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File 13157389597.png - (243.62KB, 504x576, 6cbab7abafdca4cc9a29247ed6759f9d.png) [iqdb]
20524 No. 20524
Expand all images
>> No. 20525
[x] I have to set things right.
------

“Something you have to do…?” Miss Momizi repeats, not knowing what to make of what you said.

Impatient, Miss Aya speaks again. “If there’s something you have to do, then just wait until you’re rested up to do it—”

“No,” you quickly cut her off, your voice remaining flat and calm. Behind your mask, your eyes remain open, unfocused and unblinking, and your lips barely move as you give voice to your words. “I have to do it now. I’ve waited a long time to do it. I’ve been putting it off as far as I could. Not anymore. It has to be today. It has to be today… I have to end everything tonight. So please, don’t stop me.”

“E-end everything…?” Miss Aya says, completely puzzled. “What are you even talking about, Mikio?”

Without giving her an answer, you smile. A smile, just like the one you always wore. A smile that does not reach to your eyes—eyes that were always hidden away behind your mask. Wearing that fake smile on your visage, as easily as though it were the natural state of your face, you continue to walk forward, stopping when Miss Momizi approaches, blocking your path.

“Mikio, you—” she starts, half-cross, half-worried.

You don’t let her finish, cutting her off yet again. “Thank you.”

Without warning, you rush forward. You bury your fist into her stomach. You hear a sharp intake of air at your ear and feel the warmth of a body over your arm as Miss Momizi loses strength, doubled over your hand. She falls to her knees, and you step back and look down at her. Her eyes are only half-focused, and her head swings back as she struggles to stay up – she clutches up at you with her hand, but it soon falls short, and she collapses to the floor, lying on her front.

“Wha…!?” Miss Aya says in shock, her eyes wide open and pointing down at the fallen figure, “Mikio, what are you doing—”

“And, I’m sorry.”

Her frantic eyes dart back to you, but you’ve already made your move. Your hand, held out like a blade, cuts through the air, chopping at her pale, delicate neck. Almost immediately after it makes contact, she goes limp, losing the strength in her limbs—her still-wide eyes are still fixed on you, even as she falls to the ground. She hits the floor, her eyelids slowly drooping down as she loses consciousness, the words she was forming dead in her throat. She had time to react. She should have had time to react. But she couldn’t.

You turn away from their bodies, and begin to walk down the long, long hallway.

----

You trudge up the long stairway, breathing in the chilling night air. You’re being watched. You’re certainly being watched. Even before you laid a single step on the bottom step, before you passed through the gate of the shrine, they have been watching you, you’re sure. Of course they would. They have every reason to, after all. They know. They must know already. But, they haven’t confirmed it yet, and that’s why they’re staying quiet, and out of sight. But they’re there, and they’re watching. That’s good. That’s perfect. After all, they were here. From the beginning of this long, painful cycle, they were always here. Always, always, always.

After what seems like an eternity, you finally reach the top. The shrine stands up ahead, but that’s now where you’re going. That’s not where she is. You continue walking, past the shrine, toward the lake that sits adjacent to the building. You walk, facing the graveyard of those children, who died with so much regret and hate in their hearts, the markers of their demise standing erect in the middle of the lake. You slow your pace, deliberating between each step.

She is there.

She sits at the edge of the lake, curled up, her arms wrapped around her knees. She stares out into the body of water, seemingly in deep thought – a trance, almost. She doesn’t hear your footsteps until you step off the stone flooring, your feet shuffling through the blades of grass around the lake. Her steady breathing freezes, and slowly, she turns her body around. When she lays her eyes on you, they quickly widen, and she scrambles up to her feet.

She opens her mouth hesitantly, but she closes it without a word after a brief pause, unable to say anything. You’re not sure what she’s feeling now, in regards to you. There is anger. There is definitely anger within that visage of uncertainty, no mistake about it. But at the same time, there’s more. Something that conflicts with the feelings of hatred she holds. Is it because of the past? Is it because of her memories of Hoshuu…

“You’re wondering why… I’m here, aren’t you?” you finally raise your voice.

