided he needed to force the issue.  He pulled Shinzo aside out behind the shop where no one could hear them and said, ?Son, there comes a time in every man's life when he needs to grow up and pick a career.  Now maybe I've been wrong.  Maybe hats aren't the thing for you.  But you need to think of what you're going to do with your life.?

Well Shinzo perked up at that.  ?Dad, I know what I want to do with my life.  I want to be a lumberjack!?

?A lumberjack??  Takemi didn't quite believe what he'd heard.  ?You can't make a real living as a lumberjack son.  There's no future in the business.?

?It's not about the money, Dad.  It's about a sense of accomplishment.?

?There's plenty of accomplishment in real work too son.  Now your gonna get back to your training until you think of a real job you like.?

In the end Takemi was the only one surprised when Shinzo ran away from home and took up in the forest.  It crushed the poor man, seeing his oldest son reject his beloved paradise of headwear.  It took him two years to recover, and start focusing on training his second son to take over the business.

Meanwhile Shinzo was enjoying the woods.  He went out there and carved out a spot for himself.  A small house, with a little farm and easy access to all the stuff he needed to survive.  The local youkai bothered him of course, but a few amulets made them decide he wasn't worth the effort.  Then, one day after he settled down a bit, he dragged back the most perfect ceder tree the village had seen.  He auctioned it off right then and there, and with that his business was off and running.

Shinzo became every bit the legend among loggers as his father was among hatters.  He cut down almost one of every tree in the forest, and considering how mean some of the trees are around here are that was quite the feat.  It's hard to get a proper cut when the tree keeps stealing your ax.  But Shinzo did it, and he did it without breaking a sweat.  He was so good he didn't even need to run the business side of things.  People just came to him with orders and he'd name a price.

Shinzo got married to strong woman who wasn't afraid to live out in the woods, and eventually he had a son of his own, Taro.  Shinzo did his best to make sure the kid knew his way around the forest.  That he knew the names of the plants and their uses.

By now I bet your sensing a pattern here.  Taro was always more interested in the village, especially the marketplace.  He loved the bargaining and bartering.  He was fascinated at how an egg could go from the farmer at one end of the market, to a passing fish vendor in exchange for a tilefish, then to the ice seller for a few extra ice shards, then finally over to the takoyaki vendor at the far end, only to end up in the batter for the next batch.  To him it was like a dance, an intricate ballet of goods.  It was a huge revelation to the boy.  The idea that you could get things, even simple everyday things like food, without having to beat up ten fairies and farm it yourself.

So he went to his father and said, ?Dad, your wood brings in a lot of money.  Why don't we use some of that to buy our food instead of hunting all the time??

Shinzo just stood there for a moment dumbfounded.  ?Well... it's not right to do that.  Money isn't everything son.  You should contribute all you can.  Accomplish something with your life.?

?But what if I want to accomplish other things, dad?  What if I want to hang out with other kids, or play games or something?  Why shouldn't I just make a lot of money fast and use my free time to do what I want to do??

Shinzo wasn't the type of man used to frowning.  He hadn't frowned in a long time.  So when he heard his son say that his face twisted, bent into strange shapes not meant to be on a face.  But he did his best to keep his cool.  ?That's merchant talk,? he said.  ?And I don't want to hear any more of it.  Now lets get back home.  We've got radishes to pick and the fairies will probably be trying to steal the laundry.?

The very next day Taro was gone, along with all his possessions.  All that was left was a note that said, ?I'll become the best merchant in town, Dad.  Just you see.?  Shinzo just shook his head sadly.  He  never spoke about his son again, but he started spending more time training his daughter, who truth to be told was a better lumberjack to begin with.

Meanwhile Taro started small.  He dusted off a spot in the marketplace and started selling herbs that he found in the forest.  All he had was his stock and a sign that read ?Magic Forest Healing Herbs.  Sure to Ease Your Pain.?  But Taro was good at buying and selling.  Within a week he'd gotten his own stall up.  By the end of the month he was selling the items that other people had traded to him instead of herbs.  A year later and the Kirisame Second Hand Shop opened up, just a few blocks down from his grandfathers hat shop.

Business boomed for the newest Kirisame shop.  Taro had a bunch of assistants, one of whom eventually became his wife.  And they in turn had a daughter Marisa.  And as soon as news got out bets were ten to one that she'd run away before she was thirteen.  People in Gensoukyo are nothing if not skilled at pattern recognition.

For a long while though it looked like they'd all be wrong.  Marisa was just as fascinated by trade as her father was.  Admittedly sometimes she was a little bad about the payment part of the trade, but she was sharp as a tack and she loved the store.  She would sit behind the counter just to see the new items people would bring in.  Every battered lamp, rotted book and faded picture was a treasure to her eyes.  A mystical relic that needed to be investigated, cleaned and traded only if a better item came in exchange.

Which is why Taro was so surprised when Marisa came up waving a book of magic spells above her head and proclaimed loudly, ?I want to be a witch!?

Taro looked down at that book with great trepidation.  He'd always known that his daughter might find a different path then his own, but a witch?  No one would willing go to sell a witch their old goods.  But if he told her to give up on her dream, well, he could recognize patterns too!  He stared at that book as if it were a mine.  A horrible trap that was sure to take his daughter away if he couldn't find a way to disarm it.  Finally he simply said.  ?That's nice dear,? and patted Marisa on the head.  Then he stole into her room that night and took the book away, figuring Marisa would just think it had been lost.

It might have worked too, if Marisa hadn't been sneaking into her parents room already to see what rare items he picked up each night.  Two days after he hid the book away Marisa had gone off into the woods to become a witch.

A few years of mage training in the forest later the Kirisame Magic Shop was opened.  And while Taro had been right about people not being keen on selling her their used goods, they were happy to buy things from her for ridiculous prices.  She sold potions, and charms, and most of all fireworks.  The finest fireworks in all Gensoukyo, built not just with gunpowder but with her own magic.  Sparklers that lasted for days and rockets that changed in dragons midair were just some of the few new and exciting fireworks she made.

So of course when the Gensoukyo Correspondence Appreciation Festival started she was there, preparing a new show for when night fell.  Tengu, kappa and humans alike would wander over and hand her a few coins, and she'd smile and ask what type of fireworks they liked best before adding another round to her mortars.

Night fell, and people cleared the skies for the performance.  And what a performance it was.  There were noise makers, and color changers, and sparklers and lasers.  Rockets that spun and twisted to form a camera that took a picture of the watching crowds.  And of course leaflet droppers to spread the newspapers from the higher paying customers out around the crowd during intermissions.

When it was all over and done with Marisa looked at her handiwork with an amount of pride.  It was a great accomplishment from her perspective.  She it didn't match fighting through strange dimensions and stealing from aliens, but it was a lot safer.  You had to appreciate the small jobs after all. 

As she was standing there she heard a cough and her father walked up beside her.

The two stood there silently for a long while, each stubbornly looking out at the festival.  A sort of anti staring contest, where the first one to look the other in the eyes or walk away would lose.  People would wander over to talk to one of the other, then freeze and walk away, somehow realizing there was mental battle, a cosmic struggle going on between the two.

Finally Taro cleared his throat again, signaling his defeat.  Marisa started to walk away, but before she disappeared into the crowd he said, ?That was a good fireworks display.  The best.?

The young girl didn't turn around.  But she replied, ?Thanks, Dad.?

Sometimes in life, a few words are all you need.

That's the news from Gensoukyo.  Where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are about average.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Iced Fairy on June 11, 2012, 06:57:39 AM
Week 1 Ends here
Week 2 Begins Now!
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Iced Fairy on June 16, 2012, 04:50:35 PM
Come on now.  Over 25 topics and no entrants?  Some of you have to have an unfinished entry from before you can put together.

Don't make this a win by default.   :(
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: capt. h on June 16, 2012, 06:12:11 PM
Doctor Komeiji challenge


?I hear voices.? Utsuho said, lying on the couch next to me.

?Those are perfectly natural. I hear them all the time!? I say. ?Usually when people are talking to me.?

?No, I mean in my head.?

?Well, where else are you going to hear them?? I ask. ?I mean, maybe if you heard them in your belly button there would be a problem, but your head is a perfectly normal place to hear voices.?

?I mean I hear voices, but they aren?t real.?

?Of course the voices are real! If they weren?t real, you wouldn?t be hearing them,? I say. ?Do you listen to them? I find that voices usually say stuff.?

?They tell me to burn everything.? The raven scowled.

?That?s normal.? I say. ?Are there people saying these things??

?No. The voices aren?t real, they all come from me.?

?Well then,? I say, tapping my pen on my cheek. ?You should know that just because a voice is in your head, doesn?t mean it?s not real. I suggested doing what the voices tell you.?

?But they tell me to kill people!?

?And do you want to kill people?? I ask.

?I don?t know anymore,? The raven says, clutching her head. She?s really worried, isn?t she? Ah well, only one fix for that.

?I think the voices are your subconscious. You should listen to it! You secretly want to destroy people, and the healthy thing to do is to listen to yourself!?

?But?? Utsuho stutters.

?No buts! I am your Psychiatrist, and I?m telling you to go out and burn things! Understand? Now go!?

I am such a good psychiatrist, I tell myself as I see my raven out. I should get a degree!
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: AnonymousPondScum on June 16, 2012, 10:21:45 PM
I might have poasted something by now but I have a heb code and it's thlowing me down. *sniff*
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Bardiche on June 16, 2012, 11:04:22 PM
Theme: Reporter (clearly talking about Cirno)

She said she was strong
confidence before falling -
the world wept for her
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: FinnKaenbyou on June 17, 2012, 09:19:10 PM
It?s a little known fact that kappa can?t hold their liquor.

Ever wondered why they?re so into that cucumber beer crap? It?s not the taste, before you ask. Talk to any kappa on the street and they?ll tell you cucumber beer tastes like someone pissed in your water. I?ve tried it myself, and I can second that claim.

The reason they still drink it is because the alcohol content is close to zero. For any other youkai it?d be unnoticeable, and for a human it?d take a dozen mugs before you started feeling tipsy. But the kappa start chuckling and falling over by the second glass, so it?s the safest way for them to get drunk.

Safest, in my opinion, also means ?least interesting?. So I decided to engage in a little experiment today.

?I told you, Marisa, I can?t drink this.?

Nitori gives me that look as I slide a shot glass over to her. It?s the look she gives me when she?s talking about upgrades or maintenance - when she feels like the main authority on the topic of discussion. Most of the time she?s right about that. I?m a pilot, not a mechanic.

But this isn?t one of those times. I?m not willing to nod along with her explanations today. I nudge the drink into her hand, clasping her fingers around it.

?Nitori, your folks would be ashamed. What sort of youkai would ever turn down a free drink??

I ask the question just loud enough for some of the patrons to turn in Nitori?s direction. Being a teetotaler is not something to be proud of in youkai society, and she?s already getting some unwelcome glares. A seat at the bar should be reserved for people who?ll use it properly, in their opinion.

Nitori eyes the crowd, then the shot glass. It?s small, but the drink is pretty potent. They call it Nine Lives, because they claim it?s strong enough to kill a human eight times over. With a reputation like that, there?s no way I can turn this opportunity down.

?C?mon, brainiac.? I nudge at her with my elbow. ?Don?t disappoint your audience.?

Nitori takes a moment to glare at me. She?s short and puny, but she?s capable of some nasty looks when she tries. She snatches at the shot glass, brings it to her lips, and downs it in one shot. Her lips pucker up as if she?s just swallowed a lemon. There?s a small round of applause from the other patrons.

I give her a pat on the back. ?So how?s it feel to drink grown-up alcohol??

Nitori looks about ready to erupt. ?You?re a...? She points a finger at me, accusation dripping from her words, but halfway through the sentence she stops. She looks away, trying to pull the last word out of the air. ?You?re a...a...?

Her eyes glaze over as she falls headfirst onto the bar. Raucous laughter floods the room before the other youkai get back to her own drinks. For a moment I?m scared that she?s just dropped dead, but as I move closer I can hear her snoring.

That experiment came to an end shorter than I?d expected. The results were conclusive, but I wouldn?t have minded playing around with it a bit longer. Maybe I?ll try it again with something lighter to try and test just how much Nitori can take.

I order myself a whiskey. If there?s anything good that came from the border collapsing, it?s all the new drinks it brought into Gensokyo. Sake gets old after so long, so it?s nice to have a change.

I?m halfway through my second drink when the door opens. Everyone in the room - myself included - turns to look towards the newcomer. I?m the only one who recognises her, and I beckon her over to the free chair on my right.

?Take a seat, Ran.?

Ran Yakumo nods as she comes close. She really doesn?t blend in well with the seedy nature of the bar. The snappy business suit she?s wearing contributes a lot to that. She wipes at the seat with a handkerchief before she sits on it, her nine bushy tails waving around behind her back. Half the youkai in the room are looking at her, and one or two of them are probably considering trying to stroke one of those tails.

I saw her hospitalise the last oni who tried that.

?You?re a hard woman to find, Kirisame.? Ran orders a gin and tonic. Just light enough for her to enjoy on the job. She?s normally a lot less upfront than this, but we?ve seen a lot of each other in the last few months.

?Well, y?know. Gotta hide from all my loving fans.? I sip at the whiskey, letting it swirl around in my mouth for a bit before I swallow. ?How?s my favourite diplomat??

?Overworked, as usual.? Her glass arrives, and she stares down into the drink for a while before taking a sip. Her shoulders loosen up as the stress seeps out of her. Without her daily dose of alcohol, I bet she?d drop dead from all the work Yukari puts her through.

?Any new alliances??

?Gensokyo doesn?t deal in alliances. We?re just pushing for ceasefires right now, but I don?t need to tell you how well the media have been painting us.?

She doesn?t. Ever since the border came apart I?ve been hearing stories about how the rest of the world sees Gensokyo. A nation of ravenous monsters disguised as humans, possessing magical powers beyond mortal ken. It?s the sort of stereotype no professional journalist could turn down.

I finish the last few drops of whiskey. ?So if you?re calling on me, I?m guessing there?s another duel to be fought.?

Ran nods. ?You know the drill by now. You?ve got 24 hours to make any preparations you need.? She pulls out a small PDA and types furiously for a few seconds. I hear a beep at my waist as my own PDA receives the message. ?Those are the co-ordinates. Any questions??

I only have one question. It?s the same one I ask every time. ?So how much do I stand to make off of this??

?The fight purse is standing at two million yen right now.? Ran?s eyebrows lower, her golden eyes glistening in the dim light of the bar. ?But you know how much is at stake here.?

?Right, right. I get it.?

I call the bartender over and pay my tab. I nudge Nitori by the shoulder, trying not to touch the puddle of drool she?s left on the bar.

?, double-crossing, back-stabbing...? She murmurs to herself as she starts to wake up. ?Foul-mouthed, two-timing sellout harlot!? She jerks upright, finishing the insult she?d been saving up since before she fell asleep.

?Eh? What happened? And why is my face so wet?? Sadly, she?s forgotten why she was insulting me to begin with. I give her a hand out of the chair as I lead her to the door.

?No time, Nitori. We?ve got work to do.?

?Work? What? When?? The kappa is stumbling left and right, still far from sober. Hopefully she?ll be fine by the time we get back to base.

?Another duel. We?ve got a day to get ready for it.? I wrap an arm around her to support her as we head out the door. ?Seriously, how am I gonna win when my top mechanic falls asleep on the job??


Preparing for a fight is a difficult job for both the pilot and their mechanic. Nitori has to make sure the Black Star is in working order and that none of the limbs are going to fall off halfway through the battle. I have to be ready for anything the opponent throws at me: that means being physically and mentally fit, as well as knowing what I?m up against.

We?re better prepared on that front than most teams. Nitori?s put together a simulator that?ll let me get some practice shots in. Most of the big nations have well-known duelists, so it?s not hard to train with your opponent in mind.

I take a seat in the simulator?s cockpit, built to match my machine?s perfectly. I?m properly dressed in what Nitori calls the Hubsuit - a skintight suit with ports and wires running down its spine. It?s more than a fashion statement - which is unsurprising, because making the appropriate links between the ports and my nervous system is a painful and lengthy experience.

?So who?s the challenger this time?? I ask as I take a seat in the cockpit. Gensokyo is on poor terms with so many countries I don?t even try to keep track anymore.

Nitori?s face flickers onto a screen at my side. Thankfully she?s sobered up by now. ?You?re going to be fighting Gawain Alexander tomorrow.?

?Alexander? The Green Knight?? I take a deep breath. This I definitely didn?t expect. ?I thought the Brits were on good terms with us.?

?There was an election in the last few weeks, and they?ve got a majorly conservative government now.? Nitori fiddles with a keyboard as she speaks, feeding the simulator the relevant data. ?There?s a lot of underlying youkai hatred there.?

I snort. Sounds like every other nation beyond the border, honestly. They had enough trouble dealing with fellow humans, but when Gensokyo showed up they all found a common enemy to turn on. It?s a relief these rules are here to keep every nation from storming us at once.

The simulator begins to load up, and the cockpit locks in. A belt clips around my waist as I lean forward towards the controls. As usual, the sheer number of levers and buttons to select from is overwhelming. Thankfully, I don?t have to do most of the thinking myself.

As the chair slides forward, I feel a jolt of pain as the machine?s wires jab into the ports on my back. The neural connections take a few seconds to fire up, but soon I?m looking at these controls as if I?ve known them all my life. Another handy little invention Nitori came up with; it?s so good, it almost feels like cheating.

Not that playing fair is a big thing for me.

?So remind me, Nitori. What happens if I lose??

Nitori?s head drops as she answers, typing in the last few variables. ?You know what?ll happen, Marisa. The Brits are trying to claim ownership of the waters around Gensokyo. If you lose, they?ll expect Yukari to hand it over...?

?...and the populace won?t agree with that.? I finish the sentence for her.

?Right. Most countries wouldn?t go to war over it. That?s what the Duels are for, honestly. But youkai really don?t like people stepping on their turf...?

?No pressure, then.? I knew all of that, but I just felt like being reminded. It?s good to keep in mind what I?m fighting for, and how much is at stake. Though the payout that President Yakumo is offering is a nice little bonus.

?OK, you?re good to go,? Nitori says as the screen bursts to life in front of me. It renders a 3d scene of one of Gensokyo?s open plains, in a half-mile square. The textures and details are far from perfect, but it?s enough to give me a vague concept of immersion.

Across from me is a giant green frame, carrying a sword in one hand and a shield in the other. While most duelists opt for long distance warfare, the Green Knight mech is built for close range combat. The shield - as tall as the machine itself - is built to withstand any blow thrown at it. There?s a reason Gawain Alexander is considered one of the world?s greatest duelists. I?m going to need to make the most of this session.

?You?ve got about six hours of practice time before we need to make the trip to the combat zone. Good luck, Marisa.? The picture of Nitori flickers and dies, letting me focus my attention solely on my training. She?s probably away giving the real Black Star some fine tuning right now.

[READY?] The machine blurts at me. I reach out to the control panel. My hands stop naturally on two of the seven levers, and my feet land on two of the four pedals. It?s thanks to Nitori?s neural interface - my thoughts get passed through the wiring and sent back into my nervous system to move the appropriate limbs. It translates ?move left? to ?grab that lever and push that button? without me needing to memorise a 400-page instruction manual.

The knight points his sword in my direction, taking a step forward and leveling a tree as he does so. I know plenty about how he fights, and I doubt I?ll see anything from him in these six hours that isn?t public knowledge. What I need to learn is how to deal with it.


On the machine?s command, the fight starts. Without fear or hesitation, the Green Knight charges forward. It raises its blade while the shield protects its body. Instantly I break away, the entire cockpit spinning as the virtual Black Star rolls across the ground.

This is a bad fight for me. The Green Knight is designed to take on as any projectile I throw at it. The Black Star uses nothing but projectiles - a sensible call against any other opponent, but not with Gawain Alexander. His mech is faster than it looks, taking long strides across the clearing to catch up to me. I try to fire a shot to slow it down, but the machine blocks with its shield and barges onward without losing any momentum.

As the blade slams into the Black Star?s neck, I?m struck by another jolt of pain. This was one of Nitori?s less pleasant additions to the system - the same cords connecting me to the machine also allow me to feel any sort of injury inflicted upon the machine, though admittedly dampened to non-fatal levels. In her words, it?s an incentive to stop me screwing around during training sessions.

She?s lucky that she?s the best in the business, or I?d have hired someone else.


The machine is polite enough to record my loss as the screen fades to static. The general rule is any blow that would kill a human is considered to ?kill? a duelist?s machine, and a sword through the neck is pretty fatal. I let the momentary pain fade as I lean backwards into the chair.


A few seconds later, the scenario has reloaded. The Green Knight?s on the other side of the field, ready to charge. This time when the fight starts I try another tactic, leaping upwards into the air. Gawain?s first swipe hits nothing as I hang above him. For a second I think I?ve got the advantage.

Then he throws his sword into the air, and it slices through the Black Star with ease.


Imagine someone drawing a line down your chest with a scalpel. That?s more or less how that defeat feels for me. At least Nitori hasn?t made it simulate the resulting fall as well.


I?m beginning to see a disturbing pattern here. Gawain is fast, and he?s prepared to fight in three dimensions. Most other nations wouldn?t have a chance to practice fighting him, and they?d go down in seconds like I have.

But I can practice. As soon as the pain has passed, I?m ready to go again.


The scenario starts again. All I have to do is try everything and see what does and doesn?t work. This simulation is a compilation of all of Gawain Alexander?s match data. If the simulation isn?t ready for it, Gawain won?t be either.

Besides, I have six hours. I can figure out a strategy by then, right?


?You lost HOW many times??

Nitori looks like she can barely contain her anger. Luckily the hovercraft is high enough that there?s no risk of her crashing into anything as she swerves to one side.

?I told you, I was experimenting. Can?t blame a girl for trying stuff out, can you??

?Your job is to figure out how to win, not figure out every way to lose.? She grips the wheel so tightly it looks ready to snap. The Black Star?s already been moved to the battlefield for us, so we just have to get there ourselves.

?I tried, alright? But at least now I know some things that won?t work.?

?Like pointing on the horizon and asking him to turn away.?

?It was worth a shot, wasn?t it??

She doesn?t answer. She has every reason to be mad. I?ve never had a simulation session this poor. I kept fighting for the whole six hours, but I didn?t achieve a single victory in all that time. All I found was hundreds of ways for Gawain to break through my defenses or stop me from escaping him. To say the situation is bleak would be a pretty big understatement.

But that doesn?t mean I?m out of ideas. There was one lingering thought I considered throughout the training that I couldn?t test properly thanks to a few inaccuracies in the simulation. It?s a really out-there idea, but it?s all I can think of that stands a chance. And with all the training I went through, I should be able to survive long enough to give it a try.

And if it doesn?t work? Well, there?s always emigration to look into...


The fight is taking place on a plain very similar to the one I saw in the simulation - or at least, it was similar to the simulation at some point. Gensokyo has only one or two areas wide and flat enough to work as suitable arenas, and they?ve been seeing a lot of use recently. Most of the foliage and greenery was either burnt or crushed in the combat, so it?s a massive grey patch in Gensokyo?s otherwise luscious environment. It?s an ugly sight, but a necessary sacrifice - if we didn?t go through the duels, all of Gensokyo would look like this.

The mechs have both been prepared. On one end of the field is my magnum opus, the Black Star. Nitori went all out with preparing it, even going so far as to give the plates a polish before sending it out. It?s a good fifty-feet tall, built with sleek plates of reinforced steel and armed to the teeth with every explosive Gensokyo knows how to make. Nitori had to do some intensive research to figure out how to fit all that stopping power into the machine without making it tip over.

Across from it is the daunting form of the Green Knight. Its plates have been tweaked to resemble a medieval suit of armour, and even when it?s inactive it holds its sword and shield at the ready. It?s a few feet taller than my mech, and I know from experience it?s at least as fast. Even seeing it from a distance, I can?t help but get a little concerned.

Before the fight can start, there?s a formal meeting between the competitors in the center of the arena. As Nitori lands the craft, I see our opponent has already arrived with his own team. I step out to approach him as we come to a stop.

?Good morning, miss Kirisame.? Gawain Alexander bows towards me with exquisite chivalry. He speaks in a language I don?t understand, but there?s a chip at the back of my neck that works as an on-the-go translator. It?s almost a necessity for a serious duelist.

Even Gawain himself is intimidating. His suit doesn?t have the same ports mine does, but it?s been fitted to resemble armour like his mech. He stands six inches above me, his bright blue eyes shimmering with the wisdom of a veteran. This is a man who?s seen more duels than I can count, and I feel the gap between us more and more by the second.

To his sides are a sniveling man in a labcoat - probably his head engineer - and a stern looking man in a suit. The last of these is probably his ?diplomat?, though I?m using the word loosely. The suit gives Nitori a vile glare while Gawain and I talk.

?I must say, your track record made for some entertaining reading,? Gawain says with a smile. ?You?ve been rather overworked, haven?t you??

?What can I say?? I shrug. ?Gensokyo isn?t very popular nowadays.?

?So I?ve heard.? Gawain frowns. He looks ready to say something, but he looks to the pudgy man in the suit and abruptly stops. Can?t go against the party line, it seems. ?Let?s hope for an interesting bout, then.? He offers me his hand.

?Interesting is nice, but I prefer to win.? I return the gesture. His hand is twice the size of mine, and he jerks it up and down in a firm handshake. I haven?t been tugged around this much since the time I challenged an oni to an arm wrestle.

With the formalities out of the way, we each return to our respective crafts and head to our mechs. Nitori is bleeding nerves as she brings the vehicle into the air.

? do know what you?re doing, right??

Of course she?s worried. Gensokyo is her home, and its continued existence depends on me. She can?t just run off to some other nation like I can - the rest of the world still considers youkai lesser citizens, if they qualify as ?humans? at all.

?Relax, I?ve got this.? I give her a little pat on the back. ?If I mess up, you can force shots of Nine Lives down my throat until my liver blows up.?

Her expression lightens. ?I?ll hold you to that.? She looks at me with a small smirk, just subdued enough that I?m not sure whether she means what she says. I?d better play it safe and win today.

The craft comes to a stop at the Black Star?s chest, right in front of where the machine?s ?heart? should be. Now that I think about it, this is probably the only part of the machine that wasn?t torn to pieces during the simulation. Normally fatalities are frowned upon, but considered unavoidable; yet Gawain didn?t strike at the cockpit once.

I place my hand into a small indent on the frame, and the breastplate opens up. A small walkway into the machine emerges from within, and I let myself out of the craft to step onto it. At the end of the walkway is the same cockpit I?ve been doing all of my training in.

The idea from earlier is still wavering around in my head. Calling it a battle plan would be exaggerating - it?s a vague idea which might work if the planets align and the gods smile upon me. Still, the alternative is watching the Black Star get cut in half, so I?ll take it.

I take my seat in the cockpit. The chair slides forwards as the machine interfaces with me. A dozen wires stabbing into your spine is a great way to keep yourself on your toes. I?m fully ready for battle by the time the monitor flickers to life.

?Are you ready, miss Kirisame?? Gawain?s voice comes through the speaker to my side as the Green Knight comes to life across from me. The machine lowers itself into a battle stance, sword at the ready.

?You can drop the whole ?miss? thing. Just call me Marisa.?

Gawain doesn?t answer, but I hear him stutter a little through the speaker. Maybe he?s not used to someone questioning his manners like that.


The same message jumps onto both our monitors. The two technicians are watching over the fight from a safe distance, working together as a neutral third party. Of course that also means Nitori won?t be able to yell advice into my ear whenever she wants, so I?m pretty much alone.

I grab at the controls. The Green Knight prepares to break into a dash.


Just as the simulation predicted, the Knight charges head-on. Dodging left or right won?t work - he?ll cut me down before I can recover. Dodging up doesn?t work either. The only option is forward.


At the last moment I send the Black Star into a charge of its own. Gawain brings the sword across in a horizontal swipe.

I fall to the earth with a slide tackle, knocking him off his feet. There?s a mighty crash as twenty tons of British handiwork falls to the ground.

That?s my first opening. As I bring the Black Star upright, I turn to face Gawain. I pull the machine?s arm forward, firing the first of its many missile salvos. The Green Knight pulls up its shield before they can hit, and the attacks bounce off of it harmlessly. Of course it wasn?t going to be that easy.

I buy myself a few seconds of running time as Gawain gets to his feet. I launch off another stream of missiles with one hand, and fire a laser out of the other. Gawain tilts the shield to block both attacks at once as he comes forward again.

Now that I have momentum it?s easier to keep my distance. I focus fire at the space between his sword and shield, and as he blocks it Gawain is forced to stop his swing. All the while I?m on the move, taking the occasional shot at his feet to make sure he can?t speed up again. I circle around him, making him turn as he continues to block the barrage. He can barely move, and whenever he makes progress I simply step back.

Of course, this is only a temporary measure. The Black Star is loaded with missiles, rockets, lasers, mines, and every other explosive known to man, but it does still have a limited ammo supply. The only difference is that the limit is much larger than any other machine in circulation.

As the missiles run out, I switch to mines. They fire out of the palms like most of my weaponry, but rather than aiming for the ground I fire them straight at Gawain. They clamp to the shield, detonating in waves of five at a time. The green frame shakes beneath the impact, but there?s no sign of surrender.

?You expect me to submit to this barrage?!? Gawain yells into the speaker. He?s a lot less polite on the battlefield, apparently.

I don?t answer. Honestly, I don?t expect this to be enough to take him down. In the simulation I emptied all of my reserves in this attack without any sort of progress. But the simulation made one very large assumption on that count.

Namely, that the shield was unbreakable.

As yet another wave of mines explodes, I can see the first few cracks beginning to form in the shield?s plating. It?s strong enough to take on the arsenals of other, less prepared machines, but the Black Star is on another level. As I try to finish the attack off, I look at the dwindling ammo counts all across my HUD.

Finally I reach my last wave of mines. I fire all six of them at once, all focusing on the cracks on the shield. Gawain seems unaware of his mech?s damage, holding off each blow with the same vigor.

When the mines explode, the shield shatters into half a dozen pieces. I wish I could see the look on his face right now.


All I get is a stuttered gasp from his end of the speaker. His main defense is down at last. This is my cue to finish him.

Or at least it would be if I had anything left to finish him with.

I give the arsenal another look-over. No missiles, no rockets, no mines. The lasers are out of power, and the propulsion system can?t maintain this speed any more. In no more than two minutes I?ve unloaded the Black Star?s entire weapon supply.

There?s only one weapon left, and it?s the biggest risk of all. But I?m totally out of alternatives here, so I have to go for it. I press a large red button on the side of the control panel.

NOW CHARGING...........]

The entire cockpit hums as non-essential power is redirected to the engine. The legs of the machine lock in place, and I can barely move the top half of the machine on command. A hole opens on the Black Star?s navel, and a cannon emerges from it.

The monitor clicks and blinks as it catches the Green Knight in its reticule. The sound of it locking onto its target is enough to pull Gawain out of his daze. He breaks to the side to avoid the upcoming blast, but the Black Star?s waist swivels around to follow him.


I hear him gasp. He knows he can?t avoid the attack. All he can do is interrupt it. The Green Knight begins another charge. Even without the shield, he still has that ruthless blade of his.

I look at the Green Knight, then at the charge meter. It?s not hard to tell what?ll finish first. Gawain blitzes towards me, raising his sword to slice the Black Star in half.

I have one idea. If it works, I win. If it doesn?t...I lose more than just the match.


He?s on top of me now, ready to swing downward with a few seconds to spare. The attack is ready to slice clean down the centre of the frame.

I lean the machine to the side so that the sword is right above the cockpit instead.

?NO!? Gawain screams.

The sword digs into the Black Star?s shoulder, burying itself a foot into the framework. The entire machine rumbles, almost knocking me out of my chair. Even with Gawain holding back, the attack is devastating.

But most importantly, it?s not a killing blow.


This, on the other hand, will be.

As Gawain pulls his sword out of the Black Star?s shoulder, the frame looks down at the cannon. A pale blue light is emanating from its tip, aimed straight at the Green Knight?s waist.

I win.

?Neo Master Spark, FIRE!?

The cannon explodes, sending a devastating ray of light across the battlefield. It cuts a hole in the stomach of the Green Knight, tearing through layer upon layer of metal as if it was paper. The entire machine hangs in place, sword held above its head as it freezes.

As the laser dies down, Gawain Alexander and his machine topple backwards onto the ground.


I swear, that word has never been so satisfying to read. I melt into my chair as the neural interface begins to break the links between me and the machine. The Black Star goes into shutdown, taking a well-earned rest of its own.

The speaker flickers back to life, this time accompanied by a small picture of Gawain?s face. The man is as pale as a ghost.

?...In all my years as a duelist, you?re the first person I?ve ever seen lean into the swing.?

Of course he?s shocked. By all accounts, he should have ended the fight with that last attack. But at the last moment, he held back.

?I figured you were a decent guy,? I tell him. ?You don?t wanna kill anyone, do you??

He?s silent, but his ashen face says more than words ever could.

?What if I hadn?t stopped?? he asks. I?m not sure if he?s talking to me or to himself. ?If I?d kept going, I?d have killed you in an instant.?

I shrug. ?Well, yeah. But that didn?t happen, so it doesn?t matter.?

Gawain struggles to find the words he?s looking for. I?m surprised when he starts to laugh instead.

? love this country, don?t you??

I tilt my head. ?Come again??

His face starts to brighten, as if the whole fight was a joke to him.

?At the critical moment, you chose to risk your life for the safety of Gensokyo. That sort of courage doesn?t come from a desire for money, power or fame. You were ready to die to keep this country from falling apart.?

Now it?s my turn to fall silent. Gawain?s grin is almost cheeky.

?I?ve struck a nerve, haven?t I? You?re one of those anti-heroes who cares more than she wants to admit.?

?Maybe,? I mutter. Dammit, why do I feel like I?m the one who lost here?

Gawain chuckles. ?Worry not. Your secret is safe with me.?

I can tell he means it. He?s not the sort to lie. I sit up as the last wire pops out of my back.

?It?s been a pleasure fighting you,? Gawain says with a slight bow towards the camera. ?I?ll be looking forward to a rematch...Marisa.?

I return the gesture. ?Yeah. You too, Gawain.?

The monitor flickers out. I?m left alone, waiting for Nitori to pick me up. I?ll need to thank her when I get the chance. It?s thanks to her handy arsenal that I managed to take down Gawain?s shield in the first place.

A few minutes later the door opens, and my favourite kappa in the whole wide world steps in.

?So you did it.?

She?s acting stern, but I can see her whole body trembling. I bet she wants to hug me right now, but her pride won?t let her.

So I hug her instead.

?Did you ever doubt me??

Nitori goes bright red, squirming in my grip and trying to get away. ?W-Well, there was that moment at the end. But I don?t understand why Gawain didn?t finish you off.?

?Oh, there?s a story behind that.? I let go of her and let myself out, jumping into the passenger seat of the hovercraft. ?But it?s a story best told over a victory toast, in my opinion. Don?t worry, drinks are on me tonight.?

Nitori takes the wheel beside me. She sighs, but finally allows herself to smile as the craft?s engines warm up.

?Can I keep to cucumber beer this time??

I snatch the cap off her head, twirling it around with one finger. ?Sorry, can?t make any promises on that count...?
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: AnonymousPondScum on June 17, 2012, 11:27:15 PM
Aaaand I just realized my haiku post was supposed to be SPELLCARD haiku.

Screw it, I'm too lazy to fix it. :V

Uhhhh may or may not have something tonight. May the common cold forever burn in the deepest pits of Hell. *snuffles*
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Von Stein on June 18, 2012, 04:37:09 AM
summary so zis is stori bout how i life got turned rite side down and u all sit right there, and im fresh prince yeah
narfuto rulz111!!!!!!!

so mima is totally the god of gensokyo and since she be back next game i figured i tel u just how Blasted awesome she is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111
imma tell you rite now so she roxxorz so hard its awesm!!!!!
so she fly over the shrine 1 day and ter wuz tha orkz
and tha orkz wanted to killz mima so they did moar dakka
and mima said cry moar and then the orkz wuz no more
it was so funneh with mima Amicably murdrin all the greenskinz
such a stron smoothy
but then the unpossbl happen
narfuto appear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and sht just got real mang, gots poses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
narfuto and mima look at each other
world roundem began Disintegrating as they scouted each others powers
wuz totally over 90000000999999000000000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
but then the unpossbl happen
they hugged and kissed and then they began undr

mum said i shuldnt write stuff like that so i wont
wont take what i wrot of so
so after they went to bar and drank some beer
the Fermented hops was strong in zis one and they killed anakin and jar
btw since star wars referenc now
vader rulzzzz11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111one111111

but then the unpossbl happen
kyuubei appear and something else and then Illicit activites happen and naruto and mima became hero
i know its all weird byt its tru!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
y u no believe me??????????????22222222222two?
then moar unpossbl happen
sora appear and kill everybody but i heldim off
narfuto and mima now dead i cried moar
but then mima realized she was a ghost anyways and did bad things to sora with his keyblade
then mickey appear and approve
then food
the party at the end was a Culinary awesomnes and everybody wuz happy, even tha orkz
and then there was more dakka

by the way i am looking for some gurlz so if you wanna hook up sned me some pms

sora is burnin in hell btw
vaders awesome

and no i wont become an hero!!!!!!!!
seacrest out

I am so dead for writing this.
I am so dead.
Just in case somebody decides to be a smart about it, the subject is spelled out up there. :V
Seacrest out.
Stein out too.

PS: The preceding fic does not reflect my personal believes.

PPS: And my PM box better not be full with responses to this tomorrow. :V
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: LogosOfJ on June 18, 2012, 08:20:37 AM
Since I'm running short on time,

Konpaku blade poems
Composed by Founder Youmu
Lessons through teaching

Blades do not suffice
Duality: dream and void
Cut! Into the world!

Reference within,
Example of Kirisame
Look where no-one leaps.

Cut, thrust, lunge, parry
Beauty shines in every move
Means nothing to death.

1, the start, unit
2, the fruit of the first cut,
void, the cut's substance

Forget fealty
Forget judgement from the hells
Forget argument

Win, over nature
Win, in battle, in choosing
Find such a method!

Beware what is here!
Improvement is possible!
Saying can distort.

strongly inspired by
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: LaserTurtle on June 20, 2012, 11:01:37 PM
So, who agrees with me that the only way to start a fan fiction career is to make a shoddy self insert story in under 30 minutes?



When getting teleported against your will through an  ungodly rip in reality, I'm pretty sure that there are several places that people tend to end up. This, of course is based on my experience with various anime and book cliches, so you might want to take this speculation with a grain of salt.

First up: The lucky [insert swear word of your choice here]. He (or she) is inevitably the person who gets teleported straight to their soul mate, and they end up living happily ever after. Now, you don't hear about them in books, because that would generally make a rather uninteresting story. I'm just guessing they exist because the lucky people are everywhere, and I'm not one of them.

The next kind is the person who ends up going to a time or place of crisis, next to the device/people who can bring back peace. These are your textbook story examples. They become heroes and saviors, and everyone respects them in the end, even if they have to earn that respect. I'm actually sort of glad that I'm not one of them, because I wouldn't have the guts or motivation to save anything.

And then there are people like me. The unlucky ones. To illustrate what I'm talking about, here's what I had to go through.

Instead of being all "Wheee! Destination up ahead!" I got the detour route. It just so happened that the detour involved going through at least ten different dimensions, all filled with eyes and purpleness. I think my organs got rearranged in there or somewhere, because I still feel all queasy.

So, after that short mind-devouring detour, guess where my actual destination was.

Go on, guess.

Yup. Straight up in the air, probably thousands of miles away from the ground.

So, for the past couple of seconds, I've been falling and waiting for the splat on the ground. I'd be more concerned, but I've pretty much already accepted my fate.

Wait, are they having a firefight or something below me? There's colorful light explodey thingies everywhere. Looks like it's straight out of a video game.

And of course, I'm heading straight towards the fight. Fun.

~Girls are unwittingly destroying a poor guy, please wait warmly~

Oh god, now I hurt all over. Why am I not dead yet?

You know what? Scratch that. How the heck were they flying? You saw them too, right? That red and white shrine maiden? I ran into the other one on the way down, someone in a cape. Green hair, and antennae. Why did he she he that person have antennae? Flying cosplayers, seriously?

Bleh, I think some of my hair got into my mouth. Yuck.



I didn't have long hair before.

Oh jeez, I didn't really pay attention to myself, did I? I guess that's a given, based on what's been happening for the last 30 seconds or so.

Anyway, that just tipped me off. I'm a girl now. What. Stupid ten-dimensional warpholes of demonic origin.

