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13465 No. 13465
[ ] "Forgive me, Lady of this great hall, for I intruded upon your home uninvited. It would be a pleasure and honor to accompany you, yet I am troubled. For I sense something beyond an otherworldly beauty from you, and it worries me

for I am but a mortal. Friend of the wise blademaster Youki I am, and soon must we continue on with our journey. Still a fair maiden such as yourself should never set unaccompanied, and I ask only for a binding word of safe passage for myself."


You shake off the final lingering unease and sharpen your mind. Fárbautí's son may try and trick and twist your path to his liking, but it is you who chooses where you will walk.

Even so, his words do carry some reason, and it would be prudent to ensure that his warnings are not fulfilled. You know the old master to be a warrior of honour, and thus his princess should likewise be of noble spirit. Perhaps you should trust in your silver tongue, for what a man cannot conquer with weapons, he can win with wit and words. If you can draw a promise from her, there should be neither cause for unease, nor fear of treachery.

You notice that the lady of the hall still watches you oddly, perhaps confused by your strange reaction. You rise up and draw a deep breath, speaking with confidence and power, shaping song and weaving words into silver-spun story.

"He must speak, for caution so bids, if ghost-princess will listen. Words he tells, words wary and wise, for greeting and gratitude."

You pause for a moment and take a step inside the room, stopping and bowing slightly to the lady of ghost-garden.

"Forgive me, Lady of this great hall, for I intruded upon your home uninvited." You gently speak, "Ill guest is he who would enter unannounced, sneaking in shadow like a thief, yet no servant or watchman could I find, though great is the hall of ghost-garden's mistress."

"It would be a pleasure and honor to accompany you, yet I am troubled. For I sense something beyond an otherworldly beauty from you, and it worries me for I am but a mortal." As you speak these words of praise Yuyuko blushes slightly and looks down. For a moment you stop your speech, your breath taken away by her beauty. But the song-smith cannot let such things distract him, no women nor witchcraft turn him away when he is drunk on Kvasir's blood.

"Friend of the wise blademaster Youki I am, and soon must we continue on with our journey. Still a fair maiden such as yourself should never set unaccompanied, and I ask only for a binding word of safe passage for myself."

The ghost-girl's eyes widen slightly when you mention the old master, and her expression shifts into one of curiosity.

"Youki? Has he returned?" She softly asks, a hint of surprise entering her voice.

"Aye, lady of ghosts, that he has." As you answer Yuyuko gives you a long, thoughtful look. You can't place her expression, but the sudden intensity of her gaze is slightly unsettling. She remains silent for a long moment, she almost seems lost in thought as you watch the ghost princess with wary eyes.

"Before I answer," the ghost-girl finally asks, her expression unreadable, "why do you want me to promise you safe passage?"

"Allfather spoke in ages past, and first of his wisdom was this:" You reply, reciting the High One's song, and the teaching Odin chose as the first lesson for the wise.

"At every door-way,
ere one enters,
one should spy round,
one should pry round
for uncertain is the witting
that there be no foeman sitting,
within, before one on the floor."

"I see." The ghost princess answers in a flat tone. "That is good advice."

"And especially if you expect a foeman within." She continues, her voice suddenly cold as ice. "Am I right?"

Slowly and deliberately you shift your hand closer to Sólargeisli's scabbard. Your mind sharpens as your eyes meet the purple orbs staring at you, hidden anger flashing forth from their depths. It is not the red fury, nor the anger of one who wears the bear-skin, but a cold, icy rage, one that matches the frost in the hearts of Jötunheim's thurses.

"Then let me ask this, what should you do if someone has hurt one of your friends?" Her words are like acid, sharp like razors and deadly as etter.

It seems that the words of Laufey's son held more wisdom than you suspected, for this girl has proven to be an foeman in truth. Yet how can you fault her? By your hand, and by the hand of Loki giant's-child was her friend slain, and so the law of Odin grants her the right to seek revenge. Never have you turned from Odin's law, and never could you turn from Allfather's wisdom.

Your mind sharpens and becomes still as the forest lake, undisturbed by wind and wave, for sharper than any sword or axe is the warrior's mind. The words come unbidden, noble they sound as you speak them.

"With raiment and arms shall friends gladden each other,
so has one proved oneself;
for friends last longest, if fate be fair
who give and give again"
>> No. 13467
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13467
"I see." Yuyuko whispers, her violet eyes glittering, twin orbs as hard and cold as amethysts burning with inner light. Violet butterflies flutter through the air around her as she speaks, their dance both beautiful and ominous.

"And what if a person came to your house, one who has hurt your friend, and asks you to grant him safe passage?"

Spirits float through the air, and a hundred butterflies soar between you and the lady of the garden. Death sings in the air, heavy and hungry. You drop down your baggage and unsheathe your golden blade, for no matter if his death be just or not, all men should meet it with blade and bravery. Never the straw death, never for Odin's chosen.

"Then meet him with fury and flame!" You roar as you raise your sword in a salute. "Unavenged can no comrade be, unless one is a man of no honour, cursed in Odin's eyes."

As you speak your words you can feel the sorcerous power filling the air, the carrion reek of the grave tainting the magic swirling around the ghost princess, her fury and unfettered power granting her a stunning and terrible beauty. Far have you wandered in your days, to the lands of the franks, to the cities of the greeks and the magic realm of Gensokyo, but never has death seemed this magnificent, never has the netherwold bloomed so vibrant.

"Yukari is my closest friend," The ghost-girl softly says, "I trust you understand?"

"Aye, princess of ghosts, this I do." You truthfully reply. So must it be, and as it must be, so it shall.

"Then we have nothing more to speak of." She replies. Simple, elegant, and yet so deadly are her words. You find them magnificent., for even though you must soon clash you can't help feeling a deep admiration for the ghost princess.

You know that this woman may be your death, but perhaps the glory and beauty will be worth it?

"Now will you listen?" Loki's voice whispers in your ear, a hint of panic colouring the words of Laufey's son. "Flee while you still can, mortal, for this woman is beyond your power to defeat."

"Honeyed word is his, Fárbauti's son, half-truth and lie wields the son of giants." You whisper in reply, for no more does the wicked voice deserve.

"You don't understand," Loki again speaks, his voice full of sweet reason "If she kills you, your soul is hers to command. Yours will be neither hall of the slain, nor glory at Odin's side. Only her will shall you serve for all time."

You shrug off the Liefather's advice, for this decision is one that you must make for yourself. You think of many things in a short moment of reflection. Of your life, of your hopes and dreams, and of Odin above, always watching. How do your friends fare, black-white Marisa and artful Alice? Would your death sadden them?

How fares the old master, your faithful host and comrade? And what about the lady of borders and her family, the ones you have grieved?

And what of this beautiful ghost standing before you, her noble thirst for vengeance calling your very soul to battle?

Difficult is the choice, and yet there are but two paths. One shall you tread, the other closed shall be for all eternity.


[ ] Noble is her soul, one surely favoured in Odin's eyes. Gladly shall you wage this battle.

[ ] You cannot die this day, for oath and honour still bind you to this life. Even if it shames you, you must escape.
>> No. 13468
[X] Noble is her soul, one surely favoured in Odin's eyes. Gladly shall you wage this battle.

Cannot resist delicious Yuyuko, even if it means an end to end bad ends.
>> No. 13472
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13472
>>13467
FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
As much as this pains me...

[X] You cannot die this day, for oath and honour still bind you to this life. Even if it shames you, you must escape.

Food for thought:
>>11222
>I'll also add that underestmating any of the big players in Gensokyo probably will end badly.
>>11225
>To be perfecly honest, Anonymous has been somewhat overconfident after that. It should be remembered that it was only with Loki's help that you were able to hurt Yukari at all.

With the same help, Sigurd can probably escape. Which, unfortunately, leaves a pretty bad taste in my mouth. But I'd rather bet on fleeing and hoping Youki can get Yuyuko to calm down than fight death. Rape end was bad and I doubt eaten end will be any better.
>> No. 13473
>>13472
This isn't just for us, though. This is for her own honor and pride. Us, as vikings, should acknowledge this more than anyone possibly could.

Of course, it was stupid to even come to the house in the first place. May as well reap what we've sown.
>> No. 13474
>>13473
It's a fine point and I don't begrudge anyone that would give honor to Yuyuko's desire for vengeance.

But to me, the choice is fairly black and white: live or die. We couldn't stand toe-to-toe with Yukari in her element and I'm fairly confident the same stands true for Yuyuko. However, in terms of duties, we already have (a rather distasteful) one: retrieve Laevatein for Loki. Choosing guaranteed death is abandoning that oath. Who's honor is more important? I'd say it's equal, and if I were better at the norsey writing I'd try to say "I know exactly where you're coming from, but I have something I need to do too. So stay here, let me do my thing, and I'll come back so we can do this properly" (isn't that what we did with Youki too?) But I'm not, so running away for now is the next best thing.

If we still feel strongly about making sure those we've wronged have had a chance to air their greivances, coming back to Hakugyokuro. But I'd like to take care of our responsibilities and square away our relationship with Marisa and Alice before we accept the death penalty.
>> No. 13475
>>13474
>But to me, the choice is fairly black and white: live or die.

To you, maybe, but not to Sigurd. Although he admits his foe is frightening, he does not have certainty in this; he is a warrior, but he is pious, and the will of Odin may deliver him yet, no matter who his foe may be.

Now if we're talking about how Anon the voter feels about the outcomes, this Anon feels that going three choices back is far preferable to letting Sigurd continue down a path of cowardice.
>> No. 13477
[X] Noble is her soul, one surely favoured in Odin's eyes. Gladly shall you wage this battle.

We were warned of the dangers here, accepting the consequences of ignoring fair warning is our only path.

Yuyuko
vs.
Sigurd

Heaven or Hell
Let's rock!


haha
>> No. 13484
>>13480
agreed

[ ] Noble is her soul, one surely favoured in Odin's eyes. Gladly shall you wage this battle.

For Honour.
>> No. 13485
[ ] Noble is her soul, one surely favoured in Odin's eyes. Gladly shall you wage this battle.

Even if we escaped with our lives, could we live with ourselves after denying this fair maiden her right for vengeance? Bad end or not, this is what we must do.
>> No. 13488
[X] Noble is her soul, one surely favoured in Odin's eyes. Gladly shall you wage this battle.

Honour and valour. Even if this Bad Ends us, this will still be a satisfying outcome. After all, honour above all else for the Songsmith, continuation of the story can wait after this glorious battle.
>> No. 13491
[x] Noble is her soul, one surely favoured in Odin's eyes. Gladly shall you wage this battle.

I am not overconfident or thinking we can beat her. It's the right thing to do.

>"Unavenged can no comrade be, unless one is a man of no honour, cursed in Odin's eyes."

He lives by these rules. Breaking them would mean dishonor and he would die before running from an enemy or breaking it.
For afterall we killed Yukari once for bringing Sigurd to Gensokyo. Now we changed the places and are the bad guy here and Yuyuko is in the right for seeking revenge.
>>13480
I am hoping for something non lethal here, not sure if Yuyuko can die like Yukari....
Maybe a draw would be best. Plus Youki would hunt our ass down if we kill/beat her.
>> No. 13492
[ze] You cannot die this day, for oath and honour still bind you to this life. Even if it shames you, you must escape.

I'm reasonably certain we said something to Youki about not attacking Yuyuko or something of the sort.
>> No. 13493
>>13492
I could be mistaken. If someone with more free time could double check that, it'd help.
If I'm wrong, I'll change my vote, too.
>> No. 13496
>>13492
Kinda sorta. While Youki was questioning Sigurd about his battle with Yukari, it came down to a dilemma for Youki as to whether to kill an unarmed man or to fulfill his duty to protect Yuyuko:

>>10541
>"If I were to attack an unarmed man I would sin against the warrior's virtue." The old master's regretful voice tells while he slowly turns his blade in his hand. "And if I were to ignore the danger you pose, even though you may not intend harm, I would sin against my oath to my princess and against the laws of heaven."

>Your sharp ears hear the emotion in his voice, and with unblinking gaze you see the sadness in his eyes. Yet it is your heart that tells you how the old silver-hair must be feeling. Have you not yourself felt the conflicting pulls of honour and duty? Have you not also found yourself trapped in a web wowen by your own oaths and Odin's law? Again ill fate seems to follow you wherever you go, reaching out and calling down misfortune upon your head.

After which we struck a deal with Youki asking him to fight us were we to ever "threaten that which your oath and law bids you protect." Furthermore, in Sigurds response to Youki:

>>10849
>"Aye, honoured host, that I have. For as you have told, the bright-gleaming blade cannot rise until it has a reason, and if ever reason it gains, the star-mountain's blade-master will already have failed his duty."

>"There is one path that we can follow with undiminished honour. Join me, old master, join me and witness my deeds, and if there ever comes a day when I threaten that which your oath and law bids you protect, our blades will clash fiercely and freely at that time. So I swear upon the name of Odin Veratýr."

Our agreement was to have Youki accompany us, and if we were to ever threaten his precious thing, he'd strike us down. Now that we've successfully removed ourselves from his presence, it's the first thing we do.

No.

We swore on Odins name to fight Youki should it ever come to something like this. If we're going to fight Yuyuko, it better be in the presence of Youki to let him collect on our oath to him.

[X] You cannot die this day, for oath and honour still bind you to this life. Even if it shames you, you must escape.
>> No. 13497
[X] You cannot die this day, for oath and honour still bind you to this life. Even if it shames you, you must escape.
>> No. 13499
[ ] You cannot die this day, for oath and honour still bind you to this life. Even if it shames you, you must escape.
>> No. 13500
>>13496
Hmm, you convinced me. Changing vote.

[X] You cannot die this day, for oath and honour still bind you to this life. Even if it shames you, you must escape.

...until we get Youki's permission? Damn, i feel conflicted about this.
>> No. 13501
[X] You cannot die this day, for oath and honour still bind you to this life. Even if it shames you, you must escape.
>> No. 13502
[X] You cannot die this day, for oath and honour still bind you to this life. Even if it shames you, you must escape.
>> No. 13503
>>13500
So do i. Either option goes against his honour
Still fighting her seems to be the right thing.
>> No. 13505
[X] You cannot die this day, for oath and honour still bind you to this life. Even if it shames you, you must escape.

Remember your oaths, Anonymous. And do not forget those that are dear to you.
>> No. 13515
[X] You cannot die this day, for oath and honour still bind you to this life. Even if it shames you, you must escape.

The other option likely means permanent death. If I had to bet, I'd guess the re-tries are divine intervention and the fact that loki personally appeared speaks volumes into how dire the situation is. Granted, siggy probably would die for his honor, even abandoning his god's plans for it... Only he swore to place himself effectively under youki's judgment. Attacking the princess is certainly not something youki would allow.
>> No. 13516
[x] You cannot die this day, for oath and honour still bind you to this life. Even if it shames you, you must escape.
>> No. 13517
[X] You cannot die this day, for oath and honour still bind you to this life. Even if it shames you, you must escape.