The girl doesn’t respond, her lips remaining sealed. She raises a hand to her chest, fidgeting with it in obvious discomfort, gripping and releasing the front of her priestess garb. She doesn’t know what to say. She doesn’t know how to react. She remains confused, unsure of everything, feeling a mixture of emotions that she can’t even begin to comprehend. She is lost, without even a single marker to help her find herself, without a single person to believe in. Yes, this is what must be done. This is what you have to do. At the least, you can help her sort out her feelings.

“I came to tell you the truth,” you continue on, keeping your voice flat and calm. “The truth behind what happened, ten years ago.”

She reflexively steps back, clutching tightly onto the front of her garb now, shrinking away. It’s obviously still a hurtful topic to her, but that doesn’t matter right now.

“Ten years ago, on your birthday, Kuromugi Hoshuu died.”

She looks down at the ground, her eyes remaining still. Her body gives a small shiver, and her lips part only slightly, a faint whisper escaping from them. “…my fault,” she says, barely audible. Her body shakes again, giving off another shiver before she takes a deep breath and continues. “It was my fault… it’s my fault he died. If I hadn’t—if it weren’t for me he wouldn’t have, he wouldn’t have…”

“That’s wrong.”

She looks up. “What…?”

“That’s wrong,” you repeat yourself, smiling, “You’re not the one at fault.”

Finally, something inside of her seems to snap, and she steps forward, her face lit by her anger. “What are you talking about!? Are you—are you trying to comfort me, after what you did—”

“It’s not like that,” you cut her off. “I’m saying that it really wasn’t your fault that he died.”

She’s stunned into silence, her rage forgotten. She stares at you, her mouth hanging open slightly. Finally, she stammers a response, “W-what are you… what do you mean?”

“The one at fault,” you begin, pointing a finger at yourself, “is me.”

“What…?”

“I’m the one who killed Kuromugi Hoshuu.”

She doesn’t understand. Of course she doesn’t understand. You step forward, closer to her, keeping that fake smile of yours plastered to your face.

“And, I was the one who killed your mother, as well.”

That finally elicits a response from her. “What…” she says, breathless, struck with confusion, “Why… what are you… but they…”

“They died in an accident?” you finish for her, before shaking your head, “Is that really what happened? Were they really accidents? Your mother died in a bus crash, and Kuromugi Hoshuu was struck by a car. Yes, to anyone, their deaths might have looked like simple bad luck. Misfortune. But what if those accidents were caused by someone—something. Then, they wouldn’t just be accidents, would they? No, it would be murdered. I murdered them both.”

“Misfortune…” she repeats, until comprehension finally dawns on her. She steps back, and steps back again, her hands clamped over her mouth in disbelief. “Oh… oh my god, you’re—!”

“That’s right,” you say, your smile sickeningly wide now.

“But…” the priestess says, her legs shaking, threatening to give out under her, “But… why?”

“Everyone who betrays me should die,” you say, your smile wiping itself off your face. “You hate me, don’t you? Of course you do. You should hate me. I killed them. They died, and it’s my fault. It’s my fault that you were miserable for so long. It’s my fault that you were delusional for so long. I killed them. I killed them. I killed them both. I watched them die with a smile on my face.”

She stares at you, unable to get over her shock. Her fist keeps clenching and unclenching, and her wide-open eyes stare straight ahead, seeing nothing but you. You smile again, pleasantly, and walk closer to her once more, taking slow, small steps, with your feet trudging through the grass underneath you, making only the barest of sounds.

“Hey,” you say, as you approach, “Can I take off this mask now? I’ve been wearing it for so long. For ten years. For ten long years, I’ve been wearing this mask. I’m tired of wearing this mask. But when I took it off, I found that underneath it, I was wearing another mask. I’m tired. I’m tired of wearing these masks. I want to take them off.”

She steps back, frightened, unable to do anything but back away.

“Hey, can I finally take off this mask?” you repeat your question. She’s backed against the lake now. One step back and she’ll fall in. You continue to advance. “Do you want to see it? The true face behind this mask. Not the face of Kuromugi Hoshuu’s; my real face. Do you want to see the face of the person who killed the people you loved?”

