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File 126776321840.png - (399.97KB, 900x750, 70.png) [iqdb]
4746 No. 4746
Okay, more like 44 hours.

>>4700
Both are correct, and believe it or not, 'omelet' is apparently the older of the two spellings in English, first attested in the 17th century, with 'omelette' only showing up around the end of the 19th century. If it's any consolation, the single-t version annoys the hell out of me, too.

---

[X] Omelettes are always good.

[X] ...about the dreams you've been having.
[X] ...about her workout yesterday and what sort of training she does.
[X] ...about what happened during the search yesterday.
[X] ...about cooking.

As you continue to look through Yuugi's food supply, your options for breakfast get fewer and fewer. Sure, there's always rice and miso soup, but you can't shake the urge to show off and make something a little more exotic. Has Yuugi ever even had a western breakfast before? Vegetables... you could make some hash browns, but that's not really a full meal. Meat... well, western meals do center around the meat, but you're making breakfast, not dinner.

You close the icebox lid and move past the stove, following the same path you took the first time you used Yuugi's kitchen, but this time, something catches your eye; a medium-sized jar, tucked between the icebox and the counter, filled with a cloudy liquid. Curious, you crouch down and grab it, setting it on the counter and pulling off the lid. Immediately, a strong, earthy smell, similar to the one you smelled when you first entered these caves, hits your nose, and you push the jar away from you. As you do, something shifts within the jar, and against the dark-colored countertop, you can nearly see through the liquid to the real contents...

"...Eggs?"

"Mm-hmm," Yuugi replies from behind you. "There's not much demand for 'em down here, so the farmers just store 'em up and sell 'em by the dozen."

"Huh," you say, reaching into the solution and pulling out one of the eggs. So this water is to preserve the eggs? The shell feels a little waxy to the touch, and that smell is more than a little unusual, but the fact that they don't float tells you that they haven't gone bad yet. "Is it all right if I use some of these, then?"

"Go for it. What for?"

...Yeah, that sounds good. "You ever had an omelette before, Yuugi?" you ask.

"Don't think so," she replies, stepping up next to you at the kitchen counter. "What is it?"

"It's... hm, sort of like a combination of tamagoyaki and okonomiyaki. The base is egg, but then you put a bunch of other stuff in it."

"For breakfast?" she asks skeptically.

You shrug. "It's pretty filling, but it tastes good."

"...Eh, I'll try anything once." Yuugi says, still sounding a little unconvinced. "What should I do?"

Well, that just means she'll be that much more surprised when it turns out to be delicious, right? "Can you chop up some vegetables?" She nods in response, and you pull down some onions and mushrooms and pass them over to her. A quick dip back into the icebox for a bit of the ham you saw earlier also reveals a wedge of cheese, tucked away in the corner; it's an odd color and a little crumbly, but it tastes good, and the texture shouldn't matter once it's melted. You take both items out of the icebox and leave the ham to thaw for a bit while you go to work on the cheese.

For a few minutes, the two of you work in companionable silence, Yuugi continuing to slice up the vegetables as you gather up everything else you'll need. Try as you might, though, you can't quite put your dream this morning out of your mind, and the silence only sets your mind running in the same old circles. Three times in a row... this isn't just some strange, magical coincidence, is it? Yuugi must know something about what's going on.

"So, uh, Yuugi..."

"Hm?"

...Of course, that doesn't make it any easier to bring something like this up out of the blue. "I've been... having some kind of unusual dreams lately, and I was wondering, uh--"

"Oh." The way the knife in her hand pauses mid-cut tells you that she knows exactly what you're talking about, and you stay quiet as she fiddles with her hands nervously, searching for the right words.

"That, uh. It's... yeah." She heaves a great sigh, setting the knife down and laying both hands flat against the table, and you sneak a glance over at her, only to find that she's already looking at you, mouth twisted down in a worried expression. "You... saw those too?" she asks in a small voice.

'Too'? "Yeah."

"Ah." She clasps her hands together on the table, her fingers twitching nervously again. "Uh, sorry 'bout that."

"No need to apologize, it's not like anything bad happened." So the dreams really have been her doing? "What... what are they?"

"Just what they look like, really. My dreams. Or, uh, memories, I guess." Yuugi chuckles slightly, pushing herself away from the counter and turning away from you slightly. "Manipulation of dreams was Mom's power. I guess it got passed down, sort of, but... I can't really control it, and I don't know what sets it off. So..." She turns back to you, not quite looking you in the eye. "...uh, yeah. Bein' farther away helps, so I can move out into the living room or something and see if that fixes it."

"You don't have to go that far. It's not like they're really bugging me or anything." ...Well, no, of course it doesn't bother you; it's not your memories being put on display against your will. "Er, I mean, I'm not trying to pry or--"

"No, yeah, I know!" she interrupts, looking a little flustered herself. "I mean, if you're interested, I'll tell you about back then myself sometime, I'm not tryin' to hide anything, it's just... She finally meets your eyes. "...I'd rather talk about the good times than the bad times, y'know?"

"Yeah, I can understand that," you say. "And I can be the one to move out to the living room. It's not like I have any stuff of my own to move."

"I guess that's true," she says, smiling awkwardly, and the two of you share a glance for another second or two as the conversation peters out before simultaneously turning back to the food in silence.

...And staying in silence, neither of you sure where to begin the conversation again. Well, this is uncomfortable. "So, did you already finish your workout today? I didn't hear you throwing any boulders around this morning," you say jokingly, trying to lighten the mood a little.

"Today's a rest day," Yuugi says with a more genuine smile, clearly grateful for the topic change. "Tomorrow I do lower body, then the day after is upper body again. Ah, I can still help out if you wanna work on flyin' or something, though," she adds.

"Hmm... maybe for a little bit, after breakfast," you reply. You know you probably shouldn't strain yourself before the search today, but you can't help but want to learn to fly, and considering how much you drank last night, you actually feel relatively good.

...Well, physically, at least, you think gloomily as you're reminded for the first time today of your duties at the palace. "I told you I was going back to the palace for another search today, right, Yuugi?" you ask.

"Oh, yeah," Yuugi replies, digging her knife into the still partially-frozen ham. "Did you ever tell me how that all ended up yesterday?"

You didn't, did you? "Pretty badly," you say, frowning unconsciously as you pull more eggs out of the jar. "There was a fight between one of Satori's pets and two of the oni."

"Mm. How bad?" Yuugi asks neutrally.

"I'm... not sure." After hearing Yuugi describe an oni losing a finger as "nothing serious" yesterday, you really don't know how serious the injuries you saw actually were anymore. "The council head sent one of them home from the search to heal."

"By himself?"

"I think so."

"Then he's fine. The council head would have taken him back personally if he was really hurt," Yuugi says. "How about afterwards?"

"There was some shouting, but the fight was the worst of it."

"So not too bad, then." Yuugi chuckles. "I'd be more surprised if there wasn't any shoutin'. Is this enough stuff chopped up?"

"Looks good," you say, cracking the last of the eggs into a bowl and pulling a fork from the drawer in front of you to mix them with. "Can you grab a pan?"

"Yeah," she says, setting down her knife and opening the cupboard before her... and scanning its contents for a moment, a confused expression on her face, before closing it again.

"Uh, wrong one," she says, shuffling closer to you to open up the neighboring cupboard.

And closing it again. "You really don't cook much, huh?" you ask with a smirk as she finally finds the right cupboard on the third try, pulling out the pan and walking back around to her original position.

"Yeah," she laughs, a slight blush rising to her cheeks as she lights a small fire under the pan. "With Yamame around, s'been a while since I've even bothered tryin'. Recipes and stuff aren't really my strong spot in the first place."

"Really? The stuff at your distillery looked pretty complex."

"Eh, that's different. With booze, even if you mess up, the worst you've got is bad booze. With food, you don't cook it long enough, you get sick, you cook it too long, you get charcoal, you spill a little oil, you've got a big old fire..." She shudders slightly, clearly recalling an unpleasant memory. "I'd just as soon try my luck with a big hunk of meat on a stick."

"Just like the stories? How traditional," you say with a chuckle, reaching past her slightly to scoop the onions she chopped into the pan.

"Guess I'm just old-fashioned. I've still got my old tetsubou layin' around somewhere, too." She leans in a little closer to you as you do, resting her elbows on the table and bringing her face near yours. "S'matter of fact, I think I even have a tiger-skin loincloth hidden away somewhere." Another little lean, and she's practically whispering in your ear. "Wanna see?"

"Uhm." Your brain knows the answer to this one (extremely well, in fact), but the connection from it to your mouth doesn't seem to be working quite right, and you stammer just long enough for Yuugi to take a step back, poking a slim finger into your ribs.

"That's for makin' fun of me for not knowin' my way around my own kitchen," she says lightly, walking past you towards the door. "I'm gonna go wake up Yamame, so you can take care of the rest, Chef Taizou."

...Well. "Yeah, I do!" you call after her as you snap out of your stunned silence, just as she reaches the kitchen door. Her only reply is a laugh, but you could swear you see her hips give a little extra sway before she rounds the corner towards the bedrooms and out of sight.

You finish cooking the vegetables in short order, then pull them out and pour in the eggs in their place. As you wait for the mixture to get firm enough to add the fillings to, you look back out the kitchen door in time to catch a glimpse of Yuugi carrying a still-sleeping Yamame in her arms out to the table. Another minute of cooking, and you add the fillings and fold the omelet in half, then take the entire pan off the fire and out into the living room.

Breakfast passes peacefully, though you suppose that's to be expected when one of the diners is still only semi-conscious; Yamame can't seem to decide whether she'd rather eat or sleep, and you and Yuugi struggle not to laugh every time she spears a piece with her fork, raises it partway to her face, then slowly lets it fall again as her eyes droop closed. Just as you had hoped, Yuugi loves the omelette, and wolfs down her entire portion and a few bites of Yamame's while wondering aloud about what other sorts of things you could put into one. After the meal, Yuugi snatches your plate and insists on taking care of the dishes ("I oughta do something, since I can't cook, after all," she says with an outstretched tongue and a wink), leaving you alone with Yamame in the living room.

"So you're staying here?"

"Hm?" you call back through the door, the post-meal stupor already creeping up on you, confusing your thoughts. "Where else would I go?"

"I just thought you might decide to do some investigation on your own. You've got a little while before the search."

"I... guess so." You look back towards the door to the kitchen that Yuugi left through. Something's not quite right here, something that you can't put your finger on, but it's not enough to stop you from talking. "Where would I go, though?"

"I could show you." A small laugh that stirs something in the back of your mind. "I could even come with you, if you'd like."

"You..." What are you even talking about? You haven't told Yuugi about...

"Me?"

...That's not Yuugi's voice.

"Gah!" You jump backwards, banging your legs against the underside of the table, as Koishi... appears next to you, seeming to fall out of thin air. She gives another giggle as you press a hand to your heart, steadying your racing breathing and scooting as far away from her as you can.

"Hello!"

"H-How did--" Stupid question. "What are you doing here?"

"You found out that I made you forget, right? I came to say that I'm very, very sorry and I'll never, ever do it again!" she says, with a beaming smile that eliminates what little impression of sincerity her apology had to start with. 'Made you forget'... is she talking about that secret door?

So she's admitting to it, then. "Is that all you wanted to say?" you ask coldly, the anger at having your memories tampered with rising to the surface. "If it is, then you can go now."

"Oh, please don't be angry!" Does this girl ever not have a humongous grin on her face? "I'll even do something for you, to show you how sorry I am!"

"Do what, exactly?"

"You want to know something, but somebody else is trying to stop you," she says, in the sort of voice people use with small children. "That's what's in the back of your mind. And what you want to know about is the garden..." Koishi leans closer to you, eyebrows raised in innocent curiosity, and her closed third eye swivels on its stalks, bearing down on you from a different angle. "...or maybe not? But either way, I can help!"

"By. Doing. What?"

"Hiding you, of course!" She shifts her sitting position slightly, reaching across the table, and before you can stop her, her hand stops in front of Yamame's sleepy face and snaps loudly, once, twice.

To no effect. Her eyes flicker shut again, without any sign that she's even noticed that Koishi's in the room.

"See?" she says happily, settling back into her seat and making a 'ta-dah!' gesture with her hands. "I can take you anywhere you want to go!"

You frown. "What am I supposed to tell Yuugi?"

Koishi's grin gets a little sharper for an instant, and she glances back at the kitchen door before rolling her eyes back over to you. "She doesn't have to notice."

Hmm. As leery as you are Koishi after what she did to you, the fact remains that everything she's said is right, or at least pretty close. The door in the basement of the palace, the oni you overheard plotting murder the night before last... you may not have a chance to figure out what's actually going on without Koishi's help.

[ ] You don't trust her. You can't trust her. Stay here.
- [ ] Take Yuugi up on that offer to help you with your flying.
- [ ] Just try to relax and rest up for the search.

[ ] You'll take her offer...
- [ ] Tell Yuugi that you're leaving first. Of course, she'll probably wonder what you're going to do... (Write-in)
- [ ] Just leave; let Koishi take care of the details.
[ ] ...and go...
- [ ] ...to the palace. You need to know what it is that Satori wants you to hide.
- [ ] ...to investigate the oni from the night of the party. This could be a matter of life or death.

[ ] Write-in

---

If there's a consensus on what to do by Saturday, I'll try to start writing then; weekdays are going to be harder for me for the next few months, so I'd like to shift my deadline back to Sunday night without going through another 9 day wait.

Speaking of spelling, why isn't 'consensus' spelled like 'census'?
Expand all images
>> No. 4749
[X] You'll take her offer...
- [X] Just leave; let Koishi take care of the details.
[X] ...and go...
- [X] ...to the palace. You need to know what it is that Satori wants you to hide.

Worrying as a potential murder is, dealing with something potentially much worse is probably the better option for now.
>> No. 4750
[x] You'll take her offer...
- [x] Tell Yuugi that you're leaving first. Of course, she'll probably wonder what you're going to do... (Write-in)
- [x] Say the truth. Oni don't like liars.
[x] ...and go...
- [x] ...to investigate the oni from the night of the party. This could be a matter of life or death.
Investigating a hell raven that's gonna get taken care of anyway would be pointless.
>> No. 4752
[x] You'll take her offer...
- [x] Tell Yuugi that you're leaving first. Of course, she'll probably wonder what you're going to do... (Write-in)
- [x] Say the truth. Oni don't like liars.
[x] ...and go...
- [x] ...to investigate the oni from the night of the party. This could be a matter of life or death.
- [x] Ask Koishi about what Satori wants you to hide and her take on the cave incident.

I doubt Okuu's even behind the cave matter, since the only noticeable effect of her actions were the hotsprings. That and Koishi could perhaps tell us more.
>> No. 4753
[x] You'll take her offer...
- [x] Tell Yuugi that you're leaving first. Of course, she'll probably wonder what you're going to do... (Write-in)
- [x] Say the truth. Oni don't like liars.
[x] ...and go...
- [x] ...to investigate the oni from the night of the party. This could be a matter of life or death.
- [x] Ask Koishi about what Satori wants you to hide and her take on the cave incident.
>> No. 4754
[x] You'll take her offer...
- [x] Tell Yuugi that you're leaving first. Of course, she'll probably wonder what you're going to do... (Write-in)
- [x] Say the truth. Oni don't like liars.
[x] ...and go...
- [x] ...to investigate the oni from the night of the party. This could be a matter of life or death.
- [x] Ask Koishi about what Satori wants you to hide and her take on the cave incident.

This sounds good.
>> No. 4755
[x] You'll take her offer...
- [x] Tell Yuugi that you're leaving first. Of course, she'll probably wonder what you're going to do... (Write-in)
- [x] Say the truth. Oni don't like liars.
[x] ...and go...
- [x] ...to investigate the oni from the night of the party. This could be a matter of life or death.
- [x] Ask Koishi about what Satori wants you to hide and her take on the cave incident.
>> No. 4756
[x] You'll take her offer...
- [x] Tell Yuugi that you're leaving first. Of course, she'll probably wonder what you're going to do...
- [x] Say the truth. Oni don't like liars.
[x] ...and go...
- [x] ...to investigate the oni from the night of the party. This could be a matter of life or death.
- [x] Ask Koishi about what Satori wants you to hide and her take on the cave incident.
>> No. 4757
File 126780830790.jpg - (614.66KB, 800x800, 8033152.jpg) [iqdb]
4757
>>4746
>"S'matter of fact, I think I even have a tiger-skin loincloth hidden away somewhere." Another little lean, and she's practically whispering in your ear. "Wanna see?"

>Her only reply is a laugh, but you could swear you see her hips give a little extra sway before she rounds the corner towards the bedrooms and out of sight.

While I am eminently happy we're on Yuugi's route, we are totally not worthy of her.
>> No. 4758
>>4749

Changing to >>4752. Less haste to be first voter from now on.
>> No. 4759
File 126782993867.jpg - (453.86KB, 909x1275, 5f82d685cfdbc428bc2fd233159f1615.jpg) [iqdb]
4759
Yuugi is too delicious~
>> No. 4760
[x] You'll take her offer...
- [x] Tell Yuugi that you're leaving first. Of course, she'll probably wonder what you're going to do...
- [x] Say the truth. Oni don't like liars.
[x] ...and go...
- [x] ...to investigate the oni from the night of the party. This could be a matter of life or death.
- [x] Ask Koishi about what Satori wants you to hide and her take on the cave incident.
>> No. 4761
[x] You'll take her offer...
- [x] Tell Yuugi that you're leaving first. Of course, she'll probably wonder what you're going to do... (Write-in)
- [x] Say the truth. Oni don't like liars.
[x] ...and go...
- [x] ...to investigate the oni from the night of the party. This could be a matter of life or death.
- [x] Ask Koishi about what Satori wants you to hide and her take on the cave incident.

Sounds good-ish, except I wonder why she's doing this.

Somebody who can, to quote another Anon, "Rape minds as easy as whistling Dixie" and get away with it is not as likely to have a reliable conscience after a few hundred years or so. The desire to apologize or be entirely truthful seems very suspect coming from Koishi, so I kind of think she's got hidden motives.

We might want to ask her this at some point, assuming she doesn't wipe the memory of even having the notion to ask from Taizou's mind.
>> No. 4762
[x] You don't trust her. You can't trust her. Stay here.
-[x] Take Yuugi up on that offer to help you with your flying.
-[x] Just try to relax and rest up for the search.
>> No. 4763
>>4761
Perhaps seeing because we're trying to be neutral and she might want to help us. Just because someone has a power doesn't mean they're dying to use it. Yamame canonically only uses her power over illinesses as a last resort because she's a nice friendly girl. Same goes for Hina and her curse powers.

Even if she's using us to help her sister, we'd be using her to find out the truth.
>> No. 4765
>>4763

The big reason I'm not more suspicious (emphasis on more) of Koishi is that she came to us, and came clean on her mind-melting to boot.

Granted, she could just be trolling Taizou, but I don't really see Koishi as messing with someone just for some fireworks.
>> No. 4768
>>4765
I suspect Koishi didn't use that facet of her power much just by how flawed the effect was on us. That seems something more out of desperation than something she does regularly.
>> No. 4770
[x] You don't trust her. You can't trust her. Stay here.
-[x] Take Yuugi up on that offer to help you with your flying.
-[x] Just try to relax and rest up for the search.
>> No. 4771
>>4768
Maybe she's going easy on him because she doesn't want to risk frying his brains out?
>> No. 4774
>>4771
That'd still imply lack of experience with that facet. You're being terribly paranoid about this.
>> No. 4775
[+] You'll take her offer...
- [+] Tell Yuugi that you're leaving first. Of course, she'll probably wonder what you're going to do...
-- [+] Tell the truth. Oni don't like liars.
[+] ...and go...
- [+] ...to investigate the oni from the night of the party. This could be a matter of life or death.
- [+] Ask Koishi about what Satori wants you to hide and her take on the cave incident.

>tetsubou
Minor nitpick: it's called a "kanabou".
This ties into a Japanese idiom, Oni ni kanabou (鬼に金棒). Literally, it means "an oni with a kanabou", but is used in the sense of "making something ridiculously strong even stronger" - or, to put it more plainly, "fucking overkill".

The more you know
>> No. 4778
Came to apologize for missing my deadline, then realized that I'd actually already missed it by a day. So, uh, I guess I'm double sorry.

Updates tomorrow.
>> No. 4779
>>4778
Hooray.
>> No. 4780
File 12684750306.jpg - (341.05KB, 768x1024, 2acb9616366a87a271a141198cf462e9.jpg) [iqdb]
4780
So.
>> No. 4781
>>4780
Ahem, NSFW tag...
>> No. 4782
>>4780

You want him to write or to fap?
>> No. 4784
File 126853099535.jpg - (114.23KB, 642x900, Yuugi.jpg) [iqdb]
4784
>>4780
Not Yuugi.

The pic? Now that's Yuugi.
>> No. 4785
File 126854424258.jpg - (496.92KB, 1000x1300, 7532276.jpg) [iqdb]
4785
>>4778
Honestly, I thought you were talking about updating this coming Sunday, not the one immediately following the update. I don't think anyone entertains the notion that we'll see an update in any amount of time less than 7 days.

Not that that's a problem or anything; that this story is updated with some semblance of regularity is encouraging. Even if it takes forever and a half to finish, I'd still like to see this story draw to a reasonable conclusion.
>> No. 4789
File 126866692757.jpg - (398.13KB, 700x771, 6906557.jpg) [iqdb]
4789
>>4778
See, now you're just plain late.
>> No. 4790
>>4789

Its only a few days.

Sometimes life happens.
>> No. 4791
File 126873354984.jpg - (611.08KB, 900x1050, 71.jpg) [iqdb]
4791
>>4789
Too true. This is exactly the sort of thing I wanted to avoid by setting deadlines for myself. Sorry I didn't say anything. It was mostly shame at not having a better excuse than "too much Double Spoiler" for not updating.

>>4775
Strange; I could have sworn Wikipedia said 'tetsubou' when I checked, but now it doesn't, and there's no indication that it ever has in the past either. Either way, thanks; I didn't know there was a proverb attached too.

