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116459 No. 116459
Note: Voting part added.

Previous thread: >>113356

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Much as with the ceiling, the relief’s been partitioned into sections by the stone piers carrying the dome’s weight. A brief look at each of them reveals something of the story’s whole structure: a series of self-supporting vignettes is housed in the individual recesses, all of which tie back to the broader theme of the tree and, when taken together, work to tell a tale resembling the one that the Lady told you – emphasis on ‘resembling.’ There are several significant departures from her version all throughout, none of them more marked than the quadrant immediately counterclockwise from the door, at what might be termed as the relief’s ‘beginning.’



It’s represented differently – the participants are figured in an abstract flavor and the action’s been highly-stylized, but this area of the relief’s evocative of one of the paintings from earlier.

Depicted is the combat between a grotesque horde of demons and monsters and a proud host of the divine Devas. They’re locked in a fierce and bloody melee at the zenith of the sky; behind them, the pennants of Heaven flutter in tatters from an embattled gate. At first, the fiendish attackers seem to have the upper hand; the advance unit of the Heavenly army is destroyed in an ambush, and to make matters worse, in the following battle, the center of their line is broken after a battalion of winged devils works to the side of their formation and turns their flank. Driven back now to inside their walls, the Devas are prepared for a long and bitter siege when, from within their ranks, a champion comes forward. 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, she is invincible. None among the enemy, not even their greatest, are able to withstand the champion’s 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, she 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. Any semblance of order or martial dignity among the fiends is lost with their leader’s defeat. They’re scattered in full-on flight; they’re slain in droves; they’re hurled from the heights of the empyreal sky, falling in flames to the devastated world below.

So ends the tale’s first part.



The relief’s next section isn’t so much a continuous narrative as it is a series of stills united through the inclusion of a common element – the tree. In all of the images, the Saigyou Ayakashi looms darkly over the surrounding plain, spreading its solemn shadow to shade the ones who are ‘asleep’ beneath its boughs.

The very same who are ‘asleep’ in this room.

…There’s no mistaking it.

For instance, one of the panels shows two people – a well-fed fellow in a fine robe and a shifty-eyed chap who’s wearing a head kerchief and gripping a halberd – sprawled out in the foreground ahead of an oxcart. Both of them are among the ‘sleepers’ behind you and, sans polearm and wagon, they look exactly as is carved on the relief.

The portly man’s short, and if his forest-green clothing’s conspicuously expensive – being sewn with flowers of silver thread and tailored so as to comfortably accommodate his broad girth, it also has, by the many pockets lining its length and the narrow cut of its sleeves, a decisive utilitarianism that’s alien to aristocratic dress.

His companion’s a bit more rough-and-tumble. He’s tall, tanned, lean and sinewy; his garments are wayworn and all stained by the weather to a drab olive-born color, with the sole exception of the raunchy orange cloth that he’s tied over his forehead – it’s probably new.

Most likely, you’re looking at a traveling merchant and his hired guard.

The pair of them represents an exceptional case among the various panels, in the respect that they’re together; most of the stills feature only one person.

A more typical case is that of the lone woman that’s adjacent them in the relief, despite the fact that she’s been done up rather strangely. Shown as napping away without a care in the world, her arms pillowed behind her head and her legs crossed gaily, the feathery headdress and colorful regalia in that she’s bedecked mark her as an animist or medium. More unusual than this, however, is the untamed cascade of her hair.

It’s red – deeply red, as the garnet and spinel are red.

…Curious.



Predictably, the largest and most involved among the images in this section of the relief is to be found at its end – retelling the tragedy in which the Lady lost her family.

It’s in two parts.

The first half is of the summons to that she alluded, showing how all the residents of Hirokawa were beckoned to their deaths in the night. Appearing as the Death Butterflies that the Lady displayed for you twice before is a sinister train of wandering ghosts. They steal into the slumbering house through a window that’s carelessly been left open and, upon reaching the individual rooms, proceed to possess all of the reposing residents except for Murasaki, Youki and Yuyu. Based on what’s shown here in the relief, those three are saved because they’re being actively guarded – each of them has a phantasmal protector that’s hovering above his/her sleeping form and repelling the approaching ghosts. 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? …You’re not quite sure, as the individual rooms are too small to make out much in the way of specific detail.

The second half’s removed forward in time to the next morning, portraying Youki’s rescue of his mistress. With a determined glint in his eyes and his twin swords slashing fell and fearlessly, he’s protecting the little girl behind him from the ghostly goliaths crushing in from all sides.

There’s three points of particular interest here.

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.

The second is Youki. You might not be giving enough credit to artistic license, but… it’s strange. As he’s been shaped, Youki doesn’t look a day younger than how he appears today, despite that the scene shown here is from ten years ago.

The third is an existence invisible to the eyes of them in the relief.High in the sky overhead of the Saigyou Ayakashi is suspended the hazy, disembodied spirit of a god. He’s only bothered to materialize his upper body, his hands held out and grasping towards the tree as he watches the feat of arms that’s playing out underneath him. Whether his reaction is of approbation or irritation, you can only guess;the three-peaked crown he wears is hung with a veil that entirely obscures his face.

The High King of Destiny.



It’s at this point that you encounter another break in the relief – a passage. You weren’t able to see it on coming in from how it’s angled, as it’s buttressed between two of the dome’s supporting arches, but before you now is an unlit, unobtrusive entry. Where it leads, you don’t know – it quickly turns a corner and continues on to a place you’re unable to see; however, there’s something else of that you take notice.

…The ‘wind’ that you followed to reach this room and then promptly forgot in the spectacle of the ‘sleepers?’

It’s originating out of this entry, and what’s more…

It’s audibly picked up.

You:
[ ] Can’t hear it clearly from here, but its presence is unmistakable – there’s a distinctly artificial sound being borne on the wings of this ‘wind.’ Investigate inside.
[ ] Will postpone entering in – for now. At present, you’d like to look over some more of the relief. (Specify)
[ ] Will postpone entering in – for now. It’s high time that the ‘sleepers’ awaken, starting with… (Specify)
[ ] Will postpone entering in – for now. Retrieve that Jeweled Pagoda first.
[ ] …Wait a second. If this room’s housing all those whose lives were supposedly stolen by the tree, then doesn’t this mean that the Lady’s parents are here as well?

You may choose more than one option.
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>>116437
Some food for thought, take it as you will:

-There are many different descriptors you could apply to an Asura, but 'grotesque' is hardly the first that would come to mind.

-The hero knows very well how an Asura appears. Notice how he doesn't relate them with the fiends that are depicted on the relief?

>> No. 116460
>>116454
The fight from the first relief... it's the Genso-Lunar War, isn't it? The devas/angels are Lunarians, the Asura/devils are the invading youkai, and the demon queen is Yukari. Wouldn't that make the champion someone from the moon? Considering we're throwing epithets around like crazy, couldn't "Sariel" be a title for Shinki, as much as "Hestia" and "Balor" are for others? There are enough similarities between the two that they could very well be one in the same. So, here's an epileptic tree for you: considering this connection and what Makai looks like when we spied it for the first time, we are actually on the moon.

>>116444
>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.

I can get behind this. Given her canon profile, she's rather eccentric in behavior. I wouldn't be surprised if that translated into her choice of garb, and if that lead Myouren to presume her profession from it.

Also:
>[ ] About what is Konngara worried?

Are we ever coming back to this, or was it opposite day when we voted for that?
>> No. 116462
>>116460
Forgot my vote:
[x] …Wait a second. If this room’s housing all those whose lives were supposedly stolen by the tree, then doesn’t this mean that the Lady’s parents are here as well?

I was thinking about this when we first started putting everything about the relief and who these people might be. No time like the present.
>> No. 116468
[x] Will postpone entering in – for now. Retrieve that Jeweled Pagoda first.
[x] Can’t hear it clearly from here, but its presence is unmistakable – there’s a distinctly artificial sound being borne on the wings of this ‘wind.’ Investigate inside.

This might lead us to Youki, and the sooner we get him out the better. And having another person would help in terms of everything, looking at the relief, waking up the sleepers, etc.

>>116460
Doubt it, the Lunarians have no winged figures on their side.
>> No. 116490
We've reached thread 8, haven't we? And wow, those votes are giving me hard time to decide.

[c] Will postpone entering in – for now. Retrieve that Jeweled Pagoda first.
[c] …Wait a second. If this room’s housing all those whose lives were supposedly stolen by the tree, then doesn’t this mean that the Lady’s parents are here as well?

Also, I love the OP picture.
>> No. 116498
>>116460
>Are we ever coming back to this, or was it opposite day when we voted for that?

When the moment's right. I'm relishing it.
>> No. 116515
>>116462
[x] What he voted for.
too lazy to make spoilers.
>> No. 116520
Am I the only one worried about Youki? Since saving what other people won't matter much if the pyschodriver tells Youki the truth. Kinda hard to do all that stuff with Youki out for our blood.
>> No. 116552
>>116520
>Am I the only one worried about Youki? Since saving what other people won't matter much if the pyschodriver tells Youki the truth. Kinda hard to do all that stuff with Youki out for our blood.

He's certainly not going to go after us if we were to bring Yuyu's parents back from the dead.

[x] …Wait a second. If this room’s housing all those whose lives were supposedly stolen by the tree, then doesn’t this mean that the Lady’s parents are here as well?
>> No. 116562
>>116552
it's still a bad idea compared to getting Youki first.
>> No. 116577
[x] Will postpone entering in – for now. Retrieve that Jeweled Pagoda first.
[x] …Wait a second. If this room’s housing all those whose lives were supposedly stolen by the tree, then doesn’t this mean that the Lady’s parents are here as well?

We spent time looking at the goddamn frieze, we might as well use it to some effect. When an option has a spoiler tag on it (unless it's to make a pun) that is sort of an emphasis on the option.

>>116562
>it's still a bad idea compared to getting Youki first.

No it isn't, because we do not have assurances we can get Youki before the time is up and the Princess is overwhelmed, and secondly, since we know from doing so with the Princess before that waking them up will not take a long time, beside the fact that they're right here.

Secondly, I don't have much hope in going against two of the Great Kind's lieutenants without Acala.

Bringing Yuyu's parents back from the dead is proof to Yuyu that we can do the same for Youki. Now we have limited time, and we don't know where Youki is. It's better to get proof of Youki's impending return, than it is to chance losing him without any proof for Yuyu, and probably not being able to bring back the Princess Royal, who is extremely powerful.

It may mean another Vajra, but if we're diving deep into the enemy's stronghold, I'd rather do it was a full party. Mima is one of the most powerful magicians in the world, Yuyu can kill and incapacitate on command with her butterflies, the Princess Royal may better know the inner workings of this place and our mutual enemy in addition to summon divine flame, and Konngara is a very powerful warrior. Even Murasaki might help since the cat is out of the bag regarding how she survived the night where everyone was spirited away.

All together you could take on the Great King of Destiny and his lieutenants.
>> No. 116595
Writing.

>>116468
>Doubt it, the Lunarians have no winged figures on their side.

I suggest that you have a look inside the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, specifically at the last part where the Lunar Emissaries and their equipage is mentioned.

>>116460
Putting aside whether your guess is correct or not, it hasn't answered the most important question - why?

The various reliefs have been noted as all relating back to the business of the tree, so I ask you - how does this one relate to the others? For what reason has it been placed at the beginning? Can you link it with what you already know or have been presented in any significant ways?

>>116520
>pyschodriver

I see that someone plays SRW.
>> No. 116657
[x]…Don’t steal from the dead any more than you do the living. Offer a prayer and respectfully leave them lie.
Also:
[x] Take the Jeweled Pagoda.
[x] …On the ‘wind’ – is that a voice you’re hearing?
>> No. 116664
>it hasn't answered the most important question - why?

I've been wracking my brain, scouring the wiki, and re-reading the story, and I am still clueless as to why this occurs at the very beginning. I'm hoping writing out some musing helps the process or inspires someone that can figure this out.
I'm still fairly confident that the first relief is the Genso-Lunar war, and I'm still pretty positive that "Sariel" is the epithet for Shinki, seeing that most (if not all) of them are inspired from by western mythology. Seriously, read the description for Shinki and Sariel; they're the exact same person (save for Shinki's shorter hair) and are both in Makai. As for Shinki/Sariel being related to the moon, it's more likely than you think. Kaguya claims that Lunarians are the source of all magic, and the title of Sariel's second theme is "Civilization of Magic." Coincidence? I think not.
It seems rather tenuous, but I do believe that "Makai" is another name/title/misnomer for the moon. The only other time we've been concerned with the Lunarians has been during the Bride of Heaven; Kaguya coming down with her "Pandora's Box." Now, the moon and Lunarians are never explicitly stated, but it seems pretty intuitive to us. They're also pretty keen on borrowing from Chinese mythology:
>>108436
>The name she bore during the tenure of her imprisonment was ‘Xi Shi,’

I only point this out because the Great Sage used the birthday of a very important person to gain access to the High King while everyone else would be away:
>>108977
>the Great Sage had especially chosen the day of her intrusion with the advance knowledge that most of Heaven would be at the Queen Mother of the West’s birthday celebration.
>The Queen Mother of the West - Xi Wangmu
>beliefs that she was the dispenser of prosperity, longevity, and eternal bliss
Does that remind you of any important Lunarians? Furthermore, the Great Sage stormed up there plenty pissed:

>Her travels brought her upwards, through the clouds, past the sky and onto the sea of stars, where she soon entered into the Vicegerent’s precincts.

She didn't travel to some alternate world or dimension to meet with the High King, she went up and kept going. Having arrived in the same place as the High King ourselves, that description is not all that different from what Myouren noted in >>115093
>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.

It seems like a real place and not a "world of spirits," kind of like how Jigoku/Hell is in Touhou despite being roughly the same thing from a western perspective. Heaven = in the skies above the earth = the moon; residents of the moon = residents of heaven, therefore Lunarians = angels. That would certainly explain the large amount of angels in the decorations everywhere here.

I can't help but wonder if the beginning of >>108977 (the Great Sage confronting the High King) and the first relief depicting Yukari's attack on the moon aren't describing the same thing, or if they're two different events. Despite the differences, I'm inclined to think it's the former. It doesn't make sense that Yukari would attack the moon for no reason at all. It does make sense for her to challenge the High King out right for his dickery. One thing that is common in both stories, though, is that the invader was defeated. The winners are the ones that write the history, so for all anyone is concerned, the demon queen "attacked for no reason but was bested in glorious mortal combat by the champion." Makes for a inspirational tale to white wash the Great Sage catching them with their collective pants down and scaring off the guards:
>Protocol demanded that she should surrender her weapon at the threshold to those Gods posted as its sentinels, but at the sight of the Great Sage in her anger, they had fallen back or fled outright.
http://touhou.wikia.com/wiki/Watatsuki_no_Yorihime
>Occupation: Leader of the Lunar Defense Corps

Oh, something else:
>There was immediately set upon the Vicegerent’s head a dreadful burden – all the pain and sadness of those living and dead who felt themselves wronged by him; an immensity which was greater and more onerous than that of the whole world. Even the strength of his mighty resolve was stooped under the weight of their hatred and lamentation that had become laden in his crown and was bidding him fall prostrate from his throne.
And then in >>112190
>“My friend – see you this ichor staining my breast? This constant wound against which all power of recovery and resurrection affords me no relief? …Do not underestimate the Adversary.

She got him good, it seems. Anyway, to try and work this all into the timeline (and state what everyone already suspects):
>Now, although much diminished; I judge what remains of the Adversary to still possess a capacity for design and stratagem far above yours, my friend.
>>106568
>The only bright spot in all this misfortune was that Murasaki, the ‘truest friend of my parents’ in Yuyu’s words; came to Hirokawa around that time. Things improved steadily after that. The dire astral portents went away, while the problems of bad weather and youkai were brought under control.

Some other things that might be relevant
>>112190
> Herewith, you are ordered to move the army dispatched for observation and quarantine into defense around the prison.
>>116120
>“You want to know why that sarcastic girl was able to find her way inside the tree when you can’t,”
The tree is a prison? And Mima's in it? Is it the same as the prison we're in? I'm thinking not, but I've been terribly mistaken before. So, is someone already imprisoned there, or is it waiting for its first occupant?
That's where I hit a wall in trying to connect the 'attack' in the first relief with the tree. Did the tree result from the attack? Did it necessitate it? I'm at loss as to what it could be definitively.

Some speculation: it doesn't seem like punishment, and the High King doesn't like killing needlessly, so making a death tree blossom seems counter-intuitive. Either there was no alternative, or he couldn't stop it from happening. If the former, perhaps Yuyu's power might have been born without an equal and opposing force, and a suitable prison was needed. If the latter, the Great Sage did enough damage to keep him from prevening the birth of the Saigyou Ayakashi, and now he has to see everything through to the end. I like the former, but it's too tenuous to hang my hat on it.

I should probably vote:
[X] …Don’t know why they’re abandoned here, but you’ll retrieve them on the Lady’s behalf.
[X] …On the ‘wind’ – is that a voice you’re hearing?

I like the rosary thing because, after everything is over, it's something that Youki and Yuyu can share together like Yuyu's parents did, and we've been ignoring that wind for a little too long now. I might change my mind and wake the ruby haired animist instead or to abscond with the pagoda, though. I'm going to ponder what Byakuren would want us to do.


Something I found that I thought to share:
>>108977
>“You’re gonna say,” she pointed with her index finger –
>“– there is nowhere to run, Princess.”

>“There is nowhere to run, Princess.”

>[/i]She was not giving up hope; rather, she was giving herself up to hope.[/i]

>>115090
>‘…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.”

Like mother like daughter.
>> No. 116667
>>116664
What you and/or anonymous aren't quire seeing isn't the small details, but the picture itself.

Important hint: Think about the facts you assume as being true.
>> No. 116669
edit: Clarifications made throughout and choices added.

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For now, the wind can wait; you’ve just gained an insight. This rotunda – if, as the relief has suggested, it’s housing all of them whose lives were stolen by the Saigyou Ayakashi, then… wouldn’t it follow that Yuyu’s mother and father are among the ‘sleepers?’

…You’ll find them.

You aren’t yet sure on what will happen afterwards – you haven’t even made up your mind on how you’ll greet them, but you’ll find them. It’s not an easy choice, nor is it a decision that’s entirely in line with the exigencies of the situation, given that the Princess Royal’s possibly in peril and that Youki’s seemingly been taken hostage.

But could you really behave to the contrary?

You’ve known their daughter; you’ve loved their daughter – and still do. At this very moment, your life and fortunes are pledged to the fulfillment of her courageous intentions. As a result, it’s a matter of course that you should reverence the Lady’s parents as your own; you owe them as much for having brightened your world with their love, whatever they might think of you in return.

The only problem is that they’re nowhere to be found.

...

It was starting from the outermost ring of the concentrically-arranged stone beds that you made a measured search through the ranks of the ‘sleepers.’ In the process, you gained a fuller-appreciation of just how completely the Lady’s curse has epitomized society – only one class of person’s been excluded. While there were many with the formidable aura of a practiced warrior, a not-insignificant number whose dress betrayed them as petty nobles or gentry, some merchants of the same cloth as the portly man, a handful of hardened men whose desperate dress and cut hair indicated that they were convicts and a scattered minority of ordinary people – nowhere did you see any of your brothers or sisters.

The closest anyone's come is that strange red-haired shaman of whom you earlier made note, and she’s about as similar to a nun as you are to a necromancer. Nevertheless, she’s seemingly the only other spiritualist here – perhaps it would be fruitful to ask her help?

...

"...What's this?"

Having arrived to inside the interior ring, the final circle of ‘sleepers’ and stone beds bordering the pedestal on that Acala’s Jeweled Pagoda is enshrined, there’s an abnormality of that you instantly take notice.

Amidst all of the occupied places are two empty beds. They’re positioned side-by-side.

Approaching, you discover that in place of their occupants, atop each of them rests a small object – a bangle. They’re carved from common wood and plainly-styled, but in spite of their simplicity, the richness of their patina testifies to that they were the dear possessions of the pair who once wore them. Identical in the design and sum of their one hundred-and-eight beads, the only place where they’ve been made different is in their sole ornament, the butterfly charm that dangles on the end of their cinch – one’s blue and the other’s pink.

…They’re rosaries. Matched, historied rosaries belonging to Yuyu’s mother and father.

You:
[ ] …Don’t know why they’re abandoned here, but you’ll retrieve them for the Lady.
[ ]…Don’t steal from the dead any more than you do the living. Offer a prayer and respectfully leave them lie.
[ ] …Didn’t find them in the flesh; however, you’ve not searched the relief. Is there a chance that it could indicate to where they’ve gone?
[ ] …Know from prior experience that discarded heirlooms (broadly defined as any object predisposed towards association with strong emotions or powerful memories) are very often cursed. As you’ve already got enough to handle at present without the possibility of being immobilized or driven insane; you’ll return and recover them when the situation’s been fully-resolved.

Also:
[ ] Take the Jeweled Pagoda.
[ ] Try rousing one of the ‘sleepers.’ (Specify)
[ ] …On the ‘wind’ – is that a voice?
----------

I don't have the deletion password for it, so just disregard the previous post.
>> No. 116674
[x]…Don’t steal from the dead any more than you do the living. Offer a prayer and respectfully leave them lie.
[x] …On the ‘wind’ – is that a voice?
>> No. 116677
>>116667
Wow, really? God damn it. Best I can reckon is that Great Sage != Yukari, but even abandoning that and every other preconception, I still can't reconcile that first relief with anything. Regardless of whether it's the Lunar war or not, I got nothing, and I don't think I can afford to spend anymore time trying to decipher this than I already have (lost a day with that wall; quite literally actually).

I'm disappointed with myself, but I stand defeated. Kudos for being especially clever with this one; it speaks greatly of your creativity. I hope that not being able to figure this out doesn't negatively impact the story, or that someone more insightful than myself can figure this out.
>> No. 116679
[x] …Don’t know why they’re abandoned here, but you’ll retrieve them for the Lady.
[x] Try rousing one of the ‘sleepers.’ (the animist)

The rosaries don't belong here anymore than anyone else. I don't think it stealing so much as it is returning them to their rightful owner. Can't believe that Yuyu's parents would curse us either, but maybe it's the raw emotion instead that causes curses? I don't know, these just don't seem to have the same menacing origin as Alastor did.
I almost didn't catch it but
>>perhaps it would be fruitful to ask her help?
Sounds like a plan.
>> No. 116680
>>116677
>I'm disappointed with myself

Don't be.

>I stand defeated.

You're not.

>I hope that not being able to figure this out doesn't negatively impact the story

At least on my end, it won't.

You have several things right, and I'm gratified that you noted that Mokou and her mother were related by more than blood. All you need now is the larger picture that ties what you have found together - to that you're already incredibly close. It's not anything complex or convoluted by any stretch of the imagination, but despite that (all the more, actually), I think you will be quite surprised on learning what it is.
>> No. 116688
>http://www.touhou-project.com/th/src/126604457890.jpg

Don't. Forget. To. loot.