“No, stop, get away!” she says, desperately.

Thwump!

Your head is jerked back, a heavy metal ring striking against your face. It flies in an arc, returning to its thrower’s hand. Behind Sanae, you see the god of the earth floating just above the water, her iron rings held in both hands. Her silhouette is lit against the light of the moon – but hers isn’t the only one that’s there. The god of the sky is there as well, standing next to her fellow god with her arms crossed together. Slowly, you straighten your body, renewing your smile as you look back to Sanae.

“Well,” you begin, with an almost cheerful voice, “It looks like now you won’t have a choice.”

A small crack runs down the middle of your mask. Then another appears. And another, and another, and another; the cracks continue to spread down the chipped white surface, past the scars of its previous battles, all the way down the bottom of it. Finally, finally, finally, after ten years – ten long years, ten years pretending to be someone else, something that you're not, you’re finally free from this mask. You’re free, free, free.

The mask shatters, and the pieces rain down on the ground.

[ ] I can finally be me now.
>> No. 20526
[X] I can finally be me now.

...Alright Headgames, get out here.
>> No. 20527
[x] I can finally be me now.
>> No. 20528
[x] I can finally be me now.

So in the end, there was only Headgames?
>> No. 20529
[x] I can finally be me now.

I miss Mikio.
>> No. 20530
[X] I can finally be me now.
>> No. 20531
[X] I can finally be me now.

Damn, it looks like there's no obvious way there can be a truly happy ending.

Now to watch the MikioXMomizi shippers freak out.
>> No. 20534
[X] I can finally be me now.

Mikio was a cool guy. But he is gone, and so now begins the reign of headgames.
>> No. 20535
[x] I can finally be me now.

>>20528
Bit slow on the uptake, aren't you?
>> No. 20536
[X] I can finally be me now.
>> No. 20537
X ] I can finally be me now
>> No. 20538
[x] I can finally be me now.
>> No. 20539
[x] I can finally be me now.

Sadly it looks like we wont be getting a happy ending. Oh well, I was kinda hoping we would.
>> No. 20540
[x] Ride the snake to the lake.
>> No. 20541
Lion, man, I was expecting you to be able to pull of this scene better. The part with Aya and Momizi could have been done better.

The second part? That part was good.
>> No. 20542
Lion, man, I was expecting you to be able to pull of this scene better. The part with Aya and Momizi could have been done better.

The second part? That part was good.
>> No. 20543
I'm trying to trust you, Lion, but god damn, you not making it easy.
>> No. 20544
Oh right, I forgot to comment on this when I voted, but congratulations on hitting thread 30.
>> No. 20545
[x] I can finally be me now.

Goodbye Mikio.
>> No. 20547
>>20531
>>20539
I'm still holding out hope that there's still the chance for something resembling a happy ending.
>> No. 20548
>>20547
Agreed. I'm honestly hoping that this is an "Earn your happy ending" scenario.

...At the very least I'll settle for a bittersweet ending.
>> No. 20549
When the only remaining entity is a horrific curse-snake in a dead human's skin... happy endings aren't much for it.

Unless you want there to be a happy ending for the hateful murdering curse snake in the husk of a beloved boy, in which case, maybe?
>> No. 20551
>>20549
I'm waiting for the proper full explanation on what the deal is with Mikio/Hoshuu/Tayasumi/Headgames before making any judgements on what he/they/it deserves. It's entirely possible that Mikio and Headgames were just different aspects of the same being, and have now merged or something.

There're just too many unknowns for me to make any solid assumptions.

And assuming your scenario is correct, I said I'd accept a bittersweet ending. Mikio has made peace with himself (The time you have spent here, every moment of your life here – some sad, others painful – you don’t regret them. Yes, that’s the conclusion you’ve arrived at. It wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t a mistake for you to exist. It wasn’t a mistake at all. After all, you were – you were so happy…), so bittersweet is still a possible ending.
>> No. 20552
Epic troll story. Good show.
>> No. 20554
I just hope he can finally resume Border House. It has been way too long since he wrote an update for that....