I hate this place already, and whoever got me into this stupid mess.

Really, the only way this can get worse and more cliche at the same time is if I ended up with amnesia, but that probably isn't going to happen. All my memories are intact, even how I got into this stupid mess. I'd tell you, but I've got an important meeting with the ground, sponsored by gravity in a couple of seconds..

~Boy Girl is landing, please wait warmly~

Ow, now I hurt all over. Wait. Where am I? Who am I? Why do I ache everywhere? How did I get here? What is going on? I am supposed to be a girl, right?

And why do I feel like the universe is laughing at my misfortune?
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: FinnKaenbyou on June 21, 2012, 08:32:19 AM
Quick note for everyone taking part - Iced won't be around for a while because his hands are full with a new job, so until further notice I'm gonna be running this event.

On that note, Week 3 Started Like Three Days Ago. That LaserTurtle story above me counts as week 3, so.

You've got until Sunday, guys. Good luck!
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Dead Princess Sakana on June 24, 2012, 09:39:12 PM
Alright, it's time for the battle!
This story would probably fit under several prompts we had in the WWC, but I was thinking of it for the "Job Swap" theme.
This story is actually related to another piece I wrote before (,9460.0.html) (though only the prologue, I never got around to write much more). You don't have to know the original to read and enjoy this one.
Also, this is only the first half of the story, though it is finished in itself. It would just have been impossible to finish it all before the deadline though, so you get "only" this much for now.
But enough foreword! Enjoy the story~

I highly encourage you to read this story with the linked BGM by the way, it will enhance the experience  significantly :3

BGM: Drunken Irish Oni (

The atmosphere in the large bar on the main street of Old Hell was great. Which, by oni standards, meant that several fist fights had already broken out, some passed out oni were lining the walls, and the air was as filled with alcoholic fumes as the drinkers were filled with alcohol. A local band of underground-youkai was playing a cheerful tune while waiters and waitresses weaved their ways through the customers, balancing giant mugs with almost artistic skill.

?And thish shtuff shey call alcohol up there? It?sh awful! Imposshible to get drunk off! And I tell you, I TELL YOU, I?ve tried!?

The large crowd gathered around a certain table in the middle of the room roared with laughter.

?How?sh an oni shupposhed to shurvive up there!?, the statement was followed by a large bang as the speaker smashed her fist on the table.

?Gyahahahaha, that?s what you get for wanting to see the world.?, another loud voice responded before yelling through the room. ?Heh , another sake!?

Immediately one of the waiters, a spider-youkai, grabbed a pot of sake from the counter and started climbing up the walls and along the ceiling, making his way to where the voice had called from. When he reached the place above the table that the order had come from, he slowly lowered himself from the ceiling, carefully avoiding the spiky horns of the gathered oni. He was greeted by a large empty sake cup being  held in his direction, and as he filled it up he caught a look of the two people that were the center of the commotion.

He immediately recognized the pair, there was noone in Old Hell who wouldn?t have. They were two of the strongest oni around, Devas of the Mountain: Hoshiguma Yuugi and Suika Ibuki. The waiter frowned a bit as he noticed the latter.

This small oni-girl had left the underground years ago to explore the surface world and had since lived there. However, from time to time she would return down to Old Hell to tell people about her adventures in the world above. At those times nearly all the oni in the town would gather around to listen to her stories, giving the bar they chose for their gathering a hefty profit for that day. The only downside to this was that Suika herself was not a good customer at all. She didn?t order any drinks, instead preferring whatever she had in the seemingly endless gourd she always carried around. She also tended to go violent very quickly when she was drunk, often leaving the bar with more than just a few chairs to repair. But at the end of the night, the profits outweighed the expenses, and so Suika?s appearances were always looked forward to by everyone in Old Hell.

?? and shen, the neksht day, I wake up and I shee that thish ten? teng? that crow wrote shtupid shtuff about me! Sheriously, just look at that!?

The small oni reached into her bag and grabbed what looked like several pieces of paper folded into each other and threw it onto the table. The surrounding group drew closer, trying to catch a glimpse at what Suika had pulled out. Those of them that were lucky enough to see the papers right-side up could see the following:

Before them was a sheet of paper with many letters printed on it. The letters were arranged into words, the words into sentences, and the sentences were formed into blocks crowned by a larger short sentence. There were also pictures on the paper, one of them showing a giant-sized Suika stomping on a cart carrying cabbages and a man, likely the cart?s owner, running away in fear.

One of the oni next to Suika squinted and leaned in closer to look at the object before him.

?Whad? ish shish??, he asked, swaying back and forth groggily.

?Thish! Thish ish an inshult!?, Suika shouted, waving her arms around in frustration, whacking the oni with the chain-ball attached to her wrist.

With a loud thump the oni fell over unconscious, while the rest of the group broke out into roaring laughter once more. Meanwhile, Yuugi stretched out her hand and grabbed the paper from the table.

?Hmm? Bunbunmaru Mainichi Shinbun? Is that one of those? what do they call it??, she asked.

?Newshpaper! The crow callsh it a newshpaper!? Suika responded.

With a curious look Yuugi?s eyes flew across the page.

? ?Malicious attack at midnight! Drunken oni goes on a rampage in the human village?. Sounds like you had a lot of fun up there, Suika?, she said with a grin.

?I?m telling you, it wash an accshident!?

?It also says you ate a whole cow, and that you had to be stopped by the Hakurei shrine maiden??

?She?sh lying!?

?It does sound like you though, Suika?, Yuugi responded with a laugh.

?Well, it?sh shtill not true! And I bet that goesh for all the other shtuff in shere too!?, the drunk girl waved her arm at the newspaper.

Yuugi glanced through the other pages in her hand.

?Hmm, some of this does sound rather weird, but I don?t think it?s all-?, she started before being interrupted by Suika jumping onto the table.

?SHE?SH LYING!?, she shouted. ?That crow?sh alwaysh lying! Making up shingsh to put in that?. that? newshpaper!?, she spat the last word out with disgust. ?There?sh no way. NO WAY! She doesh thish everyday. Every! Shingle! Day! She hash to make thingsh up!?

?Oh, is that so??, someone asked from the other side of the table.

Yuugi turned her head towards the voice. Her eyes went wide, then she broke into roaring laughter.

?Yesh, that ish sho! Jusht making thingsh up, musht be fun! Some real shtory here and there, and everyone?sh happy! I could do that too, it?sh no big deal!?

?Ah yes, I?m sure you could?, amusement sounded in the voice. ?Why don?t you give it a try then, I?m sure you will do rather well.?

?YESH! That?sh what I?ll do! I?ll show her!?, Suika raised her fist into the air, striking a pose.

 Then she turned towards the voice.

?Thank you, my namelessh oni-comrad-?, Suika stopped. Leaning down towards the source of the voice, she squinted her eyes and concentrated hard. ?I don?t think I have sheen you before? you look funny for an oni??

A loud sounds could be heard as Yuugi fell from her chair in a laughing fit on the other side of the table.

?That would be, Miss Ibuki, because I am, in fact, not an oni.? A voice like dripping honey, spoken with the brightest of smiles. ?I am rather sure you should recognize me though.?

Suika took a step on the table and leaned in so close that her face almost touched that of the person in front of her. For some seconds she stayed in that position. Then, her mouth fell open, and with a loud scream she jumped backwards, almost stumbling off the table.

?Aaaaaaah! Sham?sham? Shamumamaru Ayaya!?

?Shameimaru Aya, actually, but close enough, given your current state. Now then...?

The tengu stood up, extending the black wings on her back, which caused the surrounding oni to immediately jump aside. Then Aya reached to her wings and plucked a single feather from them. She jumped up to the table and edged in on Suika, who was still paralyzed from the shock she had received.

?Hmm, you don?t have wings so? this will do!?, Aya said as she grabbed the gourd from Suika?s waist and in return pushed the feather she had plucked into the little oni?s hands.

?Uugrh???,  the little girl groaned in confusion.

?The exchange of feathers! A traditional way for a tengu to welcome a new pupil! You said you could be a reporter easily, and I?ll give you the chance to prove your words!?, the woman grinned as she grabbed the oni-girl?s hand and turned towards the exit.

?Frgh? wai??, Suika tried to form coherent words of resistance.

?Now everyone, hope you don?t mind if I take care of this one for a few days. In exchange, I?ll just leave you someone who can tell a few nice stories until I return Suika! Tsubasa!?

The last word was shouted at a young tengu that was intently watching the band?s performance. The girl turned around.


?This one here volunteered to try out your job for a bit?, Aya pointed to Suika, ?so you can stay here and make some new friends, okay??

The girl?s face changed from a puzzled look to a terrified one.

?Wait? what do you??, she started.

But she was too late. As soon as Aya had finished her speech, she had left the bar with incredibly speed, leaving a room full of confused oni behind.

As Tsubasa stared at the still swinging door in disbelief, someone walked up to her.

?So, Tsubasa?s your name, right??, Yuugi asked her as she put a hand on the tengu?s shoulder. ?I heard you tengu like drinking??

Suika awoke with a groan. Her memory was hazy, and the splitting headache she felt told her the reason for that.

?Urgh, I need a drink??

She reached out to her waist, reaching for her gourd, only to find her hand grasping nothing but thin air.


She tried once more, with the same results.

??.. Aaaaaaah!?

With a loud scream, the small oni jumped down from the bed and ran towards the exit of the room.

?Where?s my gour-?, she screamed as she pushed open the door and stepped outside. A split second later her shouting changed into a scream as she found herself plummeting.


When Suika came to, the first thing she saw was the house she had stepped out of high above her. Leaning down from the small platform in front of the door, looking at the fallen oni, was Aya.

?Good morning, Miss Ibuki. That was quite a ruckus you made there, it?s good to be energetic in the morning!?

?Wha- the crow? Why are you? where am I??

?You don?t remember? Well, I guess that was to be expected given your state last night.?

The little oni stared at Aya in confusion.


Suika closed her eyes and concentrated.

?Okay, I remember I went drinking with Yuugi?, she thought, ?and then I? right, I said something about that newspaper? and? I think she was there and??

Little by little Suika?s memories pieced themselves back together. She opened her eyes and stared at Aya once more.

?Oh god? ?

With a groan Suika slapped her own forehead.

Up above, Aya looked amused.

?It appears you remember what happened, that?s good. Now as for your gourd, that is stored away safely until your work here is done. No being drunk on the job?, the tengu explained, then added with a serious look, ?And please don?t even think of trying to get out of this by force. The exchange of feathers is a sacred rite, and while I can?t say if I could beat you in a fight, I know for sure that you would not stand a chance against Lord Tenma himself. Plus, I do not think you want another article about yourself going on a rampage to be published, no??

The oni and tengu stared at each other in silence for a while.

?? how long??, Suika finally asked without any enthusiasm.

?Hmm, I think a single day should suffice. Just for today, you will be a freelance reporter for the BunBunMaru! We have an issue to put together for tomorrow, and you?re gonna be part of making it happen. Then we?ll see if you will keep up your silly accusations, Miss Ibuki.?, Aya responded with a smile.

?Drop that ?Miss? stuff, crow! Just Suika is fine!?

?If you say so, Suika. Well then, it would be nice if you could get up here so we can start our work. Or would you happen to need help??, the tengu grinned.

?No thanks, I?m fine!?, Suika snapped at her as she pulled herself up and unsteadily floated a few feet up into the air, only to fall back down again.

?Argh, just how much did I drink yesterday??

?? okay, maybe I *do* need help! So what??, she pouted.

With a swift motion, Aya let herself fall from the platform and swooped down at Suika, wrapping her arms about the oni?s waist as she rose back up with a strong beating of her wings.

?Heh, what are you-?, Suika started to complain, only to be silenced by Aya immediately.

?Shh. This is the first time you see it properly, right? You should enjoy this moment, daybreak is always nice to watch here.?

Suika turned her head and looked at Aya in confusion, but the tengu just motioned her to look ahead as she rose up even further, passing by the house that the two had spent the night in.

BGM: A rustling of feathers in the morning  (

?Welcome to the Tengu Village, Ibuki Suika! You may very well be the first oni to ever see it like this!?

Suika tried to respond, but the view that suddenly appeared before her just left her mouth hanging open in awe.

The Tengu Village was a magnificent sight. From their position Suika could see that the house they had been in, which she figured was Aya?s, was actually at the very edge of the village. Behind it, illuminated by the morning sun, there were a large number of similar houses of all sizes. Suika could see small hut-like buildings, most likely for living and storage. In between them was the occasional larger house, some of which had large iron chimneys protruding from their roofs. The only thing all the buildings had in common was that they were constructed on large stilts, making them look like bird?s nests high above the ground. Connecting all houses in the village were wooden suspension bridges, which made the whole place look like a giant spider?s web. And at the far end of the village, elevated above all the other buildings, Suika could see a large structure that could only be described as a palace, watching majestically over the rest of the village.

?The Hall of Feathers, Lord Tenma?s residence, and the political center of the village?, Aya explained as she noticed her ?passenger? staring at the building.

Suika also noticed that all the living quarters seemed to have two entrances: One that led to the bridges, and another that led only to a small platform like the one she had fallen from earlier.

?Any moment now??, she heard Aya say behind her.

As if the tengu had given the cue, a deep and powerful sound broke the silence.

?A bell??, Suika asked, turning her head towards Aya, who only nodded.

?Watch?, the tengu responded.

For a few seconds the village seemed to stand completely still as the echoes of the bell faded away.
Then, Suika saw movement. From one of the houses, a tengu stepped out onto the platform, stretched his body with a big yawn, and jumped. After he passed half the distance to the ground he extended his wings, breaking his fall and swooping upwards in a graceful curve. The same was happening everywhere around the village. The air was soon filled with the sound of beating wings and rustling feathers as hundreds of tengu rose into the air and scattered all throughout the village to start their daily activities.

?This is how Tengu Village wakes up every day?, Aya started to explain. ?Every morning around this time the currents are quite strong here, so it?s easy to fly at a high speed and get around quickly. The bell tells us when it?s time to ride the winds and get the day started. I assure you though, it?s nowhere near as nice as it look from afar when you are instead in the middle of it?, she laughed. ?You?ve got to be careful not to crash into someone. That said, we should move as well! Hold on tight!?

Before Suika could muster a response, Aya had already propelled the pair forward with a strong beating of her wings, catching a current in the air and flying rapidly towards the village. Within seconds, Suika found herself yelling out in fear as the crow tengu weaved her way between chimneys, under bridges, narrowly passing over rooftops and just barely avoiding head-on crashes with other tengu soaring through the air. From time to time Aya would slow down to greet acquaintances of hers, giving the oni-girl just enough time to catch a breath before the wild ride started up once again. Then, just as she feared she was about to faint, Suika felt herself being set down.

?Wait here for a second?, Aya commanded the swaying and disoriented oni and ran off, only to return a minute later carrying a small woolen bag.

Grabbing one of the oni?s hands, Aya poured the contents of the bag into Suika?s palm. Suika stared at the green powder in confusion.

?It?s called ?The Legendary Drinker of Youkai Mountain?, a traditional recipe against hangovers. Go on, eat it.?

Suika looked back and forth between her hand and Aya, then slowly brought the substance to her mouth and swallowed the powder. The effect was instant, and unlike anything Suika had ever felt before. Every last remnant of alcohol seemed to immediately have vanished from her body, leaving her with a completely clear mind and an energetic feeling she hardly had experienced before.

?Whoooooah?, was the only response that she could muster.

?So it does work on oni too, good to know!?, Aya said happily as she scribbled something into her notebook. ?You should be able to fly on your own again now, so it?s time to officially make you a reporter Follow me!?

With those words, the tengu rose into the air again. Suika, still slightly shocked by the unfamiliar feeling of being sober, shook her head a few times and quickly leaped up after her.

?Where are we going now? To the palace?? the oni asked as she noticed which direction they were heading in.

?Not quite the palace itself?, Aya responded. She noticed that her follower let out a small disappointed sigh before she continued. ?We are going to the administration office to get you a temporary journalist pass, so you can officially work for me.?

?A? pass??, Suika asked, never having heard of this kind of thing before.

?It?s basically a piece of paper that shows that you are you and that you are allowed to do certain stuff. When the tengu became more organized years after the unification under Lord Tenma, we also saw an increase in regulations and rules to follow. Most of them are rather useful, but they can be irritating at times too. Anyway, if we don?t get you this pass, it could get me into trouble, so let?s just get it over with!?, Aya explained as she landed on the large wooden area in front of the Hall of Feathers and headed for one of the smaller building at the edge of the square, Suika following close behind.

When they entered the building, Suika let out a shriek.

?Gah! What *is* that??, she shouted, pointing at something inside the room.

There, behind a large wooden  counter, sat a creature that was by all accounts a tengu, but unlike any that Suika had ever seen before. The man seemed to be rather old, judging by the sparse grey hair on his balding head, and the large grey wings on his back. He was also wearing the traditional small tengu-headwear. What made him stand out though, were his face and skin. His whole body was tinted deep red, and a comically large nose protruded from his face.

?That is a bureaucrat. Scary, I know?, Aya responded, half laughing.

?That?s a tengu??, Suika asked her, ignoring the disapproving looks the man was shooting  both her and Aya.

?Of course it is. But I guess you would never have seen a hanataka before, they don?t leave the village much. Most people outside only ever see us crow tengu when we are out for our business, and maybe the wolf tengu if you happen to go near the mountain. There?s more clans and races amongst us tengu than just those two though, and the hanataka are one of them. I think it?s not much different for you oni, right??

Suika looked lost in thought for a second.

?Hmm, that?s true. There?s the red oni, the blue oni. Those with one horn and those with two? I guess I just never thought about it before??

?Well, just consider yourself lucky. The last time an oni saw a hanataka they were probably trying to kill each other, back during the time of the oppression.?

With those words Aya moved up to the counter and exchanged a few words with the hanataka, who shot Suika another glance before pulling out a piece of paper from under his desk and handing it to Aya along with a pen.

?Race: Oni? Status: Apprentice? Mentor/Contact: Aya Shameimaru?, the tengu-woman muttered as she filled out the form she had been given.

When she handed the paper back to the hanataka he took out a pair of small glasses and put them on, giving him an even more haughty look. He intently checked over the paper in silence, until he finally gave a small nod and turned towards Suika.

?Step over here please?, he said.

Suika stepped over to the counter. When she arrived, the hanataka reached under the counter once more and brought up a small camera.

?Now, if you would maintain a neutral expression.?


With a whirring sound a small piece of paper came out of the camera?s bottom. The tengu grabbed it and stared at it for a few seconds, waiting for the picture to become visible. When it did, he looked up and down between the oni standing before him and the photograph, until he gave another small nod. He applied a bit of glue to the photo and slapped it down onto the form that Aya had filled out. Then he folded the paper in half and handed it to Suika.

?Here, your temporary journalist pass. Now??, he paused for a moment, ?enjoy your stay in the village.? He quickly forced out the last words and turned to Aya. ?And you, please take proper care of your responsibilities, Miss Shameimaru.?

As the pair left the office, Suika opened the pass.

?I look silly!?, she complained.

?It?s just for a day?, Aya responded, ?We?re already lucky that he didn?t make a fuss over giving you the pass. Due to the history between tengu and oni, many tengu still hold prejudices and grudges against your race.?

?Hmm??, the oni responded in a disinterested tone.

When Aya turned around, she chuckled. Just for a moment she had seen a small smile form on Suika?s face as she looked at the pass once more and put it away in her clothes.

?Now that you are officially my apprentice and therefore allowed to pursue journalistic activities, it?s time to get you some equipment! Just bear with me dragging you around for a bit more, okay??, Aya informed Suika of the next step.

?Equipment? you mean??, the oni?s expression brightened.

?Got you!?, Aya thought while grinning.

?At the very least, let?s see, you?ll need a notebook, a pen and??, she paused.

Suika was standing right before her, an expectant look in her eyes, lightly swaying back and forth as she waited for the tengu?s next words.

?? a camera!?

The next destination the oni-tengu-pair arrived at was the large, chimney-topped building that everyone in the village generally referred to as ?The Pool?.
While this name was not technically false, it was not representative of the facility?s main function. The Pool was one of the very few buildings that were not mainly owned and operated by the tengu. Instead, it was a facility that stemmed from the cooperation between the tengu and another race that lived on Youkai Mountain: The kappa, who were responsible for the creation, maintenance and distribution of all the advanced equipment and machinery needed for journalism.
Since having to transport complete printing machines halfway up the mountain would have been a nearly impossible feat, Lord Tenma and the kappa chiefs had agreed on the construction of a research and development facility for the kappa right in the middle of the tengu village. Because kappa were dependent on water for living, the building also had been equipped with a large swimming pool, which earned it its nickname.
At first the Pool was used exclusively by the kappa, but soon tengu had started to develop an interest in helping out around the facility. While reluctant at first, the kappa later decided to take on tengu apprentices. It was from this cooperation that the class of yamabushi tengu was born, a class that consisted mostly of crow and wolf tengu, whose job it was to perform maintenance on the equipment all around the village, while the kappa could focus more on research and the actual construction and improvement of the machines.
When Aya finally finished her explanation of the place, Suika felt dizzy from all the new information she had already received today. When they entered the building, arriving at the large swimming pool inside, the tengu looked around.

?Hmm, now who?s in charge today? oh!?, she started waving towards someone a short distance away. ?Nitori! Didn?t know you were visiting today.?

The girl in question turned around and looked surprised, then she smiled as she recognized Aya.

?Oh hello there, Miss Shameimaru! I was called in quite suddenly because of a special visitor that arrived. But tell me, what are you doing here? And with an? oni? That?s quite the unusual sight?, the kappa asked.

?It?s a bit of a long story, but let?s just say I?m helping out for a bit?, Suika answered.

?Actually the story is not that long: She got drunk, said silly things, and now she?s here to learn better!?, Aya laughed.

Suika groaned, but kept quiet.

?Before we can get to work though, Suika needs a camera, so we were going to get one from the depot. Do you happen to know who?s in charge of that today??

Nitori thought for a few seconds.

?Hmm, that would be Kimori, but I think she just left for an errand. No worries though, I?ve got a few minutes right now, so I will take care of it! Right this way please!?, the kappa answered and started to walk at a fast pace.

Through a number of doors and corridors the group soon arrived in what looked like the most well-organized storage room Suika had ever seen. Along the walls thousands of cameras were lined up on shelves, as well as additional equipment like tripods, camera-bags and of course mountains of rolls of film. The little oni?s mouth was left agape as she gazed upon this compilation of kappa-genius. She did not even understand the function of half the things in the room, and they instilled a feeling of awe in her.

?Here we are! What kind would you like??, Nitori asked.

?She?s a strong one, so something sturdy would be nice. Oh, and I don?t think she?s ever used a camera before, so an easy to use type would be appreciated.?

Immediately upon receiving this information, Nitori started stepping quickly along the rows of shelves, until she came to a sudden stop, reached into the depths of the shelf without any hesitation and pulled out a camera. Then she walked back over to the waiting pair and handed her choice to Suika. The oni looked down at what she had received. The camera in her hands looked a bit more clunky than the one she had seen Aya use before, but the weight felt comfortable.

?We made this one to be used in difficult environments where crashing into things would be hard to avoid. The exterior is purely made of metal, so it should be hard to break even for an oni. ?

Suika barely listened to the explanation as she raised the camera to her eyes and looked through the viewfinder.

?It?s an instant-picture camera, and it?s already loaded with a roll of film. I will also put some additional ones into the bag that goes with the camera,  so you are all set to-?*click**FLASH* ?-gah!?

The camera made a small sound as it ejected a piece of paper from its bottom. Suika grabbed it and stared at it intently as the picture on it began to show.

Nitori sighed. ?It appears you do not need any further advice. Now then, if you would excuse me please?, the kappa said and left the room.

?Wow, I haven?t used one of those in ages?, Aya said as she looked at Suika?s camera. Then she walked over to another shelf and grabbed a notebook and pen. ?Here, you will need those to-?*click**FLASH*?-gah!?*Swrrrr*

?You really don?t need flash for everything, you know!?

?Oh, sorry!?


Aya let out a sound that was halfway between a laugh and a sigh as she walked over to Suika and just pushed the pen and notebook into the oni?s camera bag.

?Now, let?s go. There?s a lot more interesting stuff waiting out there, Suika!?, Aya declared, pushing the oni out of the room.


BGM: There?s something in the water  (

By the time they arrived back at the entrance hall of the Pool, Suika had already used up the film in her camera and urged Aya to teach her how to put in a new roll. The tengu grew increasingly surprised of how much the girl was getting into this, especially given the circumstances of how this apprenticeship came to be in the first place.

?So, now we get to the part where we make stuff up to fit pictures we take, right??, Suika asked as the two passed by the pool once more, heading towards the exit.

?I told you, we don?t make stuff up! All the news in the BunBunMaru are??, Aya paused as her eyes caught something moving in the pool. She blinked once, then twice. ?What *is* that??, she shouted.

?What??, Suika looked confused.

?This! Over there!?, Aya started pointing in the direction of the pool.

When Suika followed the tengu?s finger, she finally saw the source of her reaction. There in the water was a creature the two had never seen before. From what they could make out it had a small build, similar to a kappa. What stood out about it thought were its front and back. At the front, on its face, the creature had a comically large duck-like beak. Meanwhile from its behind protruded a flat but wide tail, like a beaver?s. The creature moved through the water with smooth moves, heading for the edge of the pool, where it climbed out quickly.

?What *is* that??, Suika repeated the question Aya had already asked. ?You are the reporter here, shouldn?t you know??

?Uhm? it?s? it?s? a? duckbeaver!?, Aya blurted out.


?A duckbeaver! You know, just like there are crow and wolf tengu, the duckbeaver kappa is a subspecies of the kappa that-?, she stuttered an explanation.

However, the tengu was cut short by a shout from across the room.

?Excuse me! I?m *not* a duckbeaver, such a thing does not exist! I?m a platypus!?

When the tengu and oni looked over to the voice?s owner, they noticed that the girl had taken off her beak, which was apparently a kind of mask used only for swimming. Her tail, however, appeared to be an actual part of her body.

?Have you ever heard of such a thing??, Suika asked.

?Not once??, Aya answered, slightly red from the embarrassment she had just suffered.

Just then, quick footsteps could be heard as a familiar figure ran up to the platypus-girl.

?Oh, you must be Miss Marin, so you were here after all! I?ve been looking all over the place for you!?, Nitori?s voice sounded through the hall.

?Ah, Miss Nitori! It?s a pleasure to finally meet one of the kappa?s greatest minds in person.?, the girl responded, immediately forgetting about Aya and Suika.

?So, I was told you wanted to test a new invention of yours??, the kappa asked her guest as she motioned her to a door leading away from the pool

?Yes, you see??, Marin responded as they passed through the door.


Aya flinched at the sudden sound. When she turned around, Suika held another fresh photograph in her hand.

?Ha, still got them!?, Suika declared triumphantly.

Then Suika?s hands moved quickly. She reached down to her bag, pulling out the notebook and pen Aya had equipped her with earlier. She opened the notebook and put the picture she just took on the first page. Then the oni readied her pen, closed her eyes in thought for a few seconds, before she finally started writing.
Aya watched in surprise as Suika?s face showed utmost concentration and her pen moved at a fast pace across the page of her notebook. The tengu quickly moved around to catch a glimpse of what the oni was working on. What she saw was the following:

Mad scientists uniting ? Gensokyo in trouble?

Today at the kappa?s research institute in Tengu Village, commonly known as the Pool, renowned genius Kawhatever (Note: I just can?t remember those names) Nitori met with a mysterious creature duckbeaver visitor. The person, claiming to be a platipuss (Note: look up spelling?) of the name Marin, is apparently a scientist and researcher just like Nitori. Information exclusively available to us suggests that the two are planning to participate in a joined experiment, the exact contents and goals of it however remain unknown. Could this be another incident looming at the horizon? (Note: Ask Reimu what she thinks!)

Suika nodded with determination as she put away her pen again.

?Suika? do you know what you just??, Aya said slowly.

As if she was snapping out of a trance, the oni stared at Aya in surprise.

?Eh? I? I was just? kinda copying how you? I sometimes read the? you know??, she stammered an incoherent response.

?This? this really isn?t half bad. Looks like this day is gonna be quite interesting in more ways than one! I didn?t know you could do this, is it because you are sober for once??, Aya was getting more and more excited.

?I? don?t understand??, Suika was still confused.

?Ibuki Suika, you just wrote your very first news article for the Daily BunBunMaru!?

And that's the end of the first half of the story. Curious about what else Suika and Aya will experience? Sorry, but you'll have to wait a few more days .
Also, credit for Marin goes to Roukan, and thanks for giving me permission to use her for this story.  ;)

Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Von Stein on June 25, 2012, 05:10:26 AM
Autumn's leaves fall down
Shizuha, crimson goddess
whirls into battle

Met by fresh blossoms
Lily, spring's joyous herald
agrees to join her

Rustling canopy
Orange and red and yellow
Serenity lost

Opening petals
A colorful explosion
laughter splits the air

Barrage of small lights
A leaf, fallen, flies through
goddess smiles, unharmed

Gentle floating lights
Cheering, a young girl dances
Herald laughs, untouched

Will-o-wisps fly now
Hurricane of spring and fall
Blossoms and red leaves

Herald and Goddess
Autumn and Fall, never met
Come together now

Herald and Goddess
Just two girls out of season
Finding the right time

Two girls, laughter now
Monsoon of birth and death now
Battle's end draws near

No bullet ends this
No pedal, no blossom, no
Two girls just embrace


Letty, winter's soul
Yuuka, Demon of Flowers
Two faces, two palms.

Subject of entry
Selfexplanatory is
Hope you do enjoy
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: capt. h on June 25, 2012, 05:53:14 AM
This theme is Wild West


It was sometime around 1885 that Gensokyo appeared in the New Mexico Territory. Nobody knows why it appeared there and then. Gensokyo was supposed to be in Japan, was supposed to have been sealed for a hundred years, and was supposed to be a lot of things. Me? I let the academics sort that out. I?m a simple woman with simple goals, trying to make a living in the untamed wilds.

And I reckon nothing is simpler than the want of gold, ze? Course, getting the stuff is hard. These Americans like to keep their gold and money away from a poor thief like me. Not every train has cash or gold. Not even half of them have much of worth. But when they do have cash, they have a lot of it. I?m not familiar with the economics of transport?n it east to west and west to east, but I know they send the stuff all over.

As we sit overlookin? the tracks, my buddy speaks up ?This one,? she says. Her name?s Nazrin, has a real knack for sniffing gold out. Don?t know what she does with it. Never asked. But what she lacks in firepower she has in nosing the stuff out. ?Gold. A lot of it.?
?Well what?r we waiting for? That gold ain?t gonna take itself, ze?? I say, mounting my broom. Ah, one of the two tools that make us the most feared outlaws in the west. Most bandits are stuck with horses, but us? We fly, and my broom?s the fastest in the west. Heck, no sense being modest, I figure my broom?s the fastest ride anywhere. Nazrin gets on, I shout ?Ye-haw!?, and the wind rushes past my face as I run down that train. Only takes a second to pull up next to it.

?A little further,? Nazrin tells me, directing me to the car right behind the coal car. ?The front of that one.? I pull up next to the car and take out the second tool I?m feared for, a nice little magical reactor that livens up any heist.

I aim my ?mini-hakkero? at the side of the train and let out a wail, ?LOVE-COLORED MASTER SPARK!? A beam of my special brand of magic rips through the car. ?There?s our door, ze!?

?As unnecessarily destructive as always,? Nazrin deadpans. She never did have proper appreciation for my brand of magic. The train?s brakes screech along the rails with that lovely ear-piercing sound of a successful heist. Well, I reckon it?s not successful until we pick up our gold. As the train stops, Naz takes out her pistol. I set my broom down and aim my hakkero at the car, Nazrin aims likewise.

I shout towards the car, ?Now here?s the deal, ze. This ain?t your gold. This is the bank?s gold. No sense in you dying for the banks money, understand? Now I reckon you two?ve got family waitin? for you at home. And we?re not ones to separate you from your families. No sense bein? a hero for the banks gold when you have young?uns waiting for you at home. Now I?m gonna count to 3. And you?re gonna drop your guns and come out of that car by 3, or I?m gonna blast you out of the car, got it?? I pause. ?1. 2.?

?We surrender!? one of the guards says, throwing his weapon out the hole. A second gun is thrown, and two men leave the train with their hands in the air.

 ?Wise choice. Naz, tie ?em up.?

Nazrin gets the rope out and begins tying their hands a safe distance from the car. ?You gonna clear it out??

?Yep.? I say, charging my hakkero again. ?Love-colored master spark.? Magical energy roars through the air and tears off the roof. ?Looks clear to me,? I say. I step up onto the wooden floor of the car and approach a scorched safe. With a little magic to melt off the lock, I?m in, and who-boy, did I hit big.

?Hey Naz, must be at least 30 bars in here!?

?Told you. Gold. A lot of it.? Finishing up with the guards, she hands me a bag and begins stuffing her own. Even divvied across 5 of them the bags nearly split from the weight.

?Alright Naz, let?s saddle up!? I say, tying down the last of our haul to my broom. The two of us get on, whizzing away before any unneeded attention catches up to us. ?I think we?ve got enough gold to last us a lifetime, ze!?

Nazrin replies terse as always, ?For me, a lifetime. For you, a week.?
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: FinnKaenbyou on June 25, 2012, 08:59:36 AM
Week 3 Is Over.

Week 4 Begins!
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Alfred F. Jones on June 25, 2012, 08:45:32 PM
Now modified to be the week 4 Librarian entry instead.

Theme: Dreams.


She had picked up a book a week ago, and since then had not been able to put it down for more than a few hours at a time. When having a tea break, she read it with one hand. When eating lunch, she had Koakuma read it to her (no good bibliophile, in her eyes, could risk a book being damaged or stained by negligence). When bathing, Koakuma was again the narrator. When sleeping, she slept with it by her side, finger stuck in the book to keep track of what page she was on. For being a lover of books, she could never remember to keep bookmarks nearby. That, and she had a tendency to fall asleep while reading.

Above all, she never put a book down for more than half an hour while she was caught up in reading it.

This was the sort of person Patchouli Knowledge was.

That was how her day began, as well. She woke up, found her page, and read for a few minutes before finally getting out of bed and drinking tea while reading with the book in the other hand. This was the sort of story she liked: engaging and long. Short stories were easy to come by; good short stories less so. But the problem with them was that they ended too quickly, when she wanted to spend more time in that universe.

Then she went off to bathe, and relaxed in the water while listening to Koakuma narrate. She lay in a tub, and Koa sat in a chair, curtained window to the side and Patchouli behind her, and all the while she enjoyed Koakuma's range of voices and temperaments for the characters. Koa had different values than she did, and sometimes liked characters Patchouli didn't, and vice versa; her narration would reflect that. Patchouli had found that while she sometimes disagreed with Koa's take on characters, she would sometimes illuminate different aspects of a character Patchouli hadn't seen yet.

Long dress, comfortable robe. She was off to the library with Koa by her side. Patchouli was still reading, but had long since committed to muscle memory the amount of steps and turns needed to get there without looking.

?Steps? was figurative; she mostly hovered these days.

It was now afternoon; the sun was high in the sky outside. The light would have damaged the books of Voile centuries ago, which is why Patchouli always kept the curtains closed. Or maybe it was that so many years living with two vampires in the house had managed to turn her off to the idea of daylight. Why couldn't it be both?

She sent Koakuma off for tea. (?What will you be having, Patchouli-sama?? ?Some Earl Grey would be nice today, Koakuma. Thank you.?) Alone in the library but for the quiet fairy maids dusting the bookshelves, she drew her book out and opened it up from where her finger marked the paragraph where she'd left off.

She was so absorbed by the story that it took her a few moments to notice her visitor.

It wasn't Marisa. No book was engaging enough to block out the noise of her explosive entrances. Nor was it Koakuma; the tea couldn't be done yet. And it wasn't Sakuya, because she never bothered with stealth when it wasn't around her master, the showoff.

And even though Flandre had recently mastered the art of walking through the mansion calm enough to not destroy things by accident (mostly), it wasn't her, either.

Well, this was unexpected.

?Come in,? she greeted her.

A less trained eye would notice the short vampire's relaxed pose and shudder at the confidence she exuded at every turn. A more trained eye would notice that it was a show.

Patchouli was neither of those. Instead, she was her best friend, and she could sense when Remi was shaken and trying to hide it.

It was in the position of her fingers. Remilia thought her hands and fingers were her most beautiful physical aspect, and she had a hobby of making them flutter or putting them in odd poses. That was when she was truly relaxed and confident, which was upwards of ninety percent of the time.

The other ten percent, her hands were deathly still-- Remilia trying to keep a hold of herself.

Patchouli watched as Remilia walked to her table after so soundlessly closing the door behind her. Her stride was confident, her eyes bright, her hair perfect. Her performance was seamless, except for her unmoving hands.

Remilia walked to her side and stood there for a moment. Patchouli had to tread carefully. She wasn't in any danger, but simple consideration for her friend's pride prevented her from asking her outright what had disturbed her.

?Good afternoon, Remi.?

Good afternoon: the indication that Patchouli had some hint of what was going on. It was daylight, and yet Remilia was out of bed. Remi: the nickname that spoke to how deep their bond was.

Remilia reached out and touched the librarian's shoulder, fingers first and then palm. It was a light touch, but with Remilia, no action was insignificant. She had wanted to reassure herself of Patchouli's physical presence. Why?

?I'm still here, Remi,? Patchouli offered.

Remilia's fingers froze, then she dropped her hand to the side, but her fingers weren't nearly as frozen as before.

?I see that now.?

What a curious thing to say.

The mystery grew deeper, and so did Patchouli's worry.

?You're worried about me.?

A simple statement of fact. Patchouli wasn't surprised; after all, if Remilia's tell was her fingers not moving, Remilia would surely have picked up on her own tell after a few decades.

Patchouli's eyes lowered a bit, and her mouth formed a thin line.

?You made me worry.?

Remilia was the more expressive of the two; Patchouli had always had much more muted expressions next to her, and as the head of the house, Remilia had no competitors, so there was no need for a constant poker face. Still, it spoke volumes that Remilia sighed in relief and gave her a smile.

?I'm just so glad you're still here.?

Patchouli could say nothing; she knew that her eyes widening had done all the speaking for her. Remilia, for her part, pulled over the nearest chair and sat about a foot away from her.

?I couldn't sleep,? Remilia said. ?I had a dream.?

?A dream that woke you up in the middle of the day,? Patchouli replied, ?is not an ordinary dream.?

?Heh.? Remi leaned her head down and to the left, letting her hair fall off her shoulder and down the side of her face. ?A nightmare is a type of dream.?

There were so many jokes she could have made then; the lord of the night, the queen of vampires, suffering a nightmare?

But that was for strangers. Patchouli was her best friend. She stayed quiet. Remi had once said that she appreciated having her around just to listen, and listen she would.

?I dreamt... that I woke up one night, and Sakuya wasn't there to greet me.? Remilia laid her hands on the table in front of her, intertwined her fingers together. ?I walked out of my room and down the hall, and there were no fairy maids. I went to Sakuya's quarters, and she wasn't there. I went to Voile, and you weren't there. I went to your room, and you weren't there. I went to Koakuma's room, next to yours, and she wasn't there either.?

Patchouli watched as Remilia's hands steadily turned a paler shade of white.

?I went to the basement. I thought maybe somehow Flan had escaped, or brought all of you down to play with her. Flan wasn't there either. Not even her clothes were there anymore. She was just gone. And so were all of you. It was daylight, but I didn't think anything of walking out without a parasol; it was a dream, it didn't occur to me. Meiling was gone. I flew over to the Misty Lake; those fairies that always play there were gone. I flew towards the human village, and I didn't see a single youkai in the forest, or even birds or animals. I arrived in the human village, and there was no Kamishirasawa Keine to keep me out. There was no one in the streets. No Fujiwara no Mokou running to kick me out, no humans at all to hide in their houses and stare at me in fear.?

It unnerved Patchouli to see such a blank look of uncomprehending horror on Remilia's face as she recounted her dream, as if she were there again in her mind.

?There was just... nothing. The Hourai immortals were gone. The Sanzu was unattended. The Hakurei maiden, gone. The Gate to the Netherworld, unguarded. And so was everyone and everything else.?

She shook her head, closed her eyes.

?All that remained was me, and the wind moving through the trees with no one else but me to hear it.?

Remilia's hands were shaking. Her eyes were still closed.

Since Remilia wasn't looking, she wouldn't be embarrassed by Patchouli putting her hands over Remi's own.

