Topic: Touhou Kourindou ~ Outer-Reality Compendium [New 02/10/2015]  (Read 2527 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

BB

  • Typewriter Youkai
  • Nickname: Beebs
  • Gender: I am a bear
Touhou Kourindou ~ Outer-Reality Compendium [New 02/10/2015]
« on: November 30, 2014, 05:59:30 pm »
(Or, 'non-canon fanfic'  :V)

Somehow I never got around to reading through the printed stories (books and manga) so I've been making a concerted effort to do so, starting with CoLA. I really wish I'd done so sooner! The stories are so charming and fun, and it's really an interesting insight into the more day-to-day lives of the inhabitants of Gensokyo. It's a shame the series hasn't been updated in so long since I'd be really keen to see Rinnosuke's reactions to events in recent titles.

It turns out writing in Rinnosuke/Kourindou's style is a LOT of fun, so I've written out a few stories of my own trying to emulate the CoLA style as best as I can. There's a lot of wordplay and punnery in the official works that I can't really emulate, but other than that I think I've got a good handle on Rinnsouke's “voice”.

I've written out three of them so far, but I had so much fun doing them I'd definitely like to write more if I can think of any ideas. I'm not so knowledgeable on Japanese folklore that I could churn them out for days, sadly. I'm editing them up for readability currently and I'll post them each once I've finished the polishing-up process.

-


Beer Blessed For A Hundred Years


It's an otherwise ordinary day in secondhand-goods store Kourindou and proprietor Rinnosuke Morichika is busy putting a rare piece of merchandise on display. But enemies at every turn will do everything they can to stop him from selling it! A new fan-made chapter in the original story based on the Touhou series begins now!


Clink.


The glass bottles rattle together as I move them into a more prominent position, all empty aside from one.
It's strange to think that only a week ago I threw several bottles just like these out as junk, but the bottles in my hands are actually items for sale in my store. To look at them you might say these bottles are like any other, but in this case it's their history that makes them appealing. The line between 'junk' and 'treasure' is thin, and that line might even shift as you learn more about an item. Taking into consideration the different perspectives of everyone who would look at an object, you can probably argue that every item in existence is a treasure to someone.
These bottles aren't part of my treasure, though. Their story is interesting, but I don't really have room for empty bottles in my collection. Since I just proved that everything is a treasure to someone, though, I'm sure they'll sell quickly.
This single full bottle is tempting me, however. Most bottles I find are empty when I get them, but this one was still full of a dark brown fluid. It's alcohol from the outside world, from a very special brewery.

“Hey Kourin, whatcha up to?”

It's Marisa, interrupting for no reason as usual. If she sees this bottle she will no doubt pressure me to drink it, and since drinking alone is sinful she will insist on sharing it. It's an item for the store, so I quickly hide it. I won't sell anything if I drink all of my stock.

“Hiding your drink is the first sign of a problem, you know.”

It's Reimu, at the window and with a perfect view of what I'm doing. Somehow these two always know the worst time to show up. I was only hiding it so I could avoid drinking it, but suddenly it's become something much worse. Denying it at this point will only make her more suspicious, so unfortunately I must already come clean.

“Hello, you two. Actually, this is merchandise. I was just arranging it for display.”
“Hey, you already drank those others. You should definitely share the last one with us!”

Marisa has it wrong, but I can understand her thinking, and now my worst fear is coming true. This beer is special, though, so I have to turn them away from it somehow.

For these girls who only drink for the sake of drinking, and without any appreciation for what it is they're drinking, any drink will do. Luckily for me, I also found some other alcohol from the outside world some time ago, forgotten for obvious reasons. It comes in white hand-sized metal cannisters and the contents are, to my refined taste, quite dreadful.
I offer the girls one of these beers instead, and as they drink only for the sake of drinking, they both accept without argument. Reimu is still curious about the bottles and asks the obvious question as they open their drinks, so I tell them the story.

“These bottles came from a special brewery in the outside world. It's said a god helped set it up, and the drinks it produces are both rare and delicious.”

Empty cannisters of the beer I offered the girls show up in Gensokyo all the time, so I'm certain it is neither rare nor delicious. Marisa takes a swig and pulls a face, but keeps drinking anyway. Drinking for the sake of drinking, without any appreciation even for the fact she doesn't like it. I have to admire her stubbornness.
While Marisa drinks it as fast as she can to get it over with, Reimu takes a smarter approach. She takes short, quick sips, swallowing them down before she has chance to notice how bad it tastes. I am often surprised how two girls can be so different and yet so alike. But they're both looking at me expecting more to the story, so I'll have to dwell on it another time.

“It was founded well over a hundred years ago, and the story goes that a god of beer blessed the first barrel they produced. They only produce once a year, and only a hundred bottles at a time, but the result is said to be exquisite.”

The full bottle is, of course, one of these hundred bottles. But the empty ones are even more special than that.

“Because the first barrel was blessed by a god, each year they save the first bottle produced, and pour it into the fermenting mixture the year after. That way, even a hundred years later, the beer is still blessed.”

The full bottle is one of the other ninety-nine bottles produced, naturally. If I had the first bottle, the brewery would be unable to continue this practice. But the empty bottles all once contained that first beer of the season.

Marisa's cheeks are already flushing from the drink I gave her. It's a low quality beer, so it has a quick effect which disappears just as quickly. Alcohol is like music; a poorly trained ensemble with poorly made and out-of-tune instruments will make a great deal of noise before quickly giving up. A refined orchestra meanwhile can effortlessly build up a crescendo, and keep a performance going for a whole night. Good drink will have the same effect. That's why good drink and good music are two key ingredients to a successful party. The last ingredient is good company, but you can't really plan for that. Good company is something that happens by itself, though good drink and good music usually attracts it.

“So that bottle contains god-blessed beer, huh...”

I know where this question is heading, but I absolutely can't let Marisa drink my stock. Although I was the one who told the story, I have to tell her why I think she has the wrong idea.

“That's how the story goes. But thinking about it logically, that can't really be the case. Every year, the blessing in that first bottle gets split among a hundred new bottles. So even in the second year of production, each bottle is only one-percent blessed. The year after that is one percent of that one percent, and so on. After just a few years, the percentage of the original blessing left in the brew is a number so small it might as well be zero. Even someone who really appreciates their drink couldn't tell the difference.”

I had hoped rationalising it this way would put them off, but it seems to have had the opposite effect.

“If that's just ordinary beer, then y' don't want it for your store, right?”

I never said it was ordinary beer, though. I can see at least Reimu is thinking the story over, as gods are her speciality, but Marisa is really just trying to get me to share the drink with her. I've backed myself into a precarious situation, here... If I make the beer seem too special, she wants to take it for her own. If I make the beer seem ordinary, I have no reason to keep it to myself (or so Marisa thinks). I shouldn't have to try so hard to stop her from taking my things, but so it goes.

“Dividing the blessing doesn't make sense, but that doesn't mean the beer isn't special. They always use the first bottle, which implies none of the other bottles will do. Rather than divide the blessing, it seems more likely the god actually takes residence in the first bottle they produce. By returning the first bottle to the brew each year, the blessing is renewed. That's why those empty bottles are still a treasure after being emptied- each was the home of a god.”

“If that's right, then they're really just sellin' a god's bathwater, huh. But, imagine gettin' hold o' that first bottle with the god still in it. That'd be a party!”
“'Bathwater of a god' doesn't sound as attractive as 'beer blessed for a hundred years', does it? It's no wonder they wouldn't tell the truth in the story.” As for her second point, it'd be useless to argue Marisa down from the idea. She doesn't appreciate her drink, and so wouldn't appreciate how dangerous drinking a bottle like that would be. I would want it for my collection, of course, but probably even the oni would balk at drinking a god.

My theory seems to have spurred Reimu into action, though. Logically speaking I can't be wrong, but if anyone can tell for sure, it would be her. She takes one of the empty bottles and has a deep sniff.

“I don't think a god was ever in this. Not a god of alcohol, anyway.”

I'm not sure that's the kind of thing you can tell by scent. It's not like I have a more reliable way to tell, though, and that leaves me with a difficult problem. If the original story is true, then there is nothing special about this beer. After a hundred years of the cycle, the percentage of blessing left in the brew is probably even less than a normal beer. But if my theory is correct, then this bottle is still nothing special, because the real treasure then would be the full first bottle with the god still inside it.

