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113356 No. 113356
edit: Sorry about this, trying to get things right.

Previous thread: >>111633
First thread: >>93369

>>113336
If you don't quite get what I meant right now, you might eventually. Depends on you and your fellows though.

----------
…It’s an unusual request – your dreams.

Barring that peculiar heart-to-heart you shared with Murasaki at your first meeting, a question of this kind’s never arisen in all the exchanges you’ve had with your new friends over the past few days – not that they’ve been asked after often. Weighing in on the wider world of your wanderings till now, you remember only one other who’s wanted to know.

...Shameimaru.

“I’ve many dreams and no dreams,” you respond roundabout, with an ear to sounding out her intentions; “For if my aspirations are as luminous and numerous as the stars of Heaven, I can’t truly term them as ‘dreams.’ Consider, O Queen – doesn’t the name of ‘dream’ bear an association with the illusory, with the imaginary, with the fancy, with the fleeting figments of our fantasy? And, proceeding from that point, one might then say that dreams aren’t really ‘dreams’ if they’ve a possibility of realization; so, respecting that reflection, I’ve no dreams – only goals.”

“What he said,” the Princess Royal pulls back, puzzling in plain speech over your rousing reply, “it’s just like how Norikiyo would always talk about the future. …He’s really like him.” She looks up from her sleeves and soliloquy – to you. “I see. Then, if I am not intruding too much, show me the brightest star in your Heaven. Tell me about the dream – ‘goal’ you value most highly.” Folding her fair hands over her chest as if praying, she closes her eyes. “Allow this old maid the comfort of familiarity with the one by whose life-giving love she was saved.”

…The dearest among your most dear dreams?
[ ] Enjoying a happy life with your beloved sister, caring for your mother and father in their old age.
[ ] To take into your hands the lotus crown of the Bodhisattva and save all living things thereby.
[ ] A beautiful wedding to the sovereign of your heart, surrounded by all the friends you’ve made in your journeys.
[ ] Is not something you’ll give this easily. Say something to change the subject. (Specify)
[ ] Is not something you’ll give this easily. Use the out she’s offered and don’t say anything.
----------

>> No. 113358
[x] To take into your hands the lotus crown of the Bodhisattva and save all living things thereby.
We are going into the right direction. Choice one would be something to consider too.
>> No. 113362
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113362
A wedding, with all his friends? That is something that will (hopefully) happen, sooner or later. Hell, even taking the Lotus Crown is feasible, given a few reincarnations.
I personally think that a dream is something that's either not possible or very unlikely. With that in mind, the first option would be the most appropriate, since giving up a family life was the price he had to pay for following his path as a monk. Isn't that a common wish when making hard choices? 'Have your cake and eat it' as it were? It may be a bit selfish, but dreams usually are.

[x] Enjoying a happy life with your beloved sister, caring for your mother and father in their old age.
>> No. 113363
[x] Enjoying a happy life with your beloved sister, caring for your mother and father in their old age.

I am making an extremely uninformed choice here, so unless I am by terrible chance actually right, I would suggest not following me in my vote, since even if my reasoning is sound, let me assure you that my motivations are anything but pure. I just really like Byakuren.

My reasoning is thus: Myouren cares an awful damn lot for people. Just about everyone, really. But his sister seems to have an extremely special place in his heart, and I'm not entirely certain anyone else thus far has usurped her position there.

But is he the type of guy who seems like he dreams of settling down and starting a family? Not in my eyes, but as I said, I am incredibly uninformed.

Is he the kind of guy you see as really needing to achieve enlightenment to save everybody? Hell no. He's well on his way to that already.

So yeah, I'm going for the first option.

By all means, feel free to rip my rationalizations and likely-inaccurate assumptions to shreds. This is a seemingly solid vote cast by a bad person and for what is likely a bad and selfish reason. Specifically, I likes me some Hijirincest. (Really, I should be going for that Bodhisattva option.)
>> No. 113367
>[ ] Enjoying a happy life with your beloved sister, caring for your mother and father in their old age.

There's no way will we bring our sister and our promises with her into the talk of fantasy, for those are our dreams (at least, what they consist of), and more dear to us yet than any ambition of our own.

>[ ] To take into your hands the lotus crown of the Bodhisattva and save all living things thereby.

I fear such ambitions, as the crown that sits atop our adversary is one made of leaden regret.

>[ ] A beautiful wedding to the sovereign of your heart, surrounded by all the friends you’ve made in your journeys.

CONGRATULATIONS MYOUREN

>Tell me about the dream – ‘goal’ you value most highly.” Folding her fair hands over her chest as if praying, she closes her eyes. “Allow this old maid the comfort of familiarity with the one by whose life-giving love she was saved.”


[x] Is not something you’ll give this easily. Say something to change the subject.
[x] "By definition I am deficient in my explanations. The goal I strive for, though worthy of exhortation, cannot be explained to or by the unenlightened, for to end all one's desires, one must stop desiring to end all one's desires. Our lips lack language to explain, for it is what we do not yet understand. Between distractions, I can catch a fleeting glimmer of light in the looking glass, but for now, you see, I see as through a mirror, darkly."

I was going to throw something in about the allegory of the cave, but this should be enough.
>> No. 113369
>>113356
[X] Enjoying a happy life with your beloved sister, caring for your mother and father in their old age.

D'aaaaaaw. For some reason, this just feels right.
>> No. 113371
[x] Enjoying a happy life with your beloved sister, caring for your mother and father in their old age.
>> No. 113373
[x] Is not something you’ll give this easily. Say something to change the subject.
[x] "By definition I am deficient in my explanations. The goal I strive for, though worthy of exhortation, cannot be explained to or by the unenlightened, for to end all one's desires, one must stop desiring to end all one's desires. Our lips lack language to explain, for it is what we do not yet understand. Between distractions, I can catch a fleeting glimmer of light in the looking glass, but for now, you see, I see as through a mirror, darkly."

This feels most right to me. And when Myouren's parents sent him away to the monastery, it was so he could live a better life without much thought to themselves. They wouldn't want Myouren held back by them.
>> No. 113376
[x] To take into your hands the lotus crown of the Bodhisattva and save all living things thereby.

Said something similar in >>113368.

>>113367
I'm intrigued by the write-in, but I don't entirely understand entirely it's trying to say. Anyone have some insight?
>> No. 113395
>>113376
>I'm intrigued by the write-in, but I don't entirely understand entirely it's trying to say.

I have to wonder if this means I come off as less than comprehensible most of the time.

What >>113367 is saying is that by definition, Nirvana (as much as any other idea of ultimate reality) cannot be fully understood in rational terms, and in that attempting to explain it (ie refining it through the medium of language, which is fundamentally a rational construct) loses something of its meaning.

He's right on the mark in making this conclusion, but whether it applies to the present case is a different question entirely because for Myouren, becoming enlightened means becoming a Bodhisattva.

Not because I say so, but because without fail, every time he's spoken of these things in story, it's always been in this way (ie enlightened = Bodhisattva).

While I'm here, are there any other definitions or just basic background information (which the hero would know) on which you lot would like answers?
>> No. 113401
Also, called. Writing shortly.
>> No. 113414
Okay, that makes sense, and with that in mind, that is an incredibly impressive answer too. My hat's off anon.
Thank you kindly for the explanation, I've learned something new today.

>While I'm here, are there any other definitions or just basic background information (which the hero would know) on which you lot would like answers?

I'm a little curious on a couple minor things:
How common was it for monks to strike out into the world and wander like Myouren did? What do they usually seek to accomplish? Judging by the reactions of people we've met, it's seems like common knowledge for monks to be wandering the countryside, but actually meeting one is rare.
What kind of education or training would Myouren or any other young monk get before leaving?
What's up with the ornamental hilt of our dagger? Family thing or symbol of our faith? Nevermind~
Why use "Akshobhya" in >>111478? Wiki says it's "sometimes merged with Acala," but the best my Googling could come up with was something to the effect of "even the extreme nonvirtue of hatred, violence, and killing can be cleansed through relying on him as the focus of meditation, acknowledging and abandoning nonvirtuous actions, and invoking his blessings of purification."
For all that we do have, why don't we have a rosary?

I'm fine if any or all are skipped for story reasons.

>I have to wonder if this means I come off as less than comprehensible most of the time.

Doesn't happen often enough to comment (aside from this), but when it does (usually when the arcane Buddhist terminology starts getting thick) I try to glean understanding from the context. It's like watching Akagi without knowing anything about mahjong; you don't get everything, but you get enough.
>> No. 113431
>>113430
>>113414
>How common was it for monks to strike out into the world and wander like Myouren did? What do they usually seek to accomplish?

It wouldn't at all be uncommon. The thing is though, most of the ones you would encounter would probably be Souhei: warrior monks. (Very heavy emphasis on the warrior part, more than their western equivalents in the Templar or Hospitaller orders.) The tradition of warrior monks actually starts in the period in which this story takes place and is a major political force for centuries (think temple armies numbering in the thousands), until Oda Nobunaga criminalizes militant Buddhism (that term must sound very ironic to someone not very familiar with the faith) and wipes out all of the practicing sects.

>What kind of education or training would Myouren or any other young monk get?

Generally speaking, aside from becoming versed in the actual tenets of the religion (which entails becoming literate), it would also include more practical instruction, (as every monastic tradition around the world requires communal contribution and competence), possibly in some simple trade (those involving killing, the handling of meat or wine, anything related to commerce etc would naturally be excluded from this).

Specific to a Shingon monk (his school) would be education in mysterious rituals: to put it in layman's terms, the idea behind them is that by taking certain motions or speaking in certain ways, the adherent's actions are an analogue to the motion and voice of the cosmos - the limited confines of the self melt away and your consciousness expands because you become one with everything.

If you think this sounds like magic, you're right - in a symbolic sense. Quite unlike the most common perceptions about Buddhism in the west, the supernatural elements are central to understanding the Mahayana tradition.

>before leaving?

Heh, can't talk about this part yet. Wait and see.

>What's up with the ornamental hilt of our dagger? Family thing or symbol of our faith?

Both - that's the beauty of it. He’s never been very materialistic (there’s a specific reason for this – his origins) as he himself said when he was talking with Yuyu in her room, but you’re really not allowed many possessions as a monk. Anything which could be overtly construed as representing a powerful attraction to your former life could potentially land you in hot water, so something decorated with the innocuous motif of a lotus flower is just perfect.

(Background: It wasn’t unusual for initiates to receive the clothing and tools of their new profession from the same, usually rich person who sponsored them to enter the monastery. That’s not quite what happened with Myouren, but it means pretty much no one’s going to bat an eye if he has something decorated with Buddhist emblems and gives him plausible deniability in the rare chance that they do)

>Why use "Akshobhya?"

It's been some time since I read it, but I recall seeing that he had an association as a medicine Buddha besides being one of the Five Wisdom Buddhas.

...It's a tricky thing, polytheism. All the gods and whatnot end up blending together and overlapping in weird ways, which is why you get things like the God of War also being one of the Gods of Luck or any other radically different interpretations of the same figure

European example: the proto-God who was the basis for the broader idea of "the divine Trickster" becomes Loki in Scandanavia and Lugh in Ireland. For those not in the know, they're pretty much polar opposites in the level of respect they're accorded in their respective cultures. (This, of course, is because of a difference in societal values.)

>For all that we do have, why don't we have a rosary?

You would know the reason if you picked some different, not-very-difficult-to-guess options before. Since you didn't, you'll need to wait and see.

Good to see you're paying attention and interested, by the way. If you (or any of the rest of you) have any questions or whatever in the future, just ask at any time.
>> No. 113441
>>113431
>Heh, can't talk about this part yet. Wait and see.

I remember a post that read something to the effect that Myouren's prodigious abilities and unconventional understanding lead to his early departure, but I didn't suspect it would be a significant plot point. Fascinating.

>You would know the reason if you picked some different, not-very-difficult-to-guess options before

I asked because I was staring at the option to ask Yuyu for one during the "making love to Yuyu" event. Asking for one was my first response, actually. Understanding that we'll know why in the future is nice to know.

I've got a couple more questions, but I'm all hopped up on cold medicine, so I'll pass for now.

I definitely appreciate the links to the previous and first threads at the head of this one (I would love if everyone would do as much too), but I ;_; when I get a 404 from clicking on >>93369. Guess I'll get serious on rendering the first couple threads into .rtf format for the sake posterity and voting with a mind for what has happened before.

I'm mighty keen on the update; Byakuren's damn rude titties in OP post openly talking about our beloved sister is a step toward the intersting.
>> No. 113498
>Heh, can't talk about this part yet. Wait and see.

Does it have something to do with the 36th chamber?
>> No. 113504
>*Read the following portion aloud, slowly and in a low voice following the punctuation given. For bonus points, do it while seated in a cross legged position with your head propped on your elbow and your eyes faintly unfocused, aimed slightly downward as you wear a nostalgic smile on your face.
Protip: Don't do so when family members are around. He thought I was high or something.

[x] Don’t know if her reaction’s mere revulsion or real misunderstanding. Make clear your reasons for reverencing your sister so – make sure there’s no mistaking the Princess Royal’s feelings.
I was tempted to choose the first or the last option but I think she deserves the benefit of the doubt. For now.
>> No. 113507
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113507
[x] Don’t know if her reaction’s mere revulsion or real misunderstanding. Make clear your reasons for reverencing your sister so – make sure there’s no mistaking the Princess Royal’s feelings.

After reading it aloud like suggested, I understood a lot better about how important she is to Myouren. I'm pretty set on fully impressing upon Princess Royal that significance.
>> No. 113509
>>113507
two left feet...

[ø] Don’t know if her reaction’s mere revulsion or real misunderstanding. Make clear your reasons for reverencing your sister so – make sure there’s no mistaking the Princess Royal’s feelings.
>> No. 113510
[x] Don’t know if her reaction’s mere revulsion or real misunderstanding. Make clear your reasons for reverencing your sister so – make sure there’s no mistaking the Princess Royal’s feelings.

Hopefully without coming off as someone creepily in love with their own sister. I don't mean the 'in love' part but the manner of the subject.
>> No. 113512
[ö] Don’t know if her reaction’s mere revulsion or real misunderstanding. Make clear your reasons for reverencing your sister so – make sure there’s no mistaking the Princess Royal’s feelings.
>> No. 113513
edit: punctuation

Don't take too long in deciding, please.

----------
Since you’ve resolved to answer her honestly – there’s no question at all about which among your dreams is most precious.

“Noble Princess Royal, you said you have a brother beside whom you were raised? And,” you confirm, lowering your voice in due reverence, “you said he’s the Emperor?”

Still holding the posture of prayer she’s assumed, the Princess Royal gives a slight nod. “I am the elder sibling by two years.”

...So, about the same as for you – if in reverse. “Were the two of you perhaps close?” you conjecture; “On good terms?”

Her black bangs twist and tangle as she shakes her head. “As children, our quarrels were variously vehement and violent. As adults,” recollecting, the Princess Royal’s delicate brows contort in displeasure, “we became estranged at the time I was betrothed.”

Judging from this comment and that earlier bit about “disaffection for men of philandering flattery,” what the story said about her relationship with her family – it wasn’t wrong.

“Though my circumstances are more fortunate, I understand well your pain, O Queen; you see – my dream…?” At your halt – the moment heightening mindfully as your psyche’s preparing to narrate about her nearest your heart – your august audience’s opened her eyes again in anticipation.

“My dream,*” you repeat, deep in reminiscence, “has been with me since the day I was born; it’s always been with me, whether by my side or in my sight or in my heart or in my mind. To describe it thus, I’ve probably conjured an impression of mania or obsession into your imagination, noble Princess Royal; but truthfully? My dream deserves that degree of adoration, merits that measure of respect. If only I could have you see it, O Queen – luxuriant auburn hair being brushed by the boisterous wind, as wavy and golden-brown as the undulating seas of wheat on the surrounding hillside; empathetic eyes of the same color, selfless eyes – fearless, doubtless; fineness of form, a figure as supple and graceful and tall as the silver birch beside; that’s my dream as it’s survived inside my soul. Unsullied by sorrow and unchanged through all the years of time, it’s a transcendent immanence to which mortal device – mere words could never aspire; it epitomizes all the reasons for that I hope and despair and struggle and succeed, embodies all that’s splendid and glorious and wonderful in my world – my inspiration in achievement, my comfort in hardship, my dream, my muse… my sister.

The Princess Royal doesn’t respond straight away, but by her crystal blue’s broadening and her mouth’s yawning, her opinion’s obvious – she’s taken aback, thunderstruck. It’s only after what feels to be a very long lapse of silence that she’s recovered and collected herself, answering quietly and with apparent difficulty, “…You have an unusual dream.”

You:
[ ] Did she, after asking that you tell her your dream, just deliver you a very thinly-veiled insult? …That’s unacceptable – let her know as much.
[ ] Don’t know if her reaction’s mere revulsion or real misunderstanding. Make clear your reasons for reverencing your sister so – make sure there’s no mistaking the Princess Royal’s feelings.
[ ] …This is kind of reaction’s why you’ve historically had a hesitance of heartfelt honesty in sharing with others about how much you honor her. Since ‘Sleeping Beauty’ seems uncomfortable with this subject, there’s no need to say anything else – drop it and discuss something else instead. (Specify)
----------

*Read the following portion aloud, slowly and in a low voice following the punctuation given. For bonus points, do it while seated in a cross legged position with your head propped on your elbow and your eyes faintly unfocused, aimed slightly downward as you wear a nostalgic smile on your face.
>> No. 113523
>The Princess Royal doesn’t respond straight away, but by her crystal blue’s broadening and her mouth’s yawning, her opinion’s obvious – she’s taken aback, thunderstruck. It’s only after what feels to be a very long lapse of silence that she’s recovered and collected herself, answering quietly and with apparent difficulty, “…You have an unusual dream.”

Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

[x] "Some recluses and brahmins so called,
"Are deeply attached to their own views:
"People who only see one side of things
"Engage in quarrels and disputes."
[x] "Now, what pray tell O Princess is thine? Of dreams, we were asked; I answered mine."

The first part is straight out of the Pali Canon.

The second part is turning her question back on her.
>> No. 113551
Anonymous. You quickly reached a decisive opinion (for reasons specific to each of you, I would hope). Good work, and from me - thank you. Writing will start after I make dinner, so look for the next one later tonight (I'll say something if I'm going to fall asleep).

>>113523
This is excellent, and if I were to use it, the Princess Royal would have something very witty to say about it, except...

>Pali Canon

A Buddhist text of chief importance – in a Theravadan perspective, something which Japan is not and has never been at any point in its history. Most of its ideas about Buddhism in general, but its most important, influential and iconic practices and traditions in particular, were imported from China, an overwhelmingly Mahayana society. The Pali Canon would, of course, be in Japan and translated into Japanese at the time in which this story takes place, but its comparable importance and propagation compared to other texts?

Yeah, not very good on either count.

The overall Theravadan presence is residual at best, existing in the form of scattered writings with no devoted schools or spiritual teachers. Worse, the dominant Buddhist teachings of the time explicitly repudiated parts of the Pali Canon (specifically, doing away with and replacing its rules of monasticism with something else) and as both of said teachings focused heavily on the personal transmission of knowledge, it meant that stuff contravening the avant-garde doctrines (ie parts of the Pali Canon) would either be discouraged or just not be taught. I imagine you could probably get your hands on stuff outside the curriculum if you were really determined, but the amount of trouble in which you would possibly find yourself…?

TLDR version: Myouren would be unlikely to cite this, both because it wasn’t widely promulgated in the time period and because sizeable tracts of what it says would be inconsistent with his faith, as he has been taught to understand. I like it, needless to say, and I’ll already know how I’ll use it (just as with the one you submitted in the previous choice), but that won’t be now. When will it appear, you ask? A hint:

>before leaving?

When (if?) this becomes relevant to the story.
>> No. 113553
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113553
>>113551
On one hand, it's pretty humbling to know that there is a wealth of knowledge and understanding that the more learned individuals will converse about in ways that I will never have an opportunity to contribute meaningfully. On the other hand, smart people are cool as hell, and participating in the same wonderful story as them is pretty fun.

Cheers!
>> No. 113558
[x] Don’t know if her reaction’s mere revulsion or real misunderstanding. Make clear your reasons for reverencing your sister so – make sure there’s no mistaking the Princess Royal’s feelings.
>> No. 113565
Framework's written, but I want to make sure it's of passable quality. That demands that I am able to stay awake.

>>113507
>I understood a lot better about how important she is to Myouren.

Wait till you read tomorrow's.
>> No. 113662
File 126759702850.png - (550.61KB , 1024x768 , 9090046.png ) [iqdb]
113662
>>113565
>Wait till you read tomorrow's.

A Wild ANONYMOUS appeared
Wild ANONYMOUS used F5!
It's not very effective...
>> No. 113667
>>113662
Don't worry, I'm working on it. It's just that a combination of coursework + this one being more involved means it's taking longer than I expected. I'll be able to have it finished sometime tomorrow morning/afternoon (or today, depending on your timezone) for sure.
>> No. 113775
>>113773
To be honest I'd have little problems with embracing not so brotherly feelings for her if it didn't interfere with what Myouren has going now. This isn't so much routefaggotry, just respecting the flow of the story.

As far as Fujiwara-hime goes, perhaps this is a second chance at her dream. I wonder how she'd react when she finds out that a certain moon princess screwed her husband over. Just desserts I'd say.
>> No. 113810
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113810
>maybe think about how you intend on incorporating this information into some kind of broader strategy

Making a point of asking "what would youkai Jesus do?" considering everything Byakuren has done for us and trying to act in a way that would make her proud of us, or making decisions aspiring towards an all might Byakuren end? I'm okay with both/either.
>> No. 113812
Finishing update now.
>> No. 113813
>>113810
Shame here just as long as we don't ditch our other companions in the process. But I've been striving to do great things with my votes.

Can't wait to get back to reviving Youki and dealing with that tree.
>> No. 113819
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113819
>>113813
I'm still quite interested in learning who had the means and ability to drag us to the spirit world. Rereading the part when we plopped down to pray after failing to get very far with the Vajra.
>You’re… not able to perceive its source?

That's unusual, we're usually pretty good with things like that.

>Know that you face Acala, High King of the Four Directions and Protector of Vairocana, interloper. Name yourself.
>…!

Whoever this person is, they were startled by Acala listening in as well. However...
>It’s like something’s right behind me, holding onto me! …Acala?

...it seems like they sealed/stole/did something to Acala at this point, because I think it's from this point out that we lost him. Pure speculation, but this person didn't know Acala shared our thought processes, but could actually do something about our connection after the fact... and then they yanked us to the spirit world. I'm at a loss as to who could have possibly managed this much.

So yeah, I'm keen on who that might've been and why they saw fit to send us here.

Picture unrelated; I just thought it was cool.
>> No. 113836
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113836
>“no problem at all with Byakuren-lovan gaems kept only as a side-story, either; even non-canon.”

It's an essential motivation for the main character, but until he undergoes some apotheosis, considering how he speaks of her still, he'll feel in her eyes the same transparent little boy that he left as. Though skilled in mystic arts, he sound still very much immature as a person. Suffering the slings and arrows figurative and literal the he undergoes in his current life as a hero—it is the perfect bed in which to effect such a transformation.

And if by the end of it all, he remains the same, he should not fear admitting, 'I tried my very best, but the world said it wasn't good enough. Please forgive your idiot brother.' I think she will.
>> No. 113846
So... we're really shooting for a Byakuren end, here? Despite the whole sibling thing?

Or rather, this was always a Byakuren story, wasn't it?

Well, sign me up for that shit I guess it's time I let bygones be bygones, and start reading this again. I've got some catching-up to do, it seems.
>> No. 113850
>>113846
I think incest wasn't too uncommon back then. But personally I'm not just aiming for Byakuren romance wise. There's 2-3 Lovely ladies in the meantime.
>> No. 113873
edit: Thank you to >>113872.

As reference:
The hero’s dream – >>97132
His sister speaks – >>102905

Note: This is the update with vote added, among other things.

----------
“I mean no disrespect by this, O Queen,” is how you preface your reply; “but you would feel less disinclined towards my dream if you established a correlation with own life’s circumstances. But a short while ago, you related to me the regrettable rivalry that the exalted Emperor, your illustrious brother, has imposed on you; tell me, though you’ve grown alienated and well-apart from each other – can you say he hasn’t had an important impact in creating the noble Princess Royal with whom I’m conversing now?”

Until your mention of her brother, she seemed ready to set right something you said; now, however, the Princess Royal’s unexpectedly turned away from you. It’s after hiding her face in agitation and breathing in deeply that she starts detailing, downcast:
”For sweet spite’s fulfillment did my brother
Entreat the elders of our great bloodline
And secure an interested* marriage
For his uninterested big sister.
Then pious young woman and hopeful nun,**
Her dream was debased by his loathsome friend
The wastrel and pimp who claimed her as wife.”


…The relationship she’s just reported is so far removed from your idea of love and family that you’ve difficulty comprehending – accepting it. “So because he couldn’t forget about some petty grievances and imagined injuries,” you verify, “your brother conspired to force you into an abusive and loveless marriage?”

She nods.

“Noble Princess Royal?” Though you’re focusing intensely on the wall behind her, endeavoring earnestly at seeking solace in your training; you can’t help but show a scowl. “Your brother’s lucky that his sister’s as forgiving a person; Emperor or not, if my younger self had traded places with you, he wouldn’t have any second thoughts about roasting him alive with Fenghuang.”

“Pardon me…?” Surprise sounding sharply at what you’ve said, she’s suddenly staring at you – or rather, unmindful of that her exposed eyes are puffy, rimmed-red and damp, she’s staring at your black cassock.

“I have heard, O Queen,” you declare, divining her doubts, “that there exist in this world those born anointed with the Way of Heaven – the Sages, for whom all virtue and every excellence comes naturally.” Pausing, you send to the Princess Royal, as much with your face as with your words, a very pointed message.

“I was not born a Sage.”