She rested her fingers against the bony vampire's, feeling how cold they were, and stopping them from shaking. She did that for a few moments, then:

?I'm still here, Remi.?

Remilia nodded, eyes still closed, but she turned her hands upward to hold Patchouli's in her own.

?Yes,? she said, ?and I forgot how much I appreciate that until today.?

Patchouli smiled.

?I'm not going to leave, Remi. I promise.?

The blue-haired vampire nodded again, the shaking in her hands going away the longer they absorbed Patchouli's warmth.

?I will... hold you to that.?

Patchouli smiled, a bit wider this time, squeezing Remi's hands in her own.

?I haven't left my library in a century. And those are just books, you know??

There was no way Remilia could not have realized what she was really saying.

You're so much more important to me than a library.

?... Thank you, Patchy.?

Remi released Patchouli's hands. Patchouli released hers. Remilia pulled her hands back onto the desk, and the fingers were beginning to twitch once more.

?Now,? she began, ?I have to go visit Flandre and hug her. Then go outside and check on Meiling. And when Sakuya gets back from shopping, I'll make her let me hug her too. And then go back to sleep.?

She hopped off her chair, turned to see Patchouli, smiled. ?Say hi to Koakuma for me, as well.?

?I will.? Patchouli nodded. ?And if you ever have a dream like that again... you can come talk to me about it.?

Remilia laughed, and Patchouli was reassured. ?Certainly.? She turned, waved her hand up in the air as she walked off. ?Now, don't let me ruin your reading or anything. I'd hate to cause trouble for you.?

?What do you mean?? Patchouli asked, confused.

?Are you saying,? Remilia began, half-turning again as she opened the door to leave, ?that you haven't noticed your own nervous tell??

Patchouli shook her head. ?Why, what is it??

Remilia pointed a finger at her desk.

?You stop holding a book in your hands.?

Patchouli looked down at the book that had left her hands without her even realizing it.

She looked back up at Remilia, who grinned at her from the door.

?See ya later, Patchy.?

And then she closed the door behind her, just in time for Koakuma to return with her tea.


She had picked up a book a week ago, and since then had not been able to put it down for more than a few hours at a time. When having a tea break, she read it with one hand. When eating lunch, she had Koakuma read it to her (no good bibliophile, in her eyes, could risk a book being damaged or stained by negligence). When bathing, Koakuma was again the narrator. When sleeping, she slept with it by her side, finger stuck in the book to keep track of what page she was on. For being a lover of books, she could never remember to keep bookmarks nearby. That, and she had a tendency to fall asleep while reading.

Above all, she never put a book down for more than half an hour while she was caught up in reading it.

This was the sort of person Patchouli Knowledge was.

Except, of course, when her best friend needed her.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Esifex on June 26, 2012, 05:24:45 AM
Ruro, Remi's nightmare scared me ;-;

That's... terrifying.

Can I sleep with you tonight? ;-;

So I wonder - I've suggested several topics, but never wrote for many of them. Would those be fair game for me?
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Alfred F. Jones on June 28, 2012, 12:40:39 AM
Ruro, Remi's nightmare scared me ;-;

That's... terrifying.

Can I sleep with you tonight? ;-;
Nooooooo, it's way too hot here already ;-;

It should scare, though. This past week my hobby has been learning about Christian dominionism and premillenial dispensationalism (since I grew up in an atmosphere with both of those beliefs, more the latter than the former). Of course, one of the horror stories the latter group loves to talk about is the Rapture (hence 'rapiemur', the root word thereof), which was initially popularized in A Thief in the Night ( and brought back, as though it were a Jewish zombie, in the Left Behind ( series.

Everyone disappearing and me being left behind was one of my common nightmares as a child. At least now I've managed to get a WWC out of it.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Achariyth on June 28, 2012, 01:21:20 AM

Theme: Food

By tradition, late night is the time to do the Devil's work.  Most chefs, no strangers to the Inferno, chose to raise hell in the bars and clubs, but tonight, for one night only, Cirno stayed in the Maya Noodle Bar's kitchen.  A syringe in hand, a single question consumed the fairy dessert chef:

Will it spherify?

Head Chef Mystia Lorelei introduced the esoteric technique of spherification on her first day in charge of the kitchen.  Making her tuna marrow in apricot caviar required dripping a mixture of fruit juice and tasteless alginate into a calcium bath.  This created caviar-like beads that squirted apricot into a diner's mouth with each bite.  The delightful surprise, along with the mixture of the fruit's sweetness and the savory umami of the marrow, made Mystia's creation a signature dish for the Noodle Bar.

Since the juice spheres, like most food, tasted best when served fresh, Mystia gave the tedious job of making them to the newest cooks.  It gave then a break between cracking tuna bones for marrow and filleting fish, while giving Mystia a chance to determine which of the new hires had the patience and attention to detail needed to cook professionally.  An elegant solution; one that even Keine Kamishirasawa, the more active of the Noodle Bar's two owners, approved of.

And then Mystia had to put the syringes into the hands of fairies.

It wasn't her fault; Kaguya's Bamboo Child restaurant had hired away all the experienced chefs.  As the Maya Noodle Bar ballooned in popularity, Mystia had no choice but to promote her two dishwashers, Sunny Milk and Luna Child, to line cooks.

As expected, the fairies' innate curiosity got the better of them.  It had started innocently enough when Sunny first made little oranges from orange juice.  As long as they limited their playing to juices, Mystia gave the experiments no thought.  But when Luna spherified her first batch of coffee, Mystia paid closer attention.  Not only did it kick off a minor war between Medicine Melancholy, the newly hired bartender, and Luna over who got each new batch of coffee "beans", it sparked ever more exotic experiments.

Olives, peas, and even milk worked well enough that the head chef was searching for a way to add them to the menu.  Water proved to be underwhelming, and the less said about Rumia's fish spheres, the better.  Keine even banned all spherified peppers after a bead of ghost pepper juice "mysteriously" ended up in her tea.  When a customer left Medicine's unique take on Scotch on the rocks (a fifth of tonic water liberally filled with beads of Scotch) out long enough for the spheres to congeal to the consistency of jellybeans, the three fairies found inspiration for their crowning achievement of spherification:

Sparrow sake.

Giggling, the ice fairy slowly dripped the lemon-infused rice wine that Sunny had prepared earlier into the calcium bath.  After the last drops fell into the solution, she scooped the small white candy-like balls out with a net.  Allowing each to drip dry, she filled a glass dish with her night's work.

Tiptoeing down the hall, Crino slipped into the management office and set the candy dish down on Mokou Fujiwara's desk.  She left with one hand covering her mouth.  For as much as Mokou tried to hide it, the phoenix girl had a ravenous sweet tooth.  And sparrow sake had a well-known side-effect...


"Keep it down," Sunny whispered as Cirno walked down the hall.  She pushed the ice fairy against the wall.  Next to them, Luna peeked into the manager's office.  While it was common for the line cooks to arrive at the Maya Noodle Bar early, Sunny, Luna, and Cirno had beaten all but Mystia, Mokou, and Keine to work.  Instead of preparing their mise en place for the day's services, the three fairies sat outside Mokou's office, waiting.

They suppressed giggles as the phoenix girl and co-owner of the restaurant absent-mindedly popped a handful of white candies in her mouth.  But the giggles faded as Mokou calmly shuffled a stack of papers on her desk.  Using a red feather quill, the owner scratched her signature on the top page.  After watching her finish her paperwork for five minutes, the three fairies huddled together in the hall. 

"How long until it works?" Cirno asked.  She jumped as a hand clamped down on her shoulder.

"There you are," Mystia said.  The head chef pointed towards Sunny and Luna, and then towards the kitchen.  "You two, get cracking."

"Not the tuna bones again," Sunny wailed as Luna dragged her into the kitchen.

"Good morning, Chef," Cirno said, shrugging her shoulders away from Mystia's hand.

"Spill it."

"I don't know what you are talking about," Cirno stammered.  Mystia just glared at the fairy.  Sighing, Cirno fluttered up and whispered into Mystia's ear.


Two hours into the lunch service, and Mokou couldn't shake the feeling that someone was watching her.  While it didn't raise her hackles like the silence before Kaguya struck, it still made her uncomfortable, like a man's errant eyes.  To make things worse, whenever she went into the kitchen, four sets of eyes followed her, expectant. So she hid in her office, working on the paperwork that never seemed to stop. 

Sometimes, when she looked up, she swore she saw little fairy heads duck behind the doorway.  One of them even had bird wings.  But whenever she got up to look, the hall was empty.

She'd talk to Keine about it after the lunch service was over.  Mokou sighed, and chewed on another of the sweet white candies from her dish. 


A white sake sphere rolled along the metal counter of Cirno's dessert station.  The ice fairy shook her head and flicked another across the surface.  "I thought you said this would work."

"I thought it would," the sunlight fairy said in between bites of the staff "gruel".  Traditionally served between the lunch and dinner rushes, the more appetizing than its name meal usually featured the trinity of chicken, pasta or rice, and salad.  Out of deference to Mystia's sensibilities, the Noodle Bar served fish instead.  "Mystia said it wouldn't take much."

"Just for the record, I had nothing to do with this," Mystia said, holding out her plate so that Wriggle Nightbug could scoop an extra helping of rice onto it.

"Maybe Mokou's just a lush," Luna said, sipping at her coffee mug.  She scowled at the empty cup before filling it up again from a nearby coffeepot. 

"Or maybe you fairies are just lightweights," Keine said, appearing behind Sunny.  She frowned and crossed her arms beneath her breasts.  The fairies jumped at the sound of her voice, spilling bins and silverware.  Only Luna's heroic effort saved her coffee from the same fate.  "What did you do?"

"Nothing," the three fairies said together.  Each stared up at Keine with all the feigned innocence of a misbehaving child.

"You've been shadowing Mokou all day.  Did you think that I wouldn't notice?" Keine scolded.  "Mystia!"

The head chef looked up from her meal.  "Yes?" she mumbled between bites.

"Do you-?"

"Look out!" Sanae Kochiya shrieked.   The waitress dove into the kitchen, rolling until she collided with a reach-in refrigerator.

Hurricane Mokou swept through the kitchen.  Twirling like a dervish, the phoenix girl danced lightly on her feet.  Her long floor-length hair  whipped out, ripping pots, pans, bins, and anything not nailed down from walls and racks.  The cooks ducked out of the way of the flying curtain of pale hair.  Still spinning, Mokou picked Keine up off the ground in a bear hug, and twirled the were-hakutaku in the air.  Setting her friend down, the phoenix girl stopped spinning long enough to sing, "Keine, let's go dancing tonight."

Red-faced and trying to hide her smile, Keine caught her breath.  "Whatever you gave her, I want on the menu tonight!"  An arm snaked around the were-hakutaku's waist, and Hurricane Mokou swept her away.

The room stood still for the briefest of moments before breaking out into uncontrollable giggling.  But as the merriment faded, Mystia gathered a mixing bowl and a whisk and shoved them into Cirno's hands.  "Start. Cooking," she hissed at the wide-eyed ice fairy.


Out in the dining room, Sanae stopped to wait on her next table.  Hiding frustration behind a polite smile, she looked Marisa Kirisame in the eyes.  It seemed like every night that the witch showed up at the Noodle Bar with a new suitor and a new little black dress.  "Would you like dessert?"

"Do you have something different?" Marisa asked, not looking up from staring into her date's eyes.

Sanae smiled grew wider, lest she scream aloud.  At least Marisa's dates tended to be generous tippers, otherwise she would have left this table for Star Sapphire to serve.  "In fact, the kitchen just rolled out something new a few minutes ago.  It's a berry-flavored cereal milk panna cotta with a lemon and spherified sparrow sake sauce."

"Is it light?" Marisa asked.  She shimmied in her seat.  "I want to be able to dance all night."

Sanae closed her eyes, and relished the memory of the single bite Mystia and Cirno had allowed her.  Light, creamy, and clean, the tart lemon pleasantly contrasting with the cereal milk custard's sweetness; the waitress swore that the dessert, like most of the restaurant's food, was wasted on the customers.  Then there was the reason why Mystia had only allowed the wait staff a single bite each; those delightful jelly-like bites of sake.  Of course, Cirno would use the only sake that made people dance uncontrollably whenever they drank it.  Sanae smiled at Marisa for the first time with any mirth.  "I guarantee you'll be on your feet well into the morning."
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Von Stein on July 01, 2012, 06:52:18 AM
Fairies in Gensokyo are happy and mischievous.

Once a year they come together, and have a great time telling stories of their greatest pranks, stories of good food, and stories of legends.

This story that they hand around each other is not one of the first two, but a legend.

The story tells of happenings on a day not long after the rainy season ended. The sun was blazing down from the sky like an infernal being bringing despair to the living.

And due to the literally cold nature of spirits, the dead had their share of despair too, trying to escape being confiscated as refreshments.

But this girl, making her way through the Forest of Magic, one foot in front of the other, was not in need of refreshment, as a heavy rain was surrounding her.

She had woken up minutes ago, her grey dress soaked as always. She stood up, and began walking, where, she did not know.

She followed her feet, one step at a time, the water falling around her ceaselessly. The canopy of the forest in this area was thin, and the sun's rays gleamed through the branches, reflecting sparklingly of the water.

As she traveled the sound of the water on the leaves battered her ears. She knew that the sound caused the animals to hide from the wandering drum machine, and her shoulders drooped a bit.

After a while, the beat on the canopy disappeared, and the girl looked up. A low drumbeat of rain on the floor accompanied the vision the fairy saw before her. Grey. Grey as her dress, grey as her hair, grey as her eyes. She saw nothing but grey.

The mist this day was heavy around the very creatively named Misty Lake. Normally the lake was not covered in such a severe mist during the summer season, but the rain may have messed with the local weather a little.

The girl kept walking forward, her mouth open, as the drumming of the rain slowed down a bit. She could just barely see her feet, the mist was so thick. She stepped forward, and proceeded further into the unknown.

The drum of water on grass was soon accompanied by the drumming of water on water. She flinched as she stepped forward and heard a splash. She had reached the lake proper. She stepped back and shook her foot, when a sound caused her to flinch again.

The rain kicked it up a notch when the girl heard a surprised yelp out of the mist. She heard a voice complaining about the sudden rain, and telling the rain to go away or it would be cryofreezed with extreme prejudice.

The girl cowered, worried that the voice would freeze her, and the rain got whipped up into a veritable torrent as it came down in strings almost.

Another surprised yelp, and an angry growl later and the mist was illuminated with a blueish white light. Two girls gasped in pain, as the rain had been frozen, just not in place.

Ice fail from the sky, and the girl ran away from the hail, away from the evil freezer. Shortly thereafter water fell around her again, and the familiar sensation slowly returned to a normal rain, albeit still coming down heavily. She slowed down from her run and began her aimless wandering again.

Time had passed, and the mist and tree canopy both were gone, now replaced by the sun's merciless rays, which reflected confusedly off of the airborne water, as if wondering what the heck rain was doing getting in the sun's way.

The girl, still moving forward, saw none of this, her eyes fixed on the leaves of grass on the floor, as earthworms squirmed around in the dirt, lapping up the live giving water.

A new voice called out to her. But it wasn't entirely new. She had heard it before. She turned around, as the rain intensified again. That red-white was hanging in the air. Couldn't she even just take a walk? The red-white spoke to her, told her to take that rain elsewhere.

Thunder cracked. The red-white looked at the girl, standing her ground, as the rain grew stronger, thicker, and the sun's light began getting drowned out by the sheer wall of water.

Thunder cracked again, and the shrine maiden nodded. The girl blinked as the maiden flew away, and for a moment complete silence surrounded her.

She shook her head and resumed her endless march to the drumbeat of her rain.

She took notice again as the grass on the floor had gradually been replaced by purple flowers. She gazed around, and found herself on a hill full of those flowers. Her mouth open again, she began walking further in, as the rain reflected orange light from the dusk and turned the scene all the more magical.

The rain surrounding her had become a light drizzle, as the melancholy of the hill washed over everything.

Stepping through the flowers, a small voice could be heared, but the girl took no note of it. She stared straight forward, as the purple of the flowers raised into the air and mixed with the rain.

After a few moments, the girl fell to her knees. She breathed heavily, still staring at the spectacle of light and colors around her, as the rain gradually grew weaker, the sky burned a deep orange, and the purple mist swirled around her.

She fell forwards, into the flowers, and the eery color play was replaced by black, as the sound of a few drops of water reached her ears, and then silence.

She woke up to another voice calling her. She looked around, and saw nothing but clouds. Everything felt nebulous, only the voice being distinct. She followed it, as it called her to follow it.

She tried to make out something, anything in the surroundings but there was nothing to hold on to besides the sound of that voice. Until the owner of the voice appeared.

Red hair, white and blue dress, tall stature, and a scythe marked the owner of the voice.

The woman shook her head and smiled. She asked if it was that time of the year again. She said that the girl should be more careful. She said that as they walk a few steps alongside the bank of some river that materialzed out of the fog. She laughed, and said that they were at their destination.

Her voice rang in the girl's head as one she had heard before, many times. it gave her a bit of comfort. The woman looked down at the girl, and said goodbye. The scythe came down, and the girl keeled over forward as it hit her in the back of the head.

She looked up to see no purple flowers, but sun flowers. The drumming of the rain surrounded her, as she shook her head and got up. She had been here before, hadn't she?

The drizzle around her grew stronger as she saw another woman walking towards her, a red plaid dress, green hair, and an umbrella. In front of the now completely crimson sky she looked ready to eat her, red eyes glowing in unison with the sky and her dress.

The girl took a step back as the rain came down harder than ever before, the water falling down so fast it almost hurt.

The new woman tilted her head. She sat down on a log, and closed her umbrella, and looked up into the rain, smiling. The girl froze, her eyes growing wider than before, and the rain mellowed down. The woman looked at her and tapped her hand beside her on the log. She talked, her voice piercing through the drum beat of the rain.

"Won't you sit with me again, my dear?"

For a brief moment the rain stopped and the sunflower field was illuminated by a smile from the girl. She remembered this place again. She knew who this woman was.

She skipped to the woman, the rain now coming down in a calm, controlled drizzle, and sat down next to the youkai.

As they sat, the girl looked up. A fairy in the sky was waving some others to come over, pointing at the girl, as the air was filled with laughter.

One blue haired fairy appeared, and flew alongside the others, when suddenly a rogue lightning strike knocks her out of the air and sends her crashing to the ground. The woman ruffled the hair of the girl, both of them giggling madly.
It was good to be home again.

This legend, and all the others the fairies shared, all the stories of great pranks and better food would be shared again, right here, in the yearly gathering. It was going to be a long night.

And even our little rain fairy could once again be happy and mischievous in Gensokyo.

*Lays on the floor, battered, armor broken and pierced in many places*

It was a long battle, Iron Librarians. I've fought you long and hard, but underestimated you. And you thought you had won! You thought I was done! You watched me struggle through this last story and fail, and saw me crushed beneath the behemoth of writer's block! But I say thee: "NAY!"

I am still alive, ad as long as I will draw breath still I shall face you in this, my final stand!

*brings Heavy Bolter to bear* Not until the Emperor decides to snuff out the light of my soul to strengthen him forevermore will I let go of the trigger of His Judgement! I will die here, but I will not die alone! FOR THE EMPIRE! FOR THE EMPEROR!

*begins firing, as he collapses more into himself slowly, barely having the strength to keep his eyes open*

((Translation: And here's the fourth entry for the WWC. It came out very short, much shorter than anticipated, but nevertheless, after reading through it again... I am satisfied with it. I hope it brings enjoyment, and maybe a tear or two to some people here. I intended this to be a Slice of Life story, but I just don't think it fits as such anymore. So I shifted to a more recent topic, which I presume fits the situation too. Endings. If that doesn't ring a bell in you after reading the story, I suggest you read again with that thought in mind. ;) Anyways, thanks to the collected Scribes for making this contest and thus this story possible. See y'all when the judgements come in.))
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: Joveus Molai on July 01, 2012, 12:53:43 PM

*Lays on the floor, battered, armor broken and pierced in many places*

It was a long battle, Iron Librarians. I've fought you long and hard, but underestimated you. And you thought you had won! You thought I was done! You watched me struggle through this last story and fail, and saw me crushed beneath the behemoth of writer's block! But I say thee: "NAY!"

I am still alive, ad as long as I will draw breath still I shall face you in this, my final stand!

*brings Heavy Bolter to bear* Not until the Emperor decides to snuff out the light of my soul to strengthen him forevermore will I let go of the trigger of His Judgement! I will die here, but I will not die alone! FOR THE EMPIRE! FOR THE EMPEROR!

*begins firing, as he collapses more into himself slowly, barely having the strength to keep his eyes open*

Brother, even a man who has nothing can still have faith.

All hail the martyrs! On their blood is our Imperium founded, in their remembrance do we honour ourselves.

(It's not quite judgment time yet, but my heartfelt congratulations and a hearty "Great Job!" to everyone who participated. Best of luck to you all. :dragonforce:
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: capt. h on July 02, 2012, 02:47:40 AM



The final frontier.

Large beyond the comprehension of any mere mortal.

And a really nice place to put a sun.

I like the sun. It?s big a yellow, and there should be more of them. Not like that boring old moon. That?s not nearly bright enough. So I came up with this plan to make more of them. Suns that is.

Satori doesn?t like me making them in the house. Or in the underground for that matter. Something about stars should be in space.

So getting to work. The inner core?s connected to the ? radiative zone~. The radiative zone?s connected to the ? convection zone~. Course, knowing that?s not really necessary for the process. It?s good enough to simply bash lots of energy together really hard, until you get a huge sphere. Bigger the sphere, the longer the sun magic lasts, you could even get something permanent if you made it big enough.

In case you were wondering, my hobbies include creating subatomic reactions on the macro scale and on weekends I like to take a nuclear bomb to your laws of nature. Every Monday Morning is scolding time, when a couple of gods go over with the kappa how I ruined physics over the weekend and have to put it back.

I don?t see why I?m not allowed to create objects with less mass than a ping pong ball and the surface pull of Jupiter. You know what? Forget them. Sunday is me time, and I?m spending me time putting more stars in the sky orbiting a mere 50,000 miles away from earth.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: FinnKaenbyou on July 02, 2012, 09:17:46 AM

Girls are judging, please wait warmly.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
Post by: LogosOfJ on July 02, 2012, 09:55:37 AM
Theme: Post-apocalyptic soft sci-fi Touhou IN SPACE (with a side of mecha)

As this was written right before intersecting deadlines, I did not take the time to properly credit the premise, borrowed from another work of fanfiction that involved EoSD IN SPACE. Please wait warmly for the title. Inspired by Void of Fantasy - Amor Fati (,4948.0.html) and  Eclipse Phase.

Oh, no >< LATE

As usual, I begin this month telling a story to my rival, love interest, arms dealer, surrogate father, and teacher.

There are only two people with me. Obviously, some of these categories overlap.

I usually narrate in third person. However, I decided to hunker down and monologue in the style of ?hard-boiled investigators? of myth, legend, and poorly-stored movies.

Like many new things and stories, it all sounds better in my head.
Here I am, rooting through the obviously misunderstood and neglected sectors (read as everything except manual control and residential areas) of an Ares-tech battlecruiser/raider playing ?tag? with an obviously misunderstood and neglected little girl.

A little girl who loves playing with heavy weapons. Scratch that, an unhinged little girl who is very, very good with weapons that theoretically require three (ideally four) people to operate.

In fact, we never really worked out who was ?it?. She did sic the security drones on me, so I guess it might be me.

My heart breaks as I squeeze through a tangle of wires far removed from its former orderly and utilitarian glory. The engineering foundry beyond the tangle is breathtaking.

Oh, [redacted]. Things are about to get messy.

There is exactly five centimeters of cover. For the standard boarding armor, nothing at all.

?Hi! Gotcha!?

My self-declared ?playmate? at least has the courtesy of breaking radio silence before whaling on me with increasingly elaborate barrages of projectiles. Out of desperation, I expend a bomb capacitor, and feel immensely lucky when the array of spheres, ovals, and beams dissipate into rapidly-cooling plasma clouds.

However, the girl is obviously in control of the environment and hence the fight. She summons three drones that appear identical to her and sets them to imitation. The time-sync is off, treating me to an earful of creepy laughter arpeggios. Halfway before a particularly elaborate pattern, I begin to realize that this entire fight is still a game for her, right before a burst from the ceiling prompts me to dodge into her open arms.

At this point of my recounting, the woman in absurd ceremonial garb speaks up. How absurd? Two words: Shrine Maiden. Two more: In Space. This lovely package of public law enforcement, Bio-Techno-conservatism, human potential and old-timey charm is Reimu Hakurei. As always, she cannot tolerate ?my bullshit?.

?Yeah, yeah, Marisa. We all know how it goes. You hug her, understand her sorrow, and use the power of empathy to save the day, and more importantly, your bacon and bottom line.?

I chuckle heartily before replying, ?Oh, we?ll make a techno-optimist out of you yet, Miss Zero. Actually, I died.?

Reimu gives me a light tap on the head with her ceremonial staff in response. The other listener, a grey-haired man of indeterminate age donning Nipponese casual wear, gives me a sideways glance and shakes his head with exaggerated sadness.

(Miss Zero is more than just a play on Reimu?s name. Somehow, from the start of her career through the resolution of the most recent diplomatic incident, she has somehow managed to avoid dying. In comparison, Rinnosuke, the grey shopkeeper, dies about once every twenty years due to traffic accidents; my current average is once every two months, counting the images that get mangled, corrupted, or otherwise disfigured in attempts to avoid the Out-of-the-Box tithes.)

?No really, I died and went back in another body ad nauseum. On body three, she stopped destroying the (admittedly increasingly fragile) boarding armor. By body six, we decided to move to a residential area. There was some semblance of a normal girlhood, for example the tea party with my less-mangled corpses. On body nine, she declined danmaku ?play?, decided to cuddle, and left only a few broken ribs on an unarmored one. Oh, and she is in the process of repairing her relationship with her sister.?

After some exaggerated wincing, I hand a high-density volume to Rinnosuke.

?So, is this payment enough for outstanding tech identification and oracle box fees?? I inquire.

An affirmative grunt followed by prolonged lack of complaint is his reply. Reimu leaves, muttering something about an appointment with the Scarlets. I instead head to the airlock.
The residence ring shared by Rinnosuke and a few hundred other survivors looms for a few moments before shrinking rapidly. After 15 minutes, the light pollution is barely noticeable. I relax, slightly, and continue to stare blankly at the visual-range display. In scavenging and combat, most if not all of my craft?s sensing capability must be used; stargazing is purely meditative.

My mind wanders to my craft. More accurately, my mind wanders further into my craft. Images of me are dedicated to sensors, navigation, and secondary weapons. I relax and allow the backup process to commence, savoring the terrifying yet thrilling sense of disorientation. Though I might have consciously accepted that I am my ship(s), I still find myself entertaining the fancy that the moment of terror is the moment that I slip out and another me slips into my flesh and blood body.

It would be easy to create a steel replacement, provided enough time with a proper AI. Unfortunately, given the Out-of-the-Box tithe, such a plan would require renting indeterminate amounts of time on a box oracle backed with good hardware. Moreover, most enhancement would similarly invoke the Out-of-the-Box tithe. Really, the only replacement worth such a hassle would be a Spartoi body.

Xenobiological modifications are fine, as long as you do not build yourself too smart. Too smart being smarter than baseline human. Of course, 8th Cloud reserves the right to decide too smart. The tithe? All of your lives and any other traces of your existence, from notes in your desk drawer to Elohim shipyards.

This policy appears reasonable on the surface, considering Ares. Due to its incredible power, the runaway military AI of Terra managed to render said system uninhabitable. Moreover, the exploitation of XB properties led to the creation of the first-generation Spartoi (a.k.a. Yokai), generally dangerous beings. Even today, robotic armies indifferent to known sentient life raid mineral deposits across Gensokyo (and, presumably, the other systems within ~100 ly of Terra) while autonomous Ares von Neumann fleets slowly mine asteroid expanses. Newer Spartoi are manufactured in increasingly inhuman forms and show none of the first generation?s inclination towards coexistence with baseline humanity.

What the policy ignores is the Elohim. Active for a month before Ares disastrous ascent, these (or a subset of these) artificial intelligences propelled what would soon be the remnants of humanity to the stars, away from Terra?s burning cradle. Cheap space construction, mind digitization, and relativistic travel were all Elohim inventions, and the evacuation plans were of their invention. Not content with just saving mankind, the Elohim then proceeded to innovate at a breathtaking pace before disappearing from the (currently) observable universe, leaving behind technologies that exploited previously-unknown phenomena. Most if not all devices are obviously didactic ?analyze me? items for kick-restarting physics research, but a little work and Oracle time easily teases out potential applications.

 I remember my teacher, Professor Mima, who noted that the distinction between these ?unboxed? was ?Friendly/Ethical AI? and the default, ?paperclip maximizer.?

I recall my teacher attempting to circumvent the tithe by leaving the current system (Gensokyo. How did I forget?) while carrying out her research. She was met by 8th cloud fire nearing the orbit of the outermost planets. The destruction of her ship, a well-tuned and durable marriage of unreliable but powerful Ares tech and indecipherable Elohim tech, has yet to be confirmed.

Thoughts on ships bring me to the craft currently carrying my active physical body. Nicknamed the Witch?s Broom, the interceptor is no more than 280 meters long and is about 1/3 engine, 1/3 computer, 1/3 sensor, and 1/2 weapon. Obviously, the categories are not mutually exclusive. Thanks to reverse-engineered Elohim technology (courtesy of a day of oracle time from Rinnosuke), heat dissipation and fuel are almost never a concern. I am heading towards my home, a 6 km by 1km by 700m heavily modified Elohim factory designed for human use.

Communications informs me of a message. The contents detail the trajectory of a small object in orbit relative to Reimu?s shrine and the central star. The sender is listed as ?Esteemed Companion (read: Hakurei) on behalf of village?. The mission: investigation. Salvaged tech goes to finder.

Payment: Lithos low-orbit privileges and 8 hours Shrine oracle access.
The Witch?s Broomlands in a spacious hanger. Immediately, I am conveyed from the approximate center of the cylindrical interceptor to a short track. At the end, another backup of my mind is taken as an insurance against possible corruption of the data transferred from the interceptor to the Ravenous Blacksmith

Ah. The Ravenous Blacksmith. Home.

Though far smaller than the colony-ship berths that the Elohim sent along with us (decades late, almost as an afterthought), my home base produces at a rate that makes it a respectable resource hog. A couple of half-disintegrated asteroids float in a disassembly area, the sole sources of dust in an otherwise spotless berth. Skeletons of back-up Brooms stand on end in a side chamber like their namesakes. The hundred tons of organic matter is extracted from the smaller ship through large tubes to eliminate evaporation of volatiles.

All this while, I am whisked to the residential block airlock while awash with chatter. The other parts of me analyze the weeks since my departure with clinical precision. They are considerably more enthusiastic about the stacks of archival storage.

At this point, I close my eyes surrender to sensation. I feel the clacking of the antique keyboard and hear the scratching of pens on paper that characterize the virtual UI of Research, and ogle at the exotic visualizations of the Savants (versions of me produced ?defective? and hence exempt from the Tithes). Comm and Intel are tangled webs of light pulsing with beautiful cacophonies. Engineering is cluttered with wire-frames and those little plastic blocks (LOGOs? LEGEs? LAGOs?) as well as the odd membrane. Bio is messy, both in its representations and its connections with other fields. I even allow myself the uncanny, icy half-sensation of corrupt and bone images, mainly burned-out Savants and XB (Xenobiology) that are currently under investigation.

I open my eyes to find myself stripped of armor and in the comfortable 1.2 g of my home?s residential area. Still in a semiautonomous state, I place myself in a recovery cask, ready to wake up in a fresh body.

During the readying time, I do the disembodied equivalent of a sigh: reviewing sensory, shield and hull data. The coddled gravitational sensors scattered in the surrounding areas are earning their keep, confirming the presence of objects at the provided coordinates. The Elohim forcefields are operating quite well, and the less-refined but effective plasma cloud and laser active defenses are in order. The only blemish in an otherwise spotless ship is a messy living area.

The distraction is insufficient. I find my thoughts drawn to the recent reunion. My pride and secret. No team of sentient beings is more efficient, and no team can rival the near seamless sentient to non-sentient interface.

I step back, and behold my insignificance. There is a dizzying array of possible improvements, with the most obvious barred by the Tithe. As a whole, I might be more than just a human, but I am still far, far removed from Ares and visible universes away from the Elohim. So what if I can perform 40 work-days per image per chronological day? I am simply a corporation in fast-forward. So what if my will flows without turbulence between my images and our tools? I cannot make the tools part of my will on the pain of annihilation. Sure, I might be able to outrun a Box Oracle, but I still cannot out-imagine it. I might be able to stamp out biases and revise mistaken heuristics, but I am forbidden from attempting to create something from the bottom up without these flaws.

I manage to wander back into my armor and interceptor while pondering.
I am light-minutes from the target coordinates, running as close to silent as possible. Only minimal Elohim forcefields are up; active radar and hence active defenses are out of the question. Optical and IR ranges on phased array banks provide the only useful information. I spot a Felis defense fighter and a Vulpecula drone command frigate chassis. I feel slightly apprehensive about getting double-teamed, as these two will likely, as a whole, retain the right balance of mobility and firepower to completely ruin my day.

My mood sours further when I eye a monolithic Ares foundry looming nearby. The two fighting ships are certainly well-supported by drones and external sensors. As an Ares model, the foundry itself is armed for combat.

The frigate fires a warning shot with a laser that hits me at 30 light-seconds. Considerate.

At this point, my defensive measures are active, and a burst of engine power carries me out of the path of a danmaku projectile.

What is danmaku? Danmaku is a mix of relativistic plasma projectiles and lasers that form the main armament of modern combat spaceships.

Fighting with danmaku is basically submarine warfare, except with millions of torpedoes.

It is impossible for me to fight this unaided. I slip into the ship, accelerating my mind, plotting courses through light-cones and looking for escape routes.

(Reimu claims that most danmaku patterns are predictable, and that the first wave is usually enough to predict the rest. She fights without the aid of additional images. On the other hand, she relies on FTL communications with the Shrine Oracle, so she is not quite a ?baseline human triumphs over all this useless transhumanist trickery? success story.)

The fighter begins with launching two missiles that form plasma spheres around themselves. The spheres spit smaller projectiles in scatters: one per scatter is at my (last observed) position, while the others are distributed about the center shot.

After a few solid hits, the smaller ship attempts to close distance while wildly spraying fire. I spend most of my attention on avoiding a hit, but manage to observe the frigate deploying its first drones.

The fighter, having exhausted its internal energy supply, heads in the frigate?s general direction. Its retreat is covered by waves of drones. I make a mental note to scavenge this area later; some of the designs have vastly greater energy supplies than even the best black-market specs.

The drone frigate continues throwing out drones, and the foundry itself begins to expel similar craft at an alarming rate. The communications aspect is handling ECM admirably, but cannot effectively use even a few drones. I decide to place greater priority on speed and shielding.

Most of the incoming projectiles are now starbursts, as opposed to the standard sphere. Experience tells me that the assailants have decided to split projectiles mid-flight in order to increase the uncertainty I face.

The starbursts explode into smaller starbursts, and I realize, for the umpteenth time, that I love my job.

I manage to partially deplete the frigate?s considerably more durable particle and Elohim shields during the fight through a mix of lucky danmaku shots and continuous use of phased-array lasers. In response, a new pattern begins to emerge: a tangle of straight shots and projectiles following curved trajectories. The sheer volume is almost overwhelming. Thankfully, the frigate sacrifices some of its ECM computing power to maintain the projectile patterns, leaving its information vulnerable. I manage to acquire what appears to be a cipher system from an FTL communication network shared by the foundry and the two ships.

The next round of attacks are high-intensity lasers that partially blind areas of my ship; as shielding blocks all light above a certain threshold to avoid damage, the many grazed cells of sensors and phased arrays are rendered temporarily useless.

The fighter returns to combat, leaving the battlespace a complete mess of danmaku. At this point, any semblance of planning simply disappeared from both parties: I struggled to stay alive through barrages, and the frigate abandoned the pretense of dodging.

I manage to emerge victorious only to encounter more drones and similar barrages from the foundry itself. After some ECM work and maneuvering, I am ?parked? near its surface, near a viable entry point.

Before I jump in, I test the engines and then the spinal plasma beam on the relatively quiet foundry. My ships engines make short work of the forcefield while the beam cuts through the foundry with difficulty, suggesting internal barriers as well. Having a way to make a relatively quick exit route, I exit my craft in my customized spaceflight and boarding armor.
The inside is nothing like what I have seen before.

The wall is simply papered with the same face, over and over.

Their stares are like projectiles.

Scratch that, they are firing.

[record redacted]

I?ve lost track of one of my bodies. It?s time to go in again, and get it out.
Title: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Iron Librarian Results!
Post by: FinnKaenbyou on July 09, 2012, 06:05:53 PM
Alright, I've rounded up the last few results. Each week was judged separately by one of our four Mystery Judges, and the criteria are simple. If the Librarian wins, the best non-Librarian gets the Wordsmith title. If the Librarian loses, everyone who was considered better than the Librarian gets the title.

And given that there was no conferring between the judges, they seem to have picked out a few names surprisingly often. o.o

Week 1: Our first judge, after some deliberation, gave this round to Iced. Stein's story was interesting, but the judge felt it didn't touch enough on the potential plot and instead opted out for making Reimu a simple gag. Iced presented more of a grey area in Marisa's parental conflicts, and that made it a bit easier to swallow.

Week 2: This was more difficult for judging based on the fact that haikus and stories are difficult to compare (Bard's in particular made him draw a blank). Capt. h's story made Koishi almost too sociopathic but was solid otherwise. Logos made something very interesting out of the haiku format, although the judge noted that '"Ex-am-ple of Ki-ri-sa-me" is eight syllables.' :V
Ultimately though, he gave the point to Rou for a generally well-constructed story.

Week 3: Important note - I am required by Purvis to yell at all the people who didn't include a reference to seasons within their haikus. (,5084.msg297736.html#msg297736)
With that done, onto judging!
LaserTurtle's piece seemed a bit rushed, according to judge #3. With more time and effort it could be something pretty interesting. capt. h was solid although the judge found the 'ze' impediment to be a little annoying.
Sakana's piece, although well-done, suffered from a clunky ending. The Marin/platypus scene doesn't gel with the rest of the story. And despite the judge's self-admitted hatred of poetry, he found Stein's haiku set to be very impressive. It followed the season rule mentioned above, and also included one of the best portrayals of a danmaku fight he'd ever seen. For that reason, he awarded this round to Stein.

Week 4: why didn't we get this level of participation on the other weeks
Ruro's piece was really well written, but was perhaps a little too short for its own good.
Achariyth did well, but too much of the story required knowledge of cooking terms and his previous story Mise en Place. Judge #4 gave him an honourable mention although he fell just short of victory.
Capt.h's story was another funny short, but again it could do with being a little longer than it was.
The judge's praises went to two competitors this week - Stein (lovely characterisation and concept, slightly marred by questionable relevance to the topic and some typos) and Logos (thorough and curious exploration of the topic - to quote the judge, 'I can't quite put into words how much I enjoyed this without rambling and ranting and going on a tangent without end'.)

As you may or may not have noticed, the same two names have been showing up every week in the winners. :V

Congratulations to Edward von Stein and LogosOfJ! Enjoy your Wordsmith titles.

On to the new challenge!


Challenge Topic: Hey, I Just Met You...

And this is crazy
But here's my spellcard
So duel me, maybe

Seriously, though, this is going to be a challenge about relationships - in particular, relationships between characters who aren't usually seen together.

Maybe Yuugi pops in for a drink at Mystia's lamprey stand, or Kanako tries to win the faith of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. Bonus points will be given for innovative ideas and going beyond obvious crack-shipping.

Deadline is 12:00 BST, 23rd July. Hop to it!
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
Post by: Dead Princess Sakana on July 09, 2012, 06:13:56 PM
Well done everyone, and Congrats to the winners.

And yeah, I had to rush the ending to my entry, and it was a last-minute idea, so I'm not surprised it turned out clunky. Was fun to write again though~
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
Post by: Alfred F. Jones on July 09, 2012, 11:35:28 PM
I never thought that I would once be told that my story was too short. Back to long, sprawling epics, I guess! BV
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
Post by: Joveus Molai on July 10, 2012, 12:20:02 AM
Congratulations to the winners! Yours was a hard-earned victory.