I miss it.
>> No. 20555
Well yes, Mikio is technically still there. It's just that he's also a misfortune brining murderous god/youkai-hating snake that would traditionally be sealed away, possibly via human sacrifices I can't remember. And he's been wearing the skin of a boy he killed in the outside world.

That does put a damper on the happiness you can attain, maybe?
>> No. 20557
>>20555
>Well yes, Mikio is technically still there.
>And he's been wearing the skin of a boy he killed in the outside world.

Put two and two together. Mikio was really evil all along, just acting innocent and we weren't the wiser. At least, thats what I'm thinking after this recent turn of events.
>> No. 20558
I'm honestly expecting Koishi. It's out of place, but her intervening makes sense to me.
>> No. 20559
>>20543
This.
>> No. 20560
File 131588188826.jpg - (151.93KB, 1074x1580, 300b523823ff348dd40182129c134dd9.jpg) [iqdb]
20560
>protagonist physically resembles another long-dead character
>protagonist finally "cracks" without explanation at a climatic moment

This sure rings a few bells...
>> No. 20561
File 131588206237.png - (58.25KB, 369x317, 1305669038254.png) [iqdb]
20561
>one choice given
>everyone takes it

What happened to the write-ins?
>> No. 20562
>>20454 happened.
>> No. 20563
Well at least we know why it's going after Sanae & Co. Suwako sealed all the other curse-snakes. Headgames probably want to un-seal them. And-oh look-there's the one who sealed them in the first place, and greatly weakened than from the past to boot. Heck, her decendant is right there as well. Might as well make sure she doesn't continue the line while we're at it.
>> No. 20564
>>20560
how did i not notice this before

>>20561
yeah sure lets make a writein in a part where its clearly already planned out and the writer is just using the vote so he has time to write the update
>> No. 20565
>>20561

[X] I can finally be me now.
[X] It turns out I'm a pretty swell guy.
[X] Things went better than expected.
[X] Hows about them apples, Yukari?
>> No. 20567
[X] I can finally be me now.
[X] It turns out I'm a pretty swell guy.
[X] Things went better than expected.
[X] Hows about them apples, Yukari?
>> No. 20568
[X] I can finally be me now.
[X] It turns out I'm a pretty swell guy.
[X] Things went better than expected.
[X] Hows about them apples, Yukari?
This
>> No. 20569
How can anyone vote for that outside of a pisstake?
>> No. 20572
[X] I can finally be me now.
>> No. 20574
Headgames hasn't taken over. This isn't some alternate personality. These are deliberate, planned actions by Mikio as a free agent.

Mikio knows he's a danger to everyone around him. As he ascended the Mountain, Momizi made a point that it seemed like he was saying his goodbyes. The memory of Tayasumi killing Keine's mother was probably the final confirmation of this course of action.

However, he also knows there are some who would be guilty or sad if he disappeared or died. Moreover, because of his status as a tengu, even those who aren't close to him may attempt to avenge his death. By attacking Momizi and Aya, goading Moriya into a fight, and acting crazy as he is now, immediately after Yukari of all people tried to kill him, he will seem like a rabid dog that needs to be put down. This will keep the relations between the Moriya shrine and the rest of the mountain smooth after his death, as they'll be able to explain it as the work of the Mishaguji.

Having already made the decision to die, he may as well take responsibility for everything they've suffered for or felt guilty over. He doesn't want Sanae or the gods to feel bad about his death, so he's trying his best to make them hate him, so that when they do kill the 'bad guy', they'll feel relief.

Suicide by cop.

Whether Mikio is right in this course, I don't know. However, if Yukari decided to intervene directly and violently, I have to assume the danger he presents right now is very high. If he will snap, it's better he do so here than alone with someone vulnerable.

[x] I can finally be me now.

Alternatively, this choice could signify that he's channeling Head Games in an attempt to permanently excise it from his mind.
>> No. 20575
>>20569
It's funny and we know Lion will ignore it.
>> No. 20576
>>20574

You're right that headgames hasn't taken over- we are headgames. He is us. There was never truly a difference between Mikio and Headgames. "Mikio" was just a name for Headgames inhabiting Hoshuu's corpse. Also, he was in denial for a while, like someone who pretends to like a sport, or a TV show, because that's what all his friends do.

