Chapter 43: What are you doing?

"So he still won't come out?" Renko frowned.

"Yep." Maribel sighed, "He's been in his room ever since the last time we delved into his memories. I wonder what's wrong with him?"

"I don't get it either." Renko said, "What was so interesting about that memory anyway?"

"I think the youkais in that memory must have been very important to him. So maybe he's sad that he forgot them?"

"If that's it then he wouldn't have repressed them."

"...Maybe he didn't like forcing that mother to abandon her child?"

"He never wanted to get involved in the first place. Why the hell is he kicking himself over that?" Renko scowled, "No, there's probably more to that memory than we saw."

"You think so?" Maribel mused, "But we can't really find out what happened if he's locked himself in his room."

"I'm not surprised." Renko sighed, "That guy seems like he's hiding a lot of things. Who knows the kind of things he knows that we don't given how his power works. This time is no different. He's just being a lot less subtle."


Their discussion was cut short by the ring of the doorbell.

"Do you want to get that?" Maribel called towards the human's room.

No answer came back.

"Leave him alone." Renko said as she got up, "He's probably got a lot on his plate."

"He's still inside?" Koishi asked.

"Yep." Renko said, "Responsive as ever. Just as stubborn."

"Hmm..." Keine frowned.

She walked up to the door and knocked, "Are you okay?"

No answer.

"Sure you don't need to go to the bathroom or something?" Koishi called.

"If there's a problem you can come out and ask us." Keine said, "You don't have to do everything alone."

"Mmm..." Keine frowned, "I don't know how to approach this. It won't be very productive if we simply barge in, but respecting his wishes won't change anything."

"Leave it to me." Someone spoke up, "This is a job for the Strongest!"

"No. You'll only make things worse." Maribel said.

"Then again..." Renko smiled slyly, "Maybe that's what we want."

"...Renko you diabolical genius." Keine smiled.

"You're in on this, Keine?!" Maribel cried.

"Yeah. Drastic times call for drastic measure." Keine said, "That's why...Go get him, Cirno!"

"Yeah!" Cirno cried as she rushed towards the door, "The strongest will not be stopped by a puny door! I'll smash it into ice cubes!"

Cirno roared as she jumped and kicked the door. But suddenly the door swung open, sending Cirno tumbling on the other side before the door closed again.

"Did the door just eat Cirno?" Koishi asked, "But we were going to play Uno together."

"Of all people to cross over." The human sighed.

"Are you the one that's making everyone worried?!" Cirno grinned as she rested against the wall upside down, "I'm here to getcha to stop it!"

"That's nice." The human said as he sat back down on his bed.

"No need to worry! The strongest is here to help! Hup!" Cirno struggled for a bit.


"I can't get back up."

"Need help then?" The human asked.

"Yes please."

"Now then!" Cirno grinned as she stood atop the human's bed, "Cirno's Strongest Training Camp has begun!"

"What training camp?" The human frowned as he sat on the floor.

"This is a crash course training by me, the strongest, to help ya get over your problems!"

"..." The human sighed, "And how do you propose you do that?"

"By making you stronger!" Crino grinned, "But not as strong as me because I'm the strongest! And due to the definition of Strongest, that being 'The one with most power', there can't be more than one person with the strongest power as there can only be one and that one is me!"

"Actually if we group together the people who are on the same level of 'strongest' we can call the group 'The Strongest' and it would still work as the definition of 'one' is not limited to individual people allowing us to call groups of people the 'strongest', thereby proving that there can be more than one people we can label as strongest."



"...I'm the strongest!" Cirno cried, failing her arms at the human.

"Okay fine, stop hitting me!"

"Alright! Time to start your training!" Cirno grinned.


"What's wrong?"

"I'm trying to think of what kind of things you can teach me."

"I can teach you anything!"

"You're not exactly what I'd call capable..."

"Nonsense! Anything you can do I can do better!"

"I highly doubt that."

"I can do anything better than you!"

"No, I have this ability you see-"

"Yes I can!"

"...We're doing this now then?"

"Yes I can!"

"...No you can't."

"Yes I can! Yes I can!"

The human sighed as he placed his head in his palm.

"Anything you can be I can be greater. Sooner or later I'm greater than you."

"No you're not."

"Yes I am."