More valuable than a god's blessing, though, this bottle contains the answer. The only way I can find out if my theory is correct is to open the bottle. And although I'm one who appreciates drink, only Reimu could tell for sure how strong the blessing was. And I can hardly offer Reimu some and leave Marisa out while she's here.

For all my efforts to avoid opening the bottle, I've accidentally forced myself to do it anyway. I don't really mind too much. The empty bottle will be able to join the others as part of my stock, so looking at it that way I'm not losing anything.

Opening the bottle and sharing the contents around, it seems the only thing missing now is good music.


-

The beers Rinnosuke offers the girls are Tesco Value tins- Tesco discontinued their Value range a while back, and all that unsold stock has to go somewhere!
« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 07:50:26 pm by BB »
Touhou fan since 2008.

Faves quicklist:
Yukari - Byakuren - Lily White - PCB - UFO - Necrofantasia - Cosmic Mind - Shining Needle - not into the fighters - not into score play - enjoy storytelling and theorycraft

BB

  • Typewriter Youkai
  • Nickname: Beebs
  • Gender: I am a bear
Re: Touhou Kourindou ~ Outer-Reality Compendium
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2014, 12:12:59 am »
Unexpected Fanatic Outsider

The sudden appearance of a shrine on Youkai Mountain has Gensokyo in an uproar, but life in the Human Village stays the same as ever. For antiques shop owner Rinnosuke Morichika, the biggest worry in his life is the weather. An unexpected new face in the shop threatens to change his very way of life in a new exciting fan-made chapter of the ongoing story based on the popular Touhou series!

-


There's been an unusual amount of rain and strong winds, lately. It's not been so bad to the point that ordinary people would be worried, but as a shopkeeper I keep a close eye on such things. Rain and strong winds make people think twice about going outside, and although the current weather doesn't present any danger, my customers lately have numbered zero.

I don't include Reimu and Marisa in that total. To begin with, they aren't really customers, as that would imply they ever paid for the objects they take from my store, but also I doubt any kind of weather could keep them away for long. I sound like I'm complaining, but there is something reassuring about their reliability. So long as my door is open, they will enter it to pester me.

“Umm...”

It's a voice I don't recognise, belonging to a person I've never seen before. She appears to be a shrine maiden, which is unusual enough, but there is something else otherworldly about her that I can't quite place.

“Hm hm, 'dank old junk shop that smells mouldy and hasn't been cleaned in years'... this must be it!”

She hasn't seen me, else I doubt she'd be so frank. I would complain about such a remark from Reimu or Marisa, but admonishing this girl would only scare her away. In order to keep her as a customer I have to pretend I didn't hear her. More to the point, if she's looking for a 'dank old junk shop', Marisa is probably the one who sent her here.

“Good morning, and welcome to my little store. Can I help you find anything?”

A polite greeting, well-rehearsed, is the best way to begin a new customer relationship. Even if she is dissatisfied with the goods, she can't fault my service.

“Oh, hello! Are you Mister Kourin?”

Marisa is the only one who calls me Kourin, so that confirms my earlier theory.

“Actually, my name is Rinnosuke Morichika. Kourindou is the name of this shop. Are you a friend of Marisa's?”

“I am. Well, sort of. She told me to meet her here for some reason, but I can't find her anywhere.”

I'm a little upset at Marisa using my store as a meeting place, and more upset that this shrine maiden isn't here to purchase goods. I have enough non-customers as it is, and if all three of them were here at once there wouldn't be any room for me.

She may not have come here for my wares, but while she waits I can at least advertise my goods to her. I mustn't write her off as a customer just yet.

“I'm afraid I haven't seen Marisa at all today. But feel free to browse the store while you wait- it's not a junk shop. These are treasures from the outside world.”

“Yes, I know. I recognise a lot of this stuff, actually.”

It was a surprising thing to hear, so I asked how she knew the items in my store. It turns out she was transported to Gensokyo along with her shrine, and is originally from outside the Barrier. Even more intriguingly than this, she told me she is in fact a god herself. I immediately worried I hadn't been showing her proper reverence, but she seemed satisfied. A good shopkeeper treats all of their customers as though they are gods, so she wouldn't have had much to complain about anyway.

As a collector of curiosities from the outside world, having someone in my shop with full knowledge of their use is of great value to me. I don't want to pester her, but nonetheless we spend some time idly discussing the uses of certain items. She seems to be enjoying browsing, so I'm happy to leave her to it while I make us both a drink.

There's suddenly a loud scream, and as my shop is not a place loud screams are usually heard, I rush to the scene. I'm expecting to find some awful tragedy has happened, but all I see is the shrine maiden excitedly pointing at something. I may yet be proven wrong about her being a non-customer.

The object she's pointing at is one of many whose true nature eludes me. With my ability, I know it's called a Roswell, and the people of the outside world 'use it to attract visitors'. I keep it in the front of the store for that reason, but I just can't figure out how it works. It's somewhat humanoid, and has a large head with two black 'eyes'. I had thought a light would shine from these eyes as some sort of beacon for people to follow,  but I can't find any way to activate them. It's too small for that purpose anyway, fitting neatly in her hand.

I begin to explain what I know about the item, but she beats me to it. It's strange to have a customer explaining my own stock to me, but I let her finish anyway. By letting her explain the object, she will believe I'm unaware of its true value, so when I name my price she'll think I'm accidentally under-selling it and therefore feel like she got a good deal. It seems underhanded to trick a customer like this, but that is how bartering has always worked. Besides which, my non-customers take so much of my stock, I can't feel guilty about wrangling a good deal for myself if the opportunity arises.

She talks too quickly for me to understand her fully, but apparently Roswell was an alien from beyond the sky that landed on Earth. The object in her hand is only a commemorative item and not Roswell himself, and as such it doesn't do anything. People from around the world like to visit Roswell and take these objects home as souvenirs to remember him by.

I'm a little disappointed. Objects that do nothing are difficult to sell as no one needs something that does nothing. This girl has never met Roswell so doesn't need a souvenir to remember him by.

Then again, she seemed excited to see him despite this. Maybe Roswell is a celebrity in the outside world? I've read a few books from outside that talk about people like this- all with odd names like Elvis, and Beatle, and Jackson- that make people excited even without having met them... I'm sure that's what is happening here, too. I'll have to lower my asking price since this Roswell still doesn't do anything, but maybe it's not a lost cause yet.

“Doesn't it evoke wild thoughts of a world outside even the Outside World? Your gods would be excited by the idea of a visitor who had never seen an earth shrine before.”

It's more likely they'd be upset at the idea of a creature like Roswell who can gather followers without even having to offer a blessing, but I'm determined to sell this object now.

“Hm hm hm. I've been trying to teach them about aliens and flying saucers. A lot of people in the outside world don't think they're real, but that's true of most things in Gensokyo.”

I've never heard of crockery taking flight even in Gensokyo.

“Only... Mister Kourin, how much would you sell an item like this for?”

Her sudden frankness startles me, but a good shopkeeper always has a price ready. I name it, but she's crestfallen.

“That's too much. I don't have anything on me, actually.”

Any price is too much if you have nothing to offer. Saying I'm asking too much is a good bartering technique, but I certainly won't let it go for nothing.

“Oy Kourin, have you seen a- oh, guess you have.”

It's Marisa. She's late and now I'm in discussions with this shrine maiden myself, so she'll have to wait. Any normal person could see the justice in that, but Marisa is certain to get impatient anyway.

They greet each other, but before Marisa can take my customer away, I interject.

“Hello, Marisa. We were just discussing business, actually.”

“Eh? You mean you sell stuff here?”

“I would sell a lot more if you and Reimu would stop taking my stuff. It doesn't matter, anyway, since she can't afford it.”

“Oh, you can just take his stuff, y'know.”

Marisa is not at all helpful in business matters. If she's going to start telling other people to burgle me, I'll have to insist she pays for every single thing she takes in future, and I'll have to insist this new girl pays for her goods too, or Marisa will complain that I'm being unfair. It's also unfair to take something without paying for it, but Marisa doesn't see the world the way other people do.