Motivation might not be exactly like that, but still.
>> No. 20578
>>20576
Pretty much this.
We, the players, were fooled into thinking Mikio is the good guy. We've been playing as the villian all along, and there's no chance we'll exercise our own soul, aka headgames, out of our body.
>> No. 20579
>>20576
>>20578
I'm really hoping you're wrong. That's a very bad twist to put at the end of a story like this.
>> No. 20580
>>20574
This.

[x] I can finally be me now.
>> No. 20583
>>20578

Villain? Not entirely, I think. Consider: He cried when his master died. As Tayasumi, he saved Keine. And despite the whole "formed from the fear of youkai" thing, he simply stunned Aya and Momi instead of killing them, which he very well could have done.

Not that he's a "good guy" or anything, but he's not some kind of pure puppy-kicking raping-your-dead-grandmother evil incarnate or anything.
>> No. 20584
True he's just a curse god, and despite the fact that his personality seems like a decent person, his instincts cause him to do things that created him in the first place. Creating death (Tayusumi village slaughter/ Youkai killing god), despair/misery (tayusumi), and fear (youkai).
>> No. 20587
>>20583
If he didnt cry, he would be viewed as uncaring and his cover would be blown.

If he killed Aya/Momiji, then he would be found out.

It's really easy to act the good guy when you are the bad guy. However, this is all purely speculation that Mikio = Headgames = Evil.
>> No. 20589
>>20574

Or he's a faggot.
>> No. 20590
I'm just confused about Shikieiki's hint

>There is always hope for you, no matter how dark things may seem to become. When the darkest hour arrives, you must fight; never to kill, but to show your conviction. Remember that well.

What convictions can we actually fight for?
>> No. 20593
>>20590
I dont know, take a guess.
what am i fighting fooooooooooooooooooor
>> No. 20594
Love!

>Kiyone

Right, nevermind.
>> No. 20598
>>20590

Conviction means nothing in the face of rail roading!
>> No. 20599
>>20598

Of course. Railroading is the sign of a bad and/or annoyed writer/GM
>> No. 20600
>>20590
>What convictions can we actually fight for?
None. None whatsoever. All that's left is madness, death, and Hell.
>> No. 20602
>>20599
Or it's... you know... the sign of the story coming to an end?

So what he has a vote we can't change? The only reason it's there is to keep up voter interaction and make sure people are still reading and commenting on each update. If you've read AoS, the entire final thread hadn't a single vote choice to it, and had barely any comments between updates. It looked as dead and empty as the eye sockets of a skull.
>> No. 20603
>>20602
Don't count on it. This story has been 'ending' for like 5 threads straight.
>> No. 20604
well as long as the ending is awesome we can forgive a bit of extra padding.
>> No. 20605
>>20604
Sage your damned post.

>>20603
So long as it ends or gets extremely close to the ending (read: an update or two away) now, then I'm fine. However, there is no way in hell I am going to be waiting past a 6th thread.
>> No. 20606
>>20603
I'll be honest, I thought we were approaching the end around thread 20. Boy was I wrong.

>>20605
Well at the rate we're posting he's going to need a sixth thread whether he thought he'd need one or not. Which is kind of a shame, since 30 is a nice, even number to end it on.
>> No. 20608
32 is better. Nice, even, power of two.
>> No. 20609
>>20608
31 is better. It's a Mersenne prime.
>> No. 20622
File 131686439074.jpg - (146.72KB, 480x640, 9881431.jpg) [iqdb]
20622
[x] I can finally be me now.
----

Bit by bit, the ivory fragments of the mask hit the ground. Its small, white flakes crumble and fall softly like snow. On the grass now, there lie the pieces of a broken face, of a broken identity, worn down by years and years of use, hiding the visage behind it. Holding back a flood attempting to break past it, becoming cracked and damaged. But now, it is no more. The mask is no more. The face is no more. Now, now, now now now now now—

Now I can finally be me.