---

[X] You'll take her offer...
- [X] Tell Yuugi that you're leaving first. Of course, she'll probably wonder what you're going to do... (Write-in)
- [X] Tell the truth. Oni don't like liars.
[X] ...and go...
- [X] ...to investigate the oni from the night of the party. This could be a matter of life or death.
- [X] Ask Koishi about what Satori wants you to hide and her take on the cave incident.

"Yes, she does have to notice," you say, pushing yourself up from the table, and Koishi cocks her head at you, smiling confusedly.

"Does that mean you're going?"

"After I tell Yuugi where I'm going to be."

"Hm?" For a brief moment, Koishi drops her ever-present smile, furrowing her brows at you in genuine confusion before giggling lightly again. "If you say so..." she says, closing her eyes, crossing her arms under her head, and laying back on the floor as if to take a nap right there at the table. You try to ignore the teasing lilt in her voice, stepping around her and into the kitchen.

"Yuugi?" You stick your head into the room, spotting her over by the basin still scrubbing the dishes from breakfast, and walk over to her, still deciding how to frame what you're about to say. On the one hand, you still don't really know for certain what you heard back then, and you don't want to worry Yuugi over something that could turn out to be a simple misunderstanding. On the other hand... "may have to actually kill someone?" There's no way that was a simple misunderstanding. But they were talking about it out in the open, where anyone could have heard them... How can someone who doesn't lie conspire to commit murder, anyway? For that matter, is Yuugi going to take it as some kind of insult if you just come out and say that you're worried that two oni you don't even know are going to kill... you? Someone else? How are--

"Hm?" Yuugi says, turning around slightly to look over her shoulder at you. "What's up?"

Fuck it. If you can't talk to Yuugi about it, then you can't talk to anyone about it, and you don't trust Koishi nearly well enough to leave without at least telling someone else what you're doing. "I think I'm gonna head into the city this morning," you say, stepping up and leaning against the counter next to her.

"Yeah?" Yuugi replies questioningly, setting the plate in her hands off to the side and dunking another one into the water. "What for?"

"At the party the night before last, I, uh, overheard some guys talking." You swallow once. "I didn't really catch all of it, but... I heard something about killing someone."

Yuugi doesn't speak, doesn't look away from the plate she's scrubbing, but the way her expression darkens and her voice hardens tells you that she's listening. "...Keep goin'."

"I don't really know who they are, but..." ...May as well tell the whole truth, while you're at it. "...Koishi's here, and she's... well, I don't know what she's planning, but she's heading out with me."

Yuugi's hands are still idly scrubbing that dish, but you're pretty sure her mind is elsewhere now, judging by her blank, concentrated stare. "...Keep goin'."

...She's also taking all this with a surprising degree of calmness. "That's all there really is to it. I just..." You hesitate for a moment. Why are you telling all this to Yuugi? "I mean, I just think you deserve to know what's going on and what I'm doing," you manage. "It's your home. You've been down here longer than I have."

"...Keep goin'."

"...Yuugi?" Your lingering nervousness vanishes, replaced by a spike of real fear as you lean over the counter to get a better look at Yuugi's face. From this vantage point, what you had mistaken for a glare of intense concentration looks more like the glazed stare of someone in a trance, and your eyes snap back down to her hands for an instant, still moving back and forth over the same long-since clean plate. "Yuugi?!" you repeat, a little louder this time, waving a hand in front of her face and trying to beat back the outright terror building within you.

"I don't think she's paying attention to you, Taizou."

Koishi. That infuriating, high-pitched giggle hits your ears again as you look past Yuugi to find her leaning against the frame of the door into the kitchen, grinning broadly.

"What did you you?" you ask in a low-pitched growl, the answer already becoming clear to you even as the question leaves your mouth.

"Don't be mad?" Koishi says quietly as she takes a step towards you, voice pitching up as if to add 'pretty please?' to the end of her sentence. "She just can't know, that's all."

You have to resist the urge to reach out and grab the girl by the collar as she takes another few steps closer, still smiling. "What did you do?"

"Don't worry, I didn't hurt her. She just can't focus on new things for now, so her brain replays old things. Hmm..." Koishi comes to a stop between you and Yuugi, looking up at the taller woman. "I guess it could be bad if it stayed like that for too long, but just a little bit is okay. Right, Yuugi?"

"Uh..." For a moment, the fog leaves Yuugi's eyes, and she blinks twice, looking around like someone awoken from a daydream. "Uh, yeah," she finally manages, squinting down at Koishi confusedly. "...Wait, wha..."

And then, as soon as it had gone, her stupor returns, and she looks up again, staring past you blankly.

"See?" Koishi spins in place to face you again, not a trace of malice in her happy expression. "Yuugi agrees, so it's alr--"

Her words are cut off midway as you grab a handful of her collar and tug, nearly pulling her off her feet as you force her back against the counter.

"Stop it right this fucking instant," you hiss quietly as you bring your face close to hers, your mind filled with the deadly calm that comes in situations like these.

For what seems like the first time since you've met her, the smile falls from Koishi's face, and one of her hands goes to the counter to brace herself as she goes limp in your hands. After a long moment of stillness and silence, though, you see that her eyes are wide not with shock, but with something like wonder, and her other hand reaches out, hanging in the air between the two of you as though to touch your face.

"You know, your mind is filled with really interesting things right now," she says in a near-whisper. "I should do this more often."

You literally shudder from the effort it takes to stop yourself from just punching her in the face. "Turn it off. Undo your..." You gesture toward Yuugi with your free hand, unwilling to put words to what you just saw. "...whatever the hell you did."

"I guess I was too indirect," she says, grinning guiltily, "so I'll say it simply now. I can't help you if Yuugi knows what we're doing."

That's her excuse? "Fuck you. This is just some plan to get me alone and kill me, or mess with my memories, or something, isn't it?"

"Huh-uh," she replies with a shake of her head, remaining calm even in the face of your anger. "If I wanted you to die, I would just make you kill yourself. And your mind..." She smirks, leaning against the counter between Yuugi and you and straightening her collar. "...I can change whenever I want."

Her collar... wait, when did she--

Breath catching in your throat, you look down at your empty hands, then back up at her, then down again, slowly piecing together what must have happened. Numbly, you turn back to where you had her in your grasp just a moment ago, trying to figure out what just happened... and coming up with nothing. No second set of memories, no blank spots, just an indistinct feeling that you're missing something.

It's... too much. You let your hands fall to your sides, anger all but forgotten, and wearily lean against the counter yourself. "Why don't you just make me do whatever it is that you want me to do?" you ask weakly. "Make up my mind for me. Just fix whatever you did to Yuugi."

"I told you, didn't I? I'm trying to help you, Taizou!"

This again. After everything you've seen from her so far, the prospect that she could be doing making this offer without any ulterior motive is almost enough to make you laugh.

"You want to investigate... a group, right?" she asks, her closed third eye floating up to her chest level. "Of oni? I don't think you'll ever get a chance to find out about them without my help." She takes a short step toward you, smiling in a... well, with her, you don't think you can really be sure of just what a smile means anymore. "But you don't have to. Either way, I'm not going to hurt you or..." That undefinable smile grows a little as she casts a glance back at Yuugi. "...your friend." She shrugs lightly. "It's up to you."

[ ] Like it or not, she's right; this is the only way to find out what you want to know. Go with her.
[ ] No way. You'll find some other way, any other way, to figure things out, but you're not going anywhere with her.
>> No. 4792
>>4791

A new touhou game is always an acceptable excuse.

Also, withholding vote, for now. The part of me that wants to tell her to fuck off is in debate with my more pragmatic side, which is telling me that not going with her could be very stupid.
>> No. 4793
[X] No way. You'll find some other way, any other way, to figure things out, but you're not going anywhere with her.
>> No. 4794
File 126875271635.png - (113.60KB, 1000x1000, 9401933.png) [iqdb]
4794
>>4791
[X] Like it or not, she's right; this is the only way to find out what you want to know. Go with her.

I can't really share the same indignant rage as Taizou; Koishi has free reign over our psyche and could get away with a lot worse than helping us spy on oni conspirators.
>> No. 4796
[x] No way. You'll find some other way, any other way, to figure things out, but you're not going anywhere with her.
>> No. 4797
[x] No way. You'll find some other way, any other way, to figure things out, but you're not going anywhere with her.
>> No. 4799
[x] No way. You'll find some other way, any other way, to figure things out, but you're not going anywhere with her.
>> No. 4800
File 126876584557.jpg - (118.49KB, 860x1000, 1267294389598.jpg) [iqdb]
4800
[x] Like it or not, she's right; this is the only way to find out what you want to know. Go with her.
>> No. 4801
[X] Like it or not, she's right; this is the only way to find out what you want to know. Go with her.
-[X] But make it damned clear that you don't want her messing with your mind again.

Just to play devil's advocate, how do you go about teaching someone like Koishi that mind-melting is bad? It's a frighteningly...useful power if you know what to do with it (which she does).
>> No. 4802
[X] No way. You'll find some other way, any other way, to figure things out, but you're not going anywhere with her.

Yes, we could make use of her power to discover what plans may be forming amongst our potential enemies without even the slightest risk to ourselves. Yes, the fact that we let Koishi do this to Yuugi even temporarily - after Koishi herself said that it might be dangerous - would never have to come out. Yes, it is an opportunity to perhaps make tremendous gains for little to no consequence, even from the people close to us who we would be crossing to do this.

But character is what you are in the dark.
>> No. 4803
[X] No way. You'll find some other way, any other way, to figure things out, but you're not going anywhere with her.
>> No. 4804
[x] Like it or not, she's right; this is the only way to find out what you want to know. Go with her.
I'll go with the practical side, as much as I'd love to see Koishis face caved in, it woulnd't be very constructive. Still worried about her motive in helping/"helping" us though.
>> No. 4805
[x] Like it or not, she's right; this is the only way to find out what you want to know. Go with her.
-[x] "Reckless use of such power is why people fear you and your sister. After all this is over, I want you to apologize to Yuugi."

Added an attempt at a write in. I figured Taizo would know.

>>4804
I think she wants this whole thing to be over; perhaps in her sister's favor.

>>4802
And it wasn't so much as let, but the fact Koishi did so anyways.
>> No. 4806
[x] Like it or not, she's right; this is the only way to find out what you want to know. Go with her.
-[x] "Reckless use of such power is why people fear you and your sister. After all this is over, I want you to apologize to Yuugi."
>> No. 4807
>>4805

It doesn't matter whether she did it without your knowledge initially - you know about it now, and by agreeing to go along with Koishi and allowing her to continue doing this to Yuugi, you're ultimately validating her actions.

Incidentally, your write-in is hypocritical as hell. "Using your power on people like this is a bad thing, but I'm going to let it slide because it happens to be convenient to me at this moment. Also, you should apologize to Yuugi for doing this, even though I am condoning you doing this right now, and therefore am complicit in the face of what I am chastising you for, and just as responsible."

No big, though. It's not like hypocrites are the biggest form of liar there is, after all. I'm sure that you'll be living up to Yuugi's expectations by being one, and will be completely worthy of her affection.
>> No. 4808
[x] Like it or not, she's right; this is the only way to find out what you want to know. Go with her.

Koishi made me do it.
>> No. 4809
[x] Like it or not, she's right; this is the only way to find out what you want to know. Go with her.

I like the sentiment of the write-in, and would love to believe that Koishi doesn't need to be a little Miss Mindfuck, but I just can't see her really finding the apology stipulation as anything more than an amusing curiosity. For now.


>>4807

Not nearly as black and white as that, as few things are. Not saying I entirely disagree with you, but to play devil's advocate: Would Yuugi want us to put her saftey over that of the entire underground, Oni and Youkai alike? Or pass up possibly the only opportunity to make progress on the investigation out of the presence of our merry band, by outright rejecting Koishi's proposal.

Were the methods Koishi used to obtain what she wanted morale or fair? No. But it seems pretty clear from the story so far that that's just the way she is.

Regardless of how (un)trustworthy she is, we should take note of:

>I can't help you if Yuugi knows what we're doing

>If I wanted you to die, I would just make you kill yourself

>I don't think you'll ever get a chance to find out about them without my help
>> No. 4810
>>4807
there's a difference between screwing with someone's head and using one's powers as a stealth function. And a made the "After all this is over" so everything can come clean, even on our end. And I'm sure Yuugi won't be too hard if it turned out we lied for her safety and such. Taizo is only human, not Oni.

>>4809
Fair enough, but I do think she's using her ability a bit too recklessly. But her assistance would be quite vital, though she has another thing coming if she thinks we'll blindly side with her sister.
>> No. 4811
[x] Like it or not, she's right; this is the only way to find out what you want to know. Go with her.

>"You know, your mind is filled with really interesting things right now," she says in a near-whisper. "I should do this more often."
This sounds like the idea of fucking with us for entertainment hadn't even occurred to her, and if she wanted us out of the way she wouldn't bother to ask. That leaves the little psycho actually wanting to help us, either out of some faint glimmer of guilt or just because she knows it's the "right" thing to do.
>> No. 4812
[x] No way. You'll find some other way, any other way, to figure things out, but you're not going anywhere with her.
A guy should have principles. And a man should hold on to them. I know that this may end up killing him (indirectly) but I refuse to have a MC that's dragged around like a Hourai Doll.
>> No. 4813
>>4807
Well, thanks. Now I'm guilt-tripped into voting against the plot hook.

[x] No way. You'll find some other way, any other way, to figure things out, but you're not going anywhere with her.

Although given that Koishi isn't doing this out of the kindness of her heart, she'll probably make us go anyway.
>> No. 4814
[x] Like it or not, she's right; this is the only way to find out what you want to know. Go with her.

Hmm hmm.
>> No. 4816
File 126880795057.jpg - (113.55KB, 415x640, taizoushadenoughofthisshit.jpg) [iqdb]
4816
[x] No way. You'll find some other way, any other way, to figure things out, but you're not going anywhere with her.

In all honesty, I don't think the oni plot is dire enough to warrant this. Easy enough to tell Yuugi and have her keep an eye out. They may have been contemplating killing him if he sided with Satori during the latest inspection, given we went the neutral route and did our job. I'm still surprised that my write in was voted for. I doubt they would have any legitimate grievance for coming after us. I mean I could be invalidated completely by LOLMINDLESSONIRACISM but I don't think glasnost would pull something like that.

But that's my just my thoughts, if anyone finds any serious logic error or this leads to DESPAIR in it feel free to ream me a new one.
>> No. 4817
>>4816
Heard of a martyr? The Oni might want to use him as one in terms of their vendetta against the underground Youkai. Remember that bad end we had? Since we're slightly aligned with the Oni at the moment, Taizo's death would be justification to go to war.

>>4813
did you not read the counter points?

>>4811
I think it's a mix of things, Guilt, "Right thing", and belief that her sister isn't in the wrong. But it's also a sign that she might become really reckless with her power unless Taizo warns her of justifying the fears people have of her. I honestly think that Satori isn't out to cause any major problems.

The timeline as we know it shows as far as things go, the only effects of Okuu getting nuclear power is hotsprings popping up with evil spirits when Orin sends her warning. How things will go in this story is anyone's guess.
>> No. 4818
>>4817
Martyr? I highly doubt that. If the warmongers aimed for that Yuugi wouldn't of had to get them hammered just to let Taizou join. I'm not discounting a plot of Tzeentchian proportions but I still think going with Koishi is unneeded and probably will be worse in the long run.
>> No. 4819
>>4818
That doesn't change the fact that Taizo's death could be bent to someone's advantage. The Oni Chief is terribly ambitious, perhaps too much for anyone's own good.
>> No. 4820
[X] No way. You'll find some other way, any other way, to figure things out, but you're not going anywhere with her.
>> No. 4822
[X] No way. You'll find some other way, any other way, to figure things out, but you're not going anywhere with her.

Bitch, stay away from my friends.
>> No. 4823
Normally I wouldn't ignore the plot hook, but this plot hook is a treacherous, nasty cunt.

>"You found out that I made you forget, right? I came to say that I'm very, very sorry and I'll never, ever do it again!"

>"Hm?" For a brief moment, Koishi drops her ever-present smile, furrowing her brows at you in genuine confusion before giggling lightly again. "If you say so..."

>Her collar... wait, when did she--

Oh so that was a lie.

>"I told you, didn't I? I'm trying to help you, Taizou!"

Probably a lie, since she implied she'd be sending us somewhere that without her ability to hide us would be dangerous.

>I can't help you if Yuugi knows what we're doing.

She's made sure that the only person we'd be able to rely on in whatever situation we might come across is Koishi, and not the people who'd otherwise be looking for our interests, like Yuugi or Yamame.

Now if there really were a conspiracy to commit murder, and it's not just a false memory from Koishi, Yuugi would just be able to demand it of the conspirators right out.

>I CAN CONTROL EVERY LITTLE THING IN YOUR LIFE NO MATTER HOW INSIGNIFICANT, INCLUDING YOUR THE MEANS OF YOUR DEATH (P.S. I COULD USE YOUR HELP RIGHT NOW, SO SUBMIT WORM)

The Scorpion & the Frog allegory?

Regardless, this does not come off.

[x] No way. You'll find some other way, any other way, to figure things out, but you're not going anywhere with her.
[x] "I wonder what your sister might say about your malevolent behavior? Or is that something you can control, too?"

If she's going to force you to do something by preventing you from declining her offer, then you're going to at least have her expend the mental effort of making you do so. Think of it as civil disobedience.

Second question is because I want to see if anything at all is sacred to Koishi, or if she's doing this as part of Satori's aims, like I expect.
>> No. 4824
[x] No way. You'll find some other way, any other way, to figure things out, but you're not going anywhere with her.
[x] "I wonder what your sister might say about your malevolent behavior? Or is that something you can control, too?"

Wished I could have posted my concerns about it all just as well as that post...
>> No. 4825
[ ] Like it or not, she's right; this is the only way to find out what you want to know. Go with her
>> No. 4826
>>4823
>Now if there really were a conspiracy to commit murder, and it's not just a false memory from Koishi, Yuugi would just be able to demand it of the conspirators right out.

We don't know who exactly, and making wild accusations won't help.

And how do you think we figure such a thing out before it's too late if not using Koishi?

do you people always assume everyone is hostile as opposed to naive? And she did that to escape our grip on her collar (Not a nice thing to do)
>> No. 4827
[x] Like it or not, she's right; this is the only way to find out what you want to know. Go with her
>> No. 4828
Called for "[X] No way." Sub-options and the closeness of the vote will be taken into consideration.
>> No. 4829
>>4828
I can only hope this doesn't result in even making more enemies and all due to a pig-headed line of thought.
>> No. 4830
Update isn't finished. Again. Check back tomorrow.

Also, here is a thing: http://danbooru.donmai.us/pool/show/1407
>> No. 4836
>>4829

Wait for the author to update before you start with the sour grapes shit.
>> No. 4839
File 126960530373.png - (503.99KB, 700x841, 72.png) [iqdb]
4839
Sigh. Maybe if I set my personal deadline for four days, I'll be able to produce weekly updates.

---

[X] No way. You'll find some other way, any other way, to figure things out, but you're not going anywhere with her.

"...No. My answer is no," you say in measured tones, carefully keeping the rancor out of your voice. You don't trust her, not one bit, but for all the strange things she's done to you, she still doesn't seem outright hostile, and you'd like to keep it that way if you can. "Thank you, but I don't want your help."

"Really?" Koishi's voice replies from behind you, and you spin around to find her leaning casually against the counter, at least a dozen feet away from where she was standing just an instant ago. "You're sure about that?"

"Yes. And I don't want you messing with my head anymore," you add, voice hardening. "Or Yuugi's, or Yamame's, or anyone else's. You promised me you wouldn't, didn't you?"

"I kinda forgot." Koishi giggles lightly, sticking her tongue out and knocking a fist against her head lightly. "Whoopsie."

You bite your tongue, literally and figuratively. This airhead act of hers is starting to piss you off.

"But time's running out, you know?" You blink, and she's moved again, looking up into your eyes from not more than a few feet away. "Things are going to start happening soon. You don't want to be caught in the crossfire, do you?"

"What sort of 'things'?"

"Oh, I dunno," she singsongs, giving you an exaggerated shrug. "People are getting restless, that's all. Plotting little plots in the dark, dirty corners of their brains." She giggles demurely. "I can hardly go outside any more without hearing about people who want to kill each other. And that's not even counting the reason I came here in the first place!"

"...Which was?" you prompt.

"I told you, didn't I? The big, scary monster in our basement!" She pouts dramatically, crossing her arms. "You mean you don't remember how I saved your life?"

She's talking about... that thing you saw in the secret room? All you remember of that encounter is nearly being incinerated; the only look you got at whatever made that fireball was from too far away to actually see anything. "That... thing is going to do something?" you ask, trying to figure out where she's going with this.

Koishi's giggle comes from behind you yet again, and when you turn around, she's standing back to back with Yuugi, who remains as oblivious to the world around her as ever. "Don't be silly! Okuu's a sweetie."

"...So what--"

"This is hell, you know. There are lots of scary things lurking around, waiting for a chance to get out." As she says that, Koishi furrows her brow, wearing a contemplative expression. "Hmm. I probably shouldn't have said that." And then, as quickly as it appeared, her concerned face vanishes, replaced with the usual vapid smile. "Oh, well. I'll just make sure you can't remember it later."

You take a step away from her, knowing even as you do that you're utterly powerless against anything she might do to you. "Do anything else to me and I'll tell your sister," you threaten sharply.

Koishi is visibly taken aback, and for a moment, you think your threat was effective... and then she laughs; not her usual giggle, but a loud, gut-busting guffaw, and you seethe silently for nearly a minute as she regains control of herself.

"No, you won't," she finally says after calming herself down, wiping a tear away with the back of her hand.

"Oh, of course. You can just screw with my head and stop me from saying anything," you say coldly. "Is that what you do to your sister, too? Use your power to make sure she never finds out what you do to people?"

"Oh, my, you really are angry, aren't you?" Koishi laughs, cooing at you in the voice people use to talk to infants. "Do you need a hug, Taizou?"