“I can't let it go, I'm afraid. My stock is for sale, not for donation. Even to a shrine maiden.”

“That's a lie, he lets Reimu take his stuff all the time. Anyway, why don'tcha just offer him a special service as payment instead?”

I'm beginning to wonder just what kind of shrine maiden this girl is.

“Oh, but... performing a miracle for cheap objects isn't responsible, is it?”

She is a human, but she has the ability to perform miracles. I wonder if she has this ability because she is a god, or if having this ability caused her to become revered as a god?

Either way, a miracle would of course be a great payment, but I can't really think of any miracle I would ask for. I also have reservations about asking a god to perform such a grand act to pay for a trinket from my shop. While I think it over, I turn my attention to Marisa.

"By the way, please don't use my shop as a meeting place. It'll become as crowded as the shrine."
"Hey, how can you accuse a long-time customer like me of such a thing? We weren't just meetin' here, I was gonna sell her to ya!”

It would be easy to sell the services of this shrine maiden, but that doesn't seem like the right thing to do. I also wonder what makes Marisa think that's a sale she's allowed to make.

"She's from the outside world like all your junk. I figured she could tell you what all this crap is, maybe help you sell it."

It's rare for Marisa to think so selflessly, but she might be onto something. With my ability, I can identify the name and function of an object, but Roswell proves this isn't always enough. I do sometimes get help from a certain youkai... though I'd rather avoid asking her for help wherever I can do without it. As for helping me in the shop, it's small enough that I can manage it well enough by myself. Thinking beyond the shop though, maybe I can turn this into something beneficial to both of us...
"I do have a lot of objects in my collection whose use I've been unable to figure out. If you can help me catalogue my collection, I'll accept that as payment for that Roswell."
Although I don't profit from such an arrangement- at least in a business sense- solving some of the mysteries in my collection is worth the cost of that Roswell a hundred times over. If we can both see it that way, she'll definitely feel she got a great deal, and so hopefully will spread the word in the human village that my store is great value. A shrine maiden who can perform miracles is sure to be a popular person among humans, so I'll make up the loss from all the business she brings my way. On that subject, I have a small favour to ask of her.

“Also, I'm assuming the recent wind and rain is thanks to your shrine, right? I'd appreciate it if you could keep it away from the store. I've been short on customers lately.”
“Oh, if you bake something that smells good, I could arrange for the wind to blow the smell into the village and draw people in that way.”
“Nah, you'd only fill the village with the smell of his mouldy old shack.”
I send Marisa home without even offering her a drink. It feels good to finally take something from her. ...Not that this girl was hers to sell to me in the first place.

Later in the day, after Sanae and I have discussed our arrangement and settled on a date, she leaves to head back to her shrine. It's heartwarming to watch her cradle Roswell as she goes, smiling unreservedly. Turning a profit or not, if I can make all of my customers that happy, I'll know I'm a good shopkeeper.


------

It felt like there was a lot of foreshadowing to the events of Mountain Of Faith towards the end of Curiosities (I think it ended just before MoF came out, right?) so I was a little sad Kourin and Sanae never got to meet. It feels like they'd have a lot to teach one another. Just imagine her telling him all about the adventure she had in Makai a couple of years later- sadly, Nue didn't seem to know who Roswell was.
Touhou fan since 2008.

Faves quicklist:
Yukari - Byakuren - Lily White - PCB - UFO - Necrofantasia - Cosmic Mind - Shining Needle - not into the fighters - not into score play - enjoy storytelling and theorycraft

BB

  • Typewriter Youkai
  • Nickname: Beebs
  • Gender: I am a bear
Re: Touhou Kourindou ~ Outer-Reality Compendium
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2014, 12:17:41 am »
Kourindou, Double-Dealer

The antiques business moves slowly, so dealers become very familiar with the character of the items in their stock. Second-hand items salesman Rinnosuke Morichika's special ability gives him an extra degree of familiarity. As a youkai incident is on the brink of turning life in Gensokyo on its head, will he discover there's more to his stock than even he knows? The third fan-made chapter in the story based on the popular Touhou series is about to begin!

-

Something very unusual is happening.

Overnight, my entire shop appears to have rearranged itself. It took a surprisingly long time for me to notice, but since the shop is usually in some disarray it can be hard to tell when things aren't where they should be.

I live in Gensokyo, so it's only natural to assume some youkai is behind this. I've never heard of a youkai who rearranges inventories and then disappears for no reason, though. Since I can rule out youkai interference, the other natural assumption is that a human did it. But humans that enter a property in the dead of night to go through items tend to be burglars. I know a burglar, but nothing seems to be missing, so I can rule her out too.

It's quite puzzling. The weather is getting chilly again and mornings like this demand the use of my heater from the outside world, except now it's buried under piles of stuff that wasn't there when I went to sleep and I can't reach it. That one youkai with the chilling smile always showed an uncomfortable interest in my heater, but why would she bury it? As some punishment perhaps? I've never failed to uphold my end of the bargain... or at least, I think so. The terms of our arrangement were never clear to me, but over the five or so years since we first discussed it there has never been a problem.

“Oy, Kourin! Wha'd'y'do to my hakkero!?”

Compounding the problem, it's Marisa again, apparently in quite a sore mood. She immediately sits upon the same pile of items she always does, not even noticing it's in a different place now. She's dripping wet, although it's not raining near my shop. I dread to think what mischief she's been involved with.

“Hello Marisa. I haven't touched your Hakkero since I improved it a long time ago. Actually, it could probably do with some maintenance after all this time.”

“No kidding! Every time I use it, fire spews everywhere! It's really makin' me mad!”

Given her current mood, the fire might actually be coming from her. It's probably a bad idea to say that out loud though.

“An' there's some stupid storm goin' on that's got youkai written all over it, an' I can't even go beat 'em up without cookin' myself!”

“I'd like to have a look, but as you can see my work surfaces are all covered in shop stock. Somehow, my shop rearranged itself over night.”

“How can you tell? This pile of junk looks the same however you toss it.”

Although it's usually disarrayed, a good shopkeeper always knows where his stock is. What looks like an unidentifiable pile of junk to an outsider is a well-documented tower of gold to it's shopkeeper. If even one object was where it didn't belong, I'd be able to tell immediately. As for how it happened...

“You wouldn't know anything about how this happened, would you?”

“You're accusing me of what, now?”

I thought I'd worded it politely enough, but Marisa assumed the worst. It's unusual for her to be so moody.

“I'm not accusing you. You're more likely to take my stuff, not just move it around.”
“That's right.”

I should tell her off for how readily she accepts the title of 'thief', but now isn't the time. I take a look at the hakkero, but there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it, at least physically. It's a delicate instrument and she certainly pushes it to it's limits, but I'd even say it looks in better shape now than it ever did. I ask her if she can think of anything that happened to it that would explain the odd behaviour.

“Well, I noticed it was outputtin' a lot more power than normal, so I went to fight some small fry youkai with it as a test. It was like it was fightin' by itself- I normally hafta push it real hard to get power like that. But then it just started spewin' fire everywhere and I couldn't use it. I got beat by a fairy!”

The door opens, and we have another guest. It's not who I was expecting. The Scarlet Maid is standing there, placidly holding quite a mean looking blade. If I didn't know her, I might be worried by the sight. Then again, I know her well enough that it's a scary sight anyway...

“Good morning to you both. I'm glad to see you here, Marisa.”

We both return greetings. Mine is polite, while Marisa is Marisa.

“Whatcha got there?”
“Oh, it's just a knife.”
“Whichever way you look at it, that's a sword.”
“Mm. I came by here today to ask if Mr. Kourin needed help resolving any... problems.”

One problem I have is that, thanks to Marisa, no one ever gets my name right. That's not really a problem you can solve with a sword, though. Marisa has her own questions, talking over me as though I'm not even here.

“Thought you'd stopped doin' the whole incident-solvin' thing?”
“I had, but then I found this sword. It seemed a shame to let such a fine blade go to waste. So I came to help Mr. Kourin solve his... recurring problem.”

Logically speaking, Marisa is a problem that could be solved with a sword. ...Those are dark thoughts, so I direct the conversation away from the topic.