While picking mechanically at your fingernails, you reminisce, reflecting on your past in an unhurried hush. “If today I’m a monk, I wasn’t always; opening my eyes to the Eightfold Path required that I labor long and hard at being able to see it. Even finding that first glimpse might have forever eluded me if it wasn’t for the scores of people who, at every stage of my life, helped steer my sight –my many mentors in the myriad mantras***, my old abbot, my mother and father; among all those to whom I’m indebted, they’re some of the biggest creditors. But none of these individual dues – actually, not even all of the others tabulated together, approach the amount of appreciation I owe my sister.” You only saw it in its innocuous, vestigial semblance of ‘flirtatious boldness,’ noble Princess Royal,” informing your absorbed addressee, your gaze sinks down towards your lap; “but… I wasn’t a good person in my youth. If not violent or shameless or lewd, my younger self was uncouth, impulsive and vain; irresolute, ignorant of propriety and prone to indolence, I was often led to quarrel with my parents. …They were well-meaning, my mother and father, but austere, severe, demanding; I balked from their firmness and, in my callow stupidity, mistook as resentment their strict regard for my success, not at all recognizing how much they’d sacrificed in order that I should be reared without knowledge of want.”

…There’s a momentary pause as you dry your eyes on the ends of her cloak, before continuing: “To my capricious young heart, only that beautiful girl who protected me from the worst of my parents’ outrage and who kissed away my pain after I’d suffered rebuke – only Byakuren really loved me. And consequently,it was Byakuren who became the chief object of my childhood affection and my truest, most faithful friend, concurrent with being my sister. Since we shared in the same strange powers,” you emphasize, pressing your pointer finger onto the periphery formed by the Sublime Golden Light, “she knew me. More than my father, more than my mother, more than anyone else in my hometown, my sister was able to recognize the real reasons behind my bad actions, appreciating them with an accuracy available as a result of her personal familiarity with my mind.”

“…You respect your sister for her understanding?” Till now attending on your memories in voiceless vigilance, the Princess Royal’s revealed one of her soft white palms and raised her hand; compared with how your dream seemed received at the start, she’s more openly enthused in making certain this time – but only slightly.

“It was source of my early esteem and the sum of my sentiments as a boy – I’m not ashamed to say as much. If my sister’s supreme sympathy was my sole reason for reverencing her, O Queen,” you resume your remembrances with an eye at wholly winning her over, “that would still be reason enough; but ultimately, she did far more than only understanding my feelings – she used them. Being aware of how much I loved her, my sister took advantage of that to direct my wayward behavior onto a course of wisdom, goodness and justice, channeling my emotions in a way as to encourage and positively reinforce me towards personal virtue.”

By the unmistakable advent of insight that’s appeared on her face, your august audience seems finally to have apprehended. “She was successful where your parents faltered?”

You solemnly nod. “I only realized it on our last afternoon together, O Queen, on the day before I was to be separated from her in becoming a Buddhist priest. …It’s been burned into my memory, that time. How despondent, hopeless and lost I felt, knowing that come tomorrow, I would be bereaved of all that I had known and cared about – the community in which I’d been raised, the friends I’d made, the parents with whom I’d finally started to connect and, most affecting of all, the sister who I loved as my better half. ...The sister who saved me.” Smiling as brilliantly through your tears as radiant Vairocana smiles to banish sorrow and rain, you’ve her cloak clutched close around you. “‘No matter our parting should be for a day, a year or a lifetime, Brother, I’ll never forget about you. So long as you don’t squander this chance in being mired down by the past and become in my stead the greatest person you can… I’ll always be here for you, waiting here for the time when you’re weary from your labors.’ Those words were what comforted me in the depths of my despair and inspired me to glory in everything that happened after; those words were my sister’s pledge and her last gift to me. … Those words are why, noble Princess Royal,” voice choked by emotion, you restate, “I’m able to feel the pain of your estrangement; because, to be able to return home one day, to show my sister that I’ve done all I promised and to have the chance of helping her care for our parents in their old age – that’s my dream.”

Pensive no longer, the Princess Royal slides beside you. “…I know,” she comforts you, resting a hand on your back and sings solemnly:
“The young hero who saved the sleeping maid
Became himself by his sister alone,
She is his inspiration and comfort
In achievement and hardship both – his dream.”

“It’s true,” you swallow with difficulty, fighting the feeling of fresh regrets rising in your throat, “I owe [i]my sister
everything. …If… if I had been born alone; if she had never graced my life, never set me on the right path, connected with me, demonstrated to me without any doubts that there was one in this world who loved me unconditionally, I…? What would I have become…?” Though you’ve unconsciously found yourself looking to the majestic matron who’s gently holding you, your question – it’s not at her. “...No matter the locale,” you’re murmuring, lost in your thoughts and meditating aloud; “I haven’t ever lacked for friends, have I? Even in this grey place…” An ironic laugh, as you shake your head. “I’ve really a talent for it – gathering people around me. ...A bandit, then? Would I have gathered similarly rapacious rapscallions around me, led them to victimize on the weak? Or would I perhaps have become a predator of a different profile, grown into the brazen guise of an abusive and unfeeling operator? …Of this at least, I’ve no doubts,” with a firm nod, you’re finally composed; “without Byakuren, without her who was my sister, my teacher, my hero, my friend, my muse, my great hope, my divine dream – what an insignificant, iniquitous person I’d be!”

“…I know,” she reiterates, rubbing your back and considering you with caring eyes. “I know, because we are the same.” The subdued, stoic front worn by the Princess Royal all while you were gushing expressively about her dissolves into an air bordering between apprehension and anticipation. “You are the first who has truthfully felt my secret wish and known my unusual dream, young hero. In the same way that your dream is your sister, my dream,” closing her eyes, she’s slipped a slender finger down the front of her robe, seemingly fishing for something, “…my unusual dream is–”

“INTRUDER!”

The force of that hysterical scream, simultaneously everywhere and nowhere, blasts the both of you on your backsides as the entire ‘mausoleum’ shivers, flinching away from the furious voice – wound up, winded and wheezing – of ‘Miss Nightingale.’

In those silent seconds that follow, every instant in the stilled world is indistinguishable from eternity – no movement, no speech, no noise; there’s only the soundless exchange of your eyes, equally unsettled by stupefaction.



You’re revived to recognition by a sound, coming from just outside and around the corner – a low rumbling. It’s nothing like the roar released by ‘Rumia’ for power or all-pervading presence, just a faint resonance echoing through the floor and white walls of the Princess Royal’s room. But, unusually – there’s regularity to it, periods of reverberation punctuated by pauses of rest.

…Whatever could it be?

You:
[ ] Go out.
[ ] Don’t go out.
----------

*I know most of you can figure it out, but just so that no one misses it or is confused, the Princess Royal uses “interest” in this instance to mean something different from the one following.

**While men typically entered monasteries as children, women would usually join up in convents as adults. This is the reason why no one would have too much of a problem with Byakuren showing up out of nowhere in a wedding dress and, after showing her powers, asking that she be admitted.

*** The Shingon rituals mentioned in >>113431 wouldn’t be learned by studying some sort of text – they’re passed on orally from teacher to student, elder to novice whenever said student/novice is ready to receive them. In most cases, (Myouren’s included) this comes only after diligently applying yourself to some other, less-than-interesting task for months/years (see: tending to a vegetable garden or having to daily sweep/clean some area of the monastery).
>> No. 113874
[x] Go out.

Aw hell, I think that's the cavalry marching in, and I don't have to add fighting out of the room to our list of things needed to successfully GTFO.

Also, fuck you author guy. That spoiler part scared the shit out of me. It was awesome, though.

>“I know, because we are the same.”
>You are the first who has truthfully felt my secret wish and known my unusual dream, young hero. In the same way that your dream is your sister

This just has to be her daughter, right?
>> No. 113878
The question that we want to ask is have they detected where we are? Or just reacting to the havoc wreaked. Since depending on the case, a different decision is better.

If they know where we are, we should leave quickly as to evade them and not get trapped.

If they don't, it'd be better to stay until the rush dies down. Hard to tell if that reverberation is movement or just a general feel of power.
>> No. 113880
Allright, I don't know why, but I've psotponed this long enough. Could anyone please share any save of the first thread, as it seems to have vanished? The second thread is still up, though, so only the first one is missing.
>> No. 113882
[x] Remain at Fujiwara-hime side and do what she does.
-[x] If she indeed insinuates that she will follow you, Go.
>> No. 113883
[x] Go out.

This is a risk, but we've got to get going.
>> No. 113888
File 126776716023.gif - (213.53KB , 480x655 , 5882475.gif ) [iqdb]
113888
>>113880
http://www.mediafire.com/?ttjmygzywym
An .rtf with just the updates, votes, and selected author notes, as best as I could manage. Haven't done this since SDM:LA, and the voting scheme was wonky for the first thread. If you want the experience unadulterated, though:

http://www.mediafire.com/?zoimnzmytww
The original html (sans images)
>> No. 113901
>just a faint resonance echoing through the floor and white walls of the Princess Royal’s room. But, unusually – there’s regularity to it, periods of reverberation punctuated by pauses of rest.

Sounds like Mima throwing balls of death around. That, or it's a ruse to get us to leave the Princess Royal so she can be kidnapped by the Big Bad again.

[x] Go out.
[x] Ask the Princess if she & Fenghuang will aid you.

If an 'intruder' can get into this place, then it's reasonable to assume one can leave the same way. Adding another member (with a stand) to our fellowship? One who's motivations and power we've come to understand, one who understands our own? Too good to pass up.

As we reach out to people's hearts, so will our own heart be touched in return. If we want to grow, we will find hardship, just as Siddhartha saw the suffering outside the walls of his palace. And must also find people, just as Siddhartha found a populace outside those walls.

Moreover from a meta perspective we need a stronger team. The Adversary said that the even the combined might of the Hero, Konngara, Mima, Yuyu, and Youki, we could not defeat his top lieutenants. We can be reasonably sure his resources are great, but by his kingly indolence, these resources are also static. Anyone who might tip the scales in our favor is of interest, especially an entity whom he decided would be best keep in a permanent coma.

Does our princess have a name? If not I humbly suggest "鳳凰" or "Houou" the female component of Fenghuang ("Hinotori").
>> No. 113903
>>113901
I don't think she was going to stick around the room in the first place, so the second option seems a given.
>> No. 113905
File 126780678196.jpg - (324.18KB , 1202x1596 , 9168688.jpg ) [iqdb]
113905
>>113873
>just a faint resonance echoing through the floor and white walls of the Princess Royal’s room. But, unusually – there’s regularity to it, periods of reverberation punctuated by pauses of rest.

Sounds like a search of the rooms to me. Lumber lumber lumber, check, lumber lumber lumber, check, etc. Only a matter of time until we're caught, so might as well be proactive about it.

[X] Go out.

Anyway, I wonder how likely it was for us to find Princess Royal. It wasn't exactly intuitive to turn around and investigate the darkness when we first got here; the most likely course of action when we arrived was to wander straight ahead of us. Maybe the wild Rumia attack from behind would have compelled us to investigate the darkness behind us, but that still wasn't a given. Always wondering about the road not taken, but I'm happy as ever that we found Princess Royal.
>> No. 113914
>It wasn't exactly intuitive to turn around and investigate the darkness when we first got here;

Ceteris paribus, between lighted areas & black voids that may go on forever, most will pick the former.
>> No. 113927
File 126783914814.gif - (14.23KB , 368x336 , Ho-oh.gif ) [iqdb]
113927
>>113901
>Houou
She is not a bird. That is a silly idea. You are silly for thinking of it.
>> No. 113950
Writing starts when I recover from this week.

>>113846
Just letting you know, none of the three (four?) endings are character-centric, nor is this story structured in such a way as to have any undue (ie existing without narrative purpose) bias towards any of the characters. The hero is the hero and the heroines are the heroines because they contribute towards a theme or larger schema in the story – they’re all important, otherwise they wouldn’t be fit for the role. But none of them are more important – a character whose value as a participant in the story does not come in relation to his interaction with the rest of the cast is a character on the first steps to becoming a Mary Sue, of which I will have no part. At the end of the day, everyone in this story enjoys the same standing in my eyes.

How Myouren feels, though – that’s an entirely different matter. It’s on you, anonymous. I’ll be with whatever you choose, just be sure you approach the matter with some common sense. What do I mean by ‘common sense?’ It’s very simple, really. To use an example:

Is it line with human behavior that a girl you met twenty minutes ago or two days prior or five days back, however gallant or charming or cute or intelligent or endearing, will easily come to occupy first place in your heart over the woman who loved you for years and made you the person you are today?

Just think about it in those terms.

But take note: this acknowledgement of plain reality doesn’t preclude feeling genuine admiration, respect and love for the aforementioned gallant/charming/cute/intelligent/endearing girl(s) you met twenty minutes ago or two days prior or five days back, and in no way represents an endorsement of marginalizing the other characters on any kind of aberrant strategy of discriminate affection (Indiscriminate =/= impartial). Though I’m sure I didn’t need to tell any of you this – your decisions since the last time it happened have represented a reformation for the better, though there are still some areas where you could use some pointers. If you ask in an appropriately nice and gentlemanly way, Yukarin might be willing to help…

>>113850

Wiseman - for all the differences between how the people of the late Heian period looked at the world from people today, their views on incest weren't any different from ours. It was neither more common nor any more socially acceptable, and when you factor in the hero’s rules of behavior, his prohibitions and oaths as outlined by his religion (according to the Buddha himself, intended in spirit as moral guideposts along the winding lanes of self-realization, not as rigid restrictions hemming in a harsh road of renunciation – he’ll likely talk more about this and his miscellaneous vows at appropriate moments), it would be an understatement to say that some people would respond less positively to how he feels about his sister (make sure, anonymous, that have in point of fact recognized his real reasons, and are not simply superimposing spurious subtexts) than has the Princess Royal. She’s a unique case, with a unique basis for being benignly disposed to Myouren’s beliefs.
>> No. 113960
File 126785810211.jpg - (183.77KB , 500x800 , a troll by any other name.jpg ) [iqdb]
113960
>>113950
I'm looking forward to/dreading the day I come up with a line of reasoning tenuous enough to be accused of being Wiseman. Law of averages seems to dictate that it will occur eventually; I just hope I make my way into the realm of Wiseman-level reasoning with a respectable amount of panache and absurdity.

"though there are still some areas where you could use some pointers."

I'm also quite looking forward to the condescending and hurtfully snide preternaturally insightful and remarkably sophisticated trolling advice that shall be imparted upon us from such a bitter and haggish refined and incredibly beautiful young woman recounting the story of the ambitious young scoundrel monk to her indentured slaves beloved children.
>> No. 113969
[x] Go out.
>> No. 113981
>>113950
I guess then Wiseman has egg on his face.
>> No. 113983
>Wiseman - for all the differences between how the people of the late Heian period looked at the world from people today, their views on incest weren't any different from ours.

That's not quite true.

According to The Cambridge History of Japan—Heian Japan: "Incest rules were narrowly drawn, only clearly disapproved marriages, being those with a direct ascendant or descendant and with a full or half sibling."

The respects of Heian Japan match up with modern Japanese law, which prohibits endogamy but not incest.

I don't know where you live, but law in the US prohibits incest & endogamy, with equal sentiments on both, though the specifics of the laws may vary state-to-state.

You may be responding to Wiseman, but I write the Fallout story, and wouldn't want you to confuse us. I must thank you for your colorful depictions of some mostly ignored characters.
>> No. 113986
File 126789601964.jpg - (419.31KB , 1404x2000 , 1267839186101.jpg ) [iqdb]
113986
I know that this is the nature of Gensokyo, but after reading 'Love and Peace I'm beginning to think that Byaku's fate was deserved.
A monk that believed on the 'Justice' of chance and on the absolute power of fate is a terrifying thought. To make it simplier for those of you who haven't read the doujin, it went like this:
If you're a rabbit, it is your fate to be devoured by humans.
If you're a human, it is your fate to be devoured by Youkai.
I will destroy anyone who opposes this terms.

And destroyed and corrupted anyone who disagreed she did, vanquishing any thing that could dare to defend humans or peace; going as far as to kill all disciples of Bishamonten who refused to be turned. With one, unfortunate, exception.
>> No. 113996
>>113983
> I must thank you for your colorful depictions of some mostly ignored characters.
And I thank you in return for taking the time to make sure I'm doing the research – nothing’s worse than hacks like Dan Brown, who make up complete nonsense and deceive the mentally lethargic by passing it off as factual knowledge.

Now, about the quote itself: a few things. First, while your source is impeccable (I have previously had the opportunity to use it, the one on Ancient China too) you should be careful not to quote out of context. The chapter where it’s found is entitled “the Capital and its Society,” which should already suggest it might not accurately show the situation of anyone apart from the few hundred/thousand privileged types who lived within the confines of Kyoto. Second, about what the paragraph says (in basic terms):

'Nobles married nobles of similar standing, and since the Fujiwara ended up dominating all the most important posts later on, there very naturally ended up being some intermarriage within bloodlines as a result," with the parenthetical aside going to explain that the Heian aristocracy would not define marriage within bloodlines as incest because for them, bloodlines =/= family (137-138).’

(For anyone interested in confirming for him/herself, http://books.google.com/books?id=eiTWWfoyuyAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=cambridge+history+of+japan&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false is the link.)

I had an awareness of these points when I responded to Wiseman. Bloodline marriage has historically been a prominent trend of aristocratic societies the world over, and specifically in East Asia, it still sees some practice today (albeit only very occasionally, and then most often in poor and backward communities). It’s my fault for not being clearer at the time, but on what I was specifically answering was brother-sister relations (since that was the case about which he and some others were speculating), and in that respect, my point agrees with the quote – like everyone else (…except for the Egyptian royal family, lol), most everyone in Heian Japan would be of the opinion that a person desiring to mate with his own sister (or could be construed as having feelings leaning in that direction) is twisted and monstrous.

Also:
I write the Fallout story

>BigBosssalute.jpg
>Englishvampiretakingataxi.jpg

>>113986
I haven't read it yet, but boy... those Elevens sure love their Frank Miller Touhou, huh?

It depends on you all, of course, but I think Byakuren's presentation here is going to be more accurate to her character ('Don't worry! Byakuren's really a nice person - ZUN, Sanae B's ending') and more nuanced than just RESULTS or INSANITY.
>> No. 114004
>>113996
So do Western fans who want more grimdark in their Touhou. Some folks are in the nasty habit of embracing fanon than canon.

I have a question: What do you think of pre-battle dialogue between the heroine and Byakuren? Since it came off as hypocritical on the heroine's part somewhat to me just due to how all 3 have befriended some Youkai.
>> No. 114010
File 126791067329.jpg - (20.47KB , 600x378 , 1098110-big_boss_salute_super.jpg ) [iqdb]
114010
>>113996
Let's hope you're right. As interesting as that Byaku is, I still prefer Youkai Jesus.
>I write the Fallout story.
Pic related. Also? Get a trip already.
>>>114004
>Some folks are in the nasty habit of embracing fanon than canon.
blacktewi.jpg
>> No. 114023
>I write the Fallout story

Anon is (of course) Anon.

>nothing’s worse than hacks like Dan Brown, who make up complete nonsense and deceive the mentally lethargic by passing it off as factual knowledge.

You might really, really enjoy Foucalt's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. It's pretty much the reflections of an editor at a vanity publishing office, fleecing and mocking lunatics, such persons which are, to paraphrase, "easily spotted as sooner or later they bring up the Templars." I won't spoil the rest, but it's good stuff. He also wrote The Name of the Rose, which I did not read but caught the movie, starring Sean Connery as a Franciscan Sherlock Holmes!

>It’s my fault for not being clearer at the time, but on what I was specifically answering was brother-sister relations (since that was the case about which he and some others were speculating), and in that respect, my point agrees with the quote – like everyone else (…except for the Egyptian royal family, lol), most everyone in Heian Japan would be of the opinion that a person desiring to mate with his own sister (or could be construed as having feelings leaning in that direction) is twisted and monstrous.

I knew what you were specifically addressing: Incest. I admit being rather opportunistic in my quotation, but my interest is not in gauging your academic discrimination, but on whether you have any especial source to bring to the table. Endogamy and incest are not disparate concepts in most societies, but as far as I understand they were in Japan they are and remain to this day at least in the word of the law. All this confirms to me is that there is precious little (or little translated) material on the subject, which is odd considering Japan's relatively recent interest in Freudian/Jungian psychoanalysis.

To the evolutionary psychologist the idea is that the incest taboo would become stronger in societies that favor outbreeding, but weaker in genetically isolated areas that have overcome the initial inbreeding depression--either conferring some homozygous advantage, or specifically adapted, but genetically fragile supergenes & gene complexes are created that disfavor outbreeding. The most obvious one is their acetaldehyde dehydrogenase deficiency, which causes marked accumulation of acetaldehyde (which mediates almost all the acute and chronic peripheral toxicity of alcohol) upon intoxication. While this would seem to negatively affect the survival of the population, people with this polymorphism are markedly less likely to become alcoholics, while not discouraging light & moderate consumption, which confer social and health advantages. The 'deficiency' in the end creates what is actually an evolutionary advantage. Anyway, for the anthropologist or evolutionary psychologist, the question is how does this affect the incest taboo, and in spite of its apparent inviolability, how despite, how much of it goes on behind closed doors? Of the latter we can only guess at.

The current rationalization against incest in the US is because it results in inbred children. What this means is that we readily conflate sex-marriage-children as one construct, while the use of abortifacients & sexual prophylactics however have however been documented into antiquity. The second part is gross overestimation of producing a living child (not spontaneously aborted) with disfigurement, the high ratio in comparison to outbreeding being ameliorated by the very low baseline, such that the absolute risk in many studies is rarely statistically significant because there is often little or no control, mostly because the only people who are going to have funding who aren't ridiculously biased in one direction or another are too afraid to find out: Ignoramus et ignorabimus, indeed. It shows a dissonance between a commonly-held explanation and reality. Such dissonance usually leaves people with complaints of headache, raised fingers (while saying nothing), uncomfortable shifting in their armchairs, a grumbling, and shaking of heads, and other forms of crimestop, duckspeak & goodthink. That is what interests me: You might say I have an academic interest in fgsfds.

Now we will stop posting about this in our thread so we can get back to the stories which we both write.

Godspeed... we.

>> No. 114034
File 126793021056.png - (1.92MB , 1200x1600 , 2895735.png ) [iqdb]
114034
>>114023
An intriguing take on the subject, but you didn't really address the most important question: do you know why kids love the taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch?
>> No. 114041
>>114034

Is it because it's over 50% sugar by weight?
>> No. 114102
File 126802742048.jpg - (212.93KB , 650x650 , 9226122.jpg ) [iqdb]
114102
>>113873
Updates when?
>> No. 114181
Huh, author has gone AWOL.

Weird.
>> No. 114182
>>114181
No he's here. Wait just a moment, please.
>> No. 114188
File 126811077615.jpg - (168.59KB , 485x622 , 15.jpg ) [iqdb]
114188
>>114182
Man, I regularly check for Patchwork and Harker to update; I've got all the patience in the world. For the guy that rides Anonymous hard a couple hours after an update to vote faster.jpg, do I have every intention of savoring the (thankfully rare) opportunity to turn the tables?

Picture related
>> No. 114189
Edit: Final version, just some small changes.
As reference:
The hero’s dream – >>97132
His sister speaks – >>102905

----------
“I mean no disrespect by this, O Queen,” is how you preface your reply; “but you would feel less disinclined towards my dream if you established a correlation with own life’s circumstances. But a short while ago, you related to me the regrettable rivalry that the exalted Emperor, your illustrious brother, has imposed on you; tell me, though you’ve grown alienated and well-apart from each other – can you say he hasn’t had an important impact in creating the noble Princess Royal with whom I’m conversing now?”

Until your mention of her brother, she seemed ready to set right something you said; now, however, the Princess Royal’s unexpectedly turned away from you. It’s after hiding her face in agitation and breathing in deeply that she starts detailing, downcast:
”For sweet spite’s fulfillment did my brother
Entreat the elders of our great bloodline
And secure an interested* marriage
For his uninterested big sister.
Then pious young woman and hopeful nun,**
Her dream was debased by his loathsome friend
The wastrel and pimp who claimed her as wife.”


…The relationship she’s just reported is so far removed from your idea of love and family that you’ve difficulty comprehending – accepting it. “So because he couldn’t forget about some petty grievances and imagined injuries,” you verify, “your brother conspired to force you into an abusive and loveless marriage?”

She nods.

“Noble Princess Royal?” Though you’re focusing intensely on the wall behind her, endeavoring earnestly at seeking solace in your training; you can’t help but show a scowl. “Your brother’s lucky that his sister’s as forgiving a person; Emperor or not, if my younger self had traded places with you, he wouldn’t have any second thoughts about roasting him alive with Fenghuang.”

“Pardon me…?” Surprise sounding sharply at what you’ve said, she’s suddenly staring at you – or rather, unmindful of that her exposed eyes are puffy, rimmed-red and damp, she’s staring at your black cassock.

“I have heard, O Queen,” you declare, divining her doubts, “that there exist in this world those born anointed with the Way of Heaven – the Sages, for whom all virtue and every excellence comes naturally.” Pausing, you send to the Princess Royal, as much with your face as with your words, a very pointed message.

“I was not born a Sage.”

While picking mechanically at your fingernails, you reminisce, reflecting on your past in an unhurried hush. “If today I’m a monk, I wasn’t always; opening my eyes to the Eightfold Path required that I labor long and hard at being able to see it. Even finding that first glimpse might have forever eluded me if it wasn’t for the scores of people who, at every stage of my life, helped steer my sight –my many mentors in the myriad mantras***, my old abbot, my mother and father; among all those to whom I’m indebted, they’re some of the biggest creditors. But none of these individual dues – actually, not even all of the others tabulated together, approach the amount of appreciation I owe my sister.” You only saw it in its innocuous, vestigial semblance of ‘flirtatious boldness,’ noble Princess Royal,” informing your absorbed addressee, your gaze sinks down towards your lap; “but… I wasn’t a good person in my youth. If not violent or shameless or lewd, my younger self was uncouth, impulsive and vain; irresolute, ignorant of propriety and prone to indolence, I was often led to quarrel with my parents. …They were well-meaning, my mother and father, but austere, severe, demanding; I balked from their firmness and, in my callow stupidity, mistook as resentment their strict regard for my success, not at all recognizing how much they’d sacrificed in order that I should be reared without knowledge of want.”