The wind priestess stares ahead, frozen stiff. Her hands are still clamped over her mouth, as if she were trying to keep herself from shrieking. She’s stopped breathing, devoid of any motion, except in her eyes. They do not blink, they do not widen. Instead, the green pupils of her eyes shake and tremble, unable to do much more in the wake of the horrible sight they’re taking in.

And…

he takes a step forward, his foot landing on one of the pieces of the mask, crunching it to tiny pieces underneath his heel. His expression has not changed since the mask left his face, still stuck in a smile at odds with the world around it. The only difference now – the difference that makes the girl shake and shiver in fear – is that now his eyes are visible. They are terrible eyes. They are horrible eyes. They are the eyes of a monstrous being. A pure, inescapable black colors the sclera, and the irises are deep red, like blood. A single vertical slit runs down the middle of each eye, like the pupils of a snake. They are not the eyes of a deranged human, or even those of a fearsome youkai; it’s the eyes of something far, far worse.

“This is who I really am,” he speaks – his voice is no longer his own, at least, not his alone. He speaks with both his own voice, and with another’s, “this is my face.”

Paralyzed with fear, the shrine’s priestess nearly sinks down to her knees, only barely managing to keep herself standing on her trembling legs. She stares ahead, her eyes wide.

“And now,” he says, as he lifts his half-clutched hand, pointing it toward the girl. He takes another step, past the fragments of his broken mask, keeping his hand held up as he moves closer, and closer, slowly inching toward the fear-stricken priestess. In his echoing, inhuman voice, he mutters, “...die.”

The ground shakes as a large clump of dirt raises itself in front of him, sculpting itself into a fist as large as a human body before launching itself at the girl, leaving a trail of displaced earth behind it. Unable to react fast enough to get out of the way, the girl raises her arms as if to shield herself as the fist flies at her. But before it can strike, a creature of stone emerges from beneath the ground, in front of Sanae. A giant frog, shaped from stone, stands ready to take the blow, and the dirt fist crashes against it, shattering both it and itself.

He stands there, unimpressed, as the smaller of the two gods descends down to the ground, in front of the trembling girl, the pieces of the shattered frog statue lying scattered about her. He looks at her with a flat, disturbingly calm expression; his gaze is neither warm nor cold, as though what he were looking at wasn’t a person, but a rock or a tree, something that doesn’t even begin to resemble a human being. The god of the earth returns his stare, her eyes burning with cold, tranquil fury.

“Again…” he speaks, in his distorted, echoing voice, never betraying a single hint of emotion even for an instant, “You’re getting in my way again, Moriya.”

“That’s right, I am,” the god Moriya replies, calmly. She remains still for a moment, tense, but her face soon relaxes, and for just a second, she puts on a smile, “It’s been a long time, Mii.”

He makes no show of reacting in any way to her display of familiarity, staring at her with an unchanging look on his face. Moriya’s face returns to its earlier grim look, and the girl she’s shielding finally finds her voice, though it still trembles in fear. “...Mii? Lady Suwako, w-who… who is he?”

“You should be familiar with him as well, Sanae.” It’s not the earth god who answers her, but rather the sky god, who descends to the ground, standing side-by-side with her counterpart. She crosses her arms together, and looks straight ahead at him, making no effort to hide the disgust evident in her eyes. “It’s him. The oldest curse god in the history of Suwa.”

“…That’s right,” he says, stepping a little closer toward the three. “The god who sits high atop the mountain, who resides in trees and stone; the god who curses the malefactors of the Suwa Kingdom; and the god who slays all youkai. I am they, and they are me. They comprise my very being, my existence, and allow me to take form in this realm…”

He stops, his arms outstretched to the side.

“I am Lord Mishaguji.”

He drops his arms, and stares straight ahead. The gods stare back at him, unmoving from their place. Even the trembling movements of the shrine maiden have stopped. Her expression is conflicted, mixed, tinged with anger and fear and shock. Her hands are balled up into tight fists, her body is tense. The gods, on the other hand, are far more relaxed and at ease than she is, but only in the movements of their body; their eyes are intense, full of emotions, both from now and from over two millennia ago. Although they appear calm, the tension in the air is so thick that not a single person dares to make a move.