“You say you found it?”
“Yes, it's not one I recognise, but it was in my collection one day so I took it. It's funny, but when I hold it, I just feel like I should be using it. I have a hard time stopping myself. So, speaking of your recurring problem...”
Trying to redirect the conversation only brought it back to the topic I was trying to avoid. Things always seem to happen that way in this shop. She's looking at Marisa with clear intent, and there can be no mistaking what she means by “recurring problem”.

“I'm not recurring!”
She objects far too late, and to the wrong part, but there's something else on my mind. A misbehaving hakkero making Marisa grumpy, a strange sword making the Scarlet Maid act in an unusual way... I think I have an idea what is happening, but how would that explain my shop rearranging itself?

I decide to voice my idea to the girls. I doubt they will be able to offer much insight, but talking my thoughts out helps me to organise them. Also, I've been documenting both my thoughts and my conversations in this book- so if I speak my thoughts out loud, I save myself extra work.

“Seeing that sword gives me an idea of what's wrong with the hakkero, Marisa.”
“You ain't stabbin' it!”
“No, that's not what I mean. I believe it's becoming a tsukumogami.”

If a tool is mistreated or misused, the god inside it can become vengeful against it's owner. When that happens, the tool will start to misbehave, do things it isn't supposed to and refuse to do what it should, and in extreme cases seek to harm its owner. Marisa's hakkero clearly feels as though she isn't treating it correctly. The sword too seems to feel neglected, willing its owner to 'solve problems' with it.

“Eh? But I take great care of it!”
“Didn't you just say you push it to its limits?”
“Yeah, but a tool as powerful as this has gotta love being pushed!”

The hakkero probably feels overworked, or maybe it feels bad about being used against youkai who don't deserve the full extent of Marisa's power. The maid has her own objections to my idea.

“But, Mr. Kourin, this isn't my sword. I found it in my collection one day, if you recall my saying so.”
“In that case, it probably sought a new owner of its own accord. It came to you knowing you'd be most likely to... use it.”
“Oh yeah? And how does this explain your shop goin' topsy-turvy, eh?”

Marisa seems to be turning my accusations back onto me, but I doubt the odd happenings in my shop are related. As a shopkeeper, I have to take great care of my stock. I doubt anything here has reason to be upset with my treatment. The storefront may be in disarray, but I still take good care of each item individually. Well, she'll only shout at me if I say it, so I'll change the subject a little.

“Reimu normally shows up by now, doesn't she? She would be able to tell us if your items are becoming tsukumogami.”
“Nah, she went up into that storm I told you about. Said somethin' about her purification rod...”

The maid wasn't soaked through like Marisa, but she seemed to know about the eerie storm as well.
“Oh, yes. She could feel it guiding her towards troublesome youkai, if I remember correctly. Perhaps I should have followed her instead... I don't care if the necks I cut are troublesome or not, but she usually finds herself surrounded by deserving targets.”

Their ornery moods are making me feel uneasy, but it's not like I can help them. Only the master of the object can bring peace to it, by using it correctly and treating it with respect. Tactfully, I suggest they both seek Reimu's assistance, and bid them both farewell. I can see them bickering as they leave... I hope I don't have to clean up a headless body and a charred corpse tomorrow.

...When I think about it, I'm not truly the master of these items. They've all been forgotten by their owners and have come to me to find a new home. I'm something like an adoption agency for lost objects; they wait with me until a new master comes along who will hopefully take good care of them. Maybe some of the objects felt they weren't getting enough exposure and decided to rearrange themselves to take centre-stage in hopes of finding a new master.

The shop is in such disarray, it's no wonder they feel like this. Perhaps I'll do some rearranging today.


-

I get the impression Rinnosuke is wrong as often as he is right, and the stories are only written in his favour because he's the author. I think it's called an “unreliable narrator”? Either way, I got to thinking about how the incident in DDC might affect a man whose entire life is surrounded by tools, and it seemed like a good opportunity to have him be half-correct about something. :D

Giving Marisa a grumpy, petulant edge was fun, but I hope she's still recognisable as Marisa. You'd be grumpy too if you lost a 1cc to midboss Cirno.
Touhou fan since 2008.

Faves quicklist:
Yukari - Byakuren - Lily White - PCB - UFO - Necrofantasia - Cosmic Mind - Shining Needle - not into the fighters - not into score play - enjoy storytelling and theorycraft

BB

  • Typewriter Youkai
  • Nickname: Beebs
  • Gender: I am a bear
Re: Touhou Kourindou ~ Outer-Reality Compendium
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2015, 10:26:20 pm »
Rinnosuke, Wound up


Tick. Tock.

It's a familiar sound. Even just seeing the words “tick tock” would surely put the image of a clock into everyone's mind. When you hear the “tick”, you know there's going to be a “tock” coming straight after it.

But to say that “tick tock” is the sound a clock makes is completely incorrect. Immediately after the “tick”, and for every moment of time before the “tock”, there is actually a complete absence of sound. Every instance that the clock is making a sound surrounds instances where no sound is being produced at all. “Tick tock” is actually two distinct, separate instances of the clock making a sound, but this gap between the boundaries of “tick” and “tock” is never thought of. This gap doesn't even have a name, instead being swept up into “tick tock” and going unnoticed.

There are countless boundaries like this in the universe. A gap between boundaries as seemingly insignificant as the one between Tick and Tock might elude a human for the entirety of their life, but youkai live and thrive within these gaps. One youkai in particular draws her power from every one of these invisible boundaries.

Anyone with that kind of power is tremendously dangerous, which is why I'm so uncomfortable watching her inspect the clock I found.

Timepieces similar to this one often show up in Gensokyo. Long ago, the clocks that showed up were very ornate devices on long chains, and were powered by a tightly coiled spring. I opened up a lot of them to discover how they work, but they very rarely could be put back together again... human engineering is impressive indeed.

At some point though, watches in this design became very rare, and were replaced by watches similar to the one currently in my shop. These watches are far smaller, with a strip of leather- or sometimes metal- at the top and bottom, allowing the user to fasten it to their arm. It's a more convenient design, but not as ornate or interesting as the larger clockwork ones.

These wristwatches rely on the most perplexing of human magics- electricity. It's far beyond me how they keep ticking... I can't even work out how to open one up, and there is simply no way the complex machinery in the older watches could fit inside such a compact design. Human magic is also very impressive.

There has been a sudden deluge of these watches recently. They have commonly appeared in small numbers since their introduction, but in the last three or four years their number increased astronomically. I can only assume they very suddenly went out of fashion in the outside world; perhaps in another ten or so years, I'll start to find whatever replaced them.

While most of the watches I find have the usual 'two hands and a circle of numbers' design, this watch is quite different. Its face is square, and it has no hands at all. Instead, it displays a series of numbers, constructed from thick black bars that somehow move so quickly that the next number appears without any sign of movement at all. At first these numbers seemed to display the time, but the dial is surrounded by buttons... and as a curious person, I couldn't resist pressing some of them. Once I did so, the numbers displayed changed erratically, flashing in and out of existence and displaying in a nonsensical way. Nonsensical to me, at least; I'm sure the numbers must still have some meaning, else this watch would be pointless.

My usual visitors came to see me as expected, so I asked them if they had any clues for me, but the inner workings eluded them too. Reimu only advised me to keep control of the watch in case it was some youkai trick, while Marisa wanted to use it as some magic catalyst. I chased her away, of course. My options limited, I was forced to take actions I was certain I would regret.

This watch doesn't tick, and therefore it also doesn't tock, so I worried the lack of boundaries might put it beyond even her understanding. I should stop underestimating her- that unsettling smile appeared as soon as she laid eyes on it.

She tells me this design is what the humans call a “digital” watch. It's a design popular with young children and adults with busy lives, thanks to its easy-to-read screen. Because it neither ticks nor tocks, the design is also suited to athletes who move around a lot- a watch with moving parts would get damaged, but the digital watch can survive a lot of stress.

My sense of curiosity is overwhelming at times, and although the sensible part of my brain says I should be shooing her from my shop as quickly as possible, I can't resist asking her for more information. She seems to enjoy being asked complex questions that she knows the answer too, so hopefully I'm not pushing my luck.