…There’s a momentary pause as you dry your eyes on the ends of her cloak, before continuing: “To my capricious young heart, only that beautiful girl who protected me from the worst of my parents’ outrage and who kissed away my pain after I’d suffered rebuke – only Byakuren really loved me. And consequently,it was Byakuren who became the chief object of my childhood affection and my truest, most faithful friend, concurrent with being my sister. Since we shared in the same strange powers,” you emphasize, pressing your pointer finger onto the periphery formed by the Sublime Golden Light, “she knew me. More than my father, more than my mother, more than anyone else in my hometown, my sister was able to recognize the real reasons behind my bad actions, appreciating them with an accuracy available as a result of her personal familiarity with my mind.”

“…You respect your sister for her understanding?” Till now attending on your memories in voiceless vigilance, the Princess Royal’s revealed one of her soft white palms and raised her hand; compared with how your dream seemed received at the start, she’s more openly enthused in making certain this time – but only slightly.

“It was source of my early esteem and the sum of my sentiments as a boy – I’m not ashamed to say as much. If my sister’s supreme sympathy was my sole reason for reverencing her, O Queen,” you resume your remembrances with an eye at wholly winning her over, “that would still be reason enough; but ultimately, she did far more than only understanding my feelings – she used them. Being aware of how much I loved her, my sister took advantage of that to direct my wayward behavior onto a course of wisdom, goodness and justice, channeling my emotions in a way as to encourage and positively reinforce me towards personal virtue.”

By the unmistakable advent of insight that’s appeared on her face, your august audience seems finally to have apprehended. “She was successful where your parents faltered?”

You solemnly nod. “I only realized it on our last afternoon together, O Queen, on the day before I was to be separated from her in becoming a Buddhist priest. …It’s been burned into my memory, that time. How despondent, hopeless and lost I felt, knowing that come tomorrow, I would be bereaved of all that I had known and cared about – the community in which I’d been raised, the friends I’d made, the parents with whom I’d finally started to connect and, most affecting of all, the sister who I loved as my better half. ...The sister who saved me.” Smiling as brilliantly through your tears as radiant Vairocana smiles to banish sorrow and rain, you’ve her cloak clutched close around you. “‘No matter our parting should be for a day, a year or a lifetime, Brother, I’ll never forget about you. So long as you don’t squander this chance in being mired down by the past and become in my stead the greatest person you can… I’ll always be here for you, waiting here for the time when you’re weary from your labors.’ Those words were what comforted me in the depths of my despair and inspired me to glory in everything that happened after; those words were my sister’s pledge and her last gift to me. … Those words are why, noble Princess Royal,” voice choked by emotion, you restate, “I’m able to feel the pain of your estrangement; because, to be able to return home one day, to show my sister that I’ve done all I promised and to have the chance of helping her care for our parents in their old age – that’s my dream.”

Pensive no longer, the Princess Royal slides beside you. “…I know,” she comforts you, resting a hand on your back and sings solemnly:
“The young hero who saved the sleeping maid
Became himself by his sister alone,
She is his inspiration and comfort
In achievement and hardship both – his dream.”


“It’s true,” you swallow with difficulty, fighting the feeling of fresh regrets rising in your throat, “I owe my sister everything. …If… if I had been born alone; if she had never graced my life, never set me on the right path, connected with me, demonstrated to me without any doubts that there was one in this world who loved me unconditionally, I…? What would I have become…?” Though you’ve unconsciously found yourself looking to the majestic matron who’s gently holding you, your question – it’s not at her. “...No matter the locale,” you’re murmuring, lost in your thoughts and meditating aloud; “I haven’t ever lacked for friends, have I? Even in this grey place…” An ironic laugh, as you shake your head. “I’ve really a talent for it – gathering people around me. ...A bandit, then? Would I have gathered similarly rapacious rapscallions around me, led them to victimize on the weak? Or would I perhaps have become a predator of a different profile, grown into the brazen guise of an abusive and unfeeling operator? …Of this at least, I’ve no doubts,” with a firm nod, you’re finally composed; “without Byakuren, without her who was my sister, my teacher, my hero, my friend, my muse, my great hope, my divine dream – what an insignificant, iniquitous person I’d be!”

“…I know,” she reiterates, rubbing your back and considering you with caring eyes. “I know, because we are the same.” The subdued, stoic front worn by the Princess Royal all while you were gushing expressively about her dissolves into an air bordering between apprehension and anticipation. “You are the first who has truthfully felt my secret wish and known my unusual dream, young hero. In the same way that your dream is your sister, my dream,” closing her eyes, she’s slipped a single finger down the front of robe, seemingly fishing for something, “…my unusual dream is–”

“INTRUDER!”

The force of that hysterical scream, simultaneously everywhere and nowhere, blasts the both of you on your backsides as the entire ‘mausoleum’ shivers, flinching away from the furious voice – wound up, winded and wheezing – of ‘Miss Nightingale.’

In those silent seconds that follow, every instant in the stilled world is indistinguishable from eternity – no movement, no speech, no noise; there’s only the soundless exchange of your eyes, equally unsettled by stupefaction.



You’re revived to recognition by a sound, coming from just outside and around the corner – a low rumbling. It’s nothing like the roar released by ‘Rumia’ for power or all-pervading presence, just a faint resonance echoing through the floor and white walls of the Princess Royal’s room. But, unusually – there’s regularity to it, periods of reverberation punctuated by pauses of rest.

…Whatever could it be?

You:
[ ] Go out.
[ ] Don’t go out.
----------
>> No. 114190
>>114023
Jargon's a wonderful thing isn't it? I'll see about looking into the marriage practices of Heian commoners when I get back to university, but for right now, I'd just like to say that I'm in agreement on your point(s) about the patently-untrue stereotypes and how they have continually hampered serious study or discussion of the topic, when really, simply examining incest in the language of social utility shows that there's all sorts of problems with the taboo that's been placed on it.

If governments are going to place restrictions on procreation using the justification of deformation (ie 'bad genes'), then it would follow (if they are an impartial state drafting laws based on reason) that they should criminalize the other cases that would have a similarly high risk of serious genetic defects (ergo, people whose lineages have strong predisposition for cancer, mental illnesses) or, at the very least, make illegal the procreation of the already deformed. But as you so correctly identified, there is presently no state in the world which functions on impartiality and reason, which is why the same justifications used to outlaw incest aren't applied to any of the more numerous, readily-damaging (for the well-being of society) cases that aren't already held in firmly in check by a universal taboo.
>> No. 114191
It took me a few days of sleep, but I finally feel better. I'm (mostly) free for the next week, so I'll be writing at the pace you lot set from here on out.

----------
Your rational and emotional faculties find instant agreement, attain complete consensus on your course – to cede the initiative in this probable crisis is to yield an opportunity for tactical advantage and ethical increase.

Sweeping her cloak aside, you spring up with a spry leap and spin round to face the Princess Royal; by way of your left hand’s beckoning, you silently beseech that she stay close behind. Her answer’s similarly wordless; assenting readily, she brushes her black bangs behind beaming indomitably.

First making a quick detour to gather your staff, retrieving it off the floor near the wall where you’d previously rested it, you tiptoe to the door and peek out ever-so-slightly into the hall.

…It’s dark.

Possibly, it’s just that your eyesight’s adjusted to the comparably bright interior of the Princess Royal’s room, but the shadows of the hallway outside seem darker – deeper than before you entered in. What’s more, they’re… completely natural; that you’re still able to pick out the ragged red rug at the corridor’s center and the crumbling crimson curtains across the way makes manifest that this greater gloom’s not ‘Miss Nightingale’ at work again.

Another rumble resounds through the ground. As you’re much closer this time, standing inside the entry to the corridor, you’ve no difficulty in discerning the direction of its origin; it’s down the hall on your right, and from its sonorous sound and imminent feel, whatever’s the cause isn’t far away. Through a thrust of your chin and a few hurried motions with your right hand, you communicate this all to the Princess Royal; then, looking back one last time and ensuring that she’s ready, the both of you exit out into the ‘mausoleum’ proper.



The reason why the dismal darkness’ deepened is, to put it as Konngara would, ‘eminently apparent.’

…Those braziers you previously passed?

Their cobalt combustion’s been quenched, subsumed in the murk; but for one, they’ve all been extinguished. The sole exception, that single small sapphire fire still sizzling strong in spite of its sister’s smothering – it’s ensconced in the lantern closest you, only a few feet right of the Princess Royal clutching cautiously at your arm. She’s staring at it with no less suspicion than you and, after scanning the surrounding darkness with dour concentration, ultimately decides for action. Signaling for you to step back by way of a light touch to your chest, the Princess Royal releases her comfortable hold and moves ahead of you. With practiced poise, she figures her fine hands into an outlandish pose, respires with cool self-possession and–

You:
[ ] Comply – cheer her on from behind.
[ ] Stop her – request an explanation.
[ ] Do something else. (Specify)
----------
>> No. 114199
[x] Do something else. Confer upon Princess Royal a blessing worthy of her determination in the face of such dire circumstances; channel Hamon through your out-stretched hand to infuse the imperial lady with the energy to impart her will.

I'm helping! Also, glad to see you back after your well earned respite.
>> No. 114209
>With practiced poise, she figures her fine hands into an outlandish pose, respires with cool self-possession and–

[x] Comply – cheer her on from behind.

She's about to do something cool. Let's not steal the spotlight for once.
>> No. 114214
>>114191
[X] Comply – cheer her on from behind.

I'm preparing for some impressive fireworks.
>> No. 114216
[x] Comply – cheer her on from behind.
>> No. 114217
[x] Comply – cheer her on from behind.
>> No. 114223
[x] Comply – cheer her on from behind.
>> No. 114228
[Å] Comply – cheer her on from behind.
>> No. 114248
Hey, writefag-person-- and/or Fallout writefag, since I know you read this story --would you mind answering a totally unrelated question about Japanese mythology/cultural symbolism. since you two are research badasses?

I remember hearing (I think while watching Samurai Deeper Kyo, a comically terrible show) that supposedly, comets or meteors or something represent a gate to another world or something in Japanese mythology. Is that true, and if so, where do they get that idea from?
(Or, at the very least, could either of you point me to somewhere that explains this notion?)

I know this has nothing to do with anything, so I'm saging it, but since neither of you really frequents IRC (that I know of. Stay far away from it unless you absolutely have to; it's much safer that way), I figured I'd ask here for the reasons mentioned above.
>> No. 114273
File 126819669639.png - (54.74KB , 290x290 , 974506.png ) [iqdb]
114273
Writing.

>>114248
Star myths are tough because there's so many of them (since every civilization has them and they're always the most enduring out of all the stories coming out of the proto-religious shamanism that was practiced everywhere in prehistory). I'll look into it later, but just to give an answer off the top of my head, comets have traditionally been associated in East Asia (you would probably find similar treatments elsewhere too) with portending death (ie the fall of the guardian star representing someone's life) or calamities to come (ie the fall of a kingdom/dynasty or the demise of its sovereign). It's a notion that originates in the earliest days of Chinese civilization (Shang Dynasty at the very latest) and is systematized into a kind of correlative astronomy by the time of the Han Dynasty. Fast forward a couple hundred years and around the same time the Tang Court's flourishing + Buddhism is striking a coup at its debut in Japan, the aforementioned system would without question have come to be known to the Heian ruling class (if not necessarily in function, they really aped the forms of the Tang culture like all their neighbors).

So if by this 'other world,' you mean one of the various higher planes of polytheism, the idea of a 'gate' could mean in the sense of seeing into the will of that higher plane (which would not necessarily be an actual place as we normally define it). I'm not sure this is the answer you wanted – someone who has a better working knowledge of the Kojiki (ie who has read the whole thing, not selected passages) would probably give you a more satisfactory answer.

>(Or, at the very least, could either of you point me to somewhere that explains this notion?)

I can, but it's not as much a place as a person – the one in my picture. By virtue of her profession and personal interests, Konngara would probably assent to an offer of discussing the metaphysical details of cosmology/cosmogeny at length with great enthusiasm, and eloquence to match. (To use the example given previously, she could likely tell you the actual 'why' behind the reason that comets or other things we see in the sky are omens of what's to come, and not just natural phenomena.)

>Stay far away from it unless you absolutely have to; it's much safer that way

Is the community here really so bad? I only visited the IRC once or twice when I needed something checked, but the little that I saw gave me a better impression than I received from the one or two times I visited the /jp/ IRC.
>> No. 114278
>>114273
Thank you, though that's a bit more from the metaphorical and philosophical angle.

Like, what happened in the show is that the guy got smacked by a fucking meteor that landed on him, and it sent him back to hell, because apparently, was a gate to hell, or something. And from what a friend of mine told me, apparently the notion of meteors being gates to hell or something is an old one in Japanese culture.

I suppose I could sort of understand, if you look at it from after the fact: If it's got any oomph to it at all, it is going to wreck the landscape's shit up, hard. And yeah, it'll look like a little slice of hell sprouted up right there, with the scorched, blackened earth and all the burnt trees and ash and whatnot.

Thanks anyway, though!
>> No. 114328
>Writing.

Hooray!
>> No. 114404
File 126832509535.jpg - (930.49KB , 768x1019 , phoenix woman2.jpg ) [iqdb]
114404
>long, black hair; done up with the surfeit of ostentatious artifice of a high noble

>no jewelry garnishing her fair hands or festooning her white neck, no glittering ornaments or reflective bronze mirrors sewn onto her raiment, no slim, scintillating tiara topping her temples; but this well-endowed (…in more ways than one) woman is unmistakably the cute princess’ charismatic mother.

>“FENGHUANG!”

>…They’re striking eyes, beautiful and strong, sparkling crystal blue in the reflected fires of the room.

>a long, red sleeve slips away to bare a long, white arm as she raises up her right hand and caresses your cheek.

Well, four out of five ain't bad, right?

>With practiced poise, she figures her fine hands into an outlandish pose, respires with cool self-possession and–

FLAME ON!
>> No. 114409
Just for anyone who cares to know: I have been working on the story, it's just that most of that work has been on some scenes in the less immediate future. The present update's going to appear shortly.
>> No. 114414
>>114409

hooray
>> No. 114476
File 126845618744.jpg - (646.46KB , 1350x1800 , 1432522.jpg ) [iqdb]
114476
>>114191
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tGA6bpscj8&fmt=18
>> No. 114496
Okay, so getting this out took longer than I anticipated. But on the plus side, I can say I am now appropriately prepared for what will come and the story should flow more easily from this point onward.

----------
…And as you retreat to the rear, the air swells with energy; contrails of crimson heat phase into existence around the Princess Royal. They’re swirling – churning her person, blowing her waist-length black hair and ruffling her silvered-red robe, and stealing away the corridor’s chill all the while. It’s not an unfamiliar feeling; the way in that the glacial cold’s being dispersed by mounting warmth and how the pale light’s coalesced as a shimmering corona on converging through the heat haze – you’ve twice before experienced these same sensations, both times while summoning forth your Vajra’s supreme strength.

Soon, she’s ready; by the tangible tension of her curiously curled fingers and the palpable power that’s pregnant in her body, it’s probable that the Princess Royal’s fully prepared for some pyrokinetic purpose. Yet she doesn’t act. After standing several seconds in that same stance – staring at the statue and its brazier above with bated breath, her beautiful eyes narrowed in determined focus and her white hands held ahead in a strange hold, it’s become apparent – she’s waiting on a sign. You don’t need to ask after its nature, for you’ve already ascertained it; so instead, you’ll support her.

You’ll pray.

…With your sense of irony at the situation not a little, you navigate through the labyrinth of your memories to find the goma, the diverse ritual of petition and invocation with divine fire that formed such a frequent part of your life in the monastery. It was through that first goma shortly after your initiation that you were introduced to the idea of the Wisdom King Acala and, as stands the state of affairs now, it will be through a goma of sorts that you’ll be reunited with him – if the Princess Royal succeeds. To that end, you’ll believe in her victory and hope that your heartfelt feelings help her along.



Amidst your devotions, the sign she’s anticipated appears at long last; as the ground groans, grumbles and shakes, the sole remaining flame starts to move. Stirred from its inanimate state, the blue fire she’s been watching floats down freely through the glass of its brazier to alight on the statue below. It sinks through that celestial maiden’s translucent coronet and curls to settle within her glass heart; and as it does, she comes alive. Four wings comprised completely of cobalt combustion appear of her back as there’s kindled in her star sapphire eyes a fire of the same color. Hoisting the stone harp she’s holding in her stone hands, she cranes her crystalline neck to concentrate on the Princess Royal.

CHECK FINISHED.

Its ‘voice’ absent of any inflection, the ‘mausoleum’ murmurs and, as if echoing its call–

CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED. CHECK FINISHED...

With each repetition, a new pair of blazing wings ignites. So swift and several are these soulless confirmations that when the echoes end and the voices finally fall silent, there’s come to be countless coldly smoldering eyes inside the darkness in front – and all of them are trained on the Princess Royal. But she’s not intimidated. Entirely nonplussed, she looks laid-back across and above her shoulders, smiling casually as she sings:
O Fenghuang, my promethean phoenix
At long last we reckon with our jailors!

The same cloud of fiery cinders with that she destroyed Alastor kicks up at her fore to illuminate the ones she’s branded as enemies – the statues. Unflinching of the embers licking at their quartz skin, the whole army of immaculate champions that you passed on the path to the Princess Royal’s room is collected in columns and files at your fore, assembled in a wide-ranging formation of indeterminable depth.

“INTRUDER IDENTIFIED AS PRISONER: ‘HESTIA.’ KNOWN ALIAS(ES): ‘MOTHER OF PANDORA,’ THE FIVE-COLORED FLAME IMPERISHABLE. RECORDED AS CURRENTLY SERVING THREE CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES OF INDEFINITE SACRAL IMPRISONMENT IN MAKAI PER THE RECOMMENDATION OF ‘ERESHKIGAL.’ WARNING: DESTRUCTIVE ABILITIES OF PRISONER ‘HESTIA’ RANKED AT CLASS A-, PRIORITY SET TO–”

The sculpture engaged in this rote recognition – the diamond princess that was first to fix on the Princess Royal – is cut short by what could only be described as ‘directed inferno,’ a concentrated firestorm instantly reducing her body to molten glass. As her whole left arm’s transformed to a mass of formless flames, it’s with her right hand that the Princess Royal points and, with a positive glint in her fiery eyes, pronounces:

“You are going to say, ‘Hostile response registered. …Requesting permissions.’”
“HOSTILE RESPONSE REGISTERED. REQUESTING PERMISSIONS.”

The almost-automatic answer of “HUH?” is accompanied by a chain of colossal explosions –from the fingers of the hand that she’s pointed at the figures, the Princess Royal fires off a huge volley of fireballs that further demolishes her already-disordered adversaries; the ones not being blasted into powder by her right hand’s barrage are instead liquefied, melted into glass by the torrent of withering fire that’s streaming from her left hand.

“Young hero.” At one of the many pauses she’s spaced out in her onslaught, presumably picked so as to prevent the problems of visibility that accompany the careless use of pyrokinetics, the Princess Royal addresses you plainly. “I have acquired the attention of the stone sentinels,” she says, still with her back turned. “Find from where the call that revived them came.” A short moment passes; it seems she’s about to start attacking again, when she adds on something she’s apparently just remembered, almost an afterthought.

“…I will join you later.”

You:
[ ] The Princess Royal’s clearly controlling the situation; she’s shown herself perfectly capable of crushing the crystalline army alone. Therefore, follow the plan she’s suggested – hunt for where ‘Miss Nightingale’ has decided to hide herself.
[ ] ...Could she be any more obvious? Even if, instead of the extensive expert familiarity you’ve achieved, your knowledge of story and song was limited to the scarcity of plebian perspectives, you would still be painfully aware of that she’s practically acting out a last stand with this request of hers. That’s why, no – you’re not leaving; you’ll stay and fight at her side.
----------
>> No. 114517
[x] ...Could she be any more obvious? Even if, instead of the extensive expert familiarity you’ve achieved, your knowledge of story and song was limited to the scarcity of plebian perspectives, you would still be painfully aware of that she’s practically acting out a last stand with this request of hers. That’s why, no – you’re not leaving; you’ll stay and fight at her side.

It's not that I don't have faith in her abilities, it's just the way she said "I'll join you later" hints at her intending to make a final stand. The quicker we deal with these the quicker we can go after Miss Nightingale together.
>> No. 114518
>>114496
>IMPRISONMENT IN MAKAI PER THE RECOMMENDATION OF ‘ERESHKIGAL.’

Well now we know where we've found ourselves, and the implications are grim. It doesn't necessarily make Shinki the "Master," but now we know she's involved, and holy crap this is awesome. Maybe in a roundabout and misplaced kinda way, Norseman was right about who was involved way back then. Would explain the angel motif.

>“You are going to say, ‘Hostile response registered. …Requesting permissions.’”
>“HOSTILE RESPONSE REGISTERED. REQUESTING PERMISSIONS.”

Wow. This was definitely worth the wait.

[X] The Princess Royal’s clearly controlling the situation; she’s shown herself perfectly capable of crushing the crystalline army alone. Therefore, follow the plan she’s suggested – hunt for where ‘Miss Nightingale’ has decided to hide herself.

>“…I will join you later.”
I believe her.
>> No. 114556
File 126851506450.png - (126.23KB , 500x479 , 74b74b6855aa8664738bdcf9a8cf5b1c.png ) [iqdb]
114556
[x] The Princess Royal’s clearly controlling the situation; she’s shown herself perfectly capable of crushing the crystalline army alone. Therefore, follow the plan she’s suggested – hunt for where ‘Miss Nightingale’ has decided to hide herself.
>> No. 114559
[x] The Princess Royal’s clearly controlling the situation; she’s shown herself perfectly capable of crushing the crystalline army alone. Therefore, follow the plan she’s suggested – hunt for where ‘Miss Nightingale’ has decided to hide herself.

She's finally been freed after who knows how long and has told us with the greatest sincerity that she shares a dream similar to our own; why would she go and throw that away in a "last stand"?
>> No. 114569
I just can't help but to be concerned about the long pause before the "...I'll meet you later" That just feels like something to be said to get one's allies moving as one does something like make a last stand. I just got a bad feeling about this.
>> No. 114589
>>114569
I know exactly where you're coming from, but I'm taking a slightly different perspective. Though we found her and woke her up in the search for Acala, we never made much headway in finding out why we were brought to her. I think we missed an opportunity to ask her about Acala when we didn't pick the option to bring it up after we guessed at her 'precognition.' Though, that did get us onto the subject of our dreams, so I don't regret that at all since we've learned an exquisite amount about Myouren's past and relationship with Byakuren. Anyway, what also never came up was what Princess Royal was going to do from now on. Everyone assumed we'd bring her with us, but we all figured we'd get around to formalizing as much in the near future. Unfortunately Rumia had to butt in and cut everything short, her plans and relationship with Acala too. This “…I will join you later” is a confirmation from her that our time together hasn't ended yet, even though she has no obligation to stick around with us. It's an overly optimistic interpretation, but voting paranoid and not trusting in our friends and allies almost never ends well in this story.
>> No. 114591
Decide quickly.

----------
You’ve already placed your faith in the Princess Royal with your prayer; would you diverge from that choice? She’ll surely win out over these insensible sculptures in the end.

...But? This makes for one last question, doesn’t it?

Yes – with what words should you leave the Princess Royal, if any?

Obviously:
[ ] Something poetic. (Specify)
[ ] Something inspiring and dramatic. (Specify)
[ ] An exchange of vows – make her swear on what she’s said.
[ ] A commonplace answer’s fine.
[ ] Nothing – just salute her and nod.
[ ] Something else? (Specify)
----------
>> No. 114598
>>114518
>“You are going to say, ‘Hostile response registered. …Requesting permissions.’”
>“HOSTILE RESPONSE REGISTERED. REQUESTING PERMISSIONS.
It keeps amazing and amusing me to see this story, more than any other, have Jojo references.
It's like flipping to ESPN and seeing them seriously discuss quantum physics for a few minutes.

And the best part is that they're used rather well.
>> No. 114599
[x] "May those who defy their fate be granted Glory"

Blatantly stolen from Princess Tutu of all things. Don't look up the first part, though. I don't know if this is poetic, inspiring, or downright cheesy. Probably the latter, actually, but from what we know about 'Master' I think inspiring a little defiance is appropriate.
>> No. 114612
File 126853178957.jpg - (20.48KB , 600x378 , manly.jpg ) [iqdb]
114612
[x] Nothing – just salute her and nod.
No words or vows are needed. This says it all and even more.
>> No. 114639
[x] "May those who defy their fate be granted Glory"
>> No. 114650
File 126854490686.jpg - (632.54KB , 1100x1650 , 9245259.jpg ) [iqdb]
114650
>>114591
These micro updates are murder on keeping track. Also, fuck yeah

[X] "May those who defy their fate be granted Glory"
>> No. 114714
Called, writing.
>> No. 114715
[x] "May those who defy their fate be granted Glory"
Considering that two of the MCs are destined to die, I think that pretty much defines our objective in this story.
>> No. 114810
File 126862925930.jpg - (276.63KB , 1200x850 , 9329055.jpg ) [iqdb]
114810
>>114715
You ain't just whistling Dixie...
>> No. 114832
FUCKING FUCK. REALLY?

>>114569 is the only one that should be allowed to vote anymore. I wanted to believe this wouldn't be like I was expecting and IT FUCKING WAS. I want to break my keyboard in half.

This is so disappointing I just want to commit suicide the next vote and go back 3 choices.
>> No. 114833
>>114832
Hold on, this update isn't over yet; haven't you learned that jumping to conclusions in this story is a bad thing? Especially when he uses spoiler tags.

I've found the best thing to do is Stay Frosty
>> No. 114852
>>114833
I agree. Whetever our MC is Oscar Mike or Myouren, we can't jump to conclusion so easily.
More so being a predictable plot 'twist' in a story that has been anything (but no that)
>> No. 114856
[x] Judge that sightseeing can wait; focus on finding ‘Miss Nightingale’ for now.