But seriously the jewelry is most important; it's undeniable proof we'd landed in the world of the dead, so that no matter what happens with Youki right now, Yuyu will know that we can do something about it.

[x] …Don’t know why they’re abandoned here, but you’ll retrieve them for the Lady.
[x] Try rousing one of the ‘sleepers.’ (Animist)
[x] Take the Jeweled Pagoda.

Absconding with the Jeweled Pagoda requires only a trivial amount of time, and may help greatly in the upcoming fight, I mean we're hearing spoiler-text voices from something. If it's not your Myouren-sense tingling, then it's a villain's (which might be disastrous) or one of any number of benevolent voices we've heard, like Youki's stand, right? Though Acala is usually emboldened and Susanoo is underlined, so it might just be a writer's conceit (and Myouren's preternatural insight). As for the shaman woman, if she really is a shaman, her magic might also be helpful in retrieving Youki, as that phoenix woman sobered up and started dishing out hell with only a few minutes after her arousal. That and she's audaciously dressed, such that Yuyu may recognize her as one of the persons that were spirited away.

Think of it as a trial run. If the outcome is fortuitous (i.e., we can return with the chosen to the realm of the living), then as we have the capacity to return the lives of more than just Youki, we also have an obligation to do so, being in a position where we have the ability to set wrong things right. We told Yuyu we did not want her to kill herself, and that means, rebuilding a life worth living, even the going is piecemeal and the way fraught with danger. If we allow others believe we're a hero, we need to live up to our family name and face full life et cetera. Establishing that there is indeed a conspiracy around her person plays to an essential human desire to put blame elsewhere and turn guilt into a fiery torrent of antipathy & hatred. I believe in fact that Yuyuko upon our return would demand that we rescue her retainers, not the least of whom is Youki. Mild-mannered as she seems, I believe within that fragile girl lies a deadly serious woman that might topple the heavens if they were in her way.

In fact we seem to pick up a lot of those; it's really a good thing that there's someone & somewhere to focus that power on, or the lives of many might be lost in their exercise elsewhere.

With great Vajra comes great responsibility.
>> No. 116690
Writing.
>> No. 116691
>>116690

Hooray!
>> No. 116694
>>116688
But wouldn't getting back require another Vajra? And we started this whole thing to get him back. I suspect Yuyuko would value him above the others save for her parents.
>> No. 116705
>>116694

That may be so, but we've no guarantee we'll beat his kidnappers and find him. Here at least
we have people we know we can bring back. Returning without any evidence that Youki is alive and retrievable may be disastrous.
>> No. 116710
>>116705
You're acting like these guys are all that fierce. I think he can take them in a blindside. Thinking of this like a normal CYOA often backfires, and being hestiant about a unknown foe is just that.
>> No. 116715
>Thinking of this like a normal CYOA often backfires, and being hestiant about a unknown foe is just that.

You can use that line to advertise any idea, no matter how insane or insipid.

Please stop kicking logic & reason to the curb.
>> No. 116716
>>116715
thinking outside that box paid off nicely, and thinking in that box punished us at times.
>> No. 116722
[x] …Hear it more distinctly now that you’ve reunited with Acala – on the ‘wind’ is a cutting, metallic-sounding whisper. Can you discern what it’s actually saying with your guardian spirit’s help?

As much as I'd like to ask him questions, I'd rather get Youki out first. Once things have calmed down some, then we can proceed to ask.
>> No. 116724
----------
Before reaching to the empty beds, it’s with one hand held in front and eyes closed that you pray, asking the permission of them whose love these rosaries symbolize.

“No longer will you be allowed to molder in forgotten darkness; no longer will your time be frozen in tragedy. If only for a little while, please suffer the rude grip of this humble monk that dearer hands might hold you again.”

…They’re excellently preserved. Maybe it’s just the dry air of the ‘mausoleum,’ but you can almost feel their history as you turn them in your palm: the subtle grooves left from the fingertips that formerly grasped them, the sundry places where they’ve been worn smooth by constant devotions, the conscious heaviness afforded by the butterfly medallions on their tassel. Of happy times and hard times, joys and sorrows, the everyday and the extraordinary, the profound and the sublime – how many are the memories they contain!

The Lady will be as glad to receive them. With a word of blessing and a sign of benediction, you place her parents’ mementoes in a pocket of your cassock and recall yourself to the task at hand.



Now that the rosaries are secure, there’s the question of the other great treasure here – the Jeweled Pagoda. It’s unmistakably the same as that Acala was carrying: a hand-sized globe crowned with a tiered roof, shining with holy light. ...Why would it be here? To that question, you’re no closer to an answer than when you entered. The relief hasn’t indicated anything, and your tries with deduction alone invariably devolved into groundless speculation – accounting for how your enemy had the wherewithal to make a perfect facsimile of your knife makes reasoning too much uncertain.

So you’ll just do without it.

Your resolve’s unwavering and your hand’s unflinching as you approach the pedestal and reach. …Yes, you don’t know if this is a trap; you don’t know what your evil enemy’s planning; you don’t know where you are; you don’t even know if you’re alive or dead – but you know this:

"You'll regret it even more if you don't than if you try and fail by your own choice."

It was with those words that she gave you courage all those years ago, and they’re as true today as then. The Pagoda’s brightness intensifies proportionally to your arm’s proximity, increasing from an ambient yellow to a radiant gold, culminating in a sudden blaze and a blinding flash the instant your fingers close over it.

All at once, you’re transformed – your ears are heightened, your nose is sharpened, your mouth is purified, your sinews are strengthened, your eyes are clarified, your heart is calmed, your mind is emptied; a familiar power enters into you.



I have been kept waiting.

Acala…!?

Indeed.

You:
[ ] …Have any number of questions for him! (Specify)
[ ] …Hear it more distinctly now that you’ve reunited with Acala – on the ‘wind’ is a cutting, metallic-sounding whisper. Can you discern what it’s actually saying with your guardian spirit’s help?
----------

I suggest that you don't take too long with this one, otherwise...

>>116710
>Thinking of this like a normal CYOA often backfires

I can only guess as to what you mean by “a normal CYOA,” but let me just say – what “often backfires” is when you just plain aren’t thinking: when you’re relying on nonsensical clichés, superficial morality or partisan axioms instead of your brain. If you’re approaching decisions with the mentality of “this is the opposite of what usually happens, therefore it must work!” you’re going to fall into error as much as in the opposite case, because once again, you’re allowing your judgment to be clouded by an irrational bias.

>thinking outside that box paid off nicely

It wasn’t so much “thinking outside that box paid off nicely” as “thinking paid off nicely,” whether it was inside the box or out. The problem here is that you are confounding “thinking inside the box” with “not thinking at all,” when they aren't at all the same. I have nothing against anyone who decides to understand this story (or stories in general) within the bounds of narrative conventions, patterns of characterization or archetypes – quite the opposite, in fact. A person who has a thorough knowledge of how stories typically operate is, in my view, the best kind of reader. He can offer useful criticism about what sucks, appreciate where you depart from the formulaic or the mundane and most important of all, he has a sense of taste. He knows that a story that tries to completely discard narrative conventions, patterns of characterization or archetypes turns into something like Evangelion (read: trash).

>thinking in that box punished us at times.

My duty as a writefag, as I understand it, is only to write the outcomes of your choices based on the parameters I have defined and presented to you; therefore, your successes and your failures are causal – not karmic. You have failed on a few occasions, but you have never been “punished.”

Now having said all this, I would also like to tell you that you have things right, too. There are and will be instances where applying reasoning, ratiocination, analysis etc. is less than applicable. Konngara will get around to talking about it when the moment's right, but I believe you should already have a sense of what I mean - the event that some of you count as your greatest triumph to date was such an encounter.
>> No. 116727
[x] …Have any number of questions for him!
-{x} Are you alright?
-{x} How did we come to be separated?
-{x} What do you know of this 'Makai' we've been removed to?
-{x} Do you sense the presence of sir Youki?
-{x} Know you anything of the High King that reins here?

In no particular order, I guess. Chief concern is if Acala is okay. We suffered from minor dementia after being separated, so I'm wondering what he might have been subjected to. How a portion of our mind was sealed with the other people caught up in the tree incident is worth considering too. Even Myouren discerned there was something amiss with "Makai," so with our reunion, maybe there's something more to learn. Of course, finding Youki is of eminent concern, so even though we've never had the ability to locate people with Acala(?), it wouldn't hurt to try. Finally, maybe Acala can temper/reinforce our take on the High King.

I was tempted to include "How many sleepers can we aid before yonder threat born on metallic wings interrupts us" but that felt too idort and an attempt to try and cheese the vote.

>post update notes
I'm one guilty of picking something because it was the opposite of what one would usually do when I was at a loss for what to vote for; been regretting it ever since. Then again, I've also regretted (at the time) decisions made in the very same mindset that ultimately ended up being beneficial to us, so I'm still feeling out the boundaries of "merely contrary" and "thoroughly considered." Also,

>Konngara will get around to talking about it when the moment's right, but I believe you should already have a sense of what I mean - the event that some of you count as your greatest triumph to date was such an encounter.

Wait, seriously? Is that what her next update might be about? Looking forward to that even more now. Oh yeah,

>a story that tries to completely discard narrative conventions, patterns of characterization or archetypes turns into something like Evangelion (read: trash).
That got a real life "Ha ha, oh wow" out of me when I read that. Last thing I ever expected was legitimate hate on Eva in a Touhou CYOA post. Bravo.
>> No. 116729
[x] …Have any number of questions for him!
-[x] The woman with the fire-bird spirit, can Acala sense her or it? It would help to know their condition to gauge how much time you have to find Youki.
-[x] Might Acala sense the presence of the kindred spirit of 'Susano-o' or Youki himself?
-[x] Ask Acala if the people in the room, apart from the skeletons, are they alive but in some kind of stasis, or just dead and very well preserved?
[x] …Hear it more distinctly now that you’ve reunited with Acala – on the ‘wind’ is a cutting, metallic-sounding whisper. Can you discern what it’s actually saying with your guardian spirit’s help?

Now that we have Acala, I'm less concerned that we might fail to find Youki. We can listen to that wind before we decide what we might or might not attempt to do.
>> No. 116730
Writing.
>> No. 116734
----------
You don’t know how happy this homecoming of yours makes me, Acala! ...It’s been hard going for me in your absence.

Indeed?

Indeed! I ran up against all manner of problems: I had trouble getting my bearings; my cognition started becoming contaminated by strange thoughts and, worst of all, there were even some moments where I wasn’t myself! I don’t mean that in the good sense of having awakened to emptiness, either; rather, it was like I was starting to turn into another person – a worse person.

You have not become debased. The agreement of your humanity with Acala’s principle is confirmed by your communication with him.

If I’m not mistaken to assume reciprocity for what you’ve just said, then… you’re also in good shape?

Indeed. I am unscathed.

There’s a relief; I was afraid that you’d been taken hostage, or worse. Did you meet many difficulties while we were separated?

None.

...What?

I fell upon no challenges.

…Alright, let me see if I understand. After being separated from me, you took on the shape of a Jeweled Pagoda to lay patiently dormant until my arrival here just now? Is that the reason why you ‘fell upon no challenges?’

You are mistaken. The Storehouse that you hold is the gift of my friend Vaisravana, his offering on the occasion of my ascension to the rank of High King of the Four Directions. Through it, I am communicating with you.

Hold on – you aren’t actually here?

Correct.

This… I suppose it’s not entirely too unexpected. Alright then, can you describe the place where you’re being detained? I’ll come rescue you straightaway!

I am not a captive. Few are the beings who would dare at imprisoning Acala, and fewer still are the beings who would emerge successful, though Acala should not will it.

If you’ve not been taken prisoner, what’s stopping you from joining up with me?

I was invited.

…By him who rules over this realm?

Indeed.

And… you’re with him right now?

Indeed. He desires that you should speak with him.

You:
[ ] …Didn’t hear that. Continue with the questions you’ve prepared.
[ ] …Require Acala’s opinion before reaching a decision. In his estimation, what is the character of this one who “desires that you should speak with him?”
[ ] …Won’t wait for your evil enemy to make the first move. Call for the High King of Destiny, betraying neither haste, nor anger, nor your ideals.
[ ] …Are not a little disgusted by this development, to put it lightly. Was Acala asleep during the whole period in that you were following the legend? How could he make common cause with as amoral and ruthless an existence – a delusion whose very nature runs counter to the salvation offered by your faith?
----------

I urge you to think about this choice carefully, and not just with respect to its possible consequence. Make sure you have thoroughly considered the choices themselves. None of these choices are necessarily more “right” than any of the others, but some are more risky and some have more far-ranging consequences.
>> No. 116735
Tch... yet another hurtle, but I don't think we should be rude and ignore him...

I'll have to think on this... I hope this won't take too much time out of things.
>> No. 116736
>>116735
>yet another hurtle

You say that as though it's less an outcome of your choice than an author's roadblock. (It isn't. There's a reason that I gave you the other option, you know.)

Please take my word when I tell you that however it ends, the finale of this segment will be worthwhile, and that everything through that you are currently working will help you to appreciate it.

I mean, what’s the point in assaulting the palanquin ship on the back of a giant unnamed catfish with Nazrin clinging to you if it’s gained with no real effort, without any opportunities to really explore your surroundings, no details on said surroundings, no opportunities for real interaction with any characters outside of the hero’s immediate group and no understanding of what’s actually happening?

(The finale this time is more awesome than that, by the way.)
>> No. 116738
>You are mistaken. The Storehouse that you hold is the gift of my friend Vaisravana
>Vaisravana
Vaisravana, aka Bishamonten. I guess there is a good reason for Acala to have the famous jeweled pagoda.

>his offering on the occasion of my ascension to the rank of High King of the Four Directions.
Either I'm dense, forgetful, or unobservant, but this is the first time I've realized Acala has the same title as our antagonist. I guess it's no surprise that he thinks it's worth talking to the High King of Destiny, but maybe I'm presuming too much.

[x] …Require Acala’s opinion before reaching a decision. In his estimation, what is the character of this one who “desires that you should speak with him?”

Continuing the line of questioning is a nice out of the situation, but this development merits exploration. Calling out the High King of Destiny is a fantastic way of both controlling the tempo while signaling a willingness to converse, but to me, the phrasing implies talking for the sake of negotiating Acala's release. That's clearly not the situation, though. Calling bullshit on the situation is what I immediately felt like doing since, as the vote accurately points, Acala should be intimately aware of the levels of faggotry the High King is practiced in. However, there's an implicit level of distrust in Acala embedded in saying that, and that's not something I want to say, both because he's one with us and because he's our trusted companion. One of our friends (as much as Mima and Konngara and Yuyu and Youki and Murasaki are) is conveying this message under no duress. At this point, I recall Murasaki's advice to trust our friends, but to do so I want to understand Acala's point of view in suggesting as much.
>> No. 116739
>>116736
My apologizies, I said that because how it seemed to have come up right when we were on our way to doing something.

[x] …Require Acala’s opinion before reaching a decision. In his estimation, what is the character of this one who “desires that you should speak with him?”

To be honest our mind hasn't been the most clear as of late. Who better than Acala to provide such a view point? After hearing him out then we decide what to do.

I've always maintained that this King while doing some vicious stuff truly believes in what he's doing. While his view is twisted, it is a view of the right thing. His conduct with Rumia stands out because villains often see their pawns as expendable. Yet the King seems to value Rumia's life dearly. He may be indeed a twisted mirror to Myouren and a warning of what happens when one's pragmatism is unchecked.

Our goals here is finding out more about things and saving Youki and if possible, the princess.
>> No. 116755
>>116734
[X] …Require Acala’s opinion before reaching a decision. In his estimation, what is the character of this one who “desires that you should speak with him?”

About "considering the choices beyond their possible consequence," does that mean the mood or attitude of the choices? Or how they dictate Myouren's mindset? Not that I'm really expecting an answer, I just thought it was odd to ask us to consider them outside of what they might lead to. Only things I could think to consider are the "why"s. That said
>a delusion whose very nature runs counter to the salvation offered by your faith?
I think this is a good point, but maybe I don't enough about Myouren's faith to definitively say as much.

Also, cool hint about the catfish (I think?)
http://touhou.wikia.com/wiki/Hisoutensoku
>God of Cataclysm from the mainland, "Taisui Xingjun"
http://hakjeng.blogspot.com/2008/02/destiny-fate-luck-or-purely-incidental.html
>In the Chinese mythology, there’s Tai Sui, which is actually a position in the celestial heavens who is in charge of determining the annual fortunes of all of us. [...] There are many gods who would rotate to take up this position, as it’s an almighty position, the most powerful year god. It’s also commonly known as Tai Sui Xing Jun (太岁星君).

Just putting that out there as something worth considering.
>> No. 116759
[x] …Require Acala’s opinion before reaching a decision. In his estimation, what is the character of this one who “desires that you should speak with him?”
>> No. 116761
File 127172442975.jpg - (89.55KB , 600x525 , 10068439_m.jpg ) [iqdb]
116761
I have nothing to contribute except a pictar that expresses my general desire to see the story get to a point where there can be MOAR BYAKUREN, and my general approval at Touhou fandom's attempts to give Myouren a face/personality beyond ZUN or even Shigisan Engi canon. It makes for much more appealing Hijicest.
>> No. 116762
>>116761
...I never thought of Myouren as having gradient hair.

I want to try and forget I ever saw this except for the fact that I am 110% behind the Hijiricest idea as well.

Anybody else see the Myouren x Byakuren Paranoia Cat doujin, by the way? I read that, and immediately thought of this story.
Don't take that as a bad sign, author-person. I used to associate this story with far more unpleasant things before I put them aside and got back into it.
>> No. 116764
File 127173039222.jpg - (55.59KB , 700x600 , 1268789848119.jpg ) [iqdb]
116764
>>116762
Yeah, I don't think he would have gradient hair either, but meh.
>> No. 116765
>>116762
If we can have Byakuren without giving up Mima and Konngara, I'm all for it. Too soon to say about the princess. But what were the "unpleasant things" you spoke of?
>> No. 116768
>>116762
I actually read the doujin in question long before I encountered this story, so I had more or less the exact reverse thought process: reading this story made me think of the doujin - though of course I'm hoping the former won't be quite as PWP as the latter. |B

Also re: the gradient hair:
Tbh, I'm not even into the idea of Byakuren having gradient hair prior to her bodymodding via youkai magic, let alone the idea that her brother also has it as if it were genetic or something. At best it might be a side-effect of their Buddhist Powarz, but that would kind of entail an epidemic of wacky-haired monks. Then again, that might explain the whole shaved-bald thing. XP

/derail
>> No. 116769
>>116768
>|B
>Tbh
>XP
What in fuck's name ever gave you the impression that shit was acceptable on this site? You can't have just fallen off the haycart and landed in this story; you have to have been reading it for a while, meaning you have been on THP for some time.

So where the shit did you fucking ever pick up the notion that we condone that kind of childish crap?

Pay more attention to the world around you. Jesus H.
>> No. 116775
Was busy with coursework for all of yesterday. I'll have something for you tonight.
>> No. 116779
>>116769
Your desire to maintain the quality of posts and threads on this site is admirable, but to that end I feel your invective has been grossly misdirected, as it targets trivial rather than significant issues. I'm fairly certain that the post's blatant continuation of a conversation that contributes nothing of value to the story is far more detrimental to the quality of this thread than the poster's stylistic faux pas, however offensive the latter might be to our more elitist sensibilities. I would therefore advise you to put your righteous indignation to better use.

And before I allow this post to render me a hypocrite in light of my criticism of >>116768, let me make a small critique of the recent progress of this story - and by recent I mean since the inception of the "Makai" arc:
I mean no offense to the author or the anons, as both parties have clearly been putting as much effort as possible into their posts, and perhaps I have simply misjudged the frequency of the following two things, but I feel that there has been an excessive increase in the author's use of spoilers and the anonvoters' dependence on non-story material to make decisions. I say "excessive" because I honestly feel as if those two things are decreasing my enjoyment of the story.

The spoilers had incredible dramatic impact prior to their sudden frequency jump (which began at the start of this latest arc in thread 6), because they were reserved for only the most shocking/unusual/unexpected developments or discoveries, and this sparing usage also had the benefit of not disrupting the story. Now, however, the spoilers seem to contain anything and everything even remotely surprising or important, such that they've lost most of their dramatic value for me and now serve as nothing more than distracting indicators of important story info - think excessive highlighting in a secondhand textbook. While such "spoiler highlighting" might be helpful, I don't see why it's particularly necessary now when it wasn't necessary before, especially when any benefits are outweighed by the story flow disruption and the loss in dramatic effect.

As for the anonvoters' recent tendency to vote based on Wiki or Google searches rather than just on the story text itself - again, I can see the benefit and perhaps even necessity of this, as we have moved into a very mythology-heavy section of the story, but at the same time I feel as if this "metagaming" of the story has gotten so extreme as to make the protagonist behave in a manner that makes him increasingly less his own character and increasingly more a mere extension of anon's Wiki-fu. Most of the references that the anons have cited in their Makai-arc decisionmaking contain information that Myouren could not possibly know, and yet Anon makes Myouren act according to this information. I feel as though the only thing currently keeping Myouren from becoming generic walkthrough-reading player #52396 is the author's judicious limitation of the action options to choices in keeping with Myouren's background and knowledge.

Again, I mean no personal offense with these critiques, and you're free to disagree with me, but I'd really like to enjoy this story as much as I did before thread 6, and having pinpointed what I think are the sources of my decreased enjoyment, I'm hoping to find a reasonable solution.
>> No. 116781
>>116779
You seem to be fairly bright and not prone to starting shitstorms, so I'm feeling okay with making this reply.

>the post's blatant continuation of a conversation that contributes nothing of value to the story is far more detrimental to the quality of this thread than the poster's stylistic faux pas
...Hadn't thought of it like that, but it's a good point.
Still, it's best to catch this behavior early and weed it out, rather than let it slide. Allowing it to go unchecked does no favors for anybody.

>however offensive the latter might be to our more elitist sensibilities.
If wanting people to refrain from useless, childish behavior and use something approaching real wording and grammar is elitist, then somebody get me a limo and a country club membership.
It's never a crime to think to expect some level of quality, unless the site you're on is utterly swamped in such stupidity and actively rejects such an attitude and responds with "fuk u poindexter ill rite how i want 2 :P"-type replies. It's not so terrible to not want that sort of fate for THP.

>I would therefore advise you to put your righteous indignation to better use.
Oh, I do.
This was nothing, though. This is just happened-to-be-passing-by style maintenance, like picking up litter you saw somebody throw into the bushes, and throwing it into the trash.
...Although, this metaphor might be more accurate to what I did if you then chewed out the lazy asshole in public, and made him put it in the trash himself.

>The other bits not related to my post
...These are also good points. I hadn't even considered them as issues, but I see where you're coming from. That spoiler thing is going to bother me, now.