"Or does she know?" You're not even sure what you're saying now, but you know you're saying it as loudly as you can, and that catharsis is all that's keeping you from throwing a punch at Koishi. "Does she send you to care of the people--" The yelling irritates your throat, and you cut yourself off with a loud cough. "--of the people she can't bully into keeping her secrets?" Another wheezing cough. "How many pe... people..."

Your voice... won't come out. You bend double, trying to breathe in, but all you get is a dull, rasping noise and a spike of pain from your throat. It's pure, primal fear that gives you the strength to raise your head, and, you stagger towards Koishi, vision blurring as your eyes water. She nimbly steps out of your reach as you swipe at her ineffectually, and you take another lurching step, reaching for her with one hand while the other...

...your other hand...

...is wrapped around your throat.

You hear Koishi giggle again as you collapse to the ground on both hands, sucking in air noisily as your head continues to spin.

"That was just plain impolite," she says with an air of light displeasure. "I'm not going to help you if you say bad things about Sister and me, you know."

"Go... to hell," you manage between gasps, still struggling to pull yourself back to your feet.

"I told you, didn't I? We're already there, silly," she laughs, and you feel her hand touch your head lightly, mussing up your hair; you try to raise your hand to swat hers away, but removing the support of your arm nearly sends you to the ground, and you take another deep breath, grimacing at the slight to your pride.

"Anyway, I suppoooose I'll forgive you this time," she says, drawing out her words in mock reluctance, "so if you decide to change your mind about letting me help you, just tell me, okay?" You say nothing, not even raising your head to look at her.

"Well, then, I guess it's time for me to leave! You've got, hmm... about two hours until Kisaburou decides to begin the search, so use them well, okay?" Koishi finally moves away from you, her footsteps clattering across the floor, and you force yourself into a sitting position, raising your head in time to see her standing in the doorway looking back at you.

"Bye, Taizou!"

And, in the blink of an eye, you're back at the dinner table. You jump at the sudden transition, casting your eyes over the room wildly and half-expecting to find Koishi sitting next to you again, but she's nowhere to be found; apart from the lingering pain in your throat (and Yamame, who's given up on eating entirely and is fast asleep again, resting her head on the table), there's nothing to tell you that the past few minutes ever happened.

...

Your name is Taizou Hori. Twice two is four. You've been living with an oni named Yuugi for the past four days after you wandered into a cave and got trapped underground. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Satori has a hidden door in the garden beneath her mansion. Genji regains his noble status, then Murasaki dies in chapter forty. You just had a fight with someone who could probably just tell your heart to stop beating.

...Okay. You're okay. All your memories are still there. Everything's still there.

...You hope.

You're still trying to stop yourself from shaking as the sounds coming from the kitchen quiet down and Yuugi steps back into the room a few minutes later.

"So, you have anything planned for today?" she asks, brushing her hands off on her skirt as she sits back down at the table. "Other than your thing at the palace, I mean. I'm good whenever, if you wanna go do s... Hey, you alright?" She leans across the table to look into your eyes. "You're lookin' kinda pale."

"Uh..." Well, you were ready to tell her everything a moment ago; why not now? "...No, not really."

---

"...Damn." Yuugi pops open the seal on her gourd with one hand and takes a long swig, followed by a heavy sigh and a deep frown. "I mean, I'd heard that the little sister was a little off in the head, but... damn."

"...Yeah," you reply, sighing once yourself. Even after going through everything with Yuugi, from Koishi's visit just now all the way back to what you overheard two nights ago, you can't help but be awed by the bizarreness of it all.

"I mean, she was..." Yuugi stops short, glancing back over her shoulder towards the door into the kitchen with disbelief on her face. "...she was there? She... made me say something?" She looks back again, then slumps against the table, putting her head in her hand. "I don't remember a thing."

"...Yeah," you sagely reply again. As much as you'd like to reassure her, you know from firsthand experience that there's really nothing you could say now that would take the edge off the shock Yuugi must be going through.

"Anyway." Sighing once more, she runs a hand through her hair and straightens her back, throwing her head back as though to literally toss the idea out of her head. "More important is this other stuff."

What you overheard, then. "What do you think about it?"

"Worst case scenario, it's some of the guys that didn't want you on the council, plannin' something stupid," she says with a frown. "S'good you heard it, but there's no point in tryin' to deal with it today. I'll be goin' out on deliveries again tomorrow, so I'll ask around then, see what I hear."

Tomorrow? You would prefer today. In fact, given Yuugi's prediction that it really is you they're targeting, you would prefer now. "Is it really okay to wait until tomorrow?" you ask, trying to keep your voice from betraying your nervousness.

"Should be fine. S'not like there's much we can do if they come today, anyway." She frowns again, shrugging slightly. "Putting you on the council was just a political thing, anyway. Gives us a better idea of where people are really gonna stand when the chips are down. It's no big loss if you get bumped off."

...Are you really hearing this? "It's, uh, it's a pretty big loss to me," you say, trying to put a bit of a laugh into your voice to mask your confusion.

"Hm? Was it that impor-- ohhh. Oh!" Yuugi cuts herself off midway with a long note of realization, followed by a shocked gasp. "Not like that, not like that! Off the council, I mean!"

Well, that's a little better. "That's not what I heard them say, though."

"Yeah, but that's the only way anyone has to get at you, now." Yuugi leans forward, putting her elbows on the table as she gestures with her hands. "The only way anyone kills anyone down here is in a formal fight, governed by law. My guess is you're gonna get challenged to a fight over your position on the council."

"To the death?"

"Technically, 'til someone can't fight any more, but most of the time, that ends up meanin' to the death. S'pretty damn hard to knock an oni out without deadly force," she says. "But anyway, that means all you have to do is step down if you get challenged, and nobody's got any basis to start a fight with you."

That... sounds reasonable enough, but... "How can you be sure that a duel like that is what they were talking about?"

"If they're talking about you, that's gotta be it," she says simply. "You're too new here for it to be anything else. You don't own any land, no property, no kids... There's really not that many things that give you the right to challenge someone in the first place."

"No, I mean, what if they weren't talking about one of these challenges at all?" you persist, restating your question. "What if someone just sneaks up on me in a dark alley and attacks?"

"But... that'd be against the law," Yuugi says, clearly puzzled.

You bring a hand to your forehead, lightly massaging your temple. If this weren't a matter of life or death, it would be pretty funny how completely she's missing the point. "People can break laws, right?"

"Well, yeah, but who would plan to break the law?"

...Actually, it's pretty funny now, too. "Are you serious?" you ask, trying not to smirk at her.

"Yeah, I'm serious," she says hotly, crossing her arms in front of her. "I dunno how things go up above ground nowadays, but us oni honor the law just like any other promise. If it weren't for folks who just lose it and go nuts, there wouldn't be any crime."

She really means it, doesn't she? "You're saying oni never commit premeditated crimes? Nobody ever... plans to steal something, anything like that?"

"S'it really that hard to believe?" she asks. "I mean, yeah, maybe little things, from kids who're too young to know better, but grown men and women planning to just murder someone without even a fight? Where's the excuse for that?"

She's got a point. As hard as it is to imagine a society where every crime is a crime of passion, it sort of fits with what you already know about the character of oni society. "Okay, then. If you say it's safe, I'll take your word for it."

"Good!" Yuugi says, a little snippily, but following up with a smile. "So you don't have to worry about that now."

Which leaves your mind free for all the things you do have to worry about, you think silently. Koishi said you had a few hours before the council head was going to start the search; what to do until then?

[ ] No point in exerting yourself unnecessarily. Stay where you are.
[ ] Maybe you should check on the oni who was injured yesterday...
[ ] You and Satori/Koishi have some serious talking to do. Go to the palace now.
[ ] Yamame has the right idea. Go back to sleep.
[ ] Write-in.

---

It's actually surprisingly hard to completely cut off your own airflow with just one hand.

Feel free to write in or modify choices; if the ones available are bad, it's because I actually made good on one of my "not sleeping until this update is done" resolutions and it's 7 AM now and the sun is coming up and aglhagghlag
>> No. 4840
Jezus, she's bloody terrifying.

[X] Maybe you should check on the oni who was injured yesterday...
>> No. 4841
[x] Maybe you should check on the oni who was injured yesterday...
>> No. 4842
[x] Maybe you should check on the oni who was injured yesterday...
>> No. 4843
[x] No point in exerting yourself unnecessarily. Stay where you are.
Yuugi time. The injured oni is fine, and Satori & co can go fuck themselves. There's been enough plot for this morning.
>> No. 4844
>produce weekly updates.
Oh god. Make it happen.
[x] No point in exerting yourself unnecessarily. Stay where you are.
>>4843
I like your reasoning.
>> No. 4845
[x] No point in exerting yourself unnecessarily. Stay where you are.
Taking it easy~
>> No. 4846
[x] No point in exerting yourself unnecessarily. Stay where you are.
-[x] Consider asking Yuugi about making spell cards. (curiously was he ever explained this aspect or just simply creating bullets? I forget)

Getting basic danmaku was beneficial, this time though perhaps a spell card may come in handy for the next investigative search.
>> No. 4847
[X] No point in exerting yourself unnecessarily. Stay where you are.

Wow. This Koishi is scary. As in "my skin is crawling just knowing she exists" scary.
>> No. 4848
[x] You and Satori/Koishi have some serious talking to do. Go to the palace now.
BAD END GET
>> No. 4849
[x] No point in exerting yourself unnecessarily. Stay where you are.

Some relaxation would help before the search. Personally I'm keeping an open mind, since the only folks we know that don't have an agenda with us are Yamame (Kisume too perhaps), and Yuugi.

And our task: Is to prevent a war. With certain lines of thought shown by some anon, they might be more inclined to have it happen just out of petty spite and ignorance of the big picture.

>>4847
Seems to be a trend of scary Koishi (Just look at the mega-mind-fuck Milleina's Koishi did to her Reimu in /th/)
>> No. 4850
[x] You and Satori/Koishi have some serious talking to do. Go to the palace now.

I like this Koishi.
>> No. 4851
[X] No point in exerting yourself unnecessarily. Stay where you are.

Koishi tapped into his subconscious suicidal urges? Nothing worse than a lunatic who can't be caught and isn't bound by honor/laws like the oni.
>> No. 4852
>>4851
True, but I think we're lucky we haven't made an true enemy out of her yet. If she feels we're hell bent on ruining her sister and her pets' life, we're dead, no questions about it. Taizo doesn't have the heightened senses that some named Touhous do to sense her.
>> No. 4854
[x] No point in exerting yourself unnecessarily. Stay where you are.

I see why they exiled her and her sister underground.
>> No. 4855
>Yuugi: "If it weren't for folks who just lose it and go nuts, there wouldn't be any crime."
>Koishi was just in the house and made Taizou and Yuugi lose control of their minds and bodies.
HMMM. I WONDER IF THIS MIGHT BE A CLUE.

[+] No point in exerting yourself unnecessarily. Stay where you are.

I, personally, wouldn't think it a good idea to go off doing much of anything after being strangled.
>> No. 4864
>>4854
Don't go about blaming Satori, I think she learned quickly about the risks of her power. She's been quite reasonable. But I think the whole experience for Koishi broke her and when she found her new power, she didn't have the sense to realize not to over use it.
>> No. 4866
[x] Maybe you should check on the oni who was injured yesterday...

I'm interested in this, oddly.

I still like Grue's Koishi better, but this one comes close. Yours is kooky and manipulative, but his was all the more chilling for how she pulled it off. She was creepy.

But still, good show.
>> No. 4869
>>4866
She was cute and very creepy, not even any obvious malice.
>> No. 4876
Update's partially written, but I want to make good on >>/gensokyo/3975 before I finish it. I'll try for tomorrow or Sunday.

>>4866
I've always wondered about the extent of Grue's Koishi's actual manipulative powers. She clearly had some control over us, but a great deal of the crazy stuff she 'made' us do was based on the content of the votes themselves. Too bad we'll never get to find out. ;_;

Also, why, thank you. I'm pleased as punch that people are enjoying this Koishi.
>> No. 4877
>>4876
If by "enjoying" you mean "want to slowly insert sharp objects into all her eyes, then slowly and deliberately dismember her", then yes. Even then, a mark of a good writer is that characters raise emotions in a reader, so good work on that front at least. *brr*
>> No. 4884
File 127041053757.jpg - (105.28KB, 660x1024, 1213737270660.jpg) [iqdb]
4884
>>4877
... Wow, wonder what kind of stuff she'd find floating in your subconcious.
Pic probably related.
>> No. 4912
So, updates this weekend?
>> No. 4913
Yeah.

Sorry about the blown deadline. I failed to take into account how much writing for the write-a-thon would take it out of me, and then the looming shadow of the end of the semester kicked my ass this week. Neither of those things are really valid excuses for not providing a status update, though; that's on me.
>> No. 4916
>>4913

It's alright. Both my Koishi antipathy and Yuugi love will tide over.
>> No. 4927
Accidentally deleted the last quarter or so of the update, but it's 3:00 AM and I'm going to have an aneurysm if I try to rewrite it now.

Sage for weapons-grade levels of derp.
>> No. 4952
>>4927
>Accidentally deleted the last quarter or so of the update
Along with your name it seems. Also, no CTRL+Z?
>> No. 4971
Tommorow. Cross my heart. Swallow needles. All that jazz.

Not saged because >>4891 has become an eyesore.
>> No. 4972
File 127141560471.jpg - (263.06KB, 1000x1080, 05fe4b918b19e56316cbf857d912a71b082953bc.jpg) [iqdb]
4972
>>4971
>Not saged because >>4891 has become an eyesore.

>has become an eyesore.

>eyesore

I see what you did there.
>> No. 4973
>>4971
Oh the lies we tell ourselves~.
>> No. 4974
>>4973
I suspect he spelt 'tomorrow' wrong deliberately to give himself an out. Not really.
>> No. 4977
ಠ_ಠ
wat
>> No. 4978
File 127190754098.jpg - (368.57KB, 850x1172, sample_38820df50724ab921a2dc527d81dea91555a6cf4.jpg) [iqdb]
4978
So I take it we're getting back to the one month dealie? No complaints really just wondering as I've noticed the last update had been on 10/03/26...
>> No. 4980
File 127208824549.png - (27.57KB, 500x600, 1231218640953.png) [iqdb]
4980
This hurts me more than it hurts you.
>> No. 4981
File 127209915418.png - (41.31KB, 600x800, 73.png) [iqdb]
4981
>>4973
I was referring, of course, to Plutonian days. This is also retroactively my excuse for every deadline I've missed up to now.

...Sorry.

>>4952
It involves a series of missteps so stupid I won't recount them. Suffice it to say that after you've been awake for long enough, muscle memory prevails over some of the more useful portions of your brain.

>>4849
>(Kisume too perhaps)
Kisume is the secret mastermind behind all events that have occurred in the story so far. You heard it here first.

---

[X] No point in exerting yourself unnecessarily. Stay where you are.

"...Yeah. Thanks, Yuugi."

Yuugi smiles at you, saying nothing, and you take a deep breath, leaning back on your hands and tilting your head backward. After building up all that worry over the all the different people who may or may not be trying to kill you, the relief at Yuugi's reassurance doesn't seem to come all at once, and you have to force your muscles to relax, closing your eyes and letting your body sag. No, you don't think you're going to go anywhere for the rest of the morning; there are definitely things that need to be done, but they can wait for at least another few hours.

When you open your eyes again and straighten back up, Yuugi's scooted away from you and closer to the other side of the table, and is...

...poking the still-sleeping Yamame in the cheeck with the blunt end of a fork.

"...What are you--"

"If I let her sleep, she'll be up all night, bouncin' off the walls," Yuugi explains, giving her friend another few pokes; Yamame doesn't seem to be reacting to the attack in the slightest, still snoozing away with her head in her arms.

"Couldn't you just... call her name or something?"

Yuugi smirks at you, then very deliberately sets the fork on the table, scooting around a little further towards Yamame and--

"YAMAME! WAKE UP!"

The sudden shout makes you jump, and you cry out in pain as you hit your knees against the bottom of the table painfully. After taking a moment of silence to swallow the curses that jump to your tongue, you look back up at Yuugi with a scowl, rubbing your knees. "That was just--"

...Yamame's still asleep. In fact, it doesn't look like she's even moved. "...Oh."

"Say what you want about the girl, but she sleeps like she means it," Yuugi chuckles, fingers idly playing with the fork on the table. "Makes me a little jealous, actually."

"Fair enough, but still," you say, reaching out toward Yamame's shoulder, "can't you be a little gentler th--"

Before your hand can reach its target, it's intercepted by Yuugi, shoving it back toward you. Hard. Your hand practically bounces off the wooden table, and you pull it back as though it had been burned, instinctively cradling it with your free hand.

Yuugi looks as shocked as you feel as you look back up at her face, and she reaches out towards you, only to pull her hands back halfway, leaving them hovering in indecision as her mouth hangs open wordlessly.

"Shit, Taizou, I didn't mean t--"

"Yeah, it's okay," you say a little brusquely, more shocked than actually injured by the sudden force. "Didn't mean to get in your way."

"No, it's..." Yuugi seems to shrink backwards at your words, pulling her hands back into her own lap and looking away as she explains herself. "She's got this huge thing about people touchin' her when she's not expectin' it, even just a little, so I just wanted to stop you before--"

"No, okay, I see," you say hurriedly, talking over Yuugi's apology before she can get too far along. "It was my mistake--"

"--didn't mean to hurt you or anything," Yuugi finishes, wringing her hands anxiously, apparently oblivious to what you just said.

"I'm not hurt," you reply, holding up your hands, palm out, as if to display them to Yuugi. "No worries."

"Ah, good, good," she says hesitantly, an uneven smile rising to her face, and she fidgets with her hands for a moment more before she scoops the fork off the table again, turning back to Yamame awkwardly. "Guess I'm just not at my best this morning, overreactin' like that," she laughs, returning to her previous task of trying to wake Yamame with a little more discretion than before.

This time, you stay back and watch, still coming down from the shock of the situation a little, before a question pops into your head. "So you can't touch her while she's sleeping, but poking her with a fork is okay?" you ask bemusedly.

Yuugi actually cringes as you ask, glancing over at you guiltily. "I, uh, can't really talk about it. It's... sort of a personal thing for her," Yuugi replies hesitantly, averting her eyes again. "All I know is what she's told me, anyway."

"...Oh." So there really is some kind of story behind this? What could Yamame possibly--

No! No speculation. No complicated thoughts at all, if you can help it; not for now. Putting the matter out of your mind, you fold your arms over the table and rest your head a little yourself, continuing to watch the bizarre spectacle of Yuugi trying to rouse Yamame with various pieces of tableware.

After a few minutes of unsuccessful attempts, something about the whole situation crosses some sort of absurdity threshold in your mind, and you take over for Yuugi, giggling to yourself as you rap Yamame on the forehead with anything you can get your hands on. Another few minutes of that, and you and Yuugi decide to pool your intellect to solve the problem before you; before long, the two of you aren't even bothering to hold back your laughter as Yamame continues to refuse to budge to your grandiose schemes.

It's only after nearly twenty minutes of attempts (and the ingenious idea of using a knife and fork in tandem to hold her nose shut) that Yamame finally stirs, and you and Yuugi simultaneously gasp, instinctively dropping your faces to her level as her head begins to move.

"Mmm..." she groans irritably, waving the utensils away with one hand and trying to bury her face deeper into her arms.

"Time to wake up, spider-girl."

"Mmmkay..." she mumbles without opening her eyes. "I'll do it right after I wake up..."

Yuugi drops her head into her hand, smothering a small laugh. "Now, Yamame."

"Mmm..."

She's fading fast. "Come on, Yamame, wake up," you add, just in case hearing a voice other than Yuugi's happens to catch her attention.

It certainly seems to do something; as you speak, she tilts her head upright again, facing herself roughly in your direction. "Mr. Taizou?" she murmurs questioningly, eyes remaining closed. "...Is this one of those dreams?" she asks as she...

...licks her lips suggestively?

"Uh, n-no, I don't think so," you say hurriedly, talking a little louder to be heard over the sound of Yuugi's hastily stifled laughter. As you do, Yamame raises her head a little further, and her eyelids finally flicker open as she takes a sleepy look around at her surroundings.

"No...? Then..." For the first time today, Yamame looks truly awake as she abruptly sits up straight, eyes flying open wide, and a blush rises to her face as she realizes that she's no longer asleep. Slowly, her hands rise to her face, first covering her mouth in horror, then moving over her eyes to hide her blushing face entirely (thought you can still see her ears turning bright red).

"I, uh..." you begin gently, not really sure that there's anything you can say in this situation. "I made breakfast. Eggs."

"...Oh," Yamame squeaks from behind her hands.

"That plate's yours."

"...Thank you, Mr. Taizou." She peeks out from between a gap in her fingers down at the food, but still doesn't make any move to lower the barrier between you and her.

"..."

"..."

"...I'll just step outside for a bit," you finally say, after it becomes apparent that Yamame is going to remain frozen as long as you're there. Pushing yourself up from the table, you shoot a look at Yuugi, who's turned red herself with the effort of holding in her laughter, and make your way out of the kitchen and down the hall out to the back porch.

As you slide the door shut, you hear Yuugi finally let loose, hooting with laughter loud enough that you can hear it outside, and you can't help but chuckle a little yourself as you rest your back against the door frame, counting off the minutes until it's safe to come back in.

---

Fortunately, omelettes make everything better, and by the time you get back inside, Yamame's done with her omelette and back to her usual cheery self. After she clears the table of her dirty dishes, the three of you make your way outside, sitting and dangling your legs off the back porch while talking about nothing in particular.

Of course, with you there, the conversation can't really progress with just the two of them talking about the latest gossip, and before long, you find the topic coming back around to you.

"So are you going to practice flying more today, Mr. Taizou?" Yamame asks excitedly, leaning into you with just a hint of pleading in her voice. "Or we could practice danmaku with you again! I bet we could even play a real game, if we both just stayed on the ground and I made sure to keep my pattern really flat and you could just run around to dodge, and--"

"Mmm..." Tempting, but... "I probably shouldn't strain myself right before the search like yesterday. Maybe later tonight, after I get back."