Fair enough. Thank you for reminding us of our oath.
>> No. 13518
[X] You cannot die this day, for oath and honour still bind you to this life. Even if it shames you, you must escape.
>> No. 13519
In before Youki's precious thing is Youmu.
>> No. 13525
The discussion certainly is interesting, and it will be taken into consideration.

Unfortunately I don't have time to write until tomorrow, so I'll just leave this here instead.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6jqaA_jeZ8
>> No. 13565
Back and writing.
>> No. 13570
>>13565

hooray!
>> No. 13615
>>13565
Not so much, huh?
>> No. 13661
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13661
>>13615

Well, writing is sometimes a slow process.

---------------------

[ ] You cannot die this day, for oath and honour still bind you to this life. Even if it shames you, you must escape.


No true warrior fears death in itself, for this is the fate of all men in the end. No, death is only to be feared if it is a bad end to your days, if it lacks honour and meaning, or if it is the straw death, that unkind fate of the ones without favour in Odin's eyes.

And perhaps then, a death in this place is one to be feared, for this would shatter too many oaths and promises. Grief would it bring to black-white witch and dauntless dollmaker, as well as dishonour your oath to Marisa. Death would not claim you, this you swore, no empty boast, but an oath before Odin. And strangely enough you begin to trust the words of Loki, for they have been accurate so far. If this girl will bind your soul to her will death is even less acceptable. Death without honour it would be, and death without the reward for the chosen of the Valkyries. This is not for you.

But to worry about your death is not the way of a noble warrior. Even if this spirit-girl possesses power beyond any you have witnessed, you could still defeat her with steel, courage and the favour of Odin. Yet your heart reminds you of the oath you gave to old blade-master. His princess stands before you, the one you swore not to harm, swore upon your life and upon Allfather's name. Even if you could save your life through battle your honour would be lost.

Strange is the world when the only noble path is retreat, but Gensokyo seems to breed ironies of this kind. Bitter as it may be the decision still must be made, and so you must flee this battle.

"Some intelligence at last." Loki arrogantly whispers, though you can hear the hidden relief in his voice. "The wit and wile of Loki shall again be yours until we escape this place."

"Death draws near, gloom of the grave.
Wish is worthy, vengeance for fallen friend.

Deep runs desire, her heart bold and brave,
known to Allfather's eye,
and to famed wisdom of that scion of Bure."

You draw a deep breath and gaze into Yuyuko's violet eyes, meeting her anger with a strange calm, a silent certainty born from the necessity that your situation has created.

"Little matters why one wishes the other slain when spears clash 'neath raven's realm." You grimly remark, the words directed to yourself as much as to the ghost-princess.

"This day is not my fated one, for my life is not my own. Bound by oath and promise it is, and so I must live. Know this, O netherworld's princess, fair Valkyries ride not to speed my soul to Valhalla. I cannot die in this place."

"We'll see." The ghost-princess simply replies, her expression inscrutable.

"Aye, we shall." Loki's mocking voice whispers in your ear. The familiar sensation return as the power of the Trickster God touches your mind, ready to spring forth through your soul and body.

The ghost princess regards you coolly for a few moments, but your sharpened senses can see her death-magic oozing around her like a cloud of etter as deadly as Jörmungandr's venom. She breaks off a small fragment of her sorcery and with a simple gesture a flock of violet butterflies are conjured into being, their bodies glowing with the power of the grave as they flutter towards you. Deadly beauty indeed.

Slowly you concentrate, focusing on the magic and the ways you have to counter it. Within your mind you can feel the pride and arrogance of Loki, the Trickster God wordlessly assuring you that this attack is no threat. The feeling is strangely heartening, for even though the trickster is an unreliable ally, he still is a god of Asgard, and ever have you trusted the Aesir to watch over you.

You raise the golden blade as the divine power of Loki's fire again manifests through you, but now only the merest spark instead of the ravaging inferno that you once wielded.

But even this tiny fragment is enough, for you now understand the scheme of Laufey's son. You grasp the flickering flame and feed it into your gleaming sun-sword, igniting a tiny part of Muspelheim's flames bound within the hammered gold. As the violet butterflies speed closer you swing the blade in a single, wide arc, and bright, white-hot fire slashes out, hungrily devouring the fluttering insects closest to you.

A second nudge of Loki's sorcery flows forth, scattering a thousand mirages into the air, and transforming that which was but a single fire into an inferno of ten thousand hungry flames. The ghost princess flinches, leaping back in a blur of motion. Her magic flows from her outstretched hand, manifesting to defend her against the fires of Loki. Deadly it is, the power of the grave and the sorcery of spirit, tearing into thin air and slaying the illusions conjured by the Trickster God.

What happens after this is unknown to you, for by understanding the Liefather's trick you also know that it will have been for naught if you do not take the opportunity he has given you. In a swift blur you spin around and rush out of the room, stopping only to retrieve your pack before sprinting down the corridor.

Behind you an indignant shout echoes through the hallway, mixed with the sound of your swift footsteps and the laughter of Laufey's son ringing in your ears.

But the trickster's mirth may be hasty, for as you run into the great hall the air itself is thick with spirit-clouds. No longer lazily floating about, these ethereal beings now seem guided by a single will and a single purpose. Like an army marching to war they present a grim visage. Your suspicions are proven once more as the closest spirits begin to glow with subtle energies, culminating in a hail of glowing, sorcerous orbs greeting you as you exit the mansion of netherworld's princess.

Again and again the host of spirits unleash their spells, scattering brillant sorcery through the air. You easily avoid the first stray swarms of bullets, your speed and agility working in concert with Loki's illusions. The Trickster God seems to enjoy himself tremendously, and you can sense both his joy and his power at work, conjuring mirror images of you and twisting the perceptions of your ethereal assailants.

Taking advantage of these small distractions you leap through another cloud of danmaku and find yourself running down a wide, paved road. But even if you've avoided harm so far and even if the magical mirages of Laufey's son are succesful in confusing the spirits, the sheer number of orbs raining down on you is increasing all the time. More and more of the smoky spirit-clouds manifest, threatening to bring you down by sheer weight of numbers. Even worse, on this road you lack any sort of cover and you cannot even see the end of it, if this road even has one.

After a minute of frantic dodging the situation is starting to become truly dire. Ahead you can see even more spirits, apparently manifesting out of thin air. Risking a few quick glances to your side you see the great tree of the netherworld towering above its lesser kin to the right of you, and to the left the gardens of the netherworld stretch out into the distance. The trees would provide some cover, but you can't say where these paths will lead you. After a short moment's reflection you have the distressing realization that you have no idea if this road will lead anywhere either.

The spirits ahead dance through the air, their forms glowing with bound magics. The moment of decision is here.


[ ] Forward. Cut through the spirit-swarm with blade and fire.

[ ] To the left. Try to lose the spirits in the gardens.

[ ] To the right. The spirits didn't approach the great tree before, perhaps they won't do so now either.

[ ] Ask Loki for aid. Surely a god must have some power that could solve your problem.
>> No. 13662
[x] To the right. The spirits didn't approach the great tree before, perhaps they won't do so now either.
>> No. 13665
[X] Forward. Cut through the spirit-swarm with blade and fire.

Forward! With passion.
>> No. 13668
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13668
[X] Forward. Cut through the spirit-swarm with blade and fire.
>> No. 13669
[X] Forward. Cut through the spirit-swarm with blade and fire.
>> No. 13671
[ ] To the right. The spirits didn't approach the great tree before, perhaps they won't do so now either.
>> No. 13672
[x] To the right. The spirits didn't approach the great tree before, perhaps they won't do so now either.

How about we go the place where we should've in the first place? You know, somewhere that Youki might be?
>> No. 13673
[x] To the right. The spirits didn't approach the great tree before, perhaps they won't do so now either
>> No. 13675
[x] To the left. Try to lose the spirits in the gardens.

Time to find Youki, grab him and get the fuck out of there. I am putting my money on him being there.

I would give much to go meet Siki and get judged.
>> No. 13676
[x] Ask Loki if he knows where Youki is. If Loki does not know:
[x] To the left. Try to lose the spirits in the gardens.

By all means we SHOULD run our viking ass forward and get the hell out of dodge, but I don't really want to leave Youki. Although by triggering Yuyuko we might have lost him altogether.

the Yggdrassil 'o' Death is the source of Yuyuko's power, so I don't want to run to it. It would likely steal Sigurds spirit also.
>> No. 13683
>the Yggdrassil 'o' Death is the source of Yuyuko's power, so I don't want to run to it. It would likely steal Sigurds spirit also.

What? No.
>> No. 13694
>>13683
Well not "source" per say, but come on they are damn similar. Loki is scared that Yuyuko is going to rip out your soul (or maybe Loki himself). Why would you head to the soul eating tree instead?
>> No. 13696
>>13694
>Why would you head to the soul eating tree instead?

Because first of all, it doesn't eat souls. It just kills people. And second of all, it's sealed. Permanently. By Yuyuko's corpse; she wouldn't even be here if it wasn't still sealed. Her power over (mortal) souls and ability to invoke death (in mortals) is a consequence of her position, which was granted to her by the Yama. It is has nothing to do with the Saigyou Ayakashi, other than the fact it prevents her from ever reincarnating.

The entire story of PCB is based around the circumstances surrounding her position, which is why I am honestly fucking mystified that you did not know this.
>> No. 13698
[z] Ask Loki if he knows where Youki is. If Loki does not know:
[e] To the left. Try to lose the spirits in the gardens.

Note that that first does NOT constitute calling upon Loki for help.

Because I'm totally sure asking a favor of him would in no way cost Sigurd something down the road.

No sir.
>> No. 13699
>>13696
To be fair, the only real thing I got out of PCB was "Yuyuko really likes spring."
I honestly don't remember anything about a tree.
>> No. 13709
>>13696
Yes, and all of ZUN's dialogue is very clear and concise about everything. Certainly does not leave logic gaps or room for imagination.

I know that the tree is sealed. But if it wasn't a threat, why would the spirits shy away from it? I very much doubt it is out of reverence, and "cuz yuyuko said so" is laughable.
>> No. 13710
Hm, votes seem a bit split. I guess I'll wait a few hours and see whether any conclusive resolution will pop up.
>> No. 13729
Well, a close vote is still a vote. Writing now.
>> No. 13752
>Her power over (mortal) souls and ability to invoke death (in mortals) is a consequence of her position, which was granted to her by the Yama.

The rest of the post is fine, but as for the quote part, it's the other way around, I think. Yama granted her the position out of her ability to control spirits and her unwilliness to curse others. This was before her death, and it was this ability to led her to suicide.
>> No. 13755
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13755
[ ] To the right. The spirits didn't approach the great tree before, perhaps they won't do so now either.


The world tree. The spirits seemed to avoid it, and so it will provide shelter for the moment.

You concentrate and wordlessly send your thoughts questing towards the mind of Laufey's son, communicating your intent to your fickle ally. Loki silently acknowledges your plan of action, his thoughts almost... satisfied by this turn of events. You can feel his sorcery flow through you, building up into a powerful torrent of wizardry and suddenly rushing forth, finding form and function.

Magic flows through your mind and body, and again your image itself splits from your body, creating the appearance that you're actually charging the legion of spirits ahead of you. Instead you take the opportunity to dart off to the right, running down a long row of trees. Behind you a storm of magic bullets eurupts, far greater than anything you've experienced so far. Silently you thank the gods that you didn't attempt to charge ahead.

For a few minutes you can run unmolested through the gardens of Hakugyokuro, the host of spirits apparently still confused by the Liefather's mirages and by your sudden disappearance. You finally reach the root of the great tree, breaking cover and running towards the brother of Yggdrasil. It is only when you've covered nearly half of the way there that you suddenly see the problem with your plan, for even though the spirits might not approach, you yourself lack cover in this large clearing surrounding the great tree.

Cursing your stupidity you abruptly stop, intent on turning back, only to have your planned retreat interrupted by Loki's voice.

"Be not hasty, mortal warrior. Where neither wall nor forest shields a man, magic can be his veil. Join your will to mine, and we shall weave a thousand mirages to shield us from foemen's sight."

You quickly look back towards the mansion and see that a vast amount of spirits are floating in every direction, many hundreds of not thousands of souls scattering, presumably to search for you. Even if you returned to the cover of the trees there's no possibility that you could hide from that many watchful eyes. No choice then.

"So be it, son of Fárbauti." You whisper in reply. The Father of Lies remains silent and begins his work,

Loki's power suddenlysurges through you, far greater than any of his previous channelings.You concentrate and add your will to his, enhancing the already potent sorcery to even greater levels. You can feel your mind and body struggling to contain the power flowing through you, the added strain of combining your will to Loki's draining your stamina even further. The crescendo of divine magic reaches its climax, and for a brief moment you can feel Loki's triumph echoing in your mind, then the link between your thoughts is suddenly dissolved as the spell is done.

Before your eyes a half-formed shadow silently appears, glowing with magical power. It stops for a brief intant, then casts the grand spell you prepared, creating a dizzying field of magic all around you. For a moment you manage to watch the chaotic dance of light and colour, but you quickly close your eyes to spare you from the bizarre and nauseating sight.

"Veil upon veil, and mirage within mirage have I conjured, the wit of Loki weaving for us a fortress of illusion." The liefather proudly states after a few seconds.

"Open you eyes, mortal, and be content, for your god's power hides you from every prying eye."

You duly open your eyes sit down at the foot of the great tree to catch your breath. This feat has left you somewhat drained, and you're not sure if you like this other new development either. The air itself seems oddly thick, but otherwise you can see nothing out of place. But then again, none of the spirits floating around the tree seems to notice you despite the fact that you should be in plain sight. At least this scheme of Loki's seems to have worked.

And then there is the son of Fárbauti. His body now resembles a living shadow, yet somehow half-formed as if it was shaped out of some flowing, thick liquid. You study him intently, but he seems more focused on the great tree, or at least that's where you think his gaze is directed.

"Interesting." Loki suddenly states, "This tree is indeed far more than it seems."

"You speak of the hunger within, O son of Giants?" You calmly reply, forcing your voice to remain steady. The shadowy figure of Loki seems to turn its head towards you, but it is hard to judge such things when you look at his half-visible form. For a moment his ink-black eyes seem to narrow, then he slowly replies.

"Yes, mortal warrior. Perhaps you are wiser than you seem." The Son of Giants turns back to the great tree and seems to scrutinize it intently. "This tree is an eater of men's lives. Alive and hungry it is, though caged by seals and sorcery."

"Perhaps the seals could be broken and this life-stealer be of use to us? A wily man who seeks to escape does well to let fire run over his foeman's roof." The Trickster God laughs softly after he has spoken, apparently amused at the prospect of mischief. But finally he merely shakes his shadow-head and turns back to you.

"But this would be too great a gamble indeed, for I think that the life-drinker would turn on us first." He shrugs his shoulders slightly before contunuing his speech. "No matter, for yet have we no reason to unchain the sleeper."

"And were we to find one, we would not." You sharply reply. Perhaps the sky-walker is simply trying to fan your anger, but you will not tolerate the schemes of his that go against your oaths.

"Mortal, you should not dismiss an idea so lightly." The sky walker replies in a somewhat condescending tone. "And what is it to you if we stir up unrest to cover our escape?"