That's our goal and once we've accomplished that and then meet with the princess again, then we can dwell more on where we're stuck.
>> No. 114861
Dear writefag. I have only recently started reading this wonderful story of yours, and am feeling very bad for not doing so earlier. I've just finished thread 3, and after reading all the delicious discussions and marvelous updates, I realised that I want to be a part of this. While reading what has been done so far is a great pleasure, being a part of the story's growth is certainly much better than a far away espectator.

Thus, I ask of you: At what point is the story on? Obviously, not on 'early'. Are the current events to be considered 'mid' or 'end' plot? Yes, I know this would probably be some kind of spoiler, but I need to ask it because I'm a slow reader.
>> No. 114875
[x] Recall that the crystalline army accosting the Princess Royal called this place ‘Makai.’ If he were here, maybe your old abbot would know; but as far as you’ve learned and can remember of your cosmology, none of the Six Realms or Three Worlds holds a domain of that name. …Just where is this?
>> No. 114877
File 126870822138.jpg - (165.63KB , 741x800 , Votefaster.jpg ) [iqdb]
114877
Didn't expect things would be this slow. And here I was aiming to write more tonight (or at least to get started on it).

>>114861
Thank you for you encouragement, but more than that, thank you for reading. To have more points-of-view (ie, not simply votes, but votes cast by people who had their own reasons for making them) can only improve the quality of a story for all parties involved. Now about your question:

>Thus, I ask of you: At what point is the story on?

Short answer: Take your time, but be aware that you might miss some options that strongly affect the climax of this arc if you read at the speed that glasnost writes.

Longer answer: To come in a while. Stay tuned.
>> No. 114878
[x] Recall that the crystalline army accosting the Princess Royal called this place ‘Makai.’ If he were here, maybe your old abbot would know; but as far as you’ve learned and can remember of your cosmology, none of the Six Realms or Three Worlds holds a domain of that name. …Just where is this?

I can't believe I'm actually voting for this considering what just went down, but this issue has been nagging me for a while. Probably because surveying the landscape shouldn't be that big of a deal, but doing so is always popping up as an option. Maybe I'm trying to logic myself out of this or something, but if it takes more than 30 seconds to take a peek and contemplate the nature of our surroundings, shit has got to be significant. Granted, in situations like this, with Princess Royal about to be vaporized and Rumia on the run, 30 seconds is a considerable amount of time. But every vote is significant, and some long since dead Chinese guy had something to say about knowing about the place you plan on starting shit.

What really has me scratching my head, though, is what finding Rumia has to do with those goddamn sentinel statues. Bopping her on the head doesn't seem like it's going to automatically disengage their defense protocol or anything; are we going to politely ask her to turn off the security system for a moment or something?

As an aside, for some reason, visualizing this story in the style of Samurai Jack makes it 100x more awesome for me. Oddly enough, it helps me make decisions, too. I am the cancer killing this story.
>> No. 114886
>>114878
I don't think we're after Rumia, but a sort of EX-Mystia. I could be wrong here.
>> No. 114892
File 126871208768.jpg - (271.53KB , 1000x824 , 1210805602672.jpg ) [iqdb]
114892
>I don't think we're after Rumia, but a sort of EX-Mystia.

>>111777
>“Is that so~?” The Darkness laughs lightly

I'm certainly not foreclosing the prospect of having to deal with a dark side 9-squad, what with Cirno being in the pocket of the nefarious "Master" and all, but a demonic claymore wielding blob of darkness really only lends itself to a particularly hungry little youkai
>> No. 114895
>>114854
[X] Recall that the crystalline army accosting the Princess Royal called this place ‘Makai.’ If he were here, maybe your old abbot would know; but as far as you’ve learned and can remember of your cosmology, none of the Six Realms or Three Worlds holds a domain of that name. …Just where is this?

As if there's no good reason to look outside.

>>114832
Overreact much?

>>114861
Welcome to the game. Check your preconceptions and biases at the door. This is no standard CYOA, boy; no run-of-the-mill CYOA at all.
>> No. 114896
>>114892
I'm not saying Ex-Rumia isn't around here, just that the nickname "Miss Nightingale" hints at something more birdlike and musical. One of her songs could have easily triggered the statues (crystals do respond to sound differently)
>> No. 114902
File 126871520810.jpg - (61.03KB , 592x600 , RambaRal.jpg ) [iqdb]
114902
Thank you for deciding. Called and writing.

>>114895
>This is no standard CYOA, boy; no run-of-the-mill CYOA at all.

Wonder how many people besides me got that one. Seems we have at least a few /m/en around here.
>> No. 114921
hooray!
>> No. 114967
>>114877
>Short answer: Take your time, but be aware that you might miss some options that strongly affect the climax of this arc if you read at the speed that glasnost writes.
>Longer answer: To come in a while. Stay tuned.

Lol? Anyway, I thank for answering. Thought I'm not as slow as glasnot, I'm not a fast reader because I like this story, really. And the stories I like, I read them at the moments I need them the most: during the long, boring hours of work. Believe me, when your job involves waiting in line the whole day, you need something to distract your mind with, else you go insane.

Maybe this and other CYOAs are my weed and coke?
>> No. 114973
>>114902
I certainly did, not sure about the SEED kiddies though.
>> No. 114984
>>114973
I'm glad the reference wasn't unnoticed, but now I feel guilty because I'm the worst Gundam fan ever; the only series I've ever enjoyed was 08th MS Team because it didn't include any Gundams. The notion of the absurd pseudo-magical powers that are blithely conferred to anyone that touches them (in every fucking universe) sends me into a frothing rage. I'll always take the svelte and conservatively designed GM Sniper over the RX 78, Nu, Wing, METEOR, etc. or whatever bullshit incarnation du jour that is passing for "AWESOME" these days.

sage of OT rant
>> No. 114993
>>114984
You prefer the very most down to earth series. I'd think 0080 and 0083 might be more to your speed. They're series focusing non-ace characters.

And it's a bit of a easy mistake to assume certain things about gundams in regards to the early UC verse. And the newtype phenomenon in UC gundam was more due to evolution of space-living humans. But even I'd admit that the damnable "Gundams winning the war" trend might have started with ZZ gundam.

It's mainly the AU series that are grievously guilty of "2-3 Gundams winning the war"; a stark contrast to the first couple of UC series. Any Typical UC fan knows that the RX-79 Gundam did not win the OYW for the federation, The GM did.

The Gundam in the OYW basically acted like a distraction/waste of resources to Zeon, since they spent alot of effort going after it as well as sending various aces after it. The real turning point was after the victory at Odessa and the production of the GM. From that point forward, the white base and Gundam were basically the Federation's answer to the rare high end threats Zeon had. And it was Amuro's skill keeping it competitive against mobile armors and the technically superior Gelgoog.

I'll admit it doesn't help that most UC animated affairs focus on the aces/gundams above the mere grunts.

I apologize about this slight outburst, but I'm not too amused by UC getting lumped in with stuff like SEED and Wing. Saging for response to sage post.
>> No. 114997
>>114984
>the only series I've ever enjoyed was 08th MS Team because it didn't include any Gundams.
>The 8th ms team is all equiped with the RX-79[G] Ground gundam
>Shiro's Ez8 is made out of spare gundam parts

Yep.
>> No. 114998
File 126883143450.jpg - (302.77KB , 1036x728 , 50fd0da104e261b3b0c3b925c8c48020.jpg ) [iqdb]
114998
>>114895
>This is no standard CYOA, boy; no run-of-the-mill CYOA at all.

I don't find any problem with this CYOA, to be honest. Or maybe it's just me like reading stuffs, but hey, I enjoy the premise of the story (plus, I need some Youki materials; yours is, by far, the best written Youki I'm come across).

>>114984
>08th MS Team
Incidentally, this is the only Gundam show I can truly enjoy (although my reason of watching it was Norris Packard). So yeah, I feel guilty of myself, too.

My apology for joining the Gundam hijack.
>> No. 115013
>>114998
The remark was more due to how this story didn't play by the normal rules. It's a very important thing to realize with this story; a few screw ups have occured as a result of such thinking.
>> No. 115021
Just providing a head's up: I'm working on it now (couldn't yesterday, due to coursework) and will have an update ready by later tonight. Be ready to decide then.
>> No. 115060
File 126894055946.jpg - (202.28KB , 482x572 , 3770822.jpg ) [iqdb]
115060
>> No. 115090
>>114650
>These micro updates are murder on keeping track.

About this. After some trial and error, I decided to do it like this because I found that folding sub-options into one large option several times led to parts of the story with that you, anonymous, were not well-engaged and with that I was less than satisfied (for reasons of quality caused by my constraining myself by the specificity of the choice). As far as I can tell, conducting the vote this way has produced better results for both of us, but if you have any suggestions for improving it, I'll hear them.

----------
“Pearl among Princesses who knows my wish and shares in my dream,” you reach out the hand with that you’ve been beckoning blessings on her, “may my gods’ grace go with you and guide you to glory.”

Though her attention doesn’t budge from the burning hallway in front of her, the Princess Royal makes clear receipt of your benediction – the long locks draping down the length of her back bob lightly as she nods.

“…Please hurry.”

If clipped, her encouragement’s expressly calm and placidly composed; you comply. Looking back only once, you silently salute her before turning to make trial of the task she’s given you.



Against the furor of the flames in front of her, the spring of his fleet footfalls behind had become faint.

>The Lord Priest is gone, my Princess.

However well-meaning, that stiff, unfailingly-formal female voice’s notification was unnecessary; she already knew – before having heard it in her head, she had felt it on her face and felt it in her heart.

…He was gone.

In the end, she should have been left none the worse by this; being beset on all sides by enemies with only her one friend and familiar as support was the story of her life. But…

‘I hope he is able to forgive me, Fenghuang. There was still so much I wanted him to tell me and… still so much I wanted to tell him. …Do you–?’

“PERMISSIONS RECEIVED.”

A chorus of cold voices speaking as one suspended her regretful reflection. From out of the rising fire consuming the curtains, carpet and the whole corridor ahead emerged her enemies, the stone sentinels. Many of them had been destroyed, many of them had been damaged and many, many more of them yet remained; consequently, with scorching spears leveled and seething swords unsheathed, they pressed forward and reconstituted their formation. The configuration they took this time was different from the close-order ranks and files they had previously assumed; its resemblance was to a chessboard given an additional dimension – height. Their feathered wings of cobalt combustion fluttering soundlessly, all the lancers had left the ground for the swordsmen and taken to the air.

…She knew the reason. This configuration, the Quincunx – it was the formation they assumed for attacking. They had finally been permitted retaliation. …What would this retaliation be?

“PERMISSIONS RECEIVED.” “RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED. RECEIVED…”“DIE THE DEATH! SENTENCE TO DEA-”

Engulfing her enemies and their rallying cry both was an enormous explosion. With her forefinger still coolly pointed at their formation’s center, she chanted:
“Your inarticulate taunting wears thin
The delicate clothing of my patience.
If you are without fear, crystal cohort,
Then cease your noise and try my naked wrath.”


Answering this challenge was the collective flare of cruel eyes, their ire burning bitterly blue through the veil of gray smoke, and an indignant roar that rocked the walls with its rage.

‘…Glory?’ She mused, indifferent to the angry ants attacking as an avalanche. ‘…No. Not glory.’ Spreading wide her fiery wings, staring down Death with her fiery eyes, she smiled.

“Hope.”
----------
----------



The corridor’s changed its character again, become plainer than the previous parts you’ve passed. All the left wall’s lamps and entries ended at the Princess Royal’s room; probably around the same time, the crimson carpet at its center vanished without your noticing. Above you, the ceiling’s sunk from its former indefinitely dark heights to become fully visible – to your great relief. Of the hallway’s three possible ambush points, to be found inside the dusk of the ceiling’s crevasses, outside one of the soaring windows or behind any of the decaying wooden doors, the first and last aren’t hazards any longer.

…But the windows?

Even more than before, they – it looms threatening; the disappearance of the scarlet drapes also saw the disappearance of the portions of wall partitioning the particular panes, with the result that the entire right wall’s effectively become a single sheet of unbroken glass looking out on the dim sky of ‘Makai.’ However, from your present place in the passageway’s broad interior, pursuing ‘Miss Nightingale’ with your left hand pressed to the left wall, that dim sky’s all you’re able to see.

You:
[x] Recall that the crystalline army accosting the Princess Royal called this place ‘Makai.’ If he were here, maybe your old abbot would know; but as far as you’ve learned and can remember of your cosmology, none of the Six Realms or Three Worlds holds a domain of that name. …Just where is this?
[ ] Judge that sightseeing can wait; focus on finding ‘Miss Nightingale’ for now.
----------

edit: fixed some more errors
>> No. 115093
This took longer because I thought (possibly incorrectly) that you all might be well-served with a concise (as I could make as complicated a topic) explanation on a subject that might be unfamiliar with some of you. See the note for details.

----------
…You’re assuming a risk in ascertaining it, given how well-documented are the frequently-fatal consequences of coming near to weird windows, but there’s no other outlet for testing your conclusions. Based on what the Princess Royal related in her poem earlier, you’ve come to suspect that this space – this ‘Makai,’ is essentially a contradiction by both name and nature. Despite its being described as ‘the world of spirits,’ this shadowy sphere has less in common with the Corporeal Heaven’s provinces* than it does with the earth’s domains, with the mortal world of ensnaring desire and enchaining attachment that encompasses all the realms from Mount Sumeru downward. You’re able to perceive this place and reduce it to reflections and deliberations; you’re able to feel this place and suffer its pain and pleasure – and you shouldn’t. It’s strange that if ‘Makai’ exists outside the known universe, it nevertheless functions in accordance with the principles of said universe; even more strangely, the laws to that it adheres belong to the lowest of the three worlds. A state not constrained by the cosmos’ construction is a state of liberation from Samsara; a state of liberation from Samsara is a state of non-existence. By necessity then, this state should be fundamentally indistinguishable from Nirvana.

It’s not.

Having come up on the window with careful constancy, peering outside with copies of the Heart Sutra folded between your fingers, you discover a wintry wasteland of cheerless clouds and ash-white desert. It stretches for almost as far as your sight carries – spanning the whole vast space from the precipitous mountainside immediately beyond the glass to the featureless flatlands far below, the backdrop of endless tundra’s broken only by a range of bleak foothills in the remote background. Though stumpy and squat, their case for visibility’s helped greatly by that their freshly-snowed summits gleam an iron-gray in the diffuse twilight of the dim sky; nevertheless, they’re so very distant. If it wasn’t currently clear out, you would most likely have missed them entirely – and you would have missed that something’s in the air above them.

…Something dark.

You:
[ ] …Can’t make out any details on it at this distance – you don’t know whether it’s approaching or leaving, relative to you, and you’ve only guesses as to what it might be. Consequently, the best course is to wait, watch how the situation plays out before acting further.
[ ] …Seem to have found your target – could this distant dark shape be anything except ‘Miss Nightingale?’ Attack it at once.
[ ] …Should find a spot and conceal yourself. It’s not that you’re afraid, because you aren’t – you’ve conviction that the Triumvirate Goddesses will protect you in Acala’s place; rather, you can’t help but feel mindful of the Princess Royal. After she took such pains to pull all the antagonists’ attention away from you, could you waste her efforts by being found?
----------

*There are some differences in the specific details and degrees of emphasis, but all the major Buddhist teachings make reference to ‘Three Worlds’ – the Corporeal Heaven is the second highest of these, and is described as being home to beings who have succeeded in defeating desire (because it’s through desire that suffering is perpetuated), but have not yet attained awareness about the effectively artificial limitations of senses and the thought processes.

For the Theravada tradition, the above would in all likelihood be interpreted as a metaphor for one’s state of mind as it becomes closer to an enlightened states, but for a Mahayana Buddhist (as was and still are most worshippers in East Asia), it could (also) be discussed as describing semi-literal planes of existence into which souls are reincarnated, with all of the higher planes becoming increasingly removed from human understanding as desire, sensation, perception and cognition are stripped away. I know this comes at odds with the (incorrect) image that Buddhism has acquired in the West as a religion whose sole function is to be the vehicle for a system of ethics, so just to be sure that we’re all on the same page, I’ll repeat it – the practice of Mahayana Buddhism should be understood together as including the supernatural and transcendent.

By transcendent, I mean here in the specific sense of an external ultimate reality (ie . Theravada Buddhism deals in questions of transcendence (just as does any other religion), but theirs is a bit different because it’s inherent – it’s transcendence that comes out of perfecting one’s mind. While this sounds great on paper, being able to achieve a higher state of existence by yourself and by your own efforts, it presents some problems in practice, the biggest being that the very nature of going it alone means that most people aren’t going to meet with success in winning freedom from suffering. It might be that you’re born with a temperament that’s unsuited for self-cultivation; it could be that you’re born poor and your family can’t spare you.

(Case in point: have a look at the roster of famous, important or influential Buddhists and count how many of them were born into wealthy and powerful lineages. With his background being what it is, Myouren will probably have reason and opportunity to talk about some of the exceptions to this trend down the road.)

This is why the Mahayana ideal of a ‘Pure Land,’ wherein anyone who had the sincere desire to be saved would, upon dying, be there removed and then actively guided towards Enlightenment by a sitting Buddha (most infamously, Amitabha), struck such a lasting chord in the minds of the people – so much so that the Pure Land school of Buddhism is still the most widely-practiced in Japan today.

And, as those of you who know about Buddhism know, this is also the reason for why the Mahayana ideal of the Bodhisattva, an Enlightened existence (technically, a non-existence) who has awakened to emptiness and gained freedom from suffering, but who has nonetheless decided to permanently renounce his/her reward in order to remain in the world and work for the salvation of others, has had similar popular appeal. If you visit Asia today and ask an average person about Buddhism, he/she might know little or nothing about any of its doctrines, but they’ll know Guanyin of the South Seas, for example.
>> No. 115098
[x] …Seem to have found your target – could this distant dark shape be anything except ‘Miss Nightingale?’ Attack it at once.

A black smudge amongst an endless expanse of gray? Is that so? Between standing around doing nothing but staring slack jawed or cowering in some dark corner, I'm mighty comfortable taking a slightly more proactive approach to the situation. I can just imagine Myouren, after taking in the nigh featureless landscape, noticing the conspicuously dark inconsistency; his eyes narrowing and grip on the Heart Sutra becoming noticeably tighter.
>> No. 115101
File 126900935492.jpg - (524.24KB , 758x1113 , 8331106.jpg ) [iqdb]
115101
>>115093
[X] …Seem to have found your target – could this distant dark shape be anything except ‘Miss Nightingale?’ Attack it at once.

Not exactly the most "prudent" course of actions, but I can't shake the notion that that this darkness is significant; we're looking for Rumia, Makai is an incredibly gray place, and there's an odd black thing out there. I don't think this is a coincidence.

>Author note
And now I've learned something new! Had to Google "Guanyin of the South Seas" though. Cool stuff.
>> No. 115102
[x] …Seem to have found your target – could this distant dark shape be anything except ‘Miss Nightingale?’ Attack it at once.

She told us to go after her, and time isn't exactly on our side.
>> No. 115103
[x] …Can’t make out any details on it at this distance – you don’t know whether it’s approaching or leaving, relative to you, and you’ve only guesses as to what it might be. Consequently, the best course is to wait, watch how the situation plays out before acting further.
>> No. 115111
[x] …Can’t make out any details on it at this distance – you don’t know whether it’s approaching or leaving, relative to you, and you’ve only guesses as to what it might be. Consequently, the best course is to wait, watch how the situation plays out before acting further.
>> No. 115134
----------
That dark spot in the dim sky’s so very far away; by your best estimate, it’s at least nine miles off from the mountain on which you’re standing. Given the extreme distance between you, assuming that this silhouette belongs to ‘Miss Nightingale’ and assuming that assailing her in advance of any awareness about why or how she’s taken to the air represents the most principled and advantageous of possible actions, you’ve only one recourse.

…In the process of deliberating, your hand’s crept to the pocket where you keep your Vajra.

You:
[ ] …Shouldn’t spend your trump cards so frivolously – save your Vajra and instead, concentrate on scrutinizing the situation carefully. If the shape approaches to within range and shows itself as your target, then attack with an appropriate scripture.
[ ] …Have reconsidered – you’ll refrain from attacking till you know more. However unlikely, there’s a chance that this isn’t ‘Miss Nightingale,’ and with that possibility present, you can’t justify preempting an attack that would leave its target less than ashes.
[ ] …Invoke the Five Thunderbolts – MAXIMUM POWER!
----------
>> No. 115137
[ ] …Invoke the Five Thunderbolts – MAXIMUM POWER!
Fire first, questions later... is what i would like to do but
[x] …Shouldn’t spend your trump cards so frivolously – save your Vajra and instead, concentrate on scrutinizing the situation carefully. If the shape approaches to within range and shows itself as your target, then attack with an appropriate scripture.
Overlook the situation, be carefully but not too carefully.
>> No. 115139
[x] …Invoke the Five Thunderbolts – MAXIMUM POWER!

"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells. Captain Drayton, go ahead! Jouett, full speed!"

It's this or:

"Gee these megaelixers are just too good to use. Gee I'm glad I saved up all of them, oh wait I beat the final boss already. Shit."

Phoenix Lady is putting us to shame. However, her enemies are ever increasing, while ours is one we scared off already, and which the Lady hobbled by destroying her weapon. If there's any hope of recruiting her for our party, we have to do things fast.
>> No. 115162
[ ] …Shouldn’t spend your trump cards so frivolously – save your Vajra and instead, concentrate on scrutinizing the situation carefully. If the shape approaches to within range and shows itself as your target, then attack with an appropriate scripture.

Fight smart, not hard.
>> No. 115163
[x] …Invoke the Five Thunderbolts – MAXIMUM POWER!

Hate to throw this into a tie that probably won't be broken until god knows when, but I think letting a Vajra rip is the best idea. By all accounts, the "mausoleum" is a prison in Makai; a solitary place in the middle of no where (and on top of a mountain, apparently) where dangerous individuals are locked away. Rumia was the guard, she just saw that we had awoken someone who is probably public enemy #1 to this Master person, activated the automated security guards, and is presently en route to call in back up and even more heinousness. I admit that using a Vajra seems like overkill, but if she gets away and brings an army back with her, all the Vajras in the world aren't going to be of much help.
>> No. 115167
Called, writing.
>> No. 115174
How many Vajras do we have left? I hope this is going to be worth it.
>> No. 115176
File 126914680734.jpg - (443.08KB , 800x1031 , 9486643.jpg ) [iqdb]
115176
>>115174
Two; see >>112270
We're 1 for 2 with Vajra usage from what I recall. With the first, we manifested Acala in our fight with Youki, which was incredibly awesome. Our second one was used in the hope of bringing Youki back to life, but I think the best we managed was making his corpse more presentable. That's good for sure, but I don't think it rises to the level of
>faced with a state of affairs in which your likelihood of success draws infinitely close to zero, you might nevertheless make the impossible, possible
Maybe bringing Youki back to whatever-version-of-life half ghosts have was well and good impossible. Maybe it's what got that mysterious voice to take note of our plight and haul us to this weird land where villains scheme and princesses sleep. Who knows?

I'm... not quite sure what to make of the situation. On the one hand I'm glad there's writing being done, but on the other, I don't know what won. Furthermore, when anonymous is the author, anyone can say "Called, writing."

Have some Yuyu.
>> No. 115184
>>115176
I think we did restore life to his body, just not his soul. It's hard to tell how this small adventure has in the way of affecting the current mission. If it wasn't interesting or enjoyable, it'd feel like Namek
>> No. 115188
>>115174
If you want to know your inventory and circumstances, just use "[x]Status."

>>115176
>I don't know what won.
Don't worry too much about that, just sit tight and wait. Also, thanks for the picture.

>>115184
You have my guarantee that the reason why you're here and why it has narrative importance will make perfect sense by the end.
>> No. 115191
>Maybe bringing Youki back to whatever-version-of-life half ghosts have was well and good impossible. Maybe it's what got that mysterious voice to take note of our plight and haul us to this weird land where villains scheme and princesses sleep. Who knows?

The power of Vajra is such that brought you to the very place it needed to be used. Vajra is not some explosive gimmick that brings the Imaginary into Reality. It is more the Reality using you as a vehicle to effect its own Sublime Truth, shining brightly in this seemingly impenetrable fog of Maya.
>> No. 115236
Ho-ly shit.
>> No. 115237
There is no need to tip our hand here and reveal that we know more than the "Great King" suspects. We should first ask that he calls off the guards. Anything after that should be worded in such a manner as to reveal little of our actual knowledge. Any other thoughts?
>> No. 115240
I take back what I said... he may not be a pilliar of good his title suggests, but the kindness he showed Rumia is uncharacteristic of a villain.
>> No. 115241
[x] “…What’s the need that drives you to ask for a meeting in person? I haven’t any difficulties hearing you from my present place, and by all appearances, you’ve not any troubles either. If this is another design on my life, I’d just like to say that your contrivances will need to become far less transparent if you’re really intent on savoring my demise.”
>> No. 115242
[x] Set conditions:
-{x} Make him call off the guards assaulting Princess Royal
-{x} Have him apologize for what he commanded be done to Youki's body

It's what Konngara would want.
>> No. 115245
>>115242
Problem with the apology request is that it might show some of Myouren's hand. Sometimes It's better to play dumb.
>> No. 115246
>>115245
>Sometimes It's better to play dumb.

This omniscient mother fucker just guesstimated our presence based on a difference in pronoun alone (from my meager understanding of Japanese, this alone boggles me). If he had accounted for some woman to having wrangled herself into this situation, I don't think it's too far from the realm of believability that the very same person would be able to understand the ramifications of someone he holds in unfortunately high regard being a(n unwitting) substitute. He can put 2 and 2 together and appreciate what we've observed (and possibly by extension, what we could be capable of achieving in his lapse in judgment)

From what I reckon, he will have a definitive grasp of what we know about the situation. What he won't be entirely comfortable with, though, is what we are capable of doing/willing to do if our demands aren't met. For example; suppose we redirect the Vajra we were about to use into freeing every last person imprisoned here?

THAT ALL SAID... who did he think he'd have to be dealing with right now?
>> No. 115247
“…I have seen worse,” is the calm voice’s unenthused compliment.

You see that? Concessions have been made by the Big Bad.