I never thought that I would once be told that my story was too short. Back to long, sprawling epics, I guess! BV

What madness have the judges wrought... :ohdear:
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
Post by: Achariyth on July 10, 2012, 12:33:29 AM
Guess I got caught returning to the well one time too many...

Congrats to the winners and well done.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
Post by: Esifex on July 11, 2012, 12:43:54 AM
I never thought that I would once be told that my story was too short. Back to long, sprawling epics, I guess! BV

That's short? :wat:
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
Post by: capt. h on July 11, 2012, 08:57:58 PM
Me and Utsuho each take a bar stool. The stools are made of granite, the glasses are made of stone, and the counter is made of marble. There is no shortage of rock in Chireiden. I suppose that?s to be expected of an underground city. ?Two glasses of sake,? the raven says ?So what do you think of hell??

I glance around the bar. The first thing I notice is that they all pretty much look human, except for the horns and the heights. Some of them were normal or even short, but about half of them had at least 6 feet. The other thing is that they?re all staring at me. ?Confusing. You know, the days feel? longer??

?The days may very well be longer.? Utsuho says.


?When we invented our clocks, we couldn?t time them to the movement of the sun and stars.? the raven begins, ?At first we only had two or three across all of hell, and they fell into disrepair during the panic right after hell was sealed, including the clock tower.?

?As the dust settled, it became problematic enough that Satori commissioned the tower?s repair. A spider youkai managed to fix the machine, but didn?t have any way to tune it to the length of a second. Eventually, we simply guessed the length, and made that the Hell Second. Don?t expect the days down here to match the days up there, that?s for certain.?

The bartender hands us our pints. Utsuho?s empties her glass almost immediately, while I swirl my drink instead.

?Welcome stranger,? The bartender states. She?s a large woman even by this bar?s standards, towering at nearly seven feet. She also had a big red distinctive horn jutting out of her forehead. She?d be easy to find in a crowd, that?s for sure. ?I take it you?re the weirdo human that went to hell,? the bartender states matter-of-factly. I do find one thing about the oni?s lack of subtlety refreshing, although rude.

?What about it?? I say.

?M?name?s Yuugi Hoshiguma, oni.? The lady states, giving me a bone shattering handshake. When a strong youkai gives a strong handshake, broken bones are not uncommon. ?I haven?t smelled a human ages.?

Great. So that?s why I?m getting so many funny looks. ?Fujiwara no Mokou.? I bury myself in my drink with my left hand and let my right droop. Should be fine in a couple minutes, but still a pain.

?So, tell me human, will you challenge me to a contest of strength??

?I?d rather not,? I say.

?Ah,? she smirks. ?Then you forfeit?? The oni flexes her muscles, her biceps the size of mellons. ?You know, I gotta take you home with me if you forfeit. Honesty of the oni, after all.?

?That really isn?t necessary,? Utsuho interjects nervously.

?Sure it is. Honesty of the oni, and all that. Us oni gotta challenge humans to tests of strength, and gotta take ?em home if they lose. And besides,? she laughs, taking my still swollen right hand, ?I haven?t had my fun with a human in centuries. Well, cept for that shrinemaiden and witch, but they were in a hurry.?

Great, a match of strength against an oni. ?Does it really have to be arm wrestling?? I ask.

?Yep,? she says, with a mighty jerk of her arm that crushes my hand against the table. ?Looks like you lose,? she says with a sly grin. ?Now I get to keep ya!?

I take another sip. ?And??

?Satori?s gonna be really mad if I don?t take her home,? Utsuho adds sheepishly.

?Let her be mad!? Yuugi says, still pinning my hand. ?You know, human, considering what I did to your arm I?m surprised you aren?t screaming. Humans up top tougher than they used to be??

?No, it?s just me,? I say, letting a little fire flare up. Yuugi lets out a deep yelp, lifting her palm off mine and dumping it in a barrel of ale. ?Physical strength? I can?t compare to an oni. But pain? I?m good with pain. Fire too.?

?I see, human.? Yuugi says with a toothy grin. ?Then this might be fun.?

A rising chant began filling the bar. ?Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!? the chant went. Yuugi picked up a glass of sake with her burned hand. Clearly not taking the match very seriously, otherwise she?d at least use both her hands and bothered with a guard. Then again, I suppose I wasn?t taking her too seriously either, otherwise I?d at least have my good hand up, rather than resting both of them in my pockets.

Yuugi takes a step forward, launching a slow punch. I dodge backwards and land a kick right into her gut. The oni laughs ?Is that all you?ve got?? she asks, lunging forward on the second step with an axe-kick. I hurl myself to her left. Then she flashed forward at blinding speed, cracking my jaw in two with an uppercut that send my skull shattering into the ceiling. ?Go Yuugi!? you hear a bystander chant. ?Knock her out in three steps!?

I straighten out the kinks in my neck, and relocate my jaw. Then, I flare up. No sense making it easy for the ogre, if she wants to fight, she?s in for some hurt. ?Still have some fight left?? the oni says, with a straight punch aimed at the jaw. I duck underneath it with an explosive kick to her gut, blasting the oni straight into a wall with a bone shattering crack. Yuugi quickly smothers her burning shirt before finishing her drink. She then gets up, tossing her glass aside with a huge grin. ?Well now,? she says with a crack of her neck, towering over me. ?You are fun one.?

I?m forced to grin back. It?s not every century I meet someone who can take my kicks better than Kaguya. Though the feeling was cut short by a chair to the back of yuugi?s head by one of the drunker oni. This was followed by a third oni smashing a glass over the head of the second oni , and then abother three oni just start punching eachother for the hell of it. Utsuho?s hiding safely behind the bar, I can?t really blame her, but I?d think she want to be part of the fun. Meh, to each their own.

The rest of the night is a bit of a blur, but it becomes clear why oni work in stone ? nothing else would have survived the fight. I don?t remember details too well (I blame the ale, if nothing else I now know to watch out for any drink an oni hands me), but there was a horribly messy barfight which the barkeeper actively participated in, followed by lots of drinking, followed by more fighting, and more drinking but with song, and huge blanks in my memory. Bits and pieces come back alongside a terrible headache. I would love to empty my stomach if it wasn?t already growling, which with my constitution says a lot about the ale. Scorch marks everywhere, it looks like clothing became optional at some point, and I see at least a dozen oni were unable to find the door.

I also note that something actually managed to melt the stonework. Lets see now, what happened again? It?s all a bit of a blur, but I remember Utsuho flipping out at some point, and everything became really, nastily hot. From me that?s saying something.

?I know you were trying to help,? Yuugi lectures, ?But you can?t use your powers in the bar anymore, alright?? Utsuho gives a slow nod, head down in at least slight shame. Funny how in spite of being my height, Utsuho looks like a child being scolded by her mother next to Yuugi. Her extremely masculine, body builder mother. ?On the other hand, using them outside the bar would be really good for business.? That perks the raven up a bit.

Supporting my head with the bar?s counter, I recall a significant lack of paying and manage to ask, ?How the hell do you stay in business??

Yuugi replies with a wide smile, ?Honesty of the oni. Their pride keeps these guys from skipping their tab, even if they don?t remember how they got one.? The oni pauses, bringing her face in close, ?It looks like someone had a good night!?

?I don?t remember last night,? I slur.

?Ah, then you must have a great night!? Yuugi says patting my back with the force of an elephant. I don?t dwell too much on the details of that, instead forcing all my power into getting upright. Utsuho moves to support me and ends up tripping over herself. The two of us manage to pay the bill, and we find the door after a minute or so, before Yuugi waves back ?You come on back anytime.?

?Sounds like fun,? I say feebly. Then as we stagger through the doorway, I see more bodies lying around the street. I ask Utsuho, ?Is this kind of thing normal??

?Yep.? She says.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
Post by: Scrittore on July 12, 2012, 06:31:39 PM
I exist, have regained some semblance of sanity, and I have a question!

Are we allowed to submit more than one entry without penalty?
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
Post by: Iced Fairy on July 12, 2012, 07:51:13 PM
I exist, have regained some semblance of sanity, and I have a question!

Are we allowed to submit more than one entry without penalty?
For the sanity of our judges I ask that you place only one within this thread.  Though I'm sure you will receive acclimation should you create a short story thread for the other one.

Though if Rou's crazy.... :P
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
Post by: FinnKaenbyou on July 12, 2012, 10:06:15 PM
I exist, have regained some semblance of sanity, and I have a question!

Are we allowed to submit more than one entry without penalty?
You can submit several entries but only one will be judged. You should make it clear which of your entries you want to be considered for judging, and you can change your mind on that regard any time before the deadline as long as you do so very clearly.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
Post by: Scrittore on July 12, 2012, 10:34:32 PM
Thank you for the clarification; I'll make sure to send in only one piece.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
Post by: Phlegeth on July 16, 2012, 02:09:20 AM
?Ugh?too bright,? I thought to myself.  I hate going outside.

* * *

?Lady Knowledge, I must insist you venture outside,? Sakuya was nagging.  ?The Mistress is tanner than you are.?

?Vampires don?t tan,? I responded back.

?That?s my point.  Now get outside,? she said and grabbed my shoulders and hoisted me up.

?H-hey!  Put me down!?

?No,? she said and slung me over her shoulders and made for the door.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could have sworn I saw my assistant give me a sly grin.

* * *

?This is her fault,? I said to myself.

?Whose fault?? someone said from behind me.  I turned around and groaned at the face in front of me.

?Tenshi!?  I looked around.  ?Tenshi??

?Yes, that is my name,? she responded.

?But that means,? I said still looking around, ?I?m in Heaven.?

?Sure does.?

?I died??


?I took two steps outside and I died.  Crap, guess I owe Marisa five Zunny,? I sighed.

?Peach??  I looked a Tenshi, who was holding out a peach for me.

?No, thank you,? I declined.  She looked a little dejected.  Whatever, she probably put something in it.  I got a better look at her.  She wasn?t in her normal attire.  It was a sky blue sundress.

?Like my dress?? she asked suddenly.

?Umm?sure?? I shrugged, not knowing how to answer.  Truth be told I was completely indifferent to the dress.

?Know why I?m wearing this?? she asked suddenly again.

?How would I?? I responded.

?Oh, I guess you wouldn?t,? she looked dejected again.  ?I wearing it because...? she paused and thought for a second, ?because I could!  There?s no one at home to stop me!?

?Ugh,? I groaned.  I don?t know what she was playing at with those dejected looks, but she?s the same spoiled brat as always.  I started to walk off.

?Where are you going?? Tenshi asked, following me.

?It?s really none of your business,? I answered and hastened my pace.

?Oh?I guess not,? I heard her footsteps stop.  ?Umm?see ya.?

I didn?t turn around, I kept walking.  I could feel the sweat start forming on my forehead.  My chest started feeling tight.  In through the nose and out the mouth, I thought to myself.  I told myself that, but I couldn?t stop breathing through my mouth.  I took another step and staggered.  I managed to catch myself and stand upright.  I took another step.  I immediately regretted that decision.  I felt like something smacked the back of my chest.  I was on the ground and everything around me was spinning.

??HEY!...RE YO?KA.?  ?OL?IN?TH??  someone was shouting, but blacked out.

* * *

There was loud thump behind me.  I turned around and saw Meiling on the ground with the arm extended holding a cake in the air.  She had very sheepish grin.

?What are you doing?? I sighed.

?Surprise??? she said with that same sheepish grin.

I started rubbing the bridge of my nose, ?what are you doing??

?It?s your birthday,? she responded.


?This is a birthday cake!? she handed the cake to me and stood up.

?Why?? I said, staring at the cake in front of me.

?It?s really good, I?ve got to go before Sakuya find out!? she said and ran off, without answering my question.

?Get back here,? a cold voice said behind us and she stopped.  We both turned around and saw Sakuya and Remilia standing there.

?Happy Birthday!? Remilia said and thrust a book towards me.

?Same,? Sakuya said and handed me a bookmark.

?Wh?what is all this?? I asked.

?Meiling here, thought we should start celibrated birthdays around here,? Remilia said.

I turned to Meiling, ?Uhh?thanks,? I said.

* * *

I felt a breeze.  I opened my eyes and tried to set up.  Appraintly there was a wet cloth on my head.  It fell onto my lap the second I set up.  But there was no time to worry about that because the room started spinning, ?that?s right, I passed out.?  After the room stopped spinning I looked around, it was a fairly big room.  There was a large banner that read ?HAPPY BIRTHDAY TENSHI!?

?You?re up!? I turned and saw Tenshi walking through the door.  She was wearing a different outfit.  It was a tanktop and baggy shorts.  She noticed me looking, ?Oh, I had to change.  I kind spelt water all over my other dress,? she laughed to herself.  ?I?m not very good at taking care of people.?

?When was your birthday?? I asked, trying to change the subject.  I don?t want to think about her taking care of me.

?It?s today,? she said quietly.  ?Did you see my sign!  I made it myself!?  She said brightly.   

?You made your own sign?? I asked, she looked away.

?Oh!  And there?s a lot of cake left too.  I made too much!? she responded with instead.  ?I?ll go get it.?  She ran off into another room.

?How big of a cake did she make?? I thought to myself.  But what she brought back surprised me.  I was a moderately sized cake.  The ones Meiling makes are way bigger.  And they look better too.  This one looked a little burnt and the icing looks like it was just thrown on.  I can see why only piece was missing.

?I know it doesn?t look like much, but I think it turned out alright,? she held out the cake with a very earnest smile.  ?Oh!? she said and set the cake down on the stand next to the couch I was on.  She ran back in the room and came back with a plate and a fork.  She produced the Sword of Hisao and cut off a piece of cake and handed it to me.  She stared at me expectantly.

I gulped and took the fork, ?I can?t die twice,? I thought to myself and tore off a piece of the cake and bit down into it.  Tenshi leaned in closer and her eyes widened.  ?It?s good,? I responded.  What can I say, it was better than it looked.  It was peach flavored of course and Meiling?s are better.  But this cake wasn?t bad.

?YES!? Tenshi stood up and thrust her arms into the air.  I couldn?t help but chuckle at the sight.  She turned bright red and looked down.  ?Oh!? she pointed at my lap.  I looked down and saw the wet cloth.  I stood up suddenly and it fell into the floor, but the damage was done.  ?You look like you peed yourself,? Tenshi pointed and laughed.

?It?s not that funny,? I grumbled to myself.

?I know!?  She grabbed my arm and I quickly but the rest of the cake on the couch as we ran off into the house.  We ran up some steps and into a big room.  She let go of my arm and ran into another room.  I looked around at the room; it was sky blue and there were pictures of people of Gensokyo on the walls, along with some newspaper articles.  There was one framed: ?AYA THWARTS CELESTIAL!  SAVES DAY AGAIN!?

There was a loud noise, breaking my concentration.  I turned and saw Tenshi standing in the doorway.  ?Look at all my clothes!? she loudly proclaimed.

?Huh?? I responded.

?We can change you out of those wet things.  Don?t you share clothes with your friends in Gensokyo?? she asked.

?Hmm,? I thought for a second, ?Remilia is short and Sakuya and Meiling are tall.  So I?ve never worn their clothes.?

?Oh,? Tenshi looked hurt again.  ?But friends do do this right?  Am I being weird??

?No, you?re not being weird,? I said. ?At the moment,? I thought to myself.

?Look at this one,? she pointed to one behind her, ?It?s purple like the one you have on now.?

?Sure,? I said, I?m not real picky when it comes to clothes.  My clothes I?m wearing now are just my pajamas.

?Yay, I?ll leave so you can change!?  She ran outside and closed the door behind.

I sighed to myself, ?She not too bad when she?s not trying to destroy Gensokyo with an Earthquake.?  I put on the purple dress.  I didn?t notice it when it was hanging up, but it?s very poofy.  It looks like the kind of dress Sakuya is always trying to put me into.  ?Sakuya!? I repeated to myself.

?Huh?? I heard Tenshi say from outside.  ?Do you have it on??

?Yea,? I responded.

?It really suits you!? Tenshi proclaimed.  ?So now what?? she asked.

?I want to go haunt someone,? I said.

?Celestials don?t ?haunt,?? Tenshi corrected.

?Then I want to ?whatever it is we do? to someone,? I said.

* * *

We?re outside the SDM.  Tenshi carried me piggyback the whole way, even though I insisted otherwise.

?Okay, here we go,? Tenshi said and set me down.  ?Can we make ?whoo? noises?  I?ve always wanted to go ?whoo!??

?Sure why not?? I said.  ?You?re the one who said it?s not a haunting,? I thought to myself.

We jumped out of the bush and floated over to Meiling.  ?WHOOOOO!  WE?RE HAUNTING BUT NOT REALLY HAUNTING CAUSE WE?RE CELESTIALS.  WHOOOOO!? Tenshi?s overly narrow taunt caught Meiling?s attention.

?You?re back!?  Meiling yelled.

?Bring me Sakuya!? I said and cupped out my hand in front of me.  Trying to be scary. 

?Sakuya!  Remilia!  Patchy?s back!? Meiling took off running into the mansion, screaming.

Not even a second later, Sakuya appeared before me.  She looked worn out, ?Where are you been?  We?ve been looking all over for you.?

?I was in Heaven.  You killed me by making be exercise,? I said.  ?Now I will return the favor!?  I put my arms in front of me and started towards Sakuya.

?Put your arms down.  You didn?t die,? Sakuya said without flinching.

?What?? I stopped.

?What?? Tenshi popped up behind me.

?You didn?t die.  That little devil type person in the library but a spell on the front door.  When you stepped through it, you poofed somewhere.  We didn?t know where you?ve gone.?

?Oh,? I said and put my arms down.

There was a flash of pink and I felt something hit my chest.  I looked down and saw Remilia hugging me.

?Jeez, how could you just vanish for a whole day like that?? she said.

I heard some footsteps behind me and I turned around and saw Tenshi heading back.

?Where are you going?? I asked.

?You?re back where you belong.  You don?t need me anymore,? she said and kept on walking.

?Sakuya,? Remilia said, ?set another place at the table.?  This made Tenshi stop, ?Yes you there.  You took care of Patchy today.  A dinner is the least we can do.?

?Yea, Happy Birthday Tenshi,? I said.

?Her birthday!  I?ve got to make a cake!? Meiling said and ran off into the SDM.

?We shall have a feast!? Remilia yelled.

I grabbed Tenshi?s hand and led her into the Mansion.  ?This is the best birthday ever!?  she yelled.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
Post by: Amraphenson on July 23, 2012, 09:22:03 AM
The first time she laid eyes on her, she was seriously considering burying herself.
Business was iffy for Kurodani Textiles and Tailor. Not that customers were thin, no, that definitely wasn't the case. Amongst their clientele were a great number of high profile names, including but not limited to YUGI Utilities and Komeiji Corp.; Kurodani Textiles and Tailor was not known for shoddy, mass manufactured work.

In fact, Kurodani wasn't known much for 'manufacture'  at all. That would imply some sort of 'assembly line' or 'chain of command'. Ugh.

No, Kurodani T&T was run by one person and one person alone, which had its...obvious disadvantages.
"I'm really sorry about this Rin. I swear I'll have the order done by the end of the month, tailor's promise," she whimpered desperately, sounding as though the world was about to end because of one of her follies.

In contrast, the woman on the other side of the conversation was less panicked and more amused. "It's fine, it's fine. How many times do I have to say it Yamame? The order isn't even urgent."

"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I swear it won't happen again-" And so on, until Rin had no other choice.

"Really! Just calm down. Finish the order whenever you can." The tone that followed signalled the end of the phone call.

Yamame Kurodani, sole employee of Kurodani T&T, let out another despairing cry, burying herself into her kotatsu. "Aaah, of all the times to hit a slump...winter's here and I haven't made a new coat for Satori yet! How am I supposed to show my face around everyone if I haven't given  her the latest in Kurodani innovation!"

Such was the plight of the tailor. Without inspiration, she could not innovate. Without innovation, she absolutely would not allow herself to weave. And without weaving, she couldn't make a single thing, let alone create the greatest new thing for the graceful young leader of Komeiji Corp. to wear in the winter cold.

She threw a glance at the marionnettes arrayed around her, covered in slapdash bits of cloth she could barely even call 'clothing'. "What's up with me?" she asked, to no one in particular, finger drawing circles on the kotatsu top. It wasn't coming. Her hands didn't flow as they used to, spinning raw thread into something amazing. Her pencil didn't sketch out glorious ideas, her needle didn't even move. And not a reason to be seen.

Her response to the doorbell was about as energetic and cheerful as the rest of her actions that day. "Ugh, what do you want? I already said I don't want any interns here, and if you're a door to door I'll swear I-"

Yamame froze, staring blankly in front of her.

"Ah, I'm sorry. I seem to have gotten lost? If you could give me directions, that would be most appreciated...," she trailed off, clearly expecting something, but Yamame was busy.

Eyes match up with the hair beautifully. Speaking of eyes, wow those are round and soft. And the curve of her neck, the slightness of her shoulders, the barest hint of curvature under that monstrosity of a blouse...oh dear what is she wearing?!

"Um, miss? Are you...?" Her worry was understandable, of course. There was Yamame, disheveled and unkempt, staring intently and examining every inch of her body. She felt as if the girl was intruding on her personal space despite being a meter away.

No, no, that won't do...that color doesn't...and that belt! No necklace to accentuate the nape, absolutely nothing to bring out those lovely fingers of hers! Just looking at that 'outfit', if it can even be called one, is causing me pain! Someone dig a hole, seal it away forever! Hell, seal me away forever so that I never have to look at it again! Something must be done, I...I...

"Miss? Hello?"



"Come inside. Now."


"We don't have time! This is vitally important! In, in! In with you before I rip those rags right off your shoulders! I won't stand for this crime!"


The first time she laid eyes on her, she seriously considered burying herself. Or her. Both would get those horrible clothes away.

"...was that really how we first met?" asked a certain youkai, brushing the last tangles out her friend's hair all the while.

"Yes." A sip of tea, serene and completely unaffected.

She frowned then, embarassment beginning to settle into her even as she worked . "I can't have been that aggressive..."

"You were. Perhaps more so. I may have understated some parts." Clear, and without hesistation. Yamame was no match for this literal goddess of misfortune, and her exclamation of indignity was testimony to that. Still, business was business, and Yamame was nothing if not a businesswoman when it came to her work.

Then that grimace turned into a gentle smile, and Yamame hummed pleasantly at her work. "Well, story time aside, we're done. Ready, Hina?"

The goddess nodded and rose from her seat gracefully. "Of course," she responded, twirling elegantly in the makeup room so as to display her, and Yamame's, new clothing.

Kurodani T&T had never gotten such a wonderful reception at a fashion show before. And Komeiji Corp's darling CEO's new coat was certainly a hit.

AN: Borrowed a bit from Gensoumokuten's work. Always did like this pairing.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
Post by: FinnKaenbyou on July 23, 2012, 11:15:34 AM

Girls are judging, please wait warmly.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
Post by: Scrittore on July 23, 2012, 05:27:54 PM

Curses! I missed the deadline!

Oh well. There's always next time...

Congrats in advance to the winners.
Title: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
Post by: FinnKaenbyou on July 24, 2012, 09:38:38 AM
Right, so the judging panel has made its decision. This week was a bit easier than most, with only three entrants to judge.

Capth and Santora both sent in pieces that were a little rough around the edges. Capth's lacked a killer edge, and treaded on too familiar ground to really stand out. Santora's drifted from place to place without really telling much of a story.

Even though it was a last minute entry, the judges unanimously agreed that this week's winner is Amra! Tailor Yamame is a cool idea, and you made a point of giving her a colourful and likable personality. If there was more of this story floating around I would definitely be giving it a read.

Congrats, Amra. Enjoy your wordsmithing.

Now, onto this week's challenge.


Challenge Topic: Story Soundtracks

(Thanks to Esi for the idea)

This is a bit of a different challenge from the norm.

Several writers link music to be listened to along with their story. Like any art, it's a technique that can be done well and poorly. The challenge is this - write a strong story with an equally strong set of BGM to go with it. (A good example for this would be Sakana's entry for the Iron Librarians challenge. (,12780.msg847269.html#msg847269))

Stories will be judged both on their own merit and on how much the use of music enhances the story.

Deadline is 7th August, 12:00 BST. Get your soul roaring!
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
Post by: Amraphenson on July 24, 2012, 02:02:51 PM
Well thats a pleasant bit of news to wake up to. Definitely cool considering Kanjou may be about to steal my IP; god luck to everyone this round!
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
Post by: GuyYouMetOnline on July 26, 2012, 02:09:36 AM
So... I might actually get comments on the music I link to? Awesome.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
Post by: Esifex on July 26, 2012, 09:03:45 AM
For the sheer sake of accessibility, lets try to keep our music linking to YouTube. I'm pretty sure no one wants to sign up for an account on some filesharing server to wait 20 minutes to get a free download of a minute and a half song.

If you want to cut some of a repetitive song down to size, or just start later on into a song, the &t=0m0s tag can be added to the end of the url. Swap those zeroes out for the minute (m) and second (s) of the video you want it to jump to; this isn't an exact science, though, and the player will oftentimes get it to within a certain block. It's usually a window of about four seconds or so, in either direction. If you want it to be a little more accurate, crunch the numbers and find out how many seconds into the video you're trying to jump to and just punch that in as a raw second count without including the minute timer - in this case, &t=120s would be two minutes in.

I'm not sure if there's a tag for stopping at a predetermined point in a video - if there is, it's news to me.

I daresay it'd be cheating to just snag someone's theme and stuffing that into a scene  :V I know you lot can do better than that!

Good luck! I plan on entering this one as soon as I find a suitable song. I look forward to my competition.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
Post by: Phlegeth on July 26, 2012, 08:59:08 PM
Quick question, would using "Take It Easy" by The Eagles get points taken away?
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
Post by: GuyYouMetOnline on August 01, 2012, 03:36:19 AM
WARNING: This one gets very dark and bloody.
A girl, sitting on the floor, crying. What would you do if you saw her?

Oh, and keep in mind that you just killed almost everyone she ever knew.

She is not a threat, but then, nor were the others that had just been killed. The humans came, attacking unprovoked. They do that, although to be fair, there are youkai who attack humans, and most youkai hunting targets them. But many hunters consider any youkai to be a threat, so while they generally target youkai that have taken action against humans, they often will attack any other youkai they happen to come across. Especially communities. So when one of them stumbled upon the location of the girl's clan, the expedition was organized quickly.

The girl was young, defenseless. The rest of the clan fought back out of self-defense, but not her. She, the clan's only survivor, didn't know how to fight. She never struck once. But her helplessness meant nothing to the humans.

It had been thought that the entire clan was killed, the girl included. But then I came upon the truth: the girl had been taken prisoner. She being held in the human village, where she was tortured constantly. They were trying to break her mind, and when they succeeded, they intended to rebuild her, but with a few modifications. They meant to turn her into a weapon, use her to catch youkai off-guard and kill us. They were destroying her, and then meant to force her to cause tragedies such as that which had befallen her own clan.

The humans have acted baselessly against us for some time, and now, they've pushed it too far. I will not allow them to get away with such an atrocity.

I am going to do something I should have done a long time ago. But even though the humans deserve it and far worse, I have no illusions as to what will happen. I will be seen as insane, a monster, and not just by humans. As much as they may hate what the humans do, as much as they may think the humans deserve retribution, youkai, too, will condemn me as a monster. And they may even be right, because one thing is certain:

I'm going to enjoy this.

The sun was just beginning to set as I approached the village. The humans had built a wall around it to keep unwanted visitors out. Somewhat pointless, given that most youkai can fly, but I suppose they did it to send a message to keep out.
The wall would not have stopped me even if I couldn't fly, but I didn't want to simply blast a hole in it. No, I approached the main entrance. Two guards stood by the closed gate, and two more were atop the wall on both sides of the gate. The four atop the wall were armed with bows, and the other two with swords. Nothing that could be a concern for one such as I.
The guards readied their weapons immediately upon catching sight of me, but did not yet strike. One of the pair on the ground stepped forward. "Identify yourself," he said. "Who are you?"
"A pointless question," I said. "You don't care who I am."
"A hostile response," the guard said. "Identify yourself, youkai, or we will kill you right now."
Tendrils of dark energy lashed out from around me. They tore the bows out of the hands of the four men on the wall, then pulled those men forward, over the wall and onto the ground. She short fall left them unharmed, though they were without their primary weapons. Not unarmed, however, They drew daggers, and as they did, the two in front of me came at me with well-coordinated sword strikes.
I materialized my own sword, a weapon forged from darkness, and cut through theirs, leaving only broken blades. Then I kicked one of them to the ground, grabben the other and threw him down onto the first, and ran my sword through both their hearts.
Two of the remaining four men made to flee, while the other two came at me. None of them made it far before tendrils of darkness ensnared them. Then more tendrils wrapped around their necks and squeezed.
As the life faded from the guards, I approached the gate. I placed my hand on it and sent a surge of dark energy into it, destroying it and much of the wall around it. And then darkness took the village.
When light vanishes, people tend to notice. ( Some of the villagers ran and hid, but others emerged from their homes, or their places of work. Many were armed, generally with tools useful as improvised weapons. And they carried lanterns, or torches. Such weak lights are nothing to me, but I allowed them to penetrate my darkness slightly. If their lights did nothing, they would not venture on into the darkness, and I wanted them to do just that. To think that there may be something they could do. Their insignificant lights would give them hope that they could overcome the threat they faced. I wanted them to have that hope, so that I could crush it.
At first, the humans were scattered, but many of them soon condensed into various-sized groups throughout the village. Not that it mattered. Not even the entire village together could threaten me, and neither could they hide, as within my darkness, I am everywhere.
I shifted through the darkness to the nearest group, appearing just outside the light of their lantern. As I stepped into their feeble light, they immediately readied their weapons. And then my darkness swallowed their pathetic light. A few moments later, I allowed it to shine again, and they saw me, crouching over the ripped-open body of one of their own, casually consuming one of the man's organs. "Hello," I said. "Anyone care to join me?"
Two of them tried to run, only to encounter a wall of solidified darkness. Spikes thrust out from the wall, impaling them both.
The rest of the group spread out, encircling me. I formed spinning blades of darkness around myself, and within seconds, they were all in pieces. All but one, for one had held back. And as my attention turned to him, he finished his spell. The burst of magic was strong, strong enough for any to sense. That was the purpose of the spell. It was a becon, a signal that even a human would be able to sense from anywhere in the village. The purpose was obvious; it was a powerful shout of 'Over here!'.
I killed the man, but he had finished its spell, so it would continue throughout its duration with or without him. Not that I minded. The more who came, the more who would die. And as I proceeded through the village to my destination, they did indeed come.
I killed everyone who crossed my path. Men, women, children, all of them. Some were speared through the heart. Others I decapitated. There were those I chocked to death, as I had the guards outside. One of those with a lantern I shifted myself into the shadow of, taking my sword and, starting between the legs and moving upwards, cut him in two.
Blasts of darkness fell from the black sky, demolishing structures as I walked past. Vortexes of shadow consumed the humans' homes in front of me. A pair of humans approached me, and I let their light penetrate my darkness just long enough to see their child consumed by a vortex. Then I killed them.
The schoolhouse was in my path, and many humans were hiding inside. Tentacles of dark energy rose from the ground around it and began tearing it apart. As I passed into the building, several adult humans readied their weapons, prepared to die to protect the many children behind them.
The darkness took hold of the armed humans, holding them in place. It held them facing me, forcing them to watch as I slaughtered every child in the crumbling structure. Then I turned my attention to them, killing them on by one while they were unable to even move.
Shortly past the schoolhouse was my destination, a house with a shed next to it. In that shed was the youkai girl the humans had captured. The two men standing in front of it were tense, their weapons readied. I allowed their lantern to illuminate me as I approached. "Stop where you are!" one of them ordered. I didn't stop, so he swund his sword at my neck. I grabbed the blade, tore the weapon out of his hands, and broke it in two. The second human tried the same move, but when I grabbed his blade, he immediately released it, drawing a dagger and stabbing at my chest. I dropped the sword, grabbed his hand, and tore it off. Then I tore off his head.
The first man made to flee, but the darkness took hold of him and held him to face me. "You. You led the attack that gained you your captive."
"What the hell are you talking about?" the man said.
"Oh, you know exactly what I'm talking about. You thought that since nobody was left alive, nobody would find out what really happened. That youkai would assume it was just another attack. Just another unprovoked attack against a peaceful youkai clan. And do you know what? I, and others, did assume that. We thought there had been no survivors. But you humans are careless with your words. You look only for other humans when you wish to speak in private, not considering what else might overhear.. So when two of you discussed the situation with that attack and your captive, they thought nobody was close enough to hear. It never occured to them that the darkness might be listening. But it was, and I hear everything it hears. Normally I tune it out, but this time, I heard her name. The name of the youkai girl you have in that shed. So I listened. And I heard that she had been captured for the purpose of torturing and brainwashing her. You should remember this conversation, Kochiyo. After all, it took place only two days ago, and you were one of those two men."
Kochiyo did not deny what I said. "So, what, are you going to kill me for it?"
"Why would I do that? You, Kochiyo, were behind possibly the worst mass youkai killing in my lifetime. And you didn't stop with the slaughter of an innocent youkai clan. You took a girl so that you could torture and brainwash her, turn her into a weapon against youkai. It was your doing, and in a way, I have to thank you for it. You see, had you not crossed that line, I would have allowed your kind's atrocities to continue. I should have taken action long ago, and you, Kochiyo, are the reason I'm taking action now. And it won't end here.
"My name is Rumia. Remember it, for you have only just begun to witness my fury. This is just the first attack. I will strike again and again, and every time, more of your kind will die. And I will continue until humans are no longer able to harm youkai. And you, Kochiyo, will witness all of it. And you will know that you are responsible for it. That was was you who brought it upon humanity. You will know, Kochiyo, that the atrocity you committed led to the ruin of your kind."
I left Kochiyo bound by the darkness, and entered the shed.
As I entered the shed, I sealed the door behind me with dark energy, ensuring that nobody could inturrupt. Lanterns hung in the shed, and though I kept the village in darkness, these lanterns I did not hinder the light of. The darkness did not hinder my sight, of course, but the girl I was here to rescue could not see within it as I could, and I wanted her to know it was me who was here. We had known each other for a while, and I hoped that she would recognize me as a friend, as someone who she didn't have to worry would harm her.
I knew immediately that something was wrong, as the girl was not bound in any way. She was seated, and she stood as I entered. "Rumia? Is that you?"
"It's me, Elsia. I came as soon as I knew you were here."
"I heard screams outside," she said, her voice... dead-sounding, I suppose is how I would describe it. There was no emotion in it at all. "Was that your doing?"
"I want to get you out of here," I said. "They objected."
"They died."
"One did. The other is alive, but, well, he is currently indisposed."
"WIll you kill him?"
"No. He deserves far worse, and that is what he will receive."
"Too much," Elsia said. "All this killing. All this senseless violence. Why can't we just end it?"
"I intend to do just that. When I am finished, they will not be able to harm us again."
"No," Elsia said. "You want them to die, too? The only people I have left?"
"They tortured you."
"I know exactly what they did to me, Rumia. But even an enemy is someone. Now I've lost even them. And besides, they did only what they had to. We're a threat to them."
At that moment, I knew for certain what I had suspected immediately upon seeing her unbound. ( "Then I am too late," I said. "They've already turned you."
"'Turned me'? You mean, brainwashed me? No. They've only educated me. I hate them for what they did, but I know thed had to. Too many people are hurt because of the threat we pose. We need to leave the humans to themselves. This just has to end."
"You're not their weapon yet," I said. She's not beyond saving. Not yet. "Please, Elsia. Come with me."
"No," she said. "I have to stay here."
"I... I..." She paused. "...I don't know. I just know that I have to."
So even that much wasn't complete. The impulses were there, but not the reasoning that should be behind them. There was most certainly still hope for her. "I'm not leaving you here."
Elsia grabbed a sword that had been leaning against the wall. They'd left her a sword. Obviously, they were confident that she was brainwashed enough not to harm them. Did they teach her how to use that sword yet?
"I have to stay," Elsia said. "I have to stay."
I readied my own weapon. "I don't want to hurt you, Elsia, but I'm taking you with me."
She attacked. She swung high, and I brought my sword up to block. She swung low, and I brought my sword down to block. She tried a thrusting attack, and I dodged to the side. She turned the thrust into a slash, coming at me from the side, but I parried the blow. She continued to press the attack, but every strike I blocked, paried, or avoided outright.
Whoever taught Elsia knew what they were doing. Her form was quite good, and she fought well. But there was no drive behind it. She had the knowledge and the skills, but not the mind. She was acting on command, on mental impulse. The thought, the instinct, was absent. The absense of appropriate instincts was most likely because of a lack of experience, but the rigid adherence to form, the failure to properly improvise, the seeming inability to adapt to her opponent, that stemmed from her incomplete brainwashing. Her old mind was broken, but it had not yet been rebuilt enough to truly act independently.
I parried another strike. "Stop this, Elsia!"
"I cannot. You wish to take me from here."
"I'm going to take you from here. I just don't want to have to hurt you to do it."
"I have to stay. I must remain here."
She struck again. I sidestepped the attack, took hold of her blade, pulled it from her hands, and broke it in half, tossing the pieces aside. "You should know you can't resist," I said. "You should know of my power. You can't stop me from taking you. All you can do is choose to make it easy."
Elsia ran at me and threw a punch, which i deflected with a block. She kept coming, swinging wildly. Clearly, she hadn't yet been trained in unarmed combat, and her strikes were easily dealt with. After a few seconds of it, I pushed her away. She charged in again, but I hit her aside the head with the flat of my blade. It was a blow that would have killed a human, but even a weaker youkai such as Elsia was only knocked unconscious. "I'm sorry," I said, picking her up. "I didn't want to have to hurt you."
With Elsia in my arm, I unsealed the door and exited the shed.
Two humans attacked me as I exited the shed. I pulled the darkness binding Kochiyo, moving him in front of the pair. They hesitated, and I cut them open, splattering Kochiyo with their blood. Then I threw Kochiyo into the shed.
I was done in the village, and was about to take to the air when another human approached. But this one was different. She was alight, surrounded by an aura of fire. And her light was strong enough, her flames bright enough, that I couldn't suppress it completely, not while keeping the entire village in darkness. Even my power has limits. But being able to resist my darkness, even when I was keeping the entire village in darkness, indicated a fairly impressive level of power. A level far greater than any I had before encountered, that was certain. "You are strong," I said.
"You've got that right," she said. "Um, question: who the hell are you?"
I laughed. "You want my name, human? Very well, then. You will know the name of the one who will destroy you. I am Rumia."
"Cocky," the woman said.
"No. Just aware of my level of power. You have my name, human. Give me yours."
"I am Fujiwara no Mokou."
That was interesting. "A noble? And what would you be doing in this village? Or in Gensokyo at all? Human nobles have no business here."
"I see no reason to give you my life's story. All that matters is that you've attacked the village, and I'm not exactly inclined to let you get away with it."
A spear of darkness pierced her heart. "Dissapointing. I suppose having power made you careless."
Mokou's reaction was... not what I had expected. She grabbed the spear of darkness and pulled it out of her chest, leaving a wound that rapidly closed. "Ow," she said.
"You... how did you survive that?"
"I'm immortal."
I charged in with my sword and cut her head off. And then I watched it regrow. "Huh. Interesting."
Mokou formed a sword, made from fire as mine is from darkness. "Yes. Keep trying."
I encased Elsia in darkness and pulled her within it, which put her out of harm's way. Then I readied my own sword. "I already know that my power surpasses yours. Even being immortal, what can you do against me? You will lose, even if you cannot die."
Mokou came at me, aiming her first strike at my chest. ( I parried the blow, but she simply struck again. And again, Over and over, with speed and strength beyond that of any human. If she was indeed one of them, then whatever made her immortal must have also affected her physical abilities. Not enough to bring them up to the level of mine, though.
I blocked a strike, then took her sword by the blade and tore it from her hands. I quickly flipped it around and ran it through her chest. She stumbled back a few steps, but that was all. "Good," she said. She pulled the blade out and threw it at me. I sidestepped it, only to find a torrent of flaming blades coming at me. I countered with my own barrage, which overpowered and eliminated hers before impaling her repeatedly. The blades dissipated a second after impact, and the wounds they left closed quickly.
Mokou reformed her sword and ran at me again. I parried her strike and kicked her, sending her flying backwards. She hit the ground standing, skid back a few feet, then flew at me, a duplicate sword forming in her other hand. I formed a second sword of my own and blocked her double attack with one while launching an attack of my own with the other. She drew one of her swords back for defense while striking with the other.
I evaded Mokou's strike and launched into a fluury of strikes, but Mokou's skill was extremely impressive, and she matched me blow-for-blow. "Yes," she said, "yes, yes! Give me more!"
A sudden fireblast knocked me back. Mokou charged through, encased in a body of flame as she once more closed the distance, leaving a blaze in her wake. She performed another double slash, which I blocked. I countered with a double strike of my own. She locked blades with me. She pushed against my blades of darkness with the full strength and light of her flames, and actually began to make progress. Of course, much of my power was focused on flooding the village with darkness and tearing it apart. But even given that, I was not focusing all of my remaining power into my blades, as Mokou found out when tentacles of darkness wrapped around her and tore her limbs off.
Mokou's limbs immediately began to regrow, but she didn't wait for this at all. She flew back, out of her shell of flame, but the shell itself kept hold of her weapons, and it continued to attack. But when it struck, I was gone. I shifted over behind Mokou and impaled her through the chest. Mokou just laughed. "Excellent!"
Her limbs already regrown, Mokou grabbed my sword by the blade and pushed it back through her chest and out. She reformed her own swords and attacked in a frenzy. We matched each other blow for blow, and she was laughing with glee the entire time. "Yes! This is what I want! Give me more! More!"
"Is your lust for battle truly so great?"
"The fight is everything! Bring it to me! Show me your skill, your power, your resolve! Only in battle can one live!"
"You're insane."
"Of course I am! The mind can't stay whole when the body doesn't die! Nothing in the mind matters! Only this matters! But the moonbitch went into hiding and deprived me even of that. Who could match me, an immortal? I've waited so long for a real battle, and now you've come to give me one!"
I sent the tentacles at her again, but this time, she managed to twist her way through them untouched. Until the spike of darkness shot up below her, running through her entire body.
"I did not come here for you," I said. "I came here with two goals, and I've accomplished them both." My tentacles of darkness ripped her regenerating body apart, leaving only her head, which I ran through with my blades. "I told you that immortality would not save you from defeat. You fought well, but you lost. Farewell." I cut her head into pieces. Before she could regenerate, I retrieved Elsia from the darkness and took to the air, leaving her behind.
As I left, I lifted my darkness. The village was in ruins, and all who come will see what had become of it. From Kochiyo, the villagers will know who destroyed their home, and why. And as I spread my wrath across the humans' lands, word of me will spread ever faster, until all humans know of their kind's coming ruin. And Kochiyo, the one whose actions finally prompted me to act? I will not kill him, but before the end, his own kind likely will. Perhaps they'd even think they can appease me by doing so. But they will be wrong. Their end should have come long ago, and now, it finally will.
Well, that was interesting to write. It was a little tricky coming up with a story idea, since the prompt is just about using music. Fittingly enough, the idea came to me while listening to a song (specifically, Unstoppable, the first one I linked to in the story). I thought it was a good one to use with EX-Rumia, so I decided to do just that.
Also, anyone who didn't expect me to use 'Gods Bound By Rules' hasn't been paying attention.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
Post by: AnonymousPondScum on August 01, 2012, 04:31:14 AM
Is EX-Rumia generally believed to be smarter than normal Rumia?