"Just a little bit is okay, isn't it?" Yamame persists, turning the puppy dog eyes up another notch. "You don't have to--"

"Leave him be," Yuugi says gently from your opposite side, and Yamame clams up and backs off, her face falling a bit. "Besides, there's some stuff you're gonna have to show him before he can play anyway, right? Since he only knows about regular danmaku now."

"Hm? ...Ah!" Yamame's confusion gives way to a bright smile as she figures out what Yuugi's talking about. "I can show you my spell cards, Mr. Taizou!"

"All the other rules of danmaku, too," Yuugi adds, and Yamame gives a big nod, practically bouncing in place as she launches into animated speech.

As your two friends switch off talking between each other (or, more accurately, as Yuugi occasionally speaks up over Yamame's torrent of words), you're treated to an in-depth description of a danmaku duel from start to finish, which quickly segues into a explanation of the spell card system itself. Even after multiple attempts by both Yuugi and Yamame to explain, you're still not quite sure what the 'card' itself actually does, but the idea of a stored bullet pattern is easy enough to grasp, and explains how Yuugi and Yamame were able to practically fill the sky during their duel while you still haven't perfected a single stream of bullets.

After talking nonstop for nearly half an hour, Yamame looks more than eager to demonstrate, and her and Yuugi take off into the air directly above you, allowing you to lay back and watch in leisure. From the look of things, she's only got one or two basic patterns, but at several different levels of complexity, from patterns so sparse that Yuugi hardly needs to dodge to barrages so big that you can't help but worry that a stray bullet might find its way over towards you. Watching the lights spin and twist through the sky, you can't help but wonder if you might really be capable of something like that, one day.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and midway through Yamame's most complicated pattern yet, you hear the sound of footsteps against the floor beneath you, and look towards the door to find Aoki, wearing the same weapon-laden outfit as last time and a weary expression.

"Time to go, Taizou," he says, sounding about as pleased as he looks.

Not that you can blame him. "...Let me say bye to Yuugi first," you say, forcing yourself up into a sitting position and turning to face him properly. "They should be done pretty soon."

Sure enough, Yamame's spell times out almost as soon as you finish speaking, and her and Yuugi drift across the sky above you, meeting in midair before descending onto the porch.

"That time already?" Yuugi asks casually as her feet touch down, and Aoki nods lazily in reply. "Try not to get eaten by the menagerie, then," she says lightly, looking first to Aoki then back at you with a smirk on her face.

"I'll do my best," you reply, forcing a grin of your own, as Aoki chuckles once and turns toward the door. "See you later, Yamame."

"O-Okay." There's still a hint of nervousness in her voice, just like when you split up for yesterday's search, but Yuugi's calm about the situation seems to be infectious, and Yamame manages to smile and give you a little wave goodbye before speaking again. "We're going to practice flying when you come back, right?"

"That's the plan," you reassure her, turning towards the door yourself as Aoki leaves the porch, entering the house ahead of you. "Seeya, Yuugi."

"Take care," she says, raising a hand in farewell, and you give a short wave to the two of them before heading into the house. After a short jog after Aoki down the main hallway, the two of you step out of the front door and begin to make your way down the road leading into the city.

"So everyone's already at the palace?"

"Probably are by now," Aoki replies. "Council head sent me to get you before he started gettin' everyone around."

You take a slow, deep breath, focusing your mind on the trial you're about to face. After the last search; the fights, the secrets, the possibility of conspiracy... you really aren't sure what's going to happen today. As long as you've got some time alone with Aoki, though, you may as well try to prepare yourself by getting a little more information.

[ ] Write-in.

---

So after I rewrote the portion I deleted, I realized that I was ending the update on a somewhat open-ended, irrelevant choice, so apparently my solution was... to write until I hit another open-ended, irrelevant choice. I made it write-in only because I'm too lazy to compile a come list of everything it might behoove you to ask (and an incomplete list would imply that listed options are somehow more important), so don't wrack your brain searching for the secret question the author was hoping for, because there is none.

(Apparently 'rack your brain' is more standard than 'wrack your brain', but I think 'rack your brain' sounds like something you'd do before a rousing game of cadaver billiards, so fuck that noise, I'm rebelling.)
>> No. 4983
File 127209953292.jpg - (621.26KB, 1200x1000, down in one! down in one!.jpg) [iqdb]
4983
>>4980
Counterattack!

Re: slowness: I am going to need to put this story on a one to two week break as I work on end-of-semester things, and I think I also need to do a little thinking on the story itself as we move into the latter portion of the story. I am not going to say a single thing about what my schedule after that break will be, but this month-long wait stuff is downright embarrassing for me.

As a sort of thank-you present for reading up to this point (but not really because people who haven't read up to this point will get it too, also you may not like it but there's no receipt): >>/at/5901. I wrote it a paragraph at a time over a period of months, so don't think that this is what slowed down my updates.
>> No. 4984
[X] "What do you know about the Komeiji Sisters' powers, both political and magical?"

Probably not a great question for him, but I'm curious. With oni honesty going on, there may just be some misinformation being circulated. Satori may be juggling various secrets or objectives, especially complicated by Koishi doing as she pleases, undetected by all. Since Satori has some political clout, she likely has some reason or another to be doing things covertly, either to protect or hurt others.

Also, loved the present, glasnost.
>> No. 4986
>>4983
April is pretty much a down month due to end of semester madness. I'm not at all surprised by the general deadness of the site right now, so take your time.

[x] "What do you think it will take for Kisaburou to stop searching the palace?"

Satori doesn't expect him to stop anytime soon, and Kisaburou seems dead set on doing this for a lot longer. When will it be enough, or will he search until he finds something? Kinda' curious to get someone else's opinion on it.
>> No. 4987
I will wait for some other interesting write ins before deciding on one.
>> No. 5001
[x] "What do you think it will take for Kisaburou to stop searching the palace?"
>> No. 5012
>(and the ingenious idea of using a knife and fork in tandem to hold her nose shut)

ahahahahahaha!

[x] "Aoki, oni have an ability to tell apart lies from the truth, right?"
[x] Regardless of the response: "I've come across some pretty damning evidence that Satori is actively hiding something. To be short, her sister was leaning on me pretty hard this morning."
[x] If Kisaburou can offer you asylum from both Satori and her sister, just tell him the truth. If they cannot, then it's simply too dangerous for you to move against Satori or her sister publicly, and you must then recuse yourself from the investigation.

Despite Yuugi's attestations that breaking the law doesn't happen, there is a substantial non-oni youkai population down here, people whom have bad-ended Taizou already, and secondly, it might be fully possible that Koishi can evoke a 'crime of passion' in an oni. By whistle-blowing now, you'll prevent a situation from arising where Koishi and/or Satori can ultimately decide that it's better to simply snuff him out in order to keep a lid on things. Taizou doesn't owe them anything, and even when he attempted to mediate between Satori and the oni, his efforts were still not appreciated by the former, even after he helped cover up the misadventure in the secret tunnel.

Now at least when Kisaburou makes promises you can be sure he won't have a liar be made out of him. Koishi is a total loose cannon, and we can't even be sure that Satori can control her behavior. However, as manipulative as Koishi seemed, killing Taizou once he's already spilled his guts to the oni would just be plain stupid on her part.

The head of the council made it pretty clear the search would happen until he uncovers what they've been hiding, and it's not clear Taizou has any actual way of preventing this. In fact, as this impasse is prolonged the more he risks being used by either side as simply a means to an expedite things in their favor. Even for the oni, this does not necessarily mean keeping him alive, since from yesterday it might very well have been that Taizou had been mauled by that tiger if things were different. His death as a 'neutral' observer at the hands of one of Satori's pets is all that would be needed to drive them to violence.

I'd really like to believe this is a misunderstanding, and that's why this has to stop now, when Taizou can still intermediate. Satori seems unlikely to acknowledge any secrets on her part at all on her own until the oni have been whipped up into a total mob.
>> No. 5013
>>5012
First giving up what neutrality we had might ultimately play into the hands of whatever masterminds there are. They're counting on the threats making him give up.

And who to say that laying it all out to the Oni Chief will result in peace? He might use that as a justification for waging war, the thing he's truly looking for.

I'm sure if we did a bit of foolishness, we might have gotten a bad end at the hands of an Oni.
>> No. 5015
[x] "What do you think it will take for Kisaburou to stop searching the palace?"

C'mon, vote people.
>> No. 5016
[X] "What do you think it will take for Kisaburou to stop searching the palace?"

Intrigue runs rampant in the Ancient City...best thing to do is stay as neutral as possible. Especially since Taizou's just a normal human.
>> No. 5017
[x] "What do you think it will take for Kisaburou to stop searching the palace?"
>> No. 5018
[x] "What do you think it will take for Kisaburou to stop searching the palace?"
>> No. 5019
>>5015
SSFIV madness as of late in my area, sorry
I love using Vega(Claw)

[x] "What do you think it will take for Kisaburou to stop searching the palace; especially now since we've practically been all in and around the palace with nothing to show for the effort?"
>> No. 5028
Dead or glasnost?
>> No. 5029
>>5028

read >>4983
>I am going to need to put this story on a one to two week break as I work on end-of-semester things, and I think I also need to do a little thinking on the story itself as we move into the latter portion of the story.

Sure it's been over two weeks or so but I'd give him the benefit of simply trying to relax and enjoy his time away from classes and whatever he had to take care of...

Basically give him two more weeks, then we start becoming restless.
>> No. 5037
School is out, but a reread tells me that I really do need to tighten things up around here to have any chance of wrapping up all the plotlines before this run ends. Gimme a day or so for thinking, and I'll be trying to update by Monday. (Which means that if precedent is any guide, I'll update sometime around Wednesday. Feels bad, man.)
>> No. 5038
>>5037

It's nice to see an update on your progress as well as your thoughts on what you've written. Somewhat related, at least on one of the focuses of the CYOA here, there's a very brief discussion on Yuugi in MtG over in /at/.

Nonetheless we look forward to your next set of wallsupdates.
>> No. 5041
Oh man, the plot has been too pressuring lately, even when we have a nice update or two of yuugi time, it's always interrupted by pain.
>> No. 5042
File 127362688298.jpg - (264.35KB, 707x850, 10255975.jpg) [iqdb]
5042
>>5041
Yeah, Taizo hasn't had many opportunities to take it easy since he ventured underground. He's been knees deep in underground politics since the first thread. It's pretty easy to see glasnost has something very specific in mind for Taizo's role in the events running up to the Suberteranean Animism incident. On that note, was rereading the story from the beginning trying to see if there were any subtle hints or clues to Kanako or kappas, but I didn't really catch anything. What did become apparent (that I never really caught understood until now) was how we managed to find ourselves on a Yuugi route. In retrospect, it was a pretty gutsy decision to fight an oni, especially so early on in the story. No regrets at all, though; every time she accidently hurts Taizo with an unintentional use of strength and gets all sullen because of it, I HNNNGH. I know she's got a complex about it, and while unfortunate, that she cares enough to beat herself up over it makes me ever so happy we're with her. Can't help but wonder where declining the duel would have led us to stay that first night? The palace perhaps?

Anyway, two things that jumped out at me. From our fight:
>You take another step forward tentatively, not sure whether to attack her or give her first aid, when her head snaps up; all you see are her red eyes before she--
>Disappears. You immediately know this is different from anything you've seen from her so far, but you still tense and look above you for another flying kick. Seeing nothing, you hold your staff to your side and move in a circle, inspecting your surroundings. All you can see is Yamame's small form far in the distance; Yuugi has completely vanished.
And then our first meeting with Rasetsu:
>It's very scary, fighting Hoshiguma, you know," the oni says, leaning towards you to deliver a mock whisper; you lean away out of instinct. "You never know what's going to happen. But then again, neither does she!"

Considering know one really knows what the "power to control supernatural phenomena" actually is, I'm wondering what glas's take on it might be.

Anyway, looking forward to what the future has in store for Taizo and waiting warmly for more.
>> No. 5043
File 127363359879.png - (12.88KB, 300x300, 45a7375c592abb8c70078e6e97cda6de.png) [iqdb]
5043
>>5042
>Considering know one really knows what the "power to control supernatural phenomena" actually is, I'm wondering what glas's take on it might be.

>It's very scary, fighting Hoshiguma, you know," the oni says, leaning towards you to deliver a mock whisper; you lean away out of instinct. "You never know what's going to happen. But then again, neither does she!"

>"You never know what's going to happen. But then again, neither does she!"

Metronome?
>> No. 5044
>>5042
Hard to say but even with fight Yuugi, we could have ended up on a Yamame route or so if folks weren't so smitten with Yuugi.

But you're right about the lack of easy time he had as of late. And I recall what Glas said about the SA incident: Depending on route, we may end up preventing it or ensuring it happens.
>> No. 5045
File 127363827510.jpg - (866.82KB, 1000x791, 7009827.jpg) [iqdb]
5045
>>5044
>Depending on route, we may end up preventing it or ensuring it happens.

Aye, I'm left to wondering about that, whether Kanako has already made contact with Utsuho or not by now. I'm given to the impression that Okuu might be swayed to swallow Yatagarasu and take over the world in order to make Satori's life a little easier ("if master can rule the world with me, there's no problem if there's an earthquake or two"). I'm of the belief that if Taizo can stabilize the situation underground before it gets to that point, Okuu won't feel the need to eat gods and shit nuclear fusion.

Then again, it's because of the events of Subterranean Animism that Yuugi and Suika are reunited, so I'm partially indifferent if everything shakes down like ZUN says.

If, in the process, we are privy to an emotional and intimate Yuugi H-scene that doesn't end like forecasted in >>/at/6089, then the world can burn for all I care.
>> No. 5053
File 127399568319.png - (0.97MB, 730x1024, 10240833.png) [iqdb]
5053
>>5052
Deleted; way too nasty and antagonistic. Just looking forward to updates or whatever at this point.
>> No. 5065
I hereby propose glasnost be known as Eyjafjallajoekull.
>> No. 5066
File 127433288482.jpg - (388.50KB, 665x800, 2522295.jpg) [iqdb]
5066
>>5065
>I hereby propose glasnost be known as Eyjafjallajoekull.

>The name Eyjafjallajökull is made up of the words eyja (genitive plural of ey, meaning eyot or island), fjalla (genitive plural of fjall, whose nominative plural is fjöll, meaning fells or mountains) and jökull (meaning glacier, cognate with the -icle in icicle). A literal translation would thus be the "island-fells glacier" or the "island-mountains glacier".

Well played, sir and/or madam.
>> No. 5067
>>5066
Well, you know, glasnost is a pretty cool guy, with a warm heart.
>> No. 5068
>>5067
sounds like Letty.
>> No. 5073
File 127466860511.png - (605.67KB, 1024x768, 7673739.png) [iqdb]
5073
Anonymaster came back.
Tasia came back.
Patchwork came back.
HY came back.[i]
[i]YAF came back.


glasnost, you have no choice but to return to us.
>> No. 5075
>>5073
>YAF came back.

What? Where?
>> No. 5076
>>5075
>>/shrine/30363
Rage included.
>> No. 5081
>>5076
Damn, he's good
>> No. 5095
So err, it's been 5 weeks now and no word of glasnost, is he dead or something? Usually he at least leaves a word for us.
>> No. 5096
>>5095

>glasnost!YuZx.HoN.U 10/05/08(Sat)17:16 No. 5037
>> No. 5097
>>5096
Oh sorry, even then it stands that it's been far too long for even his "wednesday" deadline, considering that was almost three weeks ago with no word from the writer.
>> No. 5098
>>5095
He tripped on a rock and fell off a bridge...

...In slow motion.They'll announce him officially dead when his face hits the water sometime tomorrow.
>> No. 5099
>>5068

I see what you did there

No need to get restless guys...

...yet
>> No. 5100
File 127536693693.png - (378.77KB, 800x800, 74.png) [iqdb]
5100
[X] "What do you think it will take for Kisaburou to stop searching the palace?"

"Hey, Aoki?"

"Hm?" the oni responds, looking over at you without breaking his stride.

"What do you think it'll take to get the council head to stop searching the palace?"

"Get him to stop?" Aoki snorts derisively. "He'll stop when he finds what he's lookin' for, and not before. You mighta noticed he's not a real flexible kind of guy."

That was what you were afraid of. "He doesn't know what he's looking for," you say bluntly, "and he doesn't have any proof that there's anything to be found in the first place."

"Eh, don't count on that," Aoki says. "He may be a pain in the ass with all the secrecy, but he's not an idiot. I don't see this goin' more than one or two more searches before we find her hiding place."

"But what if she's not hiding anything?" Of course, you know that's not true even as you ask it, but as far as you know, nobody else knows that particular secret, the council head included. "If he had any proof that she's done anything, he would have shown it by now. Should have shown it by now," you amend; as obvious as that fact seems to you, you have to admit that you really don't quite understand what goes on in the council head's mind at times.

"Proof?" Aoki asks with a hint of incredulity, his pace slowing as he turns toward you a little further. "Lemme put it this way, okay? Out of all the folks down here underground, the oni are the only ones who came of their own free will. Everybody else, all the other youkai? They're down here because people didn't want them--" He jerks his thumb up at the ceiling. "--up there."

"So you're saying... just because she's a youkai, you don't--"

"Not just because she's a youkai, I ain't that petty. But she's not just any youkai, she's the queen, or the president, or whatever she calls herself." Aoki shoots you a smirk. "If you were gonna pick the most honest human out of everyone in your village, would you pick a politician?" You stay silent, and he continues casually. "I'm not saying I know one hundred percent if Komeiji's the one behind the crop destruction, but I know youkai don't end up down here because they're charming and polite, and I know she gets along with 'em well enough to be ruler. The company you keep, right?" He shrugs. "Besides, fact is she is a youkai, too. If she was a good sort, she'd have a palace up where the sun shines."

"Isn't that..." ...racism? "...a little prejudiced?"

Aoki chuckles flatly. "How old're you, Taizou?"

"...I don't see what that has to do with anything."

"20, 30 years old, somewhere around there?" Aoki asks, continuing as though he hadn't heard you. "You don't really mix with youkai back home much, do you?" You don't reply, realizing what direction the conversation is going, and Aoki heaves a mighty sigh, shoulders slumping a little. "Okay, look, I ain't tryin' to tell you what to think, 'cause it ain't my business. This is just friendly advice from somebody with experience: Komeiji isn't the sort of person you just trust. Keep your eyes open."

"Will do," you say a little tersely. Well, if nothing else, this has opened your eyes to what other oni think of youkai. You already knew not everyone was as tolerant as Yuugi, but...

"Just advice!" Catching the look on your face, Aoki throws his hands up in a conciliatory gesture. "Maybe I don't know what I'm talkin' about, I dunno! Just don't want you to get burned, that's all."

"...Well, thanks for that," you say earnestly. Even if you can't quite agree with what he's saying, you can tell that he really is just telling you this to help you out. Besides, however suspect his reasoning is, he's not wrong about the fact that Satori's hiding something. "I guess I am the new guy down here. Anything you wanna tell me is appreciated."

"Hey, we're all on the same side here," he replies with a grin. "'Sides, you probably haven't heard anyone tell it like it is yet, livin' with Yuugi."

"Oh? What does that mean?"

"Don't get me wrong, I'm not tryin' to say anything bad," Aoki says hurriedly, and you wince slightly; that came off a little more accusatory than you intended.

"No, I know, I know, just wondering," you say. "Does she have a reputation or something?"

"You could put it that way. She is pretty loud." He chuckles slightly, pace slowing. "But nah, it's just she's a bit of an odd one down here. S'like I said before, really," he continues, growing more contemplative, "'bout how oni come down here of their own free will and not 'cause someone told 'em to. Everyone who ends up down here has a real good reason they don't wanna be up there."

He drifts off into silence, and you wonder for a moment if you've asked one question too many, but before you can say anything, he speaks again. "Well, I was just a kid when my folks and I ended up down here, so I guess I can't really talk," he says matter-of-factly, "but just about everyone's got a story about why they gave up on the surface world. One too many packs of youkai tried to kill 'em, or some human double-crossed 'em, or they just got tired of sleepin' with one eye open. It's not the sort of thing you talk about with other people, but it's the one thing all of us've got in common. Her too, definitely."

"So folks came down here to get away from all that. And when humans and youkai and whoever else start showing up, they get nervous, 'cause if they start screwin' things up down here like they did up there, there's nowhere else for us to go." Aoki frowns slightly. "Uh, no offense."

"None taken."

"But Yuugi's different," he continues. "Stuck up for you, sticks up for Komeiji from time to time, she's close with... uh, what's her name, the little blonde kid with the poofy dress..."

"Yamame."

"Yeah, that's the one, Yamame. Everyone else is worried about keepin' the oni together and pushin' everyone else out, and here she is tryin' to pull everyone together." A light smile flickers past his face for a moment, before being replaced by a flat expression. "So on the one hand, there's folks who like her, 'cause deep down, they think people above ground will change one day, and on the other hand, there's folks who don't, and think she just hasn't learned her lesson about how bad humans really are. Uh, no offense again."

"S'okay," you say with a short laugh. Something about the way he phrased that, though... "So..."

"Hm?"

"If you don't mind me asking, where do you stand?"

"Where do I stand?" It's not confusion in his voice as much as it is guardedness; a reluctance to answer the question that makes you just that much more curious about the answer.

"On Yuugi," you say simply, raising an eyebrow. "Are you one of the folks that likes her, or one of the folks that doesn't?"

"...If you really wanna know?" Aoki's footsteps slow to a halt beside you, and as you stop and turn back to look at him, his face carefully set in an expressionless mask, looking more serious than you've ever seen him before. Without moving, he looks you in the eye, and after a moment of silence, you give a short nod for him to continue.

"I... think she has an excellent rack."

Your nervousness turns to shock, then amusement, and Aoki joins you in a long, loud laugh as the two of you continue walking again, the serious mood of a moment ago utterly destroyed. It doesn't take you too long after that to realize that he never actually answered your question, but you decide against asking again; you already have a pretty good idea of how he feels about youkai in general, and the fact that he dodged that question just reinforces that.