As for the outside material bit, I fully agree with you, but it didn't bother me as much because I gave up on trying to vote in this story (except on very simple, very clear decisions, or simply bandwagoning) a long time ago. Anything I came up with on my own so often seemed to have been the opposite of what turned out to produce positive results, so I can't really trust myself to vote well here.

...And on a closing note, I'm really glad I reread your post a few times before hitting "Reply," since I originally misinterpreted a few things here and there.
Rereading allowed me to notice that your statements were not saying what I'd originally thought them to be saying. This necessitated a change in phrasing and approach on more than a few points, which saved me from looking like a bigger jackass. "Measure twice, cut once" and all that jazz.
>> No. 116813
For anyone who cares to know: I'm working on it. School's been owning me recently and this one's involved, so...
>> No. 116958
Should be back up to speed for tomorrow.

----------
I’ve not made his acquaintance. Should I take your transmission of his request to mean that you think he’s someone with whom I can deal?

You are mistaken.

…And you’re even more cryptic and laconic than usual. Can you please tell me in clear terms what you mean, Acala? If he’s not someone with whom I can deal, and yet he’s not holding you hostage, then why would you acknowledge him?

>Patience, young one.

You… you’re the presence from before?

>That would be I.

Yes, there’s no mistaking it – you’re the ‘voice’ that questioned me in my meditations, the very same as that sundered Acala from me and delivered us both to this dark world!

>Of that I am the ruler and the ruled, no less.

Just who are you? And what was your aim in bringing us here?

>I am your ally, and the ancient foe of the noumenon you call as the High King of Destiny.

You’re telling the truth, if my inuition doesn't betray me – and how welcome a truth it is! Why, this is easily the best news I’ve heard since I arrived here! Are you by any chance the ‘Adversary’ of that our evil enemy made mention with such dread?

>No, I am not; although I have heard of her and you have met her, the Violet Immortal of the Unnumbered Clouds.

‘…The Violet Immortal of the Unnumbered Clouds?’ You don’t mean…!

>The name by that you know her is Murasaki. As you have sensed, she is not human, although she customarily assumes that shape. Her true nature is far greater; she was the first life to be born after the differentiation of the material force (qi) into Heaven and Earth and Guardian God of the Four Lands and Four Seas, once.

…Forgive me if this sounds rude, but your story comes off as somewhat unbelievable, even for me – a priest who has been introduced into the secret knowledge of ritual practices. I know that gods and spirits often walk among us, disguised in cloaks of skin that they may reward the righteous and punish the wicked, and I know that Murasaki’s as knowledgeable as she is strange – but for her to be an existence as exalted, a god above almost all other gods? That’s a bit…

He is not false.

I can tell, Acala. …I feel the veracity of his claim as much as you – and that’s precisely why I’m bothered. Assuming that he’s right and that weird hag is actually a supra-human of divine constitution, how is it that neither of us noticed it?

Your confusion is not Acala’s. I have known of her identity from the first.

... You’ve known all along? And you didn’t tell me? …Seriously?

Indeed. I am able to carry the Dharma’s light to the darkest corners of your mind, but not beyond, for just as all that you are originates from Aca-

I’m aware. So is this what you meant when you warned me that I should be bothered by her appearance?

Correct. The Honorable Bodhisattva’s incarnated form is not the same as her manifestation inside your dreams.

Wait – ‘inside my dreams?’ …You mean to tell me that I’ve been dreaming about Murasaki?

Indeed. The most recent was on the night when you met the one called Konngara.

…I’m made to feel ill by your words, Acala. ‘Most recent…?’ Doesn’t that mean they’ve been recurring for some time? How much lapsed am I that I should forget my training to crave after as old and disgu-

They were not unbecoming.

Huh?

Your dreams of the Honorable Bodhisattva were not dissolute or wicked.

...Really?

Indeed. Do you remember nothing of them?

Only fragments: faint impressions, vague emotions, isolated images – but fragments are enough. I have faith that I’ll discover their real meaning through meditation, together with the reason why she’s come among us in her chosen appearance.

>It wasn’t her choice, you know.

If that’s the case, nameless ally, then is there some condition that restricts her from changing it? Because to be able to change the world first requires that you are able to change yourself – that’s why even the least among fairies and natural spirits can alter their appearance at will, to say nothing of what gods, immortals or Bodhisattvas are capable. Unless it’s because she’s indulging some whim or engaged in some scheme, there shouldn’t be any reason for as unimaginably ancient and powerful a deity to keep the company of humans in a guise that’s unwelcome to her.

>You’re on the mark, young one; there is no meaning in the Violet Immortal’s shape other than as an outcome of her defeat. Reckoned in the time of the Desire Realm, it has been a decade since she led a war against Heaven and nearly succeeded in unmaking the world. The attempt cost her dearly, so much that when she fell into the forests of Jambudvipa, which were as much ruined by the battle as her, it was without her power or identity intact.

...And this is the conflict shown on the relief?

>The Wisdom King has told me you are perceptive, and I see that he’s right. Yes, the war of that I mentioned and the conflict you have seen on the stones are one and the same. I will answer about it when we meet, and any of your other questions also, but for the moment, you should become ready. Do you hear what is being said?

Not well enough to make out the actual words, I’m afraid. Acala, can you?

Arise.

‘Arise?’

Indeed, ar-



“arise”

You’re called out of your thoughts by that word of command, delivered in a low, metallic-sounding sigh and not at all meant for you. In obedience to the ‘wind’ that has succeeded in suggesting you here, all of the ‘sleepers’ simultaneously awaken. Sitting up from their stone beds as one body, and with a stiffness that could only be called as mechanical, they stand and face towards the interior of the room.

Towards you.

With their arms held rigidly against their sides and their eyes still closed, every person among the dozens formerly ensconced has risen from sleep and silently surrounded you. The only motion in the shadows is of the strengthening of your right hand’s grip on your staff; the only sound in the cold air is the steadiness of your breath’s mystic cadence and your whispered prayer to the Triumvirate Goddesses, when the Jeweled Pagoda you’ve held in your left hand blazes gold.

>Here in where I will prove I am what I claim, young one. With my power added to yours, we may offer these revenants release from their torment.

You:
[ ] Accept the assistance of your nameless ally – by Acala’s testimony and his own words, you’re convinced that he’s genuine.
[ ] Take his help – the enemy of your enemy is a (tentative) friend.
[ ] Decline politely – you’ll learn more if you allow this ambush to play out and repel it regularly.
[ ] Refuse out of hand – you’re not so foolish as to form a pact with an enigmatic unnamed power, as such arrangements invariably result in the loss of your life, your soul or your loved ones.
----------
>> No. 116962
[x] Accept the assistance of your nameless ally – by Acala’s testimony and his own words, you’re convinced that he’s genuine.

I do hope we can still make it in time to rescue Youki. Acala's backing his words. I see no real harm in accepting this help.
>> No. 116966
[x] Accept the assistance of your nameless ally – by Acala’s testimony and his own words, you’re convinced that he’s genuine.
>For anyone who cares
I care.
>> No. 116967
[x] Accept the assistance of your nameless ally – by Acala’s testimony and his own words, you’re convinced that he’s genuine.

>>116813
Sometimes I feel this story is out of my league.
That doesn't mean I don't greatly enjoy it.
>> No. 116968
>>116958
[X] Accept the assistance of your nameless ally – by Acala’s testimony and his own words, you’re convinced that he’s genuine.

I wonder if this is too trusting, but absent one conspicuous instance of very much not, believing in the people we've met has been a pretty good practice. This mysterious voice was responsible for bringing us here, Acala seems pretty chill with him, and he's imparting some very important information. He is responsible for seperating Acala and ourselves, and though Acala didn't seem to mind, we more than a little flapped because of it.
>>Of that I am the ruler and the ruled, no less.
This makes me think he didn't particularly relish this last part, though. Does this lend some more credence to the idea that this person (perhaps Psychodiver?) is an unwilling companion of the High King?
On that note, what the shit is going on? Acala was taken to meet "him who rules over this realm," which we assumed meant he was taken to the High King of Destiny. The very same High King was surprised to learn Myouren was here. Either the High King was always planning to take Acala away from us (possibly after Myouren and Yuyu took each other out?), or "him who rules over this realm" isn't the High King. Too bad Acala got cut off.

Anyway, good to see some of our speculation on the first relief and Murasaki's identity receive some manner of confirmation(?), but I'm pretty surprised the "war against Heaven" was only a decade ago. I was figuring it was closer to a century or something, and then I realized a lot of what I consider ancient history is fairly contemporary for Myouren.
Ten years ago. Doesn't that always keep popping up; all sorts of significant events happening for everyone "ten years ago?" Myouren became a monk, Konngara got the Taiji, Mima awakened to her powers, Mima and Konngara met each other, youkai started attack Konngara, and the tree started killing. But that's weird, isn't it? The "war on Heaven" and the tree waking up were both ten years ago, but wasn't Murasaki already a fixture at the Saigoyu household before then? I wonder who or what the catalyst for all these were; Violet Immortal, the High King, or something else entirely? Was it her defeat that caused (allowed?) all those things to happen, or were those things contingencies should she be defeated? None of the above? I feel like the war was the last thing to happen since the Violet Immortal probably doesn't have the capacity to impart abilities to Mima, Konngara, and Myouren (as well as protect Yuyu and herself from the tree) after her defeat. Pure speculation, though.
Anyway, considering that momentous occasion, I guess it makes sense for the war to be first despite Saigyou Hoshi dying under the tree significantly before that. Maybe that's a hint to throw out continuity/linearity when interpreting the relief.

>Indeed. The most recent was on the night when you met the one called Konngara.
>>93654
>For now, you've abandoned your worldly cares to wander in the mesmerizing labrinyth of illusion. By all rights, you should be too tired to think, but this is truly enjoyable, even if you'll forget all of it when you awaken. The dreamscape before you is eternal but ephermeral, finite but boundless. Inconsequential memories of your daily life give way to a flaxen-haired Bodhisattva seated upon the air itself expounding liturgical esoterica on the meaning of life and nature of existence, as you stare in rapture at the birth and death of a thousand stars. After an indeterminate amount of time, this chaos gives way to order, and a single, peaceful recollection rises to the fore of your mind.
Reminds me a little of Murasaki's 'comedy' now that I think about it. "Most recent" is an interesting way to word this since it implies she's been visiting our dreams before the story even started.
>> No. 116969
Wait a moment... what if this voice is Shinki? If we are in Makai, what that voice said would match to her. Either that or whoever was ruler before her.
>> No. 116983
Writing.
>> No. 116994
Update's going to be done tomorrow, hope you're prepared for what's to come. In the meantime, here's the backlogged responses.

>>116761
>Shigisan Engi canon

Most of that deals with Myouren as an old man, but you'll probably get a chance to see some precursor episodes. I guarantee that it’ll be cool.

>MOAR BYAKUREN

It's funny how much it took to get you all to recognize that she exists and she's indispensible to understanding why the hero has become the person he has (and vice versa…?).

>>116762
>...I never thought of Myouren as having gradient hair.

Someone would have said something if he did, and I don't mean that in a good way.

>I used to associate this story with far more unpleasant things before I put them aside and got back into it.

I'm a long-time disciple of the school of "having your faults held up to your face helps you more than mindless praise." Tell me what these associations are/were and I'll do my best at fixing or improving on it.

>>116768
>shaved-bald

He has hair, but it's not because he's reneging on his precepts so much as that when you're wandering around as a pilgrim monk for months at a time, it's hard to do more than just keep your hair shortish.

>>116779
Ah, criticism! I'm a bit belated in saying this, but thank you.

About the spoilers: It was a conscious decision to up their usage, precisely for the reason of

>I had trouble getting my bearings; my cognition started becoming contaminated by strange thoughts and, worst of all, there were even some moments where I wasn’t myself! I don’t mean that in the good sense of having awakened to emptiness, either; rather, it was like I was starting to turn into another person – a worse person.

As you have correctly identified, when the spoilers start showing up, it's to signal that something's amiss. I know that I didn't do it well, which is why I had to make an outright warning about it, but my general intent was to cue you all in to that his mind's not quite right – it’s why there was weird alliteration, it’s why you got choices on a number of things for that Myouren normally wouldn’t bat an eye in deciding and why some of those choices had options which were for actions that were more suited for Sanae, like

>Approach and make sure it’s dead. If you killed it, offer penitent prayer that its soul should swiftly enter again upon the Six Courses and thereby receive its release from suffering that much more quickly in a future life. If it’s alive, finish the job. After that, follow through with the same plan.

(Hint: Besides this one, all of the choices with “obviously” in them were for paranoid assumptions not based in any demonstrable evidence. If they sounded plausible, that’s because I was trying to represent how real insanity actually works – how it’s not absurd and random spontaneity, but abdication of reason and absence of empathy. Maybe I should have been a little more over the top with it…)

It’s also why all of these things went away when he was talking about Byakuren (because as he explained in his own words, the influence that his sister had on him as a boy is what defined him as a person and thinking of her actively reminded him of who he is) and why it’s a non-issue now that he’s had his intuition returned to him.

>>116967
>Sometimes I feel this story is out of my league.

This a problem to that I have given a lot of thought.

Part of it has to do with how it's being written in serialization with details all over the place, part of it has to do with how I wanted to try my hand at a sprawling epic storyline and part of it has to do with the perspective from that the story's told (The hero is a famous monk who is the younger brother of Youkai Jesus. Just my opinion, but I think it's important for me to show you this by his words and deeds, and not to just tell you it).

I know I would have more success in eliciting a response if I reduced the scope of the story I was trying to write, put it in a more familiar setting with popular characters and had things move more quickly and with a lower difficulty level, but then it wouldn't be the same story as the one I want to write.
>> No. 116996
[ ] Accept the assistance of your nameless ally – by Acala’s testimony and his own words, you’re convinced that he’s genuine.

We have Shinki on our side now? We really are assembling a team of ultimate badasses.
>> No. 117009
>so much that when she fell into the forests of Jambudvipa, which were as much ruined by the battle as her, it was without her power or identity intact.
>Ten years ago. Konngara got the Taiji.

I risk to say that She didn't lose her powers, but instead, gave them to Konngara.
>> No. 117016
>>117009
Perhaps it was her impact that caused her power to go all over the place causing all the events of 10 years ago.
>> No. 117023
----------
I’m already assured of your integrity, nameless ally; therefore, it’s not because I require proof of your claim that I accept your offer of assistance, but rather that I respect your good intentions and would like to reciprocate.

>You’re very chivalrous.

So I’ve heard, though I’m not sure if that’s really the case – more to the point, what did you mean when you referred to these people as ‘revenants?’

>Can he not sense it, Wisdom King?

He has newly regained the faculty.

>Oh dear; is it because I sequestered you? No matter. Young one, the shapes in front of you do not belong to living humans. They are pride, passions, wrath and regret; they are the mental aggregates of the long-deceased, the ego that is empty of real nature, which sustains their existence and tortures them.

...They’re the Five Poisons? Why is it then that I perceive them as people?

>Because a mind that has not seen through existence will necessarily categorize the world into forms, regardless of how penetrating or insightful it is.

That’s… a truly profound and excellent observation. I think I’ve much to look forward in talking to you, nameless ally, assuming I live as long. Of what kind is your proffered aid?

>The saving grace of Amida Nyorai. I have heard that you are Shingon and not Tendai, but do you know of the Sutra of Infinite Life?

Do I? I meditated on the meaning of the Forty-Eight Vows just yesterday!

>I am surprised. My thought was to teach you the Sutra, when the truth is that you have already learned it. Just as well; are you prepared, young one?

I’ll take the lead, nameless ally!



With a bold, but benevolent look to the rings of ‘sleepers’ on all sides, awaiting their orders as silently and as still as the crystalline army in its inanimate state, you raise up the shining Pagoda in your left hand.

“If, on attaining Buddha-nature, my land should hold the realms of Hell, of beasts or of starving ghosts, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”
>If, on attaining Buddha-nature, the humans and Devas of my land should fall into the three evil realms after death, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
“If, on attaining Buddha-nature, the humans and Devas of my land should not all be colored as brilliant gold, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”
>If, on attaining Buddha-nature, the humans and Devas of my land should not all be of the same body and the same beauty, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
“If, on attaining Buddha-nature, the humans and Devas of my land should…”

By invoking the power of the Forty-Eight Vows, your voice gradually takes on a grandeur that surpasses humanity. Where it was only a quiet whisper at first, it grows in sound and splendor as it’s joined by the ‘voice’ of your mysterious ally. His chanting falls perfectly in phase with yours, your simultaneous voices carrying into the heights of the dome and melding together to become the ineffable and infinitely compassionate voice of Amitabha himself. The increasingly insistent pleas of “attack” and “stop him” are rendered mute and ineffectual by its message of universal deliverance before that none will lack to hear and live, even among the deaf and the dead. One-by-one, every suffering person among the ‘sleepers’ is awakened by your words – truly awakened. Eyes that were closed to the truth are opened; faces that were expressionless and cold become vibrant and warm, some of them smiling, some just staring, all of them breathless with wonder at the symphony of your recitation and the spectacle of your Jeweled Pagoda. As much as you, it’s grown in glory; it shines as a star of hope in your hand, with a radiance surpassing that of the midday sun as you approach the end of your invocation.

“...If, on attaining Buddha-nature, the Bodhisattvas of other worlds should not hear my name and become perfectly enlightened, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”
>If, on attaining Buddha-nature, the Bodhisattvas of other worlds should turn from the Three Jewels, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

The finale. First responding to the grateful eyes of all them that you’ve saved, then marveling at your surroundings – how the images of tragedy and ruin have been painted over with the golden fire of liberation, you smile, motion the Pagoda to over your heart and promise:

“With complete mindfulness and pristine wisdom, I will embody the sacred practices; I will seek to attain the Dharma and become a teacher to Humans and Devas both.”
>With my divine power, I will display great light, illuminating the myriad worlds and dispelling the darkness of the three defilements; thus I will deliver all beings from misery.

In the moment that follows, there’s nothing of noise or movement or appearances, just a blinding flash, an eruption of spiritual energy and…
----------
>> No. 117032
File 127248533296.jpg - (15.63KB , 459x331 , 6640185.jpg ) [iqdb]
117032
That's one hell of a place for a cliffhanger, but this update was incredibly awesome. Especially waking up the sleepers; for the first time in a while, I feel like Myouren is behaving appropriately heroic.

>I meditated on the meaning of the Forty-Eight Vows just yesterday!
We did? I wonder where. The phrasing of the Sutra really threw me off, what with all the negatives, but there were some pretty good descriptions out there. I won't link, because apparently it frustrates people, but I'm always impressed how much there is to learn from the story.
>> No. 117038
>cliffhanger

God, how I hate these.
>> No. 117040
>>117032
>for the first time in a while, I feel like Myouren is behaving appropriately heroic.

I know that people hate to read them, but it's important for the hero to have pathetic moments (truly pathetic moments, where the audience doesn't just feel sympathy but also despises him), because he's human. Humans have moments like that.

>We did? I wonder where.
I believe it was right after talking to Murasaki for the first time and before Konngara's invitation.

----------
…There’s no ready analogue or comparison for it in any of your experiences, even with the various other instances in that you’ve conducted the power of the gods. It was only for an instant, but by its indescribability, by its utter irrationality, you’re quite sure – that was the Western Heaven overlaid on this alien world.

When your sight’s restored, you’re standing at the center of the sprawling rotunda again.

You’re alone.

On the realization of Amitabha’s grace, all of the tree’s unfortunate victims were able to forget their worldly attachments. No longer tied to the appearance in that they died, they discarded their bodies together with their resentments, reverting into the same colorful, phantasmal butterflies as the Lady’s before vanishing into light.

If only your brothers, if only your old abbot, if only she could have seen it – how great is the good you’ve just accomplished! You might have had substantial help, but that you were able to complete as potent a ritual and thereby rescue as many people is proof of your progress as a priest and as a person.

At the same time, it’s also a reminder of your limits; calling a second Wisdom Buddha into your body has left you feeling winded and weak in the legs.

…Today’s really been exciting, hasn’t it? You put Youki on the path of moral cultivation, recognized and returned the sweet Lady’s love, heard out her predicament and pledged your sincere help, made amends to Mima for how reprehensibly you treated her, faced off and won against a Tengu assassination squad, materialized Akshobya’s divine lightning with your Vajra, plumbed the depths of an unfamiliar realm, awakened a bona-fide legend and summoned the Pure Land of Amitabha. And to think that not long ago, you were living out weary days of empty wandering, weakening physically and starving emotionally, with only the manna of your dreams as sustenance.

It’s all because you met Konngara.

Thinking about it now, neither of you would be alive today without the other’s support. If you hadn’t been bothered to search after that smoke, then she would have been killed by that terrible monster; if she hadn’t rekindled your faith in love and lifted up your spirit from its malaise, you would still be struggling in the marginal existence of a friendless drifter. Your encounter on that day was a new beginning for both of you; it was by her that you were able to meet Mima and Youki and Yuyu and Murasaki, and it was by you that she was encouraged to strike out beyond her mountain to see the world in its beauty. You complemented each other, completed each other, found in each other the inspiration of that you were lacking. You made each other better.

That’s why, after you’ve recovered Youki for his Lady, reinforced the Princess Royal and learned the character of your nameless ally – after this long day finally draws to a close, you’d like nothing more than to simply talk with her. About what exactly, you’re not certain; maybe it’s not what’s said that’s important, but more the gesture of it: giving back to a friend who’s never stinted in showing you kindness and understanding, or in reproving you if she’s concerned that you’ve done wrong.

…She’s really special.



From behind you, behind the stone bed against that you’ve sunk down to rest – a sound. It’s not the harsh sigh of the ‘wind,’ nor is it the noise of battle; it’s a slight rhythm, a delicate rhythm, as light and graceful as it is commanding.

Footsteps.

Someone’s coming.

You:
[ ] Figure by the timing that it already knows you’re here. Face it out in the open (but close to cover).
[ ] Hide. When it enters, determine its identity with ‘Ripple.’
[ ] Don’t see any point in sticking around and potentially being caught up in another engagement. You’re in a condition to walk again, so follow the entry from that the ‘wind’ issued.
[ ] Move up closer into a position that's more advantageous for attack. When it goes past, ambush it.
----------
>> No. 117041
[X] Figure by the timing that it already knows you’re here. Face it out in the open (but close to cover).

>it’s a slight rhythm, a delicate rhythm, as light and graceful as it is commanding
Mima?
>> No. 117042
>You’re alone.
On the one hand, I am glad to have helped all of the people sleeping here, but on the other, I'm sad that we won't be making the acquaintance of the odd animist. But between one awoken person and a host of people genuinely saved, I'll take heart in what Myouren had done.

>calling a second Wisdom Buddha into your body
We did? Oh wow.