*is unfamiliar with that bit of canon/fanon*
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
Post by: GuyYouMetOnline on August 01, 2012, 06:28:04 AM
From what I've seen, portrayals of EX-Rumia tend to lean towards just mindlessly rampaging, but on the occasions where she does display thought, yes, she normally does come across as more intelligent than normal Rumia. Really depends on the author more than anything else.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
Post by: LogosOfJ on August 06, 2012, 06:33:25 AM
Finally, an excuse to continue my previous WWC entry! (the space one.)

Arguably a crossover.

I, Kirisame Marisa, Investigator, am in a bit of a dilemma.

I am parked outside a shipyard that is absurdly close to being invisible. EM deep scanning is out of the question. The only  available method of determining its internal structure is sending in a body. As a proper shipyard (a cuboid with dimensions on the order of tens of kilometers), the stealth hulk is rather valuable whole and worthless in pieces. In addition, priceless information may rest within internal storages.

On the other hand, one of my bodies is lost, likely dead inside. Additional shielding renders most FTL communications impossible throughout the hull, with the exception of a small number of comm stations (The more I ponder this point, the more I suspect serious error in my current models of physics. The obvious implication is that the same phenomena used for FTL comms is also usable for sensors. Another score for Elohim science, the last evolution of the phrase "Magic".)

I have enough organic material for ~100 more attempts, but I suspect that my boarding drone layout of twenty is insufficient. As armor is easily recyclable and salvagable, I have only brought five, including the one lost inside.

I decide to recover my (armor) corpse first and hold off the decision until later.

The initial entry point is already surrounded by a number of repair and point-defense drones. In order to avoid waste, I choose a salvage-focused armor configuragion and prepare a "minecart" drone before descending to the ship surface. I clear the area with a few salvos and manage to recover enough material for a spare armor or a four-drone team. I opt to contine exploring, and order a typical salvage layout from my ship.

The interior of the shipyard is as permeable to scanning as outside, so I am forced to depend on near-visual imaging (IR, visible, and UV bands) and auto-mapping. Mercifully, radio silence has been established, so the lower-end radio-control probes of my scout drone are finally used for their intened purpose: scouting.

After a great deal of searching, I am left with a large number of dead ends and a corridor that is actively producing EM interference.

After hardening my armor and drones, I move into the area with calculated slowness, wincing at the quiet thuds and booms transmitted through my metal limbs.

About 30 meters in, the ground and walls begin to deviate from the previously-observed standard of sharp right angles. At 35 meters into the high-interference area, the walls begin to display characteristics best described as fleshy (in armor. For an unaugmented human, the closest approximation of such a sensation will probably be an artifact "superball" made of solid "rubber" found in some experience archives.). At closer magnification, small veins and the odd eyeball appear. Attempts at XB ships come to mind as I continue my descent into the shipyard.

At the end (bottom) of the corridor, I find my corpse armor attached to what appear to be fleshy vines. The central section  ("torso" is mainly an artifact, considering how badly humanoid armors performed in most situations) was cracked, exposing some pulped flesh and, of greater concern, broken storages.

The walls around the armor have a relatively high concentration of eyes, but I think nothing of it for now. I trek back instead of carving a new exit for myself.
I observe my currently active organic body as it navigates the inside of the now-quiet shipyard. Intermittent broadcasts in the EM range update maps of the tortous pathways. Noise and a snapshot of the first armor kindle a vague sense of menace.

The active body returns without major incident. A good fraction of the data stored in the broken armor is corrupted, while the remainder is incomplete.

Autopsy (a smattering of Bio images augmented by engineering and signal processing) fill our mind with rapidfire chatter. A number of analysis engines prefilter most of this information, leaving a terse block of text in the default administrative window.

I continue to consider the incoming information while preparing for my transfer to a combat body (armor minus the life support necessary to maintain an ordinary biological body).

...cracking consistent with low-velocity kinetic penetrator followed by attempts to pry the armor apart... other evidence of physical impact or shear damage...
...incomplete backlog of messages queued for sending...
...incomplete reworking of bomb capacitors to power comms arrays...
...brainstate has been preserved...

At the fuzzy edges of my mind, I vaguely sense what is best described as frantic scurrying and scribbling by other images. My injection into the prepared combat body is halted and reversed. A tension in the thoughtscape foreshadows a declaration of quarrantine. I allow myself some measure of trepidation as I access the filtered sense data.

Welcome, human. (

I fold onto myself, weaving together both the state of the prepared replacement and the dying corpse.

I find myself floating in a dark area. The curtains in front of me are illuminated, but, no matter how I attempt to orient myself, I am unable to find any external lighting. As the curtains open, I instinctively orient myself so that they are moving to my right and left. Below the first layer of curtains is a second one that begins opening in the direction perpendicular to the first. The ambient light brightens near-imperceptably, revealing some sort of hemispheric theatre with a circular stage.

Two women "stand" on the stage as it spins, facing away from me. The leftmost woman is dressed in blue and white robes of old Nipponese design. Nine "tails" (likely prehensile and armed) emerge from just below her waist. To her left is a small girl in predominantly red garb with two tails. The rightmost woman somehow manages to remain obscured in shadow.

The girl in the red dress begins to speak.

"Welcome to my home. I am Orange, a member of 8th cloud. We have not finished our spring cleaning, so I recommend rescheduling your meeting with my Master."

Her two tails lengthen and form themselves into what appears to be a working hand-portable railgun. The seats in the theatre grow eyes and begin to blink, stretching into faces and then weapons. The girl remains unfazed as she contines her explanation of basic security protocol, but releases a small yip of surprise when she finally notices the modifications.

The woman in shadow makes some indeterminate motion, and the two others leave the stage. As the shadow fades, the woman is revaled: physically, she is notable in that she has blond hair, eyes that shift between gold and purple, and no other external signs of being a Youkai. She wears purple and white robes similar to those of the other woman. As she approaches, she pulls a small dart from her sleves and, with what seems to be a light push, places it in my chest through about three meters of assorted armor and vital systems. The memory is blurry afterwards, but the eyes from the theatre were accompanied by more eyes on thin growths produced by the woman. Her words are, however, unmuddled.

"Well done. Welcome, seeker."

The sense data suggests that the resident(s) of the shipyard either have control over novel physical phenomena or the computational power needed to predictably produce convincing experiences.

The dart left in the first dead body is under study by XB; it is suspected that encoded data may include an XB-baseline interface (as opposed to the Youkai production method of moulding XB into vaguely baseline forms). Out-of-the-Box tithes are still considered a possibility.

To me, the fuzzball that straddles carefully tuned instinct and political science, the entire setup stinks of a trap. The bait is vague but unquestionably valuable. The best case is that our opponents are toying with me, giving me a chance to prove my relative inferiority. The more likely case is that I am being tested.

Engineering prods at the possibility of an Out-of-the-Box exemption. That seems unlikely.

The entire setup seems a bit too convenient. One of the FTL comms array is an excellent entry point, and preliminary probing suggests that the arrays are connected to a yard-spanning high-bandwith network with laughable security measures.

Still, it is hard to think that exploration is anything other than worth it. It is simply the case that more precautions are needed.

The insertion shaft ends in a cavernous area, a small partition of the foundry's full production facilities ( The six walls of the partition are gridded with trusswork and rails, perfect for climbing.

The XB-hybrid combat body works flawlessly in this environment: eight strong but (relatively) inflexible legs of metal allows me to clamber along in the wild fashion of a caffeinated spider, while the ability to rapidly cycle XB flesh configurations (most importantly eyes, tentacles, and eyestalks) prevents clutter.

The foundry is far from quiet; larger security drones roam the area and have no problem identifying me as an intruder (

Most of the "drones" are actually small, non-sentient Spartoi growths, shambling tumors occasionially accompanied by spider- and woodlouse- like segmented walkers. The encounters are far from difficult; more damaging shots are automatically range-restricted for the safety of the foundry.

The drones are also as hackable as many Elohim crackmes. I find myself leading a small army when I  stumble across ( another proper combat body.

The walker is of vaguely biped form, but opts to fly throughout engagements. The pilot is obviously supported by the ship itself, with vaves tactically-placed retractable blocks and disposable weapons greatly hindering my ability to decisively damage armor subsystems.

The Danmaku is reminiscent of the output of the earlier frigate. I guess Reimu was right: if the pilot is attached to a certain pattern, (s)he tends to use it everywhere.

The mech also uses its detachable laser arrays to great effect, but is eventually whittled down by the combined firepower of my combat body and the shipyard's own defenses.

Of course, losing gracefully is not exactly necessary against an enemy with reserves.

The next round of interesting husk and bone data follow a scuffle with a major enemy and the deactivation of one of the FTL comms.

Such ambition, human. (

Oddly, very little sensory input is associated with this message, excepting the song. A partial wipe and subsequent doctoring are strongly suspected.

There are no surprises concerning the gradual XB growth through the recently-disabled combat form. Another one is built.

As if we were not adversaries of any sort, the nominal leader of 8th cloud, Violet, decides to  offer some tea (

When did I leave my armor and enter this tiny residence area (by the looks of it, a large material ferry)?
Why a polite talk now, of all times, when I pose the least threat>
I have walked into the quintessential Ontological Mystery ( Considering the possibility of experience simulation, I may be imprisoned or otherwise restrained.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
Post by: FinnKaenbyou on August 07, 2012, 10:01:28 PM

Girls are judging, wait warmly, etc.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
Post by: Esifex on August 08, 2012, 12:21:39 AM
...if I weren't so mixed up getting used to my new job I would've totally realized the deadline was approaching and gotten something proper hammered out.

Title: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks (Results!)
Post by: FinnKaenbyou on August 11, 2012, 05:45:57 PM
Alright, the results are in, and they're unanimous.

Logos, making this a continuation of a previous story really hampered you here. Honestly having not read the previous story for a while, this entire piece was really difficult to understand. You also didn't seem to understand how the music prompts were meant to work - at one point you switch between three songs in the space of five lines. More than anything, it needs a bit of polishing to make it clearer.

In comparison Guy's story is much more coherent, and the music is used relatively effectively. Some plot issues - Rumia is difficult to root for because we have no reason to think she's in the right (especially when she starts murdering innocents), but given you took music from Nier I'm assuming that's what you were aiming for. :V

Congratulations, Guy. Enjoy your Wordsmith title.

Anyway! Next contest!


Challenge Topic: The Sincerest Form Of Flattery

Now, before you come in at me with accusations of 'But Rou, we've already had a Job-Swap-Day contest', let me clarify that this is a bit different. This isn't a contest about characters imitating each other - it's a contest about you imitating another writer.

Consider it a toned down. lightened version of Ye Olde Story Swap. (,6934.msg416270.html#msg416270) You can write any story or subject as long as it's Touhou-related, but the catch is that you have to write in the style of another author of your choice. It can either be another writer on the site, or a famous writer from out there in the big wide world (if you choose to do this, please offer a link to some sort of sample of their writing for the sake of judging). Stories will be marked on individual merit and on how well they imitate the target author.

Deadline: 12:00 BST, 25th August. Start plundering!
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
Post by: GuyYouMetOnline on August 12, 2012, 01:53:45 AM
Holy shit, I finally won one. Yeah, there was only one other entry, which increases the chances, but still.

And yes, you're not necessarily supposed to support Rumia's actions. Most EX-Rumia portrayals I've seen portray her as unambiguously evil, usually with little or no explanation (most common reason: 'it's what she is', or variations on that). I don't like that, so I gave her a reason: the baseless hatred she's seen humans holding towards yuokai, and the constant actions they took against innocent youkai just for being youkai, built up until Kochiyo pushed her into acting. Doesn't excuse what she does, at least not in my opinion, but it does at least give her a reason for going over the edge.

So yes, it was deliberate. Although that isn't connected to me using music from NieR. I used Gods Bound By Rules because it's a f***ing awesome track.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
Post by: LogosOfJ on August 12, 2012, 03:12:05 AM
This prompt seems specifically designed for filtering out procrastinators... (THIS GUY!)

On a more serious (but no less self-absorbed note), what are some recommended mindsets for identifying and analyzing style? Though I can appreciate that different "small-scale" structures (sentence variety, rhythm and rhyme schemes, formatting) and "flavors" (word choice, emphasis, connotation) can add a great deal to stories, I have trouble distilling coherent styles out of works.

My main suspicion is that I will end up nominally imitating some writer with some habits similar to my own (verbosity, an aversion to dialogue, etc.) and end up with a result more similar to my previous works than the imitated writer. Therefore, I am asking about the conscious identification of style.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
Post by: Iced Fairy on August 12, 2012, 04:16:24 AM,11100.msg871309.html#msg871309 (,11100.msg871309.html#msg871309)

I bring you advice.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
Post by: LogosOfJ on August 12, 2012, 04:32:52 AM
Thanks, though I am not sure if this is what I asked for...

Minds: YGWYAF systems.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
Post by: Amraphenson on August 13, 2012, 06:14:23 AM
I rose from the haze of Gensokyo, shuddering, and glanced around in curiosity. Still within the border of reality and illusion, an unborn thing barely even a mile wide. It was silent. Completely silent. Save for myself, nothing moved. Bits of scenery, images of what could be, were all frozen in front of me like the shards of light in a child's kaleidoscope. Everything I had been forging up until that point had been at a blinding pace, testimony to my mastery over my power. There was only one possible explanation that everything was still now, that I had been taken from my work to address some other issue, right in the midst of my work.

"I see. You came." My voice came out a little weak, hours upon days upon weeks of misuse made apparent. Nothing a subtle manipulation wouldn't fix.

Footsteps, and the rolling of two slightly rusted wheels, sounded behind me, and the border grew hazier and hazier, as if viewed through a fogged glass. After a bit, it was too blurry to even see, and I closed my eyes merely to prevent an inevitable dizziness.

Then it cleared to an extent. I opened my eyes again and found myself in a different border entirely, standing on nothing and gazing at everything. My mind strained to categorize this place, this gap, and eventually came to an answer that caused shivers through every atom of my body and every shred of concept to my existance. There was nothing here but the border around me...

[BGM- Kid's Festival, Innocent Treasures]

...and a young man who did not look young at all, with black hair that was messily trimmed at the forefront of the brow. His eyes were a deep brown, hidden behind large glasses, and his dress was simple save for the moss green newsboy cap that rested upon his head; no man born had ever seemed quite so jovial as this person in front of me.

"You're used to me just messaging," he said. His voice was quiet, softspoken, but had the melodic step of one truly in tune with music. "I felt this was a suitable occasion for me to visit personally."

"Aren't you a little drunk to be bending the laws of time and space?" I whispered.

He laughed a little. It was a laugh that would've warmed the hearts of two warring countries and brought them together under the arms of whoever had voiced it. "I like what you did with it. Very you. I'm not a fan of the whole 'dream world' thing though, you may want to reconsider that."

I stared for a second and attempted to voice my thoughts, but they were as inscrutable to me at that time as they usually were to everyone else. He may have had a point. That was a bit of a tangent, probably a bad idea, and it was beginning to influence the rest of the composition. A reboot may be necessary...reuse some of the portions from the old, not all...I may just be making a big mistake with this all. I did everything to ensure I'd have the time to complete this, but in the process I may have damned a dear friend of mine.

I never wanted that for him. I...what had I done?

When I had spoken earlier, I wasn't joking. Not at all. This would be created, it would be there, and youkai everywhere would be safe...but this man in front of me, was he doomed in exchange? Had I forced myself to overlook the truth of the matter in a search for a 'greater good' that I had disillusioned myself with?

Normally, I would be safe in my self assurance, in the thought that my actions were all for a purpose greater than most could conceive.

I guess I'm not perfect.

The man facing me waited with the patience of a saint, apparently giving me my berth and time.

ZUN. How was he here? He had put the majority of his power against the rules of the world in order to hold it back, something even I could not do as a 'one with the power to the extent of manipulating borders.' Not many know of my power, less know of its limits, nigh none know of this man, and there was no one save for the two people within this very border that knew his limitations. I, at least, thought I knew his limitations. While I was the enigmatic man behind the curtain, he was the narrator. The creator. The janitor behind everything that kept things in check. He was not a 'man with the power to the extent of creating fantasies'. He was simply a 'man who creates fantasies.'

He was the quietest of all the big names, and in my mind that meant most dangerous. It was to my great fortune that he was allied to me.

We'd taken notice of each other eons ago, and in during one of my weakest moments he saved me. Empowered me. I'd done favors for him since, and he would occasionally send a slurred message or a case of beer. I was captivated with him, yet immensely annoyed, but I feared no one but him. He...was absolute. His power was beyond even mine. If I were to manipulate the 'border between myself and him', my mind would break from the simple task of perceiving it. Standing here, weakened as he was, I felt immensely mortal. I had always thought those who stood against the Rules would be crushed without mercy; to think this man had done so and maintained some form of existance, in addition to a portion of power, was astounding.

We were all right to be afraid of him.

"" I whispered again, extending a hand but fearful of actually touching him. "How did you...?"

"I had a dream."

I eyed him, not comprehending, and spoke with a fraction more volume. "What? I don't...I don't even..."

ZUN bowed his head an inch, just enough to hide his eyes and throw a glint into his glasses, and laughed. "I only ever had one power, Yukari. This was just another application."

I frown and shook my head. "I don't get it."

"Really now? I thought you did. Your project wouldn't be where it was unless you did."

For a moment, I stared. Then I placed my face into both palms and groaned. "Always. Always like this. With half-drunken rambles and cryptic riddles, even by my standards! Are you always like this? Is there a Rule in place that requires you to be so insufferable?"

"Maybe one or two. Possibly several more." He was very much amused. "I only wanted to see you one last time Yukari. That's all."

"Why? Why this then? Why not use that last breath to...I don't know, ensure some sort of reincarnation? Clearly, if you expended as much energy as I think you did to intrude upon a octuple-layered bounded field and create a personal avatar upon it, you could have done something...anything...but this..."

"I told you," ZUN said. "I just wanted to see my friend."

"...I didn't think you'd live. I didn't even believe you'd succeed, that it was even possible for someone to openly defy the Rules like that. Sure, I could bend them, even enough to the point where I could do this," I said back, gesturing to the beginnings of the realm I was creating. "But to give me time to do so...I never thought you'd win out, let alone survive it." My voice betrayed my disbelief, shaking as it was in the emptiness of the border, for at some point I had raised my voice beyond the ghost of a whisper I was using before. My tears betrayed my joy, flowing as they were into the fabric of his shirt, for at some point I had closed the distance and embraced him.

He laughed again, and I shivered as I felt him fade away. "I had a fantasy during that blinding moment, when it was just me versus the entirety of Reality itself...goodbye Yukari. Protect what we have sacrificed so much for. I'll be watching."

And then he was gone, as abruptly as he had appeared, and I was left crying into nothing with a half-made border still floating in front of me.

Maybe I was hallucinating. The haze of this border was still lingering, but I thought I saw something. A wisp of energy float away and out of sight.

I stared, gobsmacked and disbelieving, like I always was when faced with that insufferable man, and then I smiled cleanly and simply, without any enigmatic airs or hidden facets.

"Goodbye ZUN."

A creation of Gensokyo fic, in the style of Jim Butcher.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Sincerest Form Of Flattery
Post by: Esifex on August 24, 2012, 03:13:17 AM
Orin skidded to a halt after finally finding her mistress. "Lady Satori! Okuu broke a pipe with her concrete boot thingy and now the basement is flooded! What're we supposed to do with all that water?"
Just then, Koishi dropped her subconcious cloak and brandished a series of tasteful swimsuits, with a gleam in her eye. "Isn't it obvious?"

Brought to you by the Rou Style, Flowing Tides school.  :derp:

ilu rou
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Sincerest Form Of Flattery
Post by: FinnKaenbyou on August 25, 2012, 05:18:03 PM

That was me pressing the deadline button.

Wait warmly, etc.
Title: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Sincerest Form Of Flattery (Results!)
Post by: FinnKaenbyou on August 26, 2012, 09:24:04 AM
Right, so after a thorough and rigorous judging process we have decided that Esi's entry is sadly lacking in dolphin cameos. Sorry, Esi. :<

On that note, congrats, Amra! You have reminded me that one of these days I have to sit down with the Dresden Files. >_<

Right, so that challenge might have been a bit rough and complex, so hopefully this is a little easier:


Challenge Topic: Antithesis

Tired of Youmu being so simple-minded? Want to see Patchouli get outside for a change? Do you wish Shou could just hold onto her goddamn pagoda?

Well, fret no more! In this challenge, your job is to write a character as their direct opposite. Whether that means flipping their personality (Cirno the genius) or warping their morals (Nitori murdering humans) is your call, as long as it's clear you're flipping the character around somehow.

You can play this for laughs, or try to build a serious story around how this change happened and how people attempt to resolve it. Either way, most entertaining story wins.

Deadline is 12:00 BST, 9th September. !krow ot teG
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Sincerest Form Of Flattery (Results!)
Post by: Esifex on August 26, 2012, 03:22:46 PM
Right, so after a thorough and rigorous judging process we have decided that Esi's entry is sadly lacking in dolphin cameos. Sorry, Esi. :<


This prompt looks like fun, despite the absolutely terrifying picture.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Sincerest Form Of Flattery
Post by: Raikaria on August 26, 2012, 08:52:33 PM
This sounds like one where I can take part in again :V

I gotta decide who to use first. And the Genre. A humorous story of a fairy being smart? A heartwarming tale of a kind Yuuka? Mind-bending Reisen rampages?

Of course what I'm gonna do won't be any of these.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Antithesis
Post by: LogosOfJ on August 27, 2012, 06:56:31 AM
Edit as of 09/09/2012 20:35 BST: Added everything beyond "Of all law..."
Next time, I should ask if the deadline is noon or midnight.

What??? But.. But... There's still 8 minutes left on the pacific seaboard![s/]
Deadline: 12:00 BST, 25th August
(Technically, this might fit for the antithesis contest as well. Fanon was not quite clear about the star of this piece, but most gods associated with purification are considered at least neutral.)
Imitated: Lovecraft (idea drawn from this short: Nyarlathotep (
Ending is also an Orwell quote reference

Ha. Ha.. Ha...

I am the last, and so I must speak... Yet how can I speak? How shall I make audible... How shall I bind that brilliance?

The beginning eludes me, as it shall elude many others; the disturbances began many months ago, but the speed at which they spread suggests an influence, buried, vast and ancient as the ocean, that, like the tides, appears to us only at times of relative strength. The spiritually-inclined such as myself were the first amoung humans to notice, though the ill-temper of Youkai foreshadowed our unrest an entire month advance. The fey and various other specimins of spirits showed hightened sensitivity to slights, both from the village and amoung themselves, and were more inclined to fighting, despite a general legarthy that characterized all other behaviors.

Travelling monks and exorcists driven by faith rather than the crass promise of coin were the first to note this fell trend. Some  close friends amoung them chose to travel together more often, as to ward off the apprehension of bodily harm, huddling close as if before a blast of winter. Sectarian debate became more frequent and heated, instigated by the more sensitive. Friendships, first across faiths and then between schools, became strained and then crumbled amidst multiplying suspicions and small cruelties. Those of the native faiths held that the earth itself whimpered with fear; though I did not agree with such characterization of the land, I accepted without question the sentiment. I personally half-suspected, half-wished that the unease was no more than an affliction amoung holy persons, one that would leave the hardy souls of the  common folk relatively unmolested.

Alas, my wishes went unrealized. I first noticed changes in the marketplace near my place of residence. Merchants of all walks of life agreed to a strict curfew, barring their doors at sunset. The once-lively square was muted, as buyers and sellers declined to haggle. A nervous, rather than ravenous, energy seemed to pervade all transactions. The air was thick with a sense of impending revelation, as if the magnitude of the incoming horror was great enough to demand that the world itself herald its arrival.

It was at that time of potential tumult and trepidation that that god arrived; at that time, no-one guessed its nature. We took its form, a priestess in the prime of its youth, to be but a mouthpiece. It travelled with ease at the head of an ever-growing entourage, stopping by every place of residence, from market to hermitage, first to preach, then to offer up spectacles that increased its fame even further.

The feats of this god involved copious amounts of paper and water. The first was conjured in vast quantities before and after demonstrations; the second was either painstakingly carried from nearby pumps in cups of paper or demanded from captive audiences. Both religion and deity spoke much of the nature of stories and divinity, but not once did the god speak of its own history or of its own place in the heavens. Men, from beggars to statesmen, advised each other to witness this god, and no-one who watched came out unchanged. Youths with more zeal than wisdom chose to throw themselves at the feet of this god of radiance regardless of their previous convictions; older persons would offer fealty in less obvious matters. Small shrines sprung up overnight, each dedicated in a way that honored no named god. White robes became more common outside of funerals. Less and less commerece occured during the night; persons treated daytime with the wariness shown to jealous lovers, as if afraid of angering the sun through undue enjoyment of the night sky.

A month after the introduction of this god, it had enough of a following to send heralds across this land. They were singular in many senses of the word; discrete and disinclined to company. Brilliant in mind and spirit, they were like stars to the sun of their god, and they similarly traversed the land umpreturbed by weather, assault, or terrain. Like their god, they spoke of stories and their structures and powers. However, the rest of their words and actions varied wildy; the only common theme was a largely succesful push to discredit current gods. A friend related to me how one demonstrated the construction of a device that predicted rain through variations in the weight of the air; after some insinuations, the herald convinced the villagers to test the power of a local rain god. A good number of villagers soon renounced this diety after witnessing its inability to prevent dry seasons. An acquaintance in a richer area reported to me how another such herald challenged a god of lightning: in the middle of a stormy autumn, the herald built a shed on a holy mountain. The god insisted that the herald leave. The herald refused, and outfitted the house with a pattern of iron on the next day. The god summoned a storm that lasted for three days and three nights, striking a total of 30 times, yet the herald emerged on the fourth day, hungry but otherwise no worse for wear.

My order was visited by a strange herald: a young girl in tattered clothes who carried a large, purple gourd and walked without fear in unhallowed places. She arrived unannounced, demanding to see our god. When told that our god was by definition uncontactable and ineffable, she laughed with menacing glee and asserted that our centuries of servitude were built on a mistake born either in the ravings of madmen or ancient rites of subjugation. She spoke of how she did not believe in gods, of how she instead elected to observe and acknowledge instead. One acolyte then declared his undying belief in the supreme power of our god, and all the acolytes as well as a smattering of priests loudly agreed. She then challenged them to jump off of a nearby sheer cliff as proof of that belief; no-one agreed. She left as suddenly as she came, declaring that her god would come later to force our acknowledgement before leaping off of the cliff and walking away.

We passed our days in a haze after that; it seemed as if it was just the next morning when that god, that horrible, inconcevibaly vast radiance, Hakurei arrived. It did not need to announce itself; we were compelled to wait for it. For us stubborn priests of the old faiths, it prepared for us a demonstration of great brilliance, that made our eyes water in but moments. Having noticed glints of metal and shuffling followers, I had the prescence of mind to denouce the light as a trick of mirrors, whereupon Hakurei dimmed, revealing a glowing woman in ceremonial garb, a vessel at odds with its deep laughter. We screamed that we were not afraid, but were driven out all the same by an apprehension of looming danger, with some even choosing the cliff over the indeterminate doom so clearly promised by that smiling visage.

I ran for what seemed to be an eternity, until the ground beneath me cracked like a dry riverbed. The entirety of the once-bustling farmland was parched, and a reddish sun of abnormal size dominated the sky. The monastery's mountain was still present, but I could not locate any of the complex's towers. I walked further until I was forced to my knees by a combination of exhaustion and some overwhelming force. My upturned face could only stare at the sun, that odd light that seared my eyes through my eyelids. I waited and waited for night, but the light did not wane throughout my attempts at meditation and then fitful sleep that lasted long enough for my fingernails to grow to three times the widths of my smallest finger. It was in that half-awake, heat-struck delirium that I was once again forced to behold that god, surrounded by those silent mirror-bearers, who looked towards it with reverence even as it regularly sundered mirror and holder with equal indifference, and cheered when it plucked the morning star (and evening star, for the two were one and the same) from the sky and ate it. Only then did I realize the full horror of Hakurei and its promised land. Plants and chattel would not survive, for they could not adore it; those that thought themselves free of it would not survive, as the god was the only possible source of sustenance; not even its heralds would survive; as they were too brilliant themselves, too close to peers to remain undevoured.

The only survivors would be those mirror bearers, those dull, insubstantial beings that only existed to allow Hakurei to bask in its own glory, those wretches to whom even the meanest power is infinitely beyond reach. And in the center of this benighted corpus Hakurei shall lie, forever smiling that faint smile, speaking of the story of its creation:

Of all law, only I shall remain.

Yukari Yakumo was vaguely discomforted, as she was for most of her life. As usual, the neccessity of her current name irked her, like a badly-made shoe. The additional unease was due to her most recent discovery.

The preserved letter was the chance fruit of a mountain walk; sheer chance delivered to her the confirmation of suspicions far darker than her most pessimistic estimates. For one, there were at least two surviving gods, one native and one invasive, that could elude, no, defy description, even by direct witnesses. Simply by existing, undescribable and unnameable objects distort the essential basis of most magic and ritual. Of many other dangers, these gods can enfoce oaths but cannot be bound by any form of contract against their will. Moreover, news of the old intruder, Hakurei was particularly worrying in its implied ability to spontaneously redirect or create reverance. She recalled the various crusades and purges, noting Hakurei's aptitude at producing murderous zeal, and shuddered.

Shudder was all that she did, though. The risk of total anihilation hung over all Youkai since the other ineffable god, now the God of Gensokyo, first declared the name of this land, and claimed power over its Borders. A being as weak as Yakumo, who must, like a human, scrape out a living through the exploitation of any lapse in the general stinginess of nature, cannot yet do anything.

Unlike her peers, Yukari was not one with nature; in that regard, even fairies were held in higher favor; they could at least fill their stomachs with the rich soil, while mightier beings dined on increasingly dangerous wildlife and the occasional human. The strongest of all made no distinction and snapped up all of the above easily.

Yukari ate human food, used human bookkeeping, and was outclassed by notable humans in spiritual power.

Her studies (with human magicians) progressed at an unsatisfactory rate; she could not wait to become mighty, as every day of weakness was inevitably a day lost. She slept only enough to function, and crammed her morning hours with the treatises of every school of sorcery accesible to those of human-like power. Afternoons were more of the same, with the occasional break, that was inevitably directed towards attempting to master her one power.

Yukari remembered, vaguely, her birth, that place populated by eyes and hands and maws, that emptiness that somehow was substantial enough to push her, to extrude her into the world, from a crack in a wooden post that appeared normal to all later investigation. When she was young, only 10 or so years, Yukari entertained the notion of being able to command that space, to use it to devour and terrify others. Now, in her second decade, she realizes the overreach of her fantasy; her power so far is only over small openings in physical matter, and an imprecice power at that, one easily overridden by the spiritual might of even acolytes of more powerful gods.

What Yukari enjoyed, however, was experimentation. She would find some phenomena and record its interactions, hypothesize, and test. Light behaved interestingly with apetures of proper dimensions, and various ailments and injuries can be induced through judicious opening and closing of gaps. On a less practical note, she enjoyed testing constructions, from trusses to odd mechanisms. Experimentation gave Yukari a faint sense of control, as well as a small but real increase in the ability to control her environment, that malestrom of gods and demons and peoples and nagure that threatened to swallow her.

Her love of observation grew to include a love of quantification, of measurement and calculation. Yet she hated herself for her growing need for them, as she did not need them to know that she did not have the time to wait, that every moment wondering was a moment not spent avoiding anihilation.

Still, she continued her hobby, and, on some indeterminate day, it proved invaluable.
Then again.

Then again.

And, from that day on, there was never enough time in a day. There were so many more things to do, so many new avenues to uncover, some of which will lead to power.

And thus Yukari labored in her days of weakness.

She was fortunate that her discovery did not come later.

Rumia, the Guarding Dark, wished to again spread her gifts among humanity, but was hesitant, as her influence, despite the best intentions of giver and recipient, tended to produce either tyrants or madmen. She decided first to spread her power amoungst her wards, so that none were made more or less mighty than another by her fiat. She then invited them to stand proudly and aspire at her side, not realizing that she had planted the seeds of her doom.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Antithesis
Post by: Raikaria on August 27, 2012, 11:27:15 AM
"Say, Kyouko, can you check up on the graveyard? The visitors haven't mentioned the karakasa attempting to surprise them recently." Byakuren asks the Yamabiko, who, as always, happily does as the temple head says.

Unsurprisingly, the karakasa is still in the graveyard. However, instead of her usual cheerful greeting and attempt to surprise Kyouko, as she does everyone, the karakasa just floats there, depressed.

"Is something wrong Kogasa?" the Yamabiko asks. While most of the inhabitants of the Myouren Temple simply put up with Kogasa's presence, Kyouko sees her as a friend, as they both greet people loudly and heartily, albeit, with different purposes.

"I've given up surprising people." the umbrella mumbles.


"Every time I try and surprise someone it doesn't work out. Worse still, I get beaten up usually." Kogasa says sadly.

"So... you're just gonna give up?" Kyouko asks.

"Yes. What's the point if no-one is ever surprised and it only gets me beat up? It's got to the point that the mikos beat me up for asking for help."

Kogasa starts to float off, leaving Kyouko both worried and, ironically, surprised, having never seen Kogasa like this. The yamabiko decides to follow the karakasa, although staying out of her vision, and staying quiet.

She follows the karakasa out of the graveyard, as she starts to float towards the Scarlet Devil Mansion and the Misty Lake, a place she often flies about to surprise fairies and the sleeping gatekeeper. The simple minded fairies fly around the depressed umbrella, but are surprised when she doesn't react at all to them urging her to play. After all, when a fairy swarm do this, usually they end up being blasted, or the victim plays with them to shut them up.

Kyouko notices this, but doesn't say anything.

Kogasa keeps floating onwards, seemingly without a particular aim, heading towards the human village. Oftentimes she would follow a visitor to the temple home to surprise them, only to fail and be beaten up by Keine. However, she just flies right over, and, when Keine sees her and flies up after her, she stops, noticing Kogasa is making no attempt to enter the village as usual.

"That's surprising." Keine murmurers as Kyouko flies past.

The Yamabiko notices this, and decides maybe she can use this to help her friend, using her reflection of sound to send Keine's voice to Kogasa. Usually, on the rare occasion Kogasa hears these words, she reacts gleefully. This time, she just floats onwards, slowly and sadly, no reaction at all, except muttering "Don't pity me.".

Music can be heard, and Kyouko recalls the source. The melodies of the Primsriver Sisters, who can manipulate emotion with their music. Kyouko flies towards the source of the sound, and, as expected, sees the Sisters practicing.

"My friend is depressed and flying without aim. Can you do anything to pick up her spirits?" Kyouko asks.

The three sisters look at each other, before Lunasa replies: "None of us three can make feelings of happiness or euphoria specifically. We can trick her into feeling happy with Lyrica's Illusionary notes, or Merlin's maniac notes can risk it. I'd just make her sadder."

"Well, do you know what is in that direction? You three are probably the most well-traveled in Gensokyo." Kyouko asks the three poltergeists.

"In that direction is the Sanzu River, or, at least, Gensokyo's part of it. There is little but death there." Lunasa says.

"Well, we have to try then." Kyouko says, paniced. While she is not sure if a karakasa could actually die, being essentially an immaterial object, she didn't want to find out.

The sisters look at each other and nod, with Merlin and Lyrica taking the lead with their music, and Lunasa sitting back, knowing she would make things worse if she was involved. Kyouko uses her power to ensure the sound reaches the drifting karakasa, but she does not react. If anything, her pace towards the Sanzu River picks up.

"Well, you tried, thanks for that." Kyouko says, before bowing to the three sisters and flying off, ahead of Kogasa, and onwards until she reaches the riverbank.

There is little but a few flowers at the shore of the Sanzu, however, there are two other things. A boat, and, near it, a red-haired woman asleep.

"Wake up! You have to help! My friend is coming here and she's depressed and this place apparently has little but death and I don't want her to die!" Kyouko shouts, panicking.

The sleeping woman wakes up, opening one eye.

"You come here not to seek death, but to help someone?" she asks. "You are aware that you are talking to a Shinigami? Are you sure your friend is not coming to commit suicide? Depressed souls are often attracted here, if they know it or not, to die."

"She's just depressed because she is a karakasa that cannot surprise people." Kyouko says, getting more worried by the second.

"That sounds like a suicide, but being a karakasa... ah, who cares." the Shinigami says.

At this point the karakasa drifts by. The Shinigami looks at her with both eyes.

"Ah, it is not her time. I guess fate has brought her here for another purpose. However, be it her time or not, if she continues and attempts to cross the river she will certainly die."

"Well, you gotta help me then!" Kyouko says, before calling Kogasa over.

"Kogasa, have you ever seen this person before?"

"No...." the karakasa says.

"Well, then she can't take pity on you like you said Keine did. Go on, try and... you know what." Kyouko says, pleading to her freind.

"Boo." she says.

The Shinigami does not react.

"See. No-one is surprised by me. Now she's probably gonna beat me up too." Kogasa says, looking on the verge of tears.

This gets the redhead to react.

"Wait, people beat you up for trying to surprise them? That in itself is surprising! How could people be so cruel to beat up a cute karakasa that wants to play?"

"Yeah... they're mean." Kogasa says, before sniffing, "Wait... you're surprised?"

"Who wouldn't be about that cruelty?"

"Sadists. Shrine Maidens. Witches." Kogasa says.

"Shrine Maidens?! Now that is surprising, ain't they supposed to be kind? You know what, I'll tell my boss about this. Yep. She'll be surprised too, I can bet, surprised enough to pay them a visit." the shinigami says.