“…So?” Moriya finally breaks the silence, tipping the brim of her hat over her eyes, “Why are you here, Mii?”

“To take back the power I lent you, and,” he replies, as flat and monotone as before, “…to put an end to everything that started, two-thousand years ago.”

“I see, that’s why,” Moriya says, nodding. “And… I suppose there’s no talking you out of it?”

“…you betrayed me, Moriya.”

She says nothing, looking away from him. The god Yasaka steps ahead to answer in her place, her look of disgust growing more and more intense with each passing second, as if even looking at him was an act of supreme defilement to herself. With a callous, contempt-filled voice, she calls out to him, “You haven’t changed at all. You’re still the stupid brat you were back then, not caring to listen to reason, acting only on your own judgments and never to those of others. Suwa was nearly ruined because of you.”

His eyes narrow, his expression changing for the first time, focused with hatred toward the god of the sky. “Shut up. You, who invaded, massacring and enslaving us kunitsukami… what right do you have to talk to me that way?”

The god Yasaka bites her lip, but refuses to back down, keeping her head held high. “Sanae,” she says without turning around. “You’d best be off. Seek shelter with the tengu. Go, now.”

“W-what?” she says, dumbfounded, “Lady Kanako, I want to hel—”

Go.”

She opens her mouth to protest, but no words come out of it. Closing it again, meekly, she looks at his form once more before hurrying away. He makes no effort to pursue her, or even to look at her. He continues to stare ahead at the two gods, watching them. Moriya finally looks at him again, sweeping her hat off her head.

“I’m sorry, Mii. It’s my fault you suffered,” she says, before tossing the hat to the ground. She crosses her arms together in front of her, her wrists pressed together. Two metal rings appear at her fingertips, and as they start to fall, she grasps them. Her eyes are focused and ready. “…at least, I can grant you what you wish for.”

The sky god waves one arm in front of herself, and in an instant, half a dozen miniature onbashira surround her, floating about her body. “This time, you won’t be able to escape, Mishaguji.”

Mishaguji smiles, and raises an arm above his head, pointing it straight up into the sky. Ghostly wails echo throughout the lake, as white, snake-like specters emerge from the cemetery of onbashira—one from each of the pillars standing erect in the water. They gently fly about the sky, circling about it, before descending toward Mishaguji’s open palm. They strafe about his body, entangling him in a curtain of ghostly white.

They enter his body, disappearing into it.

When he has consumed them all, he lowers his hand. A black aura surrounds him, covering him with a dark mist. His hair grows, past his shoulders and down to his back, colored like blood. Black markings appear on his skin, covering his face and his hands. His eyes remain as monstrous as before, and his curled lips transform from a smirk to an ugly grimace. He claps his hands together, and slowly spreads them apart, producing a long, rusted iron spear engraved with images of snakes coiling up the shaft, its length greater than his body.

He takes hold of the spear, and cuts apart the air in front of him before slamming its base into the ground.

“Let’s begin…”

[ ] …the Second Great Suwa War.
>> No. 20623
File 131686617651.jpg - (856.79KB, 1213x1723, 60e8714af4df4e026732aa7f6037c1e0.jpg) [iqdb]
20623
> “I am Lord Mishaguji.”

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF-

[c] …the Second Great Suwa War.

It has begun, hasn't it? Let's do this.
>> No. 20624
[x] ... having an orgy

Sure, why not.
>> No. 20625
[x] …the Second Great Suwa War.

Oh shit. FoM is going to go on for another 30 topics, isn't it?

Don't know why I'm voting, since you'll be updating anyway. Too bad we can't control this god.
>> No. 20626
[X] …drinking contest.
>> No. 20627
[x] ...the Second Great Suwa War.

>>20622
>"I am Lord Mishaguji."
Oh hey, how about that.
>>17777
>Honestly? My hypothesis on this is that we are the first Mishaguji, and "headgames" is its attempts to talk to us.