"To old blade-master my word was given. We will not harm his princess nor her realm."

"Aye," Loki scar-lip answers with a laugh. "That was fine work, for his trust you have gained with only a few words."

Loki's shadow-eyes narrow again, giving you an appraising glance. "Perhaps you have at long last learned the value of deception?"

"Nay, O Wizard of Lies, my words were true. His trust will I not betray."

"Nor should you, mortal warrior." Loki calmly answers. "Your sight is too short, for that old man can be of use to us yet."

Slightly frustrated by Loki's incessant mockery you refrain from shooting back another sharp reply, instead remaining silent. A few minutes pass while you slowly recover your strength and Loki carefully studies the great tree. Finally you cannot keep back your curiosity and irritation, born from this inaction. Was not the will of Loki that you escape? Why then do you sit here and do nothing?

"What now, O Loki Laufeyson?" You sharply ask the son of giants, your irritation and impatience colouring your voice.

"What now, you ask?" He replies in a slightly mocking tone. "Now we watch and wait and plot and plan. An opportunity will present itself yet."

Almost as an afterthought the scar-lip turns back to you and speaks in a somewhat bored voice.

"I suppose you have questions, for the mortals always seem to do. If it makes you happy I may answer those I deem significant."


[ ] Ask some questions (Pick up to three):
-[ ] What is his scheme? What does he seek in this land?
-[ ] Why does he come to your aid? What has he to gain?
-[ ] Why does he wish you to find his wounding-wand, frost-forged Lävatein?
-[ ] Does he always mock and scorn those who he would have do his will?
-[ ] Something else?

[ ] No questions do you have.
-[ ] Do something else (specify)
-[ ] Wait and watch for an opportunity to present itself.
>> No. 13765
[ ] Ask some questions (Pick up to three):
-[ ] What is his scheme? What does he seek in this land?
-[ ] Why does he come to your aid? What has he to gain?
-[ ] Why does he wish you to find his wounding-wand, frost-forged Lävatein?

-[ ] Wait and watch for an opportunity to present itself.
>> No. 13766
-[x] Allfather Odin has appeared to you in Dreaming, and Yakumo speaks of gods in multitude with aims for Gensokyo. Is the whole host of Aesir planning to conquer this land?
-[x] What is his scheme? What does he seek in this land?
-[x] Why does he wish you to find his wounding-wand, frost-forged Lävatein?
>> No. 13772
>-[ ] What is his scheme? What does he seek in this land?

Right. As if he would ever give a correct answer to that. Better no waste it.

[ ] Ask some questions (Pick up to three):
-[ ] Why does he come to your aid? What has he to gain?
-[ ] Why does he wish you to find his wounding-wand, frost-forged Lävatein?
>> No. 13778
-[ ] Why does he come to your aid? What has he to gain?
-[ ] Why does he wish you to find his wounding-wand, frost-forged Lävatein?
-[ ] Does he always mock and scorn those who he would have do his will?
>> No. 13779
-[ ] Why does he come to your aid? What has he to gain?
-[ ] Why does he wish you to find his wounding-wand, frost-forged Lävatein?
-[ ] Does he always mock and scorn those who he would have do his will?


of course we'll take his answers with a grain of salt
>> No. 13780
-[ ] Why does he come to your aid? What has he to gain?
-[ ] Why does he wish you to find his wounding-wand, frost-forged Lävatein?
-[ ] Does he always mock and scorn those who he would have do his will?
>> No. 13793
-[~] Why does he come to your aid? What has he to gain?
-[z] Allfather Odin has appeared to you in Dreaming, and Yakumo speaks of gods in multitude with aims for Gensokyo. Is the whole host of Aesir planning to conquer this land?
-[e] Why does he wish you to find his wounding-wand, frost-forged Lävatein?

>-[ ] Does he always mock and scorn those who he would have do his will?
Uh. He's fucking Loki.
>> No. 13806
-[*] Why does he come to your aid? What has he to gain?
-[*] Allfather Odin has appeared to you in Dreaming, and Yakumo speaks of gods in multitude with aims for Gensokyo. Is the whole host of Aesir planning to conquer this land?
-[*] Why does he wish you to find his wounding-wand, frost-forged Lävatein?

Yeah, mocking loki with that last question doesn't seem like the best idea.
>> No. 13820
-[x] Why does he come to your aid? What has he to gain?
-[x] Allfather Odin has appeared to you in Dreaming, and Yakumo speaks of gods in multitude with aims for Gensokyo. Is the whole host of Aesir planning to conquer this land?
-[x] Why does he wish you to find his wounding-wand, frost-forged Lävatein?
>> No. 13821
>>13755
[X] Why does he come to your aid? What has he to gain?
[X] Allfather Odin has appeared to you in Dreaming, and Yakumo speaks of gods in multitude with aims for Gensokyo. Is the whole host of Aesir planning to conquer this land?
[X] Why does he wish you to find his wounding-wand, frost-forged Lävatein?

This makes sense; doubt we'd get a straight answer out of Loki about what the gods have in store for Gensokyo, but how he doesn't answer should be just as informative.

And for as cool as all this has been, I'm really starting to miss Alice and Marisa.
>> No. 13877
The process of writing has started. Please watch warmly until it's ready.
>> No. 13878
>>13877

hooray!
>> No. 13880
>>13877
We all know it's long process. Take your time, we don't mind.
>> No. 13890
>>13877
Don't worry, we'll be frothing from the mouth all the way through.
>> No. 13897
[x] Take off your glasses.
[x] Stab yourself where you can see Loki
>> No. 13913
>>13897
...Tsukihime with Norse mythology?

I can't express how screamingly awesome that would be to read.
>> No. 13920
>>13913
it's like reading TS
>> No. 13923
>>13920
Except for the part where that's nothing like TS.
>> No. 13944
I am sort of worried that we just gave loki a physical form here. That has the potential to be very bad.
>> No. 13949
>>13944
Potential?

Loki is IN Gensokyo already, physical or not.
He has a big talented Viking guy doing his bidding for him.
Said Viking guy has already won the loyalty and friendship of two of the region's more powerful magicians and an unparalleled swordmaster.
Said Viking guy has also killed Yukari Yakumo, the baddest motherfucker on the block once already.

Potential got left behind a long, long time ago.
>> No. 13952
File 123943644295.gif- (6.71KB , 100x100 , loki.gif ) [iqdb]
13952
Don't worry about it. Loki is a cool guy!
>> No. 13971
File 123948700293.jpg- (35.26KB , 329x469 , loki2.jpg ) [iqdb]
13971
>>13890

Just like a real Berserker.

--------------------

[ ] Why does he come to your aid? What has he to gain?
[ ] Why does he wish you to find his wounding-wand, frost-forged Lävatein?
[ ] Allfather Odin has appeared to you in Dreaming, and Yakumo speaks of gods in multitude with aims for Gensokyo. Is the whole host of Aesir planning to conquer this land?


Questions? Is the Trickster God offering you knowledge freely, or is there some hidden hook and his offer merely a crafty bait? Or, a more jaded part of your mind suggests, perhaps he only seeks some cause to mock you further?

But then again you have little better to do. Outside of Loki's wall of illusion the spirits still prowl on their unceasing patrol, cutting off any escape route. And it has never been in your nature to merely sit and wait. Questions, then.

You stand up and turn to the Sky-Walker. His shadow-body hovers slightly above the ground as he awaits your questions with an expression that you think shows slight boredom. But little good brings guessing the mood of a god. Instead you ask your first question.

"Tell me then, O Son of Fárbauti, why does sly Sky-Walker grant me his aid? Few men freely aid a stranger if there is no profit to be found."

Loki turns towards you, his strange face flowing into a new expression. Now he seems almost amused, his expression alert and vital, the shadows sharpening and forming into clear shapes.

"Ah, why indeed, why would High One's blood brother and scion of Jötunheim's kings aid a mere mortal?" Loki's shadow-face splits into an unsettling smile as he makes a small pause.

"Perhaps you deem the gifts of Laufey's son to be just reward for your deeds? Or perhaps the great hero thinks himself able to call on gods on high as he wishes? Maybe the gods heed him for his power and skill, as told in the sagas of old? Curious creatures, you mortals, and ever interesting."

You meet the coal-black eyes of the God of Fire, seeing your own, cold stare reflected in them. A god he may be, but you will not remain silent as he mocks you. And might there not be a further layer to his scheme, perhaps his taunting and baiting words are yet another way of weaseling ot of answering your question?

"And perhaps yet the gods are more curious," You answer, voice dripping with sarcasm "For God of Fire answers when great hero wishes, and no other reason he gives." Loki's eyes narrow slightly, but he shown no other reaction.

Deciding to push this a bit further you draw a deep breath and slowly spin the words into razors and barbs that wound pride and honour. Thus armed you again address the Trickster God.

"Curious god indeed, one who leaps to obey when a mere mortal commands, as the thrall does when his master speaks."

The son of giants freezes for a moment, the strange shifts in his shadow-face stopping and flowing into a blank mask of darkness. But as suddenly as the previous shift of expression, the Trickster's wide, amused grin returns and he throws back his head and lets out a booming peal of laughter.

"Well said mortal! How could Loki now leave unsaid his reasons?"

With a final chuckle Loki finally speaks, the mockery now absent from his voice and replaced by a somewhat serious tone.

"Chosen you were, and to your side I sped for one reason only." The Trickster calmly explains. "Because you woke up in this bounded land of boundless sorcery. How could Loki not catch this opportunity?"

"Words he gives, but little meaning. What opportunity does Fárbauti's son seek in sealed realm, and how does song-smith grant him this?"

"You, mortal, showed the way. The demon of borders was known to us, but her sorcery beyond what any of the Aesir or Vanir could wield or understand. Unknown to us she could move between the nine worlds, and unseen to even my blood-brother's eye as he gazed out from high Hlidsjkalf."

Loki makes a slight pause in his explanation, his eyes narrowing slightly as he watches you intently.

"But you, a son of the north, can ever be seen by High One's eye. As soon as you awoke in this realm we knew where it was. And knowing this, neither spell-lock nor warded gate could defeat the wit of Loki."

"And the opportunity?" You continue, not intending to let Loki Scar-Lip slip away from the subject at hand.

"Ah, mortal warrior, a skilled question. But no reason does Loki see to part with all of his knowledge. Let one know thy secret, but never a second, if three a thousand shall know." The changer of shape deftly replies.

As you apparently are unable to wring more knowledge on thin subject from the son of giants, you reluctantly choose to turn the conversation onto a new track.

"Then tell me this: when we first spoke, Son of Fárbauti, on that burned battlefield, God of Fire bade bold battle-singer find blade of Laufey's son. Why does he wish me to find frost-forged Lävatein?"

Loki's amused expression vanishes in an instant, replaced by a sharp and grim face. The shadow-pools of his eyes glitter with anger as he sharply replies.

"A matter of pride, mortal. Never has a man stolen from Loki and found forgiveness." His expression softens somewhat after this outburst, and once more calmness enters his voice.

"And as you see, the power of Loki is not without limit. Sorcery and spells I wield, but the world wrought from Aurgelmir's flesh is beyond my reach. Thus do I need you, mortal, to do what I cannot."

His explanation sounds convincing, for even though Loki's shadow-form has the shape of a man, it clearly lacks substance. Yet even so, there is little satisfaction for you in his words.

"So you seek to send me against one that you cannot defeat, is this your scheme, O son of Fárbauti? From black-white witch have I heard tales of this thief, the scarlet sister, and her powers are vast. How then, if it is beyond the spells and wit of Loki Laufey's son, can mortal song-smith vanquish wrathful wight?"

The trickster's smile returns once more, and with it the amusement in his voice as he replies.

"Never has Laufey's son asked Sigurd the slayer to defeat another demon. Best knows Loki that trickery and wit can break brutish power, and those you must employ."

Almost as an afterthought he contiues, now almost cheerful in voice and tone.

"Or perhaps you must gain powers above even the greatest wizards of spellbound realm? Loki knows not, nor does Byleisti's brother bother his mind with such trifles. You will find Lävatein, mortal warrior, of this I have no doubt."

"Glad I am, Son of Giants, that you trust tale-weaver so." You sarcastically shoot back. Laufey's Son merely meets your words with a smile.

(cont.)
>> No. 13972
What more then could you ask the Trickster? So far he has at least answered your questions, and you have little to lose by asking some of the things you truly wish to know. There are plots and games aplenty, and Loki clearly plays his own. But his scheme is now less important than one other, that of distant Odin. What is Raven God's will, and how does it affect what you've learned so far?

If one in this realm can know, then surely it must be his blood brother, Loki of Jötunheim. You doubt that you can wring this answer out of him by skilled words and silver tongue, and neither is asking him directly likely to yield answers.

But perhaps you can learn something from how the Trickster evades your question?

"Odin himself did I meet in deep dream, and Yakumo, she who lives between the worlds, speaks of the gods' plans. Do the Aesir ride, does Odin raise the gods for war, for conquest of Gensokyo?" You ask, carefully studying the face of Laufey's son for any reaction.

"If necessary." The Son of Giants calmly answers, his face betraying no emotion. It takes a moment for his words to sink in, but as your mind finally accepts that you did not mishear his words you feel a shiver run down your spine, as cold as the icy winds of Niefelheim.

"You must understand this, mortal, that ever are the thoughts of my blood brother far in the future. Never does he see the now, but ever the death of all, that fate fortold in ages past, ruinous Ragnarok." The Trickster God continues, as if unaware of your surprise.

"And so, if Bor's firstborn believes this realm can hide the Aesir from the end of days, then war there will be. War and death, such as he ever brings to Midgard, if he seeks to hide the lords of Asgard behind the star-spanning spell-wall."

"That cannot be, O Son of Giants, for the battle was fortold in ages past. No matter where it is waged, the fate of Aesir must come." You reply, yet your voice wavers, strangely unsure of how much you should believe the words of Loki Scar-Lip.

Loki chuckles darkly at your feeble objection, a dark amusement now entering his voice, mixed with a strange joyfulness.

"But how can Ragnarok be, mortal warrior, if the words of prophesy never are fulfilled, if promised battle cannot be waged? No less a power than the will of Urd does my blood brother seek to cheat."

"And why did you reveal this to me, Trickster God, why share you the secrets of Odin himself?" You immediately reply, for if Odin had willed you to know this, then surely he would have commanded you himself.

"Why not, mortal warrior? Ever are those who would be heroes willing to serve the will of Bor's firstborn, and even Loki stands to gain from this scheme. And as I recall, you asked."

You suddenly feel another shiver run down your spine. Could it be the will of the High One, a war between Asgard's lords and the inhabitants of Gensokyo? And if Laufey's son sees profit in this scheme, does he also seek this conflict?

"Ever ungrateful they are, mortals of Midgard. For gift of knowledge they ask, yet always do they regret it when it is not to their liking." Loki snidely comments as turns back to his examination of the great tree.

You slowly turn away and look out upon the garden of ghosts while pondering upon the words of the trickster. No desire do you have to see this land turned into a field of battle, yet Odin's will must all noble men follow. And true it is that any man or god would strive to avoid his doom, and perhaps Gensokyo's magic can cheat even the grey sisters?