"You mean it? She'll really be surprised?" Kogasa says, looking a little happier.

"Oh yes. And the meanies will be susprised to see my boss too. They'll be even more surprised when they hear her mention you too. Think about how much surprise your actions will have given them!"

"You ain't lying... are you?" the karakasa asks, with puppy-dog eyes.

"If I was lyin' my boss would be here now lecturing me about lyin'."

"See Kogasa, you can surprise people! Keine wasn't taking pity on you either. That swarm of fairies were surprised too!" Kyouko says.

"I... can surprise people?" Kogasa asks.

"Yeah... even if you didn't mean to do so this time, you surprised a lot of people!"

Kogasa smiles again. "I wanna go home now... do you know the way? Those old people will wanna visit the graves and I can hide behind them and jump out and go BOO!"


Make the happy cheerful Kogasa that's  always attempting to surprise people but failing a depressed umbrella that's given up, but ironically surprising people by not surprising them. I think that counts as an antithesis, even if the story focuses more on Kyouko attempting to help her.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Antithesis
Post by: Esifex on August 28, 2012, 02:51:42 AM
Awwww, poor Kogasa ;-; (

danbo warning, be wary of nsfw ads

Although I like how you used her friendship with Kyouko, that was the cutest part.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Antithesis
Post by: Raikaria on August 29, 2012, 09:06:58 PM
Awwww, poor Kogasa ;-; (

danbo warning, be wary of nsfw ads

Although I like how you used her friendship with Kyouko, that was the cutest part.

I have never seen that before because I do not frequent Danbooru unless I'm specifically looking for a specific art to use for something because NSFW.

Still, yeah, it's painful to think of Kogasa sad. You know, because she's such a cheerful moe-blob and so innocent in her aim, but always fails but keeps tying anyway.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Antithesis
Post by: Phlegeth on August 29, 2012, 11:54:54 PM
"Listen up!  The world is a wicked place full of sin!  And this is no more true than in our very own Gensokyo!  Crime is running rampant in the streets!  Purses are being snatched!  Houses are being burned for the insurance money!  Children are reading comic books off the stands without purchasing them!  This is truly a dark age!?  This sermon was coming from an older woman with purple hair that gradually turned to brown.  Her name was Byakuren looked up from the front of the church to an almost empty room.  There was an overly enthusiastic clapping coming from this weird pink cloud.  His name was Unzan and he was in the front pew.  Byakuren glared at the ceiling and it started to crack.

"WAAAAAHHH!" there was a crash as the ceiling caved in and three figures were sitting in the rubble.

"What the crap is wrong with you Byakuren!"  One of the figures stood up dusting herself off.  She was a tall girl with a lotus flower in her hair.  Not that she had to draw attention to her hair as it was bright orange with black stripes.  Her name was Shou.

"The climax was a little earlier than I expected, you can go now," The other girl was in a bed with a sheet pulled up around her.  Her hair was blue, but otherwise normal.  Her name was Ichirin. She patted this other guy on the ass as she shooed him out of the bed.

"Is that our Mailman?  I've been waiting on this month's Playb--Ahem!  I mean Scientific Magazine!"  Byakuren said with a stern face.

"Whatever you say," Shou said and grabbed a candy bar from the rubble and took a seat in one of the pews.

"This is the goddamned house of the Lord and that kind of language will not be tolerated.  Now tell me when the mailman came!" Byakuren said, bending over and glaring at Ichirin.

"You know, about two thirty like every day and then again about five minutes ago," she stood up.

"Put some goddamn clothes on!  Not everyone wants to see that!"  She picked up Unzan and threw him at her.

"I don't think so!" Ichirin pounded Unzan really hard on the head throwing him to the floor.

"Get a good look?" Shou said to Byakuren and tossed a candy wrapper in a growing pile beside her.

"Shut up Shou!  Now listen up!  The world is a wicked--"

"Skip that part," Ichirin said throwing on a hoodie.

"Yea we don't give a crap," Shou said with a large bowl of ice cream in her lap.

Byakuren was about to say something, but Unzan was struck by lightning and let out a pitiful wheeze and coughed up a piece of paper.

"Well, well, it looks like you two have mission!" Byakuren smirked and grabbed the piece of paper.  "Winter is coming."

"Ooh, was that the name of our mailman?" Ichirin asked.

"Goddamnit this is one of those internet meh mehs!"  She looked around.  "I've been on the internet you know."

"I bet you have," Shou smirked, "And it's pronounced 'meem.'"

"Is that so?  I did not know that," Byakuren stroked her chin and nodded.

"Can we go now?" Ichirin asked and started heading for the exit.

"I'm good here," Shou said with a dessert cart being wheeled in.

"What in creation's name is that?" Byakuren yelled at Shou.

"It's obviously a dessert cart," Shou said, "You can just leave it here."

"THIS IS A HOUSE OF THE LORD!"  Byakuren yelled at the top of her lungs.  "AND THEY DO NOT HAVE DESSERT CARTS!"  She picked up the dessert cart and threw it at the exit, blocking Ichirin's path.

"HEY!" they both yelled.  Byakuren took a deep breath.

"Now ladies, and I use that term because as a woman of the Lord I can't used words like skank and fatass, you were put under me for one reason and one reason only.  And it may come as a shock to both of you that is wasn't to eat you weight in sweets or lay as many man as possible.  You were put here to hunt youkai!"

"Hey, if being under you will get you off my back let's go," Ichirin said.

"You didn't hear a goddamn thing I said," her eyes norrowed, "let me simplify it for you.  Get your skank fatasses out there and hunt some goddamn youkai!" she yelled and booted the two out of the chruch.

"That's not how I was expecting my ass to take a pounding from her," Ichirin said rubbing her butt.  She looked over at Shou who was already up and headed into the city.  "Hey were are you going?  You're not actaually going to hunt youkai are you?"

"Hell no, I'm heading to that restraunt with chocolate fountain," Shou said without turning around.  Ichirin ran up to her.

"Hey is that the one with the cute waiter I slept with?" she asked.

"Probably, you might want to be more specific.  That only narrows it down to every restraunt we've been to."

"Well what are we waiting for, let's hurry it up."

* * *

Shou was setting by herself at the table with a large cup of hot cocoa in front of her.  Ichirin came up with a disapointed look on her face.

"So, how was your dessert?" Shou smirked.

"Aweful, his face was alright, but his body left a lot to be desired.  Why are they all wearing such large coats!" Ichirin yelled at the sky.  One of the waitresses heard this and ran up to her.

"We're sorry miss but there's something wrong with the AC," she bowed to them.

"As long as I have all the hot cocoa I can drink I don't give a crap how cold it is," she took the last sip of her drink and handed to the cup the waitress.

"Umm..." she started.

"What?" Shou's eyes narrowed.

"We hate to inform you but the cold air is getting stronger, the chocolate fountain is frozen over!" she exclaimed and bowed again.

"Tonight, hell freezes over!"  Someone said from the kitchen.  It was followed by screams and people running in the opposite direction.

"It's a fairy," or some varient they were screaming.  Sure enough a small fairy in a blue dress walked out.

"Allow me to break the ice. My name is Cirno. Learn it well. For it's the chilling sound of your doom."

"Hey you!  Did you make it this cold?" Ichirin asked the fairy.

"Yes! If I must suffer. Humanity will suffer with me! I shall repay them for sentencing me to a life without human comfort. I will blanket the city in endless winter! First, Gensokyo. And then!  The world!

"Hey, give me back the chocolate fountain!" Shou yelled.

"And the hunky men in shorts!" Ichirin yelled.

"That's not the problem here," the waitress said.

"Perfect freeze!" suddenly the waitress was incased in ice.

"Are fairies youkai?" Ichirin asked.

"Hm," Shou looked at the frozen waitress.  "I don't think so, but we might score some browning points with Byakuren if we defeat this one though."

"Oh wicked spirit born of a lost soul in limbo;
Receive judgment from the garb of the Holy Virgin;"

Ichirin took off her hoodie and it turned into a metal ring.

"Cleansed of worldly impurities;
Return to Heaven and Earth."

Shou took off her lotus flower and it turned into a spear.


"Your bones will turn to ice! Your blood will freeze in my hands!" Cirno yelled and lunged at them.

"Ugh, Ichirin, you're not wearing a shirt again," Shou sighed and jabbed Cirno with her spear and threw her against the far wall.

"Don't be jealous.  You could look like this too if you stopped stuffing your face for two seconds," she grinned and threw the ring at Cirno who starting to get up.

?Ladies should be more elegant,? she said and jammed the spear into Cirno.

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."  PI-CHUUUUUUUUN  Cirno exploded into little pieces.

Stage x1000 = 1000
Power x100 = 6900
Graze x10 = 0

Player = 20000
Bomb = 500000

Easy Rank x0.5
Total = 263950

"She was only worth two-hundred and fifty thousand points!  What a rip-off!" Ichirin yelled while putting her shirt back on.

"Fairies aren't youkai it seems," Shou said.  "At least it's warming up a little bit."  She looked around, it warmed up a little bit, but the chocolate was still frozen.  "Oh well, let's go."  She sighed and walked out the door.

* * *

?The waitress is fine by the way.  When she thawed she just had a cold and had to stay in bed a couple of days.  She was fired for missing work.  But that?s just the kind of world we live in.  No one is going to cut you some slack in a fairy comes in and freezes you and you catch a cold.  And it?s just as well, the new waitress they hired is cuter.  At the rate at which they hired her, they were probably looking for any excuse to fire someone.  The job market is rough out there and are you two even paying attention??  Byakuren looked out into the pews.  ?Shou, I told you houses of the Lord don?t have dessert carts!  And Ichirin you CAN NOT do that in here!  And I don?t mean because this is a house of the lord.  That is illegal in this state!  I have half a mind to report you to the cops!?
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Antithesis
Post by: FinnKaenbyou on September 09, 2012, 11:02:14 AM

keep cool, man. we be judgin'.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Antithesis
Post by: FinnKaenbyou on September 19, 2012, 05:46:01 PM
Sorry for the delay in judging. Lots of people were busy so I needed some time to get a group together.

Anywho, we've looked through everything. Phlegeth, your entry seemed rather stream-of-consciousness, but it didn't really have the drama to it. It felt random and non-sequitur, and it was hard to make out the antithesis in the title.

The judges have compared Raikaria's story to a picture book, and it hits the topic a little cleaner than Phlegeth's does. Unfortunately it loses a little fluency as a result and it came across as a little disjointed.

Which leaves us with our winner, LogosOfJ. A few strange typos and a strange ending aside, this was easily the best written piece of the three. A great emulation of Lovecraft's style, an insightful drawing of how a cult is built and grown, and a scary outlook on what Reimu could be if she wanted it. Enjoy your Wordsmith title when Sakana comes back from Japan to give it to you. :V

Anyway, you've probably noticed a bit of a decrease in the number of entrants lately, so I'm thinking now's a good time to take a break for a month or two. Give authors time to recuperate and work on their own stuff rather than asking for new stuff every fortnight. Hopefully I'll still be able to run this amidst 3rd year uni work, but we'll have to wait and see. >.<

Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Antithesis
Post by: Raikaria on September 19, 2012, 06:48:20 PM
Eh, I didn't expect to win anyway, I just felt it an interesting topic and an interesting way to go about it.

Still, I think everyone did well.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Antithesis
Post by: Eatay on August 08, 2013, 02:18:07 PM
Shame, I came back here to reignite my writer's spirit, I feel like just freestyling with a couple of one-shots like this contest rather than my storylines.

So is this still alive or gone already?
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Antithesis
Post by: Alfred F. Jones on August 21, 2013, 02:56:07 PM
Shame, I came back here to reignite my writer's spirit, I feel like just freestyling with a couple of one-shots like this contest rather than my storylines.

So is this still alive or gone already?
That is mighty kind of you, but the thing is, the WWC is a rather significant time investment for me and Sakana and whatever other judges we have available. Coming up with a new concept, writing the prompt, then reading every single fic that gets thrown at us, then evaluating the relative merits of each one... We're busy people IRL, and a time sink like that is hard work to maintain. Add to that, the same people joining in every single WWC, week in and week out, and you get what we've got now.

If someone was willing to take over that work, I know I at least would be glad to see the WWC continue. (Even though at the end it was less of a Weekly Writing Challenge than it was a Bi-Weekly Writing Challenge.) But for my part, I can't see myself revitalizing this challenge-- at least, not in its present form. If I were to bring it back (can't speak for Sakana), it'd be in the style of Fuck Yeah Character Development's prompts ( (left column, bottom row), or something along those lines. As it stands, those prompts are definitely worth a look-see if you want to try your hand at one-shots. In fact, I wouldn't be against randomly selecting one of those and posting it here to have random people respond to the prompt, though the judging would either be absent or completely up to you.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: Iced Fairy on September 23, 2013, 11:18:33 PM
So to give you an idea on how messed up I am right now, I was wondering if the NaNoWriMo thing had died off because I hadn't seen any comments on it on IRC or in the forums.  It was only ten minutes ago that I realized that's because there's a month called October in between September and November.  But I'm not going to let that stop me.

Anyway!  As others have heard in depth before, I'm not a real fan of NaNoWriMo.  While teaching people how to keep writing is a good thing, it's my belief that the second obstacle to writing isn't number of words, but in finishing a work.  While you need to start writing, at some point you also need to stop, edit, and publish the story.  And that's something a lot of fanfic writers are really really terrible at.  Even I'm hardly blameless here.


MotK September/October Short Weeks!

Yeah not the same ring.  I know I know....

Anyway, the contest!  Your mission : submit a complete short story before October 6th!  No theme, no nothing!


1 - Your entry must be less then 3000 words.  Not a single word more.
2 - Your entry must be a stand alone story.  Not a chapter or intro to another story.

And in the interests of brevity I shall stop here.  Good luck!
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: Sect on September 25, 2013, 03:05:47 PM
While teaching people how to keep writing is a good thing, it's my belief that the second obstacle to writing isn't number of words, but in finishing a work.  While you need to start writing, at some point you also need to stop, edit, and publish the story.  And that's something a lot of fanfic writers are really really terrible at.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: Iced Fairy on October 01, 2013, 02:37:14 AM
Just a reminder that you slackers have only a week left.

Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: 日巫子 on October 01, 2013, 11:30:55 AM
[slaps fanfic down on the table and runs away at full speed] 2,923 words goodbye

The Human Village: a small oasis for non-youkai, non-ghost, and otherwise mundane citizens of Gensokyo.  A modest population of 573 sustains and protects itself in the valley grasslands, not without the help of a few harvest goddesses.  They live a modest lifestyle, and the dangers of the youkai that live beyond the fertile fields are no less ordinary the crops yielded at the end of the growing season.  Fall has come, and the good harvest was unprecedented.  The young Hieda no Akyuu, aged 19 years old, wrote invitations to the native gods of the land inviting them to a feast: ?It is because of your good fortune that we will not fear going hungry in the winter.?

Yet, in this idyllic setting, something was lurking in the shadows...perhaps literally.

In the woods outside of town, a kappa sat on the riverbank, digging a stick into the soft earth.  Her rubber boots lay next to her as she dangled her feet in the river.  She thought the sensation of rushing water would be enough to sooth her, but it didn?t get rid of the lump in her throat or the butterflies in her stomach.

Kawashiro Nitori tapped the stick against the ground a few times and then tossed it into the river.  She hiked her backpack up and stepped away from the river with her mouth set in a thin line.

?I?m gonna do it,? she whispered.  ?Today?s the day I do it.?

She pulled on her boots and stomped off into the underbrush.  It was a blustery day, but because the trees were such good windbreakers, Nitori was able to make her trek through the forest without incident.  When at last she emerged into the open, she found herself on the threshold of a great plain.  It was marked with the clear signs of human activity: tilled fields, and a town that would only take a few minutes to reach.  Nitori could have flown all the way if she wanted, but since humans traditionally walked everywhere, that?s what she was going to do.

She had hoped that her trek through the fields would go undisturbed, but there were still a few humans out, collecting the last of the harvest.  Nitori ducked behind bushels of wheat and made long dashes across the ground while peoples? backs were turned.  A cow mooed at her and nearly made her jump out of her skin.  By the time she was at the village?s outskirts, she was out of breath and trembling.

?What a day for my optic camouflage to not be working,? she gasped.

Summing up her courage, she crept out from behind the barrel she was hiding behind, and stepped onto the village?s main road.  At once, all sorts of sounds, smells, and sights descended upon her senses and took her breath away.

The Harvest Festival was in full swing.  The streets were lined with stalls, selling fresh produce, wheat, and other goods.  Tents had been propped up to guard against the wind, the taunt canvas flapping in the autumn air.  And, oh, Nitori had not seen so many humans in one place in so long.  They created a cacophony of idle chatter that made the kappa?s ears ring.  She stood, dumbfounded, as people move around her.

Nitori, slowly feeling invigorated, ventured further into the town.  No matter where she went, there was someone selling something.  Women in yukata sat on benches under a tree, laughing and eating sweets.  Children were scooping for goldfish.  Music was playing somewhere in the distance.

?Hey, kappa.?

The voice of the red-white stopped Nitori cold.  She slowly turned around to see Gensokyo?s favorite shrine maiden, bundled up in a scarf and tapping her gohei against her shoulder.  Nitori noted with vague amusement that her other hand was holding a roasted sweet potato.

?Yeah??  Nitori gripped the straps of her backpack.  She would have straightened up, but with her backpack being as big as it was, there was no way around her characteristic slouch.

?I saw you come in here.  Don?t even think about doing any funny business, you hear??  Reimu shook her gohei at Nitori.  ?I won?t hold back just because it?s the Harvest Festival.?

?Yeeees maaaa?aaaam,? Nitori said, exaggerating her words in mock submission.
Reimu glared at her.  ?I?m being serious, here.?

Nitori watched and waited as Reimu walked off.  When the girl was far away enough, Nitori stuck out her tongue.

?Is she gone??

Nitori nearly bit her tongue when she flinched in surprise.  A girl was leaning out from an alley a little ways behind the kappa, twiddling a pair of scissors in her left hand.  Another pair was in the pocket of her apron, which she was wearing over a long-sleeved blouse and skirt.

?Kamibayashi!  Don?t do that!? Nitori gasped.  The other youkai stepped out into the open and watched Reimu?s retreating figure.

?Isn?t her hair just so gorgeous and long?? Kamibayashi asked with a sigh.  ?I really want to cut it.?

?I think she?d kill you,? Nitori said.  ?Don?t tell me you got in here without her noticing, because if you did??

Kamibayashi cut her off with a wave of her scissor-wielding hand.  Nitori stepped back.  ?No, no.  She sees everything.  If she hadn?t, I would have cut her hair off by now.?

?And THEN you wouldn?t be talking to me,? Nitori added.  ?Let?s split before someone overhears us talking about this.?

Kamibayashi looked left and right.  ?Yeah, good idea.?

The two youkai joined arms and took off down the street.  They didn?t stop until they had reached the center of the village, where they were now climbing over the fence of the empty schoolyard.  Some of the village?s children had made it in their minds to count the playground equipment as a festival attraction, and decorated it with lanterns.  Nitori and Kamibayashi, if not for their unorthodox clothing, would have blended right in.

Kamibayashi plopped down on an empty swing.  ?Hey, do you have anything you wanted to do here??

Nitori, from where she was kneeling in the sandbox, shook her head. 

?No.  I just think humans are interesting,? she said a little too loudly.  A few kids nearby gave her a look, and she flushed.  ?But, the Aki sisters are here, so I might as well say ?hi?, right??

That last part was made up on the spot.  It was true that the Aki sisters were here, just as they attended every Harvest Festival, but Nitori only knew them because they lived near the mountain.  She wasn?t close and personal with either of them.  Kamibayashi snipped at the air with her scissors as she swung back and forth.

?Oh, that?s nice,? was all she had to say.

?So what are you doing here?? Nitori asked, looking at Kamibayashi.

Kamibayashi returned the scissors to her apron.  ?I?m glad you asked.  I need your help, actually.?

Nitori pointed to herself with her eyebrows raised.  ?Me??

?I?m looking for Misaki,? said Kamibayashi.  At the sight of Nitori?s confused expression, she explained further.  ?You don?t know her?  She?s a three-tailed kitsune who?s also from the mountain.  According to my sources??

?What sources??

?Will you let me finished?  Anyway, my sources said she?s in the village right now.?

Kamibayashi glanced back at the children to make sure none of them were in hearing range.  Nitori put her chin on her knees and puffed out her cheeks.

?Why do you need to find her, anyway??

Kamibayashi dug her heels into the ground, stopping herself on the swing.  ?I need to ruin a wedding.?

??Huh??  Nitori stared with her jaw agape.

?It?s becaAAAHH!?

Nitori squawked and curled into a defensive position as a silver-haired woman appeared out of nowhere and headbutted Kamibayashi.  She fell off the swing and onto the ground, where she lay with her eyes spinning.

?You?re all trespassing!? Kamishirasawa Keine announced to the playground.  The human kids squealed and ran for the fence.  Nitori, too afraid to move, relied on her backpack for cover.

?And you two,? Keine said, looking back and forth at the youkai girls, ?I don?t remember giving you permission to be here.?

Nitori peeked out from under her backpack.  ?The red-white only said not to cause any ?funny business?.?

?Well, it sounded like you were plotting something,? Keine said.

?W-we?re not!? Nitori insisted.

Kamibayashi, at that moment, was picking herself up from the ground.  Her scissors had fallen out of her apron and there was a sizeable lump on her forehead.

?Oh, geez??  Kamibayashi groaned.  ?Sensei?  Someone just attacked us.?

?That was her!? Nitori exclaimed, jolting upright.

?Anyway, you need to leave,? Keine said.  Nitori and Kamibayashi picked themselves up off the ground and hastened themselves away, as fast as they could while they were in shock or injured.

Just as they were reaching the exit, Kamibayashi turned around and called out to Keine.

?Is anyone getting married soon?!?

Keine gave her a suspicious, steady look.  Nitori kept walking, glancing back over her shoulder every few seconds.  Keine was smart and quick to draw conclusions, and Kamibayashi was not being discreet at all.  She probably knew what kind of youkai Kamibayashi was, and if she did?

?...Yes.  Yukida,? Keine said, and that was all she said.  Kamibayashi grinned and practically skipped the rest of the way out of the schoolyard.  Nitori followed close behind, now worried about the look on the schoolteacher?s face.

Kamibayashi, on the other hand, looked as giddy as an Oni did after Setsubun was over.  Once they had reentered the village crowds, she split off from Nitori to approach a stall vendor, a tall woman with long, white hair.

Nitori lingered in the background, watching the youkai cheerfully and recklessly asking for directions.  It seemed that, even in a village where humans outnumbered the two of them, it was okay to throw caution to the wind as long as the red-white wasn?t around.

She sniffed.  It was silly to be worried about the red-white like that.  Sure, she was the most dangerous person Nitori knew, but for all it was worth, she just looked like an ordinary teenage girl.  Surely she?d understand the poetry of why some loves could never be?and some such.

Among the whiffs of candied apples and charcoal in the air, Nitori smelled something that only a youkai could smell, and that was the scent of someone like her.

Nitori perked up and looked left and right.  What kind of youkai was so bad at disguising themselves?  And then it hit her: whoever it was didn?t need to be cautious with that sort of thing, because the number of youkai who frequented the Human Village could be counted on one hand.

Mustering up all the stealth she had, she inched over to Kamibayashi and poked her shoulder.

?There?s someone here,? she whispered.  Kamibayashi, who had just finished speaking to the vendor, raised her eyebrows.

?You mean???


The two once again rushed off, following the strange aura.  Their search was not long, because within minutes, Kamibayashi had dragged Nitori behind a tree with her.  Nitori opened her mouth to protest, but a pair of scissors held up to her mouth like a shushing finger silenced her.

She followed Kamibayashi?s pointing finger to a couple walking along the street.  The man was young, with unevenly-cut hair and a confident-glint in his eyes.  He strode hand-in-hand with a young woman.  Her hair was long and thick, tied off at the end with a simple ribbon.  Her face was oval-shaped and thin, and her lips curved up in a smile.  Nitori was at once entranced.

The crowd around them screamed.  Kamibayashi had darted out from behind a tree towards the couple, a pair of scissors in each hand.  The man threw his arm out in front of the woman, but was met with Kamibayashi?s elbow digging into his side.  He fell to the ground as the woman stood frozen; her delicate features were alight with horror.

However, it was too late for her to run.  Kamibayashi was already behind her and slicing away her hair.  Once the last strand had been disconnected, she ran back to Nitori with the hair in her hands, crowing in triumph.

This whole scene took about seven seconds to play out.

Nitori stared, in complete awe at what had just happened.  The man was sitting on the ground in shock.  Disconcerted murmurs rippled through the crowd, and dozens of eyes trained themselves on Kamibayashi, who twined the hair between her fingers.

The woman stood in the center of it all, staring at the strands of left in her hands.  Her hair was now to her shoulders.

?You??  Her hands trembled.  She glared at Kamibayashi.  ?What have you done?!?

Kamibayashi?s smile fell.  ?You?re making a mistake, Misaki.  These kinds of marriages never work out.?

?Hey, wait a second!?  Everyone turned to see the man standing up, rubbing his side.  ?What?s going on?  ?These kinds of marriages???

That must have been Yukida, Nitori concluded.  The woman looked at him, panic-striken.

?Hold on, now, you don?t mean?? came a voice from the crowd.

?You know what kind of youkai that thing is, right??  This question was indicating Kamibayashi, who was acting like she didn?t hear them.

The woman?s large brown eyes filled with tears, and at once she began to change.  Her previously black hair became white-blonde, and a pair of tall fox ears popped on her head.  Three sleek, white-tipped tails appeared behind her.

Nitori thought Yukida?s eyes were going to explode out of his head.

?Huh?  What the hell?!? he half-shouted to no one in particular.  The tears in Misaki?s eyes overflowed and spilled down her cheeks.

?Kiri, you idiot!  I hate you!? she sobbed.  She pushed past the crowd, covering her face and remaining dignity with one arm as she fled the scene.  The humans gave her wide berth, and a few even screamed again.  A little to Nitori?s disappointment, Yukida didn?t give chase.

Kiri threw her arms in the air.  ?We did it!  Nitori, we??


The only sounds that came from the crowd now were a few sighs of relief, but that was the last emotion Nitori experienced when a hand clamped down on her shoulder.  She dared look behind her and saw?of course?the red-white.  With her other hand she tapped her gohei against her shoulder and shot a nasty look at Kamibayashi, who stopped celebrating to hold the severed hair and scissors in her arms protectively.

?What the hell did I just tell you guys?? Reimu said.  As she spoke, the stall vendor Kamibayashi was speaking to earlier jogged onto the premises and started dispersing the crowd with mutters of ?nothing to see here folks? and ?move along now, Hakurei at work?.

Kamibayashi gulped.  ?Um.  We were just??

?We were preventing a marriage between a youkai and a human!? Nitori blurted out.  Nitori to the rescue.

Reimu let go of the kappa?s shoulder and folded her arms.  ?All I see you two doing is terrorizing the villagers!?

?I-it?s true!  She ran off just now, but there was a kitsune here,? Kamibayashi chimed in.  ?We were helping them.?

Reimu made a ?tch? sound.  ?You?re a kami-kiri youkai, right??

Kamibayashi nodded.  Reimu returned the nod with a stern look.

?Okay.  If I ever see you in the village again, I?m gonna exterminate you,? Reimu said, waving her gohei at them.  ?Both of you.?

?You don?t even live in the village, how are you going to catch us?? Nitori asked.

It was an innocent question, but in hindsight, it was a very stupid thing for Nitori to say.  Ten minutes and a faceful of danmaku later, Nitori and Kamibayashi were sitting on a hay bale on the outskirts of the village.  As Kamibayashi cooed sadly at her scorched scissors, Nitori rubbed an ofuda stuck on her hand and fumed in a quiet sort of way.

She thought about how much she was looking forward to today, and how she should be angry at Kamibayashi.  After all, if it wasn?t for her, she wouldn?t have been kicked out.  But then Nitori thought about the expression Misaki had when she was yelling at them, and felt a little sad herself.

?Sorry about this,? Kamibayashi said, out of the blue.

?About what?? Nitori asked, although she knew.

?For messing up your night.?

?Oh, that??  Nitori leaned back on the hay bale.  ?You really did.  I was gonna have a great time and check out all the stalls but then I got caught up in this big mess.?

Kamibayashi let out a long sigh and slid to the ground, where she looked up at the night sky.  The lights of the Human Village were not enough to silence the stars.

?How do you feel??

??Kinda bad,? Kamibayashi said.  ?But mostly about Misaki.  I thought we were friends.?

Nitori snorted.  ?You?re the one who cut off her hair.?

?But she said she hated me.?

A moment of silence followed, but Nitori didn?t think it was awkward.

After the moment had passed, Nitori said, ?She was probably just mad, and scared that she was surrounded by all those humans.  I think I understand how she feels.?

?You really think so??

?Yeah.  Tonight was pretty awful, but she?ll feel better.?

Kamibayashi gave Nitori a small, sad smile.

?Thanks man.?

She stood up and took off across the fields.  Nitori watched her leave.  Once she was out of sight, she laid back on the hay bale and decided to watch the sky for a little while longer.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: TwilightsCall on October 02, 2013, 01:20:13 AM
I'm not going to lie, I was getting pretty scared as the word count for this story climbed up and up in the bottom left of my screen...

2,999 words!

Autumn?s Elegy

Shizuha walked sullenly down some lonely dirt path.  She didn?t know where it started, or where it was going, but she was far from caring about such things.

Autumn was well underway.  The air still held a lingering warmth, but the temperature had begun its slow descent, and in a few weeks it would be unquestionably cold.  The leaves had almost finished turning, and the few people in Gensokyo that lived off the land were eagerly awaiting the fruits of their last year?s worth of labor in the coming harvest.

Unfortunately, not everyone could get excited about the most colourful of seasons, and this was a truth that, today especially, was weighing heavily on Shizuha?s shoulders.

Looking up at the clear sky overhead, Shizuha heaved a sigh as she slowly continued down the path to nowhere.  Normally, this would be the time of greatest excitement for her ? even if Autumn made up a quarter of the year, that didn?t necessarily mean she was working for a quarter of the year.  After all, for someone like her, it took almost no time at all to finish painting the leaves.  She did what she could to drag the work out, but it still ended far too quickly for her tastes.

After that, all she had to do was make the leaves fall.  To take all the careful work she had done, the masterpiece of nature she had created, and scatter it across the ground so that any random person could trample over it with their dirty feet.

While she didn?t particularly like that part of her job, it wasn?t what had her down.  She had long ago accepted the fact that this was the way things were, and complaining about it would do nothing but cause trouble for her, for her sister, and most of all for the people who relied on her to do her job.

And that is where her bad mood was coming from.

She was a goddess.  A manifestation of the faith of the common person.  They needed Autumn, and she was there to satisfy that need.  They relied on her, and her greatest joy in life was fulfilling her role as a goddess of Autumn.  This is what she had believed her entire life, yet recently, she had had that belief called into question.

?What? There are two goddesses of Autumn? What for??

?One to bring the season, one to bring the harvest, right??

?Don?t get me wrong, I appreciate the Autumn leaves, but wouldn?t it be great if there was only one goddess?  The harvest is fantastic, but in all honesty I could do without the rest of it.?

?Hey, that?s a pretty disrespectful thing to say.  I?m sure they both work very hard.?

?But it?s true, isn?t it??

?Being true doesn?t stop it from being disrespectful.?

?Wouldn?t it be great?? Shizuha whispered to herself, ??if there was only one goddess??

In truth, they were nobodies.  Just two random men from the human village, chatting idly.  They had no influence, no power, and of course no relation to her.  Yet, these were the people she worked for.  Every year, she poured her heart into her work for the sake of these people.

Yet?they didn?t even want her to be there.

They may have been nobodies, but that didn?t mean they were the only ones who thought that way.  Even she was starting to think that way.

After all, what did she do?  She painted leaves and made them fall.  Sure, it looked nice for a while, but then it just got in everyone?s way.  A giant mess that covered all of Gensokyo, and the one who caused the whole thing was the one person who didn?t help to clean any of it up.

Wouldn?t it be better?if that never happened?

Wouldn?t everyone be happier?if she just didn?t exist?

Deep down, she knew pursuing thoughts like this was pointless.  The best she would be able to accomplish is to make herself unhappy.  She had a job to do, and regardless of what anyone thought, she had to do it.  But the fact she had been working so hard trying to make people happy, and then found out that people would rather she didn?t exist?it was difficult to get it out of her head.

And so she found herself, once again, envying her little sister.  Minoriko Aki, symbol of Abundance and Wealth, goddess of the harvest.  Every year, she was invited to the human village to bless their crops and join in on the festivities, and there wasn?t a soul alive that disliked her.  Not only did the people consider her necessary, she was necessary ? she was the one responsible for putting food on the table for all of those living in Gensokyo.  And her blessings weren?t even limited to Autumn ? while she only needed to literally go and bless the harvest then, the food that grew would feed the people who harvested it all year long. 

She was necessary, she was loved.  And no one ever wished she was gone.

Shizuha laughed derisively at herself.  Compared to her sister, who was she? Shizuha Aki, Symbol of Loneliness and Death.  She painted the Autumn leaves, then caused trouble for everybody by scattering them all over the ground.  And here she was, walking alone on some nameless path, hated by everybody ? just like her title.

Of course, it wasn?t like she held it against her sister.  And surely, she had hardships of her own.  But there was one difference between them that, no matter what excuses she made, could never be reconciled.

The people loved Minoriko.  And the people wished that Shizuha didn?t exist.

Shizuha suddenly stumbled.  Having spent so long staring at the sky, it was a wonder she hadn?t done so earlier, to be honest.   Barely managing to catch herself, she turned around to find the cause, and her eyes quickly fell upon a recently overturned rock in the path.  It was barely larger than her fist, but it had been stuck in the ground fairly solidly, making her trip as her foot ran into it.

Calmly, Shizuha walked up beside the rock.  Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and attempted to calm herself.  All of this self-deriding thinking was driving her mood into darker and darker territory.  Even something small, like tripping over a rock, frustrated her so much that she felt like she might come to tears.

With a war cry-like shout, Shizuha kicked the upturned rock with all her might.  The pathetic stone stood no chance, and was instantly sent flying dozens of feet into the distance.

Shizuha looked up triumphantly to see how far the rock had gone, but found her search quickly impeded.  The rock, after departing from the narrow path that was its home, flew deep into row upon row of sunflowers.  With no small amount of surprise, Shizuha finally decided to find out where she was.

Apparently, without realizing it, she had walked all the way to the Garden of the Sun.  She wasn?t inside it, but the path she was walking on ran across its border, and even from where she was she could easily make out the countless rows of sunflowers growing off into the distance.  Though the rock was instantly obscured from view, it had just as quickly vanished from her thoughts.

Was it envy? Hate? Frustration? Something inside Shizuha started welling up.  The small amount of frustration she had managed to relieve with her moment of violence against the stone was quickly overwhelmed by a much greater feeling, something dark and spiteful, that she couldn?t quite put a name to.

As she walked, worrying about her place in life, worrying about whether her contribution was worthwhile, worrying constantly over the conversation she overheard saying everyone would be better off without her?as these thoughts swirled around in her heart, of all the places to end up, she found herself at the Garden of the Sun.

The Garden of the Sun, a field of countless sunflowers.  The one place in Gensokyo that was free from the cycle of seasons that gripped the rest of the world.  No matter what day, what time, or what weather, these sunflowers bravely stood facing the sun.  They feared nothing of Winter?s fatal snow, nor did they care of Spring?s promise of new life.  Summer, the territory reserved for them, passed by meaninglessly for them.  No matter what the season, still these sunflowers grew, earning this place the name it rightfully deserved.

Of course, the same went for Autumn.  As if in defiance of the circle of life itself, these flowers stretched ever upwards during the time set aside for all plants to wither and die.

As Shizuha was contemplating the value of her existence, she managed to end up in the one place that proved she was completely unnecessary.

See? Without your Autumn, see what beauty we can achieve?  Without your curse, see how happy we are ? and how happy the people who come here are?

Wouldn?t it be better if you just didn?t exist?

Deep down, she knew the only one saying these things was her.  She knew that it was all in her head, that these sunflowers didn?t even know she existed, that the whole situation was just random chance.  But all of it happening at once was just too much, and in seconds, she snapped.

Slowly, she approached the edge of the sunflower field.  Her face more blank than impassive, she stopped five steps away, her dark feelings from earlier rapidly turning to quiet fury.

She was a goddess.  What kind of insolence did it take for mere flowers to mock her?  She slowly began gathering her power about her. Enough to kill a single plant, to drop the leaves of an entire tree, to lay waste to a small patch of land?upwards and upwards her power grew.

She would show everyone in Gensokyo that no one ? no one ? was safe from the passing seasons.  As silly as she knew it sounded, she would prove herself to be superior to the Garden of the Sun.  And she wouldn?t rest until every single flower here withered and died.  These flowers would taste divine punishment.

Feeling herself brimming with the same power that made her hated, she raised her arm and pointed at the offending sunflowers.  She was beyond caring how much it would take to destroy this place ? if she couldn?t do it all at once, she had no problems doing it over and over.  No matter what it took, she would teach all of Gensokyo what it meant to scorn the Goddess of Turning Leaves.

Just as she was about to release her power upon the field of sunflowers?she saw a rustling in the plants.  She paused for a brief moment, and in that time, a woman stepped out from among the sunflowers.

?My, my, what do we have here??  The stranger spoke with a gentle smile, a parasol resting on her shoulder shading her face.  Her red eyes and green hair showed that she was most definitely a youkai of some sort, but other than that, Shizuha knew nothing about her.

Her train of thought broken by the appearance of the stranger, she dropped her arm and released the power she had built up.  Her anger and rage that had been overflowing just moments before vanished in a heartbeat, replaced by a depressed listlessness. She couldn?t help but laugh at herself, having her resolve blown away completely by such a simple distraction.  Giving the stranger a tired glance, Shizuha made to leave.

It was silly of her to take her anger out on these flowers. They were just flowers, after all.  The only thing she could accomplish by killing them is to make the people who enjoyed them unhappy.  And if there was one thing she didn?t need, it was for people to dislike her for even more reasons.

?And what would a goddess of Autumn be doing here, in the one place in Gensokyo Autumn doesn?t reach, I wonder?? The stranger spoke gently.

?Oh, nothing,? Shizuha responded sarcastically with a bitter smile, ?Just looking for ways to make even more people hate me.?

The stranger frowned.  ?That is an?odd hobby, to say the least.  But more than that, what makes you think people hate you in the first place?  Gods and goddess? of the seasons are typically fairly popular, especially among the humans.?

?Yeah, that would be my sister you?re thinking of,? she replied bitterly, ?all I do is make people upset.  I play around painting leaves for a while before killing them and causing trouble for people.  I?m?? Shizuha choked slightly as she spoke, ??just useless??

Her confession was followed by an awkward silence.  Realizing what she had said ? and to a complete stranger, no less ? she quickly turned to her with an apologetic smile.

?Sorry, that was?kind of weird of me.  I?m having a bit of a bad day, don?t pay any mind to me.?  Even if that was how she actually felt, there was no reason for her to bother this stranger, who had likely just come to enjoy some flowers, with her personal problems.

The stranger replied, her face looking somewhat amused.  ?Well, it?s your problem if you feel that way, but please?? her face changed expressions, and Shizuha couldn?t quite tell what thoughts were stirring beneath it. ??don?t underestimate the power of the turning leaves.?

Shizuha blinked in surprise.  Underestimate? ?What do you mean?  What possible power could there be in a bunch of leaves changing colour??  Though still pessimistic, she couldn?t help but feel somewhat intrigued by this stranger?s opinion. Nor could she help but feeling a little strange trying to argue that her job was pointless while a stranger tried to argue the opposite.

The stranger closed her eyes and thought for a moment, twirling the parasol on her shoulder.  ?Every year, every Spring, all sorts of plants begin to grow.  After the long winter, they push their way out of the ground, determined to become beautiful flowers.  Every Summer, they reach the apex of their beauty, shining vibrantly, showing themselves off to the world.  Every Winter, harsh colds and heavy snows wipe away every last vestige of their existence.  Everything ends, until the next Spring, when a new generation of plants take their place.?

?But between Summer and Winter, there?s an important step missing.  What purpose, in this whole cycle, does Autumn serve?  Is it just a time of suffering for the natural world, leading up to Winter??

The stranger paused to look at Shizuha?s expression.  Shizuha, who was frowning and looking at the ground in front of her feet, seemed to be struggling to answer the question that had been asked.