>…She’s really special.
Indeed. I really have nothing but admiration for the woman, and that she addresses Myouren as her savior still amazes me. I can't help but wonder if remembering her at this time is a subtle hint, to think about how she might be related to the event depicted on the relief, but I've got nothing. Sometimes a reminder of how fantastic and significant someone is is really just that. In case anyone wants to refresh their memory regarding our first meeting:
http://www.mediafire.com/?nzqzik4yyey
I'm very much getting back to her conversation with Murasaki.

[x] Hide. When it enters, determine its identity with ‘Ripple.’

We can do this? I'm all for it; discretion is the better part of valor and what not.
>> No. 117043
[x] Hide. When it enters, determine its identity with ‘Ripple.’

If it's Mima she'd be surprised by it. I think that's why Yuyuko's parents weren't there: Because they already moved on.
>> No. 117045
File 127254062649.png - (170.46KB , 714x1100 , ripple detector.png ) [iqdb]
117045
[x] Hide. When it enters, determine its identity with ‘Ripple.’

Never pass up a chance on using the Ripple.
>> No. 117050
[x] Hide. When it enters, determine its identity with ‘Ripple.’
>> No. 117059
Writing.

>>117042
>I really have nothing but admiration for the woman

So at least one of you likes her, huh?
>> No. 117060
>>117059
I like Konngara; I might not say it alot, but I do like her. Her and Mima compliment each other; almost like a prototype of the Reimu and Marisa dynamic.
>> No. 117061
>>117060
>almost
Yeah, seeing as Mima was making Mushroom Stew and such early on in the story, I'd say it's more than "almost".
They're Beta Marisa and Beta Reimu (with Alice's politeness) with angsty backstories. Don't get me wrong, I love their interactions too, but let's be honest here.
>> No. 117062
>>117061
Yup. We all know who Marisa's teacher originally was, and from the very first thread
>She charged me with keeping the Taiji safe, saying that it was to become the 'keystone of order' for an entire world and that my fortunes had become bound up with it.
Good chance that Konngara is the very first Hakurei shrine maiden, passing down the Taiji through the generations until it winds up as Reimu's signature yin-yang orb. I know this isn't canon, but considering her attitude and the disposition of her great great great great great great grandmother, Reimu's parents must be some real pieces of work.

So, does that make us Rinnosuke?
>> No. 117066
>>117062
Reimu's actually pretty well-adjusted for someone who's job it is to go around beating people up when they step out of line. She's like a prison warden of sorts, with the catch that her charges don't need to be dehumanized, since they already aren't human. Deranged fanon aside, she's a pretty mellow person.
>> No. 117068
>>117061
I wonder if those two will grow up to be similar if that's the case.

>>117062
That's what i figured early on when I saw that. But I suspect Myouren might end up starting the Kirisame and Hakurei lines both at once, making Reimu and Marisa very distant cousins.

>>117066
Yeah she puts up with a lot outside of incidents. Though I think she's past that phase where she'd mug weak youkai for things to sell.

But another thing I wonder about the Fujiwaras, with what supposed happened to the princess Royal in the story (Hair turning gray/white, becoming sickly), that seems VERY similar to Mokou, who has a boyish figure and sliverish hair. I don't know how the two are connected, but there has to be some kind of connection. It might be possible Mokou took more after her father in terms of figure and what happened with her turned her hair gray.
>> No. 117069
File 127260116345.jpg - (493.17KB , 1200x1500 , Alicenotalice.jpg ) [iqdb]
117069
>>117061
>Alice
>polite

What?

>>117066
>Deranged fanon aside, she's a pretty mellow person.

This. I enjoy Chado as much as the next man, but how he depicts the Touhous is ridiculously out-of-character.

>>117060
>I like Konngara; I might not say it alot, but I do like her.

It helps us both if you say something on the characters' actions and opinions every now and again, because it lets me know whether the readers have a relative grasp on them and allows me to adjust things accordingly.

Like when people skip out on reading the part where Konngara explains that she has (what seems to her) very good reasons unique to her character for not being upset about Myouren's decision and just assume "hurr durr dicksheath," and when they don't think about that scene in relation to the later instance of the negotiation aftermath where she became quite distraught at something that wouldn't bother most people, it means that I'm not being clear enough and will need to elaborate.
>> No. 117071
>>117069
About Alice, no one ever said it was a warm politeness and judging one's conduct during incidents isn't a good indicator of typical personality. That's how Fanon Bitch Reimu was made.

As far as Konngara goes, I understand why she reacted as such in those cases. I think most of those that said such negative things have reconsidered by now. Her advice is now even more valuable to keep us from slipping again.
>> No. 117074
File 127261879545.jpg - (49.00KB , 640x480 , 1213573913013.jpg ) [iqdb]
117074
>> No. 117082
>>117074

Oh, I know that one! It's da-ze!
>> No. 117084
>>117074
Were the ones before it, "Is the sofest", "Is a big slut", and "Is a Money grubbing bitch"?
>> No. 117090
[ ] Make fun of her for having died a virgin.

I can't help myself.

Also, Myouren does not fear death, else he would never had met Yuyuco.
>> No. 117091
>>117041
Good job.

----------
The rotunda’s plunged into darkness as you draw the Jeweled Pagoda beneath her cloak and crouch. The correspondence between your invocation and this visitation’s just too strange; you should fully ascertain the situation before acting. It’s not merely a matter of your own safety, but of the duty you owe your gods; it would be inexcusable for an emissary of Vairocana to lay in wait under cover of darkness and murder an unsuspecting person in cold blood – even if that person’s an enemy.

The footfalls draw closer.

Peeking out into one of the aisles formed by the rings of stone beds, you sneak a glimpse towards the direction from where the sound’s coming, towards the threshold from where you came in. By all rights, you shouldn’t see it; your unaided eyes couldn’t have adjusted as quickly – but thanks to the recovery of your prescient feeling, you’re able to pick out a profile in the gloom. It’s human-sized and just a little lighter than the shadows around it, approaching with cautious, sinuous strides. Despite the obvious awareness with that it’s walking, the figure’s making good time; within a few moments, it’s close enough for you to make an attempt. While still watching its progress, you touch your right hand to the ground and concentrate…

…And the moment you do, it freezes. Having stopped so suddenly as to give the illusion of having run up against an invisible wall, the short silhouette’s first instinct is to reach for the post of the high doorway under that it’s halted. A shimmering contrail follows its hand, and the dimness dissipates enough for you to catch the wafting of her long hair and the sweep of her intimidating mantle as she turns towards the very spot where you’re hiding. Shaking her head with a faint chuckle, she pirouettes and drops her heel in a fluid kick.

“Overdrive!”

The unfamiliar mantra of that sultry, usually-teasing and familiar voice is accompanied by the sharp crack of shattering stone and the force of an unseen impact; you’re blown backwards by it, though you manage at blocking all the bits of flying rubble and avoiding any serious injury. When you look back up, there’s stepping over the rows of debris created by her attack a sight as inexplicable as it is refined and immaculately poised.

“Did you miss me, ‘Sir Monk,’ my love? I hope that you didn’t pine for me so much that you started flirting with other women when I wasn’t around.” Wearing a sly smile, Mima greets you brightly.

“You know me too well, ‘charming demon,’ my lady.” Offering her an exaggerated bow, you’ve come back on your feet. “But to her credit, she was a really interesting person – almost as much as you!”

Your beloved witch explores her face with her palm. “He praises two different women and apologizes in the same breath. …What a cheap sophist is him who loves me.”

“I can hear you, Mima.”

“I know that!” She removes her hand and you realize she’s been laughing; you quickly find yourself doing the same.

“...So how is it that I was granted the privilege of a date with you in this romantic locale?” Ironically, you indicate the walls and floor of the cold ‘mausoleum’ that smells of death.

“I should be the one asking that.” Mima pokes you in the chest. “You weren’t even close to the tree.”

“And what does that have to do with anything, beyond slightly lessening my appreciation of the art?” You point at the relief.

Mima’s cool glance doesn’t follow the line drawn out by your finger; instead, she just shrugs. “Oh, it’s nothing too important, just how it killed us both.”

Killed…? “Wait a second – we’re dead?”

“Can you interpret my words as meaning anything else?” she asks sarcastically.

You:
[ ] Take up the challenge of her rhetorical question – if you’re really dead then why is it that you’re capable of perception, sensation, cognition and emotion? Because to your knowledge, being deceased is a hindrance to the operation of those faculties.
[ ] Ask her to get to the punchline already.
[ ] Make fun of her for having died a virgin.
[ ] Wouldn’t that mean Konngara, the Lady and that hag are also…?
----------
>> No. 117093
Finally, a familiar face. Good to see that the whole getting killed thing hasn't shaken her good humor. Still enjoys a bit of the old overkill too.
I wonder if that 'flirting' comment meant she met the Princess Royal or not. I know charming the pants off every woman we meet is our M.O., but for that to be her first comment after meeting us again? Could be a coincidence, though, since she probably relishes every opportunity she gets to tease us about our 'rakishness.'

>Your beloved witch explores her face with her palm.
Almost didn't catch that one; good job.

[x] Take up the challenge of her rhetorical question – if you’re really dead then why is it that you’re capable of perception, sensation, cognition and emotion? Because to your knowledge, being deceased is a hindrance to the operation of those faculties.
I like arguing with Mima, and if memory serves, she enjoys the same. Her claim also doesn't mesh very well with what we've seen of Makai and what Makai is usually understood to be (as Myouren observed); Wouldn't that also mean The High King, Balor, the Twin Stars, Rumia, etc. are dead as well? Maybe we're the same as the sleepers, but if so, why didn't we disappear along with them? Maybe Acala can shed some light on our disposition.

>Make fun of her for having died a virgin.
Good lord, you've got a wicked sense of humor. I approve whole-heartedly.
>> No. 117094
File 127267901924.jpg - (198.15KB , 707x707 , 236736e9645e990e1c95bf2639c3ceb2.jpg ) [iqdb]
117094
>>117091
“Overdrive!”

Immediately I was thinking of Guilty Gear's Overdrive. And I was surprised to see Mima, too.

[c] Take up the challenge of her rhetorical question – if you’re really dead then why is it that you’re capable of perception, sensation, cognition and emotion? Because to your knowledge, being deceased is a hindrance to the operation of those faculties.
[c] Make fun of her for having died a virgin.

As much as I want to vote for all, I think I'll go with these twos.
>> No. 117095
[c] Take up the challenge of her rhetorical question – if you’re really dead then why is it that you’re capable of perception, sensation, cognition and emotion? Because to your knowledge, being deceased is a hindrance to the operation of those faculties.

Well I figured it's an unusual experience, but not quite being dead.

And what the readers know is that the trio (Myouren, Mima, and Youki) aren't completely dead but not alive.

I'd rather not bring up the virgin matter because that'd bring up the Yuyuko matter. I'm not sure how to break that to her.
>> No. 117096
[x] Take up the challenge of her rhetorical question – if you’re really dead then why is it that you’re capable of perception, sensation, cognition and emotion? Because to your knowledge, being deceased is a hindrance to the operation of those faculties.
>> No. 117097
[x] Take up the challenge of her rhetorical question – if you’re really dead then why is it that you’re capable of perception, sensation, cognition and emotion? Because to your knowledge, being deceased is a hindrance to the operation of those faculties.
[x] Make fun of her for having died a virgin.

I can't resist making fun of her even if it backfires and it probably will.
>> No. 117115
If they were dead, their bodies would have been left behind. But Mima completely disappeared, so she can't be really dead.
>> No. 117127
>>117115
Youki and Myouren's bodies are still around on the grounds, being tended to by Yuyuko for their return.

But since Mima used a spell to go there, perhaps her body vanished as well.
>> No. 117132
>>117127

Well, that's the thing. Youki was actually murdered (as in having his body killed), and Myouren apparently moved his own mind/soul outside of his body.

That...would make Mima the only living one of the trio. Huh.
>> No. 117133
[x] Take up the challenge of her rhetorical question – if you’re really dead then why is it that you’re capable of perception, sensation, cognition and emotion? Because to your knowledge, being deceased is a hindrance to the operation of those faculties.
[x] Make fun of her for having died a virgin.

You'll see it's all a show,
Keep 'em laughing as you go.
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.
>> No. 117134
Writing.

Oh, and this might be a good time to look over >>116120 again in light of what you have just learned.
>> No. 117173
File 127284410696.jpg - (175.93KB , 849x1201 , Evilspirit.jpg ) [iqdb]
117173
----------
“I’d be happy to try,” you inform her, “but I’ll need your hand first.”

She considers your offer as you’re setting down your staff and pagoda, and with a look that says, “I’m in a good mood, so I’ll humor you,” Mima casually extends you one of her clever hands.

Though it’s not much of an opening, it’s enough.

As much to prevent her from shying away as to prepare her, you slowly weave your fingers between hers before closing in and catching her in a gentle hug. She doesn’t offer (much) resistance to your embrace; in fact, she tries to respond in kind. At the same time as that you’re feeling through the strands of her dark hair, Mima holds you by the waist and leans against your arm. Although there’s still a little of her hesitation from before – the tension in her shoulders and the stillness of her breathing betrays that she’s restraining herself – it eventually subsides; she allows herself to settle in your arms and share in your warmth.

“Now could I have done that if I was dead?” you ask pointedly, meeting her gaze.

Mima massages your palm as she considers your rebuttal. “Well, I don’t know…” She moves to beside your ear and whispers, “Is there anything you can add to make your case more convincing?”

“Indisputable proof,” you confidently declare. “Do you mind closing your eyes while I find it?”

She’s having as much fun with this as you. After an admonishment of “make good on your claims,” Mima readily complies with your request and you produce the promised proof. Shifting your arms to garland her shoulders and neck, you press your lips to her pale cheek in an honest kiss. When you draw back to gauge her response, you’re welcomed by a broader smile than before and the sparkle of opened green eyes.

“Good boy.” She concedes your victory with a pat on the head, and signals that you should allow her to roam freely. “Anyhow,” Mima explains while starting on an examination of the reliefs, “you got half of it right. We aren’t really dead.”

“That’s comforting to know, but why do I feel as though I shouldn’t start rejoicing just yet?”

“Because we aren’t really alive, either.” she states dryly. “The tree made a captive of our minds. It ‘killed’ us.”

“Meaning that it divested us of our bodies and deposited us in this place?” you confirm.

She nods. “We’ll be fine if we make it back before it flowers. The crone is taking care of the ‘me’ that’s comatose in the real world, and I’ll bet that ‘noble friend’ of mine is doing the same for you. She’s that diligent.” While shaking her head, Mima sighs.

…Not just you. When you were separated from Konngara, Youki and the sleeping Lady were also in the waterfall clearing. She’s protecting the three of you all by herself, with the safety of that hag as an additional liability?

“…I hope that I’m not being too much of an inconvenience to her.”

“She’ll survive.” Brushing off your concern with a casual dismissal, Mima wheels around and emphasizes, “We should make sure that we do the same.”

Now that you’ve found a powerful partner in the person of your beloved witch, you:
[ ] Trace the ‘wind’ to its source.
[ ] Return to the atrium and investigate inside the huge door.
----------
>> No. 117177
[ ] Trace the ‘wind’ to its source.
>> No. 117178
[X] Trace the ‘wind’ to its source.
>> No. 117190
[x] Trace the ‘wind’ to its source.
No more saging your own updates please
>> No. 117191
[x] Trace the ‘wind’ to its source.
>> No. 117193
You guys are really scared of that door, huh?

>>117190
I only do it when I repost after deleting.
>> No. 117194
>Oh, and this might be a good time to look over >>116120 again in light of what you have just learned.

Well, Mima says we're in the tree; Konngara and Murasaki substantiate that claim in their dialogue. I guess it also makes sense since the High King called the tree a prison, and for all intents and purposes, the mausoleum is exactly that.
Mima apparently 'influenced the will' of the tree, either 'rejecting its power or accepting it.' This must've occurred during her 'prayer' after climbing all over the tree. I think it's worth pointing out that the two (three?) people in the tree were all praying/meditating when they were 'killed.' Myouren sat down to meditate after failing to pull Youki's soul back, and Mima was praying after inspecting the tree (and we left Youki meditating). Does meditating/praying/concentrating make one more susceptible to the effects of the tree?
I'm wondering about this, though. Snatching Youki away was key to inciting conflict between Yuyu and Myouren, and the High King was expecting a woman to enter the tree. All signs point to Mima( but he might have been expecting Konngara, I don't know). All spirited away in the same manner, but Myouren seem to be a wild card, granted access by our nameless ally. Another check mark in being an "Unwilling Servant to the High King" column

>“…Dame Murasaki? You told me today that I ‘hear and see as Heaven hears and sees.’ Why then, am I incapable of–”
Why did this make me uneasy after all this talk of waging war on Heaven? Probably unnecessary paranoia.

>“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.

Still looking forward to what it is about Mima learning how to pray from Myouren that has her so worked up. That she would refer to the business of the tree as a 'small matter' leaves me anxious for more.

Although there’s still a little of her hesitation from before – the tension in her shoulders and the stillness of her breathing betrays that she’s restraining herself
That's right, she's not...

>it eventually subsides; she allows herself to settle in your arms and share in your warmth.
D'aaaawww

>When you draw back to gauge her response, you’re welcomed by a broader smile than before and the sparkle of opened green eyes.
HNNNNGH. I can't help but wonder what Konngara would say if she saw her 'charming demon' behave like this.

Unless I'm mistaken, going back to check the atrium would be going back in the direction Mima just came from. We also noted to ourselves to revisit the atrium after we reconnoitered with the Princess Royal. I'm quite curious about this 'familiar' sounding wind
[x] Trace the ‘wind’ to its source.
>> No. 117196
>>117194
>Still looking forward to what it is about Mima learning how to pray from Myouren that has her so worked up. That she would refer to the business of the tree as a 'small matter' leaves me anxious for more.

Perhaps that she couldn't help Myouren as to repay him for his help, perhaps a bit of envy either at the time spent or Mima's sheer multitude of talents. I get the feeling these are wrong though. We should try to make some time to offer to teach her something, possibly tapping into the powers of the Taiji.
>> No. 117197
>You guys are really scared of that door, huh?

I hardly ever know which way to vote in this story. Things like this don't help much.

[x] Trace the ‘wind’ to its source.
>> No. 117200
>>117193
Not really, I just think tracing the wind's source will lead us to Youki.
>> No. 117202
>>117197
>I hardly ever know which way to vote in this story.

You shouldn't let the memory of a few failures overshadow a history of general success. The "right" choice isn't always going to be crystal-clear, because that would defeat the point of presenting it as a choice.

>>117194
>Why did this make me uneasy after all this talk of waging war on Heaven?

Chalk it up to the limitations of language. In the west, there's only one "Heaven," whereas in the east, there's a wedding cake consmology of realms in the sky that all get translated as Heaven.

For example, take Bhava-agra (the Heaven from that Tenko hails). ZUN just had it as a place in the clouds, but (depending on the interpretation) it's described as either a state of mind that has gone beyond desires, physical forms and conscious thoughts, and is consequently very close to becoming Enlightened or as a domain populated by such beings.

That's one Heaven.

The moon might be considered another. If you think about its physical location, the whole "inventing magic," "ridiculously advanced technology" and "immortality" thing and the fact that its most powerful residents are actual gods, it could definitely be classified as one from the perspective of a person living on the Earth.

And then there's Konngara's "Heaven," plain Tian or Ten. It's not a state of mind or a god or the physical abode of gods, but a "highest principle" - an unconscious, impersonal and metaphysical force that displays its incomparable power through the actions of people. You'll hear more about it from the person herself, but to put it in very simple terms, you can think of it as being the explanation of why good inevitably triumphs over evil.
>> No. 117232
----------
“About that…”

Taking a deep breath to deaden your feelings first, you give her the important points on what happened to Youki: how you found him dead, how you just barely prevented the Lady from seeing him by using the ‘miracle energy,’ how the Tengu attacked after you foiled their ploy and claimed responsibility for everything except the murder itself, how you resurrected his body with the ‘master spark’ of Akshobya and how you ultimately came to enter this world after answering the queries of your nameless ally, the ‘voice’ of your meditation.

Mima follows your story wearing a grimly unemotional expression and forming few words, most of which are impassively quiet requests for you to clarify this or that moment or to expand on a certain detail. At no point in your narration does she shed tears or become visibly angry; although, she closes her eyes and looks away for a few seconds when you describe to her the pitiful state in that you came upon Youki. After you’re done speaking, she rests a hand on your shoulder and arrests your attention with an intense look.

“My ‘noble friend’ can see ‘today’ very clearly,” she starts, “but when it comes to knowing about ‘yesterday’ or imagining ‘tomorrow,’ she isn’t my equal.” Mima’s face is both accepting and heartening as she tells you: “Don’t doubt your decision with the Tengu. Learn from it if you made mistakes, but don’t doubt it. You were in a bad situation and you did what you thought was necessary to defeat it. If I’d been there, I would have made the same choice as you.”

You:
[ ] Are appreciative of how she’s sympathetic to your state of mind at the time, but you believe that Konngara was right to reprove you. (Specify)
[ ] Thank her as much for the advice as for affirming your decision. (Specify)
----------

It doesn’t need to be anything long, but I would like your reasons.
>> No. 117234
>>117202
>Chalk it up to the limitations of language.

That's what I figured; there are going to be times when artistic liberties are going to be mistaken as subtle clues. That I can make this mistake is a blessing and one of the many reasons I enjoy the story, so I won't dwell on this point.

>You'll hear more about it from the person herself
Between this, just sitting down and talking with Konngara, discussing Mima's 'coarse' manner of speech, general verbal duels with our 'charming demon,' learning the mysteries of the universe with Murasaki, discussing philosophy, combat strategy, and their intersections with Youki, and just being with Yuyu, I'm actually anticipating the quiet time for discussion after dealing with the tree (assuming they all survive the encounter, of course) more than the actual event with the Saigyou Ayakashi itself. Sometimes I wish this was a slice of life story without the spectre of impending doom lingering about every decision.

[x] Are appreciative of how she’s sympathetic to your state of mind at the time, but you believe that Konngara was right to reprove you. (Specify)

I don't regret the decision we made in the slightest. Even Konngara ultimately praised our decision. Unless I'm mistaken, she found fault in not seeking an apology from the tengu for what they did to Youki. It flew completely over our heads what she was disappointed with, but after we learned why, I had no reason to fault her. It was a damn good point. That remarkably high minded and noble thought process is something I think we should keep in mind when making decisions. She was right in calling us out and bringing our notice to it since it was so far from our train of thought. Just like we learned Ripple from Mima, we learned a new way to think about things (even if we've yet to properly practice it...) from Konngara.
>> No. 117250
>>117234
>Sometimes I wish this was a slice of life story without the spectre of impending doom lingering about every decision.

It's hard to please everyone. When I tested how the readers would behave given more freedom of interaction, some of the responses I got back were "too cerebral" "the sooner we get out of Hakugyokurou, the happier I'll be" "this story sure went downhill" "I'm tired of (seeing the world through the eyes of) saints" “dropped” etc. None of that bothered me all too much, because the number of readers is less important to me than their engagement, but it doesn’t mean I ignored it either. Whether it’s phrased positively or negatively, criticism is criticism, so it’s been with them in mind that I have tried new approaches and made note of what works – to mixed results.