I tell her I've tried opening these smaller watches to see how their insides work, but to no avail. But there's that smile again... She runs a fingernail along the back of the watch, along a groove in the sides, and to my surprise the back of the watch comes off completely. She tells me there's a tiny gap between the backplate and the body of the watch by which it can be removed. Such an impossibly tiny gap, manipulated to achieve the impossibly difficult task of removing the back of a watch... her power certainly is terrifying.

Considering how complex the older style of watches are, I was expecting something infuriatingly detailed and intricate to live within. Instead, she simply pulls a small metal disk out from within, entirely plain aside from a few symbols stamped into it. She tells me it's a Battery, a receptacle of the human magic of Electricity. She's handling it delicately, else I might have run away; to think such a dangerous artefact was sitting in my shop all this time! Imagine if I had been able to open it after all... I dread to think the damage I might have caused.

Of course, humans using magic is a strange thing, since they've always fought against such things. Even humans like Marisa use a form of magic derived from youkai. Shrine maiden magic might seem to be a human development, but it was designed to combat youkai- so even that is of youkai origin, in some respect. This magic, though, is from a world where humans no longer consider youkai to be a problem. It's entirely human-oriented, even though humans feared magic for so long... She must be able to tell I'm curious, as she begins to tell me the story of how humans discovered Electricity without being asked.

Many years ago, the humans created a device called a Franklin to steal lightning from the gods. The Franklin worked as intended, and they were able to place the power of lightning into a Battery like the one sitting before me now. What a terrifying device... imagine what would happen if a Franklin, capable of stealing lightning from the gods, found its way into Gensokyo? I would need to take it for my collection, to ensure the safety of everyone who lives here. I don't even dare think of what a person like Marisa could do with that kind of power.

...Well, I was too busy thinking about the Franklin, and I missed a lot of what she told me, but the gist of it is that by putting Lightning into a Battery, the humans were able to study it and create their own kind of magic. Now, they can source Electricity from a great number of places- the sun, the sea, rocks, and even ancient materials buried thousands of miles underground... it seems they can create this power from almost anything.

It surprises me that I took so long to notice, but the watch looks different now. The front is now completely silver, and the black bars have completely vanished. Obviously it's because the Battery is no longer close enough to the watch to continue giving it power, but when watches with hands lose their power they only stop moving- they don't disappear completely. I'm worried she's broken it, but when I voice my concern she has an answer for that too.

Unlike other watches that use machinery to display the time, a digital watch has a tiny shikigami inside it called a computer. This shikigami counts the time in its mind and changes the black bars accordingly, never resting even for a second. When the power runs out, it's not able to hold the bars in place any longer, so they seem to vanish. Fitting between the display and the Battery, it must be very tiny indeed. I know a little about shikigami, and I'm quite sure they're never that small- imagining a youkai that size attempting to assist its master puts quite amusing images in my mind.

The truly terrifying thing is, although the Battery is absolutely tiny- if she put it down, it would be lost in my store forever- the magic within can keep the 'Computer' alive for two years or more, and it will never tire or slack off until the Battery is exhausted. Even the most well-trained shikigami needs to sleep sometimes, but here is one of human creation that single-mindedly performs its duties until it dies. Humans are capable of some staggering achievements.

Humans have always feared youkai, but it seems the outside world might be just as scary now. I wonder who has the most amazing magic? Collectively, youkai have the power to do almost anything, but that is granted to them naturally. Humans don't have these abilities by nature, but are somehow able to create magic from nothing anyway.

I suppose ever since the first shrine maidens began to appear, youkai have feared human magic, so which kind of magic is the scariest probably depends on your point of view. I'm half-human and half-youkai, so both of them terrify me.

I'm getting off track, so I pull myself together and ask her if it would even be possible to put a price on such a dangerous object.

“It would cover the cost of one history lesson.”

There's that awful smile again, and I know I've been had. She says something about putting the Battery into her own shikigami to make her run better, and in the time it takes me to blink she's vanished.

Whether humans or youkai are more terrifying might depend on your point of view... But speaking for myself, no matter how dangerous humans may become, as long as she has reasons to smile that dreadful smile, youkai will always scare me more.





Well, have you ever tried to take the back off a watch to replace the battery? I'm not sure even Yukari has that kind of power.

I'm not certain on this one since I think Rinnosuke's actually pretty knowledgable about computers, at least a lot moreso than he is in this piece, but I really enjoy his uncertainty around Yukari. He seems to handle himself fairly well against most other visitors, human or youkai, but something about her really gets him antsy so I wanted to play with that a bit.

I'm really happy with the human vs youkai bits, though! Humans obviously fear (or, used to fear) youkai, but the advancements of technology have driven most youkai from the minds of humans completely, so it stands to reason they'd be pretty fearful of the modern world too. Rinnosuke has the unique position of belonging to both camps, while also lacking any combat ability either side has to offer. I had fun exploring that.
Touhou fan since 2008.

Faves quicklist:
Yukari - Byakuren - Lily White - PCB - UFO - Necrofantasia - Cosmic Mind - Shining Needle - not into the fighters - not into score play - enjoy storytelling and theorycraft

BB

  • Typewriter Youkai
  • Nickname: Beebs
  • Gender: I am a bear
Re: Touhou Kourindou ~ Outer-Reality Compendium
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2015, 10:36:07 pm »
(Forgot to post this, oops!)

Curious About Curiosities


Life on earth has long been documented by historians, every detail recorded such that generations to come may learn from the past. Mankind has always dreamt of having a map of the future in order to prepare for events to come. For Rinnosuke Morichika, proprietor of antiques shop Kourindou, documenting the present day is good enough. But past, present and future are about to collide around him in the next astonishing fan-written chapter in the ongoing story based on the popular Touhou series!


-

I hold in my hands a copy of this book.

Ah, that's a strange way to open this chapter. I do not mean the specific one I am currently writing in. An additional, bound and printed version of it has appeared before me. Everything I have written in this journal is replicated word for word, and there are even illustrations to go with some of the stories.

Of greater concern, however, is the fact it also appears to contain chapters I haven't written yet. I hardly dared read past the first few pages, as this is clearly a dangerous artifact. But even as I write this entry, I am filled with fear that it already exists in the bound copy I'm holding... an uncomfortable thought that brings to mind uncomfortable questions about fate and free will that I really am happier not dwelling too much on.

This book's existence is impossible. An object cannot exist if its contents do not exist, and as I haven't written these pages yet, they cannot be said to exist. Even discounting the impossibility of these articles, the book itself cannot possibly exist in this state.  I have not shown my journal to anyone nor had copies of it made, and the illustrations are not my own, so by every definition of the word this book is impossible.

Gensokyo is a land of things that the outside world now considers impossible. Things exist here that the outside world no longer believe possibly could exist. But can it be a world of things that never have existed in the first place?

I've never truly considered what to do with this book when I finish it, or indeed if a work like this ever can be “finished”. I only document my day-to-day thoughts, so a work like that is only truly finished when I no longer have day-to-day thoughts. ...It's quite chilling to hold a book in my hands that can only exist in such a circumstance.

The day that we no longer think day-to-day thoughts comes for all of us eventually, with only a few notable exceptions, so it's certainly possible such a work could exist some day. Is this book, then, an object from the future? How did it get here, and how did it find its way to me?

If it truly is a portent of the future, then not only is this piece- these very words I am writing at this very moment- already inside it, but every subsequent piece that I ever write is too. Since these are my day-to-day thoughts, it is essentially a comprehensive guide to every event that will happen in the future, for as long as I am still around to document it. That kind of knowledge is terrifying... and raises far too many questions. If I were to read this book and find a page detailing some catastrophic event that befalls those I care about, I would have to spend my days dreading the moment it comes to pass. Of course, I already know I would be unable to prevent it. If I do so, then the article I would write would be different, and therefore the book that travels to the current me from current-me's future would detail a different course of events, thereby denying me the very information I need in order to prevent it.

Thinking about that makes my head hurt, and writing it out doubly so.

But what if my future self sent it back for that very reason? What if I discover some way to send objects back to a time before they existed so that they might change the course of destiny? Well, surely my future self would know I'm the kind of person who wouldn't act on such a thing, for the very reasons stated above. After all, this piece is in the book... Even if my future self had forgotten the attitudes of my current self, he would only need to read through the book again to discover my opinions on the matter. In that case, my future self would also know how much a discovery like this would bother me.