Your arrival at the palace a few minutes later is much less exciting than it was last time around; with Satori and the council head not at each other's throats, the rest of the oni are relatively calm as well, and the lot of you enter the palace without any difficulties. Once it's time to begin, it becomes clearer than ever that you're running this show in name only; the council head gives the marching orders and the other oni carry them out, with no more than a few cursory glances in your direction for approval. The preparation for this search is on a whole different level, too; the search party seems to have brought just about any tool you could think of, from a collapsible ladder to a stethoscope to honest-to-god carpentry tools, and makes full use of them in just about every room.

Naturally, the extra attention to detail means that today's search proceeds as an even more agonizingly slow pace as yesterday's, but on the upside, it makes things easier to watch over, and you manage to defuse most disagreements before they can start. Not to say that things are completely calm, though; you have to step in several times to mediate Satori and the council head's disagreements -- that damn picture frame nailed to the wall you encountered on your first trip into the palace takes about an hour to negotiate your way past, and when all is said and done, you end up doing half the work to take it down yourself. (Naturally, there's nothing behind it but an empty wall. You almost wish there had been something there, after all that work.)

Even so, it's still basically a do-nothing job, and by the time you've made your way up to the second floor an hour or so later, you decide that things are going well enough for you to sneak a bathroom break while the search party is still working. If nothing else, it looks like Satori managed to clear out all her pets this time around, you note idly as you walk; you've made it almost halfway through the palace without encountering so much as another soul.

At least, you had until you nearly run into someone on your way out from the bathroom. "Ah, sorry," you say, taking a step back and instinctively giving a small bow to--

---a ghost. A blob of translucent matter hanging in midair, its white, featureless surface so pristine it seems like you could see yourself in it if you got a little closer. About the size of your head, maybe a little bigger, with the wisp of a tail trailing off of its back end the only thing keeping it from being a perfect sphere. As you continue to stare, it makes a circle around you, bobbing and jerking erratically as it flies, and you feel a chill from within as it grazes your midsection.

...You're pretty sure you should be scared, or at least curious, but all you can think of is how utterly stereotypical it is. Maybe your time underground has made you more jaded towards this sort of thing than you realize. Come to think of it, you did see one of these when you first entered that cave... was that really only a few days ago? It seems like it's been yea--

"Augh!" You cry out, reverie broken, as the thing floats up to head level, its chilly body wobbling uncomfortably close to your face. You try to step around it and through the door out into the hall, but the thing maneuvers to keep itself in front of you, bobbing up and down in a way that reminds you of an overexcited puppy.

This thing isn't nearly as endearing, though. "Move!" you shout, and without thinking, you angrily swipe at the thing--

--and your hand goes straight through it, with no effect except making you feel like you just stuck your hand into a pile of snow.

Okay, maybe not your best plan. It does seem to have done something, though; the ghost slowly descends to about knee level, still blocking your path, but low enough that you could just step over it now. You stare at it for a moment, anticipating some kind of trap, but it seems have settled down, and with one last glance, you move past it and--

Wait. What's that right next to it?

The thing bobs up and down (Encouragingly? Who knows?) as you crouch next to it and pick up the thing that caught your eye: a small piece of paper, folded in half multiple times so it's small enough to fit in your palm. As you move to unfold it, you notice the writing on the outside:

For Taizou's eyes only!
Don't open me until after the search is over♡

...Wait, a message for you? Was the ghost... carrying this? How did--

Just as you think to turn your attention back to it, the ghost takes off, sinking back through the ground below you, and all you get is a glimpse of its squiggle of a tail before you're staring at empty floor.

Well, that just confirms it. Somebody sent that ghost to bring you this message.

...Somebody sent a ghost to bring you a message.

Shaking your head at the absurdity of the entire situation, you turn your mind to more practical matters: who? Koishi is the first person that pops into your head, but you can't imagine her going to all this trouble to contact you when she could just walk right up to you any time she wanted without anyone noticing. Satori? It's not impossible, but considering that she wasn't out of your sight for more than five minutes at a time today, orchestrating something like this would be quite a trick. That leaves... Orin? You don't know what she would want with you, but she's the only non-animal (sort of) you've met in the palace. Maybe there are more people living here than--

"Hey, Taizou!" Aoki's voice. "We're movin' on to the next room!"

"Coming!" Tabling those thoughts for later, you slip the note into your pocket and hurry along after the rest of the search party.

With something else to occupy your mind, the tedium of the search becomes significantly more bearable, and you find your thoughts drifting back to the note in your pocket several times. A few odd looks from Satori make it clear that she knows about it, but she doesn't ask any questions and you couldn't answer them even if she did; just as the note writer intended by telling you not to open it until later, you eventually realize. For a while, you consider just disregarding the writer's instructions and showing it to Satori explicitly, but you decide against it in the end; as much as you'd like to be able to trust her that fully, you just can't yet.

Eventually, the group makes it back to where it started, with nothing to show for its efforts except generating another laundry list of reasons for the council head as to why you'll have to come back for another search. As Satori and the council head hammer out the details of that next search with surprising civility, you excuse yourself once more and take your leave from the main foyer back into the twisty hallways of the mansion. Once you're far enough away that you don't think Satori can read your mind, you take out the note again and unfold it, revealing the message within.

I need your help as soon as possible. Sneak out the back onto the veranda. Don't let anyone see you, especially Lady Satori.
Orin

Accompanying the single line of writing is a small drawing, which you recognize as a crude drawing of the first floor of the palace. A small line traces a path from the foyer you just left through to a gap which must be a back door out of the palace, with a big X marking what you assume is the point you're supposed to stop at.

...'Suspicious' would be putting it lightly. If somebody really wanted to lure you away and kill you, this would be a textbook example of how. What would Orin need your help for, anyway? For the second time, you consider showing it to Satori, or to someone else, or just throwing the thing away and ignoring it entirely. Besides, even if it is legitimate, aren't you sneaking around enough people's backs already?

And yet...

"Damn it." Cursing softly to yourself, you shove the paper back into your pocket and set back out into the hallway. The naive hero who falls for all the villain's traps usually wins in the end, right?

...Just as long as this isn't supposed to be a tragedy.

"...Ugh."

The route to your destination is surprisingly straightforward, compared to previous attempts to navigate the palace; it's nearly a straight shot down the hallway you're in out to the exterior. Pushing open another set of double doors, smaller than the ones in the main entryway, you step out the 'veranda', which, as far as you can tell, means 'porch with delusions of grandeur'. Granted, the mesh screen to keep the bugs out is a nice touch, but a roof? What good does that do underground? It's not as though precipitation is an iss--

The first strike hits you square on top of the head, sending you staggering forward. Reflexively, you bring a hand to the back of your head, but the adrenaline is already kicking in to dull the pain, and you spin in place, still off-balance, to confront your attacker. As soon as you do, you feel something sharp scrape its way down your back, just barely grazing your skin as it loudly tears through your shirt. Wide-eyed, you swing your head around again and throw out a wild punch, hoping to connect with whatever--

"Mrew."

...A cat. With two tails. Your heart begins to sink from its position in your throat back into your chest as each new second passes without another attack, and slowly, you begin to piece together what just happened.

"Did you... just jump on my head?" That first strike was a little too soft to be a death blow.

"Mrow."

You're not sure if cats are actually capable of facial expressions, but this one looks a little too smug for your liking.

"I'm leaving, Orin."

"Oh, c'moooon!" The moment you turn away, something much more pleasant than cat claws presses into your back, and a pair of arms wrap themselves around you, holding you back. "I was just having fun!"

So it was her. "You're the one who sent that ghost, too?"

"Yep!" Releasing you, she takes a step backwards and strikes a pose, raising one hand into the air palm up, and a second later, a ghost just like the one you saw rises through the floor to circle her outstretched arm. "Cool, right?"

"What do you want?" you reply, pinching the bridge of your nose. You definitely should have ignored that letter.

"Oh, don't be like that! It was funny!"

"Fine, fine, it was hilarious. Now what do you want?"

Orin doesn't respond for a moment, and her smirking grin dims slightly. "I need your help."

"With?"

"I need you to... talk to someone," she says, twisting one foot against the ground.

Talk to someone? Who? Why you? "...Keep going."

"She's a friend of mine, another one of Lady Satori's pets. She's..." Orin pauses for a moment, biting the tip of her thumb nervously. "A little while ago, something strange happened, and she... changed. She got stronger, but she went weird in the head."

"'Weird'?"

"She's... always angry, even if there's nothing to be angry about. And she used to be really friendly, but now she's all quiet, and she won't talk to me much anymore, and when she does, it's always about how she wants to..." She stops herself midway, turning her head away, and you catch a glint of tears forming in her eyes when she looks back at you to speak. "She's just different, okay?! It's like it's not even her anymore!"

Whatever the deal with this situation is, it clearly means something to her. "What can I do to help?" you ask softly, trying to effect an air of sympathy.

At that, Orin leans closer to you, a bit of the bounce coming back into her voice. "You're good at talking. You kept Lady Satori and that oni from getting into a fight." Another little lean forward, and her face is almost uncomfortably close to yours. "If you can calm her down, everything will be fine. I just need a little more time to..." Again, she trails off into mumbles, then abruptly cuts herself off, looking back at you with a hopeful smile. "So would you?"

...You still don't get it. "Why me? How am I going to do anything talking to someone I don't even know that you can't do talking to a friend?"

"I told you," Orin says glumly, "she doesn't listen to me anymore."

"What about Satori? You said this friend is another... pet, didn't you?"

"Well, that's..."

"And just why did I have to keep this a secret from Satori?"

"That's because..." Orin mumbles, leaning away and beginning to fidget again. "If Lady Satori finds out, it'll be big trouble. Ok-- uh, my friend is a good girl, she's just a little confused! I don't want her to--"

"So why don't I just talk to Satori, instead?" you interrupt, motioning with your hands for Orin to calm down. "I'm sure I can convince her not to--"

"No!" Her fists clench tight by her sides, and she lifts herself up onto the balls of her feet, literally bouncing with frustration. "You can't! That won't... you just can't!"

"So you're saying your friend has done something that Satori won't forgive her for?"

"N-no! She hasn't done anything! It's just... I just can't tell, okay?!" she shouts. "That's why I'm asking you for help! So just..."

...No way. You aren't buying it. "Orin. What aren't you telling me?"

At your question, Orin goes bright red, the cat ears on her head standing straight up as her fidgeting grows even more intense. "Wha-- ah, no! I'm n-not not telling y-- I mean, I'm telling y-- I'm not hiding--" she sputters, trying to deny it a dozen different ways all at once. "I mean..."

"You need to tell me, Orin," you say firmly, trying to piece together just what the actual situation here is. Something she came to you for specifically, rather than Satori, or for that matter, anyone else she knows... "Does this have something to do with everything else that's going on down here?" you ask cautiously.

If her gasp hadn't given it away, the way she tries to hide it by covering her mouth immediately afterward would have. After a moment of stunned silence, she turns her eyes away from yours and bites her thumbnail anxiously again.

"If I tell you, then Lady Satori will find out." She's barely speaking loud enough for you to hear now, and you can hear her voice crack as she says Satori's name. "And if she finds out, then something really bad will happen." And then she looks back at you, no longer trying to hide the tears in her eyes. "So I can't tell you unless you promise to help me, okay? You just have to trust me, okay?"

You swallow once, staring down Orin's teary face with as much composure as you can muster. You want to help her, but the thought of burying yourself any deeper into the web of lies that seems to surround this palace isn't a pleasant one. Still... is this a chance to finally get to the bottom of things around here?

"Okay?"

[ ] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.
[ ] ...No. You'll let her keep her secret, but you don't want to be involved.

---

So, uh, yeah. My bad.
>> No. 5101
It's aliiiiiiiiiiiiive~

[X] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.

Hmm. Fridge logic says she'd read our mind anyway after the fact, but I guess if talking works out okay...eh. Sticky wicket.
>> No. 5102
[X] ...No. You'll let her keep her secret, but you don't want to be involved.
>> No. 5103
[X] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.

Oh boy Utsuho time!

>Eyjafjallajökull
I laughed.
>> No. 5104
[x] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.
>> No. 5105
[X] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.

And the hole gets deeper.
>> No. 5106
[X] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.
>> No. 5107
[X] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.
>> No. 5108
File 127537302325.jpg - (82.75KB, 640x512, 50db51633976d6e9c7d63fe5eb4bec38.jpg) [iqdb]
5108
[x] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.
Updates.
>> No. 5109
File 127537732950.png - (115.57KB, 276x300, Soku-portrait-utsuho.png) [iqdb]
5109
[x] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.

UPDATES!
>> No. 5110
>...'Suspicious' would be putting it lightly. If somebody really wanted to lure you away and kill you, this would be a textbook example of how. What would Orin need your help for, anyway? For the second time, you consider showing it to Satori, or to someone else, or just throwing the thing away and ignoring it entirely. Besides, even if it is legitimate, aren't you sneaking around enough people's backs already?

Somehow I get the feeling that If glas put a choice there, most would've chosen not to go.

Anyway...

[X] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.

sounds fine by me. Yay for megalomaniacal Okuu!
>> No. 5111
[x] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.
>> No. 5112
[X] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.

Orin better provide something in a way as back up for this...
>> No. 5113
in b4 firey bad end
>> No. 5114
[x] ...No. You'll let her keep her secret, but you don't want to be involved.

Doing this means lying to Yuugi.
>> No. 5115
>>5114

Taizo is already keeping secrets from Yuugi.
>> No. 5116
>>5115
>Taizo is already keeping secrets from Yuugi.

If things manage to work out peacefully it may be the one and only time Yuugi is willing to accept deception; considering it would have been done in all of the best interests of the underground natives.

Worst thing that could happen would be Taizo being forced into the life of an altruistic hobo on the streets of the ancient city.
>> No. 5118
Lying and keeping secrets aren't necessarily the same thing.

>Worst thing that could happen would be Taizo being forced into the life of an altruistic hobo on the streets of the ancient city.
Why should that happen? This idea makes me sad.
>> No. 5119
>>5116
Do note that we haven't actually /lied/ to Yuugi, just avoided mentioning some things.
>> No. 5120
[x] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.

>>5114
How so? And how is better to keep it secret that Orin knows something? We already know too much, might as well get the full story here.
>> No. 5121
I have to say, I really like the other oni in the story. They're diverse character each with their own agendas and motivations, and even though some of them are quite contrary to the main character, they're quite likeable.

Even though we might not see eye to eye with Aoki, I'm sure we can agree with him on the matter of Yuugi's rack.

Great stuff, glasnost.
>> No. 5122
[x] ...No. You'll let her keep her secret, but you don't want to be involved.

We've already assembled a web of lies that would make Yamame blush.
>> No. 5123
File 127545890040.jpg - (535.15KB, 700x900, 6619884.jpg) [iqdb]
5123
>>5121
Agreed. As remarkable as the memorable, endearing, and out-right enjoyable characterization of the SA cast glasnostEyjafjallajökull has presented, I think his original cast of characters is just as developed and incredible. Really feels like Aoki, Kisaburou, Rasetsu, etc. could have easily been canon if Zun didn't dread illustrating someone with a dick.

Also: the very first thread of the story is now on the last page of /others/

>"I... think she has an excellent rack."

Fucking signed
>> No. 5124
[x] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.

Now we're in SA territory, but I suspect the crop destruction might have been the result of two things: Okuu's burst of power and Kanako's trying to contact it.

As far Aoki's opinion of the Youkai? Well it's a biased and close minded, ironically much like other races' opinion of the Oni themselves. It's also ignorant of the fact some were put down there for seeming bad regardless of actual intent.

I do wonder if this story would ever go into the details of that time... perhaps in another route.
>> No. 5125
[ ] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.

Alright, let's see if we can talk that bird brain down.
>> No. 5126
[ ] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.
>> No. 5128
[x] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.
-[x] You do remember she can read minds don't you? I won't tell, but she can find out about it anyway.
>> No. 5129
>>5128

She only reads the current thoughts, so as long as you don't think about it you should be fine.

Also Orin has been avoiding her lately, the only time she has been together with Satori was when Fafnir got hurt, and Orin obviously had other things on her mind than Okuu at that moment.
>> No. 5131
Okay, let's give this "personal accountability" thing another crack. I think what I'm going to try is posting daily word count updates saged, then deleting them all once I post the actual update. Let me know if you think this is a very good/very bad idea, but if nothing else, it should stave off the temptation to not write anything at all on a given day, which has been a major productivity killer (and is apparently not good for you as a writer, either).

Currently at ~500 words.

(FYI, average update size is ~2,000 words, though I'm trying to avoid using that as a goal because it encourages me to be unnecessarily prolix.)
>> No. 5132
>>5131
Keep that mindset and try harder without giving reports. I am sure if you set yourself a goal it will work out.
but if nothing happens after a week or so keep us informed on the pgoress.
>> No. 5133
>>5131
There is the danger that to pad the word count you'll just write down /something/ and when you come back to it a bit later you'll hate what you wrote and redo it. There's even a danger of this starting a repeating pattern. But other than that, I guess it's at least worth trying out.
>> No. 5134
>>5131

Just don't write for the sake of writing and that will work.
>> No. 5135
>"I... think she has an excellent rack."

A point very few people would dare dispute.
>> No. 5136
~800 words. Friday was a wash due to my awful laptop, unfortunately.

>>5132
>I am sure if you set yourself a goal it will work out.
I really, really wish this was true, but it just ain't so.
>> No. 5137
[x] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.
[x] "You owe me, bigger than big time."

>>5122
>We've already assembled a web of lies that would make Yamame blush.
I snickered.
>> No. 5138
File 127585844995.jpg - (185.14KB, 750x900, a930c72bc60e71e2784ee9baabf4d846.jpg) [iqdb]
5138
>>5136

200 words to go! Keep at it!
>> No. 5139
~1,100 words. Slow progress is slow, but progress.

>>5138
You seem to be operating under an incorrect set of assumptions, but thanks anyhow.
>> No. 5140
>>5139

Yeah, I don't know how I misread 2,000 as 1,000. Good luck regardless.
>> No. 5141
File 127591528577.jpg - (713.63KB, 963x900, deliciousears.jpg) [iqdb]
5141
I believe in you.
>> No. 5142
>>5139
I don't want to sound like an ass but can you make a thread in /words/ where you tell us the progress?
It would kind of fill up the whole thread instead of comments and votings.
>> No. 5150
>>5142
A capital idea. See >>/words/707.
>> No. 5169
*sigh*
>> No. 5172
*POKE*
>> No. 5173
>>5172

Hey now, no bumping.

You're giving us hope.
>> No. 5174
checking this daily makes me kinda depressed
>> No. 5179
Are you people bitching even checking the /words/ thread? He gives fairly consistent updates there.
>> No. 5180
>>5179

Yes. I still like to bitch in the main thread.
>> No. 5184
>>5179
If by consistent you mean one telling us that he's not dead yet, then yes I have been checking.
>> No. 5187
You obviously didn't see them all.
>> No. 5188
Only 41 days since the last update. But that's ok glasnost, I love you so it really really doesn't matter if you take a whole year to update. It's nice that you write for us at all. No, it's really ok if you just procrastinate the fuck out of time, we won't mind. Take all the time you want, there is a lot of it in the world. Even if you take a year to make an update this should finish before I die.
>> No. 5189
>>5188
Check the /words/ topic, he posted a status update there.
>> No. 5190
File 127893562149.jpg - (350.65KB, 640x640, 5ef61b3da7798ffa210bf33bb81842d7.jpg) [iqdb]
5190
He wouldn't break a promise, right?

...right?
>> No. 5191
File 127916990416.jpg - (106.66KB, 1200x1600, 11875758.jpg) [iqdb]
5191
You're going to finish this. That much I know for sure. You'll take your time, and that's okay too. But when you do finish, mark my words, it will be glorious.

Until then, though, I/we crave more.
>> No. 5205
>>5150
Are you even trying?
>> No. 5243
Well, uh, now I lost my faith in you.
>> No. 5244
File 128001921083.jpg - (588.53KB, 2025x2969, 75.jpg) [iqdb]
5244
>>5243
Me too.

---

[X] ...You'll do it. You can't bring yourself to turn Orin down when she's like this.

"...Okay." You can feel yourself regretting your decision already, but you couldn't live with yourself if you didn't try to help her, somehow. "I'll trust you."

"Y-you," Orin stutters, brushing her tears away and staring up at you, "you'll help me?"

"I'll help yo--agh!" You don't even manage a full sentence before Orin is upon you, arms wrapped around your body in a hug that feels like it might break you in two.

"Thank you!" she cries, her near-shout muffled as she buries her face in your chest. "Thank you, thank you! T-thank you!"

"E-easy there," you say as soothingly as possible, prying one of your arms free from her death grip. "It's not th--"

"I was so scared..." Even muffled as she is, you can hear the tears creeping back into her voice as she presses herself against you even tighter, grabbing handfuls of your shirt. "I don't know what I was going to do if you didn't help me..."

"A-ah..." Hesitantly, you bring your free arm around to lay on her shoulders, gently returning her hug. You knew she wouldn't make a request like this lightly, but you didn't realize she was this worried.

And you have no idea how to respond, you realize, as she remains latched to you a few awkward seconds later. "Uh... there, there," you say soothingly, patting her back softly; her grip loosens slightly in response, but she doesn't pull away, and you can hear her mumble something indistinct as she sniffles into your shirt. "Hm?" She murmurs once again; too quiet for you to hear, but loud enough that you can feel her vocal cords vibrating through your hand on her shoulder. You lean your head in a little closer to listen once more, but all your ears pick up is a quiet hummi--

A quiet purring, you realize in a flash of insight. That's... pretty cute, actually. You may have to reevaluate your first impression of Orin; up to now, she's just been an annoying person to you, but it seems like she might be easier to deal with if you go with the impression you're getting from her now: that of an overenergetic cat.

An impression that's only reinforced as she finally stirs, nuzzling your chest briefly before releasing you from the hug and rubbing her eyes with her hands.

...Or she may have just been wiping her nose on your shirt. Ew.