If you know a surefire method of motivating people to read and think that doesn’t rely on cheap appeals to moe or sexual intercourse (ergo, a method that doesn’t conflict with the personalities of the character or interfere with the plot), and that doesn’t simplify (what I hope are) realistically complex personalities/issues into superficial archetypes or tired and mindless clichés, I’m all ears.
>> No. 117266
>>117250
I don't have a problem with that, just that the decisions in this story rarely could be made quickly for their weight. While this takes serious thinking behind it's choices, the results are generally enjoyable. And don't mind the complaints, it's just a matter of opinion and generally in the end, the readers are happy.

May I ask what your opinion is of "The Game", good sir? It's the biggest example of a story that has artistic substance/merit and popularity.

[x] Are appreciative of how she’s sympathetic to your state of mind at the time, but you believe that Konngara was right to reprove you. (Specify)
-[x] "I believe her problem was that I was too focused on geting information as opposed to having the Tengu show remorse. She was concerned that I was losing sight of my goals. Things such as this may come naturally for an ruthless warrior, but not for a monk such as myself. With my recent experiences, I've become quite grateful that she showed such concerned over my moral heading."

I would try to add something about that sort of thing being her area in a good way, just that I can't quite put it into words.
>> No. 117282
[x] Thank her as much for the advice as for affirming your decision.
-[x]Certain things are beyond reach. A fake show of sensibility is worse than none at all. It would be a mockery before those who really care, and it would be disrespecting towards the dead.
>> No. 117283
Something I found when re-reading thread 05.
>“Oh, I get it now. You must be that guy, the one she’s been going on about. The Saint. Never thought you’d be the same kid as our mark.” Shaking his head, he’s smirking repulsively. “Well Mister Saint, it’s not your girlfriend the slut who’s calling the shots.”

And in thread 06.
>“The Saint, crucified on the Cross.”

Since Myouren is supposedly going to become a saint, or something similar, I thought this could be important to remember.
>> No. 117292
Bit of a low turnout, huh? If any of you want to speak your part, do it quickly.

>>117266
>May I ask what your opinion is of "The Game", good sir?

It’s ambitious, creative and well-written. Putting aside whether I agree with its espousal of utilitarianism, we need more stories like it.

My observation has been that aspiring writefags often come here with only the characters they like, the specific scenarios they want to create and only the vaguest inklings of an actual story premise, which is (probably) why so many new CYOAs hiatus/stall on the first thread. Writing isn’t hard, but you can’t expect that your readers will make a plot for you if you don’t have a story yourself.

>artistic substance/merit

Almost everything on the site has “artistic substance/merit.” According to classic (ie Aristotle) standards of aesthetic criticism, something is art insofar as it shows something about life: human nature, the world around us or ultimate reality. Whenever a story creates a scenario to that we can relate, and explores it through the lens of the characters, it’s doing something of “artistic” value, regardless of whether it’s at all philosophical, epic or DEEP.
>> No. 117297
[x] Thank her as much for the advice as for affirming your decision.

I have no complaints regarding Sir Monk's decision. He had relied on them assuming he was virtuous and merciful, while projecting an overwhelming show of force to cow them into considering information exchange. In this situation he was able to extract information whereas if they had good reason to doubt his virtue, they might have attempted flight or have fought to a man. In fact what may have most affected the situation the most is the presumed connection to Aya. He was able to attain information he might otherwise have failed to get only at the cost of embarrassing himself. On the other hand, attempting to demand concessions out of beings that are used as allegory for vanity & pride is probably the exact opposite of 'skillful means' and would only lead to their rejection of the terms and their frank slaughter, which is all it truly would have been. These tengu are not likely to ever cross Sir Monk again, and their employer's displeasure at their failure might mean that they are less likely to be used for such purposes in the future. Killing them might only have brought retribution from other tengu who might not otherwise have been likely to involve themselves. Likewise the message sent to whoever was directly responsible for the order might be better this way, since now connections will be made between his infamy as the 'Saint' and as a powerful priest who intimidated a tengu ninja hit-squad. As a result Sir Monk's cult of personality grows stronger.

Even if the every other thing was equal between the two choices, the one that ends up with less people dead is the better one. Konngara on the other hand has been on the cusp of making proud decisions before, like agreeing to Youki's duel despite her clearly deficient state, such that Sir Monk was forced to step in; if it were otherwise, her life may have been lost for absolutely nothing.

My interpretation of 'skillful means' is that the greatest victor will win without combat: Bend and ye need not break.
>> No. 117338
----------
“It’s good advice,” you nod, “but what makes it great advice – excellent, exceptional and outstanding advice in my eyes – is from where it came.” Smiling as one inspired, you take Mima’s hands into yours and detail, “To know that you, whom I love and respect, find my motives as sensible and agreeable is as much a compliment as it is a comfort on my mind.”

“...A comfort on your mind?” Mima’s fine brows arch steeply. “You were that troubled by what she said?”

“Not so much ‘troubled’ as ‘prompted to reexamine my actions’ – my reasons for them, more specifically. Konngara said that she was more upset with why I decided to negotiate than the business of negotiation itself, and having reflected on her reprimand, I don’t think it’s undeserved. I was so engrossed in trying to outsmart the Tengu that I didn’t give enough thought to the possible alternatives, or to if I was actually doing right.”

“And the problem is…?” She’s staring at you blankly.

“Mima,” you return her stare, “I’m a representative of the Buddha Vairocana and a follower of the Heavenly King Bishamonten – a priest who has been charged with realizing the intentions of his Gods through the exercise of knowledge and the practice of mystery. My greatness is their greatness; my glory is their glory; my failings are their failings. Though I don’t regret my acquiescing to parley or disbelieve that my intentions were anything other than altruistic, I think that Konngara’s opinion is well-taken respecting just how I gained my decision. Successful or not, can I really claim my actions as ‘good’ if I’ve only considered them through the narrow scope of outcome? Successful or not, can I really claim to have honored my gods when I realize the good by forgetting their precepts?”

Your beloved witch doesn’t answer you straightaway. It’s only after she’s turned around and taken several deliberate, contemplative steps that she asks aloud, “When the mildness of Spring yields before the intensity of Summer, is it because of justice?”

“No – if I’m not mistaken, the reason is that Summer is when the ascendant Yang force peaks and-”

“When the rising tide relinquishes its gains and retreats from the shore, is it because of righteousness?”

“Of course not; the ebb and flow of the waves is a product of the moon’s influence on-”

“When ample rain results in bumper crops and consecutive years of plenty, is it because the people have meditated on the meaning of virtue?”

“Indirectly. All the rain and sunshine in the world is of no effect if man doesn’t plant and plow and labor by-”

“Pay attention to what I’m telling you please.” Shooting you that comment from over her shoulder, she clears her throat with audible annoyance before she continues, “The passage of the seasons, the turning of the tide and the changes of the weather have more regularity and order in them than the personal affairs of the most fastidious people. They produce more good by a single of their cycles than the most enlightened rulers produce in their whole reigning periods.” Mima stops. While keeping her hands behind her back, she pivots on her heel and confronts you with a sudden question:

“Do you know why this is?”
----------
>> No. 117341
>“Do you know why this is?”

I have a feeling it something to do with why a fire burns or a plague kills. It is the general indifference of the phenomenal world, the result of cosmic circumstances acting outside of the control of individuals.
>> No. 117366
Just a heads up: I have some term papers to finish over the next few days. I'll write when I'm able and post each section as it's completed, but things will probably be a little slower for the next week or so.

That said, I'll try and have something up by later tonight.
>> No. 117372
>things will probably be a little slower for the next week or so.

An update a week is slow? Getting something every week is damn near light speed on this site. Princess Tepes is currently in the process of unmaking time right now, so take all the time you need. Really looking forward to what Mima is ultimately driving towards with this conversation. I'm slightly of the mind that she's going to give us a fair talking-to about the merits of behaving naturally and in accord with our predisposed inclinations... but I've been wrong before. Instead, I wait (patiently) for my next update.
>> No. 117374
>>117372
>I'm slightly of the mind that she's going to give us a fair talking-to about the merits of behaving naturally and in accord with our predisposed inclinations

That's a very good guess.
>> No. 117393
[x] …Allow her to finish, listening closely all the while. Not only are you curious as to where she intends on carrying her argument, you’re also a little concerned – her rhetorical prowess is greatly improved over the showing she made at the table yesterday. You’ll need to pull out all the stops yourself if you intend on matching her.
>> No. 117395
[x] …Allow her to finish, listening closely all the while. Not only are you curious as to where she intends on carrying her argument, you’re also a little concerned – her rhetorical prowess is greatly improved over the showing she made at the table yesterday. You’ll need to pull out all the stops yourself if you intend on matching her.

I answer with as much because the first two options don't sit well with me. It doesn't surprise me that she recognize a persons default is towards 'goodness.' For someone as intelligent as her to characterize herself as a 'villain,' it leads me to believe she has a thorough, critical, and objective understanding of right and wrong/good and bad. She clearly believes in what she does, but she knows how the world perceives and understands her actions/speech/personality. To me, she embodies the objective mentality of "I don't agree, but I understand." That she's friends with Konngara is no surprise either. Konngara isn't especially observant of what is or isn't morally/ethically/humanely/etc. merely because of 'propriety and conventions.' It's simply how she thinks, perceives, and understands. Her friendship with Mima is a testament to as much. For all intents and purposes, Konngara should be Mima's chief adversary and enemy, and vice versa. Instead, they're the closest of friends. Each of them have reached an equal understanding of each other via completely opposite means. It's that antagonistic synergy that draws me towards them and compels me to understand more about them. How do we fit into this careful balance? Am I completely delusional?

sage for rambling
>> No. 117396
>>117395
I suspect Myouren falls in the middle; his way of thinking follows theirs to certain parts. It feels like each is trying to pull him more towards their way, not intentionally but as a natural result of dynamics with the two women.

[x] …Allow her to finish, listening closely all the while. Not only are you curious as to where she intends on carrying her argument, you’re also a little concerned – her rhetorical prowess is greatly improved over the showing she made at the table yesterday. You’ll need to pull out all the stops yourself if you intend on matching her.

We should finish hearing her out before coming to a conclusion about the whole thing.
>> No. 117398
[ ] …Are surprised, to say the least. Mima’s of the opinion that the character of humanity is essentially and universally good?

Well, I'm surprised. With a past like hers, I would think the opposite.
>> No. 117402
----------
“It’s because,” she continues, a challenging gleam enlivening her cool glance, “the good that’s produced by the transformations of season, tide and weather is spontaneous and eternal, where the good that arises from the designs of man is deliberate and temporal.”

“So, you’re arguing that investigation into the good isn’t just pointless; it’s actively detrimental…?”

“I am.” She smiles sweetly.

You just barely suppress an urge to groan. “Mima, don’t tell me that your own view is for relativism or, Gautama forbid it, advocacy of hedonistic abandon.”

“‘Sir Monk,’ the only way you could be more wrong,” laughs your beloved witch, “would be if you thought that I was a nihilist.”

“…Well, you came close to fooling me. Don’t get me wrong; I understand the analogy you’ve drawn, and agree with your proposition that natural phenomena are generated unconsciously, but how does it apply to humanity, whose actions are empowered with reason and emotion?”

“In two ways.” she clarifies, holding up half as many fingers. “Number one has to do with sincerity. It’s too easy for people who are constantly mindful of propriety and conventions to become unintentional hypocrites. By needlessly asking the question of ‘am I behaving morally?’ they rob themselves of peace of mind and waste their energies in saving face when the question predictably changes into ‘do I have the appearance of behaving morally?’ It should go without saying that when you reach that stage, you’re not engaged in the genuine performance of good deeds.”

“What you’ve said only holds true if I accept your assertion that moral reflection is ‘needless’ – and I don’t.” Having found a weakness in her claims, you counterattack with your priestly experience. “Whether it’s conducted through an elaborate public ceremony or in the quiet of personal contemplation, the practice of appreciating your successes and admitting your mistakes is as cathartic as it is critical to attaining Buddha-nature.”

“Don’t make the mistake of confounding simple self-awareness with disingenuousness masquerading as morality, ‘Sir Monk.’” Mima cheerfully ripostes your rebuttal and simultaneously raises a second finger. “And that brings me to what I was going to say next. Besides how it promotes self-centeredness, the question of “am I behaving morally” is fundamentally miscast because it supposes that people aren’t born as good and with knowledge of that good.”

You:
[ ] …Are surprised, to say the least. Mima’s of the opinion that the character of humanity is essentially and universally good?
[ ] …Would like her to return to something she said earlier. If your beloved witch believes that being ‘constantly mindful of propriety and conventions’ disposes you to ‘unintentional hypocrisy,’ then why is she Konngara’s friend? They are friends… right?
[ ] …Allow her to finish, listening closely all the while. Not only are you curious as to where she intends on carrying her argument, you’re also a little concerned – her rhetorical prowess is greatly improved over the showing she made at the table yesterday. You’ll need to pull out all the stops yourself if you intend on matching her.
----------

edit: surface errors fixed
>> No. 117412
>“Number one has to do with sincerity. It’s too easy for people who are constantly mindful of propriety and conventions to become unintentional hypocrites. By needlessly asking the question of ‘am I behaving morally?’ they rob themselves of peace of mind and waste their energies in saving face when the question predictably changes into ‘do I have the appearance of behaving morally?’ It should go without saying that when you reach that stage, you’re not engaged in the genuine performance of good deeds.”

Likewise, when we hold a needless conversation about asking the (presumably) needless question of 'am I behaving morally?' are we not also robbing ourselves of peace of mind and wasting our energies in saving face when the question recursively changes into ‘do I have the appearance of behaving morally?’ It should go without saying that when you reach that stage, you’re not engaged in the genuine performance of moving the plot forward.

You:
[x] …Are irritated, to say the least. Mima is uncharacteristically mincing word, toward trivial pursuits when the situation & circumstance calls for swift & decisive action?
[x] That she's right doesn't matter. Very much.

As much as I like it to be that she gave up the ghost so that she might hold this very droll conversation on ethics with Sir Monk, we need to be finding some Youki, like, yesterday.
>> No. 117444
[x] …Allow her to finish, listening closely all the while. Not only are you curious as to where she intends on carrying her argument, you’re also a little concerned – her rhetorical prowess is greatly improved over the showing she made at the table yesterday. You’ll need to pull out all the stops yourself if you intend on matching her.
>> No. 117452
----------
…That's right. Just what are you doing?

“I agree on both counts;” you interject, “we’re good and we know how to use that good – so shouldn’t we be taking action towards it? It’s my fault for getting too caught-up in your pace, but Mima,” you point out, “right now, you’re guilty of the same self-centeredness and empty ratiocination against that you just warned me.”

She’s so shocked by the observation you’ve made that she allows you to relish in a rare sight – her face when caught off-guard. With her small mouth set slightly ajar, Mima blushes furiously and covers her eyes in shame; only after breathing out a long sigh, mixed with laughter at her own folly, is she able to meet your gaze once more.

“…I needed that. Thanks.” Nodding weakly, she approaches your side and offers her arm. “Please lead the way.”
----------
>> No. 117454
----------


The unobtrusive entry led into a narrow, twisting passage with virtually no head room. Motioning for Mima to stay a safe distance behind, you scouted ahead with your staff held cautiously forward, only to discover that your suspicions were unfounded. Although its close confines and many blind spots made it ideally suited for the placement of traps or surprise attacks, there turned out to be nothing of the sort – except for what you found at its abrupt end.

Turning another dark corner, you emerged out into what seemed as a world of light. After having spent so long amid the cheerless gray and moribund black of the ‘mausoleum,’ the kaleidoscope – the storm of sanguine red, melancholic blue, choleric green and phlegmatic yellow into that you emerged was almost overwhelming.

Compared to the rotunda of repose or the columned atrium, it’s not as extensive; the ceiling’s lower and it’s less deep, measured from the entrance. However, for agreement of constituent elements, harmony of spectacle and sheer visual poetry of construction, this place is undoubtedly the more impressive. It doesn’t owe its grandeur to its fixtures – those are only a little less scarce than the rest of the rooms you’ve encountered: heavy wooden benches arranged in symmetrical rows and a pair of tall, unlit braziers standing at its far corners. Rather, the source of its artistic efficacy is in the source of its vivid coloration – the stained-glass windows mounted overhead. Numbering six to a side and thirteen in total, they’re host to a motley pageant of as many gods. Some of them are male and most are female; some of them have harness where others are unprotected; some of them are lamenting while their fellows make merry, but all of them are winged and all of them are unfamiliar, save for their leader – she’s wielding a long spear and armored in a cuirass as silver as her flowing hair.

The champion.

Suspended in the air below her, below the central window and above the dais at the chamber’s far end is… something as grotesque as she is splendid.
It’s a pulsating, distended mass of skin, inflamed to an unnatural shade of purple and slick with blood. The plain act of seeing it awakens a feeling of illness in you, and judging by how Mima’s covered her mouth and shut her eyes, she’s received a similar impression of it. Just what is it that’s created such revulsion in you both?

It’s a monstrous, disembodied heart.

And kneeling on the ground in front of it, in the very same posture as that you left him this morning, is Youki.

You:
[ ] Go to him. Carefully.
[ ] …What’s this ‘pressure?’
[ ] VAJRA – Your evil enemy said that a ‘Psychodiver’ was with Youki, and the source of the ‘wind’ that was controlling the personified Five Poisons is this place. What else could it be besides this disgusting mockery of emotion’s seat?
----------
>> No. 117458
File 127344144068.jpg - (36.15KB , 320x240 , Scirocco.jpg ) [iqdb]
117458
[X] …What’s this ‘pressure?’

Look for the Psychodiver.
>> No. 117460
[x] …What’s this ‘pressure?’

I'd say more, but I got places to be right now.
>> No. 117462
[x] Go to him. Carefully.

I just feel that we don't have much time to spare.
>> No. 117465
[ ] …What’s this ‘pressure?’

Wasn't Youki supposed to be at Hakugyokuro, or near the waterfall? This can't Susano-o; the guy is a spirit, and has inhuman appearence.
>> No. 117468
>>117465
His body yes, this is a place where souls go.
>> No. 117471
[x] …What’s this ‘pressure?’
>> No. 117491
>>117468

But isn't his soul Susano-o?
>> No. 117492
>>117491
I think it's just part of it, and he might have gotten separated just like Myouren and Acala were.
>> No. 117495
[x] …What’s this ‘pressure?’

The capabilities of the Vajra seem unbounded. Only when for the sake of goodness we must do what is otherwise impossible is its use judicious.
>> No. 117496
[ø] …What’s this ‘pressure?’
>> No. 117522
----------
Your soulful happiness at having found Youki isn’t shared by your body. It began from the moment you set foot in the room, but when your nausea and dizziness returned in full force was when you laid eyes on that corrupt heart. The sensation of sickness you experienced in seeing it didn’t subside on looking away; it became physical reality – painful, enervating reality.

Running to Youki and embracing him, as would be proper when reuniting with much-missed friend, is out of the question when just standing requires the whole strength of your will. By an application of elementary meditative techniques – by controlling the breath and emptying the mind through single-minded focus on a chosen object, you were able to stave off unconsciousness by concentrating on Youki’s back; unfortunately, you’ve no similar recourse for the feeling of ‘pressure’ behind your eyes or the exhaustion mounting in your limbs.

Staying awake is an exercise in bodily torture. Your legs have hardly any of their former power and the usual vigor of your arms has been replaced with dull lethargy. Every step sees an increase in dreadful heaviness of your gear and the agonizing sharpness of your headache – easily the most excruciating aspect of this whole ordeal. You aren’t just made to see stars by it; the ‘pressure’ conjures up swirling nebulae and wandering galaxies as it strains against the inside of your skull, as it attempts to escape the confines of your head. What’ll happen if you lose against it, you don’t know – you don’t want to know; you-

“i can make it stop”

From somewhere within the surreal haze of shifting colors is the sound that suggested you here – the low, metallic whisper of the ‘wind.’

The quiet voice of a young woman.

“i can make it not come out”

[ ] Please…?
[ ] …No.
----------
>> No. 117523
[c] Please…?

I... I don't know what to say about this.
>> No. 117525
>>117522
[X] …No.

>In obedience to the ‘wind’ that has succeeded in suggesting you here, all of the ‘sleepers’ simultaneously awaken.
>The increasingly insistent pleas of “attack” and “stop him”
>From somewhere within the surreal haze of shifting colors is the sound that suggested you here – the low, metallic whisper of the ‘wind.’

I'm not feeling it.
>> No. 117526
[X] …No.

>“i can make it stop”
But at what price? Enslavement of our soul, just like the revenants in the previous room? Even if there is no price, I would be very hesitant to accept the aid of someone who tried to stop us from returning souls to the cycle of reincarnation.
>> No. 117530
>[ ] Please…?

This entity controls the Five Poisons. You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding.

[x] …No.

I can hope that Mima's less-than-holy nature is better adapted to slog through this impasse.
>> No. 117531
[x] …No.
>> No. 117533
[x] …No.

hmmmm
>> No. 117536
Just as a reminder to you all: there are no Bad Ends in this story. If you make a mistake after you have been had an opportunity to find out whatever you need to make an informed choice, then you fix it yourself.

...But what happens when you encounter a choice that can't be taken back, a mistake that can't be fixed? What happens if you die?
>> No. 117540
>What happens if you die?

To paraphrase Epicurus, "Why should I fear that which cannot exist while I do?"
>> No. 117541
There's not much signs of her being reluctant to do her tasks, and figuring how the "High King" treats her nicely she'd be compelled to follow him.
>> No. 117642
Writing. Don't say I didn't warn you...
>> No. 117644
>>117642
I get the feeling this is going to suck, if not end up like a Jumping the Shark End.
>> No. 117648
File 127388906299.jpg - (99.33KB , 392x300 , 591645.jpg ) [iqdb]
117648
>>117644
I'm hoping a nicely written But... the future refused to change Sad End, something melancholic and poignant. The heroic monk Myouren, barely starting to carve his name into the annals of history with his daring adventure into Makai... only to be brought to death and ruin by the hubris and ignorance of anonymous. A cautionary tale for THP of when readers treat a story too lightly or without due care.
>> No. 117651
>>117648
I think it'd be a bit arbitary since the other main alternative was submitting to the woman who was brainwashing Youki. And I can't see a way she would go against the high king's orders. He's the kind of guy who obtains loyality with his attitude.
>> No. 117663
----------
Stiffening your back, hoisting your head and taking refuge in the Buddha, you defeat your discomfort to search the nightmare for your tormenter.

It couldn’t be any more conspicuous.

Swirling around the corrupt ‘heart’ is a whirlpool of powerful emotions; it’s the sole dark spot in the whole kaleidoscopic storm of scintillating colors as seen by the ‘eyes’ of your spirit. Facing it, leveling your staff into a charging stance, you stare into the eye of the storm and reply:

“Do your worst, ‘Psychodiver.’”