"No you're not."

"Yes I am."

"No you're not."

"Yes I am. Yes I...can't believe we're doing this."

Cirno kicked the human in the shin.

"Gah! Alright, fine!"

"I can shoot a partridge with a single cartridge."

"I can get a sparrow with a bow and arrow."

"I can live on bread and cheese."

"And only on that?"


"So can a rat."

"Pretty sure, that's ad hominem."

"I don't speak greek."

"Latin actually."

"Moving off script here."

"Okay, okay."

"Any note you can sing, I can sing higher."

"I can sing any note higher than you."

"Yeah probably."

"Yes I can."

"I'm agreeing with you."

"Yes I can."

"I'm not even competing."

"Yes I can."


"Yes I...Caaaaaaaannnnnnn!"

"Anything you can say I can say softer."

Cirno kicked him in the shin again.

"Agh! What?!"

"You skipped a line!"

"Really?! We're doing the interlude too?!"

"Of course!"

"It's just a really stupid question with a really obvious answer!"


"...How do you sing that high?"

"I'm the Strongest!"

"That's not the li-forget it."

"Anything you can say I can say softer."

"I can say anything softer than you."

"This I've got to see."

"Yes I can."

"No you can't."

"Yes I can."

"No you can't."

"Yes I can."

"If only you were quiet more often."

"Yes I can, YES I CAN!"

"And there it goes." The human sighed, "You should've lost that."

"I can drink my liquor faster than a flicker."

"I can drink it quicker and get even sicker."

"No you can't."

"Yes I..." Cirno kicked him in the shin.

"Goddamit, the same place again?!"

"Stop going off script!"

"First of all, you're not even old enough to drink liquor. Second of all, getting sicker is not a brag that brings respect."

"Just because I shouldn't doesn't mean I can't!"

"...Well if you twist logic that much then it makes sense."

"See?! This is the strongest logic!"



"...I can open any safe."

"Without being caught?"

"You bet."

"That's what I thought you crook."

"Really, in a contest of overall skill, the morality of skills shouldn't be a factor so long as the morality of the person isn't in question..."

"Are you saying it's okay to break safes?"

"No, I mean it's stupid to have a contest with such a vague and opinionated goal."

"Any note you can hold, I can hold longer."

"I can hold any note longer than you."

"Please don't."

"Yes I can."

"You're not even listening to me are you?"

"Yes I can."

"It's been one week since you looked at me. Cocked your head to the side and said I'm angry. Five days since you laughed at me saying get that together come back and see me."


"SHUT UP IN THERE!" Maribel's voice yelled at them from behind the door.


"You okay?"

"Gasp, cough."

"Need a minute?"

Cirno shook her head, "...Line..."

"Alright then."

"Anything you can say I can say faster."

"I can...say anything...faster than you."

"You sure about that?"

"Yes I...can..."

"Sure you don't need a break?"

"Yes I can..."

"No you can't."

"Yes Ican."

"No you can't."


"You're really set on doing this song."


"I can jump a hurtle."

"I can wear a girdle."

"I can knit a sweater."

"I can fill it better."

"I can do most anything."

"Can you bake a pie?"



"Power over Mastery."

"Well then so can I!"


"Yep! Power of the Strongest!"

"I don't think that helps."

"Moving on!"

"Anything you can sing I can sing sweeter."

"I can sing anything sweeter than you!"

"Just because you could even when you shouldn't doesn't mean you should even when other people would just because you can."

"Yes I can."

"It's not working."

"Yes I can~"

"I'm not convinced."

"Yes I can~~"

"Not working."

"Oh yes I can~~"

"They paved paradise. Put up a parking lot. With a pink hotel, a boutique and a swing hots-Augh! No you can't, can't, Can't!"

"Yes I can, Can, CAN!"

"No. You. Can't." "Yes! I! Can!"

"Phew." Cirno grinned once it was over, "See?! I'm the strongest!"

"Was that really necessary?"


"Did you have to kick me for it?"

"You refused to play along!"

"Because I didn't want to."

"You weren't doing anything anyways."

"I have things to work out."

"Yeah but you don't have to work them out now."


"Besides. Until you finally do work them out, I'll be right here, ready to help! I'm the strongest so there's no shame in asking me for help!"