[x] Set conditions:
-{x} Make him call off the guards assaulting Princess Royal
-{x} Have him apologize for what he commanded be done to Youki's body

Since he doesn't know that we know all that we know, it's best if we demand as much as we're ready to reveal immediately. Even if he declines, we give him a false degree of our own involvement in his affairs. And if he does go for it, that writes us out as a confounding factor in his playbook, when in fact we're conspiring to wreck his shit in a very big way.

Finally, his mere presence was able to bring Yukari to her knees. Not exactly a level playing field for negotiations. In the case he fulfills our demands, and we are granted audience, he may no longer see us as a threat anymore, just to be vindictive.
>> No. 115249
edit: minor adjustments

>>115191
It's good to see that at least one of you believes in the centrality of human agency.

----------
Calling on the same hand with that you’ve replaced your Heart Sutras, from their place inside your cassock’s left pocket, you withdraw one of your two remaining Vajras. The extent to which you’ve been obliged to invoke their power as of late – to put it lightly, it’s more than a little disquieting; all the arduous months and years of your peripatetic passage prior to this point presented only a single situation in that they saw use. Nevertheless, but for the tragedy that found you here, you’ve never encountered an emergency that needed your Vajra more than the one you’re facing now. Youki’s missing, Acala’s absent and the Princess Royal’s relying on you; any hope of helping all of them hinges on halting ‘Miss Nightingale.’ She can’t be allowed to escape – she can’t be allowed to a marshal yet another army.

You have to stop her.

With eyes only for her distant, shadowy silhouette, you lift your left hand high and, in your mind’s eye, reconstruct the recitation with that you were able to defeat the depraved desires of that vile Tengu.

...

Praised be the Five Directions of the Dharma – East, South, West, North, Center.*
Praised be the names of the Five Wisdom Buddhas who uphold the Dharma – Akshobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi, Vairocana.
Praised be the names of their protectors, the Five Wisdom Kings who defend the Dharma – Trilokavijya, Kundali, Yamantaka, Vajrayaksa, Acala.
Praised be the Five Wisdoms of the Enlightened Mind – the Wisdom of Objectivity, the Wisdom of Equality, Wisdom of Specificity, Wisdom of Spontaneity, Wisdom of Ultimate Reality.
Praised be the Five Virtues of the Enlightened Mind – Mindfulness, Concentration, Perseverance, Faith, Understanding.
Denied are the Five Poisons of Delusion – Aggression, Passion, Pride, Paranoia and Ignorance.
Dispersed are the Five Aggregates of the Artificial ‘Self’ – Consciousness, Sensation, Recognition, Volition, Forms.

Disengaged are the Five Fetters binding the Bodily Objects – Sound, Smell, Taste, Touch, Sight.**
Dispelled are the Five Phantasms blinding the Bodily Organs – Ear, Nose, Tongue, Skin and Eye…***

Your concentration absolute, you’ve come halfway through your chant when…

“…My little singularity?”

A doubtful question sounds from the corridor around you, ringing off of the walls, resonating through the glass, echoing through the floor and entering into the ears of your flesh – but not the ears of your mind. As a whirlwind of words kicks up about your person, you persist in your prayer.

“I did not expect you again so soon, but I welcome you all the same. The reason you have returned is to relate more on the invader you discovered earlier, I presume? You may retain your report for a future date – for now, I require a different service of you. Come, sit here at my side; keep me company. Come! Dispense with imagined differences in station; you need not scamper forward with sagging shoulders and shaking stride. Please, sit – hear my confession in her place. Good. …I am with a heavy heart, my little singularity. I have just seen off my bosom friend of three-hundred years. For good or ill, she is gone from my side and lost to our fellowship for the rest of time, never to reappear before us unless this world is–” The cold, clear voice that was before being hailed as ‘my Master’ is, for what feels a very long second, stopped in its soliloquy. When it again speaks…

“Is… that… you are... bleeding?”

Shivering to its very stones with consternation, the whole ‘mausoleum’ trembles violently;’ you’re pitched forward and thrown almost to your death, only avoiding a fall through the wall-high window to your fore with a timely tumble sideways. When the shaking finally subsides some several seconds later, it’s now poised in a cat-like crouch on the floor with your Vajra in hand and sight still set on the shape in the sky that you’ve chosen to silently carry on listening. Though not lost, your invocation was interrupted and the Five Thunderbolts’ mandala that you carried almost to term, upset. To reconstitute them both, you’ll need time.

“How have you come to be wounded, my little singularity?” Its words deadly calm, the former respondent – questioner now, demands an answer in a tone of kindest care.

“Found an intruder, Great King!” pipes another, now-familiar speaker. Her previously flighty intonation now audibly weighed down by the pain of hurt and humiliation, ‘Miss Nightingale’ answers, “Found an intruder and fought with it, Rumia did.”

“…Alastor is not at your side. Should I assume that this invader defeated both of you?”

“…”

“My little singularity – you have not lapsed in fulfillment of your oaths. Punishment is meted out only to the duplicitous, not the defeated.”

“I’m sorry, Great King!” blurts out ‘Miss Nightingale,’ blubbering almost incoherently. “Rumia was patrolling around like you said to do. Saw an intruder prowling around. Planning to steal your precious paintings, it was. Alastor and Rumia tried to stop it. But evil intruder was too strong! Killed Alastor, it did! Killed Rumia it almost did!”

“…So you understand, if too late. Do you know now why I laid that injunction on you, my little singularity? I enjoined you to avoid confrontation with the invader because she is–”

“No no, Great King! Sorry for interrupting, Rumia is. But this is another intruder! Different!”

“What is this?” The calm voice’s self-possessed coolness evaporates instantly.

“Not the scary woman, no! Like a delicious man, this one looks. Wears black. Has a stupid hat. Very garrulous. But inside is different! Much faster! Much stronger! Has evil light all around it. Burned Rumia’s eyes, looking at it did. The bad guy Great King calls–”

“First Cause.” After this impassive interjection, the character of that one conversing with ‘Miss Nightingale’ warms somewhat, as it continues,“…You are eavesdropping on us, are you not?”

...For an instant, the blood in your veins runs chill. If Acala was here, your answer to this sudden surprise would likely surface as a laconic, ‘Indeed.’ Since he isn’t, though…

“I am, and…” you stand slowly and, staring strongly towards the ceiling, issue out a defiant declaration: “I’ll see your ‘little singularity’ retract her slight against my aesthetic sensibilities. My sunshade’s not some ‘stupid hat’ – it’s amazing, FABULOUS.

“…”

The faint tremor pulsing through the floor’s accompanied by the sound of an awkward cough.

“…I have seen worse,” is the calm voice’s unenthused compliment.

“Punish it!” ‘Miss Nightingale’ exclaims angrily, “Great King, punish it! Punish the intruder! Punish the evil one who killed Alastor, almost kil–”

“My little singularity. …Are you telling me what to do?”

“…”

“So you understand. …First Cause?” The character of the so-styled ‘Great King’s’ inflection reverts back as it calls you; the veiled menace’s vanished and the curt cordiality’s returned. “The injury you have done my allies and friends does not endear you to my mind, but I should like it if there was no more meaningless violence. Would you have any interest in continuing this talk while face-to-face?”

...Your answer?
[ ] “Yeah, no – I don’t trust you; how could I? I heard it all! You were the one who murdered Youki, who conspired to create a circumstance wherein Lady Saigyouji and I would meet with death at the others' hands! If we ever encounter each other ‘face-to-face,’ it’ll be on the field of battle!”
[ ] “…What’s the need that drives you to ask for a meeting in person? I haven’t any difficulties hearing you from my present place, and by all appearances, you’ve not any troubles either. If this is another design on my life, I’d just like to say that your contrivances will need to become far less transparent if you’re really intent on savoring my demise.”
[ ] “Tell your lackey to call off her guards.”
[ ] Set another condition(s) for negotiation to go forward than those previously mentioned. (Specify)
[ ] Do something else. (Specify)
----------

*Typically, after figuring concepts into a mandala, you enter said mandala from the 'east' side and move clockwise from there.

**According to Buddhist ideology, it's not so much that the senses are evil or unreliable as they have been conditioned to operate in a manner that perpetuates the existence of suffering. Breaking this conditioning (by becoming the world, as opposed to experiencing or interacting with it) is an important step for attaining Enlightenment, and does not include denying the senses themselves.

***All of the concepts outlined here correspond with the other concepts occupying the same place in the sequence. For example, Center = Vairocana = Eye = Sight = Wisdom of Ultimate Reality, whereas East = Akshobhya = Ear = Sound = Wisdom of Objectivity.
>> No. 115251
>>115247
Interesting argument and thinking about it, the last bit could be dismissed as being overeager in any case. And we're not revealing the biggest cards in our hands: Mainly what we overheard.

But I wonder how things really played out between Yukari and this King, since the legend didn't say too much about how the Princess was sealed away in Makai.

[x] Set conditions:
-{x} Make him call off the guards assaulting Princess Royal
-{x} Have him apologize for what he commanded be done to Youki's body.
>> No. 115282
>>115275

After one vote? Damn, what happened to everyone else?
>> No. 115283
>>115282
The other votes are the ones above it.
>> No. 115286
File 126940249482.jpg - (556.94KB , 1680x945 , 9508739.jpg ) [iqdb]
115286
>>115282
Yeah, don't worry about it: >>115241, 115242, and >>115247 still voted but the update was edited. This author is slightly OCD when it comes to presenting updates in an immaculate fashion. It's pretty awesome for anyone taking the time to read everything to get caught up, getting the best version of everything. It's slightly disconcerting for everyone mindful of the coming and going of the most recent developments.
>> No. 115289
Don't take too long in deciding.

----------
“Why ‘face-to-face?’” With not a little mistrust, you commence on voicing your misgivings. “To this point, ‘Great King,’” you emphasize its title ironically, “we’ve encountered nothing that would necessitate that we meet in person – no difficulties hearing each other, no troubles commu–”

“First Cause.” The calm voice cuts in tersely. “…How is it that you suppose we should find success in setting right our differences if we are unable to abide each others’ presence? Do you truly believe this current arrangement is conducive to the creation of mutual understanding?” it asks, audibly incredulous.

A persuasive point – sensible, too. Nevertheless, you’ll not agree; you don’t trust this enigmatic entity even slightly. You’ll not accept its offer of negotiation – not so easily, anyway.

“I’ll consider what you’ve said,” is your nonchalant, noncommittal reply; “however,” you state firmly, “if we’re to negotiate, I’ve some condi–”

“Negotiate?” It cuts in again, this time solemnly – turning the word on its tongue as one might taste some bitter fruit. “…First Cause. Negotiations are held between enemies – superior and inferior, oppressor and oppressed, victor and vanquished. Talks,” the cold voice differentiates meaningfully, “are conducted between equals. Are you acceding to talks… or to negotiations?”

You:
[ ] Talks.
[ ] Negotiations.
[ ] Neither. If that’s how this baleful being has decided to define the discourse, then negotiations and talks are pointless – it's time to fight.
----------
>> No. 115291
While I do enjoy every chance at alternative dispute resolution... no. I'm not foreclosing talking, but seriously. No.

[x] Negotiations.

Raping Princess Royal, imprisoning her, condemning her daughter to solitude and sacrifice, ruining the lives of untold victims with Teruyo-hime, delivering Pandora once again to the world, grinding the Great Sage under his heel, demanding the murder and desecration Youki, planning for Yuyu and ourselves to eliminate one another... Pardon my righteous indignation, but fuck you, guy. May not be the most pious or kind or righteous thing to do in the world, but I'll be damned if I concede to being considered an "equal" with this guy.
>> No. 115292
[x] Negotiations.
>> No. 115299
[x] Talks.
>> No. 115304
[x] “Tell your lackey to call off her guards.”
[x] Talks.

We must have him call off the guards. There can be no talks until then.
>> No. 115307
>Don't take too long in deciding.

Even despite the weight resting on each choice?

>>115291
I don't think he went as so far as rape. But despite all his deeds, we mustn't get our heads get clouded with emotion.

[x] Talks.
Perhaps we might gain some ground this way and there must be good reason why he isn't pressing his advantages like he could.

There is a time for vengeance and justice towards the great king; I doubt this is that time.
>> No. 115326
Called. Writing after I wake up.
>> No. 115416
File 12694887101.jpg - (549.49KB , 763x755 , 9567977.jpg ) [iqdb]
115416
Ha ha, oh wow. Seven threads in and there are still people that think taking the middling, non-committal, "make everyone happy because we don't want to have anything bad to happen to anyone" choice is a good idea. With the primary antagonist no less, too. There isn't any possible problem conceding the point (and subsequently surrendering themselves bodily to the will and control of the Big Bad while our latest companion is fighting to her death as we converse) to the person that thinks destiny and pre-determination is always on their side and all that oppose him must be dealt with with extreme prejudice.

Yeah.

And the worse thing is, I don't even understand why this was chosen other than "let's not be mean." WHY THE FUCK NOT?! Have we not seen first hand the profound misery he's inflicted upon the world? Some level-headed analysis that bargaining with us as equals indicates that there may be more than what we perceive about the situation, or that asking that we meet on level field infers that we might be a legitimate threat that needs to be treated as such to avoid unnecessary damage to his companions. NOTHING of that type. "Don't wanna be mean" is the best justification.

Well, whatever. May as well see what happens. Maybe we'll get to unload that Vajra we saved into his face, up close and personal. Have some singularity.
>> No. 115439
Another one later.

----------
“As I was saying,” you resolutely repeat, “on the condition that your lackey first calls off her guards and that you, ‘High King of Destiny’ – on the condition that you first beg the forgiveness of Lady Saigyouji and Youki, whose life and love you’ve conspired to destroy by your powers, I will welcome an opportunity for negotiation. …But not before.” You emphasize: “I’ll not negotiate with one for whom mercy and sympathy are only tools to an end.”

“‘High King… of Destiny?’” The clear voice – sounding strangely shaken – attempts to mislead you by asking its very title in the form of a question. You’re not so easily fooled.

“Don’t tell me you’re going to try at denying your true identity, ‘Great King,’” you dare, deriding its transparent deception. “Having met the Princess Royal, it follows that I would also encounter you – and I know all the evils for that you were responsible.”

“Stupid man!” intercedes ‘Miss Nightingale, her cheery lilt disfiguring into furious shouting as she curses, “You are a worm. Great King is an eagle! But stupid, ungrateful, insolent man does not see this, does not see how nice Great King-eagle is to talk to stupid man-worm, no! It makes stupid demands! Insulting de–”

“Peace.” The cold voice interrupts with a curt rebuke and calm chastisement. “My little singularity,” it thoughtfully teaches, “do not be so imprudent as to disdain others on the basis of difference, doubly more when they have previously done you injury. To undertake action with myopic arrogance as your advisor is to arrange an inescapable meeting with the three dread Fates – grave Defeat, eventual Downfall and…” it’s with pronounced discomfort that it names the last among their number: “miserable Death.” There’s a pause, possibly for emphasis, before it continues, “I wish nothing so cruel upon you, my little singularity. …If you have not attended on my side for as long as my bosom friend of three-hundred years, I value your company all the same; the progress you have made in our ten years of relationship has been as much to my satisfaction as it has to your glory. Hence, I enjoin you - Rumia, for my sake and for yours, strive at overcoming this limitation of your being.”

“Rumia will, Great King!”

“Good. …Now. First Cause,” it returns to you with a sober question, deliberately posed. “...I will ask you once – will you not rethink your position?”

You:
[ ] …Will not.
[ ] …Already have.
[ ] …Might. But before that, there’s something you need answered. (Specify)
----------

>>115304
>>115307
Just so you two are aware, your votes ended up counting towards "[x]Negotiate." because the rationalizations you provided were for that choice, and not for "[x]Talk." Can you work out the reasons or do you want me to explain it to you?
>> No. 115458
>>115439
I can start to imagine the reasons, but is the High King asking about if we're going to Negotiate (not change) or talk (Change)?
>> No. 115472
[x] …Already have.

Despite what he's done, I suspect Myouren can see the bonds of companionship between him and Rumia. A villain doesn't usually speak so kindly to their underlings.

This is the "Talks" option, right? I can only hope the end result isn't too bad for the princess, just that I think trying to be confrontational isn't wise at this point.
>> No. 115476
>“‘High King… of Destiny?’” The clear voice – sounding strangely shaken
He's either confused by the fact that we know his title, or he is upset by the connotation that we know him only as some that "rules destiny." I think it's possible that he doesn't think of himself as someone that "controls the destiny of others" as much as he is someone that does unpleasant things for the ultimate good/status quo

>do not be so imprudent as to disdain others on the basis of difference, doubly more when they have previously done you injury.
He's definitely addressing us (along with Rumia) with this preface; he knows why we're rebuking him, and for that matter, he knows we're upset because of our interpretation of his actions. That is to say, he's perfectly aware that his activities have been injurious to us, but is asking us to try and appreciate his perspective. Unfortunately for him, I (we?) am more than thoroughly versed in good intention leading to bad outcomes. If you only have the goal in mind, the things you need to do to acheive it are lost.

>it’s with pronounced discomfort that it names the last among their number: “miserable Death.”
It's this part that arouses interest, becaus while "downfall" and "defeat" are acceptable outcomes for foes, apparently he's uncomfortable with killing people. He put Mokou to sleep, imprisoned Princess Royal, and locked away the abilities of the Great Sage. While he mangled Youki's physical half and seemed to have tried to get Yuyu and ourselves to take each other out, it's not perfectly apparent if someone's overt death was the goal. Which, in the grand scheme of things, makes sense: if he's trying to make the timeline we all know and love occur, certain people are supposed to die, and some are supposed to live on/continue. Mokou will wake up to pursue her rivalry, Yuyu and Mima will become ghosts Konngara will be a vengeful spirit, Youki will fade into history, Yukari will eventually become awesome, and Myouren will die before meeting Byakuren again. The unforunate end to this line of thought is that if we accept life where there was death, we should be prepared for death where there might have been life. Here's to... whatever we get to before then.

I can kind of imagine what a meeting with the High King would be like: "Yes, I fully understand why you'd be pissed off at me, but seriously: in a few short centuries and a couple scuffles, everyone is loving their (un)lives and having tea parties every day! Why would you want to get in the way of that?"

>>115416
Well, that's me being an absolute asshole to people that ultimately ended up agreeing with me. I'm sorry for that. However, considering what minor conditions and reasoning for talking = negotiations, it is instructive what constitutes "talking" and "negotiating" for the High King: "Abiding by MY conditions is talking" (letting me do and attacking whatever I want) vs. "Abiding by your conditions is negotiation" (stop assaulting Princess Royal and quaranteering the Saigyouji residence) I mean, isn't determining the process by which we talk to each other a negotiation?

[x] …Will not.

I'm going out on a tangent here. High King here loves maintaining the status quo and negotiating for moderate solutions where everyone is happy(ish)=HIGH KING IS THE INCARNATION OF EVERY ANONYMOUS PROTAGONIST EVER
>> No. 115485
HIGH KING IS ANONYMOUS

FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUU-
>> No. 115488
[x] …Will not.
Never
>> No. 115518
Called, writing.
>> No. 115520
>>115476
problem your thoery: This is too soon for Youki to pass on, Youmu wasn't even born yet.

And your implication about anon's nature is quite insulting, mainly that they'd merely settle for moderately happy. One or the other style thinking is a flaw in many CYOAs since it's very High School VNish. This story certainly doesn't abide by that. And it was that thinking that resulted in the Mima screw up.

But on the definition of talks and negotiation, you might be on to something there.
>> No. 115530
The Demiurge admonishes his servant while also taking the time to show you he is a person of great compassion and heart, and greatly embittered of death, when the truth is he inflicted it on Youki so as to bring about more death. And as you negotiate over how you're going to negotiate, the Princess is engaged with his servants in open battle. By your earnest friendship with the woman he imprisoned, you are already enemies. It's easy to see why he is the kind of person who thinks a blood-thirsty idiot is good company.

[x] …Will not.
>> No. 115544
[ ] …Already have.

It's better to have everyone at the same level from some time, than to have someone powerful (and with many lakceys/guards) as an enemy since the beggining. Learn, then fight.
>> No. 115548
Vote's called you guys.
>> No. 115568
File 126957464810.png - (482.69KB , 700x699 , dreams.png ) [iqdb]
115568
>>115548
I don't see the harm. Vote was called, but the more opinions and viewpoints the better. They're a scarce enough commodity as it is.

>>115520
Take it easy
>> No. 115824
File 12698358194.png - (85.69KB , 300x300 , 9542819.png ) [iqdb]
115824
Why?

;_;
>> No. 115861
File 126992422483.jpg - (142.42KB , 600x800 , 9600856.jpg ) [iqdb]
115861
Wait... seriously? Either this is one hell of an update, the writefag is swamped, or McCoy.jpg
>> No. 115871
You now recognize that this first part sounds an awful lot like the dialogue that Reimu and Sanae have with Byakuren in UFO.

----------
“I will not,” you proclaim. “If you won’t agree to a cessation of hostilities and call off the crystalline army with that you’re accosting the Princess Royal – if you won’t agree to make amends to Lady Saigyouji, to come before her on bended knee and, with a bowed head and remorseful heart, to crawl on the ground and beseech her clemency, then I’ve no words to waste on you! Or have you been so blinded by the slavish sycophants with that you surround yourself as to believe that I’d be intimidated by your simply asking again?”

“First Cause,” it verifies slowly, its mood melancholy and grim in confirming, “…I am only an enemy?”

“Of that, I’ve no doubts – not a one,” you declare, repeating: “I know all the evils for that you are responsible, ‘High King of Destiny.’”

“…”

There’s no response; the probable denial doesn’t materialize. Your cutting condemnation echoes through the empty air, its last syllables skipping off the walls’ white stones and into the stillness of the shadows behind. When an answer at last appears, it’s only after almost a minute of silent brooding – and it’s not to you.

“…My little singularity,” the cold voice calls calmly.

“Great King has a job for Rumia?”

“…Return to the Room of Reflection;” it continues without pause or acknowledgement, “and relay this message to the Psychodiver: ‘A hostile force has invaded to the prison’s interior from Outside – its intent, the Saint of Swords. I trust that you will see that he is not recovered prematurely; take the necessary steps to expedite your conventions with him according to the timetable I have enclosed. If his reluctance is unchanged from the time of your previous report, and you have exhausted other measures, I allow you access to the final solution – you may tell him the truth. In matters not mentioned, and any about that you are unclear, exercise your own discretion; the enemy has arrived at higher awareness and is capable of intercepting any messages with thoughts or forms as their medium. On receipt of this order, the only condition for that you should seek to consult my perspective further is if the situation develops to beyond what I have here detailed; you are to reopen communications by courier in that contingency,’” it finishes.

The irresistible finality of this flawless, immaculately-delivered imperative spawns another span of silence, this one noticeably different in character from the somber stretch following your former rejection. For one, it doesn’t last for nearly as long; moreover, by the feeling of its building tension – its atmosphere, this pause’s less brooding than it is…

“Uhh… Great King?” ‘Miss Nightingale’ sheepishly speaks up, “Too hard to remember that all, Rumia thinks. Sorry!”

…Awkward.

“...” Though momentarily at a loss for words, ultimately – the cold voice doesn’t become impassioned or distressed. With nary a hint of frustration, consternation or resignation at its wasted efforts, it conveys a new command to ‘Miss Nightingale:’ “…Call my Adjutant back in from the foyer.”

“I AM HERE.” This too-immediate answer’s from a new quarter – a different speaker. In a thundering tone, crackling with power barely-contained, it goes on to ask, “WHAT IS YOUR WILL, ‘ERESHKIGAL?’”

“‘Balor,’” the ‘Great King’ asks coolly, “should I surmise that you heard my mandate?”

“YES.”

“Good. I deliver into your charge the responsibility of relaying my message to the Psychodiver. See that she receives it in good time.”

“YES.”

“Do not seem so eager, my Adjutant – stay your departure; there is one other matter I would have you handle. …‘Hestia’ has been awakened. She is ignoring all instructions that she return to her cell and inflicted tremendous casualties on the stationed forces; their strength is insufficient for suppressing a resistance as determined as hers,” the cold voice pauses for emphasis, “…when unaided.”

As if struck by lightning, the ‘mausoleum’ rumbles with a roar of “I HEAR AND OBEY, ‘ERESHKIGAL.’”

“After the Psychodiver is informed of my orders,” it elaborates, “you are to marshal the stationed forces and mount a counterattack. …You must win, ‘Balor.’ If ‘Hestia’ is allowed to escape and incarnate again Outside, it will see the beginning of another age of disorder, the death of thousands and, if Destiny should move against us – the end of a world.”

“ALLAY YOUR ANXIETY, ‘ERESHKIGAL.’ I WILL REALIZE YOUR DIRECTIVE WITH AN EXECUTION THAT EXCEEDS YOUR EXPECTATIONS.

“‘...Balor,’” the cold voice, still concerned, offers its Adjutant some last words of cautionary advice: “be warned – the advantage you are afforded by your eyes will be to no effect against her; ‘Hestia’ has an evil spirit in her, just as you do.”

“I WILL TAKE CARE.”

Accompanying this last affirmative answer’s an atmosphere of alleviation, by its stillness signaling that this exchange’s ended – and that another’s to resume.

“Great King,” entreats ‘Miss Nightingale,’ “is there something for Rumia to do?”

“…I have another task reserved for you, my little singularity,” it assures her, “no less in importance, if more in line with your aptitude. Find my matchless Twin Stars and recall them from their patrol – I will have orders ready for them on their return.”

She laughs lightly. “Is that so~?”

“Have no misgivings about the fidelity of my designs, my little singularity,” it states clearly; “I keep my word.”

“Okay then. Rumia will be back soon, Great King!”



“…First Cause,” the ‘High King of Destiny’ says softly, finally returning to you, “I understand that pursuance of your personal principles makes it necessary to deny me a fair chance as your friend; hence, I have offered you what I judge as next-best – a fair chance as my enemy. I have bared my mind and aims to you; for what steps will you now decide?”