The ‘heart’ takes you up on your invitation; it starts convulsing violently, almost as if laughing uproariously at you, and then…
----------
>> No. 117667
>>117663
I certainly didn't expect Myouren to egg the damned thing on. Hopefully whatever being found it fit to have HY writing again will find it fit for Myouren to succeed in this.
>> No. 117671
>“Do your worst, ‘Psychodiver.’”

Ha ha, oh wow! Being difficult I understood, but being outright belligerent? 'Do your worst' indeed; bracing for impact.
>> No. 117677
>>117671
That's the only thing we can do... but the option of "No" did not imply basically flipping the eye a finger among other obscene gestures.
>> No. 117764
>Ha ha, oh wow! Being difficult I understood, but being outright belligerent? 'Do your worst' indeed; bracing for impact.

That is only really a bad thing when Yukari shows up after the bad end to belittle 'your' choice and give you a 'hint' when there's just one right choice and one wrong choice, such that you could rely solely on exclusion to determine the right choice.

However when the rule of cool is upheld and the protagonist & company steamrolls the villains, it is perfectly acceptable to deviate from the spirit of the vote.

For example when using the Vajra to attempt to resurrect Youki whisks you off to a different realm, if doing so nets you an awesome new party member, routs one of the bad guys' number, obliterates another, indirectly initiates an enlightening dialogue between arch-villain and the protagonist, reunites the hero with one of his friends, explains the transformation of the story's characters into their canonical forms (Mima becoming a ghost), reveal the nature of the mysterious soothsayer character (Yukari), and also (tentatively) serves the original intention of the choice, being to prevent Yuyu from committing suicide in grief and to save Youki, that's a good deviation. In fact that's so good a deviation that it would be a shame if things actually did go exactly as planned.

So wait for the play before you cry foul. For example, you can't know that this isn't to just set Mima up for a big damn heroes moment.
>> No. 117780
----------
…Opens its eyes.

They’re of varying sizes: the smallest are human-shaped, while the largest are fleshy, bulbous growths bigger than your hand. The ‘heart’ is covered in them; they’re spread out over its whole surface area, and right now, they’re all turned on you, inhumanly purplish pupils squinting through thick lids.

“you will die if it comes out.” Not a warning, but an almost-childishly ingenuous statement of fact. “is that okay?”

Now you’re the one doubled over. “Do your worst, ‘Psychodiver.’” you repeat, laughing with all the defiance of one fey. “Death holds no power over me.”

…It blinks.

Every one of the monstrous, repulsive-looking eyes staring at you stops to blink in tandem at your boldness, to which they issue no immediate response. …They’re deliberating. Wandering to each other and occasionally darting glances at you, they seem to have been caught at unawares by something you’ve said, because your headache – as well as the nausea that accompanied it – begins to abate.

Replacing it is the feeling of smooth cloth brushing against your arm and of a small hand touching your shoulder.

“Is what you’re talking to that…?” An unusually pale Mima is pointing at the vile ‘heart.’

“…You can’t hear it?”

She shakes her head. “It’s trying to intimidate you, right?”

Trying.” You place your hand atop hers. “You’re by my side, so it’ll never succeed.”

Mima looks at you with undisguised astonishment and sighs. “How do you never find a shortage of ridiculous things to say?”

The unnerving eyes return to you before you’re able to answer her. As the painful throbbing in your head returns, and your surroundings are painted over in dreamlike shades, the ‘heart’ whispers, “that is right. …she cannot touch you. but what about… your sister? what about… byakuren you want her to know the terror of death?”

It’s thanks to the discipline hammered into you by monasticism that you’re able to keep from recklessly acting on its provocation; instead, asking with deadly composure, you confirm, “…Do you think that threatening her whom I love best is going to dispose me to cooperating with you?”

The ‘Psychodiver’ ignores your question to begin blinking rapidly. With as many eyes as it has, the motion of their opening and closing makes for a strange effect – a hypnotic effect, like watching a hundred grotesque mouths as they converse, clamor and chatter away. It’s unsurprising then that when it starts speaking again, it’s not in the same rasping, faintly disquieting tone as before; it’s a deeper voice that’s at once agreeable, affable and strange in its sound – strange because you’ve never before it heard it from this end.

It’s your voice.

“How does this disgusting thing know about her? …Did the ‘High King of Destiny’ tell it? No – given its name, it’s more likely that it’s capable of reading my surface thoughts, which means that my bluffing is useless against it. …Should I cease responding and just meditate, changing my mind to a state of near-emptiness and becoming invulnerable to its insinuations? No – that would shamelessly abandon my beloved witch, who is unable to do the same. …Rather, what I’ll try is the general strategy that’s always served me so well: unwavering conviction in my own strength and unfailing observation of my enemies’ weaknesses. Since this monstrous ‘heart’ can control the Five Poisons, it’s obviously evil; therefore, shouldn’t I make use of that universal failing of evil beings and encourage it to engage in some gloating, egomaniacal rant while I come up with a more specific plan? Yes, that sounds good – get it talking and off its guard so I can send the ‘miracle energy’ through the ground and get Youki to…”

Trailing off there, its eyes cease their flickering to resume their unremitting stare. “you will make… byakuren sad if you do it… myouren. you will make her sad if you do not listen to me.”

Since it’s made out so much of your mind, it should also know that you’ll never yield in the face of these contemptible threats. “It’s really presumptuous of you to think that you’ve seen through the people I know because you’ve seen through me, ‘Psychodiver.’ What you’re asking of me is impossible, because the very act of receiving you – of making common cause with an aberration which denies dead souls their peace – would sadden her so much that she wouldn’t ever consent to see me again.” You shrug your shoulders in mock helplessness. “Why don’t you ask me for the Buddha’s Stone Bowl while you’re at it?”

“what would make her sadder is if you never came back.”

“…And now you’re threatening me. ‘Psychodiver,’ you’re as pitiful as you are predictable. Listen – if you intend on trying to kill me, then do it; don’t just spout off empty threats out of some misplaced hope that I’ll cave and surrender to you. Since you’ve seen into my heart, you should now that I will never, never betray the trust of my friends or disgrace the name of my gods by acting as an accessory to your crimes.”

Your refusal sends the eyes into confusion again; meanwhile, Mima’s clapping her hands in delight. “See, why didn’t you tell me something like this?” She pokes you in the chest. “I’d have liked it a lot more if you had just gone ahead and been yourself instead of trying to be a smooth operator or giving me all those worthless apologies!”

You can’t help but smile at her criticism. “…You’re a hard woman to understand sometimes, ‘charming demon.’”

She’s opened her mouth to say something back, but a sideways glance stops her from answering. “Here, look sharp.” Nudging with her elbow, Mima indicates for you to look ahead – to the evil ‘heart’ with its hostile leer.

“i told her that you would refuse. i told her that you would not cooperate. now it will come out. the truth.”

As the ‘Psychodiver’ stops its activity and closes its eyes, the whiteness that was edging in on your vision recedes just in time for you to see Youki climb stiffly to his feet and check his swords. He doesn’t take any time either to fix his slightly disheveled robe of forest-green or to brush away the strands of his ashen hair from his equally ashen face, but immediately turns and comes face-to-face with you. In what seems an uncomfortable parallel of your first meeting, he doesn’t make even the slightest acknowledgement of Mima or show any surprise at encountering you here. The big difference, however, is that the expression on his face isn’t of blind anger; it’s a new emotion, an emotion you’ve never seen in Youki before.

It’s fear.

“It told me…” he murmurs vacantly, “it told me an unbelievable tale. That when my mistress impulsively approached you with a naïve and unreasonable request, you took advantage of her inexperience and indulged it. That you threw away your honor and code of conduct to violate the proper relationship between host and guest. That you… that you…” There are bitter tears trickling out of his eyes now, though he’s closed them tightly. “…That you slept with her. Tell me it’s just lying. Please. Please tell me that it’s lying!”

To Youki, whose hands are on the hilts of his swords as he cries – no, pleads with you, and to Mima, who’s doing her best not to back away in horror, you:

[ ] ???
----------
>> No. 117785
Author's note: School is still owning me. The story will be back at full speed by next week.

>>117677
>>117671
>>117667
>I certainly didn't expect Myouren to egg the damned thing on.
>the option of "No" did not imply basically flipping the eye a finger among other obscene gestures.

Not saying that your choice was the wrong one, but is it the outcome that startling when this is the fourth time you have declined cooperation?
>> No. 117793
>>117785
Tch you have a point, but the implication of agreeing with it was far worse, and what reason would she have for stopping?

And if the resistance would have been that flippant, the option should have reflected as such.

Now how to settle this.... tch I guess we did spend too much time farting around.
>> No. 117796
Well, I can't really compose an official answer after a few vodka teas, but to me, our response is a given: "Youki, you've been lied to about everything but the most important part" it's like I'm really watching American cable news! We did not 'take advantage' of her or 'throw away' our honor; we've understood and reconciled that with ourselves already. But more importantly, Yuyu was neither 'impulsive' nor 'naive' in her request. She presented the decision in such a way that it was entirely upon Myouren to decide where the events of that encounter would proceed, and we decided to reciprocate her affection and make love to her. It was through this act that we fully appreciated the affection she felt from our behavior, the gratitude felt at our stubborn insistence regarding sacrifice, the enjoyment of the kind treatment we afforded her comrades, the genial interactions before we even met face-to-face, and the reassurance that we would make the the proper decision regarding our relationship wiht Konngara and Mima. It was with that forethought Yuyu approached us. We loved and made her happy that day, and she us. That we ultimately helped her understand her true love and affection for Youki? Regrets = 0.

As for Mima, Yuyu's love for Youki is no different from ours for her; it took an act of circumspection and understanding to fully grasp the width and depth of myour affection for the beloved witch.
>> No. 117799
>“Why don’t you ask me for the Buddha’s Stone Bowl while you’re at it?”

I laughed.

[x] "The truth is Youki, I fended off a tengu hit-squad that was attempting to mutilate your carcass so as to horrify Yuyuko Saigyouji into killing me, my companions, and then committing suicide out of grief over losing you. After stalling her from discovering your corpse, I naively and unreasonably gave up my physical body in order to track you into the very depths of hell. To this end my charming companion also naively and unreasonably followed me, and though finding you was not without incident, including speaking to the being who orchestrated the deaths of the rest of the Saigyouji household--up to and now including you--I naively and unreasonably thought this might be achieved in a manner that would afford all parties involved at least some manner of dignity. Now it seems I have underestimated how mean & petty our adversary is. But, rest assured dear friend, I have not come this far for nothing, and will drag you forcibly back into the light, kicking & screaming if necessary!"
[x] "Mima bind him. I will silence the poison dripping in his ear."

We know she can do that, because she did it to us the first time she met us, and again when we gave her her book back. Would it be naive and unreasonable to think she couldn't do him now the same service?

Youki's delirious and this answer isn't really any more to the point than would be lying or staying silent. However we need Mima to have faith in us 100%, and we know she responds favorably to broad gestures and swagger.

As far as whether silencing the 'poison' is some kind of crazy monk purification rite, or stomping that cancerous heart flat, I'm not sure. But I'm really hoping it's the latter!
>> No. 117808
>>117799
But he would still want to know the answer, and I don't think he'd settle for avoiding the question. This would be great after he's calmed down.

But the first thing is how to deal with the revelation without Youki and/or Mima killing us.

>>117764
You forgot that we're trying to make things better than canon. And Canon Mima is not a mere ghost, but a spirit escaped from hell and hinted to had a massive grudge at one time.
>> No. 117826
>That when my mistress impulsively approached you with a naïve and unreasonable request, you took advantage of her inexperience and indulged it. That you threw away your honor and code of conduct to violate the proper relationship between host and gues

See this, guys? This is the problem. Myouren didn't trhow away his honor and codes of conduct, he didn't violate Yuyuko, he didn't take advantage of her. This is what's wrong, and to this, we can answer Honestly.

[x]"No Youki, I didn't do any of that. I wouldn't dare to violate the Lady, not even in a nightmare."

Now, how to continue this, is another thing. And I don't have anything more than this.
>> No. 117828
>Turning another dark corner, you emerged out into what seemed as a world of light. After having spent so long amid the cheerless gray and moribund black of the ‘mausoleum,’ the kaleidoscope – the storm of sanguine red, melancholic blue, choleric green and phlegmatic yellow into that you emerged was almost overwhelming.

When Hijiri Vajra'd again, the map of Makai changed. Like a shifting glacier, a new crack appeared with every sutra. I had abandoned all conventional methods of navigation. I was following the mantras he kept leaving me.

>The ‘heart’ takes you up on your invitation; it starts convulsing violently, almost as if laughing uproariously at you, and then…
>…Opens its eyes.

And he was watching me do it.

>They’re of varying sizes: the smallest are human-shaped, while the largest are fleshy, bulbous growths bigger than your hand. The ‘heart’ is covered in them; they’re spread out over its whole surface area, and right now, they’re all turned on you, inhumanly purplish pupils squinting through thick lids.

Wherever I went, the hearts started to ring.
Finally, I collected enough courage to answer one:

>“you will die if it comes out.” Not a warning, but an almost-childishly ingenuous statement of fact. “is that okay?”

.the flesh of fallen monks

>Trailing off there, its eyes cease their flickering to resume their unremitting stare. “you will make… byakuren sad if you do it… myouren. you will make her sad if you do not listen to me.”

.mirrorSs are more fun than meditation

>“i told her that you would refuse. i told her that you would not cooperate. now it will come out. the truth.”

.she has dyed her hair pink

>It’s your voice.

"Myouren Hijiri?"

"This is he."

"This is Myouren Hijiri. Welcome to the next level."
>> No. 117829
>>117828

Mindfuck.
>> No. 117832
[x] Answer him: "Youki, you think far too little of your charge and lady, to believe that she would broach such an act 'impulsively,' 'naively,' or 'unreasonably.' You think too little of me, your friend and ally, to believe that I would betray my faith, my dear friends, or 'take advantage' of your mistress and true love. You think too little of yourself, Youki, to let yourself be a victim of this deceitful creature's lies and half-truths. And you think too little of us, the lady and I, to think that given the opportunity, we wouldn't wish to share our happiness, gratitude, and affection for each other as intimately as we felt.
"The answer to what you truly wish to know, and what you should already know, lies with your lady. But to answer the question our malefactors have set before us... we made love, lady Yuyu and I. We made each other happy, and we helped each other understand our love for those dearest to us all the better.
"What more do you ask of me?"

Poor guy just had his heart stamped on, made to think the center of his existence just threw him away for a pretty face and slick words. The person he loves and has devoted myself to for 16 years just threw him away like it was nothing for some guy she's know for less than a day? I'd certainly be afraid, to say the least: the core of my existence was just wrent from my body with a rusty pair of pliers. That he has let the whole servant/master thing blind him to the fact that Yuyu is head-over-heels in love with him doesn't help.
What he wants to know, I think, is whether Yuyu loves him or not. It'll amount to a hill of beans coming from us, and the only way to let him learn the real deal is if we can drag him back to his corporeal form to hear it straight from Yuyu's mouth.
And the (next to) last bit is no lie; Konngara sniffed us out and was cool with it (probably because she's got it in her head that the physical act of making love is as significant as displaying/acting on your sense of it because she's incredible like that), and Mima... I won't lie. Connecting with her on an emotional level and understanding her was far more satisfying (for me, at least) than making love to Yuyu. Being on the brink of mental/emotional breakdown while flashing her a shark-toothed grin and reciting her words back at her is going to be the highlight of this story for a long time to come. God damn I loved her after that. She's just way too cool for us sometime, and I'd have it no other way.

I wish I could phrase a write-in like that one dude who knows everything and a half about Buddhism, because when he writes shit in, work gets done. But, after reading Amitabha's forty-eight vows and getting hopelessly lost trying to figure out what the shit "Provided I become a Buddha, if in that country of mine... then may I not attain the enlightenment" actually meant, I've forsaken trying to wrap my head around the religion, and have decided.

>>117828
I had to google this to figure out what you were getting at. But when I did? Good fucking show, sir/madam.
>> No. 117833
>>117832
Good but I hope this write in works for Mima as well, since we have to explain what happened to her as well.
>> No. 117837
>>117828
What?
>> No. 117859
>>117837
It's a Max Payne 2 reference.
>> No. 117873
File 127424202352.jpg - (1.08MB , 1123x1600 , love_and_peace_56.jpg ) [iqdb]
117873
Prepare for epic.

>>117833
>I hope this write in works for Mima as well, since we have to explain what happened to her as well.

If you are not confident that the given responses are sufficient, you can always add to them, Wiseman.

On different note: why is it that the same circles who can draw fantastically can't tell a story to save their lives?
>> No. 117874
[x] Answer him: "Youki, you think far too little of your charge and lady, to believe that she would broach such an act 'impulsively,' 'naively,' or 'unreasonably.' You think too little of me, your friend and ally, to believe that I would betray my faith, my dear friends, or 'take advantage' of your mistress and true love. You think too little of yourself, Youki, to let yourself be a victim of this deceitful creature's lies and half-truths. And you think too little of us, the lady and I, to think that given the opportunity, we wouldn't wish to share our happiness, gratitude, and affection for each other as intimately as we felt.
"The answer to what you truly wish to know, and what you should already know, lies with your lady. But to answer the question our malefactors have set before us... we made love, lady Yuyu and I. We made each other happy, and we helped each other understand our love for those dearest to us all the better.
"What more do you ask of me?"
[x] "Mima, I was going to tell you after all this. It was with the Lady that I realized the ripple ability. I can only hope that you'd understand"

I know this isn't that great, but perhaps someone can improve it.
>> No. 117877
>>117873
>If you are not confident that the given responses are sufficient, you can always add to them

Oh ye gods, thank you for giving voice to my inner thoughts. I take no insult if one thinks mya write-in is shit. But if you do, please indulge in your compulsion to improve where you think it's lacking. (Thumbs up to >>117874 for broaching the situation with Mima; I'm of the opinion that this is something that needs to be addressed directly between Myouren and Youki, but I certainly appreciate the mindfullness of Youki's disposition).

Art and creativity seem to be mutually exclusive when it comes to commentary for these stories, just as criticism and ingenuity are equally so, apparently.

>Prepare for epic.
Indeed we are...
>> No. 117878
>>117877
I brought it up because even if we settle things with Youki, we would have had to deal with the fallout with Mima. I'm not saying she's particularly petty, just that she's more likely to assume the worse than Konngara. Hopefully both bases will get covered.
>> No. 117902
Why do you guys keep thinking Mima will react so bad at the whole thing?
>> No. 117914
>>117902
She thought Yuyuko was only faking her personality as to manipulate guys. She also has a bit of an opinion that most guys are horndogs. Even though her opinion of Yuyuko might have improved, hearing about the guy she likes seemingly falling for Yuyu's "moe" might come off to her as much worse than it is.
>> No. 117915
>>117902
My guess is that people think Mima hates the concept of sex because of what the bandits did to her friends and family, a notion that is superficially supported by her minor freak out when we asked her to bathe with us. There's also the notion that Mima will not take kindly to Myouren having sex with Yuyu and shortly thereafter proclaiming his love for her.

The former is based on observations a little too superficial to substantiate a legitimate theory. Mima's making impressive strides in displays of intimacy; Myouren held her close and actually kissed a few updates ago, much to her pleasure. Incredulous and upset? Perhaps, probably more because he kept it from her more than anything else. Furious and dead to her? Hardly; Mima's a viciously intelligent and insightful woman that would have seen through any false displays of affection long ago.
The latter has some shades of merit, but we need not look more than a few minutes prior to when she was admonishing Myouren for laboring over morality when there is merit to behaving naturally. Our choice to lay with Yuyu was both moral and natural to Myouren... as was professing his love to Mima.

I understand her immediate shock, but beyond that, Mima and Konngara are still the loves of Myouren's life. I dread the day we'll have to choose, because I know I'll simply vote
>[x] Jump in the lake.

>>117914
I'd forgotten about Mima's misgivings ove Yuyu's personality. Good catch. My only argument is that for the last 10 years, the only man she's interacted with is Youki, who was actively dissuading romantic advances. That she'd naturally evolve into a manipulative blob of moe is unlikely.


I think I'll take this opportunity to remind the author that some of us would like to see the conclusion to Konngara's conversation with Murasaki.
>> No. 117917
>>117915
>I dread the day we'll have to choose

...Heh.

>some of us would like to see the conclusion to Konngara's conversation with Murasaki.

Since Mima got cut short earlier, there are a few more things that need to happen for that conclusion to have its full impact.

By the way:

>when she was admonishing Myouren for laboring over morality when there is merit to behaving naturally

This wasn't a tangent. You'll (probably) learn the importance and relevance of it shortly.
>> No. 117920
>>117915
I'm not saying that she WILL react badly, just that she might.
>> No. 117922
File 127432676325.jpg - (40.76KB , 351x289 , 1198206681917.jpg ) [iqdb]
117922
>>117917
>...Heh.

...I've been reduced to image macros
>> No. 117923
>>117915
I hope that day never comes, but once our sister enters the scene, things may become a bit more complicated.
>> No. 118009
>I understand her immediate shock, but beyond that, Mima and Konngara are still the loves of Myouren's life.

You really think that? Not only that it's true, but that Mima will believe it to be true?

>“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.”

How do you think Mima would react if Myouren said this to her?

You know, just because a person is down-trodden, marginalized, and vilified by society as a whole, this experience does not necessarily give him or her any especial openness or understanding of other's views or desires.

I understand that part of what might attract her to Myouren is that he is in many ways outrageous. However, it may also be in part his ability to do this while seeming to be utterly uncompromising of his morals. Any time Myouren shows her 'weakness' like apologizing or being self-reproaching, she is confounded, and not in a good way, like she's suddenly expecting that the other heel is going to drop and Myouren will reveal some horrific character flaw.
>> No. 118010
>>118009
Hence my worries, though I think Konngara could stand to hear that as to reassure her that she's not losing out to Mima. I think she does deserve to know.

A separate note: This effectively predates Betty (Konngara) and Veronica (Mima)
>> No. 118011
>You really think that? Not only that it's true
I'll admit that when I said that, the very last thing on my mind (relative to this story) was Myouren's relationship with his sister, so more likely than not that's me conflating my sentiments as Myouren's. But I still harbor the naive notion that for Myouren, 'love' is not some monolithic, uncompromising sentiment that encompasses everyone he respects, desires, appreciates, aspires towards, etc.; all of whom are evaluated on a wholly objective basis. I dare imagine the love he has for his sister is different than the love he showed to Yuyu, which are in turn separate from the love he has for Mima (and Konngara). I guess I'm a hopeless romantic like that; thank god these things are decided democratically.

>How do you think Mima would react if Myouren said this to her?
Apathy, rage, acceptance, confusion, incredulity, disappointment, catatonia, denial, madness, etc. I have some notion based on my interpretation of Mima, but I've no idea what will actually happen.