"Anyway, let's go! Let's go!" Taking a short step backward, she shoots you a big smile and waves you onward once before bounding away, slipping through the door out of the veranda to the exterior of the palace. You follow after her, stepping through the door in time to catch sight of her tails vanishing into the space between the floor of the veranda and the ground.

"Wait up!" you call after her, leaping down the short set of stairs to the ground and crawling into the same area you saw her enter.

The space under the veranda is just how you would have expected it to be, had you been expecting to crawl around under someone's porch today; damp and dark, and cramped enough that both you and Orin have to crawl on your hands and knees to get anywhere. Unsurprisingly, Orin's much faster at this mode of travel than you, and she doesn't even bother reverting to her cat form as she makes her way back toward the outer wall of the house itself.

Which is a good thing, considering that you still have things you need to talk to her about. "Orin, you know I still have to be involved in the palace searches, right?" you ask as you approach her. "I'll keep this a secret as long as I can, but there's nothing I can do to stop Satori from reading my mind."

"Oh, that's okay! I'll tell her myself after you talk to Okuu!" she says cheerily, her mood clearly having taken a turn for the better, as she digs at the ground around the wall, without bothering to look up at you. "I just couldn't tell you anything unless I knew you were going to help me!"

Hm. You're not quite sure what she has planned for you that'll change things so drastically, but you won't question her logic if it means you're going to get some answers. "So that means you can tell me things now?"

"Uh, yeah! What did you want to--ah, here!" Orin cuts herself short as she finally locates what she was looking for on the ground: a big iron ring, thick and heavy-looking like an antique door knocker, bolted to the ground somehow. Squirming around in the limited space, she finds enough room to lean back, dig her heels in, and pull--

--and the ground goes with her. Slowly at first, then quicker as she begins to put more weight into it, the piece of stone attached to the metal ring slides across the ground, revealing a pitch-black hole underneath; one big enough for a person to fit down, you note, by the time Orin gives up on pulling, letting herself fall onto her butt with a hefty sigh. Before you even have time to confirm your suspicions, though, she's up again, literally throwing herself through the hole feet-first without so much as a glance back at you. You hear the soft clatter of her landing a second later, and peer down into the hole after her, only to find that there's not enough light for you to see where the ground is, let alone Orin.

"Come on down, Taizou!" Even hearing her voice doesn't help; you know she can't be too far away, but the combined echo of whatever the room below ground and the veranda above ground make it impossible to pinpoint a location.

"How far down is it? I can't see," you call back after another moment of staring futilely into the blackness.

"Just 20 or 30 feet! C'mon, hurry up!"

"...Which one of those two, exactly?"

"Oh, you're not gonna die or anything! Just c'mooooon!"

"I'm not comfortable with you assessing my possible mortality."

"Well, it's not like there's any other way down," Orin fires back sharply. "Of course, I can catch you, if you're really that scaaared!"

...This is the same girl who was crying into your shirt about ninety seconds ago? You nearly sling an insult right back at her along those lines, but in the end, you decide to keep the high ground morally, even as you surrender it physically.

"No, thank you," you reply tersely, inching your dangling legs further and further into the abyss while keeping both hands firmly planted on the ground above. "Just get out of the way."

No response. You swing your feet back and forth a few times, some small part of you still trying to get a vague sense of the distance below you. Even 30 feet should be fine, right? Just roll onto your back when you land to absorb the impact, just like you learned in karate. Easy stuff.

...Yeah.

Your butt can't get any closer to the edge of the hole without sliding off, and looking down, you notice your knuckles are bright white, clutching the rough rock as though your life depended on it. Which, actually, isn't that far fr--

"Okay, count of three!" you say to nobody in particular, clapping your hands together once in a show of resolve. "On--AUGH!"

Before you can even get the first word out, something brushes your feet, and you don't even have time to recoil before a hand latches around one of your ankles, pulling you past the edge with a single sharp tug. You spread your arms wide, trying to catch hold of something to stop your fall, but it's too late; your chest hits the edge of the hole, and then you're falling.

Your heart beats about a hundred times in the two second span of your fall, and you let out an shout of surprise as your left foot touches the ground first in the pitch blackness. You let your legs go limp a second too late to stop the shooting pain as one ankle tries to support the weight of your entire falling body, and as your other foot touches down, it's instinct alone that bends your neck forward and brings your arms down into a crude approximation of a proper fall. Any breath left in your lungs is forced out in a breathy grunt as you pull your heels out from under you, falling backwards to let your back and arms absorb the brunt of the punishment.

Lying flat against the cold stone, you have just enough time to note your good fortune in avoiding a blow to the head before the pain hits: first in your ankle, a feeling like your bones have been replaced with white-hot steel; then all the way up your back as the force of the impact soaks its way into your skin. Your head finally sinks gently to the ground and you let out a anguished moan, rolling partway onto your side to relieve the pain in your back.

That moan quickly turns to a shout, though, as that same pair of hands that grabbed your ankles goes for your wrists this time, pulling you to your feet in one clean jerk. Your momentum nearly sends you straight back down to the ground face-first, and you stagger forward a few steps to regain your balance, hissing involuntarily as your weight lands on what you suspect is a sprained ankle.

"Let's go, let's go, let's goooooo!"

Orin's nasal whine, from a few feet behind you. Before your brain even has time to process what's going on, you spin towards it, thrusting an arm toward the sound at shoulder level. As your hand meets fabric to the sound of a surprised yelp, you grab and pull, and suddenly, Orin's wide-eyed face is close enough that you can see it, even through the oppressive darkness.

"This arrangement of ours," you hiss, your eyes beginning to tear up at the pain in your ankle, "is not going to work if you kill me. You get that, right?"

"You were taking foreeeever!" Orin protests, her surprise fading into a pout as she easily pulls herself free from your grasp. "I don't even want your corpse anyway, you big jerk!" With a 'hmph', she turns on her heel and stomps off.

"..."

You take one last moment to contemplate just how badly this attempt at kindness could turn out for you before resigning yourself to the circumstances, limping off after her before you lose her into the darkness. Fortunately, your ankle isn't quite as messed up as you first thought; it's still tender, but you can hold some weight on it after a few minutes of walking, so it can't be anything worse than a sprain.

Although now that you're down below ground (er, deeper below ground), you're not sure that it matters how healthy you are. This is where that... thing was, the monster that nearly immolated you in the set of memories Koishi took; there's no amount of running that could keep you safe from that. At least Orin seems to know where she's going, even if it's not entirely clear how; there aren't any landmarks in sight, but she stops and changes directions every few minutes, clearly navigating using some other sense. Smell, maybe?

Well, whatever works. You've got more important questions to consider. "So what does this person you're taking me to see have to do with the crop destruction?" you ask Orin during one of your stops.

"She's the one who's doing it," she says flatly. "Well... her and me."

"And you?" You swear, if all that traipsing around the palace could have been avoided by asking the cat...

"But I only did it by accident!" Orin amends hurriedly, turning away from you and continuing to walk. "I had to figure out how to aim it!"

"Aim what? What were you even trying to do in the first place?"

"I was trying to get help! Some strong youkai from the surface or something! But instead..." She stares back at you pointedly for a few seconds before you catch on.

"Hey, if that's how you feel about my help, we can just turn around right now."

And now the teary-eyed helpless look again. Is it possible for cats to be bipolar? "So," you ask with a sigh, "you're saying the cave that showed up near the human village was your doing?"

Orin nods. "It took me a while to figure out how to work the emergency release controls, so I kept missing. That's why it took so long."

...If anything, that explanation made it more confusing. "Took you a while to figure out what?"

"The emergency release controls!" she repeats, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. You shoot her a dirty look, and she rolls her eyes at you. "For the fires of hell. Normally we wouldn't ever have to use them, but ever since Okuu started acting weird and not doing her job, the energy has been building up. If we didn't let it out by opening holes to the surface, it'd be really bad. And I'm not the one who keeps destroying the crops!" Orin adds sullenly. "Okuu's the one doing that!"

"And this is the person you want me to talk to?" you ask. "She sounds positively charming."

"It's not her fault!" Orin protests hotly. "She's... she's... I don't know, okay?! She's just been acting weird! She's not a bad person!"

"Fine, fine," you say, acquiescing before Orin has a chance to start up the waterworks again. "But I still don't see what you expect me to do here."

"It's just... she's been talking lately like she's going to do something."

"Something like?"

"I don't know for sure. She... doesn't really talk to me much anymore." Orin pauses for a moment, then turns away again, continuing to walk. "But she's been all... philosophical lately. Talking about big things." Another pause. "Bad things."

"And yet you still think keeping her from getting in trouble is worth hiding these big, bad things from Satori?"

"It's more than that!" This time she's more angry than sad, coming to a stop once again to turn towards you and stomp her foot for effect. "What if Lady Satori doesn't--"

Before you can find out what Satori might not do, Orin stops herself with a slight gasp, and she freezes like a deer that just heard a twig snap, her ears perking up as she wide-eyed into the distance.

"Orin? Is something th--"

"We gotta go!" Before you can ask why, Orin lunges out, grabbing hold of your wrist, and the two of you are off at a pace that sends the pain in your ankle flaring up again. Sensing Orin's fear, you hobble along with her for as long as you can, but you couldn't run this fast even if you weren't injured; when you finally hit a misstep in your awkward gallop, your legs fall out from under you, and you're literally dragged along for a few steps before you manage to wrench your wrist out of Orin's grasp.

"O-Orin!" you cough, forcing yourself out of the dirt and up onto your feet as the catgirl skids to a halt, turning to retrieve you. "What are y--"

"Taizou! Get up, we have to--"

And then she's gone, and your vision is filled with a wall of flame.

---

Continued in next post.
>> No. 5245
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5245
You stumble backwards, frantically trying to look in all directions at once to avoid the next attack. but even as you do, the memories of your last trip down here return, and you know where this fire came from before you finally lay eyes on its source: that same indistinct, bird-like shape as last time, hefting a sphere as bright as the sun over its head off in the distance.

It was obvious, really, when you think about it. You're in a cavern beneath the palace, just like that time; how many people did you think would live in a place like this?

It really is going to happen just like before, down to your very last thought, isn't it? Except Koishi isn't here to save you this time. The same helplessness as back then fills you once again as the shape releases its attack towards you, and your feet stay planted, even as the heat of the miniature sun flying towards you begins to scorch your face. You're not going to get anywhere; why bother to run? Better to just stay here and--

"Come on!"

You're broken from your reverie by a strike to the gut, and before you can figure out what's going on, your feet are off the ground, lifted up by some force beneath you. Even as you begin to move, though, your eyes stay with that ball of fire, transfixed, until it becomes too bright to look at directly, and by then, a new one has formed again back at the source, prepared to fire once more.

"Okuu!" Orin's voice, from below you. She's carrying you, you realize, her arms wrapped around your legs as your upper body dangles limply over her shoulder. "Okuu, it's me! Stop shooting!"

The thing fires the new bullet before Orin can even finish speaking, heedless of her cries, and you watch this one too as Orin hastily maneuvers around it and veers towards its source, shouting all the while. It's not until the third shot that her pleas finally register with the thing, and the last of the bullets simply winks out of existence, plunging the cavern back into darkness.

And sending you back down to the ground. With the danger gone, Orin drags you off of her shoulder wordlessly, and you land in a disheveled heap at her feet, still trying to collect yourself. With the danger gone, the fog that had fallen over your mind seems to evaporate as well, and you're left trying to piece together what just happened. Was that... normal, the way you froze up like that?

"Hey." Either way, Orin doesn't look too pleased about it, scowling down at you tensely. "Have you snapped out of it yet?"

"...Yeah. Sorry." What you snapped out of, you're still not sure, but you feel much better now than you did a few moments ago. (Although you suppose not getting shot at tends to have that effect on people.) Pulling yourself to your feet, you brush yourself off and look around, your vision slowly returning after the sudden change in brightness.

"Come on." As Orin begins walking again, your eyes pick out a shape against the horizon; still a fair distance away, but close enough that you can pick up some details. A small lamp, held at chest height, brightens the area around her just enough for you to see its holder: a girl, dressed in a white shirt and green skirt, with long black hair...

...and wings to match. You'd realized it for a while now, but something about that particular fact really drives the idea home for you: the thing that's tried to kill you twice now and 'Okuu' are one and the same.

"Orin, is this... really safe?"

"It's fine." Well, isn't that reassuring. If anything, Orin looks even more tense than you are, eyes locked on her destination as she marches stiffly onward, and you follow her in silence.

Okuu is sitting on a small rock formation, staring off into the distance, and she doesn't bother to look up as the two of you finally arrive next to her. The first thing you notice, now that you're close enough to really look at her, is that your first glance from a distance was wrong: that light wasn't from a lamp, but from... well, you're not really sure what it is. It's fire, you're sure of that much; trapped in a glass sphere positioned just below Okuu's breasts and burning away despite the lack of any visible material to burn. There's something else in there with it, too; a thin, black sliver of unidentifiable material stuck to the inner wall of the glass. Looking at it from straight on, the whole thing gives the illusion of a reptile's eye, glaring straight ahead out of Okuu's chest.

Or... is it an illusion? Part of you wants to believe that the thing's just an odd fashion accessory, but the way it pulses rhythmically, the flames within kicking up and dying down in regular intervals, makes you wonder what sort of magic could possibly fuel such a thing.

"See? I brought him!" Orin speaks first, after it becomes clear that Okuu isn't going to acknowledge her. "And I didn't have to force him, either!"

"So you have." Okuu's speech is quiet and deliberate, like an actor reading a dramatic monologue, and you're struck by her deep, resonant voice.

"...So?"

"So." Okuu responds lazily, still facing away from the two of you. She seems more than content to stay that way up until Orin bounds in front of her, sticking her face right in front of the other girl's.

"You said you would stop this if he came," she whines accusatorily, with a pout jutting out far enough to put someone's eye out.

"I said that if there were still humans willing to meet me face to face," Okuu said, slowly drawing herself up off of the rock to her full height, "then perhaps there were also still humans worth speaking to. Nothing more." Orin tries gamely to keep herself in Okuu's face as she turns to face you, but the winged girl has at least six inches on her and, by the looks of it, no inclination to pay her any mind. "So, human. You wish to speak to me?"

This is it. You still barely understand what Orin wants you to do, but if you're going to do it, it's going to have to be now. "That's right," you say, drawing yourself up a little straighter and offering her a handshake. "And it's Taizou. Pleasure to meet you."

"Taizou." Your hand goes ignored as Okuu narrows her eyes at you, as though carefully considering something. "You are from the surface?"

"Yes."

"How are youkai treated in your villages, Taizou?"

So you're getting straight to business, it seems. A week ago, you wouldn't have even understood the question, but after everything you've talked about with Yuugi, you're already beginning to see where she's going with this. "...Generally speaking, they are excluded," you say.

"And why do you imagine that is?"

But just because you can see it doesn't mean you have to follow her there. "I believe there are several reasons," you begin carefully, formulating your argument even as you speak, "including misconceptions a--"

"Do not talk your way around my questions," Okuu interrupts sharply, the eye in her chest shining bright red in time with her words. "What is the reason that humans struggle so hard to segregate themselves from youkai?"

Well, so much for that plan. "Because... youkai can be dangerous to humans."

"Wrong." That eye flashes red again, but there's no rancor in her voice this time. "If that were the case, you would never have dared associate with Rin, let alone any of the other occupants of the city Rin tells me you are involved with."

"Which is precisely why I'm saying that the issue is more complex than your question presumes," you protest smoothly, forcing yourself to continue to choose your words carefully. If this is going to be a guessing game, you're tired of it already. "People from the village may not understand that they don't have to fear being--"

"Fear." Okuu interrupts you again, seizing on your own word with a note of finality in her voice. "Fear is the issue."

"That's--"

"Justified or not, fear is the sole reason that humans separate themselves from youkai. There is no space for disagreement on this point."

"..." Well, as much as you may dislike it, there really isn't much to disagree with when she puts it like that.

"Taizou, do you know why I live underground?"

"Because you're feared." As soon as you say it, you give yourself a mental slap. You're not going to get anywhere playing call and response with her, dammit!

"And why do you think I was feared?"

"Because you've been destroying crops intended for--"

"Wrong. I asked you why I was feared, not why I might be feared today." Before you have a chance to interrupt and break the flow of her questioning, she spins on her heel, clasping her hands behind her back and taking a few slow paces away from you. "Shall I tell you how I was driven underground, Taizou?" she asks without turning around.

"I don't see how that bears any relevance to--"

"It is one of my earliest memories, from a time when I had only barely gained consciousness of myself." Well, great, it looks like it's story time. "Just after the break of dawn. My attention was on the rabbits leaving their burrows before it was on the men who had set up camp. 'Too big to eat, too slow to attack me.' Six... no, seven of them." She chuckles to herself lightly, but you don't catch any signs of a smile on her face as she turns around, pacing back toward you once more.

"Perhaps time has taken its toll, after all. I no longer remember their faces. Not even the killer." Another chuckle, this one accompanied by a tight-lipped smirk. "I remember their gasping, dying breaths as he slit their throats one by one as they slept. The sound scared the prey." She takes a glance up at your stricken face and turns her back on you again, continuing to pace. "And I remember the meal the flock had, once we realized they were dead. And, of course, I remember when the village came for us. "

"Most of us were killed instantly. Many of those who weren't died before their feet left the ground." Her voice darkens into a throaty growl, but you still can't find any trace of emotion on her face as she paces toward you. "I don't remember why I chose a cave, of all places, to escape. I don't remember how I survived the cave-in. I remember even less from the days that followed." That stone face of hers finally begins to crease with anger before she turns away from you yet again, hiding it from view. "But I could scarcely forget the first words of human speech I ever learned."

"'To hell with you.' 'Murderer.' 'Devil.'" Her steps falter for a moment, and the red glow projected in front of her feet flickers, the steady rhythm interrupted with a bright pulse of light. "As though we were to blame. As though I had ever harmed a human in my life. As though it was possible to mistake six humans with their throats slit for victims of a youkai attack. As though killing us would have returned anyone to life."

"Taizou, do you know why Lady Satori lives underground?"

The question breaks the spell that Okuu's monologue seemed to cast on you, and you can only sputter confusedly before she begins again, turning to face you. "Did you believe she was here of her own accord? Or perhaps that she had committed some wrongdoing on the surface that led to her exile? Or that she was anything less than the person she is today when she was--"

"Okuu, don't--"

"Silence, Rin." The curt rebuke hits Orin like a slap, and she shrinks away from the conversation, what little bravery she had mustered up to speak vanished.

Okuu doesn't waste a second longer before turning her full attention back to you, now within arm's reach. "And have you considered for even an instant the reason that the oni are so intent on investigating Lady Satori? Or just what will happen when they have found her guilty? Where she will go? What will become of those she is forced to leave behind?"

For the first time in what seems like hours, she falls silent, staring at you coldly as she waits for your reply...

...and you say nothing. You know that she's twisting the situation, glossing over the facts, using her sob story to manipulate your emotions, ignoring your motives for getting involved, and a thousand retorts sit on the tip of your tongue... but after hearing her lay out the stark reality of the situation, the words to defend yourself just won't come to you.

"Hysterical, reactionary fear." After another few seconds of waiting, Okuu finally turns away, beginning to pace again. "And the mindless hatred that accompanies it. I had believed that the oni, of all cultures, would be able to overcome such emotions. I had hoped that our confinement to the underground would be a blessing in disguise. A land where we would have true equality, at long last..." A bit of emotion creeps into her speech again, and you can hear her voice crack slightly. "...But it seems such a place no longer exists in this world."

Her pace away from you slows for a moment, and she bows her head in silence. When she speaks again, she is resolute, with no sign of uncertainty.

"There will be change."

"What..." The gravity of the situation finally releases its hold on your tongue, and you ask the first question that comes to mind. "What are you going to do?"

At your words, Utsuho's pacing abruptly stops, and she stands, back turned, a few feet away from you. From where you're standing, you can't see that eye anymore, but the glow that falls over the ground before her tells you that it's begun to pulse again, a darker shade of red than before.

"What?" The light pulses again, flickering even more quickly now, and Okuu turns back towards you, the cold anger plain on her face. "What am I going to do, you ask?" The light from the eye is shining continuously now, almost too bright to stand, and sharp shadows fall over Okuu's face as she looks you dead in the eye...

...and smiles.

"Topple the buildings, one by one, until none remain. Turn the cities to dust." She takes a step closer to you, and you can see the space around her shimmer, a superheated layer of air floating a few inches above her skin. "Burn the forests. Raze the farms. Salt the soil. Scorch the earth." Another step, and you can literally feel the heat radiating off of her. "Boil the lakes, melt the mountains to slag, quench the sun and the moon and put a new light in their place." She's reaching out towards you now, her hand glowing like a poker out of a fire, and her mad, wide-eyed grin seems to paralyze you. "And every living being in my sight... youkai or human... will--"

The searing pain as her hand touches your throat breaks you from your trance, and you lash out, striking her arm away and taking a step back out of her reach, readying yourself for another attack. The light in her chest burns a pure, bright white, and for a horrible moment, Okuu's face is twisted with pure rage, glaring straight at you with the intent to kill plain on her face.

But the moment passes, her glare receding into a simple frown before she turns away from you once more.

"I will burn everything." The light in her chest is back to its normal rhythm, too, pulsing in time with her words. "The world that remains will be one where irrational hatred will no longer be an option for those who wish to survive. All beings will come together as one... or they will die alone."

...She's insane. A genocidal maniac. Everything Orin said about how she's a good person, every ounce of empathy you might have for her or her situation; none of it changes that simple fact. It's not safe to be anywhere near her; the bright red burn on your hand from that split second of contact is proof enough of that.

...And you promised to talk to her. You don't know what Orin thought you were going to be able to get out of this alive, let alone change this girl's mind, but you have to say something.

[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 5246
File 128001927838.jpg - (12.62KB, 204x251, 1249434550054.jpg) [iqdb]
5246
>>5244
>> No. 5248
File 128002355827.jpg - (134.20KB, 392x423, hate.jpg) [iqdb]
5248
>>>5245
>"I will burn everything." The light in her chest is back to its normal rhythm, too, pulsing in time with her words. "The world that remains will be one where irrational hatred will no longer be an option for those who wish to survive. All beings will come together as one... or they will die alone."