...Then again, to think of it another way: the article I'm writing at this very moment must be within the finished book, as it is part of the unfinished record. And I am only writing this entry because the book found its way to me somehow. Had I never found it, I wouldn't be writing about it. Did my future self send the book back to my current self so that this bizarre cycle could continue?

It falls to me, then, to break this impossible loop- but alas, it's already too late, isn't it? I only had this revelation after already having come so far in its writing. Having failed this, I must now decide what else to do with the book.

Reading it through is out of the question, obviously. I'm certain most of Gensokyo's other residents would disagree with me on this matter and would devour every page, but it would be irresponsible of me to give any one of these people that kind of power. I imagine Marisa could think of a thousand ways to misuse it in the time it would take her to open the cover. ...Speaking of whom, I should definitely hide this book while I think about it.

I shall have to destroy it. It's a pity to do so- as a collector, it's entirely against my nature to wilfully destroy any curiosity, but destroying books is especially difficult for me to come to terms with. Not only that, but the illustrations are quite wonderful, and it would be a shame to lose them. Well... I'm a little taller than they show, and my face isn't quite as severe, but it's not a bad likeness.

Written on the cover, in the Roman alphabet, is the name “Zun”. I don't know anyone by this name, but it feels oddly familiar, like the memory of a childhood friend not wholly remembered. If they were involved with the final version of this book being produced, then they must be someone I feel comfortable with, as I wouldn't show this book to any old stranger. If this book really did come from the future, then it's possible I'm due to meet this “Zun” one day, and the familiarity I feel is our red thread being tugged across the ages. Perhaps she becomes my wife? I can't imagine sharing my book with anyone less than my spouse. I wonder what she thinks of Reimu and Marisa's constant interruptions of our home life together.

...When I think about it, my book doesn't really discuss catastrophic events- at least, not on any grand scale; Marisa's annoying interruptions are catastrophic only to my daily routine. That means this book contains details of every time it was most annoying to see her. I could read it through and know, every time, how best to shoo her away as quickly as possible.

Perhaps “Zun” really did send this book from the future to help me prevent catastrophic events.



In another thread some time ago, someone posited the idea of Rinnosuke one day coming across a copy of his own book- with it being a real-world item, it's entirely possible it could one day fall across the Barrier into Gensokyo. My chapters are obviously not in it, but for the sake of this work we must pretend they are. :)

Since the finished book contains stories Rinnosuke has already written, there's obviously not a finished work in the specific moment of time he's writing them. Finding a copy of his own book therefore immediately implies awkward timey shenanigans. But, Gensokyo is so lackadaisical, I think even significant physics-warping breaches in spacetime would be met with the same “eh, fight some youkai until it's over” attitude, so I didn't want him to get too worked up over it.
Touhou fan since 2008.

Faves quicklist:
Yukari - Byakuren - Lily White - PCB - UFO - Necrofantasia - Cosmic Mind - Shining Needle - not into the fighters - not into score play - enjoy storytelling and theorycraft

BB

  • Typewriter Youkai
  • Nickname: Beebs
  • Gender: I am a bear
Re: Touhou Kourindou ~ Outer-Reality Compendium [New 17/8/2015]
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2015, 09:34:08 pm »
Life In Literacy

When he isn't busy running a successful second-hand antiques shop, curiosities salesman Rinnosuke Morichika likes to spend his time documenting his daily life. When Marisa questions him about a strange book from the Outside World, however, Rinnosuke is forced to consider the truth behind the very words he writes. Will this terrifying glimpse into the Outside World bring an end to his lifelong habits? Find out in the next exciting fanmade chapter in the story based on the popular Touhou series!

-

I spend a lot of time thinking about words.

You're already reading this, so of course you know I spend much of my time writing a journal of my daily life. But aside from my own writing, some of my favourite curiosities to collect are the books of the outside world. Most of them contain fictional stories, which I certainly enjoy in their own right. But far more exciting to me are those books that document real life events.

Humans spend a lot of time attempting to document history. The human lifespan is just short enough that the mistakes of the past are easily forgotten. To counter this, they instead document their mistakes, hoping the next generation will be able to learn from mistakes that are no longer in living memory. 

But humans... and probably youkai too, have a habit of remembering things in a way that favours their position. Even if their recollection is flawless, few people are comfortable admitting to a mistake without dressing it up, or attempting to shift the blame to another. So it is that history books contain modified versions of history that don't honestly reflect the truth of what happened.

“Oy Kourin, what kindsa funky words are these?”

Completely missing the irony of her own question, Marisa takes a recent acquisition in her hands. Oh, I wish she'd handle my collection more delicately...

“Please don't crease it like that. It's a book about the slang of the Outside World.”

“Slang? Huh...”

She ignores my request completely. It's Marisa, so it would be more surprising if she didn't.

“Words that fall outside of what is considered officially part of the language.” Gensokyo society hasn't really changed for generations, so I explain to Marisa how slang comes about. “Human children come together in groups and invent new words, or change the meaning of old words, so that the adults cannot understand them. Then, when those children become adults and have children of their own, the cycle repeats, and those who are now adults complain about the children using words they don't understand, even though they did it too. It's quite fascinating.”

But Marisa doesn't seem fascinated at all. In fact, she seems quite angry.

“That's insane! You can't just invent words and change what other ones mean! It'd be like if I called you a... a sporklebarg, it doesn't mean something just because I say it!”

It's Marisa, so I'm certain that a 'sporklebarg' is not a good thing to be, even if she hasn't decided for herself yet what the word means. Although I disagree with her, I think she has a point, and I must address this before telling her why she's wrong.

“It's absolutely true that words must carry the weight of history in order to be words. I can't in good faith call you a 'customer', as that word implies through it's historical use that you would be buying something. Similarly, you calling yourself a 'customer' when you should say 'thief' is an obvious error to all.”
“That's right.”

If Marisa thinks you're agreeing with her, she'll happily wear any badge without thinking. In that way, she manages the change the meaning of a word from a negative thing to a positive one.

Words certainly carry the weight of their history, but that weight can still change as time goes on.

“This change is not something that happens instantly though,” I explain. “I can't suddenly decide the word 'friend' now means 'idiot' and expect everyone to accept that. 'Friend' still carries the weight of it's history even if I try to change it.”
“I've always considered you a friend, Kourin.”

As I've discussed earlier in this journal, history is often inaccurate, and the history of words is no exception. If you read any old texts from a hundred years ago or longer, there will be words that are familiar to a modern-day reader but used in strange ways that seem inappropriate now. Although it's easy to think that 'this word has always had this meaning', in actuality the history of that word may in fact be entirely different.

Words can change, and grow, and adapt, and after doing so for long enough, may become unrecognisable. Words are very much alive in this way.

“If enough people use a word in a way that is different to the weight it carries, its weight can shift.” There is an example of this happening in the book Marisa is currently ruining. I tell her to turn to the page I'm referring to.

“The word 'wicked' used to refer to cruel, evil things. But, groups of young humans started using it as a positive word instead, and among those groups this is now the only definition they're aware of.”
“How wicked.”

The older crowd, of course, would still understand 'wicked' to mean bad, so even if a word can change it's weight, it still bears the weight it carried beforehand. It's interesting how a single word can have two completely opposite meanings to two different people, though.

“But anyway, you wicked sporklebarg, you're talkin' like I'm wrong but you've done nothing but agree with me so far.”

She doesn't seem to catch the fact that just by repeatedly calling me a sporklebarg, she's proving herself wrong without my intervention... but I've come this far already, so I may as well finish the job.

“If you look at old documents, you'll see words you recognise used with different meaning, but you'll also see a lot of words you don't recognise at all.”

Just as words are alive, words can also die. When a word grows and changes, it may take over the role of a word that already existed. If the original word cannot change it's meaning quickly enough, the new word will take it's place completely, and the old word will die.

Through study of how these words were used, scholars can figure out their definitions. But knowing the definition of a word does not make it alive, just the same as reading a story about a historical figure doesn't mean that person is alive.

Indeed, if the word is only known to scholars, and only through careful study, it's hardly a word at all. Someone knowing these ancient words couldn't use them in a normal conversation and expect anyone to know what they were trying to say.