[ ] They’re doing something to Youki. You need to find him. Now.
[ ] Run to the assistance of the Princess Royal – she’s in terrible danger.
[ ] Stopping ‘Miss Nightingale’ takes precedence; if the confidence that this ‘Great King’ has invested in them is deserved, they’re incredibly dangerous.
[ ] “You… I’ve some questions for you.” (Specify)
[ ] “I have reconsidered my former position/believe that there have been some misunderstandings between us. I would like to talk with you now.”
----------
>> No. 115881
>>115871
>I understand that pursuance of your personal principles makes it necessary to deny me a fair chance as your friend; hence, I have offered you what I judge as next-best – a fair chance as my enemy.

Well, at least we agree on that much, but seeing all of his forces leveled on us leaves me with a distinct sense of dread and vague notion that we made a mistake not agreeing to parlay. However, if our current gambit proves unsuccessful, I think we'll be having this conversation against our will. But with friends like him, who needs arch nemeses?

Speculation time! My favorite time of the day!
Balor (deadly eyes, resident of Makai) might be YuugenMagan (http://touhou.wikia.com/wiki/YuugenMagan). Psychodiver... I want to say Satori, because the name fits well, but being in Makai when she should still technically be in Hell (I think this is before the Hell/underground split) doesn't make sense. Other than that I got nothing. Twin Stars could be Yuki and Mai (http://touhou.wikia.com/wiki/Yuki) or Shingyoku (http://touhou.wikia.com/wiki/Shingyoku). Those are the only Makai residents that work in "pairs," but how Shingyoku might be portrayed is a bit weird.

>I trust that you will see that he is not recovered prematurely
So that means he was going to be recovered eventually, probably after Yuyu is dead has become the ghost princess Yuyuko. I reckon High King would correct the time paradox caused by removing Youki (thus eliminating Youmu's chance for existence) only after the Saigyou Ayakashi is sealed.
>If his reluctance is unchanged from the time of your previous report, and you have exhausted other measures, I allow you access to the final solution – you may tell him the truth
Crap. I don't think this would have been bad if we had taken the opportunity way back when to teach Youki using his relationship with Yuyu to realized his feelings (but that really was an obtuse result), but he might not be as resistant to High King's brand of persuasion as he would otherwise. I hope Youki will have enough faith in our abilities to stop whatever calamity they'll try and feed him, but a person with a name like "Psychodiver" is probably mighty persuasive.

Some options aren't really viable to me; questions would eat up some valuable time, and reversing our position just doesn't make sense. The other three, though, are really appealing and have plenty of ups and downs. Stopping Rumia would prevent some apparently nasty reinforcements, but in that time Balor is going to give Psychodiver the OK to ramp up whatever they're doing to Youki and will promptly attack Princess Royal. Finding Youki would let us collect him, hopefully before Balor arrives, and we could in turn beat feet to backup Princess Royal. However, depending on how long it takes to find him and what challenges Psycho Mantis presents, it could turn into a 2 against 1, and our odds are slim against whatever Balor is packing. Backing up Princess Royal might crush what defenses are left and would tip the favor in a fight against Balor, but by that time whatever they'll have done whatever to Youki and those Twin Stars will probably en route.

[X] They’re doing something to Youki. You need to find him. Now.

I feel the best doing this. I think we're going to be in trouble if we have to take Balor by ourself, but that's only a problem if we don't find Youki first. Even more, High King cautioned that Balor's "eyes" would have no effect on Princess Royal since she has an "evil spirit." While lack of an evil spirit renders us susceptible to whatever the "eyes" do, I wonder if Acala would grant the same protection (would the High King consider Acala an "evil spirit")? Assuming we find Acala, of course.

Also, and don't ask what I'm basing this on other than bizarre intuition, but I don't think Psychodiver is all that bad; I think she was the one we talked to way back starting in >>111509 and the one that pulled us here. Acala is a part of our mind, so someone with psychic powers (presumably why her call sign is Psychodiver) could seal him away. How this person got us to Makai is something else entirely. Way back in >>112190, the High King rattled off his strongest members; the Twin Stars, the General, and the Apprentice. Twin Stars remain the same and Balor is either the General or is the General's assistant (that's what an adjutant is, after all). I wonder if Psychodiver is the Apprentice, or if the Apprentice has yet to be revealed. I think it's the latter, and I want to see this Psycho-person.

I wonder if High King was going to make the same friendly offer to whoever he was expecting to come here. I wonder what they would have done if he had. I wonder what would have become of them if they accepted.

Sage because the site ate my first shot at posting this and I'm worried about doubleposting a wall
>> No. 115891
>>115881
If not for more important things, I would ask him questions such as why he's doing such things, since if not for his meddling in the first place, the incident with the Fujiwaras wouldn't have been so bad.

It reeks of self-righteousness to cause so much suffering for 'the greater good'. Mankind ill needs such a savior.

[X] They’re doing something to Youki. You need to find him. Now.

I've thought on it and I like your reasoning, that and I was leaning towards this in the first place.
>> No. 115892
[x] They’re doing something to Youki. You need to find him. Now.
>> No. 115902
[x] They’re doing something to Youki. You need to find him. Now.

Hestia is a hearth goddess. Odd that the Princess Royal is given a Western epithet.

Anyway, she was buying us time to do something, and I don't think it was so we could chitchat with her captor.
>> No. 115907
Notification: By your recent decisions (read: since your last conversation with Konngara), you are starting to skirt the primrose path of the anti-hero, emphasis on the 'starting.' Currently, nothing has been irreversibly or too adversely affected by this, so if this is unintentional or undesirable, you can reverse this trend by making some adjustments your frame of reference. If you all would rather not and are satisfied with continuing on this road, that's fine with me. But let me just make this point now - how are most stories with anti-hero protagonists concluded?

Just think about it in those terms.

Now, I expect that for some of you, this warning's seemingly coming out of nowhere, so for anyone who's really lost as to what's happening, you may select either:

"[x] ? - Hint."
or
"[x] ??? - Character Interpretation."

The former is by far the shorter answer, as it only deals with the specific detail of "What is to be done?" The latter option, on the other hand, delves into the "Why?" of this development. What both of these choices have in common is that they're reemphases - they will offer you perspectives based on what you already know, to differing degrees. You need not pick either if you're able to work through it alone.

(I don't believe it's all that complex, but...)

>>115881
A number of your points are spot on. Others? Not as much. Regardless, good work - you will be better prepared for what's to come, I think.

>>115902
>Odd that the Princess Royal is given a Western epithet.

Isn't it?
>> No. 115908
>>115907

Can I choose both? I'm floating on the sea here. I had to skip lots of discussion so I could catch up with the story soon, and the disappearing updates didn't help much.

[x] They’re doing something to Youki. You need to find him. Now.

Because that's what we're trying to do ever since we entered this damned place.
>> No. 115910
File 127000333192.jpg - (563.84KB , 1200x900 , 58129852.jpg ) [iqdb]
115910
[x] ??? - Character Interpretation.

Yeah, I'm gonna need something to help refocus. Not that recent decisions haven't been different from before, but the implications are pretty shocking. If this warning is any indication, I'm misinterpreting something, so a little guidance would be appreciated. Voting like normal gets us suggestions to vote like the hero Myouren is and to remember that while he is a monk, he's still a person. Start voting boldly and with determination, and we begin skirting the role of the anti hero.

The Middle Path truly is a difficult road to tread.

On a completely unrelated note, who is standing behind Byakuren in this picture? Shinki?
>> No. 115912
[x] ??? - Character Interpretation.
>> No. 115914
What a curious idea! The monk as an anti-hero? The ceremony of innocence is drowned.

>If you all would rather not and are satisfied with continuing on this road, that's fine with me. But let me just make this point now - how are most stories with anti-hero protagonists concluded?

You either die or get hitched, same as any other protagonist. I'd like to say that getting there that's the story.

Now since you're looking into the future, you can shape things as you like, but this man, as he is, there is nothing Byronic or misanthropic about him, and he has also done nothing to turn our sympathies against him. If he comes upon the road of villainy, he is just as free to reject it then as he is now. Not to put too fine a point on it, but though the monk has given full disclosure of what is most important to him (making his sister proud), nowhere has Sir Monk said or narrated such things as typifies an anti-hero: 'I will do the right thing, though the world should perish.'

My vote stands, if only because the Yukarin~ asides are patronizing and disruptive of the flow of the narrative. The Princess Royal is yet our companion in earnest, and Youki's spirit is to be found; no matter what may be intimated, the latter will not change, and the monk is still acting on that golden mean of iterated prisoners' dilemmas, to assume good faith, and then tit-for-tat.

If Princess Royal is pulling the wool over the monk's eyes, or if he's operating on the basis of poor assumptions, then she is just one bead in a string of women who have manipulated Sir Monk in the first case, and in the second case he deserves no more of our ire than that poor Farmer fellow. Either way, no one will ever reproach one any more than his or her own self, as played out by the folly of his or her own actions.
>> No. 115916
>>115914
>if he's operating on the basis of poor assumptions
>he deserves no more of our ire than that poor Farmer fellow.

Oh ye Gods... the prospect of yet another Farm boy end is down right chilling: "Despair for the Despair God! Tears for the Tear Throne! Because I said so!"
>> No. 115937
>>115907
I don't feel like voting. I've been getting increasingly dark vibes from Myouren of late, particularly when addressing the High King; he sounds more stubborn and pig-headed than determined and principled. Might be a reflection of the attitudes of the people voting. Seems weird that asking for an apology and to lay off the Princess Royal set things off so poorly.

>>115914
I find the mention of the prisoner's dilemma apropos in our dealings with the High King. He's spurned us (vicariously through what he's done to our friends), and now we're punishing him even though he is offering to cooperate with us. We could very well be burning bridges that could lead to something informative or enlightening. From what I remember, the best course of action is to cooperate right along to maximize the benefit to everyone. But the way to really win is to cooperate until the very last turn and then betray them. Do we have the determination to do that? Do we trust High King to not do that?
>> No. 115938
>>115937
The High King seems to insist more on Myouren standing down and letting him do things his way. If not for more pressing concerns, I would certainly would like to talk with him to find out the reason behind his actions and how letting certain things happen would result in ruin. But leave it to typical Anon to be bullheaded about it.
>> No. 115939
So, like, why did we try talking with almost all enemies we've encountered, including even Rumia, but when we find the Big Bad we want nothing more than enmity?
>> No. 115940
>>115939
I think it's due to how Anon heard about his past needs. Anon has a habit of assuming folks are enemies too quickly, even if they're the completely wrong people. Just look at ASSM.
>> No. 115941
>>115939
Personally speaking, there was a sense of urgency to get things done expediently, what with Princess Royal under assault by who knows how many of those nasty little sentries. The last we heard of her situation was that the sentries had gotten confirmation to engage their target, and it sounded bad. Trying to stop Rumia with extreme prejudice before she could alert anyone else, conditioning our compliance with ceasing the attack on Princess Royal, and electing to not sit down and converse face to face about I-don't-know-what-he-has-in-mind were all decisions pretty consistent with wanting to support Princess Royal. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I was of the opinion that we don't have time to be dicking around with the High King while Princess Royal is getting closer to being re-imprisoned. That Myouren sounds like a petulant child through all of this (refusing for the sake of refusing) is vexing, but if it gets us back to our original plan (getting those things off of her), I'll take the hit to the self esteem. We tried asking him to call those things off, and he didn't even acknowledge the request.

Now it turns out she's more than capable of handling those things by herself, so this whole line of reasoning is absolutely pointless. I just couldn't tolerate the conversation that would occur if we agreed to talk:
"So, you found a legendary figure doomed by Destiny, woke her up, she rescued you from an ambush, and then you shared your dearest of dreams with her"
"Yup!"
"Then what?"
"I left her alone with her bird to fight what I assumed at the time was endless wave of magical guardians."
"...Okay, then what?"
"I sat down for drinks with the guy that ruined her life and locked her away. Then he sent reinforcements to help put her back into prison. We had a nice little chat, though. Speaking of which, I hope you like the prospect of haunting things and getting beat up by a little girls."
>> No. 115942
>>115941
>Correct me if I'm wrong.

Well, I figured that if the High King and Myouren were on friendlier terms, convincing him to call the guard off the Princess would be easier than if they were enemies. After all, there is no reason to harm a friend's friend, right?

Though this logic is probably flawed, considering the High King had reasons to imprison the Princess even before Myouren's arrival, but it still seems a lot easier and quickier if they were on better terms. Now the High King has no reason at all to listen to Mr. Monk.
>> No. 115943
>>115942
I think Myouren and the king would have gotten along pretty well if they weren't enemies, but the fact stands the king did basically have Youki killed... HORRIBLY. But unlike some of these lug heads, I'm not so blinded by rage I'd go trying to pick a fight with him right here and now. And I'd be more for talking with the king if his idea of talking wasn't "Letting his plans go through".
>> No. 115945
>>115943
Seconding all of this even though I'm one of said lug heads ( ._.)
>> No. 115947
>>115945
That's not to say I don't have a desire to repay his actions, just not now. Such a thing is best done with a full party and after Myouren's abilities develop some more. But with all that's happened with Rumia attacking us, meeting the princess, and finding out Youki's here, talking isn't such an easy thing to do.

But I'll say this again: The scariest thing about the king is that he's not a stereotypical villain; he honestly thinks he's doing things for the greater good and actually cares about his minions. This might develop an aura about him that makes any opponent look worse for standing up to him.

I do feel that Myouren's become a bit more pragmatic as of late, but with the way things are going, it might be just a result of the current times.
>> No. 115948
>>115937
>He's spurned us (vicariously through what he's done to our friends), and now we're punishing him even though he is offering to cooperate with us. We could very well be burning bridges that could lead to something informative or enlightening. From what I remember, the best course of action is to cooperate right along to maximize the benefit to everyone. But the way to really win is to cooperate until the very last turn and then betray them.

An iterated prisoner's dilemma is not truly a dilemma, since as you said there is usually a single best strategy, which consists of initial willingness to cooperate, followed by one-for-one punishment of greedy choices, until nearing the 'end game'. However, since there is more than a single principal on either side, we should be conscious of how many others are involved here. Even if we were back-stabbed in the end, as long as we have those who would avenge our (vicarious) death, the enemy must stay his hand for fear of reprisal. Likewise we must be conscious of the enemies we make merely out of making friends, and likewise conscious the friends of those we have made enemies.

The bad guy wants to make us to pledge to cooperate in a different playing field, one that puts him at an advantage. This is after he has committed multiple and continuous acts of aggression, so an ideal strategy here would certainly not be to simply abide. Once we have restored Youki and confirmed the Princess Royal to the other members of Sir Monk's fellowship, we will possess the tools and force necessary to demand concessions on a more equal basis. Which is not to say that we have wasted the Vajra; rather we have struck deeply into enemy territory, to Great King's alarm and consternation; we destroyed one of their number, Alastor, and possibly more: It seems we must overcome the 'Psychodiver' in order to retrieve Youki, then 'Balor' to retrieve the Princess Royal, not only rescuing one of our number but recruiting a new member. Our numbers are replenished and filled as his are voided. Not only is it a quantitative victory, but the tide of battle turns in our favor.

>If ‘Hestia’ is allowed to escape and incarnate again Outside, it will see the beginning of another age of disorder, the death of thousands and, if Destiny should move against us – the end of a world.

Unless this is a total red herring, and unless the Great King or Myouren nor any of the followers maintain Taoist superstition (or other such superstitions of final causation), then this might also be a psychological victory as well.

You have to wonder though, why would someone he labeled a hearth goddess result in something as dire as the end of the world? It doesn't make any sense, unless 'Hestia' is meaningless or turned out to be something other than what he expected. The names 'Balor' and 'Alastor' are also very Western names, and he describes 'Hestia' as 'ignoring all instructions'. Since the author touched on the matter of her naming as fine point, I'm going to venture this epileptic tree: 'Hestia' is a former servitor, and that her story is more complex than what had been described in the book Mima had Myouren read. That she also has an 'evil spirit' as his minion Balor does implies such a connection. Or maybe the genesis is reversed, with his minions based on what has come before. Certainly Rumia seems very young, and Balor here is strongly cautioned by the Great King, as though he would not expect the scope of her powers. Certainly Alastor did not, which resulted in his destruction. These measures though may just be to improve Myouren's estimation of his leaderly qualities, in which case I do not think it is vanity of him, but rather to come across as a more sympathetic being.

Unfortunately, these are not the kinds of questions we can ask through Myouren. He is ignorant of their meaning, rather, for explanation, we must force disclosure from the Great King toward the intellectually inferior. (Given his comical patience with the 'Singularity' this may not really be that tall of an order.)

Finally, the Twin Stars may be Mugetsu and Gengetsu. I think this more likely than Yuki & Mai, because 1) they're "matchless" in that they're Extra Stage bosses, and 2) nothing has been seen to connect Shinki to any of this at present, apart from Makai being a favored location. Mugetsu & Gengetsu are labeled as 'demons' in the Wiki, so we would expect them also to be residents of Makai. Anyway, 'Balor' & 'Alastor' fit the pattern of Western demonic naming patterns.

I think it's of interest that we've joined up with two bosses of HRtP's Jigoku route, while the enemy's territory seems to be in Makai. If Balor is Yuugen-Magan, we might very well encounter Sariel or Elis as enemies as well.

>>115939
>So, like, why did we try talking with almost all enemies we've encountered, including even Rumia, but when we find the Big Bad we want nothing more than enmity?

Because talking proved futile, like it had been with Rumia. Talking was likewise futile against Youki earlier. However, since the tengu lackeys were in part amenable to a ceasefire, giving our opponent a chance to withdraw seemed to be viable. We laid down the minimal grounds for communication, to which point we used the holy Vajra to communicate with the 'Big Bad' over distance. However, since his very presence was alone enough to cow Yukari, we told him we were not willing to meet face-to-face unless he would agree to an immediate ceasefire and an apology to Lady Saigyouji for murdering her retainer. He very pointedly refused. And since no one treats with an enemy while their allies are being pressed by said enemy's forces, we're going to look for the 'Saint of Swords' (Youki) that he just ordered his minions to abscond with, hopefully before his other minions recapture the Princess Royal.

This story isn't a very hard read. The main character is a reliable narrator, and the 'enemy' is willing to take up this fact (that is, being the protagonist's enemy) as a label. The antagonist very likely he has very rational reasons for doing the terrible things he has done, rather than being 'insane' or simply 'malevolent' like Flandre & Remilia were respectively in ASSM, which us a good example where harm came to the principal due to excessively empathizing with a scoundrel. Here it is revealed that the antagonist is very bitter of “miserable Death”. Unfortunately, he has decided it is more to the point to cause the death of a few we are close to in order to prevent the death of (purportedly) many, to a point where (if the story reaches it) a woman's body will be used to seal a source of death for all eternity, resulting in the ghost princess, Yuyuko Saigyouji.

It is likewise true that Myouren is no mere farm boy, either. He is not a hapless victim to some cosmic atrocity, rather he is so deeply involved in the plot that the architect labels him 'First Cause'. If you have any knowledge of natural theology, Platonism, or metaphysics in general, this figure of speech should be very familiar to you.

Myouren is not a bystander either, immune to the fates that befall those around him. Perhaps, if he continues the path he is on, he may die. However, only the certainty that this will someday come and the acceptance of the Karmic cycle is what separates him as he is now from the villain.

Likewise, Myouren might see death, and likewise his own death, as necessary, but are you the reader ready to let such a fate befall the protagonist? I think that is what the author is trying to accomplish by asking you what happens to such 'anti-heroes'--are you ready to accept such an outcome? Or would you rather that he play forever in a magical pocket dimension filled with women and children? If the latter, then stay your hand, because eternal life perhaps may be found working with the Great King, rather than against him. But keep in mind there may be unpleasant tasks that must be carried out in order to secure such a frivolous and guileless future, such as those that have lead the Great King to his own regrets and the choice of the most simple-minded and bloodthirsty of companions (e.g., Rumia). This may be natural. I've read fanatics are picturesque, since men would rather see gestures than listen to reasons.

I see Myouren differently. Someone who might walk toward his own end with determination, and despite having achieving brilliance in life, is not so enamored of it that he is willing to go to any length in order to sustain it. He is certainly not, as the Farmer was, grabbing a hold of whatever he could, merely intending to simply survive. To get into Myouren's head, all one must do is ask, 'would Byakuren approve?' That is who he must ultimately justify his actions to. 'I tried my hardest' is acceptable. 'I caused others suffering' is lamentable. 'I got scared and ran away' is merely childish.
>> No. 115958
>>115957
Even though I wasn't among the more reckless sorts, I'm definitely thinking on what was said.

I hope others follow suit because we're risking falling into the trap of assuming that our foes to be faceless generic evil mooks as opposed to people in their own right.

That's the problem with fighting monsters/evil/etc: the risk of becoming the very thing you're fighting against.
>> No. 115997
>>115957
>“Hey, doesn’t this conversation have parallels with the one that Youki had with Konngara when he challenged her? Didn’t Myouren have a talk with Youki on the importance of understanding the right reasons for fighting atop the technical details of how actually to fight? Am I really following the right road?”

Thread mentioned here is >>103920. If I'm not mistaken, the important bit is:
>"The immediate cause of your defeat is, as you recognized yourself, pride; when you refused to recognize that the opponent was much stronger than you had anticipated. Wrong actions. But," you say, drawing a line backwards, "that intentional blindness was only possible because you became angry - by giving free rein to your hatred and disdain. Wrong intentions. And why did you do that? Drawing a second line backwards, you circle the first term in the sequence. "Your judgement - that's the key to understanding everything. When you decided that you would kill Konngara even after she honestly disavowed any knowledge of your grievances, you abandoned your rational sensibilities for wickedness."

>"Then, reason is the heart of virtue?" Eyes wide, Youki asks this; animated by the spirit of revelation.

>You smile at him, giving a proud nod to the affirmative. "Respecting both possible meanings, exactly. Fighting in absence of either purpose or ethical faculties against someone with both, your loss was a foregone conclusion, Youki. Whatever your strength of arms might be, you won't win anything other than hollow victories without reason; without virtue."

Should still read everything, though.

>>115958
>That's the problem with fighting monsters/evil/etc: the risk of becoming the very thing you're fighting against.

I'm sorry, but this is a little too cliché for the situation.
>> No. 116009
Author's note: This post has seen substantial additions and is now finished. If you are lost or worried or excited about the notification I gave you earlier, you might want to read it.

>>115937
>Might be a reflection of the attitudes of the people voting.

It just might.

>>115939
A good question, and one which I had been hoping to see, because it recognizes that the hero isn't only a stand-in for the reader, but has a history, personality and motivations. More on the significance of this below (see: "common thread").

>>115941
>That Myouren sounds like a petulant child through all of this (refusing for the sake of refusing) is vexing

And well it should - moments of that kind are your cue to ask “Doesn’t this conversation parallel the one that Youki exchanged with Konngara when he challenged her? Didn’t Myouren have a talk with Youki on the importance of understanding the right reasons for fighting atop the technical details of how actually to fight? Am I really following the right road?” Now, "the right road" is going to differ for each of you, but if you want some pointers:

I would hope that you readers have seen enough of the story to know that Myouren shows more than one face and has more than one mood, not because he's a hypocrite, but because he's a human being. That's what human beings do. The important thing to remember in all of this, however, is that just as with everyone else, there's a "common thread" that binds his actions into a coherent whole. Since one of you reached it (in >>113810) without my explicitly telling you, I will highlight it again for your benefit.
>Making a point of asking "what would youkai Jesus do?" considering everything Byakuren has done for us and trying to act in a way that would make her proud
As he himself said at length, this is the unconscious “premise” or “context” in that his actions should be understood – when he is himself. I say this because by some of your recent choices, he has not been himself. Take a look at >>115134 and its choices again. Okay, now look at what was voted. Notice – just like the time when Konngara was troubled, all of you were only thinking in terms of “what is advantageous” or “what is expedient;” as far as I understood your reasons, none of you thought much on the question of “what is just.” None of you acknowledged the possibility that the shape you were sighting down might not be Rumia and that you might actually be premeditating murder against an innocent who’s never done you harm. Worse, there were actually some remarks that a mistake resulting in the death of someone completely unrelated in pursuance of a “Fire first, questions later…” policy is acceptable.

This is the mindset of an anti-hero.

Like Konngara told you, (at least in her opinion) there’s nothing wrong with being pragmatic. She’s no different from the rest of you in her distaste for the elevation of “justice” to the level of condescension or irrational fanaticism (ala moralfagging). The problem comes when you become too pragmatic, when your pragmatism isn’t tempered by thoughts of justice and principle, because then, you’re not only acting at odds with your profession (I hope none of you have forgotten that he’s a priest. Not a mercenary, not a patrol officer in the LAPD.) – you’re also diminishing and limiting your world.

For an example of what I mean, let’s suppose that you, a person who’s only thinking in terms of “what benefits me and the people I like,” encounter the rare existence which does not think in those same terms. Isn’t there a possibility that you could end up misreading its intent, or worse, read meanings into its intent that aren’t actually there?

To consider this case in greater detail, imagine the following scenario. You are approached by a comely young woman trying to make sense of feelings unfamiliar to her. Physically and emotionally, she’s become attracted to you, but because of the unusual circumstances surrounding her rearing, she doesn’t know the appropriate way to express this, or indeed, if wanting to express it is natural. After all, the one she’s admired since she was a little girl – he’s never acknowledged or reciprocated the signs she’s been sending him. Therefore, to know her own heart – to know what she’s feeling, and because she wants to know if the feeling’s mutual, she decides that she’ll talk to you about it.

Now this girl – she’s a strange one. Although she’s clumsy, and has this air of naivete about everything she does, deep down, her heart’s that of a true hero. There’s no sense of self-interest anywhere in her soul; indeed, she actively rejects Machiavellianism in favor of love – simple emotionality and reckless, some might say even foolhardy, personal honesty. She’s the sort of person who would be willing to risk everything she has, and everything she is, in order to be true with her friends and to herself. Can you really say, then, that you’ll be able to appreciate the beauty of this pure spirit, if you’re only capable of seeing the world in terms of cost and gain? Will you be able to forge a connection to this selfless heart if you’re fretting over whether this or that course of action’s going to see you alienated from someone else? Is there any hope of your seeing her insistence on ‘repaying a debt of gratitude’ for what it really is – a longing to share the bloom of her life and love with another person – if you’re too absorbed in your own petty worries of whether this could be construed as taking advantage or with calculations on how others are going to respond/if you’re violating the letter of some protocol?