"I see this scheme is not to your liking, mortal. Perhaps then you should seek another way?" Loki's voice calls out behind you. Another way, he says? You suspect that whatever he thinks of will contain profit for Loki, yet his words are not without merit. Perhaps you must create your own way, plot your own scheme, and impose your own will upon the weave of fate.

"Earlier you asked me about opportunity," Loki calmly continues, "And one thing in this realm that is for the taking is power, mortal warrior. If you seek it, it shall come to you, but ever at a price, for this is the way of the world."

You turn back to the trickster and see him standing next to the trunk of the great tree. He speaks of power? Perhaps that is one thing you do need, for you mislike relying on Loki's gifts, and the sorceresses and demons of Gensokyo wield greater might than you by far.

"And even in this place, there is power for the taking. Will you hear my scheme, mortal warrior, one that will profit you greatly?" Loki calmly continues. You watch his shadow-form intently, for this surely must be a trick of his. Yet if it is, why would he try to trick you now? If he wishes for you to escape and do his bidding, why would he seek to decieve you in this place?


[ ] There is no loss in hearing him out. And perhaps this scheme is a good one?

[ ] No, you wish no part in Loki's schemes. Watch for an opportunity to escape instead.
>> No. 13975
>>13972
>And true it is that any man or god would strive to avoid his doom, and perhaps Gensokyo's magic can cheat even the grey sisters?

Remilia vs. Urd?

>You turn back to the trickster and see him standing next to the trunk of the great tree.
>"And even in this place, there is power for the taking. Will you hear my scheme, mortal warrior, one that will profit you greatly?

nothankyou.jpg

[X] No, you wish no part in Loki's schemes. Watch for an opportunity to escape instead.
>> No. 13976
>"And even in this place, there is power for the taking. Will you hear my scheme, mortal warrior, one that will profit you greatly?" Loki calmly continues.

No, get the fuck out. We will get power on our own without his schemes that will probably include sacrificing friends and whatever.
He only cares for his own profit and would choose whatever side is more use for him.

[x] No, you wish no part in Loki's schemes. Watch for an opportunity to escape instead.

Loki may be lying with 3/4 of what he says, but we can still learn much from him.

War is coming
>> No. 13977
[x] No, you wish no part in Loki's schemes. Watch for an opportunity to escape instead.
>> No. 13978
[x] There is no loss in hearing him out. And perhaps this scheme is a good one?

Scheming is fun. All the cool gods and chosen warriors are doing it.
>> No. 13979
[X] No, you wish no part in Loki's schemes. Watch for an opportunity to escape instead.
>> No. 13980
[ze] No, you wish no part in Loki's schemes. Watch for an opportunity to escape instead.

lolno
>> No. 13981
[x] No, you wish no part in Loki's schemes. Watch for an opportunity to escape instead.
>> No. 13982
[ ] There is no loss in hearing him out. And perhaps this scheme is a good one?

don't deny your options before you even know them.
>> No. 13983
[x] No, you wish no part in Loki's schemes. Watch for an opportunity to escape instead.
>> No. 13994
[ ] No, you wish no part in Loki's schemes. Watch for an opportunity to escape instead.

Listening to Loki got us into this mess in the first place.
>> No. 13995
[x] There is no loss in hearing him out. And perhaps this scheme is a good one?
Just because we hear his plans doesn't mean we have to abide by them.
>> No. 13996
[x] There is no loss in hearing him out. And perhaps this scheme is a good one?
>> No. 14000
All right. Writing is commencing.
>> No. 14001
>>14000
hooray!
>> No. 14066
14k WRITE-GET?
... You'd better be telling the truth, then.
>> No. 14083
>>14066

I actually didn't even notice. This update shouldn't have taken this long tough, but I wasn't satisfied with how it came out the first few times.

--------------------------

[ ] No, you wish no part in Loki's schemes. Watch for an opportunity to escape instead.


Perhaps there is power to be found in this place. Perhaps there is fair fame and golden glory. Perhaps a man can win wealth greater than the fortune found in the halls of Miklagård and the shining cities of Särkland. But even if all these things are true, you wish no further part in the schemes of Laufey's son.

So let Liefather keep his petty plots and subtle schemes, you shall take no part, and this will you make known to the Trickster God. With clear mind and strong voice you answer his question.

"Nay, Sly-God, listen I will not. No scheme for power do I need, nor profit won by your plots."

Loki's face remains impassive for a few moments, then his expression twists into a wide grin and the laughter of Laufey's son again rings out through the air.

"Good, mortal warrior, you are learning!" Loki remarks while clapping his shadow-hands, the sound sharp and haunting as it reaches your ears.

The shrouded face of Loki swirls like thick, black smoke, expressions dancing past in a maddening tempo while you attempt to detect some hint of truth or treachery, yet futile is that task.

"Of learning you speak, son of giants, yet I had not thought you a wiseman, one that teaches lesson and laws. Of what do you speak?"

"Caution is the first of Loki's lessons, prudence in act and word. Trust not easily earned gift, not from man or god, for only the power he has won by own hand can a man call his own."

"Sound advice, Son of Giants." You calmly riposte, for the fault in his words is clear. "Yet song-smith wonders, do words of Loki not caution even against the plans and powers of Laufey's son?"

Out of the chaotic swirl of Loki's shapeless body clarity emerges as his face once more manifests, eyes burning like black flames, and his face marked by a wolf-like smile.

"Most of all, Sigurd Demonslayer. What use are you to Loki if you craft no plans and wield no power of your own? Must I hold your hand in every battle now and forevermore?"

Strange and unexpected. You know not how much of what he has said is true, but it seems as if the thoughts of Loki run deeper than you had suspected. Yet even so, men have been driven mad ponderling lesser mysteries than the mind of Loki Scar-Lip. There lies something hidden here, some detail of Loki's plan that , but for now this cannot occupy your mind. You cast a glance at the son of giants, his expression strangely satisfied, perhaps because you seem to have passed whatever test he laid out for you, or perhaps to mask his true feelings.

"Your words have I heard, Loki Sly-God." You answer, an simple acknowledgement, for you have not yet decided whether Loki's advice is good or not. Instead you ignore the god of fire and mischief and turn to study your surroundings. Too long have you lingered here, your forced proximity to Laufey's son only serving to further poison your mood. Escape you must, by strength, wit, or word, this is clear.

Gazing out upon the garden of ghosts you can see the spirits still prowling around in great flocks. So many are there that they resemble a blanket of clouds more than individual ghosts. Ill news indeed.

Yet perhaps these news are not as ill as one could suspect, for fhe formations of spirits reveal much to trained eye, their movement not too dissimilar to that of an army at war. The greatest concentration of patrolling souls can be seen in the far distance, somewhere near the great road you traveled earlier. There then, must the way out of this realm lie, for every warlord would seek to protect the gate of his fortress. On the other hand, you see nearly no spirits near the mansion of ghost-garden's mistress. This is a strange strategy, for few generals would leave the keep unguarded. Or perhaps, as you begin to suspect, the lady of death-realm is the greatest shield of her realm, the death-magics and shadow-sorcery of Hakugyokuro's haunting hostess more powerful than even the multitudes of her spirit warriors.

Otherwise the spirits seem to move in some larger pattern, but too large for you to see the entirety of. In any case you deem the prospects of avoiding the spirits to be slim. The only choice then is to wait and watch.

-----------------------

Minutes pass and finally turn into hours, but no change do you see in the spirit's patrols. Slowly they do their rounds, and slowly you watch them pass.

Loki also seems content to wait, the few times you glance at him, the God of Fire seems occupied with his study of the living wood-tower. You know not why he lavishes such attention upon this great tree, and you care little about it as long as he remains silent. He spoke of opportunity, but the dead seem to need no rest, and the lady of the ghost-garden has little reason to order the spirits to cease as long as they have not found you.

After another while, you can feel Loki's shadow-form gliding closer to you. "Opportunity beckons, mortal warrior." He states, simple and straightforward, as Fárbauti's son stops next to you.

You think about asking him what he means, but you suddenly sense what the God of Fire must have felt as well, something different approaching this place. Something powerful.

"I know not who now approaches, mortal, but never do two powers meet without friction. Keep your eyes open." The trickster whispers, his voice barely audible.

And sage are his words. Far in the distance the spirits you thought were guarding the gate of this realm begin unleashing a furious torrent of rainbow-coloured spells. They are met by an even greater swarm of red, needle-like bolts, the crimson magic working greath scathe upon the spirit-swarm. Even at this distance you can understand the awesome power behind the sorcerous exchange, the orbs and bolts scattering and falling like a torrent of rain.

Yet the appreciation for this beautiful display will have to wait for another day. If he has said but one true thing this day, the trickster was right in labeling this an opportunity, one to be grasped. The wandering spirits suddenly break their usual pattern and start floating towards the sorcerous battle raging in the distance. Perhaps you could make use of this?


[ ] Set off immediately and try to slip through the confusion. See if you can reach the place where the way out should be, even if this takes you close to the battle.

[ ] Wait for a moment and attempt to see who it is that assaults the ghost-garden. Watch where this brave warrior goes, then plan your move accordingly.

[ ] Remain where you are until all the wandering spirits have been drawn into the battle, then make your escape.

[ ] Some other plan?
>> No. 14084
[x] Set off immediately and try to slip through the confusion. See if you can reach the place where the way out should be, even if this takes you close to the battle.
>> No. 14085
>Trust not easily earned gift, not from man or god, for only the power he has won by own hand can a man call his own.

I like him more and more.

[x] Wait for a moment and attempt to see who it is that assaults the ghost-garden. Watch where this brave warrior goes, then plan your move accordingly.

Time to wait and plan, running off at the first sign without knowing more is not good. Waiting too long is bad too. Go the middle way and we still have to find Youki. No man gets left behind.
>> No. 14086
[x] Set off immediately and try to slip through the confusion. See if you can reach the place where this fight is most heated.
[x] Join the fray on the side of the stranger, if stranger he be, for when strangers fight together against a common foe, they are loath to call each other enemy.

The longer we wait, the longer Yuyuko has to realize that her trap has sprung a leak. We are in desperate need of allies. Even if this person doesn't immediately trust us, the greater the ruckus, the more likely we are to be found by Youki. Besides, it could be Alice or Marisa.
>> No. 14088
[x] Set off immediately and try to slip through the confusion. See if you can reach the place where this fight is most heated.
[X] Be as careful as you can to avoid letting the spirits detect your presence.
[X] Keep an eye out for Youki; you might pass him on your way there.

We're supposed to be hiding and escaping. Joining the fight can be done later if needed. I sort of think Youki should have seen this coming.
>> No. 14092
[x] Wait for a moment and attempt to see who it is that assaults the ghost-garden. Watch where this brave warrior goes, then plan your move accordingly.

>red, needle-like bolts, the crimson magic working greath scathe upon the spirit-swarm

Hmmm, this could be getting worse rather than better. Needles make me think of Reimu but could it also be Remilia? Alice and Marisa knew of our plan to infiltrate SDM, could they have already tried to do so by themselves?
>> No. 14094
[~] Set off immediately and try to slip through the confusion. See if you can reach the place where the way out should be.
[z] Keep an eye out for Youki. You aren't leaving here without him.
[e] Be as careful as you can to avoid letting the spirits detect your presence.

Two very important things people seem to have missed:

First:
>They are met by an even greater swarm of red, needle-like bolts,
Unless I'm mistaken --which is fully possible-- that's Reimu.

If so, then waiting to see where she goes (coming for your Nordic ass) and fighting alongside her (whereupon she will waste little time beating you senseless) are kind of out, seeing as she's probably on the warpath and well aware of not only our presence here, but Loki's, too. Gap Bitch or Ran probably told her.
Now... just think how Reimu would react to news of ... actually, just refer to: >>13949 .
Yeah.
's gonna be good times.

Second:
>There lies something hidden here, some detail of Loki's plan that , but for now this cannot occupy your mind.
>something hidden here, some detail of Loki's plan that ,
That space...
...Writer typo, or erased/prevented thoughts? It comes at an awful crucial juncture for a mere typo. Especially so, given the the words that follow it.
>> No. 14095
>>14092
>Needles make me think of Reimu
...okay, that almost everybody missed.
>> No. 14096
>>14094

>That space...
...Writer typo, or erased/prevented thoughts? It comes at an awful crucial juncture for a mere typo. Especially so, given the the words that follow it.

Well, that is what happens when you post at four A.M. and are too tired to proofread adequately. Amending this:

"There lies something hidden here, some detail of Loki's plan that careful pondering should reveal, for his words and actions are surely only sly means to some greater goal, but for now this cannot occupy your mind.
>> No. 14099
>>14094

I was thinking the same thing.

[X] Set off immediately and try to slip through the confusion. See if you can reach the place where the way out should be.
[X] Keep an eye out for Youki. You aren't leaving here without him.
[X] Be as careful as you can to avoid letting the spirits detect your presence.
>> No. 14123
>>14096
Oh good. I was worried that was an innocuous hint that Loki was fucking with our mind.
>> No. 14124
>>14123

Well, it might be. What I tried to convey here is that you should be able to figure out some things about Loki and his plans.
>> No. 14130
Writing is commencing.
>> No. 14132
>>14130

hooray!
>> No. 14133
[ ] Set off immediately and try to slip through the confusion. See if you can reach the place where the way out should be.
[ ] Keep an eye out for Youki. You aren't leaving here without him.
[ ] Be as careful as you can to avoid letting the spirits detect your presence.


Without question 'tis a mage of might that works such scathe upon the sorcerous spirit-swarm, and such a being is sure to occupy the attention of ghost-garden's mistress. Yet every moment of chaos is fleeting, and every battle has the moments when Warfather Odin wavers in his judgement, when bold action can win Fimbultýr's favour.

"Ravens fly, son of giants." You calmly remark while hefting your golden blood-bringer. Before this day is over you may indeed need it.

"Aye, and so Loki's sorcery is ended, need for mirage-mask has passed." The illusion crafted by Laufey's son withers before your eyes, the veil withdraws and once again you begin to see the outside world clearly. And likewise, you remind yourself, can the outside world see you.

"Onward, mortal warrior. Seek not battle, for you are but a leaf in a storm this day. Your wit and wile are now at test, for your strength, aye, not even Loki's spells can match that sorcery." The whisper of the Trickster God cautions as the last vestiges of his spell dissolve in thin air. The shadow-shape of Loki is likewise fades fast, until the living shade is no more. You can no longer feel the mind of Loki, nor his sorcery, but you suspect that he is still nearby. But again, wondering about such matters must wait.

Now is the time for action. You sprint towards the rows of trees, desperate to reach cover before some spirit or spell spots you. Fortune favours the bold it seems, for the attention of the guardian ghosts seems to be focused on the
raging battle. You slow down as you enter the garden and its long, straight tree-rows, stopping for a moment to take a better look at your surroundings.

The spirits in the sky close to you seem to be far fewer now, perhaps a few dozen at most. As long as you move cautiously they shouldn't notice you, and thus you slowly and carefully slip from tree to tree to avoid their prying eyes.