?Not only does Autumn serve a purpose,? the stranger continued, ?it could be considered the most important link in the cycle.  For it is Autumn that warns of the coming Winter, it is the turning of the leaves that signal that the end is near.?

?As the temperature begins to fall, as the leaves begin to turn, as the weaker plants begin to wither, the rest of nature sees this happen and takes action.  When the bell of Autumn rings, the plants that know they can?t survive the coming cold begin to drop their seeds.  They begin to prepare for the next Spring, and knowing that they will not see it themselves, do everything in their power to ensure their children do.?

?The trees see their own leaves turn, and know that it is time to sleep.  They rest for the winter, knowing that if they were to try and stay awake, they would surely freeze to death.  Yes, without the warning that is Autumn, the plants would die, the trees would freeze, and the entire natural world would be driven to extinction?in not but a single year.?

Shizuha?s eyes were wide with shock.  She had never even considered what it would mean to have lost Autumn, and here, her first time contemplating it, she was being told directly how losing Autumn would mean global extinction.  The difference between her expectations and the apparent reality were so large, she was having trouble coming to terms with it.

?The harvest is all well and good,? the stranger spoke over her shoulder as she turned, ?but don?t forget that even that wouldn?t happen if the leaves never turned.?  With that, the stranger disappeared into the flowers with a small wave of her hand, leaving Shizuha alone.

She must have been exaggerating.  This thought pervaded her mind as she tried to grasp what the stranger had said to her.  Surely, the cycle of nature wasn?t so fragile that something like the leaves forgetting to change colours would destroy the whole thing.  And yet, the more she thought, whether it was logical or not, the more what she had said made sense.

And that meant?maybe, just maybe?that she was necessary.

That even her sister would be lost without her.

That the people of Gensokyo needed her to do her job more than anyone else.

That she wasn?t useless.

The last line echoed through her mind over and over, slowly melting away the coldness in her heart.  Once again, she mocked her own childishness, that a single person?s words could sway her mood so easily, but as she turned to continue her walk along the path, she still couldn?t help but give, finally, a genuine smile.

Even if the people of the human village didn?t like her, they needed her more than they could ever realize.  And that meant that she had a job to do.

Walking down the nameless path once more, Shizuha said a silent thank you to the stone that had tripped her earlier, for bringing her into contact with that green-haired stranger?

?never realizing that that same stone was now resting conspicuously right where that same stranger had stood while they were talking.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: Phlegeth on October 02, 2013, 06:35:49 AM
Wonder if I should put a disclaimer along the lines of WARNING EXTREME FANON AHEAD or some junk.
Final Word Count: 2971

Donation for Oni

Yatsugatake, a mountain known for a couple of things: the home of the goddess Iwanagahime and being slightly larger in the past.  The oni have taken a liking to the mountain and have called it their home as well.  On this bright morning three particular oni have gathered on the cliff.  They appear to be holding an important forum.  Onis are a strong race and they like to fight and party and have a good time.  And these three are in high standing with the oni, so an important meeting between the three could very well shape the course of history for this land.

?I like beer!?  The short one with long brown hair and two large brown horns pretruding from the side of her head proclaimed and took a swing from her purple gourd.

?We know, Suika,? the medium sized one with short pink hair sighed. 

?Kasen,? the very tall one with long blond hair and large red horn wrapped her arm around Kasen, ?You've got to lighting up girl!  Look out there!?  She waved her free arm across the horizon, ?breathe in this fresh mountain air!?  She took a huge breath and exhaled.  ?It's great to be alive!?

?You say that now, Yuugi? someone said from behind them.  They turned around and saw a woman about the same size as Kasen and with green wavy hair. 

?Ah, Yuuka, how are you going to ruin being alive this time?? Yuugi smirked at her.

?Oh not me, the humans.  I was walking around the human village earlier--?

?Oh dear lord,? Kasen started rubbing the bridge between her eyes.

?I.  WAS.  WALKING.  AROUND.   THE.  HUMAN.  VILLAGE.  EARLIER!? Yuuka repeated while glaring at Kasen, ?and noticed a new building at the far end.  There were a lot of people there.  I was naturally curious so I starting asking the people.?

?You asked?? Kasen cocked an eyebrow.

?Yes, it took a couple of hits but I finally got an answer.  It turned out to be a shrine.?

?Yes, humans like those things.  They turn to a higher power because they lack the strength to do something themselves,? Kasen said.

?Are you done with your social commentary, because this shrine had something in it.  You see these people were lining up to but metal in a wooden box.  After hitting a couple of people I found out that it's a magical wish granting box and that metal stuff was Yang or Yin or something.  I don't care, you put enough of that stuff in it and a shrine maiden comes out and grants your wish.?

?Why are you telling us all of this?? Kasen asked.

?I stole the box,? Yuuka moved out of the way and sure enough there was a box behind her.

?Box!  More beer!?  Suika shouted at the box.

?You have to put Yin in it,? Yuugi said.

?I ain't putting jack in it til I get my beer!? Suika yelled.

?Well, have fun,? Yuuka said and walked off.

Kasen groaned.

?What are you groaning about?? Yuugi asked.

?Just trying to figure who to blame for ruining 'being alive' when the humans come to take back the box.?

?BEER!? Suika shouted at the box.

?Hand me my dish,? Yuugi smiled gently.  Kasen went inside the mountain and came back a few moments later with a red dish.  ?Suika come here with your gourd.?  Suika walked over and handed Yuugi her guord and Kasen gave her the red dish.  ?We don't need that box for more beer,? Yuugi said and poured sake from the gourd onto the dish.  ?Like Kasen said we solve our own problems.?  She handed the dish Suika.  ?No use in waiting for shrine maiden that ain't gonna come.?

?Damn this mountain is big!? they heard a voice from over the cliff.  They all peered over the edge and a red and white blur flew past them.  It looked down at them and stopped.  She floated back down to eye level with the oni.  She had long black hair with bangs parted down the middle that framed her face.  ?I'm the Hakurei Shrine Maiden, have you seen a green haired--? she stopped talking and looked straight at the box.  ?There it is!?

?Did you bring beer?? Suika asked.

?In one ear and out the other,? Kasen shook her head.

?I did bring beer,? she responded.  ?When I heard my box got taken here, I figured I'd better bring some.  I heard there were Tengu and Oni up here, so I came prepared.?  She pulled a container out of thin air.  ?I'll give you this if you give me my box back.?

?Where did that come from?? Kasen asked.

?Shrine Maiden magic?? she responded.

?You don't sound so sure."

?I brought you beer so give me my box back.?

?Are you making demands of an oni?? Yuugi stepped toward the shrine maided.  She was a whole two heads taller.

?I'm offering a trade,? she held out an empty hand.  ?What, where did it go!??

?This is some good stuff!? Suika yelled.

?Suika!? Yuugi yelled.  ?We do not steal!?

?We traded.  I got my beer, she can have her box,? Suika laughed.

?You are the worst negotiator ever,? Kasen sighed.  ?I guess being oni of our words, we're letting her take the box.?

?Yea,? Yuugi sighed, ?You can take your box.?

?What?? the shrine maiden stood there, shocked.

?I was hoping for a fight, but things turned out this way,? Yuugi shrugged.  ?We'll fight later.  I want to see what a shrine maiden is capable off.?

?This was all very anti-clamatic,? the shrine maiden picked up the box and flew down the mountain.

?Later?? Kasen asked.

?Tomorrow is later,? Yuugi grinned excitedly.

* * *

It was later afternoon by the time the shrine maiden made to her shrine.  All the people were gone.  She placed the box at the entrance to the shrine.

?You're back earlier then I expected,? a voice said from inside the shrine.  The shrine maiden looked up and a tall blond woman in a long white dress seemingly appeared from the shadows.  ?And you're in one piece.?

?How do you keep appearing out of nowhere like that?? she asked.

?That's none of your concern, Mima? she said and looked over the box.  ?How did you get this back??

?They took the trade, surprisingly,? she said.

?No tricks?? she looked up.

?No, they were pretty straight foreword.?

?I meant from you, Miss 'Hakurei Shrine Maiden,'? she said with air quotes.

?I am the Hakurei Shrine Maiden,? she responded with a sheepish grin.  ?Look I even put the paper things on my stick,? she held up her wand with a moon adorned on top and zigzap paper tied underneath it.

?Shide,? the woman responded.  ?And that doesn't make you a shrine maiden.  You're just a squatter.?

?This shrine was empty when I found it,? she responded.  ?And I called dibs.?

?Dibs??  She shook her head, ?doesn't matter.  People will start to question your heritage if you don't use the Hakurei Heirloom.?

?What are you talking about?  I use the Heirloom all the time.  I just went and got it back from the oni.?

?The donation box isn't the Hakurei Heirloom!? she sighed, ?I was talking about the Yin-Yang orbs.  If you are going to take the mantle of Hakurei you need to use them to fight youkai.?

?Yea about that, why?? she leaned against the box.

?Why what?? the woman looked down at her.

?Why fight youkai.  What have they done to me??

?That's not an attitude a shrine maiden should have.  And you fight them because the attack people.?

?Not for fun though.  Well except for that one this morning who went around smacking people in the back of the head yelling, 'WHERE AM I?'?  she stopped and grinned to herself remembering the absurdity of it. 

?Look I'm saying I eat cows and stuff but I don't see them plotting against me.  And every instance of a Youkai attack has been instigated by us humans.  If we leave them alone and don't encroach on their hunting grounds they'll leave us alone.?

?Again, that is a very dangerous attitude.?

?Maybe that priestess from a while back was right,? Mima stood up and looked at the woman in the eyes.

?And look how that turned out for her,? the woman warned once again.

?They were Buddhist,? she shrugged, ?they follow someone who looked a person who eats babies and thought to himself, now there's a goddess of parenthood.?

?Well in any case, I'll be leaving now,? she said and disappeared back into the shadows of the shrine.  Mima ran inside and looked around.

?Damn,? she said looking at the ground.  ?I'm going to figure out how she does that.?

* * *

It was the next afternoon.  Mima was outside the shrine sweeping.  She looked back at the Yin-Yang orb on the inside and shook her head.  ?If it is the Hakurei heirloom and I'm not a Hakurei then what's the point,? she thought to herself.  She heard footsteps up ahead and looked up.  There were four shadows looming in the distance.  Two of normal height, one small one, and a really tall one.    The small one had two horns too.  One of the medium ones looked like she was carrying a parasol.  She walked over to the box and placed the broom down and picked up her wand.  The four shadows approached her.  Three of them stopped, but the tallest kept walking.

?Heya,? she waved her hand.  ?How you doing??

?I'm...good?? she was very confused.

?Good, good,? Yuugi said.  She extended her hand out.  Mima looked at it and then at Yuugi with a very confused look on her face.  ?Right sorry, I don't know how to do this properly.  I have come to challenge you to a duel.?

?A duel,? she gripped her wand.

?Yes, I feel that we both feel that we were robbed of a proper fight yesterday, by forces outside of our control,? she looked back a Suika who was otherwise preoccupied with a butterfly flying around the shrine.

?What is with you?  This is not what you were like yesterday,? still with the confused face.

?Yea, you're right,? Yuugi pounded her fist into her palm.  ?I want to fight a shrine maiden.?

?Well,? Mima grinned and waved her arm at the empty shrine, ?take your pick.?

?There's just you,? Yuugi responded.

?But there's four of you.?

?Four?? Yuugi turned around.  Yuuka was smiling and waving.

?Where did you come from?? Yuugi asked.

?My house.?

?She's been following us since we left the mountain,? Kasen explained.

?Well the more the merrier,? Yuugi said and turned back around.

?Speak for yourself!?  Mima exclaimed.

?Don't worry, it's just going to be us in this duel,? Yuugi turned back around to Kasen.  ?Watch her,? she pointed at Yuuka who was twirling her parasol.

Mima took a stance and held out the wand in front of her.  Yuugi cracked her neck and raised her fist in front of her.

?Let's go!? Mima shouted and waved her wand in front of her.  She produced a star and flew at Yuugi.  She grinned and ran right into it without flinching.

?Is that all you've got!? she yelled and kept running.

Yuugi threw her arm back to punch, Mima swung her wand again and made a wind to blow Yuugi away.  However, Yuugi was too heavy and it redirected and blew Mima back.  The effect was the same and she dodged the punched.  Yuugi's fist hit the ground and the floor cracked.

?Yuugi!?  Kasen yelled from the sidelines.  ?Shrine maiden or not, she's just a human.  Tone it back a little!?

?Tone it back?? Yuugi jutted her thumb at Kasen.  ?Can you believe that??

Mima was shaking and sweating all over, ?I don't want to die,? she reponded.

?Right,? Yuugi sighed.  ?Toning it down.?

She once again jumped at Mima.  Mima was too frazzled to move and Yuugi hit her with a leg sweep and knocked her on her back.  Mima looked up at her attacker, paniced.

?Is this a shrine maiden?? Yuugi asked.  She gripped her fist and went to punch Mima.  She swung her wand to make a wind to push her away.  ?Not this time,? Yuugi opened her fist and grabbed Mima by the leg and lifted her above her head.  ?Now this has been anti-clamatic,? she sighed and threw Mima into the shrine.  ?Why would anyone come to you to make their wishes come true.  They should come to me!?  Yuugi gave a hearty laugh.  And started walking away.

?I'm bored,? Suika said and when Yuugi got to them.

?That wasn't much of a fight, I agree,? Yuugi said.

?I didn't get a chance to liven it up any,? Yuuka grinned.

?No one wants that,? Kasen said.  The four all started walking away. 

As they neared the gate, Yuugi got hit in the back of the head with something.  They turned around and looked at the ground and saw a Yin-Yang ball rolling back to the shrine.  They looked up at the shrine to she the girl standing there panting and covered in blood.  She took off running and Yuugi had a huge smile on her face.

?THIS IS MORE LIKE IT!?  She yelled and lunged back into battle.

Mima reached the Orb and kicked it with the inside of her foot, or more precisely it was repelled by the inside of her foot and went flying at Yuugi.  She went to catch it, but it repelled her and knocked her back.  She skidded back on one of her knees.  The Orb went flying back towards Mima who used her wind to redirect it around her and back at Yuugi.

Yuugi looked up at the incoming Orb and went to punch it.  However, she was so preoccupied with the orb she wasn't watching Mima come up behind it and use her palm to repel it down at the ground.  Yuugi's punch missed and the Orb bounced up and smacked Yuugi in the jaw.  It hit her with such force it knocked her off the ground.  She flew and landed on her back.  Yuugi stood up and shook her head and looked at her opponent.  She was limping on the leg she used to kicked orb and her palm was bright pink.  But she wasn't backing down.  Yuugi grinned, not because her opponent was injured; but because she still fighting, giving it her all. 

The Orb was falling back to the ground.  Panting, Mima looked up and braced herself.  She looked at Yuugi who was grinning back at her.  The met eyes and both knew that this was it.  Mima leaned back and Yuugi pushed off with feet and lunged.  Mima put all her force into her head as it hit the orb it flew forward and hit Yuugi dead on and she hit ground.  Mima's head was pounding, she was panting, but she stood her ground and watched Yuugi.  She stood and shook her head again and looked at Mima.  She didn't show any signs of damage.  Then Mima collapsed.

* * *

?You humans are crazy,? Mima heard a voice and looked around.  There was a slight breeze and the curtains in the distance fluttered.  She recognized them, she was in the bedroom of the shrine.  She looked around and saw Yuugi standing above her with a huge smile and a palm extended.  She took it and Yuugi lifted her out of bed.

?Geez, you have like no self-preservation instinct at all, do you?? Mima turned around and the woman appeard from the shadows.  ?And you used the Orb all wrong too by the way.?

?I know you, you're that Yakumo witch,? Yuugi said.

?Don't even get me started with you,? she glared at Yuugi.

?Come on, you want to go!? Yuugi grinned.  ?I've tried to size you up every time I run into you, but I can't get a good read on you.  So let's fight.?

?Maybe later, I don't feel like it,? she looked at Mima, ?I feel a headache coming on.?

?HEY IS THAT A TURTLE!? there was a shout from the front yard.

They all went outside to see what the shouting was about.  They saw Suika with a huge smile.  ?I'm going to eat that!? she pointed at the large turtle in the grass.  ?BOX!  One soup pot!?  She turned and looked at Mima with an expectant face.

?No,? she responded.

?Aww,? she looked so disappointed.  For second and then her face lit up, ?I have to put in it first!?  She ran over to the Orb, but of course it was repelled by her and started rolling away.  And Suika just went ahead chasing it.

?Hey,? Yuuka yelled at Mima.  ?We're guest, aren't shrine maidens suppose to entertain their guests.?

?I guess,? Mima sighed, ?I'll go get some tea going or something.?

?I want turtle soup,? Yuuka said and looked at the turtle.

?You're not eating my turtle!? Mima yelled.

And thus in the shadow of the mountain that used to cast a larger shadow another peaceful day ended.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: capt. h on October 03, 2013, 03:49:56 PM
This was a hard challenge for a couple reasons. One, I had trouble coming up with a plot, and two, I wasn't sure what a satisfactory ending would be.

I believe I found a place where I can end it with everyone being satisfied. Also, 1083 words.


It was a peaceful, sunny day in the sunflower field. Or it would be, if I were not being disturbed by cat hell spawn. ?Well, well,? I say, gritting my teeth. ?Aren?t you a brave kitty. What?s your name??

?Rin Kaenbyou, ma?am. And I take it you?re Miss Yuuka Kazami, master of flowers and genocide??

?One and the same,? I reply, politely but firmly. ?It?s so rare for fertilizer to come willingly, you know, what makes you so foolish today??

?Well, I had some time off, and I?m a huge fan of your work, you see, will you sign my remains?? the cat asks, pulling a skull and a pen out of her wheelbarrow.

?I suppose I can give a last request,? I say, signing the thing?s forehead and handing it back to the cat.

?EEEEEEE, thank you thank you thank you,? Rin says, squealing as I point my umbrella at her.

?Goodbye,? I say, aiming my umbrella slightly upwards so as to miss the sunflowers. With a flash of light, I obliterate all in the path of my umbrella, and peace returns to the field.

?That. Is. So. Cool!? the cat squeals.

Looks like I was mistaken. I turn around to face the girl. Fast and annoying. She will be troublesome.

The girl goes on, ?Is that how you wipe cities off the map??

?No, it?s too small for that, at best I?d take out a small village. Now cities, on the other hand,? I say, as every sunflower in my field turns to the cat. ?Well, I am a gardener, and cities are weeds.?

Every sunflower in my field lunges out of the ground towards the cat, who weaves around the rapidly ascending stalks as she throws herself to the sky. ?You really are as amazing as they say, I can?t get near you at all like this!?

Unfortunately, I can?t seem to touch the girl either. This is why I hate cats, they have no problem cheating death eight times in a row.

?If you?d be so kind as to stop moving, I?d love to show your how my roses get their lovely red hue,? I say.

?Ooooo, you use blood too. It?s got a great hue,? the cat yells, rapidly retreating from my flowers, ?Back home we only use it on the walls.?

I snap, and my flowers return back to earth, losing the massive size they gained to chase the cat.

?Alright girl,? I smirk, ?You?ve got my attention. Where is this home of yours??

?It?s the Palace of the Earth Spirits.?

?And who are you,? I continue.

?Ah, well, I?m Rin Kaenbyou,? the girl starts before I cut her off.

?Yes, that?s your name, but who are you??

?Well, I suppose I?m the girl responsible for feeding bodies to the fires of hell. Somebody?s got to keep the furnace fueled.?

?Ah,? I say, ?Well, you may be the big-shot in hell, but up here, let?s just say you do not want to cross me.?

?Cross you?? Rin says. ?No, no, no, you?ve got me all wrong. I happy just meeting you!?

?That is a surprise,? I say, ?But I?m afraid I?m only good at making bodies, not disposing of them.?

?True, but you are the best at making bodies!? Orin says. ?Your record back in 1944 has never been beaten. You?re a living legend!?

?And yet you still come to me,? I say.

?Of course.? Rin says. ?You?re the last big name left.?

?I am?? I say, a little shocked.

?The big killers are all dead. The world isn?t as twisted as it used to be. Sure, their spirits live on, and I love talking to those guys. Henry and Genghis can be a real riot sometimes,? the cat explains. ?But you, you have one thing they lack - You?re still alive. You?re still raking up bodies. And you?re still the best at it.?

I look at the girl. I say, ?Alright, I?ll amuse you. What do you want to know??

?Well, the big stuff,? Rin says, clutching her signed skull. ?How many. Your methods. And why.?

?Well, the number depends on who you include,? I smirk. ?Sure, I killed millions of humans, but what about livestock foolish enough to eat my flowers? Deer who trample them, wolves who dig them up, there are billions of creatures I have decided needed my help to cease acting inappropriately, usually by ceasing their functions completely.?

?Ah,? Rin says, pulling out a notebook from her wheelbarrow as she begins to take notes. ?And what about the youkai??

?Youkai foolishly think they count more than humans, and both think I care about them more than worms. I couldn?t begin to distinguish them from that tally, but then again, why would you? And I suppose you think you?re somehow above my judgment as well??

?Oh no,? Rin says, ?I?m just good at running. So now, how do you do it??

Glancing at the roots at the girl?s feet, I admit this girl would make an interesting flower. ?Well, I suppose that depends on my mood. I mean, some days you want to do a little gardening, some days you want to blast the weeds away, and some days, you want to rip the heads off the fertilizer. Of course, it?s even easier if you?re subtle; I?ve poisoned my share of water supplies. And then there are days when I just let civilization grow. Cultivate. Spread. What fun is gardening without letting it become a challenge??

?Ooooo, I think I?m starting to get you,? Rin says. ?And the why is starting to look obvious. Wait, lemme guess, you love your garden more than anything, and kill anyone who gets in the way of it??

?Close girl. The flowers are my friends. Fauna are their butcher. And I am their caretaker,? I say, as the roots slowly work their way around the ignorant girl?s legs. I walk up to the girl, pointing my umbrella at her throat. ?And since the weed stands before me, let me pluck you now.?

A flash explodes from the tip of my umbrella. I look down, seeing the girl lying under me, the roots cut. I point my left index finger at her, and another flash explodes, this time from my free hand.

?Oooo boy, that must be a dual spark!? Rin says from behind me again. ?Whelp, gotta get back to work sis! So, I?ll be seeing ya??

I smirk, clapping twice. ?You, I think I?ll cultivate you.?
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: Joveus Molai on October 03, 2013, 05:32:39 PM
This one is dedicated to two people. To Rurouni, because I remember her lamenting on the PSL IRC once about how so many Touhou fan works focus on romance, but so few care about other relationships like friendship--this story is to help balance the statistics a bit. And to Roukanken, because I wanted to I wanted to write a Touhou thing that involved the ocean somehow. Alas, this was the best I could come up with. :negative: If it weren't for the 3k word limit, there would have been so much more *~Ocean~* it was gonna be crazy, with gratuitous Sango cameos and everything

Speaking of the word limit: this one clocks in at EXACTLY 3000 words, including the title.


The Taste of Friendship

It should have been perfect.

Indeed, it was perfect?almost. Sakuya had outdone herself this time, in honor of her mistress's birthday celebration. The food was delectable, the decorations sublime, the band a splendid choice. For once, the fairy maids worked diligently at their duties, and the gate guard had kept out the riff-raff. The guests were having an excellent time, she could tell, and half of their time was spent marveling at the party instead of enjoying it.

But there was one thing missing. One single little thing, which soured everything else.

?Sakuya,? said Remilia Scarlet as she kept up her false smile, continuing to play the gracious host. The eternally scarlet young moon, mistress of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, lounged at the head of a great marble table she'd set out for the occasion. The silver-haired maid bent low, placing her ear next to her mistress's mouth.

?Sakuya,? muttered Remilia. ?Why isn't Patchouli here yet??

If the chief maid were anyone else, she might have swallowed nervously, casting glances this way and that, perhaps wring her hands. But Sakuya Izayoi was not called Perfect and Elegant for nothing.

?Mistress,? said the maid, as she pretended to busy herself adding more food to Remilia's plate, ?As I said before, Madame Patchouli is currently preoccupied with other matters. She said that she would join the party as soon as possible, and in the event she misses it to wish you a most wonderful birthday??

?Yes, yes,? hissed Remilia. The fake smile never left her face, but the silvered spoon in her hand creaked in her grip. A nearby guest gave her an odd look. ?But why isn't she here??

The maid shook her head, smoothly replacing the dented spoon with another. ?She did not say, mistress, only that it was a project of utmost importance.?

A sigh escaped Remilia's lips as she waved her maid away. A part of her cursed Patchouli's skewed priorities, muttering how it was so like the magician to value a silly project over the single most important day of the year: her birthday. But another part doubted the former. Surely, it argued, surely her dearest friend wouldn't abandon her on her own birthday. Not like this. Not to her best friend.

?A few more hours,? thought Remilia as she swirled a glass of blood-red wine in her hand. ?Just a few more hours, and she'll be here.? For now, she amused herself by coming up with snide remarks she'd say to her tardy friend when she finally joined the celebrations.

?'About time you showed up'? No, too bland. 'Oh, my dear friend Patchouli, did you flood the Library again?' Hmm, that's laying it on too thick. How about...?


As the hours passed, irritation became worry. Worry then became paranoia, and from paranoia came rage.

The food had been set aside by then, making way for Gensokyo's favorite party activity: drinking. The guests cheered as the maids brought out aged sake and grape wine. But at the head of the table, Remilia glowered at everything and nothing.

A person on her left?Yuuka Kazami?noticed her seething. ?Are you alright?? asked the flower youkai.

?It's nothing,? snapped Remilia. She continued to loudly drum her fingers on the table. Yuuka raised an eyebrow and continued drinking.

?What is she doing?? thought Remilia. She stopped drumming her fingers and closed them tightly into a fist, as though she were choking the life out of someone. ?Where is that stupid shut-in and why isn't she here??

Across the table, the guests let out a roar. Fujiwara no Mokou and Kaguya Houraisan had just started a drinking contest, apparently, and the guests were cheering their favorite contestant on. Remilia wanted to throw her glass at them, to get them to shut up and leave her to stew in her anger in silence.

?Sakuya,? growled Remilia as she turned to her maid. The maid merely shook her head in reply.

?She'll pay for this.? The glass in her hand groaned in protest as her grip on it tightened. Spiderweb-cracks appeared its surface. ?After this is over I will go down there myself and burn every single one of her worthless books and make her watch, I swear...?

The guests around her were beginning to take notice now. The squeal of tortured glass could be heard over the merrymaking and carousing. They shot each other glances, muttering amongst themselves and pointing at the furious vampire.

? she alright??

?What's got her panties in a twist??

?...Youmu, take cover.?

?Huh? Milady, what are you talking about??

Down the table, the immortals' drinking contest was heating up. They were on the sixth cup of sake, and Kaguya was starting to sway a little. Sensing weakness, Mokou loudly and roundly lambasted her opponent, crowing that a fairy could outdrink the pampered princess. It must have struck a nerve, as Kaguya responded by tossing her cup to the side in a rage.

As luck would have it, the cup happened to fly straight at Remilia's face.

Guests later claimed that the cup seemed to move in slow motion, spinning end over end as it flew down the table, spraying droplets of alcohol as centrifugal force flung the remnants of drink away. It was remarkable, they said, how it flew right for the vampire's nose.

When the cup finally hit its target, something broke, and it was not the cup.

Remilia gave the chinaware one long look before her turning her gaze to the stock-silent guests.

?Get out.?

Some blinked in surprise or to clear away the heady effects of the wine. Others looked around in confusion, unsure as to what to do.

?Mistress...? said Sakuya as she stepped forward. But it was far too late for damage control.

?I said, get. Out.?

They responded with questions, requests for clarification, even protests. ?Come on, Remilia, we've only just started??


She stood up, so abruptly that her chair went flying backwards. Before it could land, she slammed a fist down on the exquisite marble table, splitting the whole thing in half with a resounding *CRACK*. Cries of shock quickly turned to moans of outrage as guests were splattered with snacks and spilled alcohol.

?GET OUT!? Remilia screamed. ?ALL OF YOU! GET OUT! GET OUT!?

Some of those present?minor youkai, the fairy maids?all but fled in terror, scrambling through the mansion's door. The rest complained about their booze-soaked clothing as they shuffled their way out. Some threw the vampire looks of concern, others threw her curses. She cared for none of them.

Remilia stood there, breathing harshly through clenched teeth, glaring at the disgruntled guests until the last one closed the door behind her.

Silenced reigned for a full minute. Eventually, Remilia Scarlet stalked off without a word.

Sakuya gazed for a moment at her mistress's retreating figure. She wanted to ask if there was anything she could get her, but she knew better.

?Everyone,? she said to the few fairy maids still present. Her voice was utterly calm, as though Remilia's outburst had never happened. ?Let's get this cleaned up. I want half of you mopping up the floor and the rest of you to pick up the table pieces. Hurry up now, no time for dallying.?

As the maids started tidying the ruined dining hall, she made her way around the mansion, stopping time to now and then to hasten to process. It was a good idea, she considered, to let everyone know to stay out of the library for the evening.

After all, it would be terribly inconvenient to have someone messily die tonight.


Remilia stomped her way through her mansion's corridors, leaving deep gouges in the carpet as she went. Every once in a while, she paused to punch a hole in a wall, or grab a painting and smash it into splinters.

?I'm going to kill her. No, that'd be too easy. I'm going brain her repeatedly with the biggest damn book I can find. Over and over and over again. How dare she, it's the most important day of the year how dare she how dare she??

But a part of her, buried under the layers of rage and calculated plots for revenge, wondered one question: why?

What was so important to Patchouli that she didn't come to the party? Remilia had secured a certain bottle of wine for tonight?a particular decades-old vintage from the outside world. Remilia Scarlet, proud as she was, was not one to beg so easily, and it was hard, asking that thrice-damned gap youkai to acquire that particular wine bottle.

A pity?the bottle was likely shattered now, along with the table that held it.

Doubts began to creep into her head as she continued down the winding hallways. She had the sense that they were starting to get...distant of late. They saw each other less and less since about  a year ago, when Patchouli helped that black-white thief with some sort of adventure into the Underground Hell?a few weeks after that, the doll magician started to frequently visit the Library, as well. Perhaps...perhaps Patchouli desired the company of fellow magicians more now? After all, though Remilia had dabbled in the arcane arts and could cast a cantrip or two, she was still nowhere near the level needed to hold a conversation with her friend. Perhaps what Patchouli truly wanted was a colleague. ?Something I can't give her,? noted Remilia bitterly.

She was struck with a pang of jealousy even as she denied feeling such. ?What, me? Remilia Scarlet, the Eternal Crimson Moon, jealous? How petty, how...mortal. It's beneath me, and if she no longer wants my company then I'm perfectly fine with that.? A cruel sneer lighted her face. ?In fact, if she wants to be with those other magicians so much, I won't stop her. I'll even have her move out of the mansion. The Library's hers, but the mansion it's in is mine. Yes, that will make her see, that will make her pay...?


At last, Remilia reached the entrance to the Library. The great oak doors, intricately carved with runes and warding signs, loomed above her. She stared at the doors for a moment, then kicked them open, breaking them apart with ease.

A figure rushed towards her as she stomped past the ruined door. ?Intruder alert! Intrud?huh? Oh, it's you, Mistress Remilia. I thought you were Miss Kirisame for a moment.? Through the settling dust, Remilia saw the crimson-haired devil bow low.

?Forgive me, Mistress Remilia,? said Koakuma, ?but Mistress Patchouli is not be disturbed. I must ask you to??

?Koakuma,? said Remilia in a voice that could have frozen water solid. ?Take me to Patchy. Right now.?

Koakuma put on her friendliest, most polite smile. ?I'm terribly sorry, mistress, but?urk.?

The librarian found herself face-to-face with the vampire. Remilia had grabbed Koakuma's collar and yanked her down to head level, her grip like iron and her eyes entirely blood-red. And perhaps it was Koakuma's imagination, but Remilia's fangs seemed doubly sharp tonight.

?Koakuma. Take me to Patchy. Right now. Or I will send you screaming back to Makai with my claws.?

Koakuma tried to swallow, but grip on her collar kept that from working. ?M-m-mistress, please...? Remilia tossed the librarian aside, sending her sprawling into a bookshelf.

A voice called out from behind a shelf. ?There's no need to bully my librarian, Remi. I'm right here.?

Remilia turned. A figure dressed in voluminous lilac robes stood before her, a weathered tome in her hand: Patchouli Knowledge, the One-Week Magician, owner of the Library, and Remilia's best friend.

The vampire's eyes narrowed. ?Ah. Hello, Patchy.?


?You didn't come to the party?.

If Remilia's voice were any flatter, Patchouli could have turned it into a book page. Remilia glared across a circular table at her friend. They were surrounded by piles and piles of tomes, while stories-tall shelves loomed over them.

?Yes,? said Patchouli. If she felt afraid or guilty, she did not show either.


Patchouli continued to return the glare with her own dispassionate gaze. ?I was busy.?

?Oh yes,? said Remilia, scoffing. ?The Unmoving Great Library is too busy to get her scrawny bum out off her chair for the most important day of the year, her friend's birthday. Not even a hello, or a happy birthday wish.?

?I'm not that scrawny,? said Patchouli, ?Sakuya has insisted that I eat at least three square meals a day and she's been quite successful in that rega??

?Oh shut up,? hissed Remilia. ?Was it that much to ask, Patchy? To come upstairs just once, one day out of the year? What are you working on, anyway??

The magician continued to stare for a moment before replying, ?I can't say.?

?And why not??

?Because it's nothing that concerns you.?

?Fine,? snarled Remilia. ?Whatever, I don't care anymore.? She stood up, knocking the chair back. ?If your stupid research is that much more important than me, then fine. But I want you and this giant waste of space you call a library out of my mansion. Shack up with Marisa or something, I just want you to get out.? She began to walk away.


?I'll send Sakuya down here to help you get things packed up. I considered burning all your books to save time, but now I don't care anymore.?


She continued, ?Should I ship them to the doll-magician's place instead? At least hers is a bit tidier??


?JUST ONE DAY, PATCHY!? Remilia spun around, screaming. She was biting her lower lip, her hands were balled up in fists. Tears threatened to spill down her red, red eyes. ?Just one day! One! But you weren't there. Because these,? she grabbed a random booked and waved it in front of Patchouli's face, ?were so much more important than me.? The book made a loud *CLAP* as Remilia tossed it into a pile of its fellows.

Patchouli glanced at the flung book, then back at Remilia. A long moment later, she said,

?Your birthday present.?

Remilia blinked. ?What??

A sigh. ?I was working on your birthday present. That's why I wasn't at the party. I would have finished it earlier, but I underestimated the undertaking.?

?...what...? said Remilia softly, ?I...why didn't you tell me about it??

?I wanted it to be a surprise,? shrugged Patchouli. ?Besides, you're, what, four-hundred and fifty years old now? I didn't think missing one birthday party would be such a deal.? Her eyes lowered, in what seemed like regret. ?It seems I was mistaken. My apologies.?


Several seconds later, Remilia spoke.

?What...what is it? The birthday present, I mean.?

The magician's eyes brightened. ?Well, thanks to the Hakurei Barrier, travel between Gensokyo and the outside world is difficult without certain...provisions. So instead, I...borrowed a portions of land in Makai. By combining Western Elementalism with some Wu Xing theory, I was able to shape the unreality of Makai into something of my liking. A rather clever bit of arcane engineering, if I may be so bold.? She snapped her fingers, and a magical portal opened before Remilia.

Remilia's jaw dropped, her eyes bulging. ?It's...?

?Indeed. Sinclair's Bay, off the coast of Scotland. Your favorite beach, as I recall. I...I remember you saying you missed the ocean ever since we came to Gensokyo.?

?You knew,? said Remilia, her voice soft. She stared at the magician.

Patchouli nodded in reply, and turned to look at the portal, her handiwork. ?Yes. I had to recruit Marisa and Alice for assistance?which is why they'd been visiting so frequently lately?and I'll miss my copy of Liber Logaeth, but?oof.? An impact in the small of her back staggered her. She looked down to see Remilia's arms wrapped around her waist.

Patchouli gently placed a hand on her friend's, and glanced over her shoulder. ?Remi??

?I'm sorry, Patchy,? said a muffled voice. ?And thanks.?

?Say it again?? said Patchouli, with a slight smile. ?I couldn't hear you.?

?I said I'm sorry, and thanks.?

?I still didn't get it. You'll have to repeat??

?Oh shuddup.?

They stood there in the Library, enjoying the sound of each other's laughter.


Later, Remilia found herself before a black-watered ocean, under a crimson moon. Soft, cold sand flowed around her feet, further cooled by the lapping waves.

?Hmm,? said a voice beside her. ?The consistency of the sand is a bit off. I'll have to fix this when we get back.? Patchouli stood alongside Remilia, gazing thoughtfully at the pale sand.

Remilia made a slight smirk. ?Hmm, losing your touch, Patchy? Though I rather like what you did with the moon.?

Patchouli snorted in response. ?You try crafting the physical laws governing a trillion particles of sand. And thank you.?

They watched in silence for a minute, at the fairy maids frolicking in the shallow water, while Flandre went about battling a colossal summoned leviathan in the background. Remilia had decided this was a good opportunity to let the poor girl out for a change.

?Ah, I have something for you too,? said Remilia. She clicked her fingers, and Sakuya brought up a pair of wine glasses and a particular bottle.

?1970 Merlot wine?? said Patchouli, blinking. ?From the outside? Oh my.?

Remilia smiled as the maid poured them a measure each. ?I asked the gap hag for a...favor. I thought I broke the bottle earlier at the party, but it somehow survived. Luck, I suppose. Or fate??

The magician blinked again, and Remilia witnessed a rarity that night: a true, full-blown smile from Patchouli. ?Thank you, Remi.?

Remilia raised her glass. ?To friendship!?

Patchouli raised hers in kind. ?To friendship.?

It tasted honey-sweet.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: Amraphenson on October 04, 2013, 07:01:17 AM
AN: Don't know how many words, but not 3000.
Oh, goodness, hello there! I almost didn't notice. It's wonderful to meet you.

Hmm...well...we won't know each other for very long. In fact, once this ends, I'll probably forget you. You might forget me come a few days as well, maybe sooner. Maybe later. But even so, this moment here is ours, and I wouldn't have anything else.

It's wonderful, you know. You might think back to this and think it's a little cruel afterwards, but this is how I exist. It's my day to day life: isolated moments of discovery and then being put to rest. In between the days I simply sleep, and though I may never remember what happens I still know that I'm happy, that I'm content with this existance.

...Ah, I'm sorry. You're probably confused and wondering what's even going on now. I tend to ramble when people first open me. That's...well, that's very usual. I apologize. Most do not expect me when they open a simple book in a library. It's...well, that's quite the story, how I got here, and I don't really feel it necessary to explain.

All's well though. I am Danna, and I am the spirit of this tome. Again, it's wonderful to meet you.

Hmm? You want the explanation for why I'm here? Ah, but didn't I say-ah, yes, yes, of course. Allow me then, if it will entertain you. It is one of the few things I always remember, I suppose.

Sometime ago there was a group of writers. They were quite fond of each other, and they often wrote together as well. They were an eclectic bunch, always talking about something strange. Many times they weren't even discussing anything related to being an author, but never was there a closer group of companions. They smiled and they laughed, they cried and they screamed, but most of all they were together. Hand in hand, always moving forwards with pens dancing between their fingers. They were...happy.

When so many writers stay in one place for so long, well, perhaps this isn't true, but for them it was only a matter of time before they all decided to write something together. A love child of all their imaginations, really.

At first-and yes, by saying at first I do sort of jynx it, don't I?-it was almost perfect. Things went so smoothly. Pages after pages were written at such a blistering pace, sometimes they couldn't even believe it. A wonderful, beautiful story full of their love and adoration.

But, well, eventually it ended. They came to...argue. The direction of the plot became a heated debate within moments, and soon...soon progress halted. With no one agreeing, nothing was written. Then slowly, one by one they...ah.

I'm...sorry. It's a bit difficult, it's fine.

They...drifted away. The creation of this book, this one collaboration, pushed them away from each other. The story was never finished, and the manuscript was left alone. Some time later, a man in ignorance or perhaps spite binded the pages into a tome, with many blanks to spare, and several hundred years later...

I was born.

I...yes, I am the tsukumogami of that tome. And, like that moment of joy that came to an abrupt end, when my last page is read and my cover is closed, I will end. Until my next opening, but the story will begin anew and I will not remember.

Ah, I...I'm sorry. I've turned this into such a sad moment, even though I just said my time with you is limited. I've...I don't have many pages left, do I? But even then, I turned this into something about myself, and I didn't even give you the chance to introduce yourself...