Just think about it in those terms.

Besides this, besides how it serves to obstruct his exercises in empathy, Myouren will find it difficult or impossible to attain his dreams if you have an eye only for personal gain (yes, it’s paradoxical, but if you really think about it, pursuing too much after advantage is actually disadvantageous). The viewpoint of the complete pragmatist (the viewpoint towards which, by your choices, you have been moving) is fundamentally incompatible with the vantage of the Bodhisattva, because the transformation from a suffering, unenlightened being into a Bodhisattva who sees through and is become the world itself is (literally) realized through the conscious renunciation of profit, advantage and interest.

(As the final and most important step, you swear, on reaching an Enlightened state, to remain in the world of suffering to work for the salvation of all living things and to never enjoy the ultimate reality of Nirvana that you have already earned until such time that the entire universe has been redeemed.)

I understand that there are those of you to whom this doesn’t matter too much, but I’d just like to make the point that when a.) you’re a priest whose powers are bound up with the perfection of your wisdom and b.) becoming a Bodhisattva is not mutually exclusive to your dearest dream but, in reality, intimately connected to it by the “common thread” explained earlier (because how better to show Byakuren that he’s become a great person and so thank her for all that she’s done for him than to become the epitome of the ideas she patiently sought to instill in him?), it follows that the most important tests that confront you aren’t the ones that try your force of arms, but the choices that try your justice, your understanding, your compassion – the ones that explore the Wisdoms and Virtues and Poisons and Aggregates listed at the beginning of >>115249.

Simply put, just as you shouldn’t mistake caution for circumspection, you’re falling into error if you’re confounding haste with decision. Being decisive doesn’t mean you should be obstinate in your choices, nor should it dispose you towards solving problems with violence. What it means, in real terms, is that when casting a vote, you have recognized and reconciled the following:

[-Your aims.]
[-Others’ aims.]
[-If the action you have chosen is advantageous.]
[-If the action you have chosen is just and proper.]
[-If the action is consistent with what you have said/done in the past.]
(Case in point: It sounds cool, but Myouren isn’t going to encourage anyone to “defy their fate” because he has said on several occasions that he denies it as a principle, and so, saying as much is an acknowledgement that fate and Destiny exist.)
[-If a course of action is going to have major importance down the line.]
(Case in point: Having the moral courage to incur the Lady’s displeasure by telling her that you categorically reject her ideas on the necessity of sacrifice as self-destructive and self-defeating.)

I am not telling you to use the above as a template when choosing or to try mechanistically applying them to every choice in the manner of a checklist – it will only end badly if you do. All I am encouraging that you try is to think from a broad-minded and virtuous perspective, to think outside just the narrow bounds of “is this advantageous,” “is this expedient,” “is this good in the short term,” to try and think as Myouren thinks – not because you are supposed to pretend that you are the character (I have complete faith that none of you read anything, even lolfanfiction like this, in such a juvenile way) but because it’s my hope that in so doing, you’ll maybe take something away that lets you see the human experience in a different light while being entertained.

If you have any questions, ask away. In the meantime, the story will be resuming – get ready.

>>115958
>That's the problem with fighting monsters/evil/etc: the risk of becoming the very thing you're fighting against.

It's less a question of evil than it is a question of good. You'll see what I mean.
>> No. 116021
>>116009
>Simply put, just as you shouldn’t mistake caution for circumspection, you’re falling into error if you’re confounding haste with decision.
>confounding haste with decision.

Pardon me if this comes across as flippant, but why not? Unless I've been uniquely unfortunate, it is a rare and especially ideal situation when the necessity of reaching a decisive conclusion is afforded the appropriate amount of time to consider every viable solution and reach a reproachless conclusion. The suspension of disbelief is all that really divides me from voting conscientiously and voting "virtuously," because the latter seems so out of the realm of human comprehension within the time frame contemplated... but that's probably a personal problem on this side of the keyboard, so whatever. Just a minor gripe, I guess.

>becoming a Bodhisattva
Again, pardon my idiocy, buy what does that mean, "becoming a Bodhisattva"?
Never mind, I found the part in >> 96776. I think there was another post somewhere explaining that for Myouren, enlightenment = becoming a Bodhisattva, but I can't find it. Derp moment.

Last point was stupid.
>> No. 116028
>>116021
I think I understand where you're coming from, many choices here aren't ones to made in haste, and that does cause delays and the writer telling us to vote quickly doesn't quite help. And with the reminder that would mean anon would need more time to think on things.
>> No. 116034
>>116028
I appreciate VoteFaster.jpg, actually. I like that he still takes the time to rib us along and make a decision. The meta threads are nice too, but I always cringe reading them the first couple times. Having every last bad decision listed and scrutinized with painful detail, all with a "Son, I am disappoint" tone, tends to make me forget for a while that we make good decisions sometime. They're bitter pills to swallow, but I understand why we get them and that they're not antagonistic(?)

Anyway, the meta has been a nice aside to help refocus, but a little more of the story would be just as nice.
>> No. 116035
>Author's note: This post has seen substantial additions and is now finished. If you are lost or worried or excited about the notification I gave you earlier, you might want to read it.

It is well that you did. To give a person one's impressions of the faults of another is an important thing, if it is done compassionately. However, the way of doing this is delicate. Of this, I have had bitter experience.

>>115937
>Might be a reflection of the attitudes of the people voting.

>It just might.

Here's an epileptic tree: You can actually read minds. Your faculties put Sir Monk's to shame.

>That Myouren sounds like a petulant child through all of this (refusing for the sake of refusing) is vexing

>And well it should - moments of that kind are your cue to ask “Doesn’t this conversation parallel the one that Youki exchanged with Konngara when he challenged her? Didn’t Myouren have a talk with Youki on the importance of understanding the right reasons for fighting atop the technical details of how actually to fight? Am I really following the right road?”

For example, this here is totally useless. How many of your readers would stop here, feeling ashamed, thinking now that they committed an egregious error, and likewise believe that there's just nothing to be done about it?

>I would hope that you readers have seen enough of the story to know that Myouren shows more than one face and has more than one mood, not because he's a hypocrite, but because he's a human being. That's what human beings do.
>The important thing to remember in all of this, however, is that just as with everyone else, there's a "common thread" that binds his actions into a coherent whole. Since one of you reached it (in >>113810) without my explicitly telling you, I will highlight it again for your benefit.

I would say that seeing insistence of the robustness of identity is disappointing coming from someone with Buddhist sympathies.

>Making a point of asking "what would youkai Jesus do?" considering everything Byakuren has done for us and trying to act in a way that would make her proud
>As he himself said at length, this is the unconscious “premise” or “context” in that his actions should be understood – when he is himself. I say this because by some of your recent choices, he has not been himself. Take a look at >>115134 and its choices again. Okay, now look at what was voted. Notice – just like the time when Konngara was troubled, all of you were only thinking in terms of “what is advantageous” or “what is expedient;” as far as I understood your reasons, none of you thought much on the question of “what is just.” None of you acknowledged the possibility that the shape you were sighting down might not be Rumia and that you might actually be premeditating murder against an innocent who’s never done you harm. Worse, there were actually some remarks that a mistake resulting in the death of someone completely unrelated in pursuance of a “Fire first, questions later…” policy is acceptable.

Some of your voters may have acted in haste; after all, who can know himself well enough to speak for all?

But then you must also ask yourself, what man is so well grounded to hear all? You have at least one voter who will say without ego that he has made his choices with due deliberation, regardless of how you decide to frame said choices.

>This is the mindset of an anti-hero.

It is the mindset of the harried. Mistakes may come out of the most virtuous and well-intended.

>Like Konngara told you, (at least in her opinion) there’s nothing wrong with being pragmatic. She’s no different from the rest of you in her distaste for the elevation of “justice” to the level of condescension or irrational fanaticism (ala moralfagging). The problem comes when you become too pragmatic, when your pragmatism isn’t tempered by thoughts of justice and principle, because then, you’re not only acting at odds with your profession (I hope none of you have forgotten that he’s a priest. Not a mercenary, not a patrol officer in the LAPD.) – you’re also diminishing and limiting your world.

But deliberation itself is not desirable, for epiphany does not arrive out of introspection any more than it arises out of excitement.

>For an example of what I mean, let’s suppose that you, a person who’s only thinking in terms of “what benefits me and the people I like,” encounter the rare existence which does not think in those same terms. Isn’t there a possibility that you could end up misreading its intent, or worse, read meanings into its intent that aren’t actually there?

Likewise, virtuous living is no guarantee for happiness. Young men do lose their lives in strange and unimaginable ways!

>To consider this case in greater detail, imagine the following scenario. You are approached by a comely young woman trying to make sense of feelings unfamiliar to her. Physically and emotionally, she’s become attracted to you, but because of the unusual circumstances surrounding her rearing, she doesn’t know the appropriate way to express this, or indeed, if wanting to express it is natural. After all, the one she’s admired since she was a little girl – he’s never acknowledged or reciprocated the signs she’s been sending him. Therefore, to know her own heart – to know what she’s feeling, and because she wants to know if the feeling’s mutual, she decides that she’ll talk to you about it.
>Now this girl – she’s a strange one. Although she’s clumsy, and has this air of naivete about everything she does, deep down, her heart’s that of a true hero. There’s no sense of self-interest anywhere in her soul; indeed, she actively rejects Machiavellianism in favor of love – simple emotionality and reckless, some might say even foolhardy, personal honesty. She’s the sort of person who would be willing to risk everything she has, and everything she is, in order to be true with her friends and to herself. Can you really say, then, that you’ll be able to appreciate the beauty of this pure spirit, if you’re only capable of seeing the world in terms of cost and gain? Will you be able to forge a connection to this selfless heart if you’re fretting over whether this or that course of action’s going to see you alienated from someone else? Is there any hope of your seeing her insistence on ‘repaying a debt of gratitude’ for what it really is – a longing to share the bloom of her life and love with another person – if you’re too absorbed in your own petty worries of whether this could be construed as taking advantage or with calculations on how others are going to respond/if you’re violating the letter of some protocol?

I suppose it's a awfully good thing then no one has been encouraging catastrophic thinking in the minds of the voters! It would be terrible to see them run around like chickens with their heads cut off!

>Just think about it in those terms.

To your credit, your terms are far more amenable than the Great King's.

>Besides this, besides how it serves to obstruct his exercises in empathy, Myouren will find it difficult or impossible to attain his dreams if you have an eye only for personal gain (yes, it’s paradoxical, but if you really think about it, pursuing too much after advantage is actually disadvantageous). The viewpoint of the complete pragmatist (the viewpoint towards which, by your choices, you have been moving) is fundamentally incompatible with the vantage of the Bodhisattva, because the transformation from a suffering, unenlightened being into a Bodhisattva who sees through and is become the world itself is (literally) realized through the conscious renunciation of profit, advantage and interest.

No true Scotsman pragmatist would allow their pragmatism to get in the way of their observance of the Dharma. After all, it's to their own advantage that they do not seek their own advantage. (Yes it's paradoxical, but if you really, really think about it, pursuing too much after advantage is actually disadvantageous, by the very definition of 'too much'.)

>(As the final and most important step, you swear, on reaching an Enlightened state, to remain in the world of suffering to work for the salvation of all living things and to never enjoy the ultimate reality of Nirvana that you have already earned until such time that the entire universe has been redeemed.)

Something I've always found funny about the religion. At the end of time, how do the bodhisattvas decide who among them gets to reach Nirvana first, once everyone else has moved on? Do they draw lots?

>I understand that there are those of you to whom this doesn’t matter too much, but I’d just like to make the point that when a.) you’re a priest whose powers are bound up with the perfection of your wisdom and b.) becoming a Bodhisattva is not mutually exclusive to your dearest dream but, in reality, intimately connected to it by the “common thread” explained earlier (because how better to show Byakuren that he’s become a great person and so thank her for all that she’s done for him than to become the epitome of the ideas she patiently sought to instill in him?), it follows that the most important tests that confront you aren’t the ones that try your force of arms, but the choices that try your justice, your understanding, your compassion – the ones that explore the Wisdoms and Virtues and Poisons and Aggregates listed at the beginning of >>115249.

This is something a little incredible about this story. In most stories I've read about Bodhisattvas, the magical abilities come after master idolatry makes way for apotheosis. It makes me wonder how far along the road Myouren actually is, or if he's more like his sister in the canon, whose piety comes by way of inheriting power, rather than it being the other way around. If it is, then Myouren's abilities come out of self-delusion; that would make for a wonderful stumbling block in his development as a character.

>Simply put, just as you shouldn’t mistake caution for circumspection, you’re falling into error if you’re confounding haste with decision. Being decisive doesn’t mean you should be obstinate in your choices, nor should it dispose you towards solving problems with violence.

I we're conjugating our irregular verb appropriately: "I am firm; you are obstinate; he is a pig-headed fool," eh?

>What it means, in real terms, is that when casting a vote, you have recognized and reconciled the following:
>[-Your aims.]
>[-Others’ aims.]
>[-If the action you have chosen is advantageous.]
>[-If the action you have chosen is just and proper.]
>[-If the action is consistent with what you have said/done in the past.]
>[-If a course of action is going to have major importance down the line.]

I will admit desires if only because to deny desires give them force beyond all endurance. Desires arise, and the satisfaction for desire may follow, but this goal-oriented mindset is entirely backward: It spirals out infinitely toward a future that may never come.

You cannot strip away all desire by starting at the end: First, a man must learn how to live; second, a man must learn how not to kill; third, a man must learn how to live with death; finally, a man must learn how to die.

>All I am encouraging that you try is to think from a broad-minded and virtuous perspective, to think outside just the narrow bounds of “is this advantageous,” “is this expedient,” “is this good in the short term,” to try and think as Myouren thinks – not because you are supposed to pretend that you are the character (I have complete faith that none of you read anything, even lolfanfiction like this, in such a juvenile way) but because it’s my hope that in so doing, you’ll maybe take something away that lets you see the human experience in a different light while being entertained.

Yet the undiscriminating mind is like the veins of the mangrove—they soak up everything that they touch—even the toxins that would kill them. To this end our minds do not come into this world as tabulae rasae; they are given tendencies toward emulation, induction, and explanation. Even if these come in the form of post hoc rationalizations.

>It's less a question of evil than it is a question of good. You'll see what I mean.

I do enjoy your surgeon's hands, if not entirely your bedside manner. Let us see what comes next!
>> No. 116053
File 12703552061.jpg - (153.68KB , 850x850 , Singularity.jpg ) [iqdb]
116053
>They're bitter pills to swallow

Have you heard the saying, "good medicine tastes bad?"

>antagonistic(?)

I assure you this isn't the case. If I disliked or was disappointed in the people on this site, I wouldn't be writing here at all.

>Having every last bad decision listed and scrutinized with painful detail, all with a "Son, I am disappoint" tone, tends to make me forget for a while that we make good decisions sometime.

I am at fault in this, and I would like you to know that I'm sorry – I am guilty of having highlighted your mistakes more than your successes, despite that your successes tremendously outnumber and outweigh your mistakes. The reason this has come about is because of a quandary that confronts me. If I tell you when you have succeeded, it either does damage to the feeling of when you actually learn of it (as I hope you have seen, in many cases, the biggest payoffs aren’t necessarily immediate) or is redundant; whereas if I don’t tell you when you have seriously erred, it leads to problems for both of us down the line. I will think on a better way of doing it than how I have to this point, and if any of you happen to have knowledge on how to deal with this, I welcome your advice.

>a little more of the story would be just as nice

It’s being written as we speak – it would have been done sooner but for the fact that I was catching up with some of the stories on that I’d fallen behind.

>>116035
>However, the way of doing this is delicate. Of this, I have had bitter experience.

I feel for you.

>For example, this here is totally useless. How many of your readers would stop here, feeling ashamed, thinking now that they committed an egregious error, and likewise believe that there's just nothing to be done about it?

That… is troubling to hear. My purpose in listing those was to achieve precisely the opposite effect, and dispel any unnecessary fears by pinpointing some of the areas to which the readers would be served in looking. I guess it’s a matter of phrasing, then?

>I would say that seeing insistence of the robustness of identity is disappointing coming from someone with Buddhist sympathies.

But it is robust. Construct or not, the difficulty of overcoming identity proves that it holds considerable sway over our minds.

>But deliberation itself is not desirable, for epiphany does not arrive out of introspection any more than it arises out of excitement.

I agree, but reaching a condition where arriving at epiphanies becomes possible does require introspection.

>that would make for a wonderful stumbling block in his development as a character.

It would, wouldn’t it?

>Yet the undiscriminating mind is like the veins of the mangrove—they soak up everything that they touch—even the toxins that would kill them.

This is a good metaphor, and you should feel good for having thought of it.

>To this end our minds do not come into this world as tabulae rasae; they are given tendencies toward emulation, induction, and explanation.

Locke was here; Kant is a fag.

>I do enjoy your surgeon's hands, if not entirely your bedside manner.

I will make every effort to improve the latter. Thank you for taking the time to help me with it.

>Let us see what comes next!

You’ll like it (I hope). I should have it done by later today, but if you want a sneak peak on it, try the Spanish Inquisition; they’ll tell you.
>> No. 116061
>>116053
>The reason this has come about is because of a quandary that confronts me.

I had considered this at some length, and it makes perfect sense as to why one would not emphasize specific instances of success: doing so would only reinforce the notion that we should emulate the exact conditions/situations that resulted in any note-worthy success. Instead, we should be encouraged to harness the emotion and sentiment from our achievements to aspire for more and greater.

As an example of what I thought works, I point to the single line that has meant the most to me:
>>104342
>It represents nothing less than complete and total victory. Bravo.

Why? Because immediately prior to this, I voted like it meant something. "Common Sense" was battering me about the head and shoulders to thing otherwise, but there was something distinctly right about reciprocating Yuyu's sentiment. I didn't know what, and I didn't know why, but I knew it was right. To see that choice reaffirmed was incredible, even though we wouldn't see it pay dividends until a dozen updates later. If we could only embrace that same mindset for everything else...

I won't say every reasonable decision needs to be accompanied by a pat on the head, but exceptionally good ones should be acknowledged (I wouldn't be surprised if sleeping up with Yuyu was the only good idea ever, though).
>> No. 116074
>>115943

Actually no. All we know is that Youki was killed, and after that, the Tengu had a 'party' with the body.
>> No. 116112
>>116111
>she might very well have appeared like to a mythical moon fairy, freshly descended from the celestial mansions of the Lunar Capital.

Konngara's description is particularly lovely, but this line struck me as odd, and it got me thinking of the Lunarian princesses from SSiB, Konngara's Taiji, and Lunarians being the originators of magic. Also,
>the dried tears and dirt defacing the front of her dress
Tears? I could guess as to why, but for someone like Konngara to cry? Unless they're not hers, of course. I imagine Yuyu has got to be pretty shaken up by all this.

>Per the speculations of the singularly imaginative, she might have been radiantly beautiful at one time, but if that was ever true, it’s not the case now...

Murasaki seems in pretty rough shape; is this especially harsh, or would any particularly aged person be described like this? Good on her for still enjoying the finer things in life, though.

>my ‘charming demon’ and my Savior are struggling for Sir Youki’s soul as we speak here, besides.

So Mima is in Makai somewhere? That just might answer who High King was expecting to meet instead of us. Hopefully she's doing a better job staying under High King's radar than we are.

>Konngara was dumbfounded. “The uncharacteristic position in which I found my ‘charming demon’ expired… was of prayer?”

>“Her posture’s excellent – almost as if she’s been doing it for years.”

The first thread is long since dead, but in it, didn't Myouren help Mima pray after she said she had never done it before? Even though she's brilliant and probably learned to do it flawlessly the first time, I'd like to entertain the notion think it was especially important because Myouren taught her.

[X] About what is Konngara worried?

Mima's ability to adopt one of Myouren's techniques (and vice versa, actually) while there has been no such reciprocity between Konngara and Myouren? I must know!
>> No. 116113
[x] About what is Konngara worried?

hmmmmmmmmmm
>> No. 116115
>>116114
>Murasaki seems in pretty rough shape; is this especially harsh, or would any particularly aged person be described like this?

Don't know how many elderly people you know, but there is such a thing as "growing old gracefully."
>> No. 116120
----------


Seated under the airy portico’s low eaves was a certain woman. At first glance, attired in a short dress of sheer white gauze and surrounded by effervescent flowers – purple wisterias flanking her sides in their slow climb up the trellised colonnade, snow-white peonies attending on her feet while swaying in the summer night’s soft breeze, red rosebushes further on from her forming a neat natural boundary from the mournful world without, to any who would espy her, she might very well have appeared like to a mythical moon fairy, freshly descended from the celestial mansions of the Lunar Capital. But following a closer examination, you would find otherwise – that this extraordinary woman isn’t the invention of a poet’s fancy or the conjuration of a lunatic’s hallucinations. The killer lance that she’s rested against the edge of the deck proves it; the wicked axe she’s shouldering lightly proves it; the dried tears and dirt defacing the front of her dress proves it; the mild consternation with that she’s quietly watching the fireflies’ stately waltz proves it; she’s very real – and no less breathtaking for it. If anything, she’s more; study of her contrasts only increases the sense of wonder she inspires.

Tall for her sex, and strongly-built, by any of the accepted standards of beauty, she couldn’t be called as something other than gorgeous – if also decidedly gallant. The arresting quality of her elegant features, striking figure and valiant spirit isn’t a fairy maid’s frail ethereality, but a born hero’s healthy vitality. Though formed with a masterful eye for their feminine contour, her limbs are equally possessed of vigorous potency; likewise, in her eyes is the same dualism; they’re a fluid amber color, the thoughtfulness of their soft shine belying the sharpness with that they discern failings and falsehoods.

However, in spite of all this – how ostentatiously she’s been blessed by nature, this woman’s also supremely humble. Her self-image is neither clouded by the stigma of arrogance, nor twisted by delusions of greatness, and in point of fact, she makes no conscious acknowledgement of her own preeminence at all. The only occupation of her mind is for modest and unassuming practicality, and for the active realization of those aims that she regards as righteous. As much as the rest of her, these characteristics of her private morality are manifest on her person – by the simplicity with that she’s arranged her dark, comparably short hair, pinning it behind her head in a minimalistic curl, and by the civil courtesy that guides her words, advises her deeds and crowns her brow.

“Fancy a drink, little girl~?”

Without looking back, she slowly shook her head and raised one hand in a respectful decline. “I am fine, Dame Murasaki. But for proffering me a reprieve from my melancholy, I thank you.”

The one that now joined her on the floor of the portico with wine and cups in hand couldn’t be any more different in appearance. Per the speculations of the singularly imaginative, she might have been radiantly beautiful at one time, but if that was ever true, it’s not the case now; this ancient woman’s so emaciated and broken by age that it seems as if she’s already possessed by Death. Her arms have the decrepit thinness of a barren tree’s bony branches, and the furrows crisscrossing her face are so deep and many that they’re reminiscent of a field devastated by years of consecutive drought. Cares and sorrows, unnumbered and untold, crush against her shoulders and her back, distorting her stance into a perpetual stoop, and the violence of time upon her skin’s left it wounded all over with liver spots. The horrible sight she shows is made only more disturbing with how garishly her ugliness clashes with the finery in that she’s arrayed – a flowing violet dress trimmed with lace, white gloves – fashionably long, and a cheery white bonnet, the red bow of which matches the bright red ribbons with that she’s garlanded her fading yellow hair. Only her golden eyes, glowing with the mischievous, vivacious fire of youth, are unconquered by the wasting sickness that besets her.

“…Are they well?”

To her anxious question, Murasaki responded with a knowing smile. “Don’t worry too much, little girl. I went ahead and made them all comfortable, so that when they come back, they can’t complain about stiff shoulders or sore backs. All we need to do now is to wish for their good success and wait.” Emphasizing, she hefted the bottle and noisily uncorked it. “Why not have a few with me, meanwhile~?”

“Thank you, Dame Murasaki, but I am fine,” Konngara replied, repeating her gesture of refusal. “I am not a drinker by habit, and I could derive no happiness with the knowledge that my ‘charming demon’ and my Savior are struggling for Sir Youki’s soul as we speak here, besides.”

“Suit yourself. More for me~” Her merry answer made in a singsong voice betraying neither sadness nor surprise at having been rebuffed, Murasaki tipped the wine bottle and, after filling it almost to the brim, lifted her cup in a toast to the sky.

“To hope.”

Tilting it back, she downed the whole glass in a single smooth swallow before topping it off again as quickly and replaying the whole process. She was already on her fifth cup when the question she’d been expecting finally came forward.

“…Dame Murasaki? You told me today that I ‘hear and see as Heaven hears and sees.’ Why then, am I incapable of–”

“You want to know why that sarcastic girl was able to find her way inside the tree when you can’t,” she guessed, taking one last sip before setting her cup aside to face her restive inquisitor. “…Right?”

An expression of slight surprise surfaced on Konngara’s elegant face, which she immediately followed with a deferential bow. “…If you would allow me to further into your debt.”

“I would if I could, little girl~” Laughing graciously and long, after lowering the back of her withered hand from her wrinkled old mouth, Murasaki then mumbled, feeling somewhat bothered, “The truth is, I don’t know how she did it myself. …To be able to influence the mighty will of Saigyou Hoshi’s legacy, whether rejecting its power or accepting it, means that your own will needs to be as powerful. There’s not too many who can claim that much strength. At least with that boy, I can understand a little bit – he said to me that he’s spent years studying the esoteric doctrines of spiritual refinement and,” she casually confirms, “you told me that he called up a Great Magic?”

“By the waters of the Sanzu,” Konngara began her fond oath, “I swear it. From his vestments, my Savior produced an ornate bronze scepter, and with it, he summoned a Thunder God into his body. To have been allowed to behold as auspicious an omen, and while held by him,” she reminisced, reddening bashfully, “was an experience of that I am unworthy.”

“Don’t be so self-effacing.” Murasaki reproved her, lecturing: “With how much he styles himself the rake, little girl, you would only gain in that boy’s favor by treating him more distantly. Take me at my word – when dealing with types like him, pretty girls like us only benefit from being less forward in our feelings than abstract. By making them work for the pleasure of your wiles, it breeds in them a sense of accomplishment when you decide play nice with them and it guarantees that they’ll assign you your appropriate value.”