Between the long rows of trees you can see fragments of the duel of sorcery, and what you see makes you inclined to believe the words Laufey's son spoke earlier. The ghosts fight fiercely, their magic filling the sky with rainbows of doom. But slowly and inexorably the battle moves closer to the mansion of ghost-garden's mistress. The red magic is overwhelming, a sorcery that feels unlike all others you have experienced so far. Ill would you fare if you faced its wielder on the field of battle, this you know.

But this fate seems to be one that you can avoid. The battle and your position will soon pass by each other, and afterwards there should be little to stop you. As the spirits seem occupied you instead turn your attention towards seeking signs of the venerable master, your companion and comrade. You are unsure exactly where your ways parted, and if he waged battle afterwards he may be farther away still. Yet keen eyes and sharpened hearing may lend clues.

Slowly you sneak through the gardens, risking a few glances towards the road as you search for the old master. The storm of magic increases in intensity, until you catch a glimpse of the intruder. The distance is long, but there is no
mistaking the determination in the raven-haired woman's face as she grimly unleashes spell after spell. Her dress is strange, long and red-white, her hair tied up with a large, red ribbon. For a fleeting moment her image is burned into your mind, a vision of beauty and power quite unlike any other you have experienced.

And then the moment is gone, the fierce charge of the red-white sorceress taking her out of your sight. The scattered spells fade, and the sounds of battle now rage behind you. A quick glance up into the sky confirms that no spirit lingers above, their attention now focused on the fight.

Taking this opportunity you break into a swift run, weaving through the trees as you cautiously approach the great road. Minutes pass as your legs carry you through the trees near the garden's edge, until you finally see something different ahead, a large, red gate of strange design, yet no door bars this portal. Perhaps then this is the way out? It would be tempting to take to the road, but still do you remember the words of caution that Laufey's son spoke to you.

Thus you stop and catch your breath, then take a good look around you. No spirit can you see, but worse than that, neither can you find any sign of the venerable blade-master. You would have expected him to find you already, or for him to wait at the exit of this realm. Deciding to take a risk you sneak to the edge of the road and take a look back towards the mansion of ghosts, for perhaps he has decided to defend his mistress from this new threat?

It seems he may have cause for this, for in the sky the host of spirits finally seems defeated. The few remaining ghosts seem to flee from the red sorceress, yet it seems to you that the true battle is only beginning, for even at this distance you can clearly see the princess of ghosts confronting the intruder. The sorcerous might is palpable around the two women, magic as fierce as the fury of the fenris-wolf, yet no dwarf-forged chain will bind this power. Even so this clash seems to be limited to words so far, for no spells of power are unleashed, no swarms of sorcerer's bolts are conjured.

You draw back into the cover of the woods and look around you again. Even though the clash between red sorceress and ghost princess is distracting you should not forget your true objective. With as much focus as you can muster you let your eyes scour the garden of ghosts for any trace of your companion. For a while this seems fruitless, until you manage to catch a brief glimpse of movement between two rows of trees. Sharpening your senses further you catch another flash of movement, something green-coloured moving through the woods.

It is strange, for even when you think that you should have a clear view you never seem to see more than a brief flash of colour, but even so you now know that someone, or something, else is close by.


[ ] Attempt to hide and observe the situation.

[ ] Seek out and confront whatever it is out there.
>> No. 14134
[x] Seek out and confront whatever it is out there.

The honorable daughter of our honorable companion. I fear we must speak with her, otherwise Youki will not reveal himself.
>> No. 14138
[ ] Seek out and confront whatever it is out there.
>> No. 14140
[X] Seek out and confront whatever it is out there.
>> No. 14143
[x] Seek out and confront whatever it is out there.
>> No. 14148
[x] Seek out and confront whatever it is out there.
>> No. 14149
[ze] Seek out and confront whatever it is out there.

We are screwed either way.
>> No. 14157
She should be fighting Youki right now. Do you really want to intrude and disrupt their duel?
>> No. 14158
All right. Writing commences.
>> No. 14159
File 124001098152.png- (742.11KB , 1169x747 , youmu1.png ) [iqdb]
14159
[ ] Seek out and confront whatever it is out there.


If something is lurking in this garden, far better to seek it out than to see danger in every shadow. You grip your blade and hold it ready as you move to intercept the unknown one hiding in these woods, the slight hints of movement guiding you towards this fated meeting.

The moment is upon you so suddenly. One second you are alone, in the next a young woman, almost a girl, with short, white hair and blood-red eyes stands before you. She is dressed in a green dress and a white, short-sleeved shirt, and clearly marked with an emotion you know well. Slightly flushed face, her mouth twisted into a feral snarl and eyes burning with barely contained fury. Surely this shield-maiden has been blessed with the berserker rage by great God of War, her burning anger only slightly lessened by a hint of surprise as she lays eyes on you.

But some other details also catch your eye, chiefly among these the white, cloud-like spirit that seems to follow the woman, the oversized scabbards strapped to her back, and the long, silver-white blade she holds in her hands. Could she then be the daughter that old Youki spoke of?

But before you have the chance to speak to her, the young blademaster raises her weapon and assumes a strange stance, unlike any other you have seen before, her sword raised above her head in a two-handed grip.

"Another intruder? I have no time for this." She growls as she readies her blade. Her eyes are sharp and clear as the meets your gaze and grimly speaks the final, fatal words. "I am Youmu Konpaku. Expect no quarter."

Acting on instinct you leap aside just in time to dodge a lightning-fast slash of the long, curved blade. You turn around to face her, raising your sword to guard you against further attacks. You had not expected movement such as this, an attack that resembles a bolt of lightning or a serpent's bite more than any mortal swordsmanship. Many times have you duelled men and won victory, but those were mortals in the days past, those times that now seem so distant.

This is something else. This truly must be the bladework of the gods themselves. Yet even so, you feel confident that you can hold your own even against skill like this. The only question that remains is how you should wage this battle.


[ ] Keep on the defensive and try to make her see reason. You wish not to hurt this woman, only disarm her at most.

[ ] Counterattack. If Warfather Odin has seen fit to send a worthy opponent against you, battle will be joined.

[ ] Wait for a opportunity to slip away. This is a battle you have no time or desire to wage.
>> No. 14160
[X] Keep on the defensive and try to make her see reason. You wish not to hurt this woman, only disarm her at most.
>> No. 14161
[X] Keep on the defensive and try to make her see reason. You wish not to hurt this woman, only disarm her at most.
>> No. 14162
[X] Keep on the defensive and try to make her see reason. You wish not to hurt this woman, only disarm her at most.
>> No. 14163
[ ] Counterattack. If Warfather Odin has seen fit to send a worthy opponent against you, battle will be joined.

Defeat will calm her down.
>> No. 14164
[x] Counterattack. If Warfather Odin has seen fit to send a worthy opponent against you, battle will be joined.
>> No. 14165
[X] Keep on the defensive and try to make her see reason. You wish not to hurt this woman, only disarm her at most.

We started this whole do not attack thing when we ran from Yuyuko, so only fair to take it all the way to the end.
>> No. 14167
[X] Keep on the defensive and try to make her see reason. You wish not to hurt this woman, only disarm her at most.

Try to reason. Once. Then its manly badass time.
>> No. 14174
[x] Keep on the defensive and try to make her see reason. You wish not to hurt this woman, only disarm her at most.

We have only to mention his name.
>> No. 14214
Writing commences then.
>> No. 14218
>>14214

Hooray!
>> No. 14241
File 124036534836.jpg- (255.45KB , 795x495 , youmu4.jpg ) [iqdb]
14241
Sorry that this has taken so long. I offer an wall in apology.

----------------

[ ] Keep on the defensive and try to make her see reason. You wish not to hurt this woman, only disarm her at most.


No quarter, she says? Well and good then, a true test of your skill and strength is granted in the chance to face this woman in glorious battle. Yet even though she may seek your doom, you have no desire to harm her, for you suspect that her determination stems from some other source than enmity towards you. And as you now know her name, you also know her to be the old master's daughter. Ill would it be if you brought her harm for this reason as well.

You calmly watch silver-haired Youmu raise her blade for another attack. Her movements are slow and deliberate, every slight shift in her grip and even the most minute movement seem exaggeratedly sluggish when compared to the lightning-quick actions you know her to be capable of.

What madness had possessed you when you decided to battle this woman without harming her, you quietly wonder. What has honour and battle-lust driven you to, that you so easily choose to stare death in the eye? To these questions you know not the answers, but as the silver-haired blademaster steps forward for another attack, you quietly give thanks to Odin Veratýr for granting you this opportunity to prove yourself.

Youmu leaps into the air, soaring towards you like a glorious Valkyrie descending towards the doomed heroes. Your sword rises to deflect her blow, but it does so in vain, for the young battle-maiden suddenly flies to the left, quickly reversing her grip and delivering a horizontal slash towards your neck. Somewhat taken aback by this unexpected feint, you barely manage to shift your sun-sword to check her attack, awkwardly catching the long silver-blade with the tip of your own weapon while you desperately stagger back to avoid her attack. Youmu's long sword glances the golden metal, missing your face by a scant few inches.

The fierce shieldmaiden immediately disengages, taking a few quick steps back as she carefully readies her next assault. Still a bit shaken by this brush with death you again raise your sword in guard. You had not considered this earlier, but naturally the art of swordmanship becomes different when warriors can fly through the sky. This you should keep in mind., for once again your life hangs in the balance and only strength of arm and clarity of thought keeps grandmother death at bay.

You warily study the silver-haired shieldmaiden as the two of you take the measure of each other. Judging from what you have seen, her style of combat consists of discrete attacks, trusting in overwhelming speed to overcome her opponent's guard. But this way of battle also shows you when she will attack, and perhaps this is the only reason why you are alive. And it also gives you a chance to speak, a chance you will use for perhaps she will see reason and words provide you with an end to this battle

"Glory, gracious shieldmaiden, is our lot, we warriors fated for fierce sword-sport. Song shall be made, the tale to be told for years uncounted until world's end." You declare in a powerful voice, drawing a strange look from the silver-haired battle-maiden.

"Is that so?" She replies, her voice cold and harsh. "I see little glory in hunting down intruders, but this is the duty I have been assigned."

You meet her cold words with a wide, warm smile, for her words reveal her character, one that you are pleased to discover through her actions as well as her words.

"Noble is her spirit, for loyal hirdmen all jarls and kings do seek, yet few are they who find fair friends to defend hearth and hall even if gold and glory are not to be found."

"The apple falls not far from the tree, it is said." You continue "True I see this is, for surely has the skill and honour of wise Youki, that old blade-lord, passed to his loyal daughter."

"You know my father?" Youmu whispers, her eyes widening for a moment. Slowly she lowers her sword, now apparently willing to hear you out.

"That I do, and no harm do I intend to his home, nor his kin. I seek only to leave this place."

The fury seems to fade from the sword-maiden's face, now replaced by surprise as she hears your words, perhaps because of the praise you have heaped upon her, perhaps because you mentioned her father's name, or perhaps because you have managed to hold your own against her, a feat you are sure that that few mortal warriors chould have accomplished. Probably all three, you suspect.

"Maybe you speak the truth, though I have my doubts. But I'm not unreasonable, if you surrender right now I'll let you explain yourself later."

Surrender? You feel a smile come over your lips unbidden, for surely she must be joking. Would any of Odin's warriors willingly lay down their arms and admit defeat?

"No, O fair shield-maiden, that I shall not. For how can a warrior's honour live through the shame of surrender?"

"Then I have no choice but to subdue you. May Bishamonten-sama protect the pure of heart."

"Aye, noble Youmu, let Odin Hangatýr hear the warrior's prayer." You calmly reply, evoking a fleeting, questioning look from the silver-haired maiden.

Then the fire returns to her eyes as she again takes up her battle-stance, but now it is tempered with caution. All the more deadly this, the bound berserker-fury. Perhaps you have to take a more balanced appraoch to this duel, for you doubt that defense alone will win the day.

As she readies her attack, you swiftly seize the initiative and take a half-step forward, using your greater reach to send a savage, overhead swing towards the silver-haired swordmistress. Sólargeisli whistles as it slices through the air, and the young woman's blade sings as it rises to meet it, the air itself screaming as if in agony as the blades begin their deadly dance. Yet at the last moment the girl takes a swift side-step to the left and with a twist of her torso meets your slash with one of her own, almost as if she's trying to cut though your sword.

The results are as anyone could have expected as the far greater momentum of your blade smashes into her sword, sending her staggering back and nearly wrenching the long blade from her hand, leaving her wide open for another attack, were it not for the fact that your own attack has left you dangerously over-extended. Surely only the berserker-madness could have caused such a lapse in caution, for what warrior in his right mind would try to cut through his foeman's blade? Yet Youmu seems surprised, her battle-fury fading for a second, as she tries to regain her balance.

And that is one thing you will not let her do. Following her movement, you take another shuffling half-step forward, using your greater strength of muscle and sinew to pin down her blade beneath your own, even though this denies you use of your own sword.

But poor is the warrior that masters only one weapon. Taking advantage of her lack of balance you let go of your blade with your right hand, and send a swift punch towards the silver-hair's unprotected face. For a split second you can see utter confusion is her fire-eyes, but for a spit second only, as determination and anger returns to her face. Almost swifter than you can follow she lets go of her pinned blade and deflects your punch with her lower arm. A mere blink of an eye later she twists around and delivers a swift chop to your left wrist, knocking your blade out of your hand in the process.

(cont.)
>> No. 14242
File 124036561518.jpg- (96.75KB , 487x702 , youmu2.jpg ) [iqdb]
14242
You feel a fury of your own igniting as the pain shoots through your hand, a blaze of emotion being kindled by anger, anxiety and agony. With a wordless roar you smash your elbow towards the silver-hair, using your bulk to knock her back. You follow up with a flurry of punches, raining down blow after blow while denying her the chance to recover her balance. Yet even at such an disadvantage does she block and deflect your attacks, swiftly regaining equal footing, then beginning to launch attacks of her own, swift punches and hand-chops of surprising strength.

After about a minute or two of unarmed combat you begin to realize that this small woman is actually beating you back step by step. How this is possible you know not, but as she delivers another lightning-fast kick to your shins the fact of your inferiority in this form of battle is evident. Cursing by all the ice-demons of Neifelheim you lunge forward and attempt to deliver a resounding body-blow to the small shieldmaiden who nimbly leaps back to avoid it, swift like a serpent's sting.

But even a moment's respite is enough for you to turn around and snatch up your golden wound-dealer. Again armed you turn back to confront the silver-haired sheldmaiden who wastes no time in drawing a sword of her own, a shorter blade than her other one, but still long when compared to her short stature.

You step to the side, gripping your blade with both hands and swinging it in a wide horizontal arc, aiming to drive back Youmu further. But faster than you can follow she leaps straight up into the air and somehow vanishes from your sight, causing your attack to miss her completely, instead smashing into a nearby tree. The golden sword tears through the trunk of the tree, the inner power of the sun-sword charring the wood into blackened coal where the two touch.

"I will have you know that gardening is difficult enough without intruders damaging the trees." Youmu's voice calls out behind you.