Pfft amateur

[x] So you're willing to not only repeat the same horrible events that you witness and experienced so long ago, but you're willing to kill as well as destroy those that care about you as well? Do you find etching new memories where you replay the massacre where you take on the role the humans who've wronged you very appealing? Do those that care about you mean so little? Once there is nothing left to destroy what then? life living on a dead rock all alone except with old and new haunting memories won't change how you feel; all that rage and perhaps sorrow you've kept inside for so long. The worst part of it all is that the very irrational hatred you so wish to rid the world of will still live on in you. In the end, once you've completed your plans, it will be you that will die alone.

Gave it my best shot~!
>> No. 5249
Hooray!
>Me too.
Stop this at once. You delivered and that is all that counts. Who cares if it's a bit late.
>> No. 5250
This is the exact opposite of the conversation we had with Yuugi back in >>>/others/13625 (hope that works). Yuugi is one side of the coin, Okuu is the other. They've each experienced the same thing from humans on the surface: initial general amicability, fulfilling roles as youkai, indiscrimiate hate from humans, and increasingly nasty treatment to the point of being chased away. One took it in stride, the other has let it fester. Presented with a human for the first time in a long time, one tolerated him and took the effort to educate him, while the other has tried to kill him multiple times and is unflichingly antagonistic.

The most noticeable difference between the two is their amount of experience. One has lived in the world for a while and can appreciate what to expect and how to deal with it, while the other is so young that their first experience with humans is
>"one of my earliest memories, from a time when I had only barely gained consciousness of myself."

That Okuu's response to the perceived situation is really no surprise: she honestly doesn't know any better. Even though she has received so much love and support from Satori and Rin, her first (and only) reaction to power is to burn everything to the ground. For the sake of uniting the survivors and eliminating conflict, no less. It's a delightfully human concept she has latched onto, as demonstrated by Taizo and Yuugi:
>"When you're up against an enemy that's stronger than you, you have to fight together to beat it." The smile drops off of her face, and she breaks eye contact, looking down at the table. "But you can't bring everyone together to fight unless everyone hates what you're fighting against. And the only way to do that..."

>"Is to make sure that everyone thinks what you're fighting against is something they hate," you finish.

While she hates them, Okuu is pretty influenced by human behavior. Maybe it's something to do with young birds and impressionability, I dunno.

The injection of Satori into this conversation is a pretty interesting phenomenon as well.
>And have you considered for even an instant the reason that the oni are so intent on investigating Lady Satori?
I'd like to think we've pondered this particular issue quite a bit, actually. I think our best understanding came from Yuugi:
>"Politics." Yuugi spits the word, like a curse. "Mostly just a pissin' contest for the Council now. The old bastards are bitter about not gettin' to rule over Hell with an iron fist, and they're takin' it out on her by pullin' these kind of stunts, sayin' they wanna inspect the palace to figure out what's going on. They ain't gonna do much more than turn all the furniture upside down and go home happy."

What has my interest piqued is the bit that was cut off by Orin:
>"Did you believe she was here of her own accord? Or perhaps that she had committed some wrongdoing on the surface that led to her exile? Or that she was anything less than the person she is today when she was--"

Was there something behind the decision of the Yama to send Satori to old Hell? Did she do something that merited her assignment to this position, or is Okuu not in the know?

>You don't know what Orin thought you were going to be able to get out of this alive, let alone change this girl's mind, but you have to say something.

She's woefully inexperienced, unfamiliar with this new found power, and has almost no context with which to understand the situation. It's a perfect storm for misunderstanding and lashing out. She can easily render Taizou into a pile of ash, but I still think she needs someone to take a firm stand.

[X] "Would you believe I've had a conversation like this not too long ago? With someone who enjoyed her life on the surface, delighted in her role as a 'youkai' amongst humans, had to watch her friends die and leave because of humans, and then had to live underground because of it?"
[X] "Do you know what she does now? She works every day to make sure everyone can live peacefully underground. She teaches ignorant young men about the truth, and how humans and youkai can live together. She makes sure oni don't tear down Satori's palace, and that Satori is fair to the rest of the Ancient City, even though no one asks or even wants her to. She fights for the opportunity for oni and youkai to live together, even if it means she has to live seperately from her own people."
[X] "She doesn't even have the people that protect, support, and love her like you do with Satori, Koishi, and Rin."
[X] "She won't shy from a fight, though. Be it with a human, oni, or youkai, she relishes in conflict. That's partly because of who she is, but I think she also understands that fighting is a natural consequence of there being more than one person on this planet. But instead of foreclosing and destroying opportunities with her fights, she creates them. It's because of those fights that I've gottent to know her, how I met Orin and Satori, how I've become an oni, how I drank one under the table, how I kept their leader from tearing the palace down, and how I met you."
[X] "You can set the world ablaze, abandon everyone, watch everything burn, and make it so anyone left only has one option to survive. Or you can work with us, challenge conventional wisdom, and create the better future you... we... deserve."

Avoiding the issue of why Satori was assigned to Hell for now. If that really is her main sticking point, addressing everything else should suss that out.

glasnost and AG anon in the same weekend? Did I die and go to heaven?
>> No. 5260
[x] So you're willing to not only repeat the same horrible events that you witness and experienced so long ago, but you're willing to kill as well as destroy those that care about you as well? Do you find etching new memories where you replay the massacre where you take on the role the humans who've wronged you very appealing? Do those that care about you mean so little? Once there is nothing left to destroy what then? life living on a dead rock all alone except with old and new haunting memories won't change how you feel; all that rage and perhaps sorrow you've kept inside for so long. The worst part of it all is that the very irrational hatred you so wish to rid the world of will still live on in you. In the end, once you've completed your plans, it will be you that will die alone.

This works. I was thinking about writing something about how much trouble she is causing Satori, but Rin must have told her about that by now. We need to hurry up and talk to Satori to somehow slow Okuu down long enough for Reimu/Marisa to arrive.
>> No. 5261
>Updates

The greatest of days.
>> No. 5263
[X] "Would you believe I've had a conversation like this not too long ago? With someone who enjoyed her life on the surface, delighted in her role as a 'youkai' amongst humans, had to watch her friends die and leave because of humans, and then had to live underground because of it?"
[X] "Do you know what she does now? She works every day to make sure everyone can live peacefully underground. She teaches ignorant young men about the truth, and how humans and youkai can live together. She makes sure oni don't tear down Satori's palace, and that Satori is fair to the rest of the Ancient City, even though no one asks or even wants her to. She fights for the opportunity for oni and youkai to live together, even if it means she has to live seperately from her own people."
[X] "She doesn't even have the people that protect, support, and love her like you do with Satori, Koishi, and Rin."
[X] "She won't shy from a fight, though. Be it with a human, oni, or youkai, she relishes in conflict. That's partly because of who she is, but I think she also understands that fighting is a natural consequence of there being more than one person on this planet. But instead of foreclosing and destroying opportunities with her fights, she creates them. It's because of those fights that I've gottent to know her, how I met Orin and Satori, how I've become an oni, how I drank one under the table, how I kept their leader from tearing the palace down, and how I met you."
[X] "You can set the world ablaze, abandon everyone, watch everything burn, and make it so anyone left only has one option to survive. Or you can work with us, challenge conventional wisdom, and create the better future you... we... deserve."

This seems appropriate.

>Updates
Looks like Taizou's gonna need a jacket, because it seems hell just froze over.
>> No. 5266
>>5250
this vote works for me.
>> No. 5277
>>5250
Yeah, this one, though it's a damn long one.

I wonder if Okuu's acting like this is due to her current revenge/desire or recent powerboost, or just if glasnost's main version isn't the "birdbrain" that usually gets portrayed.
>> No. 5280
...Well, I suppose this sort of turnout isn't unexpected. Called for >>5250 and writing. Incidentally, both of these write-ins are pretty awesome.

>>5266
>>5277
FYI, I usually don't count votes that don't have "[X]" or some similar structure in them, so as to avoid misconstruing discussion as additional votes.
>> No. 5282
>>5250
>the decision of the Yama to send Satori to old Hell
Wait, was that mentioned? I thought the youkai were driven underground by humans. Satori isn't dead.
>> No. 5283
[y] "Would you believe I've had a conversation like this not too long ago? With someone who enjoyed her life on the surface, delighted in her role as a 'youkai' amongst humans, had to watch her friends die and leave because of humans, and then had to live underground because of it?"
[X] "Do you know what she does now? She works every day to make sure everyone can live peacefully underground. She teaches ignorant young men about the truth, and how humans and youkai can live together. She makes sure oni don't tear down Satori's palace, and that Satori is fair to the rest of the Ancient City, even though no one asks or even wants her to. She fights for the opportunity for oni and youkai to live together, even if it means she has to live seperately from her own people."
[X] "She doesn't even have the people that protect, support, and love her like you do with Satori, Koishi, and Rin."
[X] "She won't shy from a fight, though. Be it with a human, oni, or youkai, she relishes in conflict. That's partly because of who she is, but I think she also understands that fighting is a natural consequence of there being more than one person on this planet. But instead of foreclosing and destroying opportunities with her fights, she creates them. It's because of those fights that I've gottent to know her, how I met Orin and Satori, how I've become an oni, how I drank one under the table, how I kept their leader from tearing the palace down, and how I met you."
[X] "You can set the world ablaze, abandon everyone, watch everything burn, and make it so anyone left only has one option to survive. Or you can work with us, challenge conventional wisdom, and create the better future you... we... deserve."

I am convinced.
>> No. 5284
>>5280

I thought we had a couple months to think about it, is all.

Bad only-half-jokes aside, I really did think we had a little more time, which is why I didn't want to cast my vote just yet before thinking the write-in through.

...Though, I ultimately decided to vote for it, so I suppose the point is moot.
>> No. 5285
File 128024863528.png - (29.02KB, 337x257, 1749121.png) [iqdb]
5285
>>5282
>Wait, was that mentioned? I thought the youkai were driven underground by humans.

>>/others/15894
>"I told you what Komeiji does nowadays, but I guess I left out a few things." Yuugi puts her elbows on the table and gestures with her hands. "Y'see, back when the Ancient City was still part of Hell, there was more to it than just torturin' sinners. Takin' care of the bodies, makin' sure all the reincarnated souls get sorted out right, all that kinda stuff. None of the oni wanted to do it, so the Yamas had to find someone else to put in charge, and she was it.

As far as Yuugi knows, the underground oni were having too much fun roasting sinners to take care of the 'administrative' aspects of Hell, so the Yamas put Satori in charge of that stuff.

Two questions come tome: does Yuugi have the story right, and if she does, why was Satori chosen? It's unlikely the story is a falsehood (unless she heard it from the youkai population as opposed to the oni), but it could be a generally believed misconception. Could also mean that there's more to the story than what Yuugi told us, but that's still makes her story (technically) true.

If Yuugi has her facts straight, the question comes down to "why?" Was Satori the best person for the job? Did she volunteer? Did the Yamas have a reason to shitcan her and stick her underground? Something to do with Koishi?

It's all a little shaky and I suspect Okuu has some surprises in store for us. Best we can do now is wait warmly~
>> No. 5286
>>5285
I think Satori was chosen due to her mind reading abilities, such a thing would help with sorting out sinners. I figure it was more Satori was driven somewhere when Higan asked for her help.
>> No. 5287
File 12802829959.jpg - (867.88KB, 819x1000, 2511620.jpg) [iqdb]
5287
>>5280
Hey man, you'd probably see plenty of variations on the themes presented with a ton of "me toos" and shitstorming if you let it run a week. It was also might have been a little stale, what with the magnitude of the situation. Anyway, excited to see what Taizou standing up to a hell raven with a god complex turns out.

Anyway, forgot to say in the rush to come up with a vote, but fantastic update. This one was something special; finally meeting Okuu after all this time was well worth it. Totally did not expect a menacing psychopath, but it does work well with the story you've presented. I liked her tone, the way she wanted to be in command of the conversation, but I really enjoyed Taizou's running internal commentary. It's nice to see someone that we've played up at being particularly sophisticated at conversing actually behaved that way without our prompting (or am I patting Anon's back too much with this observation?) We've latched onto the parallels between Okuu and Yuugi, and I'm anxious to see if that was deliberate or if it's anon reading what he wants into the situation.
What has me scratching my head was the leap down the dark hole bit. It was an interesting exercise in narration (particularly the physics of Taizou taking a nasty fall and the physical effects of such a fall; the white-hot steel was a great analogy) and revealed a little more about Rin's personality, but it seemed... superfluous? Tacked on? I don't know, I don't think it merited the attention it got in terms of detail. This is only compounded by Taizou's rudimentary understandings of flight. He even used it in a pinch when clearing the distance during the oni vs. tiger incident; why not there? Temporary amnesia due to stress or shock. Unless the sprained ankle is going to serve some function in the near future, I'm wondering about the motivation for that scene. It's nitpicky, yeah, but it really got to me.

>>5284
I think the fast call is a good indication: either glas feels good about the vote and can work with it well, he's capitalizing on some momentum in terms of writing, or possibly both.

Anyone want to take bets as to whether we'll be treated to a BAD END soon?
>> No. 5288
>>5245
Slowpoking I know but:

[x]"That's stupid."
--[x]"...You're stupid."
>> No. 5289
File 128030464341.png - (1.87MB, 1000x1494, 77.png) [iqdb]
5289
>>5250
One small thing about this write-in, though:
>how I've become an oni
Did this happen? Because I'm fairly sure this didn't happen.

>>5824
Sorry to blindside you, but it seems like every time I declare my intention to write, something screws things up for me. The superstitious approach seems to have paid off here, so the next vote will probably (maybe, hopefully) be called within a few days too.

>>5287
This post says several smart things which I will respond to once I've had some sleep. You dirty, low-down update picture stealer, you.

---

[X] >>5250

But what can you say? From where you're standing, it's easy to see that the means don't justify the ends, but you don't have to think too hard to realize that this girl won't even stop to consider an argument based on 'killing people is wrong'; if she was still capable of recognizing that much, there's no way she could have come up with a plan like this. There has to be a different angle you can take.

Except there's not. As much as it hurts to admit it, Okuu's summary of the problem is the simplest and most precise anyone could have come up with. You can blame it on misinformation, cultural differences, or any other number of factors, but in the end, it's fear that keep the oni and the other youkai separated. Thinking back to Aoki's warning to you about the other youkai sent down to the underground, you could almost laugh; even in hell itself, everyone's certain that it's the other guys who are the real monsters.

And the same is true above ground. If you had ever looked, you could have seen that much before you even came down here; as it is, you're reminded of it every day, by the sheer number of people forced into exile down here by humanity, and every night, in Yuugi's dreams of the past. Hell, you even began to understand it starting with your very first conversation with Yuugi.

...isn't that right?

"Would you believe," you begin, almost talking to yourself, "that I had a conversation a lot like this one not too long ago?"

"Is that so?" Okuu asks blandly, without turning to look at you.

"Yeah," you reply, forcing yourself to take a step towards Okuu's retreating form to be heard. "With someone not too different from you. Someone who tried to live her life on the surface, same as you, and ended up forced down here alone, with her friends either gone or dead, all thanks to humans." You can feel the blood rushing to your head, the stress of talking back to someone who could incinerate you kicking in, as you take a deep breath to pace yourself. "Someone who's working now to make sure that everyone can live peacefully underground."

Okuu's pacing slows to a halt again, and she casts a disinterested glance back at you over her shoulder, saying nothing.

"She's the one who wanted to make sure that the oni didn't use their investigation as an excuse to tear down Satori's palace. She's the one who makes sure Satori is fair to the rest of the Ancient City. She's the one who took me in when I first showed up down here."

"How kind." Okuu turns toward you fully now, putting her hands on her hips and heaving a sigh. "Unfortunately, that option is--"

"Shut up and let me finish."

Orin gasps audibly at your side as Okuu recoils like she's been stung, her glance quickly becoming a glare as her whole body stiffens up.

"You had your turn. Now you're going to listen quietly, without interrupting. Understood?"

No response.

"You said I was-- what was it? A human worth talking to? If I am, it's because of her." The words are spilling out now, and you've taken another step toward Okuu before you even realize it. "Not a week ago, I probably would have told you that youkai deserve everything they get. She's the one who taught me better.

"And it wasn't through pain. She didn't have to beat me up, threaten me, anything. Hell, she held back her strength and let herself get hurt for my sake," you say, recalling your fight with Yuugi, right when you first arrived. "And that sort of thing is what changes people. Not wanton displays of power, not destruction and death."

That last line is the breaking point. From the moment you shouted her down up until now, you could see the tension rising in Okuu's body, her stance shifting as though she was preparing to attack, but you stood your ground unflinchingly and she held herself back. Before the last word can leave your mouth, though, the tension snaps, and with a bright pulse from the light on her chest, she takes a sharp stride towards you, voice boiling over with guttural rage.

"You think..." Another stride, and her fingers curl into claws as her outstretched arm reaches out for you again. "...that you can tell me--" The last step, and as her hand thrusts forward to close around your neck--

--you step inside of it, catching her forearm in your hand mid-thrust, and pull her even closer, bringing the two of you toe to toe and eye to eye.

"I said let me finish!"

Her other hand is at your throat instantly, and you manage to react with your free hand just quickly enough to secure yourself enough room to breathe. As she begins to squeeze and you struggle to take a shallow breath, the sheer terror of asphyxiation strikes, and you try desperately to beat it back within your mind without letting your feelings slip. You've arm wrestled fucking oni; this girl doesn't measure up!

"You want to blow the whole damn world up?!" you shout into her face, squirming against her grip. "Force people to live with one another?! How long does that last?! How long before everything's rebuilt, and the next generation of kids grows up knowing exactly who to hate for the tragedies of the past?!"

Okuu doesn't move a muscle. If she looked angry from ten feet, she is livid from ten inches, and the light from chest level only serves to augment her rage, casting harsh shadows against her face.

"This isn't the only solution! This isn't even a solution at all! It's a cop-out! Wiping the slate clean rather than doing the work it'll take to make a better future in this world, like Yuugi does! Taking the cowardly way out inst--"

"Cowardly?" The hand around your throat pushes you up onto your toes, and you gag as Okuu's grip forces your own hand up into your windpipe.

"You... heard me!" you croak, feeling your eyes bulge from their sockets as you strain to make your voice heard. "And if you kill me here and now, without saying anything, you'll only be proving me right!"

"You...!" Your feet leave the ground, and you kick your legs fruitlessly as you try and fail to draw breath. The light from Okuu's chest is on full blast, dull red replaced by blinding white, and your vision leaves you as your eyes roll up into your head to avoid the pain.

"You... you are..."

And then everything goes dark.

You hit the ground with a thud, your legs giving out from under you, and your oxygen-deprived muscles shake as you hurriedly force yourself back upright. The light from that eye is nowhere to be found, and without it, your eyes strain to reacclimate to the darkness as you crawl back to your feet. What happened? Is Okuu--

"...weak."

With that whisper, a flicker of light reappears, and Okuu comes back into view with it. If it wasn't for the fact that she was the only source of light down here, though, you'd doubt that it was actually her; the girl before you looks more like a puppet with her strings cut, sagging weakly on her feet with her head hanging low.

"It's because you're weak." She's only whispering, but her voices reaches you as surely as if she was whispering in your ear. "Weak, and hiding behind someone strong. That's why you can say things like that."

"That's not--"

Okuu raises her head to look at you, and the words... dry up. It's not that there's any particular venom in her stare, it's that there's not; fifteen seconds ago, this was a woman who wouldn't have hesitated to kill you, but now all you can see is a girl on the verge of tears.

"You think you decide things because of your free will... because your friend was nice to you... but deep down, it's really just because she's stronger than you. You think the same as her because if you didn't, she wouldn't be your friend. And if it weren't for your friend, you'd be..." Okuu swallows loudly, hanging her head again. "Living in a hole... hiding from everyone... trying not to starve..."

You... don't know what to say. Part of you wants to shout her down and continue the argument while she's in what seems to be a slightly less obstinate state, another part of you wants to give her a hug and tell her that everything's going to be all right, and still more of you wants to leave before she decides to start killing you again.

"Lady Satori..." Before you get a chance to do any of that, though, she speaks again, still not looking up at you. "Lady Satori tries... tried... to get people to get along with each other like that, too. But the oni don't ever believe in her... because they don't have to. Because they're stronger." She swallows once again, trembling slightly. "Your friend... she tries to get people to get along like that. But there are other oni... important oni... who won't ever believe in her. Because they don't have to. Because they're stronger." Slowly, haltingly, she raises her eyes to meet yours; she's not actually crying, but she looks even closer than she did before.

"I'm... I'm strong, now." She brings her hand up to her chest, slowly curling her fingers into a fist, almost eclipsing the dim glow of the eye. "I'm not going to waste my chance, like everyone else does. I'm going to change things. There's nothing anyone will be able to do to stop me."

Breaking eye contact with you again, she looks down at her clenched fist, her knuckles now white and trembling with exertion. "...Even if that means I have to do something horrible." And, as if responding to her will, her hand itself begins to radiate heat, making the air around it twist and ripple violently enough that you can see it clearly even in the darkness.

"And if you're going to get in my way..." She looks up at you again, but you don't meet her gaze this time, your attention focused on her still-shaking fist. The air around her hand and arm is... melting, like paper becoming ash in a fire; unidentifiable brown spots appear and vanish, forming abstract, amorphous shapes in midair. As you continue to watch, the spots grow more numerous, seeming to coalesce into a single mass, and its edges grow sharp and angular, like molten metal poured into a mold, until the entire object takes on the shape of...

"...then I'm going to kill you."

A long, metal rod, encasing Okuu's right hand. As she unfolds her arm from in front of her chest, the light from that eye hits you once more, shining as brightly as it ever has, pulsing in sync with the waves of heat you feel emanating from the device. You keep your eyes on the thing, unmoving, as she slowly brings it to bear, supporting herself with her free arm as the far end of the rod swings around to point towards you. It's got an oddly futuristic look to it, with its brushed-metal finish and the little antennae sticking out of the end, but with that hole carved into its end, aimed straight at you, you know instinctively what it is.