>“Quiet. This’ all new to me, so of course I’ll end up making some mistakes while I’m feeling through. Although…” her blush intensifies, “I’ll make fewer if you help me.”
We're not the only character that can develop in this story, though.
>> No. 118012
>>118011
Which post was this:

>“Quiet. This’ all new to me, so of course I’ll end up making some mistakes while I’m feeling through. Although…” her blush intensifies, “I’ll make fewer if you help me.”

Refering to? You can just do >>_____ since it's in the same board.
>> No. 118013
File 127450559271.png - (1.74MB , 1119x1437 , 4117188.png ) [iqdb]
118013
>>118012

>>110234
>> No. 118015
Author here. Expect the first part to be up shortly.

>>118011
>I dare imagine the love he has for his sister is different than the love he showed to Yuyu, which are in turn separate from the love he has for Mima (and Konngara).

You forgot to mention the love he has for Youki. A coincidence, I'm sure.

>But I still harbor the naive notion that for Myouren, 'love' is not some monolithic, uncompromising sentiment that encompasses everyone he respects, desires, appreciates, aspires towards, etc.; all of whom are evaluated on a wholly objective basis.

It's not a "naive notion." It's actually supported by his own words. One of the Five Wisdoms that makes up an Enlightened view of the world (mentioned in >>115249) is the "Wisdom of Specificity," which is the ability to understand and enjoy the differences in all things. It was on the basis of this that he could answer Konngara's question of whether he would have responded the same way to her hypothetical death as Youki's (if you'll remember, he said that he would not have treated with the Tengu if the one he had discovered dead was her) in a way that was simultaneously honest to his feelings, true to his creed and satisfactory to her definition of good.
>> No. 118038
----------
“Youki – look where you’ve placed your hands.” Pointing at the twinned swords buckled around his lean waist, you look him steadily in the eye. “Is it your intention to kill me?”

“I-”

“Because I’ll happily help you if that’s what you’re after.” You don’t break eye contact as you set your staff and Pagoda on one of the nearby benches and step away. “If my answer isn’t to your satisfaction, or if you believe that I’m being anything less than aboveboard and honest, then you’re free to take my life.”

Following a few moments of hard staring and half-formed words, Youki’s grip relaxes somewhat. “...Fine.”

“Thank you.” You nod to him. “I can only imagine your uncertainty right now, Youki, but please hear me out – I’ve done nothing of that I am ashamed or at that you should feel grieved. You have heard my words and seen my actions; do they belong to a person who would abandon his faith or deceive his allies?”

“…No.”

“You have known the Lady since she was small; has it ever been her wont to approach matters of import ‘recklessly’ or ‘unreasonably?’”

“No.”

“And Youki, you have been meditating on the relationship between right actions and right intentions that you may learn from the mistakes that caused your previous defeat. “Tell me – if you unsheathe the same swords with that you protect your Lady in defense of this corrupt heart, will you have acted in pursuance of virtue? If you accept the provocation of that very being which deprived her of friends and family by giving yourself over to despondence and wrath, will you have advanced the cause of good in this world? Youki,” you pronounce, opening your arms wide, “if you kill me where I stand, will you be able to return before Yuyu with your head held high?”

“I wouldn’t. …It’s just as you say. There is no chance that my mis-” He stops mid-sentence, having just realized it. As a blood-red flame begins backlighting his deep blue eyes, Youki whispers impassively, “…You know her name. You know my mistress’ name.”

You nod slowly. “She wanted me to use it. I’m fully aware of how much a favor it is – how much a favor the Lady has shown me in-”

“What happened that my mistress would volunteer you her name?” As he glares at you coldly, his shivering, white-knuckled fingers find their way to around the longer of his blades.

By contrast, you haven’t so much as glanced towards those armaments you formerly cast aside; all of your concern is for Youki, as you tell him: “I recognized her love; I received it, and I returned it.”

The steady gaze with that you answer his inexpressive stare – as sympathetic as it is unafraid and unapologetic – doesn’t change even as he draws his sword, steps in and-

You:
[ ] Make good on your word.
[ ] Defend yourself.
----------
>> No. 118042
[x] Make good on your word.

It's risky but I feel keeping our word would be better than defending ourselves.
>> No. 118045
[ ] Make good on your word.

No discussion needed this time.
>> No. 118049
>“What happened that my mistress would volunteer you her name?”

Honestly, I think Youki should ask this kind of question directly to Yuyuko. Only she can resolve Youki's troubles in this matter.
>> No. 118051
I liked Myouren's answer; calm and respectful, but it took on a tone very much like our lesson to him. I'll chalk it up to author's pity as to how we got to there from the vote. Also, while I'm not surprised author picked up on it, I'm definitely pleased that the sole name drop from the write in had the effect I hoped it would. inb4 that's exactly what gets Myouren killed

There's a part of my mind subtly reminding me that all the valor and honor in the world doesn't amount to much if you're dead. Then again, I really think Youki would be even more pissed off if Myouren blatantly proves he's a bald-faced liar. He's unapologetic about sleeping with her, and he's a lying jerk?. No thank you.

[x] Make good on your word.
>> No. 118052
Just making sure - you all know that 'defend yourself' doesn't necessarily entail the use of weapons, yes?

>>118051
>I'll chalk it up to author's pity as to how we got to there from the vote.

It's not that. I make a point of not biasing the story for or against any outcomes, although it might mean that moving and powerful scenes might get passed over. The reason for any (perceived) improvements is that although you are nudging him in this or that direction, Myouren is still the one speaking, and as you have seen, speaking is one of his strong points. (And with his relations and occupation, is it any surprise?)
>> No. 118053
>>118052
>Just making sure - you all know that 'defend yourself' doesn't necessarily entail the use of weapons, yes?

Nope. Hadn't occurred to me in the slightest until it was framed in such a way. I'm glad you did, too. To me, in situations like this, 'defend' has some pretty specific connotations. I honestly felt uncomfortable deciding to take a sword to the face, but compared to going against our word (in the face of rage induced laceration) was not going to be something I'd abide by, but if defending could mean talking Youki down (rather than a Ripple infused bitch slap), then...

[X] Defend yourself.

Youki doesn't even know what he's doing right now. He even started to say it himself that Yuyu would be sad if he killed Myouren here. There's chivalry for nothing more than the sake of chivalry, and then there's standing firm as the voice of reason and truth in the face of your friend's blind, unthinking rage.
>> No. 118054
[x] Make good on your word.
>> No. 118055
[x] Make good on your word.

Mima is of a character and disposition to stop him, damn what promises we have made.

Let's hope it doesn't kill her.
>> No. 118057
[x] Make good on your word.
>> No. 118060
[x] Make good on your word.
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, very skeptic.
>> No. 118349
File 127520364633.png - (345.79KB , 768x576 , 8981580.png ) [iqdb]
118349
I feel compelled to ask: are updates forthcoming, or is this going on indefinite hiatus like everything else?

sage for now.
>> No. 118434
File 127545484633.jpg - (254.80KB , 907x1173 , write faster.jpg ) [iqdb]
118434
>> No. 118435
>indefinite hiatus like everything else
Not everything else is. Just about 80%. Or going at a slow spead.
>> No. 118437
>>118349
>>118435

It's definitely not on hiatus, and it's going to be moving more quickly when I finish recovering/getting some other ideas out of the way, because I actually have time now.
>> No. 118509
File 127561398861.jpg - (28.75KB , 609x341 , paybackisagoodgirl.jpg ) [iqdb]
118509
>>118437
We'll be waiting
>> No. 118545
File 127571331522.jpg - (391.86KB , 1298x1880 , meido fist.jpg ) [iqdb]
118545
>>118509
>> No. 119360
Updates are needed.
>> No. 119417
>>118545
How come no one has made a full "東方の奇妙な冒険" doujinshi series, just the frequent standalone images?
>> No. 119737
File 127747642763.jpg - (427.70KB , 800x1119 , 10874546.jpg ) [iqdb]
119737
More than a month later and no updates. Sage to let the dead rest.
>> No. 120062
File 127822341981.png - (1.27MB , 1280x1024 , 1274623694337.png ) [iqdb]
120062
>>118437
So yeah, have you recovered and/or gotten those ideas sorted out yet? For a story that did so well in terms of update speed, this month-ish break in activity is disheartening.
>> No. 120458
Desperate-plea-for-an-update bump. No story required, just inquiring if the general malaise that has infected most every other author has gotten to this one as well.
>> No. 120477
I'm kind of curious to know whether or not it was Kira who wrote this.
>> No. 120482
>>120477
Don't even joke like that.
>> No. 120490
>>120477
It was not at all. And again don't even joke about such a thing.
>> No. 120706
File 127977742318.jpg - (645.88KB , 968x700 , 12018690.jpg ) [iqdb]
120706
>>118038
Two month update request. This has hit glasnost/Patchwork/Taisa/Fallout anon/dude from /at/ levels of infrequency, so it's generously time to re-classify this from '/th/-staple' to 'rare treat' status, or pessimistically a dead story walking.

If this is done, don't pull a Harker and just let us know that we can stop hoping. I (we?) won't hold a grudge if this is dead; stuff happens, and that is understandable.

Just asking for some closure is all.
>> No. 120707
>>120706
I suspect he's not able to update during the summer for whatever reason.
>> No. 120751
>>120707
You have to admit that the last official looking update (>>118052) came near the end of May but mentioned absolutely nothing about a possible 2-3 month delay.

I shamelessly bump because I desperately want to see this story progress care.
>> No. 120752
File 127987419834.jpg - (69.09KB , 500x500 , Guesswhatitsaysonhiswallet.jpg ) [iqdb]
120752
----------
-and runs you through without a second thought. The point of his longsword drives into your chest, snaps two of your ribs, skewers through your right lung and explodes out of your back in a gush of blood.

As you stare motionlessly, as much transfixed by shock as paralyzed with pain, Youki’s holding the sword steady with both hands and whispering while looking down towards the ground.

“…I believed in you. When my mistress approached me about how had you admonished her, I thought that it was because the determination and decency and honesty that I sensed behind the strikes of your staff were real. I thought it was because you were a man, a great-hearted hero from whom I could stand to learn much. …I was wrong.” He lifts his head and glances up into your eyes, his wild with indignation. “You… you’re a charlatan of the worst kind, a honey-tongued hypocrite and a shameless liar! Carrying the stain of lasting dishonor is a small price to pay for freeing the world from a person like you…!”

“Is it?”

Youki, who had moved to pull his sword clean of you, stops at your question – at how you’re able to speak clearly despite your broken ribs and ruined lung. It’s an opening that only lasts for a second, but it’s enough. Catching his wrists in a tight hold, you swallow the blood that’s filled the inside of your mouth and tell him, “I’m asking because I don’t want to see you experience the same hardships as I once did in grappling with-”

“Shut up.” He smashes an elbow into the side of your face, having let go of the sword in an attempt at breaking free. “Don’t think that I’ll be deceived by you a second time.”

“-in grappling with the same question.” Matching his resistance by forcing his arms up over his head, you’re searching for some middle ground as you continue, “I’ve never denied the value of honor, Youki – far from it; I think honor is as important as a principle as it is beautiful as an aesthetic. Honor is the consort of Self-Worth, the daughter of Reason and the mother of Truth. Honor is the closest friend of Faith and the first servant of the noble Soul, the companion and counselor which will never desert him, so long as he doesn’t desert himself. But that’s the key – first servant. Youki,” you emphasize, “a sense of honor is an admirable quality only insofar as it serves to enrich peoples’ lives. It goes back to the topic on that I spoke with you this morning and remonstrated with the Lady last night – when and why you should struggle and sacrifice. Whether they take the shape of ‘honor’ or ‘obligation,’ if the ideals to that you adhere demand that you render up your heart – the foundation, origin and inspiration of those ideals – as a tribute to their integrity, then you would be right in breaking with them. Why trade your Lady’s good graces for the life of ‘a person like me’?”

“To prove my loyalty to her.” he replies, grimacing hard. “I know my mistress’ character very well. She would not willingly disgrace the name of her family by lowering herself to the level of a concubine – not unless a conniving enchanter with the soul of a jackal, the eyes of a wolf and the skin of a lion tricked her into mistaking evil for good and lies for truth.”

“…And by killing this ‘conniving enchanter,’ who must have capitalized on your Lady’s kindness and good will to ensnare her in his schemes, you’ll expose his ‘deception’ and demonstrate your devotion to her – even at the cost of her affection?”

“That’s right!” With a shout, Youki kicks off the ground. Though your sense for danger forced your head back far enough for his rising knee, aimed at your chin with all the sudden power of an erupting geyser, to blow right by you, he doesn’t stop. He carries the momentum of his missed kick into a backflip, which wrenches his wrists out of your hands and sees him land on the ground catlike some twenty feet back from you. Now just in front of the dais and the monstrous ‘heart’ frozen in the air above it, he climbs to a standing position and, drawing the shorter of his swords with an inverse grip, takes a stern oath: “I will sever the web of false promises and poisoned praise in that you have trapped my mistress, and with it, the thread of your life! This I swear, by the holy Veracity that dwells in my White Tower Sword, the Hakurouken, and by the boundless Gratitude I owe the Saigyouji house!”

You can only sigh. “Youki – you’re confusing substance for appearance and setting the cart before the horse with this challenge of yours. Why must you insist on fighting with me here and now, in a place where our enemies could easily capitalize on our disunity and on the eve of an important battle, no less? However…” Slowly, you take off your hat and undo her cloak. You’re smiling quietly. “It’s not as though I don’t understand your feelings somewhat. Having heard such a magnificent oath, I would be remiss if I didn’t respond in kind. …You’ve no intention of putting off a settlement, do you?”

“None. I intend to settle this matter here, and in a single blow.”

“…I understand. In that case, I will take an oath as well.” Raising your right hand and lowering your left, you figure your fingers into the fearless form that symbolizes your sect and swear, “By the lance of Bishamonten and the crown of Vairocana, the Gods who raised me up from my former state of weakness, and by the grace of Sarasvati, Drdha and Shri, the Goddesses who sustain me in my present state of injury, I promise that I’ve not played you false, Youki. Furthermore, if I am guilty of renouncing righteousness and embracing licentiousness in any of my affairs, I call upon the Powers I’ve named as my witnesses to withdraw their divine protection and to themselves deliver me into the long arms of Death.”

Proclaiming so, you find the sword that’s stuck in your chest – the dull crescent of its point and the tufted tail of its handle.

You pull.
----------

To anyone who cares: I couldn’t write for a while. As this is not my blog, I will spare you the details and just say that I was busy with other things, that I thought hard on all that I have learned since starting this story and that I’m now able to continue it on a relatively normal schedule. The next choice will come at an appropriate juncture (read: not now).
>> No. 120753
Life takes priority, but please give us a heads up if possible.
>> No. 120754
Oh, and welcome back.
>> No. 120755
Good that you are back but at least you could have dropped us a line or something.
>> No. 120760
I am so happy right now. Tears of joy are flowing.
>> No. 120761
yes.... YES!

I cringed when I saw the last line.
>> No. 120780
I read this update hours ago.


I'm still smiling.
>> No. 121001
[x] Insofar as you’ve been able to determine, the true aim of this twisted scheme is to incite divisions in your group. The “High King” and “Psychodiver” probably mean to corner you by playing on passions and inflaming jealousies – by pressing you into a situation where you’ll reprise the murder of Youki in their stead. It would not only pay you back for having thwarted them before, but it would also fracture your friendships in the resulting fallout: Murasaki would never speak to you again, the Lady would be out for revenge against you, Konngara’s confidence in you would be shaken again, this time severely, and the ensuing struggle between her conscience and her feelings of personal loyalty would end with her breaking off ties with you…
>> No. 121002
>>121001
This is my vote. I still haven't figured out how to copy and paste on this mobile device.
>> No. 121006
File 128023883318.jpg - (302.10KB , 850x595 , sample_351617122030b528779a23733ac10652fd68f079.jpg ) [iqdb]
121006
----------
But not away from you – the sword grinds against your bones and bites deeper into your flesh as you pull it forcibly through your body.

When the traction causes your spleen to spill out from your torso, you aren’t daunted; nor are you cowed by the creeping damp that is your life bleeding out on your clothes. By centering your mind on the source of your pain and concentrating, what would otherwise be only an insane and absolutely suicidal display of self-denial becomes instead a decisive test of your character – because of the Sublime Golden Light. In answer to your summons, it comes alive, flaring up past your straw sandals, enveloping both of your hands, wreathing around the killing edge of Youki’s left-hand blade and pouring into your fatal wound, where it puts forth its potency. The comforting warmth of the triumvirate Goddesses’ covenant staunches the bleeding, mends the destroyed muscles and sews up the torn skin, while the Four Kings’ vigor recasts your crushed organs, fuses together your broken ribs and empowers your heart with courage, so that by the time you’ve thrust the hand-guard through your lung and torn the sword from your back point-first, there’s no longer a hole in your chest.

There’s only a priest whose gods have pronounced him as worthy, clutching a sword covered in his own blood – an ancient, inhumanly powerful sword that he lobs spinning into the air, catches by the handle and brings up into a stance mirroring his friend’s.

“They’ve cast their judgment, Youki. The one to whom you stand in opposition walks with the blessing of Prosperity, speaks with the insight of Education, endures with the tenacity of Mother Earth and battles with the valor of War personified; knowing this, will you persist in raising arms against him?”

His response is to laugh. “Do you think me faint-hearted or double-tongued? Keep your pantheons, your prayers and your borrowed strength – I need only Hakuroken and my phantom half, Susano-O!”

In the very same moment as he invokes the name of his guardian spirit, an atmosphere of irresistible fury floods out from Youki. Though nothing about him demonstrates any visible change apart from his White Tower Sword, which has ignited with qi of the same color, he’s emanating a willpower that’s not less than yours.

He won’t back down.

“…Are you prepared?”

The time for compromise and conciliation has passed; no more words are necessary. With a confidence and dignity equal to his solemn query, you simply nod.

“Then I will settle this matter in a single blow!” With a great cry, he sprints forward, raises Hakuroken and-

[ ] Insofar as you’ve been able to determine, the true aim of this twisted scheme is to incite divisions in your group. The “High King” and “Psychodiver” probably mean to corner you by playing on passions and inflaming jealousies – by pressing you into a situation where you’ll reprise the murder of Youki in their stead. It would not only pay you back for having thwarted them before, but it would also fracture your friendships in the resulting fallout: Murasaki would never speak to you again, the Lady would be out for revenge against you, Konngara’s confidence in you would be shaken again, this time severely, and the ensuing struggle between her conscience and her feelings of personal loyalty would end with her breaking off ties with you…

However, you’ve seen through their ploy and deduced how to defeat it.

Your ruthless enemies made a ridiculous blunder by assuming that you, as a monk, would try and justify killing a friend in defense of the “self” – the very illusion from that you’re attempting to awaken! Had they actually made an effort to identify with you, then they would have realized they accidentally left you an “out.” Since either of you killing the other would only serve to implode your allies’ animosity inward, all you need to do is…
OR
[ ] When you say that Death holds no terror for you, it’s not empty boasting. In your years of wandering till now, you’ve encountered it in myriad incarnations: scorching days in the summer sun, cold nights on the bare rocks, steep cliffs, festering marshes, packs of wolves, venomous serpents, merciless bandits, starving ghosts, cannibal demons, Tengu seductresses – the list could continue into eternity. How was it that you were able to rise above it all?

Her.

It’s so that you can face your sister with your head held high that you’ve stood up when you would have surrendered, lived when you should have died and defeated every obstacle in your way. To that end, you’ll not let anyone keep you from seeing her again – not even Youki.

Which has priority?
----------

edit: clarity
>> No. 121011
[x] all you need to do is…
Are we supposed to write in here? If we aren't, this is my vote. As an aside, I can't help but feel this is an obvious... for lack of a better word, route choice.
>> No. 121024
>>121011
I hope not; it's impossible decide between present company and Myouren's dear older sister.
>> No. 121026
[x] Insofar as you’ve been able to determine, the true aim of this twisted scheme is to incite divisions in your group. The “High King” and “Psychodiver” probably mean to corner you by playing on passions and inflaming jealousies – by pressing you into a situation where you’ll reprise the murder of Youki in their stead. It would not only pay you back for having thwarted them before, but it would also fracture your friendships in the resulting fallout: Murasaki would never speak to you again, the Lady would be out for revenge against you, Konngara’s confidence in you would be shaken again, this time severely, and the ensuing struggle between her conscience and her feelings of personal loyalty would end with her breaking off ties with you…
>> No. 121038
[X] Insofar as you’ve been able to determine[...] Since either of you killing the other would only serve to implode your allies’ animosity inward, all you need to do is…

As the vote correctly points out, there's nothing beneficial, let alone right or remotely justifiable, in striking down Youki. I would dare say Youki would be in an even worse position if he were to strike down Myouren, though. I wager Mima and Konngara would be incensed (if not enraged), Murasaki would face palm hard enough to break her wrist, and I don't want to think about what Yuyu would do. Hopefully she'd forgive him, because if she didn't? That just about the darkest path of despair I can imagine.

That said, there's plenty to take away from the latter vote, especially considering all of the incredible things Myouren is capable of acheiving in the pursuit of the promise to his sister. We've decided that she's just about everything to Myouren; his dream. The impassioned discussion we had with the Princess Royal made it perfectly clear that Myouren's admiration for her drives him to fantastic heights.
However, the line of reasoning that "I will remove and survive any obstacle before me so that I may see my sister again one day" doesn't sit well. Perhaps I'm misconstruing it, but it's a little too 'superficial' for how I imagined their relationship. More than perservering through hardships so that he might see her again one day, I feel like Myouren manages these remarkable feats in furthering Byakuran's sincere wish for him
>>113873
>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.
While I hold Byakuran in the highest regard, "I did this because I wanted to see you again" doesn't sound as natural for Myouren as "I did this because I want to make you proud." What would make her proud? Foiling the scheme of a twisted manipulator that favors pitting two friends against each other? Or cutting down a friend in her name? While the latter vote invokes her presence, to me, it doesn't inspire the spirit.

I'm so happy this story is back.
>> No. 121041
[x] Insofar as you’ve been able to determine, the true aim of this twisted scheme is to incite divisions in your group. The “High King” and “Psychodiver” probably mean to corner you by playing on passions and inflaming jealousies – by pressing you into a situation where you’ll reprise the murder of Youki in their stead. It would not only pay you back for having thwarted them before, but it would also fracture your friendships in the resulting fallout: Murasaki would never speak to you again, the Lady would be out for revenge against you, Konngara’s confidence in you would be shaken again, this time severely, and the ensuing struggle between her conscience and her feelings of personal loyalty would end with her breaking off ties with you…

However, you’ve seen through their ploy and deduced how to defeat it.