Swiftly you spin around and see that the young shieldmaiden has recovered her long blade, now wielding one sword in each hand. Dimmer do your prospects grow, strange as it may seem. In any case, you cannot use your longer reach effectively with all these trees around you, and so you slowly begin to edge towards the great road. Youmu follows you as you move, but you manage to maneuver yourself so that you always keep a tree between you, preventing her attacks as well as your own until for the seconds until the two of you stand on the paved stone of the path of ghosts.

Taking advantage of your greater reach your raise your blade, ready to counter the attack you're expecting any moment. Youmu seems to hesitate for a moment, but then she takes up her battle-stance as well, and so the two of you are arrayed for a final confrontation.

But before any of you can make another move a strange, purple light washes over you and the sky roars with a sound like the thunder of Thor. Both Youmu and you involuntarily turn towards the source of both, a great, fan-shaped object hanging in the sky above the ghost-garden's mansion. In its centre you can make out the blue dress of the ghost-garden's princess, her death-magic filling the air itself with colourful doom.

Opposing this manifestation is the red sorceress you saw earlier, her location apparent by the cascade of sorcerous bolts she conjures every moment. As far as you can tell the two seem evenly matched.

"Lady Yuyuko." Youmu suddenly shouts in anger and alarm. For a moment her eyes dart between you and the sorcerous duel in the distance, then she turns away from you and towards the magical battle raging high in the sky.

"Forgive me, but I have more pressing matters to attend to." The silver-haired sheldmaiden curtly says before leaping into the air and speeding off towards the battle. Alone again, you seem to be.

Or perhaps not, as a familiar voice suddenly reaches your ears.

"How strange are the conicidences of this world, would you not agree young Sigurd?" You turn around and see Youki walking towards you, as calmly as if was taking a stroll through the grounds of the Althing.

"Old master," You reply, feeling relieved for the first time in quite a while. "Worried I was, for unknown to song-smith were your location and your deeds."

"To answer your question I have done as you asked me to, young Sigurd, and have been watching." The old blade-master answers with a warm smile. "And I have not seen anything wrong in your actions, young Sigurd. Some foolhardy acts, perhaps, and to be honest your swordsmanship could use refinement, but I have witnessed no malice."

"For kind words I thank you, old master." You reply, suddenly thankful for both the old master's praise and for the fact that you have commited no act that he would disapprove of.

"No, you should not thank me for actions that you yourself have accomplished." He humbly replies in a gentle voice.

"Now, I suspect that you wish to leave, am I correct?" The old master continues. "If so, we can leave by following this road for a short while."

"Yet what about your daughter, silver-haired Youmu? Or the princess of ghost-garden, the fair lady Yuyuko?" You ask, now somewhat confused by the old master's apparent lack of consistency. "Are they not locked in fierce battle, and are you not bound to protect them?"

"Ah, young Sigurd, were this battle a true threat I would naturally intervene. But among the inhabitants of Gensokyo, danmaku is more of a sport than a true battle to the death." His voice is calm as he explains, but you can see that he still watches the sorcerous clash with interest.

"Whether they win or lose, this battle will teach them something, and I would not wish to deny either my daughter or my princess that." The old master calmly continues.

"But as I said, the choice is yours Whether you wish to leave or wish to stay is up to you."


[ ] Then you shall leave. There's nothing more for you here.

[ ] Perhaps you should stay. You still wish to see this battle.
>> No. 14243
>Duel with Youmu

I liked this part, it was pretty awesome.

[X] Then you shall leave. There's nothing more for you here.

We've let our friends worry about us long enough. Plus, it's really just a lightshow.
>> No. 14244
[ ] Then you shall leave. There's nothing more for you here.
>> No. 14245
[X] Then you shall leave. There's nothing more for you here.
>> No. 14246
>>14242
[X] Then you shall leave. There's nothing more for you here.

On the one hand, I'm kinda curious as to why Reimu is on the war path. On the other, I'm pretty certain it's because of Sigurd's trip to Mayohiga, and I doubt even Loki could do anything about Reimu if she was pissed enough.
>> No. 14247
[x] Then you shall leave. There's nothing more for you here.
>> No. 14248
[X] Perhaps you should stay. You still wish to see this battle.

We should leave, but I'm still curious ...
>> No. 14249
>>14246
>On the one hand, I'm kinda curious as to why Reimu is on the war path. On the other, I'm pretty certain it's because of Sigurd's trip to Mayohiga, and I doubt even Loki could do anything about Reimu if she was pissed enough.

Yukari is still an adverse party. All she has to do is feed Reimu some half-truths about Sigurd and him being with Youki. The reason she's here is possibly by Yakumo's design, following our trail.

The other possibility is that she can't find Marisa (she was wounded right?) and fears her dead.

Third possibility is that Reimu knows shit is going down with the Border, but hasn't been able to reach Yukari. Yuyuko is one of the few beings who would be able to find a Yukari that does not want to be found. The danmaku is her way of immediately forcing Yuyu to serious the fuck up.
>> No. 14250
[X] Perhaps you should stay. You still wish to see this battle.

fuck me, i want to watch this. And i blame Norseman for his detailed story telling. It takes time but the outcome is pretty much amazing.
>> No. 14251
I figured that Alice and Marisa freaked out when they lost Sigurd, and have been looking for him all night. They might have asked Reimu for help and split up to search, or detected Sigurd once he arrived. In this case, it would be good to talk to him.

But Reimu is scary powerful, and will likely not be too happy about the takeover of Gensokyo.

Would be interesting to see Yuyuko when she is too weak to fight, but too risky.

[X] Then you shall leave. There's nothing more for you here.
>> No. 14252
[X] Then you shall leave. There's nothing more for you here.
>> No. 14253
>>14249
Interesting... I had assumed this:
>Yukari is still an adverse party. All she has to do is feed Reimu some half-truths about Sigurd and him being with Youki. The reason she's here is possibly by Yakumo's design, following our trail.
to be the case (but replace Youki with Loki, or just general "he's bringing in powerful foreign gods and is a conduit for their power"-ness.)

...But:
>Third possibility is that Reimu knows shit is going down with the Border, but hasn't been able to reach Yukari. Yuyuko is one of the few beings who would be able to find a Yukari that does not want to be found. The danmaku is her way of immediately forcing Yuyu to serious the fuck up.
...This is a very good theory here, and I had not considered it at all.
>> No. 14254
[X] Then you shall leave. There's nothing more for you here.
>> No. 14268
[B] Then you shall leave. There's nothing more for you here.
>> No. 14277
>>14246

>On the one hand, I'm kinda curious as to why Reimu is on the war path.

Well, judging from canon examples, the Reimu Hakurei method of conflict resolution usually involves beating up random strangers. Or not-so-random strangers. Or anyone that comes in her way.

And thanks to everyone for the positive feedback. Feels good to know that your work is appreciated.


Anyway, writing is commencing.
>> No. 14278
>>14277
Hooray!
>> No. 14352
>>14277
How is the progress with the writing?
>> No. 14386
>>14352

Slow. Partly because of upcoming exams, and pertly because this update has proven somewhat difficult to write.
>> No. 14409
>>14386

It happens. You write, we wait. You finish, we enjoy. Take your time.
>> No. 14420
>>14386

Take your time. Finals are important.
>> No. 14441
Uh... y'know, maybe Reimu could just be here to "play". According to canon, shit like this happens quite often.
>> No. 14570
Something I just now happened to read:

>In Norse mythology, Gungnir was the name of Odin's spear. The spear was built by a dwarf named Dvalin. It was obtained from the dwarves by Loki as a partial reparation for the theft of Sif's hair. In battle, it is a ceaseless slayer of the enemy, never misses its mark, and when thrown always returns to hand.
>It is represented by the runic symbol, Gar.
>> No. 14576
>>Gar

Oh shit.
>> No. 14650
Where did you go Norseman?
>> No. 14692
>>14650

To the drab world of Academia. Actually I've consciously tried to stay away from THP for the past weeks so that I wouldn't be distracted when studying for my exams.

Anyway, exams are mostly over now, and therefore I should be able to finish an update this weekend. So today or tomorrow (probably tomorrow though).

Selfsage for lack of updates.
>> No. 14696
>>14692

Don't sage these damnit. People who follow the stories want to know when you can or can't write.
>> No. 14701
>>14696

Agreed.
The information is greatly appreciated.
>> No. 14730
File 12420046134.png- (3.85KB , 150x238 , Rune-Gar.png ) [iqdb]
14730
>>14696

Is that so? I had assumed that the low activity of /forest/ would make bumping rendundant, as threads tend to stay on the first page anyway.

>>14570

That is an interesting detail, as the rune Gar literally does translate to "spear". Of course there are two interpretations of the runic symbol, one that equates if with Gungnir, and the other, in my opinion more interesting one, that equates it with Yggdrasil. The pillar of creation can be considered a spear in itself, and considering that Odin learned the runes by hanging himself from Yggdrasil the rune Gar itself becomes a sort of meta-rune symbolising the entire Futhark as well as wisdom and magic. In fact, IIRC the rune Gar was the only one of the runes that wasn't used in normal writing as it was too holy to be used for profane purposes. In any case the rune Gar has strong connotations to Odin himself. Coincidence? I think not.

So in other words, Gar is pretty badass. Picture related.


Anyway, the wordcount of this update is ballooning. We'll see if I can get it finished today or not.
>> No. 14731
>>14730

It's the principle of the thing. The people who read and vote for the stories on the site tend to like being informed if something has come up where a writer can't write, and saging the post saying why you can't update or when you'll update is rather annoying.
>> No. 14732
To me that rune always looked like a big X guy with arms bent out and hands at his waist in a triumphant pose.
>> No. 14739
File 124202513355.jpg- (6.98KB , 168x265 , garhpr.jpg ) [iqdb]
14739
>>14732

Nonsense! It is clearly two drills drilling each other with sparks flying out, according to my friend. Picture related.

Also, I really have to improve the speed of my archive binge of this CYOA. I wanna know what's happening!
>> No. 14769
Again I must apologize for the slowness of updates. I'll try to accelerate the pace into a somewhat acceptable one in the future.


And on an semi-related note, I have spent almost half a week working out an unnecessarily detailed syncretism between Norse Mythology and Zen Buddhism.

The worst thing about it all is that is actually works without raping either too much.

So yeah, the things one is driven to by the necessities of plot are many and varied.

------------------------------------

[ ] Then you shall leave. There's nothing more for you here.


Time is ever precious, this you well know, and with every grain passing through the hourglass you must cause your friends undue worry. Dishonorable then to indulge your own curiosity without pressing reason.

"Then I shall leave, old master, if the choice is mine. Here lies not my goal, buried not amidst ghostly garden, nor hidden in spirit-sky. Unseemly would it be to linger." You state, short and straight to the point. The old master simply nods in reply and sets off towards the gate of the netherworld, the smoky gray spirit-cloud of his silently hovering behind him. At least you now know what that strange cloud actually is.

You take a final look at the battling sorceresses, their duel showing no signs of losing its intensity. Perhaps this fact is a good thing, at least for you, you think as you turn away and set out down the paved ghost-path.

You follow the old one as he walks through the great red gate marking the end of this strange road. But even more strange than this path is the fact that it seems as if the garden of ghosts simply ends here. Not like a mountain, this place, no gradual slope downwards, but a sharp, vertical edge bounding the realm of the dead. Only one way leads out it seems, an enormous staircase so long that you cannot see the other end. Sorcery at work, of course, for how could this massive stonework exist without anything supporting it, this colossus of shaped stone, greater even than the cyclopean feats of architecture that can be found in far-off Miklagård?

"Strange, so I must say, what my eyes behold. Supernatural stairway, stone suspended above void like the one where Ymir was shaped."

"Strange is an appropriate word," The old master concurs, a small smile forming on his lips, "Ironically Hakugyokuro is only half within Gensokyo, the other half being part of Enma's realm. It is possible to travel to both of these from Hakugyokuro, but we shall take the path to the realm of the living. However, though you may not be able to see it, there is a barrier between the realms of matter and spirit, preventing the dead from leaving Hakugyokuro without the permission of princess Yuyuko or the Yama. This stairway itself is entirely of the material world though, so the living can safely travel upon it."

"And you, old master? Holds it danger for you then, when you speak thus?" You reply, for if the old one is not a mere mortal, might he not be at risk?

Youki turns his head towards you and gives you a half-amused look before answering.

"I thank you for your concern, young one, but it does not. Even though I am part spirit, it should not be an obstacle for me." The old master calmly replies, "And if it should prove to be one, I know how to deal with the guardians of Enma's realm."

Interesting. As the two of you begin to descend the staircase you decide to ask the old master some more questions. Ever is knowledge precious, more than treasures of gold or the silks of the southern lands, and the telling of tales also passes the time of what could be a long walk. And perhaps not only idle stories will be exchanged as there is a comment of the old master's that catches your attention, for do not the dead rest in Hel's hall? Strange then that the old one would speak of another realm and another ruled of the dead.

"What then is the realm of Enma, old master, and who is the one who it rules, when he must station sentinels along his borders?" You ask the old master, for his wisdom surely can yield up the answers you seek. Well versed does he seem to be in the workings of the gods and spirits, and this knowledge would surely be of use to you.

"Enma's realm, young one, is the place where the souls of the dead recieve their judgement. And Enma Dai-O is the king of the Yama, the judges of the dead." Youki answers. Strange are his words, and deeper suspicions do they create, for is not the only judge of slain souls Odin Hangadrótti himself? This bears pondering, for surely this garden of ghosts can not border shining Asgard?

"As you speak of judges, old master, the men of the north know only of Odin himself, One-Eyed god, he who judges the souls of the valiant. Is this realm of Enma then wide-famed Valhalla, the noble warriors' reward?"

"Enma's realm is not one that rewards its inhabitants, young Sigurd," The old one replies with a thoughtful expression, as if your question has perplexed him somewhat. "And while many warriors can be found in Naraka, few can be called noble."

"Is this 'Enma' then another name for bleak Hel, she who Loki sired, serpent's sister and wolf-kin?" You reply, though you now begin to suspect that the realms of the dead may be different for the men of this realm and those of your own homeland, strange as the thought may be.

"Enma is a man, and he has no siblings that I know of." Youki replies, confirming your suspicions. "Therefore the answer has to be no."

"Though his realm may be considered bleak, sadly, but perhaps this is necessary." The old master continues, his expression marked by a gentle but sad smile.

You think about his words for a moment. Perhaps the old master is right, for you have heard it been said that the realm of the dead must be bleak, for why would men otherwise seek the honour to enter blessed warriors' heaven? But judging from the old master's words and expression he appears to find little joy in the thought, even though a man of his skill and honour surely has earned a place by Odin's side. Is not a man's destiny then in the world beyond the grave his just reward?

And more to the point, the idea that there are more than one realm of the dead seems to go against all reason. Odin and his brothers shaped the mortal world as well as the men who inhabit it. And was it not Odin himself who set Hel Loki's daughter to rule over the dead? It seems then as if the old master must be mistaken, or that the world is more complicated than you had thought. Every answer leads to another question it seems, but never had you expected the world to be simple. Enjoying the mental challenge inherent in figuring out the secrets of the gods you again address the old master.