H-huh? It's a-alright? R-really? You didn't mind? Ah, that's...

Thank you. Truly. I...I was not expecting such kindness.

Perhaps...perhaps we may see each other again? Please remember me, in that case, even if I...even if I do not.

It was truly wonderful meeting you.

Gloved hands trace the spine of the book, slowly and delicately. Almost uncharacteristically, if you were to know the owner.

"What are you doing over there?"

"Ah!" Her gold eyes blink rapidly for a moment before she tips the wide brim of her hat over them. "Nothing, beansprout. Just...nah. Nothing."

She sets the book back within the heavy shelves and glances at it once more before turning away, her lips in the slightest of smiles. "See you tomorrow, Danna."
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: LogosOfJ on October 06, 2013, 07:41:09 AM
The Good Kit's Reader
Gods and Rabbits, or the Evolution Fairy, or, How the Lunar Seas came to Be.

Once upon a time, when the Gods still walked the corrupt earth, when the moon was sill untouched and unpurified, the lunar surface was not marked but instead a featureless plain of dust.

The rabbits were sent first.

However, without the gods, the governance could only become less orderly. Soon, an excess of opinion and flood of bad choices ripped apart early society.

Our once-peaceful ancestors split into many camps, and, on a day of great tragedy, went to war.

One faction soon regressed into a barbarism, living and governing by force of arms alone. They absorbed almost all others, styled themselves as the last free peoples, and offered a vision of a world united by one freedom: the freedom to conquer. Calling themselves Mightists, they discarded learning, comfort, and all other things they thought weak.

The others, however, trusted their machines and their Thousand-Year Mission. They built the foundations of what would become today's shining cities for shelter, and stood together in defense of their home. Everyone had a place and purpose. These Loyalists marched for hearth and home, and won, again and again.

The irony was that Mightists only weakened with time, as their self-styled best wasted themselves against the tall walls and industry of the Loyalists. The Loyalists could expand, and expand they did. The Mightists spent lives of mastery in attempts to simply stand against the power of industry. The Loyalists fought only as necessary, backed by the full force of their arts, and spent the rest of their days furthering the art that protected them. The Mightists demanded and lost a strong few they could not replace; the Loyalists found ways to make every soldier stronger.

The bravest, smartest, and most loyal rabbits of the Loyalists were not thrown away like so much chaff but were instead elevated above their peers, and hence, by the tireless work of the Evolution fairy, the will of all life in the universe, the following generations were more like them.

It was in the middle of this process that the lunar seas were first formed.

The Mightists were desperate, and finally acknowledged the power of learning. Even then, it was too late, though they did not realize it. As a twisted final act, they planted flowers.

The first of the flowers bloomed beneath the eyes.

The second of the flowers bloomed in the mind.

The third of the flowers bloomed in the soul.

Then, the secret of the gods, so carefully carried forth by the Loyalists, the torch of the stars, was touched to the infested grounds, and the first Transient Suns blossomed, forging stone into glass.

Thus the lunar seas.


A historical artifact, to be sure, but the story is... lacking and troubling. Who published this, anyhow? -IR

My student, if you wish to know of the birth of gods, you must have the patience to truly look at their many birthplaces. -YE

I thought the Lunar Seas were natural formations; concentrations of volatile chemicals suggest as much. -IR

And yet they still taught otherwise, right before I left. Try to imagine the extraordinary mind that can imagine both to be simultaneously true. -YE

And what of the "Purification Beam"? At the Academy, there was a general consensus amoung students (supported by winks and nods of instructors) that it was an euphemism, but for what? Our culture is quite comfortable with death; why shy away from its accelerators? -IR

I believe you ask, "What sort of weapon was the Purification Beam?". That is a wrong question. -YE

In that case, what is the Purification Beam? -IR

It is a beam that purifies. -YE

In what sense? -IR

It removes impurity, and everything touched by it. It removes all contaminants from an individual. -YE

Then why is it allegedly so lethal? -IR

The Heresy of Multiplicity. -YE
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: Iced Fairy on October 07, 2013, 02:31:39 PM

A little late but since no one pushed it, it's not an issue.  Please wait while judges are preparing.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: Iced Fairy on October 10, 2013, 03:06:54 AM
You would have thought that given the shorter entries it would have been easier to judge, but it never turns out that way.  After several readings and a forced tiebreaker though we have the results.  This WWC more then most was decided on the specific tastes of the judges.

Himiko - Your story flowed well, and had a distinct eastern vibe a lot of the others didn't.  However, the OCs and non standard plot combined with the limited word count kinda hurt you.  You probably would have been served well with another 1000 words.

Amra - You packed quite a bit into a very small number of words.  You could have worked on balancing the silence and the narration a little more, but it was a very interesting setup and solid follow-through.

Joveus - Your story was among the best from a technical standpoint, and while the 'missed birthday' shtick is somewhat overdone, you managed to convey Remilia and Patchouli very well.

However in the end there can be only one winner and the panel has decided:

TwilightsCall:  While Shizuha feeling left out is a common story, using Yuuka and the needs of the plants as a comforting voice is very unique.  Your take on the story impressed most of the judges and thus we proclaim you the winner!  Congratulations, and we hope to see more of you (and the runners up of course) in and around the library.

A round of applause for all out contestants, and a big thanks to all the judges who helped me.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: Amraphenson on October 10, 2013, 04:48:52 AM
cool! I was experimenting with how little I could write to get Danna's story across, and I'm glad it worked out enough for me to get a mention.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: TwilightsCall on October 10, 2013, 06:13:23 AM
I must say, it's really refreshing to just write something and slap it down.  There's something great about being able to close a story, look back, and enjoy what you've done.  Thanks Iced for putting this show on for us, writing for it was a lot of fun!

And thanks as well to the other entrants.  I really enjoyed reading through everyone's stories, and I hope you guys had as much fun writing as I did!
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: Phlegeth on October 10, 2013, 08:04:12 AM
Congrats on winning, TwilightsCall.  And yeah I had fun writing it.

But looking back, I wish I chose something else.  In my head it seemed like short story, but I ending up having to skip like the first two parts that explained some important stuff.  Like why Yuuka is palling around with the oni (she launched a failed coup d'etat against them and got befriended) or how Mima was slumming in a shrine that was new (Yukari is in the middle of bordering Gensokyo and pulled the shrine while Mima was in it.)  I should have used Aya as the informant and could have just used a generic Hakurei shrine maiden and just wrote out Yukari's part and it would've probably been better.  Also Kasen came off more assholish then I intended too.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: Joveus Molai on October 10, 2013, 11:43:50 AM
I must say, it's really refreshing to just write something and slap it down.  There's something great about being able to close a story, look back, and enjoy what you've done.  Thanks Iced for putting this show on for us, writing for it was a lot of fun!

And thanks as well to the other entrants.  I really enjoyed reading through everyone's stories, and I hope you guys had as much fun writing as I did!

Congrats, Twilight!  :dragonforce:

This was my first attempt at a Weekly Writing challenge, and I feel like I've learned a lot about writing just from entering. Thanks very much to the judges and fellow participants.  :)
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Immortal Phoenix
Post by: Dead Princess Sakana on October 10, 2013, 05:16:48 PM
Had a lot of fun reading and judging here, a well deserved win TwilightsCall. Everyone keep up the good work.  :D
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Morning After
Post by: Sect on December 01, 2013, 05:00:50 AM
Well! Holidays are coming up, and National Novel Writing Month's just wrapped up! I'd say the time's right for a Weekly Writing Contest.

You know, if it were longer than a week.


You always hear about the tea parties and such at the end of incidents. You always read about the festivities and celebrations around this time of year. But, there's something everyone always forgets about, or at least tries to avoid having anything to do with.


What about the cleanup?

Challenge Topic: The Morning After

The challenge this estimated time frame is to write what happens after a significant event, whether it be the resolution of an incident, the aftermath of a party, or the wake of a funeral. There'll be no word count limit or requirement, since this is the holiday season and several of you have just finished NaNoWriMo; it doesn't matter if you post a fifty word submission or a ten thousand word submission (though you should make sure those fifty words are exceptional, or be willing to be shot if you turn in ten thousand words).

Deadline is 00:01 EST, 31st December
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Morning After (Deadline December 31st)
Post by: SchwerMuta on December 14, 2013, 01:04:03 PM
This is kind of a mess but I haven't written anything properly in like five years.


Parsee woke up, and looked at the place her bridge used to be. A rowdy celestial had shown up and talked to the bridge princess for a while. The conversation quickly turned to how Parsee envied her for being able to go all the places she couldn't. The Celestial responded by shaking the earth until the bridge plunged into whatever abyss it hung over. At first Parsee was terrified. With little but the bridge for company for so long, she had considered that maybe she was the bridge, and she would die with it. She quickly learned that wasn't the case when whatever hold the structure had on her left. Parsee hated Tenshi for it more than she had ever hated anyone before.

She hated the pity the girl must have felt.
She hated how easily the bridge she hated so much was overcome.
She hated that she couldn't do it herself.
More than anything else, she hated that even though she could leave, there was nowhere she wanted to go.

Being tethered to a bridge doesn't grant you many things, but it does give a sort of structure. In a way, Parsee was queen of her own little world, even though it was a lousy world. But now it was gone, replaced with a terrifying vastness beyond her imagination. The city she always glared at, but never really thought as real, she could go there! Whatever kind of world was beyond the other side of the bridge, she could go there too! She could even pick some other direction, and just walk that way until she found something. Parsee envied her past self for not having to make these choices. Parsee thought maybe she'd just go to the city. She could see it, it didn't seem to be that far. But the second she thought she had made her decision, dark thoughts swirled in her head.

They'll look at me. I'm SURE they'll look at me. They'll see through me, they'll know I shouldn't be there.  They'll think 'You don't belong here, Parsee. Go back to your bridge, Parsee. We will never accept you, Parsee.' Even if they don't say it, they'll think it. They definitely will.

The ex-guardian didn't notice it, but she was breathing faster. Dizzy from hyperventilation, she sat down on the ground she always sat on. Even though she hated it, she knew she didn't want to leave, which just made her even more confused and angry. With her other emotions running so high, her jealousy compensated, and her hate seeped in and mixed with her fear.

So I can leave. So what? Where to? I don't belong anywhere else. Other people don't have this problem. They can just go wherever they want, and nobody's going to stare at them. They're lucky. They're all so lucky, to be born in a world they belong in. A world where they can smile, and laugh, and all sorts of other things! Why couldn't I have that? Why did I just get a bridge? DIDN'T I DESERVE MORE?

Parsee's emotions overflowing, she spilled them out the only way she could think to. Tears running down her face, she turned up to the ceiling and screamed. All the sad feelings she couldn't properly vocalize echoed throughout the underground. Gasping for breath, she wasn't aware her wail had an audience. A tall blonde woman with a red horn on her head approached Parsee.

"Hey, are you okay?" the puzzled woman asked.

Parsee's face was already red and wet with tears from sadness and anger, and this stranger's appearance added humiliation to those reasons. Not in a sound state of mind, the former bridge princess did something extremely foolish.

"SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP!" She punched the oni in the face, as hard as she could.

The retaliation was automatic. It didn't occur to Yuugi's arms to hold back. The force of the oni's punch lifted Parsee off the ground, flipped her over, and she landed face-first on the ground. The red-horned woman entered a fighting stance, but soon realized her opponent wasn't moving.

"Hey really, are you okay?" Yuugi asked again, sounding even more concerned.

No answer. Her opponent had been knocked out cold. She felt bad for her. She didn't intend to knock her unconscious.  Yuugi definitely didn't want to leave the girl passed out in the middle of nowhere, so she slung the tiny girl over her shoulder and walked home, giving Parsee the image of some animal the Oni had slain.


Hours later, Parsee awoke in a large bed. The feeling was so alien to her she might as well have woken up in a block of solid jello. It was all she could do to not scream in terror. She looked around the room, and saw walls. She felt better about the walls than the bed, but she still desperately wanted to be somewhere, anywhere else. Rolling out of the bed and landing on the floor (which also kind of unsettled her), the wall suddenly opened and the oni was there. Parsee was terrified in multiple ways.

"How-how did you do that?'

The confusion was contagious. "Do what?"

"Get in here!"

"...I opened the door?"

Parsee's face turned red in embarrassment and exclaimed, "I knew that!"

It was immediately obvious to both of them that her lie was not at all convincing. Parsee didn't say anything, afraid of the oni but even more afraid of being somewhere unfamiliar. After a short silence Yuugi asked with all the tact an oni could muster,"So, what's going on with you?"

Parsee didn't know why she answered the question. Maybe she just got talkative when she was scared. Maybe it was the strange environment. Or maybe she just wanted to say out loud how she was feeling. "I'm a bridge princess without a bridge. My whole life, I couldn't leave it, no matter how much I hated it. But now it's gone. I don't know what to do now," Parsee explained.

Yuugi shrugged. "Whatever you want, I guess."

Parsee didn't take that answer well. She stomped on the floor and exclaimed, "I DON'T WANT ANYTHING! I didn't think I could ever leave, and I've never been anywhere else. Even when I wanted to leave, there was nothing I wanted to do, no place I wanted to go. It was just 'something else'. Somewhere else." Parsee's shoulders sank, as if admitting defeat. "I have no dreams."

Yuugi couldn't relate. The oni always knew what she wanted. The idea of being lost or unsure was as alien to her as waking up in a bed was to Parsee. But Yuugi was undeterred. Even if she didn't know what Parsee was going through, she was still the kind of person who needed to say something, to do something.

"I don't really get this kind of complicated stuff. I guess you just do stuff until you find something you like?

"What stuff? Do what? There's too much to do! I'll never be able to decide!"

"Then you should just come with me and have a drink!" Yuugi instantly decided. In the end, this was usually what all of Yuugi's decisions came back to.

"I don't think my dream in life is to booze it up with you!" Parsee instantly retorted.

"But maybe it'll be fun, so why not do it anyways?"

Parsee was so stunned by the question, any actual explanation eluded her. She was sure there was a very good reason, but it felt like her mind shorted out under the stress of the day. Yuugi took Parsee's silence to mean that she had won over the short girl's objections. The oni grabbed the bridge princess' arm, and cheerfully shouted, "I'll get you something, then!"

Parsee was still shocked about where she was, who she was with, and what was happening. She was filled with so many questions, but one rose above the others. When Yuugi returned with a bottle, Parsee asked her, "Do you often drink with people you hardly know?"

"Yeah, all the time." Yuugi didn't even think about it before answering.

"Must be nice... I'm jealous."

Parsee then drank in silence. Yuugi spoke up every so often to say something about what they were drinking, but Parsee never replied. Soon the bottle was empty. Yuugi drank most of it, but Parsee still had quite a lot. Certainly more than someone who hasn't drank before should have. Parsee defied the oni's expectations. She was not a fun or happy drunk. A very intoxicated Parsee turned to Yuugi and venomously declared, "I think I hate you. So damn carefree."

The oni shrugged and said "Sorry." She didn't sound the least bit sorry.

"What did you do to deserve so much more happiness than me?"

"I guess I did what I wanted, and you didn't."

"I couldn't do anything chained to that damn bridge."

"Well, it's gone now. You can start catching up."

"So what if it's gone? The damage has been done. I'll never catch up. I'll never be happy."

Yuugi let out a deep sigh, realizing her drinking idea was a failure. "You're drunk. Go to sleep. Tomorrow will be better."

"Why would you think that? What do you even care, anyways? I'm just a girl that punched you in the face."

There was a slight pause. "We've met before, Parsee." Yuugi sounded a little tired, and maybe a little frustrated.

No amount of alcohol could make her miss that. The bitterness in her voice quickly changed to confusion, and a little bit of desperation. "What? That can't be right. I would've remembered. Why can't I remember you, then?"

"I don't know."

The gears spinning in Parsee's head couldn't keep up with the state of her body. She had more to say. She had a lot more to say to this... oni woman. She had a lot more she needed to know. But her voice did not come out. Shortly after, her eyes did not stay open. And, finally, her body did not stay upright. Yuugi retrieved a blanket from her room and tossed it over Parsee's sprawled form. Before Yuugi retired to her room for the night, she turned to the sleeping girl on the floor.

"Maybe I'm not that good at this. Well, goodnight anyways. Maybe you'll have a nice dream."
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Morning After (Deadline December 31st)
Post by: Sect on December 21, 2013, 01:22:09 PM
Ten days left!
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Morning After (Deadline December 31st)
Post by: 日巫子 on December 29, 2013, 11:04:56 PM
Haha, uh, here it is

The faint light under the closet door made it easy to find the exit.  The door was stuck when she tried pushing on it, so she just punched it until it unstuck.  The hallway was unlit, not as light out as it should have been that morning.  It was probably overcast outside.  A young woman with long black hair and a red horn poked her head out of the closet and looked around.  She was alone. 

She decided to just leave the closet, because she couldn?t remember what she was doing in there in the first place.  There was a party, and her friends insisted she come.  There had been a lot of people, but it was very quiet now.  She wondered if they had all left already.  In that case, she should get going, too.

On the way out of the house, she passed by the kitchen and happened upon some empty bottles.  She picked one up and read the label.  That explained why she didn?t feel hung over.  Human Village alcohol was too weak.

While she was looking at one of these bottles, she became aware of a retching sound, coming from somewhere else in the house.  Leaving the kitchen, she followed the sound until it led her to the bathroom.  Keeping quiet, she looked through the door that was ajar.

The bathroom had one occupant, a girl clutching the sides of the toilet as she vomited into it.  Her sleeves were missing, and her hair ribbon was uneven.  The door creaked, and she was able to pause long enough to tilt her head to the side.

?Hah?hah?Konngara?? Reimu called out in a weak voice.  Konngara opened the door the rest of the way and stepped inside.

?Urgh??  Reimu?s next words were interrupted as she started to dry heave.  Konngara reached out and awkwardly patted her on the back.

?I?I think I ate something bad at that party last night?? Reimu moaned.  ?I feel terrible?c-can you get me medicine???

Konngara nodded.

?Is that a yes??  Evidently, Reimu didn?t see this gesture.  Konngara didn?t say anything.

??Just hurry up,? Reimu said, and leaned against the toilet like it was a shoulder to cry on.  Konngara left her alone.

Along the way, she passed by Suika, who was asleep and cuddled in a pillow pile.  She had a look of discontent on her face, but she had so many cushions around her that it wouldn?t hurt to take one.  Konngara took one from the pile and backtracked to the bathroom, where she handed it off to Reimu.

?Th-thanks.?  Reimu took the pillow and dragged it to her side.

It took a lot of rummaging through the cupboards, but she finally found something she could take back: a dark bottle labeled as stomach medicine.

When Konngara returned to the bathroom with the medicine, she found Reimu lying on her stomach with her face in the pillow.  Kneeling down and nudging the ill girl?s shoulder resulted in a low-pitched cry.

?Leave me here to die,? said Reimu.  The sound of the medicine bottle clinking against the floor, however, made her look up.

?Oh, thanks.?  Reimu labored to sit up, and took the medicine in her hands.  She didn?t even bother measuring it out, opting to sip straight from the bottle.  Konngara watched on in awe, until she was interrupted by Suika throwing open the door.

?Get outta the way!? she half-shouted, cupping a hand over her mouth.  Two seconds later, Konngara was fleeing into the hallway with a very angry Reimu under her arm.  In their haste to get out, some of the medicine had been spilt and got on Reimu?s dress.

They were locked out of the bathroom now, but at least Reimu wasn?t throwing up anymore.  Instead, she had assumed a fetal position on the floor and clutched the bottle in her hands.  She breathed a heavy sigh and let her eyelids droop.  Konngara, who was sitting against the wall, was starting to wonder if she should move Reimu to an actual bed when she saw the black-white round a corner.

Marisa staggered down the hall with her hand over her stomach, and Konngara watched her try and fail to open the bathroom door.  She continued to watch as Marisa let out a cry of defeat and slid to the floor.  Reimu, eyes still closed, held out the medicine bottle.

?I think I ate something bad at that party last night,? Marisa groused.

That?s what she said, Konngara yelled internally, barely resisting the urge to say this out loud.

?Mhm,? was Reimu?s response.

?Who?s in the bathroom??


?We?ll never be free.?

?You?re not making any sense.  I think that tsurube-otoshi is still here, so if you gotta throw up just do it in her bucket.?

Marisa got to her feet.  ?Reimu, you are a terrible person.  I?ll be right back.?

A few moments passed, with background music provided by Suika throwing up.  The little oni emerged from the bathroom before Marisa returned, looking on the verge of tears.  Mere seconds later, loud screaming from Marisa and an unidentified person erupted from the backyard.  Suika flopped onto Konngara?s lap.

?Wahh, I?m never eating artichoke dip again,? she informed Konngara, who was pushing her horns out of her face.  The screaming outside had turned into crying from both parties.  Konngara frowned at Suika.

?I can sleep whereeeever I want,? Suika said, despite the fact that the other hadn?t said anything.  However, this didn?t stop her from being dragged down the hall and deposited back into the pillow pile.

Doing the same with Reimu proved to be impossible, as she was keen on falling asleep right in the middle of the hallway.  Konngara decided not to bother her, and went back to the bedroom to find a blanket for her.

???m here, sorry I?m late??

?That?s fine.  You have a good lead??

?Yes.  The culprit should be in this shrine.?

There were more people here now.  Konngara took her time getting the blanket, folding it up, and walking back out into the hall.  On the way, she passed a small group of youkai.  The one at the head of the group, a mouse youkai with dowsing rods, hailed her as she passed.

?Is that her?!? snarled one of the youkai, a wolf girl with unusually long fingernails.

?No, no, no,? said the mouse.  ?You there!  Have you seen an amanojaku here??

Konngara shook her head.

?We?ll keep going,? the mouse said.  Konngara stood aside to let them pass, and returned to where Reimu was sleeping.  As she draped the blanket over her, she heard yet another commotion coming from out back.

?AH!  This is all your fault, get over here!?

?What?s that?  I didn?t hear you??

?Mountain Echo ? Long-range echo!?

Feeling hungry, Konngara went into the kitchen and looked around at the piles of dishes on the counter and in the sink, wondering if any of them were clean enough for her to use.  Outside, a dull thud rocked the bottles on the counter.

?I?m sorry, but she has such a gentle personality that if she attacks you, then you really had it coming??

?I?m not involved!  I?m not involved!?

The back door slid open, and Marisa ran through the kitchen and into the hall.  A disgruntled young girl followed, carrying a bucket with her.  Konngara ignored them and cracked some eggs over a pot on the stove.

As she was whisking the eggs, she was alerted to the sound of Reimu shuffling into the kitchen.  She put the medicine bottle on the nearest flat surface and wandered over to the stove with the blanket around her.  Konngara shook her head and shooed her away.  Reimu slumped into a chair at the kitchen table, scowling at a bowl containing the remains of some sort of dip.

Outside, danmaku raged on like a summer rainstorm.  Given how cloudy it looked outside, the danmaku could have passed for such if it looked like water.  Konngara took some bread and made a sandwich out of the scrambled eggs she had just finished, and took a seat at the table.  Now that the stove was open, Reimu returned to it and dumped the rest of the eggs onto another plate.

?Take that!?


?Don?t run away!?

Whatever spellcard was in effect had subsided, and the duel outside had dissolved into a fist-fight.  One of the girls who was with the mouse youkai burst into the room, hanging onto the doorway to steady herself.

?One, two?who else is here?? she asked.

?Suika and Marisa, I think?? Reimu said.  Scrambled eggs weren?t exactly what came to mind at the thought of quelling an upset stomach, but she was starting to look more alive.

?Go get them.  Everyone outside.?  The girl left the room.

Reimu took her plate with her into the hall, returning within minutes with the other people in the house.  Suika had pillows stuffed into her shirt and held them in her arms, still half-asleep.  Marisa was still being followed by the bucket girl, most likely the tsurube-otoshi Reimu mentioned.

Outside, it was windy and cool.  There was the mouse youkai?s party, and the others from the shrine, and Konngara didn?t care to identify anyone else.  She sat on the back porch and observed the following exchange:

?This amanojaku poisoned the artichoke dip,? someone announced.  This was followed by a crescending ?ohhHHHHhh? throughout the crowd, and many obscenities.

?But it was so good!?

?I had like a ton of that stuff.?

?I?m gonna exterminate you.?

?%^&*&^% and then ^&^%#@@*)(@!@# fuck you!?

Suika sauntered over to Konngara, missing the pillows and looking concerned.  ?Hey, did you have any of the artichoke dip??

?Yeah, come to think of it, you look perfectly fine,? croaked Reimu.  When Konngara shook her head, she frowned.

?What?!  No fair!  Why?? she cried.  In the background, the wolf youkai was punching the aforementioned amanojaku in the face.

?Because I fucking hate artichoke dip,? Konngara said.

?Fair enough,? Suika said with a shrug.  She jerked her thumb over her shoulder.  ?Looks like another danmaku fight?s building up.  Wanna join in??

Konngara shook her head.  It was time she headed home.  With a wave to the others, she disappeared into the forest and towards the entrance to the Underground.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Morning After (Deadline December 31st)
Post by: hungrybookworm on December 30, 2013, 09:46:53 PM
Finally wrote something! Not 100% sure about all the shrine building names and terminologies so apologies if I got some of it wrong. Also I wouldn't call this NSFW but there are sex jokes and drug references. Onwards!

The Hangover

Reimu had experienced many hangovers in her long, underage drinking career, but none had been quite as dramatic as this one. Her head throbbed as though a hundred little moon rabbits were pounding at it, eager to serve up some tasty brain mochi to their masters, and her mouth tasted like bile and bad sake. She groaned, trying to ignore the pain in her stomach that told her she?d thrown up too many times, and gingerly opened her eyes.

That?s odd. She hadn?t seen her shrine from this angle before. And damn did the sunlight hurt this morning. Days like this made her wish there was some sake youkai who went around making people?s hangovers worse, and giving them a good beating up would make her headache disappear. And why was it so hard to move her arms around? Her sleeves and lower half felt heavy, and her every movement seemed to make an odd sloshing sound.

Oh right, thought Reimu, I?m sitting in the pond, aren?t I?

Indeed, the turtles were all staring at her, judging her. Reimu glared back at them, and slowly oozed her way out of the pond. She made a mental note to clean it more often; the gunk had turned her robes green. She wasted no time wringing out her sleeves, trying half heartedly to remember what happened last night.

There?d been a party, of course. The usual suspects had gathered at the shrine and much drinking and chatting had occurred. Well, she assumed it did, it was weirdly hard to remember. She could recall Kasen and Yuyuko holding the sake they?d each brought. Then Kasen had to leave early, and the image of Suika mixing all the booze into one giant punch bowl came to mind. Then the rest was one big grainy blur.

She stumbled to her feet, trying not to stagger as she made her way to the shrine building. Hopefully a few stragglers were still sprawled around the grounds, ready to be goaded into helping clear up all the mess. The shrine looked okay from the back, but Reimu could already imagine the horrors that awaited her at the front. She slid the back door open and stepped inside, hoping for some water (and maybe some of that hangover cure Yukari bought for her birthday) but instead finding her table pushed aside and her futon rolled out.

And it was occupied.

?Hey, what do you think you?re doing?? She kicked it, a sudden squeal coming from the sheets. ?Get out of my bed!?

A pause. Then, a pair of horns poked out from the covers. Followed by?

Reimu?s stomach hurt. There were two people inside. Two naked people. Suika was already waving at her, a gaudy grin on her face, and her partner was desperately trying to cover herself up.

?Hey Reimu. You missed out after falling in the pond.? She paused to take a swig from her bottle. ?Glad you didn?t drown and all.?

?P-Please don?t tell Lord Tenma!? Her partner had turned bright red, and Reimu finally recognised her as the wolf tengu from Youkai Mountain. ?I just, it just, I mean-!?

?Wanna join in?? Suika patted the futon and made a face that Reimu assumed was some drunken attempt to look seductive. ?I could teach you a few things.?

?Get out get out get out!?

A few minutes and much kicking later, the two intruders were dislodged. Momiji ran around the room trying to collect her clothes as fast as possible, while Suika just relaxed and gazed at the ceiling in all her nakedness. ?Oh right, we should let her down at some point.?

Reimu looked up, and almost fell backwards. There was Youmu sobbing quietly, pinned to her ceiling by several silver knives jabbed through her clothes. Even the white blob had its tail stuck to one of the support beams.

?Was waiting for you to mention her, Momiji, but I guess you didn?t mind.? Suika smiled, and Reimu began to seriously consider banning parties at her shrine for life. Or at least banning Suika.

Those knives weren?t going to make a permanent mark on the ceiling, were they?

?Please,? whispered Youmu, ?let me down? no more??

Reimu stumbled onto the porch and tossed the empty hangover cure bottle aside, half afraid of the other horrors awaiting her. The front of the shrine was just as bad as she feared ? vomit-stained picnic sheets, empty drinks everywhere, bits of half eaten food and paper lantern scraps blooming through the grass like weeds. Thankfully there was no one else around, or not so thankfully, as cleaning all this up might take all day and all night. Lazy bums.

Where was Marisa anyway? Well, it wasn?t unusual for her to be gone before morning, but Reimu could vaguely remember her chugging down the booze straight out of the punch bowl. Hopefully she hadn?t died of liver failure or anything.

?Morning,? said a voice behind her. Reimu winched from the sudden pain rushing to her sore head, and looked over her shoulder to find Aya.

Crap. A journalist.

?I?m sorry but the Hakurei Shrine isn?t accepting any newspaper subscriptions at this time,? said Reimu automatically, trying to turn around and head back into the shrine building as naturally as possible. But Aya had already grabbed her ponytail, and ow that was not good for her hangover.

?Not that, I?m here for an interview.? Aya gave a winning smile. ?Your party last night was such a? success that I?m dedicating a full eight pages to it in my next issue. So I need an interview from the host.?

Bugger off, was what Reimu wanted to say, but all that came out was ??Eight pages??

?And a full colour spread! I just finished developing the pictures this morning.? Aya reached into her pocket and pulled out a bundle of photographs. Reimu?s blood ran cold. ?Want to have a look??

Reimu quickly considered her options. One, danmaku time. Two, fly off to Youkai Mountain, find Aya?s house and destroy the negatives. Three, cry.

?Spirit Sign: Fantasy Seal ?Concentrate-!? Well, option one had never failed her yet. Even with a hangover a few spell cards wouldn?t be a problem.

?Oh?? But Aya just smiled, weaving through the homing bullets as they hissed passed her. ?Come on, see it as a chance to clear your name. You haven?t even seen them yet.?

?If I have to clear my name then I don?t want to see them!? Reimu gritted her teeth, and her head pounded harder and harder the closer the spell card got to timing out. ?Just give me the negatives and I?ll make a nice bonfire.?

?Yeah right.? And the spell card cracked. Reimu snarled, wondering which one to pick next, but Aya was suddenly right in front of her. ?Come on, just take a look.?

The shrine maiden paused, suddenly furious, but curiosity won over, and her headache wasn?t getting any better. ?Fine.? She snatched the photos out of her hand and glanced over them. ?Wait, what am I doing on top of my donations box??

?Oh, Sanae taught everyone a fashionable dance from the outside world,? explained Aya. ?I believe it was called? tweeking??

?Did you need to zoom in on my bum like that??

?You wouldn?t stop shoving it in my face, though I?m told that?s all a part of the dance.? Aya sighed, and pointed at the next photo. ?Everyone lost interest after the gap youkai tried it.?

Now that was an image Reimu could?ve lived without. ??What?s this one then? Is that the maid from the mansion??

?Yes, it seems the gardener from Hakugyokurou got over-excited and decided to stick her arms down her front.? Aya grinned this time. ?She produced some? odd squishy objects. I?ve already interviewed the Kourindou shopkeeper on their true identity, and he says they?re ?chicken fillers? or something. How fearsome.?

?Oh.? Well that explains how Youmu got pinned to the ceiling. ?Is that all of them??

?Oh no, I?ve got plenty more back on the mountain. Now how about that interview? Would you say the party was a huge- oh.?

Aya?s eyes snapped to the shrine building. Reimu turned around, and saw a semi-clothed Momiji hopping out the door. The wolf tengu?s complexion turned an odd blue colour, and the two of them stared at each other until Suika came strolling out, whistling.

?Here?s your underpants,? she said, tossing a frilly pair of knickers onto Momiji?s head. ?Oh hi, Aya. Hope you didn?t mind me borrowing your girlfriend for the night.?

?She?s not my girlfriend,? said Aya, her voice cold. ?And what did you borrow her for last night exactly??

Reimu decided to take this opportunity to leave. Maybe she?d go visit Marisa for once, or pester Rinnosuke for a bit, or even better, just go somewhere quiet and sleep, before her head exploded.

Meanwhile, at Alice?s house.

?Marisa, how long are you going to stay here??

?Until my clothes stop shrinking!? Marisa was writhing around on the rug in front of the fireplace. ?Gah, they?re going to eat me, they?re going to eat me alive!?

Alice sighed and sipped her tea. She?d told Marisa not to mix hallucinogenic mushrooms with that ultra strong booze last night, and now her friend was paying the price for not listening. ?Well, just don?t make a mess.?

?Alice, help!?

Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Morning After (Deadline December 31st)
Post by: Sect on December 31, 2013, 05:14:33 AM

Results will be announced January 7th, since there'll be need to recover from tomorrow night.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Morning After (Deadline December 31st)
Post by: Sect on January 08, 2014, 08:27:03 PM
Time for judgment:

Schwer-Muta: You have solid writing skills, but your narrative seemed to be unintentionally confusing and incomplete. Your story was unique among the three entries in that it wasn't about a party, but it didn't really seem to have a focus as to what exactly the aftermath of the destruction of Parsee's bridge was. The story also just kind of stops as opposed to ending. I would like to see a rewrite and continuation of this: the connection between Parsee and the bridge has been commented on a lot, but few have explored the ramifications of the bridge being destroyed and how Parsee would be affected.

Hungrybookworm: You also have solid skills in writing, and your story is complete and self-contained. The major faults in your story are that it relies on exposition from characters to complete the story (show, don't tell), and the fact that you included "sexual content and drug references" half-heartedly. The first is kind of a lazy way to complete a story, especially when the beginning of the story was interesting and amusing with how Reimu was trying to piece together what had happened. As for the drug and sexual references, if you're going to feature drugs and sex factor in a story, either swing for the fences or change the idea: shock factor doesn't work as well when there's barely any juice in the shock.

Also, "tweeking" doesn't mean what you think it means, if Google serves me right. Your description of the act does clarify what you thought it meant, but you still need to be correct in word usage, even if it's slang and especially if the punch line involves Marisa tripping out on drugs.

By process of elimination, that means that this month's winner is:

Himiko: Of the three stories yours was the most solid. The imagery of Konngara being the sole point of calm among the storm of heavily sick and hung-over party goers and an ongoing, mostly unseen mini-incident is highly amusing. However, that doesn't mean your story was a shoo-in for the winner: your ending stumbled very hard with the lackluster conclusion and the sudden vulgarity, which was out of character with Konngara and your own writing style. If lead up to properly or placed carefully in the scene, sudden out-of-characterness can be very effective, but it wasn't properly utilized in this case.

Congratulations to all contestants this time around: despite the criticism, all three of you have written stories that were enjoyable, and I hope to see more from all three of you in the future. There are currently no plans to conduct another WWC at this time, so thank you for your entries!
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Morning After (Deadline December 31st)
Post by: SchwerMuta on January 09, 2014, 12:24:19 AM
The idea was that even though the bridge is gone, she has no idea what to do with her new-found freedom and still feels just as stuck. Once I settled on that reaction, I eventually realized that I couldn't fix that problem in the length of story that I planned to write. So I just stopped at the end of the night. I felt if I continued after that I would be committing to at least doubling the length of what I had, and at that point it'd balloon to a point where I couldn't post it in this thread. So it came out kind of half-assed, really.

Honestly I should have scrapped it, but I scrap everything. I wanted to post something.
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Morning After (Deadline December 31st)
Post by: hungrybookworm on January 09, 2014, 04:26:25 AM
Congrats to Himiko for winning! And thank you Inubasectri for writing such a long critique of my silly booze up story (seriously I love concrit). Might as well address a few of the things you brought up.

Firstly, don't worry, I do know what twerking actually is and how it's spelt. I just figured it'd be funny if Aya said it wrong, what with it being this wacky thing from the outside world and Aya's journalism not always being spot on. I assumed her follow up comment where she says 'chicken fillers' instead of 'chicken fillets' would make it obvious it was her making the mistake but I guess I should've maybe made it more obvious or just cut the joke (or chosen something less obscure than slang for bra pads...)

Secondly about the sex and drugs references... I'm sorry if I upset anyone by including them. I wasn't aiming to shock anyone or anything. This is going to sound quite strange, but we have a really, really, really bad binge drinking culture where I'm from, so people throwing up everywhere, mixing drugs and doing strangers in other people's beds is actually not all that unusual, to the point where most people expect it (from other people) when going to a house party or a night out (though ofc the clubs will kick you out if you're caught doing any of that, as some of my friends learnt the hard way).  Rereading my fic from an outsider's perspecive, I can see why those elements might seem like I was going for shock value rather than just a 'oh man, the things we get up to when we get drunk...' slapstick story, and why they might seem halfhearted when they're presented the way I wrote them. I think I definitely learnt something from this. (Also the best advice my mother ever gave me was 'if you're drinking and you start going blind, it's time to start throwing up'. It's never failed me yet.)

I'm a little worried about the 'shock factor' thing actually. There's more stuff written on my hard drive with sex, drugs, some adult themes... though they have a more serious tone and I age everyone up (well, the humans) if things get a bit extreme. I guess I'm worried people will think I'm just trying to shock rather than do a darker, more adult touhou story. If I work on my storytelling technique a bit more I might avoid that naturally, but I wonder if the story being a comedy didn't help it? Should I mark them as NSFW in the future just to be safe too?

(Oh right, my first draft of this had Reimu waking up with a hangover at the Moriya shrine wearing Sanae's clothes. She'd then follow a trail of her own clothes over to the Hakurei shrine, and discover Sanae... wearing Marisa's clothes. Then Marisa would show up totally naked riding on Kasen's Tiger. Yeah, I dunno what I was thinking either.)
Title: Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Too Cool for School
Post by: Tamashii Kanjou on September 08, 2014, 11:19:38 PM
You thought it was a silly bump for no reason...


Here I am, invading parts of MotK I normally wouldn't. And why, you ask? Because I aim to kick a gear or two into the minds of those who have been writing... or taking breaks... or just lurking. You get the idea : I am to get a special writing session up and running! (And also so WWC doesn't sit here gathering cobwebs for a whole year.)

So what really brings me here? Well... today is the day of silly songs, and old consoles. A day of frozen frogs, and black holes. A day of, oh I think you get it by now~

In the blue corner, we have the impressive non-human; whose mind is phenomenal, and her very ability can crush puny humans into a pile of tears and despair...

And in the lighter blue corner, we have Cirno~ :3

For those who may remember, 3 years ago, I started a thread celebrating Cirno Day (09/09) as was the norm. A certain someone decided to shove the Dreamcast into the thread; and Yuyuko entered the fray. The next year (that's 2012), I ran a thing where Cirno & Yuyuko had a bit of a 'fight.' Now the issue here was not just the fact they didn't get along... but also because it was limited to those in the Idiot Hierarchy.

Now, present day, 2 years after all that, it's time to step things up a bit. It's time to lend a hand...


The aim here is simple. Create a story featuring Cirno AND Yuyuko. Sounds easy enough? Not quite. The goal is to have them working together in one way or another. The partnership can be short-lived, or could go through the entire story. It could be Yuyuko pushing the fairy's buttons, or could be Cirno 'forcing' Yuyuko to do something. Want a third party to get the two doing something or tell them off? Go for it. But whatever happens, they must attempt to do something together at some point.

But wait! I have another rule. You are allowed to dip into alternate settings (as in, genres outside of the official Touhou-verse); but the characters must keep their defining personalities, etc. You know, just in case you want to do something outside of Gensokyo. Speaking of which, current Touhou Fanon settings (and characters, for that matter) can be used in this if your name is, for example, Sango (hehe); but do remember that it does need to focus on Cirno & Yuyuko just as much~

In short : Cirno & Yuyuko find themselves working together for whatever reason. But what will it be about it? And will this 'friendship' even last the story? {Minimum word count : 1,000. No real maximum limit; just please keep it limited to a single post.}

This contest will run till the 16th of September! If enough people enter, maybe it can spark a bit of a thing again. Enter if you can; and remember : have fun~ XD

And Happy ⑨ Day, you silly ghosts~