“You have my gratitude for your demonstrated kindness in instructing me, Dame Murasaki. But if I may speak freely,” Konngara politely demurred, “I find much fault with your proposal. In my mind, earnest friendship is founded on candid speech and reciprocated belief, and not on interested stratagems or designs of deception. I cannot, therefore, condone any opinion that counsels me towards the willful and premeditated exploitation of others’ emotions – all the more when that other is the Savior who has selflessly pledged to support me in my troubles. I concede that your terming him as ‘rake’ is an apt and proper description,” was her giggling admission; “however, you are incorrect if you intended it as a pejorative qualifier. Propriety, sincerity and a love of justice mediate his rakishness, and effect a transformation upon it, with the consequence that his personal weakness is directed towards righteous action and becomes his personal strength. I could no more find fault with him for this than I could censure you for the maturity of your venerable knowledge.”

“Whatever suits your fancy, little girl.” The knowing smile now seeming somewhat condescending, Murasaki dismissed her words out-of-hand, her thoughts returning to the matter on that she was previously reflecting. “But what you were saying about his summoning gods?” She mused quietly, “…It’s troubling. You see, little girl, your short friend didn’t do anything like that at all. I watched her. She sauntered around the tree’s base a few times, stopping a few times to check something or other on the ground. Right around when the Sun went down, she scaled the trunk and had a quick look in its lower branches. After that…” Murasaki pondered, pensively pressing a crooked finger against her shriveled cheeks, “I remember that when that sarcastic girl dropped back down and joined me, she was holding a little book. She was jotting down some notes in a hurried hand when–”

“Please pardon my interrupting you, Dame Murasaki,” prefaced the polite hero(ine), motioning that she should pause with a wave of her shapely, strong hands, “but did you chance upon what she was writing?”

Apologetically, she shook her aged head. “It was already dark by that time. My eyes aren’t as good as they were. …Now, as I was saying,” she continued with a pained sigh, “that sarcastic girl was jotting something down in a hurry when, out of nowhere, she looked up and fixed those cold eyes of hers on me, snapping out, ‘Crone – don’t move from where you’re standing until that ‘noble friend’ of mine gets here.’”

“I would have you had made sooner mention of this discourtesy done you*,” was her ready apology. Immediately, Konngara kneeled, and with visibly troubled eyes, was about to commence after asking forgiveness for her friend’s rudeness when a well-meaning hand caught her shoulder.

“Hey now,” Murasaki reassured her, “there’s no need for you to get so worked up. Do I seem displeased with her?” Indicating her unruffled, unchanged smile of self-assurance, the strange old woman gestured that the gallant beauty should resume her seat on the deck. “After having said as much,” she returned to her story, “that sarcastic girl finished up writing and went back under the tree. First, she took off that pointy hat and that huge cape, and then, after she limbered up with some stretches, she sat down cross-legged and started meditation. …The rest of it,” she finished coyly, “you already know~”

Konngara was dumbfounded. “The uncharacteristic position in which I found my ‘charming demon’ expired… was of prayer?”

“Her posture’s excellent – almost as if she’s been doing it for years.” Murasaki commented offhandedly. “I can tell, you know.”

“Almost.” She deliberately repeated that key phrase, and considered its implications. “…Truly, I would be well-served to welcome this development with a state-of-mind less startled than mine now,” she contemplated quietly. “My ‘charming demon’ is brilliantly talented and unfathomably cunning, so that she should succeed where I am found deficient is wholly natural, and in accordance with the Way of Heaven. But…”

As her sight wandered back to the wizened Murasaki, the mild consternation that had subsided in the course of their conversation returned onto Konngara’s elegant features. Feeling oddly prompted by the kindly expression with that the strange old woman received her, she confessed discreetly, “I am made to worry by your tidings.”

“Oh~?”

She gave a careful nod, and qualified the source of her disquiet. “My anxiety is not with relation to the small matter we have been discussing. …It is with my ‘charming demon,’ Dame Murasaki. Please offer rebuke if I am speculating too baselessly, but I fear that she…”



[ ] About what is Konngara worried?
[ ] Actually, how’s ‘Sir Monk’ holding up?
---------

*Mima is neither being nasty for the sake of being nasty or, as she sees it in her own mind, being nasty at all when she says something like this. It isn’t because she doesn’t know anything about social conventions – as you have seen, she is astute about them in her own way. What I am telling you to consider is why her speech takes the form it does, and for that matter, why Konngara’s speech takes the form it does. It’s not urgent, but you might want to think about asking them on it at a good moment.

edit: some corrections made
>> No. 116121
Sure is slow around here. Get ready to vote, please.
>> No. 116127
>>116112
Well so far Konngara's shown herself to be a pure fighter class, without much signs of anything non-melee and she hasn't found much use for his talents so I don't think much of an exchange has occured to either of them.

And it's said that Mima entered the tree as in she's dealing with the accursed tree herself.

[X] About what is Konngara worried?
>> No. 116129
>Well so far Konngara's shown herself to be a pure fighter class, without much signs of anything non-melee and she hasn't found much use for his talents so I don't think much of an exchange has occured to either of them.

While I agree, it's not for want of opportunity. She granted us a an opportunity for our skills to synchronize during our encounter with the Tengu patrol. Between a righteous "love love" attack and a more subdued encounter, we opted for diplomacy. I know there's more to Konngara than pragmatism and inspired intuition, but until I can thoroughly grasp onto one or the other, she is an entity very much removed from proper appreciation. I won't complain since I enjoyed the conclusion of that particular arc, but I do understand that making decision with her mentality in mind is particularly difficult. That said...

[x] About what is Konngara worried?

...indeed.
>> No. 116133
>>116129

I was thinking in the shower and realized what happened with Myouren and the ripple was an incidental realization as opposed to Myouren's pointers to Mima. But the fact she picked up so fast on it is interesting considering how Marisa picks up various abilities fast.

But I agree about seeing what she's worried about and if we need to patch things up with her.
>> No. 116142
File 127065825060.jpg - (83.50KB , 741x800 , Votefaster.jpg ) [iqdb]
116142
I want to get things back up to speed.
>> No. 116147
>>116138
[X] Search for the source of the sound.

I've got no good reason, other than the artificial sounding wind intrigues me.
>> No. 116150
[x] Search for the source of the sound.
>> No. 116151
[x] Go nearer to the gate.
>> No. 116152
Writing.
>> No. 116153
----------


Up the dusty stone stairwell.

Quickly.

Through the rusting double doors.

You have to hurry.

Into the eerie entry.

Where are you, Youki…?



You almost missed it amidst your evil enemy’s gloating – it was as faint and as fleet; but you felt the vital force of ‘Miss Nightingale’ through the floor. After nothing unhappily that, in your concentration on seeing through the cold voice’s commands, you’ve made the mistake of letting that dark shape you were sighting down to disappear during the dialogue, you set to tailing after her without any delay. Not only is there fulfilling the duty with that the Princess Royal tasked you, but the possibility of gaining the place where Youki’s being held. It stands to reason that Miss Nightingale most likely has some knowledge of his whereabouts, what with how her master thought to dispatch her, and in lieu of any better leads, action’s preferable to indecision.

Therefore, following the faint pulse of her life with a hand on the left wall, you were carried still further from the noble Princess Royal to the seemingly-endless hallway’s sudden ending – a narrow staircase. Sandwiched between close walls and only allowing access in single file at first, after a short climb, it opened out to a shadowy landing, a set of heavily-corroded iron doors and finally, an ominous atrium.

The trail you followed here falls cold on entering inside. Setting your hands to one of the several stone columns spanning the space in front finds no further sign of ‘Miss Nightingale,’ despite that this place’s perfectly suited to carry her presence.

It’s high-ceilinged and huge. Though you’re not able to tell how far it stretches by sight – the almost-impenetrable gloom makes it impossible to see very far beyond the radius of the Sublime Golden Light still shrouding your body, the extended echo that succeeds your every step indicates as much. Passing through what seems a veritable forest of stone, what with all the columns being of gargantuan girth and ridged with flutes*, you’ve come to a clearing – a vast expanse of dark emptiness that would be unremarkable but for two considerations.

First – the sound. You’re only able to catch a few bars from where you’re presently placed. For lack of a better analogy, it’s reminiscent of the wind. ‘Reminiscent.’ …Something about it’s off. You can’t quite form it into words, but this noise – it’s not natural; neither spring’s smiling song, nor winter’s wistful whispers, nor the mistral’s mystic melody are carried in its chords.

Second – the light. To the left and forward of you is a huge gate – possibly the largest with that you’ve ever been confronted. It compares favorably even with Nara’s great statue of Vairocana for height! Opened slightly ajar, from inside the crack, a calming white light’s spilling out to the dim space where you’re currently standing.

You:
[ ] Search for the source of the sound.
[ ] Go nearer to the gate.
[ ] Stay in the shadow of the pillars and wait.
[ ] Do something else. (Specify)
----------

*The name given to the wavy patterning that’s so commonly favored in neoclassical architecture.

edit2: Reads more easily now.
>> No. 116160
Don’t take as long as you did on the last one, please.

----------
Your inquisitive spirit’s been seized upon by the elegy of that enigmatic wind. It’s not so much that you’re literally bewitched; you’ve not been entrapped by an enchantment or fallen to the sinister insinuations of some evil sorcery. Rather, this noise – you recognize it. Once again, you can’t quite place from where you’re originating this insight, but… you’ve encountered this chill breeze before.

Just when was that…?



Tracing the sound to its source sees fewer answers than it does more questions. Having made a mental note to revisit this place on reuniting with the Princess Royal, you crossed the empty expanse before the gate to find, mirrored at the massive atrium’s far end, a familiar construction – the same sequentially structured stone columns, the same deteriorating double doors, the same shadowy landing leading down a narrow staircase. On reaching the bottom, however, you were met by a new structure – a surprising structure. The area to that you’ve now come isn’t another hallway, as you were expecting, but a huge hall.

Any comparisons with the atrium from that you’ve come end at scale. Properly called, this place’s a rotunda – it’s been built circular and is crowned by a soaring dome that’s been painted to recreate the phases of the moon between the sections formed by its supporting arches. All along the black marble and porphyry of its walls is raised a running relief of some craftsmanship; you would have straightaway started studying its story if you didn’t fear of disturbing the ‘sleepers.’

…On stone beds of the same style that you found the Princess Royal asleep, loosely arranged in concentric rings, are dozens of quiescent forms – people of every possible appearance and at every stage of life …and death. Laid out before you, there are conspicuous churls and there are lordly-looking chevaliers; there are fishwives and there are courtesan beauties; there are children and there are corpses. Solemnly, you observe that some of the last have long been dead; nevertheless, their remains have been left unburied, decaying into the dust of this ‘mausoleum’ for so many decades that they’ve skeletonized completely – although these are far outnumbered by the ones who appear only asleep.

How have you been able to discern all this?

At the very central axis around which all the ‘sleepers’ are circled is a high dais, and atop it, there rests a treasure that shines with the same Sublime Golden Light as you.

The Jeweled Pagoda that was Acala carrying…

There’s no time to waste. You’ll:
[ ] …Recover it.
[ ] …Go no further till you inspect the relief; this is obviously a trap.
[ ] …Try waking some of the ‘sleepers,’ starting with the aforementioned ‘courtesan beauties.’
[ ] Try another action? (Specify)
-----------
>> No. 116161
[x] …Try waking some of the ‘sleepers,’ starting with the aforementioned ‘courtesan beauties.’

Scoping out what may well be something of Acala's is plenty appealing, but I'm not all that alright with pretending there aren't a whole bunch of imprisoned people around us. I don't know about favoring the particularly attractive folk (I'd be more inclined for the children no, not that way), but there's a boat load of people in the same state that Princess Royal was, and who could be imprisoned for the same vague reasons she was. May not be the most expedient or enlightening (like examining the relief) course of action, but for all intents and purposes, these folks have been left there to die. Seems kinda 'off' for Myouren to ignore their presence and go about his buisness, but that's my take.
>> No. 116164
[x] …Go no further till you inspect the relief; this is obviously a trap.
>> No. 116172
[x] …Go no further till you inspect the relief; this is obviously a trap.
>> No. 116201
[ ] …Try waking some of the ‘sleepers,’ starting with the aforementioned ‘courtesan beauties.’
>> No. 116206
Writing.
>> No. 116207
>Writing.

Hooray!

>The Jeweled Pagoda that was Acala carrying.

I thought Vaiśravaṇa (Bishamonten) was the one that had the pagoda? Acala is the greatest of the Five Wisdom Kings, while Bishamonten is not quite the greatest of Buddhist deities and one of the Four Heavenly Kings. The Wisdom Kings are just below the Bodhisattvas, while Bishamonten is on a lower rung with the rest of the gods.
>> No. 116208
>>116206

With a tie?
>> No. 116209
>>116207
>I thought Vaiśravaṇa (Bishamonten) was the one that had the pagoda?

It's nice to see that you're paying attention, so, as a reward, I'll give you a hint:

He has had it since his first appearance (if you don't believe me, feel free to go back and check) and he has it for a reason.

>>116208
Correct me if I am wrong, but I have observed that waiting for votes leads to a vicious cycle of taking longer to update (on my end) and taking longer to vote (on your end).
>> No. 116210
>>116209
so which vote won or is it a mix?
>> No. 116211
>>116210
Oh, just wait and see.
>> No. 116223
[x] …Try waking some of the ‘sleepers,’ starting with the aforementioned ‘courtesan beauties.’
hmmmmmm
>> No. 116243
[x] …Try waking some of the ‘sleepers,’ starting with the aforementioned ‘cartesian beauties.’
[y] Only wake the ones lying along the graph of the function.
>> No. 116245
A question for those who want to wake people up: How are we planning on protecting them? And would it even be possible to get them all out of Makai in the end?

And most importantly: How do we know it's not a trap?
>> No. 116248
>>116245
>How are we planning on protecting them?
Well, Myouren is a fairly capable fighter and natural leader. I think his abilities lend themselves to this kind of action. That, and High King is not keen on killing or needlessly injuring folks. I can easily see his course of action being subduing Myouren and then putting everyone back to sleep rather than trying to slaughter everyone wholesale.

>And would it even be possible to get them all out of Makai in the end?
No idea. I figured it would be the same process we'll use to get Youki, Princess Royal, ourselves (and Mima?), but I could be mistaken and I won't speak for everyone.

>And most importantly: How do we know it's not a trap?
Honestly, we don't. But if this recent debacle should have taught us anything, it's that assuming the worst about the situation never works out well.
>> No. 116278
>>116248
hence why we should check for a trap as opposed to charging in like a Mr Jenkins.
>> No. 116287
>>116285
The problem isn't getting interrupted by those folks getting through to Youki with the truth about what happened between Myouren and Yuyuko. I do believe that's what the writer meant by limited time.

But you do raise some interesting points; not sure if they're true or not.
>> No. 116294
edit: some fixes

>>116245
>>116248
You both have arrived at the mindset from which right actions will follow naturally. Don't lose it.

>>116278
I commend you on your circumspection, but try considering the matter in these terms - is a skillfully-laid trap the one that's found?

-----------
…Something’s not right here. If all the doors that you passed on the way here were the cells of people imprisoned by the ‘High King of Destiny,’ as the Princess Royal presumably was, then just what’s this place?

Your best guess is that it’s a holding area for processing the newly-incarcerated – because for what other purpose would your evil enemy have mingled together such a strange multitude, these men and women and children of every age and station? Following this hypothesis, your finding an article of Acala’s here would then make a certain degree of disastrous sense if the reason that you’ve become separated is that he’s been taken prisoner.

It’s an unpleasant possibility, yes – but you’ve been forced to acknowledge it by the case of ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ After all, if the noble Princess Royal, for all her bravery and broad talents, came up short against the cruel calculations of that cold voice, it wouldn’t require too much of a stretch to suppose that your guardian spirit’s suffered that same misfortune.

He hasn’t, though.

The simple fact of how you’ve found skeletons and corpses in varyingly-disturbing stages of decay invalidates your theory of this place as a holding area; furthermore, your exchange with the so-called ‘Great King’ actively disproves that Acala’s been captured. At no point in the entirety of its egotistical threats did that cold voice allude to him, and given how demonstrably ruthless and amoral is your enemy, it undoubtedly would have tried blackmailing you into submission if it already had Acala in its power; that it didn’t evidences that he’s still at large. What it also means is that there’s no real reason for this notably out-of-place Jeweled Pagoda to be here enshrined – unless as part of some pedestrian ploy to ensnare you by avarice.

…You’ll find out. Leaving the shadow of the tall doorway to approach the purplish-black walls, with quiet steps, you see about determining the true nature of this rotunda by study of its inlay.



This… is a tale with that you’re acquainted.

You don’t just mean that in the sense of having heard it; your experience with the story shown here is more personal than that – literally.

You’re a part of it.

Depicted here on the running relief, wrought in polished porphyry and cleanly-chiseled marble, is the legend that the Lady recounted to you this morning – the history of her family and their bitter birthright as embodied by the Saigyou Ayakashi. To be able to see and touch the tale like this, with Yuyu narrating to you in her haltingly-bubbly voice all the while, only improves the aesthetic experience; nevertheless, you can’t say that you’re made happy by it.

Because if the stones speak true, there’s much more to the story than just what she told you…

Search for:
[ ] The relief’s beginning.
[ ] Saigyou’s passing on.
[ ] The relief’s ending.
[ ] Details about a particular person or event. (Specify)
[ ] The source of the wind. It's picking up...?

You may choose more than one option – but remember. Although you might ask them for more time, there’s no guarantee that the Psychodiver or ‘Balor’ will necessarily accommodate for your needs…
----------

For anyone who needs it, the Lady’s account is in >>106568.
>> No. 116296
File 127087820835.jpg - (215.81KB , 800x533 , 6255439.jpg ) [iqdb]
116296
>>116287
That's a really good point. I had figured we'd get smacked out of narrative by some set timer. It hadn't occurred to me that we could spend all day here while letting everything else go to pot while we inspected the relief. Good call, I thank ya' for the insight.

>for what other purpose would your evil enemy mingle together such a strange multitude, these men and women and children of every age and station?
>>The kids her age who played with her, the nice old man who watched the gate, the thin-faced cook whose scary looks hid a heart of gold and of course, her parents – everyone was missing.
>the legend that the Lady recounted to you this morning

I think everyone gathered here are the people that died "died?" when the tree awoke. Yuyu's story makes mention that no small amount of people (young and old, meager and prosperous) made the Saigyou cooperative their home. That the High King would take them all into Makai and place them into eternal sleep isn't too unlike what he did to Princess Royal: for all intents they are "dead" to the world, but they are in fact preserved(?) in stasis in Makai. Maybe the dead and decomposing bodies are the ones that had their ghosts cut down by Youki with his Roukanken. It's in keeping with High King's loathing of death: create the illusion of death to spur events forward, but 'protect' them outside the flow of time in Makai. If so, that's a mighty bizarre sense of benevolence, but it's one that's not entirely incomprehensible.

So, assuming everyone here was part of that incident, why is Acala's pagoda here?

[x] The relief’s beginning.
[x] Details about a particular person or event:
-{x} the awakening of the tree, before Youki's rescue of Yuyu

Where does the story start, and what exactly happened when the tree woke up is what I want to know. Saigyou's death or any depictions of Acala or the Pagoda are equally appealing, but I feel like 2 points of examination is the upper limit before shit hits the fan. I have no real reason to feel like that outside of some bizarre (probably misplaced) intuition, so whatever.

Pic unrelated.
>> No. 116297
[x] The relief’s beginning.
[x] Details about a particular person or event:
-{x} the awakening of the tree, before Youki's rescue of Yuyu.

Perhaps after we save Youki, we both look at this, since this is something very telling that I doubt even Yuyuko knows about.
>> No. 116307
[x] The relief’s beginning.
[x] Details about a particular person or event:
-{x} the awakening of the tree, before Youki's rescue of Yuyu.
>Where does the story start, and what exactly happened when the tree woke up is what I want to know.
I agree with this person. I really want to know.
>> No. 116313
[x] The relief’s beginning.
[x] Details about a particular person or event:
-{x} the awakening of the tree, before Youki's rescue of Yuyu.
>> No. 116361
Writing. There's something on which all of you haven't picked up - maybe you'll finally see it with this update.
>> No. 116364
>>116361
I can only hope it's not another screw up. It's like being in school again
>> No. 116373
>>116361
>There's something on which all of you haven't picked up - maybe you'll finally see it with this update.

"The source of the wind. It's picking up...?"
>> No. 116387
File 127095519146.jpg - (172.95KB , 512x767 , Danse_Macabre_-_Guyot_Marchand9_(Abbot_and_Bailiff.jpg ) [iqdb]
116387
>>116361
>Writing. There's something on which all of you haven't picked up - maybe you'll finally see it with this update.

Is it the tableau 'vivant' of figures made to represent a memento mori?

>…On stone beds of the same style that you found the Princess Royal asleep, loosely arranged in concentric rings, are dozens of quiescent forms – people of every possible appearance and at every stage of life …and death. Laid out before you, there are conspicuous churls and there are lordly-looking chevaliers; there are fishwives and there are courtesan beauties; there are children and there are corpses. Solemnly, you observe that some of the last have long been dead; nevertheless, their remains have been left unburied, decaying into the dust of this ‘mausoleum’ for so many decades that they’ve skeletonized completely – although these are far outnumbered by the ones who appear only asleep.

That's pretty representative of all classes & stages of life & death.

I don't know if there's an exact Eastern equivalent, but transience is represented in mono no aware, though it's less morbid. Anyway, we've seen Western references from the Great King, and we also know he has a complex pertaining to death, so I think it's entirely possible the scene is symbolic. At the center lies a artifact associated with Acala, who is intransient.

Maybe removal of the object will result in the scene to move again, but whether that results in rapidly decaying corpses, or instead reanimation, there is no telling.
>> No. 116413
>>116364
Let me put it to you this way. Do you remember (I'm assuming you have read this since the beginning) how some things which had seemed unclear or unimportant were brought into perspective when you came to know that Byakuren was the hero's sister?

It's something like that: a simple foundational premise that completely changes how you interpret the evidence with that you're presented. Technically, there's two of them, but they're interrelated; you'll figure out both if you can get at least one of them. For my part, I find it's funny that no one's picked up on it yet (read: you have been staring it in the face for months), and I'm sure you readers will too when you finally see what I mean.

Here's to hoping that the next update helps out with that.
>> No. 116414
>>116413
I do suspect that pagoda in time would be passed down to Shou... but I wonder what other thing might have been missed....
>> No. 116424
>>116414
That's an interesting point. How did it get passed down to Shou, I wonder?

Shou's profile ( http://touhou.wikia.com/wiki/Shou_Toramaru ) has some very interesting things to consider that may be related.

Maybe.
>> No. 116426
>(read: you have been staring it in the face for months)

Here some epileptic trees then: 'Acala' is Great King, explaining why we can't contact him here.

Additionally, Sir Monk is an incarnation of Seitaka Douji (制た迦童子), one the two chief attendants of Acala. Seitaka is usually depicted with a staff and Vajra, and this would explain why Sir Monk was able to use his superpowers almost immediately after he was initiated. Seitaka Douji is portrayed as joyous and smiling, which we've seen in Sir Monk from the beginning. Konngara (Kiṃkara AKA Kongara Douji, 矜羯羅童子) is another of the chief servants of Acala, often depicted as female.

Bishamonten is another frequent attendant of Acala, so it makes sense that it ultimately is associated with the pagoda.

One from out of the blue: Byakuren is an incarnation of the very compassionate Guan-Yin (Kannon).

Finally, Hijiri might not really be Sir Monk's surname, but a job description (as a 'hijiri'), an itinerant monk who leads a life of public ministry rather than isolation, and possessed of great power and interpersonal intelligence.
>> No. 116437
>This great hero, with six wings waving and heavy spear held straight ahead, rallies the divine host and leads a charge that completely turns the tide. The motley mass of monsters is crushed, routed before the Heavenly army’s rekindled valor, and at their head, the champion is invincible. None among the enemy, not even their greatest, are able to withstand her power. Though her spear’s shivered, though her armor’s shattered, though she’s covered in wounds, though she’s taken a blade through the heart in the attempt, the champion cleaves through to the demon queen and, after a struggle that brings the battle around them to a standstill, succeeds at throwing her down in single combat.

Both Sariel and Shinki possess the requisite number of wings, but as part of a war between Asuras and Devas (or syncretical demons and angels), I think it much more likely to be the former.
>> No. 116444
>It’s red – deeply red, as the garnet and spinel are red.

Koakuma? There are plenty of alternatives, but we are in Makai. Since we're no stranger to PC-98 characters there's also the possibility of it being Kotohime, which would fit better as member of the household or a visitor, but not very well with being an animist or shaman.

>Over Youki, it’s a gangly, armored humanoid that could only be Susano-o; over Yuyu, it’s a man with a staff, over Murasaki, it’s… a goddess?

Man with a staff could by Saigyou Hoshi, since some art does depict him with a staff, but it's not completely unreasonable for it to be Sir Monk, since it's possible he's been embroiled in these affairs from the start. Murasaki's goddess I have no idea; it could represent her actual self behind her aged features, or it could represent an actual goddess like Shinki.

>The first is the Lady. Even when she’s represented in stone and no more than six, it’s obvious that the expression with that young Yuyu’s staring up at brave Youki’s back isn’t of simple awe or shallow appreciation – it’s love. Unconscious, ingenuous and innocent love.

Yeah, no matter how Youki's death might be framed she could very well kill herself simply out of grief. We need to find him pronto.

>The High King of Destiny.

Curious that the High King would choose to depict himself in such a self-effacing manner, but also not at all out of character, since he's expressed misgivings on confrontation with both whom we assumed was Yukari and Sir Monk. He is no stranger to the idea of being the 'bad guy'.

Anyway, waking one of these guys up and bringing them home would go a great deal toward Yuyuko not sacrificing her own life if Youki can't immediately be found, a role which the Princess Royal could not serve as since we have no reason to believe she's ever met Yuyuko. She would have to believe us if we told her Youki wasn't actually dead, just spirited away. That is, if they're not actually dead. The Princess Royal was alive, but the skeletons are not encouraging.