"Old one, why is this sad? The valiant find their seats in Valhalla, and the cowards in the halls of Hel. Such is the way of the world, and such the justice of Odin." You remark, keeping a neutral tone, striving not to sound too callous. Perhaps this judgement is harsh, but so are many things in the world, and unseemly would it be to question the justice of Asgard's lord.

The old master's expression is strange, somewhat pained yet strangely happy, the conflicting emotions evident from his expression warring with his natural calm. Finally he simply smiles slightly and speaks.

"Young Sigurd, I have learned much in my long life. I had not expected it, but now I see that I may have to teach as well as understand."

The old master's reply, cryptic as it may be, still catches your interest. After a few moments of silence Youki finally continues speaking, choosing his words carefully as he reveals his hidden wisdom to you.

(cont.)
>> No. 14770
"This life is not our first, young one." The Old one begins his calm explanation. "We all are born, we live and we die, and as part of the cycle of Samsara we are reborn after our deaths, attaining new minds and bodies." Youki continues, his voice soft yet powerful. It seems as if the old master is clad in an aura of invisible authority as he speaks, but if this is because of the power in his words or some other reason you can not tell.

"And our lives may also be likened to gardens where fruits grow, young Sigurd. Our actions create the fruits of Karma, and these fruits determine where in the six realms we are reborn." He continues, making a slight pause to let these strange ideas sink in. "Deva, Ashura, Human, Animal, Preta or Naraka. The Six Realms are the states where one can be reborn, all according to the fruits of one's Karma and the state of Enlightenment one has attained."

"Thus, while the ones bound in the suffering of Naraka can be said to have earned their fate, the very existence of their state is cause for sadness, for it shows that the fruits of evil still bloom in the gardens of men's souls." He finally says, drawing the explanation to a close. You ponder his words for a moment, for they truly are alien to your mind, yet in knowing them you understand more about the old master and his thoughts.

"This secret, old master, is one that thus far has been unrevealed to me." You cautiously answer, still somewhat taken aback by the strange knowledge the old master has shared with you. "For the wisdom of Odin speaks of no such things as these, not in song or story revealed by Raven God's words. If your words are true, they hold wisdom even greater than that of Odin Rune-God himself."

"And truth or not, old master, I still thank you for sharing your wisdom, for your mind is now better known to me." You finally say, making sure to keep your voice respectful.

"I will not ask you to believe what I say, indeed to truly understand the cycle of Samsara is something that only the ones who have attained true enlightenment can claim." Youki humbly answers, his voice impeccably polite.

"Aye, old one. Strange it is, for every day in this realm of Gensokyo it seems as if unbidden one more secret is to song-smith given, always another hidden riddle revealed." You reply, a small, ironic smile entering your features. How
strange that you learn so much, yet so little of what you truly would like ot know.

"Then it it a good thing you have arrived here, youg Sigurd." The old one answers in a gentle tone, "Knowledge and wisdom are the keys to enlightenment."

Strange this is, so you can't help but to think, but many things about Youki Konpaku make little sense, especially when you compare his stillness and gentle philosophy with the fiery fury exhibited by his daughter. As you think back on the silver-haired girl and the furious bladestorm she unleashed upon you, and as you think of the old master's unnatural skill and stillness as he wielded his wound-bringer in the dark void of the border-demon you can't help wondering which of them that truly shows the soul of Gensokyo's warriors.

The Battle-Rager or the Warrior-Philosopher. Which one is the true path of the warrior?

Seeking some distraction from the multitude of new questions this dilemma raises, you decide to enjoy the view instead, but quickly find that the world around you is dark, even though you can see both the staircase itself and your honourable companion without any problem. And even though you cannot see anything outside, you can still sense some sort of being or beings lurking out in the night-shroud that the outside world is wreathed in. They do not seem inclined to approach you however, and the old master seems unconcerned as well, even though you're sure that his senses are sharper than yours, and so he must be aware of all things that you are.

Even so the strange darkness is somewhat unpleasant, and you proceed to walk in silence through the oppressive atmosphere. After a long while the darkness shifts into shadow, and after another while the shadow becomes light. The two of you find yourself standing before an enormous stone gate, a colossus of rock so great that is must have been carved out of an entire mountain. The old master calmly strides forward to the gate and gently knocks on it. To your mild surprise it swings open without a sound, revealing the mortal world.

The view itself is breathtaking. So far beneath you you can see all of Gensokyo stretching out within its mountainous ring, the realm of magic and mystery so small and insignificant as you watch it from on high. Is this what far-seeing Heimdall sees when he gazes out over Midgard? Is this how High One watches the mortal world from high Hlidskjalf?

"The world is what we percieve it to be, young Sigurd." The old master cryptically states. "Whether it is large as Sumeru, or so small that it fits in the palm of your hand it entirely up to you."

"Perhaps so, old one. In this heavenly place I stand, though no god nor spirit, but mortal man. Is this because of Odin's blessing, or is cuse found in my will and strength?" You answer, pondering the implications of this point of view.

"Is this because of faith, old one, or because of will?" You ask the old master while meeting his gaze.

"That is a question only you can know the answer to, young Sigurd. True wisdom is found within, and not by listening to the ramblings of old men." Youki answers in an amused tone.

You find no fault in his words, for truly every man is the shaper of his own fortune. And strangely, and perhaps disturbingly enough the advice of the old master is not too dissimilar to the words of Loki Laufey's son, and if both God and Sage advise so, who are you to question them? Your own power and your own will then? Looking down upon the wide-stretched land of magic and mystery you somehow know that this is how it must be, and that you would have it no other way.

The land beneath you is vast, but there are only so many places where the two forest magicians could be. Remembering the words of Alice as she explained the geography of Gensokyo, you begin to identify the landmarks beneath you.

You're reasonably confident that you can find any of the major spots of Gensokyo without too much trouble. The only question is where you will search first.

[ ] The forest of magic, naturally. It's where Marisa and Alice live after all.

[ ] The human village, obviously. If nothing else you can ask for help or directions.

[ ] The bamboo forest, clearly. Did not Eirin Moon-Maiden help you before? Better to seek the known ally.

[ ] Somewhere else?
>> No. 14775
[x] The forest of magic, naturally. It's where Marisa and Alice live after all.
[x] Preferably in earnest haste, rather than in vain and self-indulgent measure.
>> No. 14776
[x] The forest of magic, naturally. It's where Marisa and Alice live after all.
[x] Preferably in earnest haste, rather than in vain and self-indulgent measure.
>> No. 14777
[x] The forest of magic, naturally. It's where Marisa and Alice live after all.
>> No. 14779
[z] The forest of magic, naturally. It's where Marisa and Alice live after all.
[e] Preferably in earnest haste, rather than in vain and self-indulgent measure.

>So yeah, the things one is driven to by the necessities of plot are many and varied.
Truthiness fills me like never before.
>> No. 14781
[x] The forest of magic, naturally. It's where Marisa and Alice live after all.
[x] Preferably in earnest haste, rather than in vain and self-indulgent measure.
>> No. 14794
>>14769

Saying this is probably redundant by now, but here it is anyway:

You, sir, are a gentleman and a scholar.

[x] The forest of magic, naturally. It's where Marisa and Alice live after all.
>> No. 14823
[B] The forest of magic, naturally. It's where Marisa and Alice live after all.
[B] Preferably in earnest haste, rather than in vain and self-indulgent measure.

Finally getting back to /forest/
>> No. 14824
[X] The forest of magic, naturally. It's where Marisa and Alice live after all.
[X] Preferably in earnest haste, rather than in vain and self-indulgent measure.
>> No. 14826
It seems as if the obvious path has been picked.

Writing now.
>> No. 14830
>>14826
>>It seems as if the obvious path has been picked.

The path of righteousness is often the most obvious.
>>[X] Preferably in earnest haste, rather than in vain and self-indulgent measure.
>> No. 14853
>>14826

hooray!
>> No. 15081
Updates?
>> No. 15087
On Týr's day I thought I would write, but then I got lazy.
On Odin's day thought I would write, but then I got drunk.
On Thor's day I thought I would write, but then I had a bad hangover.
On the day of Freyr I thought I would write, but then I got drunk. Again.
On the bath-day I thought I would write, but then I had a bad hangover. Again.
On Sól's day I thought I would write, but then I had a lack of inspiration.
On Máni's day I thought I would write, but then I had writer's block.

And now it again is the day of Týr, and I am finally writing. Which I should have done a week ago if not for my wastrel ways.

So yeah, in b4 Norseman is ZUN.
>> No. 15089
>>15087

Too late.
>> No. 15090
You has not enough alcohol, and I wish I could buy you a drink IRL.
>> No. 15114
File 124286674426.png- (235.13KB , 472x649 , Alice.png ) [iqdb]
15114
>>15090

If we ever meet I'll hold you to that promise.

Otherwise, dedicate your next drink to Odin, as all noble warriors do.

--------------------

[ ] The forest of magic, naturally. It's where Marisa and Alice live after all.
[ ] Preferably in earnest haste, rather than in vain and self-indulgent measure.


Do not the two magicians live in the forest? Where then could you search but in the evergreen groves of wide-famed witchwood? Looking down upon Gensokyo you quickly identify the forest of magic, but to ensure peace of mind you turn to Youki and point out the large sea of green beneath you.

"Old master, is that not the enchanted wood, the far-famed forest of magic?" You quickly ask.

"Yes it is, young Sigurd." The old master replies. "Am I to assume that this is our destination?"

You do not reply with words. Instead you simply nod and step up to the edge of the great stairway. You take a final look at the marvelous sight sprawling in front of you, quietly reflecting on its stark beauty. Then you summon your strength, feel the fire within flow through your every muscle. A silent prayer to Odin is offered, then you leap off the platform and dive down towards the sea of green.

Your descent is like that of a falling star, gravity and pure will accelerating you to terminal velocity and beyond. The blade strapped to your pack shines in the sunlight, the shard of Muspelheim brilliant like the realm of fire itself, adding to the resemblance of a shining starfall.

Thus do you descend towards the mortal world, on wings of light and power.

The air feels freezing as you hurtle towards the ground, and your eyes sting as the wind whips against you. Still you keep yourself directed towards your target, subtly adjusting your descent as you begin to approach the sky above the woods. As far as you can see there are few landmarks to target in the woods themselves, but somehow you feel drawn towards one of them, a grove located near the forest's edge. You don't know how, but in your heart you know this to be the place where you have to be.

Drawing upon your burning impatience you shoot down like a thunderbolt towards the forest. Your hand reaches back and finds your blade, the golden wound-bringer shining like the sun itself as you touch its hilt. It flies free of its straps as you draw close to the ground, as if anticipating the need you now have, for even though it may be sparser in this place, this still is a forest and crashing into a tree would be an ignomious end to your tale.

Emotion flares like the sun within you, all your impatience, anxiety and desire welling up and flowing free. Sólargeisli eagerly responds to them, its own mood mirroring your own.

Phantom flames dance along the edge of your sword as you raise it. A mighty swing is followed by a roaring lance of fire hurtling towards the ground, shattering and incinerating a few offending trees in the way of your descent.

Summoning your will you spin around and moments before a probably fatal impact with the ground you will yourself to stop in mid-air, then lightly touch down on the scorched and ash-covered earth.

Thus do you return to the mortal world, accompanied by fire and fury.

Taking a good look around you, you see that you stand on the edge of a medium-sized grove. Perhaps then this unleashing of the flame then was not necessary after all, perhaps you could have steered yourself away from the woods.

But still, it felt proper to announce your arrival somehow. If this is the result of your own vanity or if you are starting to be influenced by the God of Fire you do not know. Perhaps you do not even wish to.

Ignoring this matter your immediate attention is drawn to the large and pristine house standing in the clearing. You have not seen it before, but still something about it seems familiar. To your mild surprise the old master is already here, waiting next to the small path leading from the house and out into the woods.

"A most impressive display, young Sigurd," He calmly comments. "A pity that the audience was so small."

"Aye, old master, that it is." You reply with a confident smile as you join the old one. "For noble deeds should be seen by all, so that a man's character may be truly judged."

"An interesting point of view, young Sigurd. But does this mean that actions hold no value unless one has an audience tp determine them?"

"Nay, old master, for the gods are always watching, Odin's eye upon the valiant heroes, and hawk-eyed Heimdall, he who sees all in the nine worlds, and so watches his children, the men of the north." You answer, turning your gaze towards the heavens, imagining the Allfather upon his throne and the White God standing sentinel at the end of the rainbow bridge.

"I have heard this idea before," the old master replies "And there is truth in it. But still, why did you choose this exact manner to herald your arrival?" He continues, his tone somewhere in-between curiosity and wariness.

"It felt right, old master. More than this I do not know." You answer truthfully. The old master gives you a thoughtful look but does not reply.

It is then that you notice that you still hold your sword in your hand. You immediately decide that this fact is either strange or disturbing and quickly strap it back to your pack.

After securing your shining sword you approach the house before you. As you look closer at it, you see that it is truly an impressive building, the stonework at least as fine as that of Miklagard, though the architecture is different. On the front door you see a gilded plate with the name 'Alice Margatroid" spelled out in black. You had not thought that a mere sign could fill your heart with such joy and relief, but as with many other things this realm of magic has proven you wrong. Confidently you reach out to knock on the door...
>> No. 15115
File 124286677935.jpg- (249.93KB , 700x777 , marisa.jpg ) [iqdb]
15115
Only to draw back your hand in surprise as the door swings open. Moments later you are confronted by the mistress of the house, her annoyed expression quickly shifting into surprise, then relief. Behind Alice you can see a familiar hat

poking up, but the black-white herself is obscured behind the dollmaker.

"Sigurd," Alice happily says, a wide, happy smile on her features. "I'm so relieved that you are well."

"Outta the way -ze!" A familiar voice yells out from inside just as you are about to reply to the puppetmaker. Impatient as usual, the black-white witch suddenly tries to muscle her way past the dollmaker, but the narrowness of the

doorway leads to predictable results. Caught off balance, Alice lets out a small, surprised yelp and stumbles forward, nearly falling straight into your arms. As it is the two of you end up in a strange half-embrace, something that does

not escape the keen eye of the black-white one.

"Heya Sigurd, good to see ya!" Marisa excitedly exclaims, "I knew that you'd find your way back -ze." Then she turns to the deft dollmaker, wit and malice burning in her eyes, a flame to match that of the Wizard of Lies himself.

"But what'cha think you're doing, doll girl? Ain't that a bit fast even for you -ze?" Marisa slyly asks, a wide, wicked grin on her face.

Alice suddenly blushes furiously, but only moments after her face regains its usual aloof calm. With studied grace she turns her head towards the witch of the forest, and with a voice full of sweet reason she delivers her answer.

"Marisa, I'm surprised. Even for one such as yourself this display of jealousy is unseemly."

Now it is black-white witch's turn to blush. Her face flushes red, a colour most becoming for the feelings she must experience right now.

"Whaaat?" The black-white one blurts out in indignation, "Keep your dirty thoughts to yourself Alice!" She continues, her voice now an angry hiss.