The main point I'm trying to make here, though, is that if words can live, and words can die, there must at some point be a time when words are born.

Although she argues that it's impossible, Marisa witnessed the birth of a word here today. Her “sporklebarg” may only be defined as 'what I call Rinnosuke when I want to annoy him', but when she says it, I now understand what is meant by it.

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the creation of new words is a recent thing, and only the children who use slang are responsible for it. But in fact, every word that has ever existed was once used for the very first time.

Words are born out of necessity. Every word that has ever existed was born to describe or name something that did not yet have a word to name or describe it. The very first time humans encountered predators, or water, or other humans, they invented words to name and describe these things so that they could talk about them. The very first time someone needed to differentiate between something that was big and something that was small, words with those meanings were born. When Marisa needed to be annoying earlier today, “sporklebarg” was born to fill that purpose.

The children who create slang, therefore, have a need to create words that only they can understand- words that perplex the adults around them. And so, new words are born. New words with no history to carry- that may therefore fill whatever use the children have for them.

Since words can be born, can change, adapt, and grow, and can die, words are very much living things. But due to their immaterial nature and human origin, it could really be said that words are a special kind of youkai. Perhaps in that case, words do not die, but are actually just forgotten.

Since Gensokyo is the land of forgotten things, I wonder how many words exist here that the Outside World has lost all knowledge of. I wonder if the average slang-user of the modern Outside World could understand even a single word of my book. Or perhaps these forgotten words no longer have the form of words, and walk among us like other youkai.

Sporklebarg was born explicitly to annoy Rinnosuke Morichika. I can't help but wonder if I've already met her.

-

You may, if you've spent enough time in certain circles, have seen someone complaining of people using “made up words”, to which another has remarked “as opposed to the naturally grown words from the word garden”. While I was thinking about that, I realised my inner-voice sounded more and more like Kourin.

His thought process isn't exactly the same as mine, but I suppose it's based on the same thoughts. Should I be worried that I'm becoming more like Rinnosuke? I'm having a lot of fun writing these, especially considering I only ever intended to do the one, so maybe it's okay. Maybe I should start my own CoLA-style journal.

(If you're wondering just how much fun I'm having, I've even written out another full chapter that I decided I didn't really like on a conceptual level and ended up scrapping it. I liked the way I twisted its ending but the set up just wasn't good enough. I'll try to salvage it and write another chapter on the same principle.)

With Touhou 15 approaching, I'm sure that'll inspire another chapter, so I can't say how many more I intend to write. Seeing the world of Gensokyo through Kourin's eyes has been really interesting though- there's so much lore behind the lasers, I wonder how ZUN managed to finish the book at all.
Touhou fan since 2008.

Faves quicklist:
Yukari - Byakuren - Lily White - PCB - UFO - Necrofantasia - Cosmic Mind - Shining Needle - not into the fighters - not into score play - enjoy storytelling and theorycraft

BB

  • Typewriter Youkai
  • Nickname: Beebs
  • Gender: I am a bear
Re: Touhou Kourindou ~ Outer-Reality Compendium [New 02/10/2015]
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2015, 07:49:44 pm »
(Holy dooley, new official Kourindou stories in the magazine! I am stoked!)

Chapter 7- The Unrealised Fourth Treasure

As a collector of curiosities, antiques-dealer Rinnosuke Morichika is more than accustomed to handling rare treasures. The oddities and merchandise he encounters daily are highly desirable items with unusual and exotic stories to tell. But when a dangerous new visitor comes to the store to pay back a debt, will Rinnosuke discover a desirable treasure has been hiding in his store from the very beginning? A new chapter begins in the fan-made story based on the popular Touhou series!



I'm certain that I've previously written about the value of treasure; how a treasure can be worthless to someone who doesn't know its value or has no use for it, whereas a piece of junk can be exactly what they are looking for and therefore, to that individual, worth a great deal more. As a shopkeeper, I can only price things based on their objective value. If someone offers a price for something that is a fair amount according to the value I myself have placed on it, it would be poor business to refuse the sale just in case someone else may come along who would be willing to pay a far greater price.

Because of this, one of the most vital aspects of being a shopkeeper is knowing what your treasure is worth and then setting your price just a little higher than that. People who aren't really interested would rather pay a lower price and will therefore walk away, but at the same time the price isn't so high that you must wait for a miracle customer to come by. It ensures a quick sale for a good price... but it's a tricky balance to achieve.

Speaking of miracles, I've been more successful achieving this balance than ever since Sanae started helping me with my collection. I have to admit, Marisa was absolutely right. Her knowledge of the use of these objects in the modern world is a great boon to my ability to price things well.

She's good for business in another sense, too. She is popular with humans and youkai both, and since rumour spread about 'that little shop that the mountain shrine maiden visits a lot', I've had far more visitors than usual.

I hear the shop door open, but I no longer rush to meet my customers. I let Sanae work her charm for a moment first, before making my grand entrance. Once the customer knows for sure that this place really is blessed by a god,  I seem to command a fair amount of reverence as its owner.

“Good evening, Sanae. Could I please speak with Mr. Kourin?”

Since I'm being asked for by name, I can hardly ignore it. It's a voice I don't recognise, but when I see its owner I have no doubts about who she is.

A short while ago, a new temple suddenly appeared in the Human Village. Sanae was apparently directly involved with its appearance, although some of the details of her story seemed suspect... She told me the temple belonged to a monk, Byakuren Hijiri, who had been sealed away in the kind of place a simple shopkeeper like myself prefers not to think about.

Even when I asked, Sanae didn't really seem to know why she had been in that place when Hijiri was unsealed, but luckily the monk was thankful enough to bring Sanae back with her. She then settled in the Human Village and started her temple.

Reimu had plenty of complaints when I next saw her, of course. I can understand- shrines and shops have their similarities. Shops deal out goods to people in exchange for money, and shrines deal out religious services in exchange for faith. A rival temple, just like a rival shop, is naturally bad for business.

I am lucky enough that my shop has no rivals, and my business does well enough that it could survive the threat of any rival that appeared. Reimu, however, was struggling to earn enough faith even before Byakuren started her temple. And before that, there was the Moriya Shrine. Of course, Reimu complains about the Moriya Shrine even when Sanae is here... which can make things quite tense.

The most interesting thing about this temple, however, is that its doors are open to both humans and youkai. People believe the same is true of the Hakurei Shrine, but that's not quite the case. Youkai go there but are not wanted, and humans are invited there but don't go. For a rival temple to openly invite youkai and still receive a human patronage is baffling even to someone like myself, half youkai and half human. But if Reimu's complaints are accurate, it somehow seems to work.

There's something strange about this monk, for sure. I realise I must have been staring as Sanae walks up to me.

“Mister Kourin- ah, no, I mean-”
“Thank you Sanae, I heard. Welcome to my little store. I am Rinnosuke Morichika, the owner. Is there anything I can help you with?”

She makes her greetings to me also, and I'm ashamed to say I find myself somewhat awestruck. She certainly has a commanding presence, at once perfectly serene and yet hugely powerful. I worry that someone terrifying has entered my shop.

Sanae doesn't seem to feel the same way, as she's alarmingly casual around the monk. Sanae is a human, but she is also a god, so perhaps she doesn't feel Hijiri's presence in the same way.

“I'm afraid I haven't come here to buy anything.”

That's something I hear all the time. 'I'm just browsing,' 'I don't have anything in mind,' and other such phrases. But I suppose a Buddhist monk likely has little use for anything in my stock, so I'm inclined to believe her.

“I am actually here to extend my thanks. I'm told you played a pivotal role in my resurrection.”

This is something I'm not at all used to hearing. Nor do I have any clue what she's talking about. I would certainly remember participating in such an event.

“Oh, Mr Morichika! You went to Makai as well?”
“I'm quite certain I didn't. My apologies- do you perhaps mean someone else?”

Sanae was involved in that incident directly, so I ask if she can think of anyone who was present at the time. But Hijiri speaks for her.

“One of my companions tells me she found one of the treasures necessary to break the seal from- ...a shop just like this one.”

Her moment of hesitation is almost undetectable, but it's clear that those aren't quite the words her companion used. She doesn't dwell on it.

“Do you remember serving a mouse youkai?”