Your ruthless enemies made a ridiculous blunder by assuming that you, as a monk, would try and justify killing a friend in defense of the “self” – the very illusion from that you’re attempting to awaken! Had they actually made an effort to identify with you, then they would have realized they accidentally left you an “out.” Since either of you killing the other would only serve to implode your allies’ animosity inward, all you need to do is…
>> No. 121051
>>121011
>As an aside, I can't help but feel this is an obvious... for lack of a better word, route choice.

I'm not telling you to change your vote, but I have to ask - are you sure you know for what you're voting? Please look at it again, specifically the:

Had they actually made an effort to identify with you, then they would have realized they accidentally left you an “out.” Since either of you killing the other would only serve to implode your allies’ animosity inward, all you need to do is…

Can you guess what he has in mind? Think about it like this; if the other option ultimately boils down to "strike home and survive," then this one is...?
>> No. 121111
Hey, what if the second option doesn't mean killing Youki, but killing Psychodiver?
>> No. 121168
[ ] When you say that Death holds no terror for you, it’s not empty boasting. In your years of wandering till now, you’ve encountered it in myriad incarnations: scorching days in the summer sun, cold nights on the bare rocks, steep cliffs, festering marshes, packs of wolves, venomous serpents, merciless bandits, starving ghosts, cannibal demons, Tengu seductresses – the list could continue into eternity. How was it that you were able to rise above it all?
Her.
It’s so that you can face your sister with your head held high that you’ve stood up when you would have surrendered, lived when you should have died and defeated every obstacle in your way. To that end, you’ll not let anyone keep you from seeing her again – not even Youki.

Voting believing in >>121111

Not letting Youki stop Myouren while he kills/neutralize Psychodriver, this is what I think this option really is.
>> No. 121172
>>121168
I don't think so.... I highly doubt that.
>> No. 121181
File 128047859919.jpg - (137.41KB , 500x440 , thisisforwhatyouallwerevoting.jpg ) [iqdb]
121181
----------
-and turned.

As you were about to lift his longsword to your throat and pull it across, he spun around with the same swaying, dance-like motion that he used in the finale of your first battle against each other and appeared right next to his real target – the corrupt “heart” behind him.

Youki doesn’t give the “Psychodiver” time to turn on whatever it was doing to distort your senses and mess with your mind earlier; instead, he allows it just long enough to open its eyes in stupefaction, to take in the sight of his unforgiving face and to hear:

“I refuse.”

With those cold words of his, it disappears amidst a cyclone of silver. Hakuroken, covered in the fire of Susano-O’s overwhelming qi, is alternately a blur, a spray of fresh snowflakes or a scattering of pear flowers in the spring wind as it carves into vile flesh, slices through dense sinews and stabs into bulbous eyes.

Against the blinding speed and amazing accuracy of Youki’s onslaught, the “Psychodiver” is powerless to resist. When the invisible chains fastening it in the air suddenly snap and send it tumbling to the floor, it’s been reduced to dirty rags of skin covering a lump of gore.



Afterwards, Youki surveys his handiwork. Poking casually through the pile of disgusting remains, it’s only after enjoying a long, earnest and exultant laugh that he sheathes his sword and turns to you.

“There is my ‘single blow.’ May I hear your opinion of it, Teacher?”

You:
[ ] ???
----------

Don't think about it too hard.
>> No. 121186
[x] "Better than I expected. You truly are formidale, Youki."
>> No. 121195
[x] "Seemed more like a flurry."
Mima is totally in the same room as all of this, you guys remember? I didn't want to say anything, because I thought the author had some kind of plan.
>> No. 121216
File 128053727557.jpg - (133.33KB , 849x548 , brofist.jpg ) [iqdb]
121216
Called.

I'd just like to say: if you were at a loss for what to say, technically, you didn't need to "say" anything.
>> No. 121225
[x]....
>> No. 121230
>>121216
>if you were at a loss for what to say

This.
>> No. 121231
>>121181
>thisisforwhatyouallwerevoting.jpg

...seriously? Oh wow. I guess a two month break is a pretty good way to confuse the suicide option with... whatever the other option may have ensued.
>> No. 121232
>>121231
It's my fault for not being clear enough.

...And here I thought I was practically hitting you all in the face about it.
>> No. 121233
>>121232
Nope, not really clear at all, I assumed the first choice was aimed at the eye and the second choice Youki...
>> No. 121235
[x]>>121225
>> No. 121238
>I assumed the first choice was aimed at the eye and the second choice Youki

This is why assumptions aren't a substitute for reasoning. Given that Myouren is exhausted, has had his two best weapons replaced with one that
he's never before used in his life and has roughly half-a-second to prepare before Youki's strike connects, can you propose any remotely possible method by that he would be able to take down the Psychodiver without Youki wasting him (thereby leading to the scenario he'd outlined)?

If this sounds like I'm blaming you, I'm not. As the author, I have no excuse for being so unclear in my writing, and I acknowledge that. All I'm asking is that if you aren't certain about what a choice entails, you should probably say something to that effect so I can help resolve the problem.
>> No. 121280
[x] Won’t forgive him. If anything, you’re proud that he ran you through. It demonstrates that he’s understood the essence of what you were trying to communicate to him: that battles are a continuation of skillfulness and must therefore be conducted – and chosen – with an eye for their meaning.
>> No. 121284
[x] Forgive him happily. His motives, as he’s outlined to you, are only good, and it’s not as though he did any lasting damage.

I feel this fits Myouren best; he's a monk before a warrior.

I hope our decision (Sucide or not) didn't have a major effect on things.
>> No. 121306
Isn't Mima with us? she's been awfully silent.
[x] Forgive him happily. His motives, as he’s outlined to you, are only good, and it’s not as though he did any lasting damage.
>> No. 121315
[x] Forgive him happily. His motives, as he’s outlined to you, are only good, and it’s not as though he did any lasting damage.
>> No. 121321
[x] Forgive him happily. His motives, as he’s outlined to you, are only good, and it’s not as though he did any lasting damage.
No harm, no foul. Bro's for life.
>> No. 121375
For the life of me, I can't remember where I read it in this story, but at some point Myouren said that if your obligations have you betraying your heart, you best return to what your heart says is right. Youki did just that:

[x] Won’t forgive him. If anything, you’re proud that he ran you through. It demonstrates that he’s understood the essence of what you were trying to communicate to him: that battles are a continuation of skillfulness and must therefore be conducted – and chosen – with an eye for their meaning.

It kills me that I can't find the source for this reasoning, but I know I read it somewhere.
>> No. 121384
edit: fixes

----------
“‘Complete and utter loss for words’ doesn’t even begin to describe it, Youki. Everything just now – the flash of sudden anger, the unflinching determination, the magnificent oath – it was all an act?

“But of course! As a servant, who am I to trespass on the peaks of my mistress’ noble intentions? Who am I to claim she has ‘disgraced the name of her family’ or ‘lowered herself to the level of a concubine’?” Turning to the side, he kicks the remains of the “Psychodiver” viciously. “Were it not for this creature, I would have never had to mouth those criminal profanations against her honor!”

“It cornered you?”

He nods slightly. “After that creature captured me, it thought to try and obscure my allegiances with sweet words and beautiful visions. I do not think it was expecting determined resistance, because several times it changed its tactics: from contracts, to bribes, to barefaced threats – each time sounding more desperate as I rejected, refused and defeated its tricks.”

“If that’s the case, then what was the need of running me through?”

“…Forgive me.” Youki closes his eyes, and a complicated expression comes across his handsome face. “When I had driven that creature almost to its wits’ end, it manifested a new series of images in my mind’s eye – unbelievable images. They were… of you and my mistress. Together.” He pauses for a moment, and you notice his nails digging into the lacquer of Hakuroken’s hilt as he goes on, “Even though I knew this was only a scheme to manipulate me, there was, for an instant, a weakness in my heart – not enough for it to take full control of my body, but enough for it to sink in its claws and feel around for my thoughts. It started pressuring me to accept that I had failed my mistress in letting her be sullied by you and that if I wanted to atone for it, I would first need to correct the cause of that mistake.”

“So in other words,” you confirm, “it managed to latch onto you by your ugliest emotions and manipulated you into saying all those things and attacking me?”

“No, that was of my own choosing.” Motioning that you should let him finish before becoming upset, Youki explains, “Going against that creature openly would have prompted it to abandon persuasion and fight me for possession of my mind, which is why I needed a subterfuge. By working myself into a frenzy and stabbing you, I was able to put it off its guard and kill it.”

“And given how much power it displayed in incorporeal environs, I’ve no doubt that your decision was the correct one, Youki. But really,” you laugh lightly, looking at him with newfound respect, “when did you become so circumspect?”

“After listening to you, Teacher – reflecting on your words and following your example. That’s why,” he lowers his head in a gesture of submission, “I must ask for your forgiveness. ...For that.”

He’s pointing at the sword in your hand.

You:
[ ] Forgive him happily. His motives, as he’s outlined to you, are only good, and it’s not as though he did any lasting damage.
[ ] Won’t forgive him. If anything, you’re proud that he ran you through. It demonstrates that he’s understood the essence of what you were trying to communicate to him: that battles are a continuation of skillfulness and must therefore be conducted – and chosen – with an eye for their meaning.

Also,
[ ] You have some more questions for him. (Specify)
----------
>> No. 121385
>>121375
He says it to Murasaki when she asks him what he would do if presented with a conflict between his friends and his faith, and he says it again in >>120752 when he's totally convinced that Youki wants to murder him for "honor," even though it would actively detrimental to his own feelings and his Lady's welfare.

----------
“Come now, Youki; do I seem especially upset?” Taking his hand, you gently assure him, “There’s no need for you to apologize to me; if anything, I’m grateful to you – grateful that you appreciated the heart of my advice and brought about a resolution that sees neither of us the worse for wear. I can hardly guess how you must feel right now, having seen and heard only what that monster willed you to know, but I promise you – when we are gathered before the Lady again, she will be able to answer all of your doubts with a finality of that I alone am incapable. Until then…” You press the longsword into his palms and lower your guard. “Here. I trust you, Youki, and I trust that you’ll know what to do with it.”

He doesn’t say anything back, but just receives it with both hands. The complicated expression of a moment ago starts to resurface and, as he turns Roukanken over and over in his fingers, slowly starts to intensify. Flickering with murderous red, his silent blue eyes travel between you and his sword – across the length of the blade, over to your face and then back again, as he calmly relates: “What angered me most about what you did wasn’t the sole act of sleeping with my mistress. …It was how, after you told me that ‘virtue must be proven through practice,’ you turned around and bedded her at the first opportunity.”*

“No, you misunde-”

“You’re right, Teacher;” he readily admits, “I don’t understand. I don’t know your reasons, and were I the same person as I was before I met you, I wouldn’t care. I would have cut you down where you stand for your betrayal, and that would have been the end of it. But…” With a deep breath, Youki sheathes his longsword. “I will not make my mistress’ enemies happy. Just as you say you trust me, so too will I trust you.”

“…Youki.” As touched by his fidelity as relieved at his unexpectedly rational and forbearing response, an idea comes to you. Clenching your healed left hand to form a fist, you offer it out to him.

He remembers. Following your lead, Youki raises his right hand, brushes knuckles with you and, ever-so-slightly, answers your proud smile with one of his own.
----------

*Pay attention to his point here. Your decision back then was fundamentally the correct one, despite Youki’s (admittedly very good) objection, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s just going to accept it without justification like some of you seemed to think (wish?) was going to happen. To recap, the reason Konngara responded positively was because:

a.) You were completely aboveboard and forward in answering her questions. While no one likes being deceived, Konngara in particular would have reacted very poorly if she discovered that you had behaved unconscionably and lied for the sake of (perceived) personal gain.
b.) For different reasons than Myouren, Konngara rejects the idea of exclusive love. Part of it’s because of her life experiences, part of it’s because of her job (Priestess), but the biggest strike against it for her is that the arguments for why your “true” love should only belong to one person are (in her eyes) fundamentally rooted in selfishness and a desire for control over the other party.
c.) How she perceived the situation. Konngara was working off of the knowledge that the Lady Saigyouji liked Myouren, that Myouren had the intelligence to appreciate this attraction, as well as the assumption that on the inside, Myouren really wanted her. The choice as she saw it then wasn’t [x]Sleep with her/[x]Don’t sleep with her, but between [x]Be faithful to your own feelings and courageous towards Lady Saigyouji’s/[x]Reject her and hide behind the convenient excuse of “monastic codes,” when the real reason for it is either emotional cowardice or fear of finding disfavor with another woman.

Those were the conditions and circumstances that led to your success with Konngara. Not a few of them are unique to her, which is to say that the same approach isn’t necessarily going to work with anyone else. Therefore, as you are prompted to explain your actions to the different characters, take into account their opinions and personality when you’re deciding how to respond.
>> No. 121389
>>121385
Much obliged for the post-update summary. It's great to see what we understood(?) about Konngara explained so succinctly. I doubt that's merely for our edification, though. I guess we should start reading over the past updates and start thinking about how we might now face Mima.
I doubt she really wants to be faced with another one of our tearful apologies for how we wronged her, because we all know how well that worked last time. We did say we loved her, and she still has 'something' that bothered her enough to not join Myouren and Konngara in the bath (I think she even commented on that at some point) and made her tense up for a bit when we hugged her.
>> No. 121394
>>121389
Yeah we're going to have to explain that somehow to her.
>> No. 121447
----------
“Are you done?”

That impatient query, steeped heavily in the sound of derision, belongs to a beguiling voice coming up behind you.

Mima.

“I have something to discuss privately,” she notifies both of you, before striding over to Youki and delivering a terse ultimatum – “Leave.”

“…Do you think you scare me, Witch? Who are you to intrude on my conversations and sneer at my opinions? Who are you to try and direct my comings and goings, as though I serve you?”

Ignoring both his furious demands and outraged stare, Mima just runs her dexterous fingers through her dark hair, takes a hold of something underneath her huge, blue-black cape and then states with clear malice, “Don’t make me repeat myself.”

When Youki’s response is to take out his swords, you intervene.



It proves a challenge, particularly with how Mima wouldn’t so much as glance at you or acknowledge anything you said, but you eventually succeeded in convincing them both to back down. After exchanging a few final words with Youki, in which you give him a rundown on your location and he warns you not to trust ‘that twisted Witch,’ he goes to wait in the corridor outside.



On seeing that he’s gone, Mima motions to one of the long, high-backed benches arranged in rows around you and indicates for you to be seated. You quickly comply, situating yourself in a spot adjacent the aisle, to which she reacts by walking to the extreme end of the same bench and sitting down over near the wall.

“You told me why you fancied me. Something about how I’m intelligent and attractive.” Facing straight forward, it’s while contemplating the gods and heroes figured in the stained glass that she asks, “Do you know why I liked you?”

Your response is:
[ ] ‘…Liked?’
[ ] For the same reasons, I’d assume…?
[ ] Isn’t it obvious, Mima…? It’s because I’m a hero! Maybe you haven’t heard, but it’s a matter of course that all attractive and exceptional women who come into contact with the hero will inevitably fall in love with him, even if it completely goes against their convictions, their character and their usual sexuality! Whether or not he’s really their equal in ‘intelligence’ or ‘beauty’ or ‘nobility of spirit’ doesn’t really matter: regardless of how unremarkable are his talents or how genuinely repulsive are his actions, the hero’s companions will love him unconditionally, treat him as though they’ve know him their whole lives and never turn on him or criticize him!
[ ] “Because…” (Specify)
[ ] To ask her for a question that actually has an answer. The truth is that Mima never really ‘liked’ you; it’s just that in pursuing her strange friendship of rivalry with Konngara, she happened upon some emotions that were unfamiliar to her and that she mistook for feelings of partiality – nothing more.

(Not required) For option four:
[ ] Ask for a hint – I admit to having skipped/cut short/been unable to follow/not paid attention to the parts where Mima possibly let on why she liked Myouren.
[ ] Where do you get off on being so condescending, when you’re just churning out Touhou fanfiction on the internet? I don’t need your help with something this easy, and that’s if I even decide to continue reading this sorry excuse for a 'story.'
----------

Author’s note: Any parodies, purposeful or accidental, are made in good humor and meant to lighten up what is otherwise a very serious state of affairs. They’re not attacks or condemnations, so please don’t take them the wrong way.
>> No. 121451
Thread is also at its bump limit/autosage point.
>> No. 121457
I have to pass until someone comes up with something.
If nothing the last option it would be.
>> No. 121459
>>121457
I know that your aim in doing this is essentially good (namely that you don't want a 'bad' answer to 'ruin' things), but let me remind you:

The most serious instances of failure have come not from earnestly trying and falling short, but from taking the approach you're using now.

You can find an answer if you think about it a little bit, so just try!
>> No. 121494
>>121457
It'd be better to put something out there as to help spark ideas from people.
>> No. 121510
Oh wow, I hadn't realized we needed a vote. Tricky autosage limit is tricky, no? Anyway:
>“Do you know why I liked you?
?
>>110234
>“I do! I have to tell you that I forgave you already and that’s the reason I rejected your apology, tell you again that I forgive you now and tell you whenever you ask hereafter, that…” the happiness on her face deepens into an awkward red, “I love you, I think.”
>>117091
???
>“Did you miss me, ‘Sir Monk,’ my love? I hope that you didn’t pine for me so much that you started flirting with other women when I wasn’t around.” Wearing a sly smile, Mima greets you brightly.
Unless I'm misunderestimating Mima's character, the choice of diction in the last update is probably deliberate. So... this could mean one of two things. First, Love Is Over. Mima is straight up pissed that Myouren went and made love to Yuyu. Normally, this would make total sense: the guy you love banged the chick you were ragging on not more than a couple hours earlier (>>109925 and >>110091). Not only that, but Mima 'totally has major issues about being intimate and stuff because of what she went through.'

Second? She knows exactly what happened and she is doing exactly what she did in >>110091 because she is fucking awesome like that. There were a small handfull of times when Myouren could have been alone with Yuyu to have had sex, and they were all before our conversation with Mima (absent raping Yuyu on the spot with Konngara present). She's a brilliant young woman, she figured it out from that very first gasp when Youki let the truth fly.

>110177
>As has already been stated, the Witch of the Forest is a peerlessly proud person. That which she craves you accept will be nothing she is able to accomplish by her own hands and without your aid. I urge that you consider again her request in light of your own exchange with her. What she desires of you is something of which she knows no other way of asking, save this.
Does anyone honestly think Mima can't put 2 and 2 together in this situation based on what was just revealed and what she knows about Myouren's personality? If she were genuinely clueless, she would have called this one in. She didn't. You know why? Because she figured this whole thing out 3 updates ago. The only other person we've bared our soul to as much as we have to Mima is the Princess Royal, and that's only in relation to our relationship to Byakuren. She understands the truth of the situation. She simply does. She's waiting for Myouren to string himself up and twist in the wind like he always does because of his shallow understanding of his companions, especially her. More than anyone else, she's the one he treats with kid gloves? Seriously? Read this again:
>>110113
>It’s why I don’t have any use for trifling nonsense like apologies. She pronounces that word as one might deliver the punch-line of some joke. “If I make a decision, I swear by it. The course I pick might end in a mistake from which I’ll learn, but never in a mistake that I regret. No matter what happens or who it hurts or any other useless details like that, I’m always proud of the choices I make, because they’re mine.
It's her credo, her MO, part of her philosophy. Mima's many wonderful things, and a hypocrite she most certainly isn't.

[x] “Because you liked me for how I could match you fairly. You liked me when I learned your past, forgave you for it, and helped you learn to pray. You liked me because I learned to understand you, and I learned to love your for it and everything else.
[x] Ask for a hint – I admit to having skipped/cut short/been unable to follow/not paid attention to the parts where Mima possibly let on why she liked Myouren. to refer back to significant moments in the story that happened more than half a year ago.

Yeah, Mima is still my favorite, because of moments like these
>> No. 121519
[x] “Because you liked me for how I could match you fairly. You liked me when I learned your past, forgave you for it, and helped you learn to pray. You liked me because I learned to understand you, and I learned to love you for it and everything else.
[x] Ask for a hint – I admit to having skipped/cut short/been unable to follow/not paid attention to the parts where Mima possibly let on why she liked Myouren. to refer back to significant moments in the story that happened more than half a year ago.

I like this more than my first attempt. Let's see if anyone has something else to add.
>> No. 121531
Hint to come in a new thread.
>> No. 121570
[x] “Because you liked me for how I could match you fairly. You liked me when I learned your past, forgave you for it, and helped you learn to pray. You liked me because I learned to understand you, and I learned to love your for it and everything else.
[x] Ask for a hint – I admit to having skipped/cut short/been unable to follow/not paid attention to the parts where Mima possibly let on why she liked Myouren. to refer back to significant moments in the story that happened more than half a year ago.

Don't know how to do strikeout and too lazy to look it up. So just add it in. But the rest is good
>> No. 122187
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122187
>>121531
Two and a half weeks now. When can we expect a new thread and our hint? While it blows that this thread is well past autosage, I have absolutely no shame starting a new thread begging for updates.

We ended talking with Mima, no? In the next few days I think I can accumulate enough Mima pics to keep a reminder thread on top of /th/ for a few months.
>> No. 122198
>>122187
It's been sporadic, but I'm working on it.
>> No. 122314
>>122187
You sir, are speaking from my soul. Most people just say nothing when they wait for updates. You really need to let the writer know that someone is waiting for his writing else he will think no one gives a fuck anymore.
>> No. 122362
>a story that tries to completely discard narrative conventions, patterns of characterization or archetypes turns into something like Evangelion (read: trash).

Bwu? Evangelion has a lot of problems but that isn't one of them. Evangelion was a delibrate subversion/distortion of cliche not an ignoring of.

Though I cant really defend it that much, it does rather fall apart at the end...
>> No. 122371
>>122362
You seem to forget that things went overboard with EVA due to the producer being particularly emo.

The Rebuild Movies in contrast are the results of him trying again after being cured of the emo.

I don't think this story has jumped any sharks at all. This isn't DoLF1 which seemed to jumped the whole shark population.
>> No. 122374
mou..
>> No. 122391
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122391
>>122198
The beginning of the academic year is tough, I verily agree. Here's to hoping the future of the story is bright and productive~
>> No. 122405
>You seem to forget that things went overboard >with EVA due to the producer being particularly >emo.

No I know, a explanation of why its flawed is not saying that it isn't flawed. Man I don't write good today.
>> No. 122430
>>122405
you implied that the lengths that EVA went to deconstruct the norms was normal or intended when it wasn't.
>> No. 122445
It was definitely meant as an deconstruction/darkening from the very beginning. Rei, Gendo, Hedgehog thing.

So I would say it was intentional, just not always well done.

But I havent even seen the whole thing. And even if it was unintentional, it still is about as far from `ignoring` standard story forms as you can get.
>> No. 122592
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122592
>>121447
>10/08/05(Thu)05:12

Before anyone gets to spamming page 0 with Mima pics, how goes the update?
>> No. 123738
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123738
Page 2 now; quite an inauspicious location for a story like this. I notice that we're swiftly approaching the two month anniversary of the last update.

Updates when?