"Oh please, Marisa." Alice triumphantly shoots back, "You're like an open book, you know. But wishes will not become reality just because they are yours."

The forest witch doesn't reply, but you can hear the grinding of her teeth in frustration and rage. If you were less familiar with the two mages of the enchanted forest you would suspect that there was real enmity between them. But even

the short time you have spent with them tells you that this spectacle is nothing but sport, the twin sorceresses taking the age-old custom of flyting to a form of art.

Thus you are greeted in the mortal realm, with scorn and wit and joy.

And so, as you are greeted, you answer the greeting.


[ ] Sweep the puppetmaker and black-white witch up into your arms. Joyous is this reunion, not one to be marred by hasty words or favoritism.

[ ] Answer with song, noble tale-weaver as you are. You shall bind your journey into stanza and song, tale to be remembered until the end of time.

[ ] Gently let go of Alice and introduce the mages of the forest to the master of blade-art. Courtesy bids you to do no less.
>> No. 15116
[x] Sweep the puppetmaker and black-white witch up into your arms. Joyous is this reunion, not one to be marred by hasty words or favoritism.
[x] Afterwards introduce the mages of the forest to the master of blade-art. Courtesy bids you to do no less.
>> No. 15117
[X] Sweep the puppetmaker and black-white witch up into your arms. Joyous is this reunion, not one to be marred by hasty words or favoritism.
[x] Afterwards introduce the mages of the forest to the master of blade-art. Courtesy bids you to do no less.
>> No. 15118
[x] Sweep the puppetmaker and black-white witch up into your arms. Joyous is this reunion, not one to be marred by hasty words or favoritism.
[x] Afterwards introduce the mages of the forest to the master of blade-art. Courtesy bids you to do no less.
>> No. 15119
[x] Sweep the puppetmaker and black-white witch up into your arms. Joyous is this reunion, not one to be marred by hasty words or favoritism.
[x] Afterwards introduce the mages of the forest to the master of blade-art. Courtesy bids you to do no less.
>> No. 15123
[x] Sweep the puppetmaker and black-white witch up into your arms. Joyous is this reunion, not one to be marred by hasty words or favoritism.
[x] Afterwards introduce the mages of the forest to the master of blade-art. Courtesy bids you to do no less.

Good stuff.
>> No. 15124
[x] Sweep the puppetmaker and black-white witch up into your arms. Joyous is this reunion, not one to be marred by hasty words or favoritism.
[x] Afterwards introduce the mages of the forest to the master of blade-art. Courtesy bids you to do no less.
>> No. 15127
[x] Sweep the puppetmaker and black-white witch up into your arms. Joyous is this reunion, not one to be marred by hasty words or favoritism.
[x] Afterwards introduce the mages of the forest to the master of blade-art. Courtesy bids you to do no less.

Be sure to laugh heartily in merriment and appreciation, for such a boon as these two women is rare for any man, much less Odin's few.
>> No. 15134
[x] Sweep the puppetmaker and black-white witch up into your arms. Joyous is this reunion, not one to be marred by hasty words or favoritism.
[x] Afterwards introduce the mages of the forest to the master of blade-art. Courtesy bids you to do no less.

Ah, I've truly missed these two.
>> No. 15137
A little heads-up for you all. I'm going on a trip over the weekend, so the next update will probably be written on Máni's day.

Until then, ta-ta.
>> No. 15147
>>15137

hooray!
>> No. 15152
[~] Sweep the puppetmaker and black-white witch up into your arms. Joyous is this reunion, not one to be marred by hasty words or favoritism.
[Z] Afterward introduce the mages of the forest to the master of blade-art. Courtesy bids you to do no less.
[E] Be sure to laugh heartily in merriment and appreciation, for such a boon as these two women is rare for any man, much less Odin's few.
>> No. 15153
>>15152

'Kay, that'll work. Changing vote:

[x] Sweep the puppetmaker and black-white witch up into your arms. Joyous is this reunion, not one to be marred by hasty words or favoritism.
[x] Afterward introduce the mages of the forest to the master of blade-art. Courtesy bids you to do no less.
[x] Be sure to laugh heartily in merriment and appreciation, for such a boon as these two women is rare for any man, much less Odin's few.
>> No. 15193
Changing vote.
[~] Sweep the puppetmaker and black-white witch up into your arms. Joyous is this reunion, not one to be marred by hasty words or favoritism.
[z] Afterward introduce the mages of the forest to the master of blade-art. Courtesy bids you to do no less.
[e] Be sure to laugh heartily in merriment and appreciation, for such a boon as these two women is rare for any man, much less Odin's few.

>>15152
...trying to re-use my mark after I'm sick for a day?
You are an absolute douche.
>> No. 15212
>>15193

Hey, easy. I just put that there because I like marisa and am happy to see her back in the story; I meant no offense.
>> No. 15219
I am back. And writing starts now.
>> No. 15223
>>15219

hooray!
>> No. 15312
File 124356017538.jpg- (309.81KB , 600x600 , malice1.jpg ) [iqdb]
15312
By Odin, why do my updates always balloon into twice the size that I expect them end up as?

Anyway, update.

------------------

[ ] Sweep the puppetmaker and black-white witch up into your arms. Joyous is this reunion, not one to be marred by hasty words or favoritism.
[ ] Afterwards introduce the mages of the forest to the master of blade-art. Courtesy bids you to do no less.


Overcome by joy you suddenly let out a great, mirthful laugh, the silver sound your heart's reflection this glorious day. Truly, joy can be found in many things, in the excitement of battle, in the satisfaction of a day's work well done and in the taste of a stout tankard of ale, but never have you felt joy as profound as that found in a reunion, when faithful friends meet after fierce clash-of-spears. Yes, this is truly happiness you feel as you see artful Alice and mighty Marisa, these incomparable women. You glance down at Alice, then reach around her with your left arm and pull the proud puppetmaker close to you while your right arm draws in the mischievious black-white into your embrace. She lets out a small surprised sound, her hat dropping off her head as you hug the forest witch tightly.

You grin widely and look down at the golden-haired heroines, the magnificent magicians, the ones who stood by your side, as surely as any shield-wall stood strong as sword and spear sought to work scathe upon warriors within. And always, never to be forgotten, at your fair friends.

As you watch them for this fleeting moment the two magicians seem so similar, their eyes wide in surprise cheeks blushing rosy red. Beautiful is the only appropriate word that comes to your mind.

"Safe into battle, safe out of battle, and safe return we from it, thrice blessed by fortune." You softly speak, "Far has he wandered since that time, the painful parting, and ever troubled was his heart. True it is that greatest joy for men and gods is to see safe dear friends, precious ones he cherishes."

The two magicians seem surprised for a moment, but that moment swiftly passes and turns into one of no less tenderness. Alice's smile is as warm as a midsummer day as she returns your embrace, and Marisa's grin is almost impossibly
wide as the black-white does likewise, wrapping her arms around you in a tight hug.

So the three of you stand for what feels like an eternity, silent and grateful, filled with feelings of complete comfort and joy. Unfortunately nothing lasts for ever, and so you finally let go of each other.

"Ha! You're really something, ain't ya Sigurd?" The forest witch asks with a laugh while she playfully pats you on the back. She reaches down and collects her hat before continuing in an excited tone. "Didn't I say that he'd crash in here all awesome-like, hey Alice -ze?"

"I do recall you speculating that Sigurd would, as you put it, 'get stomped on' by various entities. Of course that was when you were not whining about Reimu." Alice replies with a sly smile.

"Up yours, doll freak." The black-white witch answers in a happy voice accompanied by a rude gesture, her grin not wavering for a second. You can see her desperat effort as the puppetmaker attempts to frown for a moment, but her mirth will not be denied. Alice's laughter is clear and melodious as it echoes through the forest glade, and after a moment you and Marisa join in, the three of you sharing another moment of pure joy.

"Then, fair friends, there is one I would have you meet." You finally manage to say after the three of you have composed yourself. The two girls turn to you in unison and give you questioning looks.

"So you've already picked up someone else -ze? Who's it?" Marisa inquires, curiosity evident fron her features.

"He is one I found without intention, strange chance our meeting did make. Yet to him I owe my life and more, a friend true and tested." You gently speak, for truly do you owe much to the old blademaster, and a lighter debt this is than the other you carry with you. You wonder how the girls would react if they were to meet the Trickster God.

Dismissing such dark thoughts you look around you and spot Youki seated beneath a tree a short distance away, apparently deep in meditation. You start walking towards him, Alice and Marisa following you.

"Oh, he does seem familiar somehow doesn't he?" Alice remarks as the three of you approach the old master. Marisa replies with an affirmative grunt, the black-white's expression displaying a hint of suspicion, or perhaps recognition?

"Old master, now I bring before you the ones I would have you meet. Ill is it for friend of friend to remain unknown." You say as you address Youki. The old master may be mysterious and cryptic at times, but you suspect that the forest mages may take a liking to him.

Apparently stirred by your words the old one wordlessly rises in a fluid motion, then bows deeply, first to Alice, then to Marisa.

"I humbly ask for your forgiveness for appearing at your honoured residence without invitation." The old master solemnly says to the crafter of dolls. "I am Youki Konpaku, a simple hermit searching for Enlightenment."

"Ah!" Marisa suddenly exclaims while pointing at the old one. "You're Youmu's old man, ain't ya -ze?"

Alice gives the black-white an annoyed look, but if the old master has taken offense he hides it perfectly. Instead he replies, again as calm as ever.

"I have that honour." Youki answers, the subtlest of hints in his voice revealing his pride to you, even though you almost suspect that this must be your imagination.

"Huh, you're a bit stiff, ya know?" Marisa comments while scrutinizing the old master.

"The secrets of proper etiquette would naturally seem incomprehensible to one such as yourself." Alice snidely remarks with a venomous glare directed towards the black-white witch. Ignoring Marisa's annoyed look she turns back to Youki and returns his bow with one of her own.

"I am Alice Margatroid. I would be honoured to offer my hospitality to you, Youki-dono. Please accept it." She speaks in a formal tone. The old master smiles slightly and calmly answers "I am honoured to accept your hospitality Alice-dono."

(cont.)
>> No. 15313
File 12435602323.jpg- (103.95KB , 640x640 , alice6.jpg ) [iqdb]
15313
"Then let us go inside." Alice replies and gestures for you and Youki to follow her. Marisa also grudgingly falls in line as the four of you silently make your way inside Alice's house. Contrary to the hall of Marisa this abode is clean and spacious, though considering the omnipresent clutter littering the forest witch's home you suspect this could be said of most houses. But even so you're impressed by how pristine everything is. Alice leads you into a large dining room where you meet another old friend.

The doll silently floats between the kitchen and the table, laying out a set of cups and spoons with clockwork precision. Instead of her regular dress Shanghai now wears a blue short-sleeved one that ends at her knees, as well as a white apron. The outfit is completed by black shoes, white stockings and a headband not unlike that of the little doll's mistress, except that this one is white and frilly. Strange, for you have never seen such an dress before.

As you enter the room Shanghai stops her work and turns towards you. The puppet smiles widely and gives you a deep bow before returning to her duties. Somehow you find this small gesture truly heartwarming.

"Ah, Sigurd, I believe we must find some clothes for you. It is simply unacceptable for you to have to continue wearing those rags." Alice suddenly remarks."I believe that I can find something that'd fit you." She continues while giving you a thoughtful and scrutinizing look.

Considering her words you do find that she is right. Your shirt was torn up long ago and your britches show signs of wear and tear already, despite the strong material. This is no way for a noble warrior to appear.

"Aye, fair Alice, true are your words." You answer, evoking a satisfied smile from the dollmaker herself.

"Excellent. Youki-dono, please make yourself at home while I show Sigurd where he can change." Thus spoken the dollmaker takes your arm and pulls you with her. Behind you you can see Marisa send a withering look towards you and Alice. The puppetcrafter herself is a flurry of activity, managing simultaneously to usher you into a small room and dig up a mountain of clothes while complaining about barbarism in general and the black-white's brand of it in particular.

"...and all those mushrooms! Can you imagine how hard it is to wash out the stains?" She grumbles as she picks out a group of garments for you. "In any case this is pretty much all I have that would fit you. I'll excuse myself now." The dollmaker continues before leaving you to your privacy. The clothes themselves are of a similar style as the ones you were lent at Marisa's home, the shirt short-sleeved and the britches made out of a softer fabric than the ones you currently wear. You quickly change and rejoin your companions.

As you return you see that the old master and the mages of the forest are seated at a large table with cups of steaming liquid in front of them. Alice and Youki seem discuss some subject, but they fall silent when you enter the room.

Taking the fourth and empty chair at the table you are quickly attended to by Shanghai who pours some of the dark liquid into your cup. You briefly wonder what it is, but then decide to push the matter aside to make way for more important ones. There are things that have to be told and matters that must be discussed.


[ ] Tell the forest mages about your adventure after you had parted.

[ ] Ask the sorceresses what they have done while you have wandered.

[ ] Speak of something else?
>> No. 15315
[X] Ask the sorceresses what they have done while you have wandered.

This now, our tale of might and valor later, over a feast.
>> No. 15316
[X] Ask the sorceresses what they have done while you have wandered.
>> No. 15317
[X] Tell the forest mages about your adventure after you had parted.
[X] Ask the sorceresses what they have done while you have wandered.

We can save the SDM-related preparations for later. Surely there's no dishonor in letting a weary body rest and improve before embarking on an important mission.
>> No. 15318
[X] Ask the sorceresses what they have done while you have wandered.
>> No. 15320
[B] Ask the sorceresses what they have done while you have wandered.
>> No. 15322
>>By Odin, why do my updates always balloon into twice the size that I expect them end up as?

Because that's what happens to good writers.
>> No. 15323
[x] Ask the sorceresses what they have done while you have wandered.
>> No. 15326
[X] Ask the sorceresses what they have done while you have wandered.
>> No. 15327
[X] Tell the forest mages about your adventure after you had parted.
[X] Ask the sorceresses what they have done while you have wandered.
>> No. 15330
>>15327

It would be impolite to talk about what we did first, unless asked.

[X] Ask the sorceresses what they have done while you have wandered.
[X] Tell the forest mages about your adventure after you had parted.

If we are allowed only one choice, I pick the first one I mentioned.
>> No. 15331
[X] Ask the sorceresses what they have done while you have wandered.
>> No. 15333
Might as well tally the votes now as it seems obvious that Marisa & Alice's Excellent Adventure has won.

New thread should be up sometime during the weekend.
>> No. 15337
>Marisa & Alice's Excellent Adventure

I lol'd

Marisa S. Kirisame, esq.
>> No. 15338
>>15337
Perfect. Excellent! (air guitar with riff)
>> No. 15351
This update almost certainly won't be finished today. Though I do have over half written already, so if I don't finish today, tomorrow shall bring updates.
>> No. 15379
I've suddenly found myself writing the longest and most intricate dialogue yet. This might take a while.
>> No. 15420
>>15379
Worth it.
>> No. 15681
Related to subject matter.
http://listverse.com/2009/04/21/top-10-misconceptions-about-the-vikings/


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