Normally, when I see a mouse in the store, I exterminate them. Then again, if a mouse youkai approached my store as a customer... I must admit, serving them anyway does seem like something I would do.

I serve many customers in my day-to-day life, so it would be difficult to remember a specific one.

A mouse youkai...

I serve many youkai daily as well, so even that is not something unusual enough to remember.

A mouse youkai...

...Ah.

“Oh, I think I do, actually.”

Very faintly, I remember a mouse visiting my store. In and of herself, she was unremarkable. The reason I remember her is because of what she bought.

I had, for the longest time, an ugly old lamp that didn't even deserve a place in my collection of curiosities. I kept it in the store every day in hopes someone- anyone- would take it from my hands. I would have even been willing to give it away at no cost just to see the back of it.

But I remember now, the mouse youkai that day- she told me she was looking for a lamp exactly like that, and offered to pay me handsomely for it. I don't think I would have much use for what a mouse would consider a fortune... I'm not a particular fan of cheese. So I gave it to her with my compliments, and assured her she was doing me the greatest of favours.

It appears that the lamp, however ugly, was worth a great deal more than I'd expected. The thought of what kind of price I could have asked for had I known this stings me, but as that transaction led directly to Hijiri's release, it would be rude of me if I was to appear too disheartened.

“I'm very happy to have been of service to you all.”

I seem to have done a good job hiding my disappointment. It's not really a lie, as despite what Reimu might say of her, Hijiri seems a pleasant person. Helping someone out, even if unintentionally, is something I'm always glad to be able to do. She smiles at my answer.

“And to have let her take it free of charge... your generosity is surely inspiring.”
“Oh, he lets people have things without paying for them all the time. Reimu and Marisa are always here taking his stuff.”

Sanae is not always helpful. Thankfully the monk doesn't seem too offended that her companion wasn't subject to any special treatment.

“Well, regardless, I appreciate your help in my time of need. Is there anything I can do for you to repay your kindness?”

There are many things I could ask for, of course. But I am, first and foremost, a collector of curiosities. Curiosities often take the form of unusual objects, but that's not always the case. Sometimes they take the form of unusual people, with unusual stories to tell. My collection of unusual stories is one of my most prized curiosities.

Hijiri is quite clearly a remarkable person with a remarkable story. My request is a very simple one.

“If ever you have the time, would you tell me your story?”

To my surprise, she agrees, and immediately sits down. The story she tells me is exactly as remarkable as I had assumed. I will document it elsewhere- this article is not the best place for a story like this. But the frankness and honesty with which she tells it is worth mentioning by itself.

Most people change their stories in subtle ways to make themselves appear to have been in the right, and this is especially true when they are decidedly in the wrong. I've discussed this very topic in a previous article. But Hijiri tells her story in a stark honesty that leaves me quite in awe.

She is profoundly terrifying. But I can't help be caught in her allure. She is terrifying, but I don't think she's a bad person. Certainly, other youkai who visit me regularly worry me more than Hijiri does.

At the end of her story- after Sanae has helped her to tell the parts she was involved with- she invites me to her temple for a visit any time I care to. Well, although that sounds-

“Oh, but wouldn't that be interesting? A half-human, half-youkai visiting a half-human, half-youkai temple. I should tell the tengu...”

Sanae is quite often unhelpful.

“You are half human?”
“Yes, he is! That's what Marisa says, anyway.”

 Although I'm left with regret that I didn't instead ask Hijiri to induct Marisa as a monk so that she would never be able to annoy me again, I answer in the affirmative.

“I see... Forgive me if I'm asking too much, but I'm sure you can understand why such a story would be of interest to me. Would you tell me?”

It's a staggeringly bold question to ask, but I somehow expect nothing less from this monk now. I have never before felt any real need to discuss my heritage... To my mind, I am Rinnosuke Morichika, antiques dealer and collector of curiosities. Anything else is incidental. And yet... she answered my same query with such startling honesty...

I ask Sanae to make us some tea, and I tell Hijiri my own story. Ordinarily I document every word spoken in this book, but for this I will make an exception. A gentleman must keep some secrets of his own.

Hijiri gasps, and laughs, and smiles in all the right places. Her interest in my story is clearly genuine. As I finish, she thanks me most politely, but the glint of excitement in her eyes is clear.

“But how wonderful!”

I have the awful feeling I'm about to be dragged into something I'd rather avoid.

"I've long believed humans and youkai can co-exist, but I've had difficulty convincing those outside of my temple. But here you are, proof that this is true! Youkai and human co-exist within you! You simply must visit the temple!"

A temple full of youkai is not top of the list of places I would like to visit, especially not to be made a spectacle of. The idea seems to thrill her, though, and it would be very rude to simply turn down a direct invitation.

"I often find myself in the Human Village. I suppose I can put my head in next time I'm at the market."

She clasps my hands and thanks me, again most politely, but at that moment Sanae returns. I don't think she heard my story, but she definitely heard me agree to visit the temple. Oh, dear...

"Actually, Mister Morichika, I don't think you've visited my shrine yet, have you? We don't have many human visitors up there."

Climbing a mountain full of youkai somehow appeals to me even less. But, I can't accept one invitation and then refuse another without seeming tremendously rude. Not to mention Sanae has been a friend for some time now.

"I'm not much of a climber... and I can't fly like you all can. But if you can find a way to get me up there, I certainly would enjoy the visit."

Everyone seems satisfied, and I haven't exactly agreed to anything. It couldn't have worked out much better. But alas, things can never end so well, can they? The bell over the door rings.

"...Huh. So what exactly does a Buddhist monk want with an old junk shop?"
"Good evening Reimu. I was just leaving, actually."

Reimu is here, and already in a bad mood for seeing Hijiri. I could do without the tension, and if she's only here to argue...

"More to the point, Reimu, what are you doing here?"
"Hey, that's rude, Kourin! I'm always here! I'm a regular and loyal customer. Loyalty is very important, don't you agree?"

She's certainly regular. 'Loyal' and 'customer' I have to disagree with.

“I'm sorry Reimu, but now isn't a good time-”
“Yes, we're busy at the moment deciding when Mr Morichika can visit our Shrine.”

Sanae is quite a liability at times.

“What? You're going to visit the Moriya Shrine?”
“Actually... this started as an invite to my Myouren Temple.”

This will get worse before it gets better.

“Eh!? You're going to that temple? How come you've never been to my shrine!?”
“Of course he'd rather come to my shrine. Yours has no gods, while mine has two.”
“It does too have gods!”
“And there are too many youkai there.”
“We would welcome them at the Temple, if you send them our way.”

“Hey Koruin, y'ever been to the Forest Of Magic? I could show you around some time.”

Marisa is leaning through the window. The grin on her face plainly shows that she's been listening in for some time. I haven't time to rebuke her. The argument before me is already impossible to follow and escalating rapidly.

“That's why Kourin-”
“-has to come and-”
“-visit us first!”

In the midst of their arguing, it seems I myself have become quite a desirable treasure.

--


Byakuren is one of my favourite characters ever, and naturally she'd be very interested in Rinnosuke both as a half-human half-youkai oddity, and the shopkeeper from whom Nazrin bought the pagoda... so it's pretty disappointing to say that I didn't even think of such a connection until a commenter on a previous chapter suggested it. Oops!

I had a lot of fun with this one, though. Rinnosuke often seems to win the upper hand, even against an opponent like Marisa, so it was fun to have things just get worse and worse for him in this chapter. It was also nice to bring Sanae back- I guess that means my series of fan chapters has its own continuity now, huh?

To my knowledge, it's not mentioned anywhere how exactly a half-human half-youkai can exist... although it's still not as weird as the existence of half-ghosts. Still, I didn't want to canonise a backstory for Rinnosuke, hence his secrecy. It won't be secret for long, though. Sanae heard every word, and Kanako will be treated to the highly exaggerated tabloid retelling once she gets home.
Touhou fan since 2008.

Faves quicklist:
Yukari - Byakuren - Lily White - PCB - UFO - Necrofantasia - Cosmic Mind - Shining Needle - not into the fighters - not into score play - enjoy storytelling and theorycraft
 

SMF 2.0.15 | SMF © 2017, Simple Machines
Theme based on ModernDark64 design by BlocWeb
Page created in 0.053 seconds with 40 queries.