"Goodbye."

You duck.

The crackling fireball misses you by inches, passing straight through where your torso was an instant ago. Even as it misses, it hits all your senses at once; the radiated heat alone severe enough to make you cry out in pain, the sound of the immaterial fire loud enough to drown out everything else, the light bright enough to blind you. Off-balance, you manage to flail your way back onto your feet, frantically scanning the area for new threats.

After a second, you pick up Okuu, standing just where she was before the fireball. Her cannon rests against the ground, smoking from the tip, and her face is the same impassive mask you saw when you first encountered her. Instinctively, you back away from her, preparing for the next attack, and nearly trip over a cowering Orin.

"Orin? Orin!" Spinning around and bending down to her level, you grab onto her arms, trying to get a good look at her and make sure she's not hurt, only to have her force you away, pulling herself tighter into a quivering ball.

"She... we can't... not like this..." Her teeth are literally chattering with fear, and her eyes dart from side to side, avoiding landing on any object for longer than an instant at a time. Is she just that scared, or...?

"Move away from Rin, Taizou." Behind you, the waves of heat from Okuu's gun hit you once again as she slowly maneuvers herself to aim at you. If you're going to make a move, now is the time.

[ ] If a fight is what it takes to bring this to a close... you'll just have to find some way to win!
[ ] That... there's no way you can fight that! You've got to take Orin and get out of here before she gets serious and kills you!
>> No. 5291
File 128031510771.jpg - (492.30KB, 850x590, 43d1692a27ea945a.jpg) [iqdb]
5291
[X] If a fight is what it takes to bring this to a close... you'll just have to find some way to win!

Gonna have to chip her strength away bit by bit.

Not to mention try making a spell card on the fly; though probably save it in the end as a last ditch effort just in case.
>> No. 5292
[x] If a fight is what it takes to bring this to a close... you'll just have to find some way to win!

If only because running seems even less likely to succeed.
>> No. 5293
[x] If a fight is what it takes to bring this to a close... you'll just have to find some way to win!
Another update! It's like christmas and easter together.
>> No. 5294
>>5292
Running away with a paralyzed cat and against someone who can fly really fast and specializes on enormous, long-range attacks? That's not less likely that's just fucking impossible.


[x] If a fight is what it takes to bring this to a close... you'll just have to find some way to win!
>> No. 5297
[x] If a fight is what it takes to bring this to a close... you'll just have to find some way to win!
Can't back down now I suppose.
>> No. 5299
>"...then I'm going to kill you."
I believe her.

[X] That... there's no way you can fight that! You've got to take Orin and get out of here before she gets serious and kills you!

This isn't danmaku, this isn't a fight where the other side is holding back, and someone other than ourselves could get seriously hurt (or worse) in the process. Taizou didn't even hold his own against the group of youaki from our BAD END. This is easily 10 times worse than that. If Taizou seriously fought her, what's he going to do? Knock her out before the super heated air that surrounds her roasts him to a crisp? Fire some weak danmaku for all her lethal fireballs? Bludgeon her with bits of Orin? Discretion is the better part of valor, but there's also the common sense to realize you can't extinguish a star by taking a leak on it.

Orin brought us down here because she thought Okuu was worth talking to. Now?
>"She... we can't... not like this..."
She knows Okuu can't be reasoned with in her present state. Rin's a bit of a ditz, but she's still pretty intuitive when it comes to her friends and understanding the situation. If she's paralyzed in fear of what her friend is doing, that's a seriously bad indication.
Anyway, we got to her just now. We chipped through whatever shell there was and saw the sweet, upset, and confused girl that Okuu probably is. Even still, we've only uncovered the reason for her actions and insecurities
>"Lady Satori tries... tried... to get people to get along with each other like that, too. But the oni don't ever believe in her... because they don't have to. Because they're stronger." She swallows once again, trembling slightly. "Your friend... she tries to get people to get along like that. But there are other oni... important oni... who won't ever believe in her. Because they don't have to. Because they're stronger."
She's still transfixed on this notion of strength; might = right. For some reason it feels like the complexities of the situation are lost on her, even if she does have a fundamental understanding of what's going on. I certainly can't blame her for her perception and conclusions; the only form of justice she's familiar with is the strong ruling the weak. She was weak and was subject to the authority of those stronger. Now that she's strong, she will rule the weak. It makes perfect sense to her, but it fails to account for nuances. It's like she feels obligated to do something with this power, and the only thing she knows to do is destroy and control. It's a shame Okuu didn't see Taizou and Yuugi's relationship and accomplishments as an example of the incredibly constructive things she might be able to accomplish if she were to work with Satori. Instead, she's committed to going well beyond what she's capable of doing because she doesn't know where to stop. If she had gotten Uncle Ben's "with great power" talk before this, she might have taken a less destructive path. But as it stands, she's hell bent on cataclysm needs someone more important to her than Taizou or Rin to reason with her.
"If a fight is what it takes to bring this to a close..."? A fight with Okuu right now is not going to bring any closure to the situation between Satori and the oni. Even if we sever Okuu's head from her body, the oni are going to keep harassing Satori for whatever reason they can, Satori will forever be on the defense, and everyone in the Ancient City is going to suffer for it. For whatever reason, Satori is committed to making things work in the Ancient City, but as we've seen, she's at an eternal impasse with the oni and their council. The possibilities of what Satori and Okuu might accomplish still need to be explored, both with Satori and Yuugi; whether Satori would use it as the final bit of leverage to tell the oni to knock it off and let her do her job, or go nuts and rule the Ancient City with an iron fist (hopefully the former, but the latter would be okay in my book too).

Still, can't do all that if we're a pile of ash and one of the spirits Rin ultimately spits up in Reimu's backyard.

>Did this happen? Because I'm fairly sure this didn't happen.
Apologies. Considering oni were the only ones present when Taizou was voted into the 'Council of the Ancient City' in >>1304, along with all the authority and responsibilities he got afterwords, I figured he was an honorary oni or some such.
>> No. 5304
>>5299
>Discretion is the better part of valor, but there's also the common sense to realize you can't extinguish a star by taking a leak on it.

"Common sense" wouldn't have Taizou agree to aid Orin and speak to a genocidal tyke bomb in the first place. Given a bit of time he would have pieced that lost memory of being surrounded by hell fire to Utsuho.

>She knows Okuu can't be reasoned with in her present state. Rin's a bit of a ditz, but she's still pretty intuitive when it comes to her friends and understanding the situation. If she's paralyzed in fear of what her friend is doing, that's a seriously bad indication.

She knew the Utsuho before the drastic change, not the one that became corrupt with power and a warped sense of reality; plotting the death of everything solves all problems?

okay.

>A fight with Okuu right now is not going to bring any closure to the situation between Satori and the oni.

Not at all as that's for Taizou to play a role in solving; which may or may not even happen in this cyoa immediately. It will however provide Satori flexibility in improving relations as well as very possibly free her of being persecuted for something she had little to no control at the time.

Once thing at a time.

Just saying...
>> No. 5305
[X] If a fight is what it takes to bring this to a close... you'll just have to find some way to win!

Pretty much what >>5294 said. This is a very bad situation and running away will only make it worse.
>> No. 5306
[X] If a fight is what it takes to bring this to a close... you'll just have to find some way to win!

No way we're fast enough to escape on our own, and Orin is BSODing, so no help there. I honestly don't expect us to WIN, or even seriously damage her, without a deus ex machina, but as to holding her off long enough for something/one to show up? That at least has a chance... like maybe Koishi and/or Komeiji being able to pick up the mental wavelengths of the three of us down here.
>> No. 5309
[x] If a fight is what it takes to bring this to a close... you'll just have to find some way to survive!
My pride as a man won't let me vote for the run away option. We voted to come down here and start shit, now we must see it through to the finish.
>> No. 5310
[X] That... there's no way you can fight that! You've got to take Orin and get out of here before she gets serious and kills you!
>> No. 5311
[B] If a fight is what it takes to bring this to a close... you'll just have to find some way to win!
>> No. 5312
[X] That... there's no way you can fight that! You've got to take Orin and get out of here before she gets serious and kills you!

Regroup and find out from Rin what can get through to her. Hopefully with Rin nearby, she will keep from firing... unless she figured Rin can probably survive more radiation/live ammo than a human.
>> No. 5313
[x] If a fight is what it takes to bring this to a close... you'll just have to find some way to survive!

It's not so much Okuu's fast.... more like trying to drag Rin away would make us a easy target. And it's the matter of trying to prove to her that power alone isn't everything.

Though there'd be much less problems if her pets bothered talking with Satori instead of trying to do things on their own.
>> No. 5315
[x] If a fight is what it takes to bring this to a close... you'll just have to find some way to win!
-[x]"For someone that uses big words, you really are quite the birdbrain. Do you really think that people with power have some special right over those who don't? Wouldn't that mean that the humans had the right to do what they did because they were stronger no? How many Okuus will your create in this senseless idea of yours?
Short-sighted bird, what are you gonna do if you do manage to kill me? A member of the Oni council, no less? The rest of the council will not let you go in your merry way. The will deem you dangerous and kill you and Satori will be leading them! Because they would be right! Your master will not choose the careless whims of a power-hungry pet over the countless lives in her city! What then? Will you kill your own master because you're too goddamn lazy to do things the right way?!"
I'm frustrated I didn't get my choice at the previous write in so here it is.
I don't think it will work-if words could help, they'd have done so in the last update-but I think that just trying to fight isn't enough. He has to keep her mad, distracted; make her forget that she can just create a big enough attack to wipe him out with no chance of escape.
>> No. 5318
File 128037348195.jpg - (22.87KB, 180x174, he didnt become a hero by dying.jpg) [iqdb]
5318
[x] That... there's no way you can fight that! You've got to take Orin and get out of here before she gets serious and kills you!

Don't risk it. We wouldn't be alive if we didn't value our life. And the first step is to estimate the danger we're facing. Is it really worth the try? Do not forget the impact it will have on the lives of others, we've already seen what would have happend after the first bad end(>>268). Please also consider the additional work the writer has to do, write a bad end, admonish the voters and THEN write the right outcome.
Well, at least if it really leads to a bad end. I'm just saying that the safer choice would be wiser. Except if the writer is a malicious bastard who rewards the cautious approach with a bad end that nobody had expected, just to piss of the readers.(door-shark anyone?) But let's not talk about that.
Pic related.(But only if you know this guy)
>> No. 5320
[X] That... there's no way you can fight that! You've got to take Orin and get out of here before she gets serious and kills you!

>"Move away from Rin, Taizou."
Sounds like Utsuho doesn't want to roast Orin, so I doubt she'll use her full power if Taizou's carrying her.

>>5318
>(But only if you know this guy)
He doesn't retreat, he looks for the bigger threat.
>> No. 5321
>>5318
Either choice is a risk, running just basically confirms her twisted views.
>> No. 5323
[x] That... there's no way you can fight that! You've got to take Orin and get out of here before she gets serious and kills you!

Should probably shout a few things at her as we turn to leave. Such as how she's willing to completely ignore and put in danger the few 'friends' she managed to acquire, and how her actions will entirely justify the 'irrational' fears people have of her. We were willing to talk with a youkai in a position of much greater power than us with no real backing. We were not and should not be willing to talk to a genocidal maniac, regardless of her race and alignment.

Attempting to win an unwinnable battle (yes, to us at in our present state and level of power, that is exactly what it would be. Reimu had difficulty stopping her), while possibly 'heroic', is neither the intelligent nor necessarily the best strategic decision to winning a war. Pick your battles wisely. I imagine facing down the Hell Raven will come very soon. We need people close to her to take a united stand so that the events of SA don't need to fully play out. I highly doubt anything we, as a completely newcomer and stranger, will do anything to dissuade her, short of defeating her, which is unlikely in the extreme. Maybe we'd trigger a pang of guilt as she finished roasting us? Unless of course our writer will be merciful towards our headstrong and misguided bravado and reward us with a win? If I were a betting man, I wouldn't put anything on that one.

>>5299 has the right idea, as well as several others.

Regardless of what we vote to do, we should make it clear that if we're so cowardly, so afraid of standing on our own two feet and instead hide behind those with more power, why are we here in the first place? Then again, this should be apparent to a sane individual, so I'm not sure it would do any good. Also, she'd be justifying every bigoted human's fear of youkai.
>> No. 5330
>>5318
We got that bad end because we were too cautious and afraid of Ratsetsu.
>> No. 5331
>>5330

Well, going alone was certainly more deadlier, as we experienced.
>> No. 5333
>>5323 is right; we should also point out other discrepancies from the Might Makes Right theory, like how Yuugi, as a single oni, nevertheless doesn't bow to the combined might of the council--or that, while Lady Satori cannot turn the Oni to her will, she is still very much her own person facing off against their collection force.

[x] That... there's no way you can fight that! You've got to take Orin and get out of here before she gets serious and kills you!
>> No. 5339
>>5331
it was a case of avoiding the threat we knew and fell to the threat we didn't know. Most of the folks didn't think about the possibility of Youkai wanting him dead (and sparking a massive bloody war in the process in that one post bad end)

Now that I think about it, with Nue's existance, how would any others' shapeshifting powers be explained?
>> No. 5341
>>5339
I don't think it's strange that a random person like Rasetsu could have the power to shapeshift. This is Gensokyo after all.
>> No. 5343
Called for [X] If a fight is what it takes to bring this to a close... you'll just have to find some way to win!

The funny thing is that I wasn't even planning to put a choice here originally, since I figured everyone would vote to run for it. Shows what I know.

Moving apartments within the next couple days, but I hope to do some writing in there somewhere. For anyone worried about what won, know that neither of these choices resulted in an immediate bad end. But if any of you really think Taizou is going to stand a chance against Okuu, prepare to be disappointed.

>>5287
Reply is in /words/ so as to hide my secret shame.
>> No. 5344
>>5343
We're not expecting Taizo to overpower Okuu at all, and hoping that he gets through to her is overly hopeful, but at least it'd show we'd stand behind our words.
>> No. 5347
>>5343

Some of us just don't want to pull a shinji and simply run away.

Just saying...
>> No. 5348
>>5339

Nue can't really shapeshift, she just changes the appearance of anything that is unknown to you, so as long as you don't know Nue's a nue, she will remain something your mind makes up.
>> No. 5350
>>5343
>>5344

I agree and even with the option of running away, I can only imagine how Yuugi would chew Taizou out either for "being too reckless" or "not having the foresight to have some one follow him secret in case" etcetera...

Ah well.
>> No. 5357
Are some of you honestly suggesting that waiting for reinforcements or effecting a strategic retreat is wrong and cowardly in all situations? This is not feudal Japan. Nor are we some bishounen superhero pulling the power of love and friendship out of our asses. We have difficulty even managing to fly, something that comes naturally to many juveniles in Gensokyo. Perhaps if we had trained more, or had accumulated some means of augmenting our meager skills. We have to be aware of who we are and the extent of our personal abilities. No, Taizou's real strength lies in his position as an outsider, and as someone willing to consider new possibilities. Sometimes the best of intentions and determination will prove to be futile. The naivete of this mindset and others like it is frankly mind-boggling. Intelligence is knowing where and when to fight. Especially when dealing with an enemy far more prepared and equipped than us. I thought that was common sense, but apparently not. Alexander the Great did not rush headlong willy-nilly into every battle. Neither did Julius Caesar, George Patton, MacArthur, or for that matter any successful leader. How did the Russians win against invaders time and time again? I say this as nicely as possible. I'm just glad some of you aren't in charge of any sort of strategic decision-making. We'd be doomed. Not trying to come off as offensive but I just can not comprehend such thinking.

Additionally, consider the ramifications of Taizou's (potential) death. Will the Oni really believe Satori isn't in control of her pet, even should she choose to tell them? Moreover, our death would be the perfect excuse for an all out war for many of them (they don't care about us personally, but we represent them and they very well may see this as a direct attack upon them. We're here to PREVENT additional bloodshed, not incite it).
>> No. 5362
File 128050415642.gif - (42.02KB, 350x400, d66ed170b787bbfc2ab5b28ff491d95a5e1c79d1.gif) [iqdb]
5362
>>5357
>Are some of you honestly suggesting that waiting for reinforcements or effecting a strategic retreat is wrong and cowardly in all situations?

Frankly not at all, just didn't seem feasibly in the sense that it would have reflected poorly on Taizou assessing the situation in trying to quell the problem. Most of anon, as far as I've seen, don't fully expect Taizou to take down an enraged Okuu. At the very least, for Taizou to some how hold on, perhaps once Orin gets her bearings again, andallow Utsuho to express her rage could more possibly dire events would be avoided.

>Taizou's real strength lies in his position as an outsider, and as someone willing to consider new possibilities

Exactly, running away so quickly as expected would only affirm Utsuho's beliefs. "utilizing the oni as a crutch" would no doubt enrage Utsuho more than making a stand.

>Alexander the Great
Died from bad booze, how eerily ironic. Not to mention he lost the confidence of his men and they mutinied on him.

>George Patton
Great Tank Commander, had shit social skills though.

>Julius Caesar
Was assassinated through politics not because of battle.

Heck leaders are bound to do very unpopular things but surprise, Taizou's no general.

Just a negotiator and unofficially in a way, a peace keeper.

I'm also glad I'm not a leader, prefer advising and have the flexibility to boot as well, something that most leaders simply don't have.

Who knows what may happen this time around.

I was about to call you wiseman, but that wouldn't had any anon here any good
>> No. 5368
>>5362
Taizo himself doesn't consider himself someone great; just a guy trying to do his best to preserve things the way they are.
>> No. 5375
>>5362

I was referring to their overall military and strategic accomplishments, their social problems notwithstanding. Also, used some of the most widely known and appreciated military leaders I could think of. Far from the absolute best, in my opinion. Obviously everyone's not going to win every battle, or excel at everything.

I'm not going to turn this into a debate in respect to Glasnost, but in terms of 'holding on', keep in mind she's firing balls of fire with the intention of incinerating us. She will not continue to miss indefinitely. Especially if we run TOWARDS her. Moreover, she is extremely angry and confused, and throwing what essentially amounts to a temper tantrum, only with possibly catastrophic consequences for many innocent individuals. One does not attempt to reason with a child throwing a tantrum. You wait until they've calmed down slightly and had a chance to consider things (then again, she may just be 100% rage all day every day in her current mindset, so the point may well be moot), or give them something yummy. While I would be all in favor of the last, something tells me that may not be a viable option for us at this point. I also think some of what we said got through to her judging by her reactions, whether or not she's willing to admit it to us, and right this moment. Ironically, she's using a similar twisting of logic as what you just used on me. In any-case, if the option had been 'dodge, weave, and do whatever it takes to try to hold out' it would be a different story entirely and that would've definitely been something I could get behind. Attacking her will remove any doubt in her mind that we are, indeed, an enemy, if any such doubts exist at the moment at all. The winning vote clearly specifies we engage her directly. Provided someone doesn't bust down the walls to save us at the eleventh hour, or Orin doesn't buck up and say something in our defense (which, frankly, both could be misconstrued by an enraged Utsuho as 'weakness') it's a matter of time until we're overdone meat. I'm all for 'heroic last stands', but there is a time and a place. Preferably when our death would have the most possible impact. Missed half of my points, focused on the ones that could be twisted around with particulars, and then went on to insult my intelligence to boot. Bravo. I suppose at this point the damage is done, and the writer clearly wants this story to turn out well for everyone. I don't want to see what we've worked and waited for to be lost to a rash decision. Wouldn't bother to post, otherwise, and certainly not at this length. Hopefully I'm over analyzing, and Glasnost has an out for us. We'll just have to wait and see. Either way we'll reap what we've sown.
>> No. 5377
>>5375
>I was referring to their overall military and strategic accomplishments, their social problems notwithstanding.

Of which none have relevancy to Taizou's abilities or roles unless Glasnost suddenly has Taizou fighting a civil war (between the youkai and oni)

>One does not attempt to reason with a child throwing a tantrum.

The other anon said it before, Taizou just has to hold out.

>I'm all for 'heroic last stands', but there is a time and a place.

True however this isn't about heroism, it's about trying to calm a raging genocidal time bomb; insane as it may sound it's not something Taizou may never ever wish to face, but if he can soften Okuu enough for the others to react appropriately then so be it. He may have Rin go and explain the situation to Satori and Koishi if necessary.

>Preferably when our death would have the most possible impact.

This is actually one scenario where, should Taizou turn to ash, the others (The Oni and Youkai present) could easily decide that Taizou has had enough and simply ran away as they expect most "sane" humans would; or simply gone mad and lost in the tunnels of the underground.

No proof of death, no guilty party, no fighting except returning to the status-quo; before Taizou ever appeared. Course this could cause Yuugi to become... despondent, but at least it wouldn't cause the Youkai and Oni to go to war.

>insult my intelligence to boot.
This anon does not understand this as you are anon as well, nothing personal so don't take things too seriously. It's good to have another perspective and rather than taking it as insults, take it as something to learn from and improve thyself.

Just saying bro

>Hopefully I'm over analyzing

If you ever feel this way again just step away from the keyboard and think things through before you post. It may help you in the future posts.

>we'll reap what we've sown

And it shall be delicious.
>> No. 5386
>>5377

>bumping a thread with an irrelevant post, twice
>ignoring and misinterpreting all major points of the argument you're responding to, twice
>implying that directly insulting a quoted member of an anonymous image board community does not qualify as an insult
>taking up an obscene amount of space with short quotes, excessive spacing, and poorly worded sentence-long replies
>using the word bro
>suggesting that Taizou's sudden disappearence would be interpreted as him running into the underground wilderness without provisions or supplies in a fit of madness over any other, more likely, possiblities
>telling me that I should attempt to reduce over-analyzing something by thinking more about it
>implying that this is one of my first times posting on this, or any, imageboard

oh u

You almost had me you silly goose, you. Not biting this time!
>> No. 5387
>>5386

ok
>> No. 5413
>>5377
>>5386
You are both silly.

But you helped autosage the thread, so good work.
>> No. 5415
If only you could have argued for two more posts...
>> No. 5416
And there we are. Next thread is >>5414.
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