I still think we'll lose, sadly; we've been a pacifist for too long, and it's two against one.
>> No. 20628
Well. This sucks.
>> No. 20629
Well...
This sucks.
>> No. 20631
>>20627
For the sake of argument, we were pretty evenly matched with Kanako during the drinking contest, and that pacifism has made us faster, more agile and cautious. That combined with the strength and recklessness of how Tayasumi fought, now with "god-mode" activated, covers all bases.

I'm pretty sure we'll lose as well, though. Probably because the entire thing is giving me the evil never triumphs vibe. Also that good old fuck us despair.

>>20629
You don't need two extra dots to be understood. At least delete one of those.
>> No. 20632
>>20631
>evil always loses

You haven't been paying attention to the story have you.
>> No. 20633
[x] …the Second Great Suwa War.

Let it begin.
>> No. 20634
>>20632
In the end.
>> No. 20635
[X] ...the Second Great Suwa War.
>> No. 20636
Third person. Nice touch.

[X] ...the Second Great Suwa War.

Dammit Lion why'd your update schedule have to slow down right when we're getting to the best part?
>> No. 20637
[x] ...the Second Great Suwa War.

oh boy here we go
>> No. 20638
[x] …the Second Great Suwa War.
>> No. 20639
[x] …the Second Great Suwa War.
Heaven or Hell let's rock
>> No. 20640
It has begun my brothers. The great battle of our time.

BLOOD FOR THE CURSE GOD!
>> No. 20641
>>20640
"X for the Y God" just doesn't work when "X≠Y".
>> No. 20642
>>20641

Details, details insignificant before the Glorious Might of The Curse God.
>> No. 20643
[X] ...the Second Great Suwa War.
>> No. 20644
[x] "...buiding schools and hospitals for the people."

War won't solve anything. You need well educated people if you want to properly develop your nation, and hospitals to keep them in good health so they stay in the market for more time.
>> No. 20645
>>20634
So the main character dies because he was evil all along, and never get's the payback he wants? How retarded is that?
>> No. 20646
[x] "...building schools and hospitals for the people."
Changing my vote to this.
>> No. 20647
>>20640
SKULLS FOR THE FORTUNE THRONE!
>> No. 20648
Stop dragging this out Lion as the more I see this happen the more I think you're just jerking us around.
>> No. 20649
i think fom is a pretty cool guy. eh kills youkai and doesnt afraid of gods.
>> No. 20650
So this entire story was a result of a god being a whiny bitch?
>> No. 20651
>>20650

I don't know, I think it's reasonable to assume betrayal among gods is serious business.
>> No. 20652
[x] "...buiding schools and hospitals for the people."
>> No. 20653
[x] …the Second Great Suwa War.

Some of you don't trust Lion.

I do.

It looks like a tragic ending at the moment but it will end up fine.
>> No. 20654
>>20645
Sigh. I highly doubt we're going to stay butthurt Mishaguji. I'm betting on Mikio coming back, or Mishaguji being affected by his memories.

Evil never triumphs... does not mean he's going to meet a horrible end.
>> No. 20655
Is it bad that I want headgames-sorry, Lord Mishaguji, to win?

And now I see why Yukari wanted to erase us.

...fuck, she's going to come down on our ass should Kanako and Suwako fall. And this time there's no loopholes for us to use.
>> No. 20656
[x] …the Second Great Suwa War.

Just because Mikio has accepted his true nature as Mishaguji doesn't mean that the time that he spent Mikio - the growth that he underwent and connections that he made have suddenly been erased.

>Standing up, she gives you one final glance as you nod, before turning away, and exiting the infirmary. You lie there for a few minutes, just staring up at the ceiling. There’s no doubt about it. The time you have spent here, every moment of your life here – some sad, others painful – you don’t regret them. Yes, that’s the conclusion you’ve arrived at. It wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t a mistake for you to exist. It wasn’t a mistake at all. After all, you were – you were so happy…

His thoughts while he was laying in bed and then when he knocked out Momizi and Aya, where he both thanked and apologized to them. Even the scene where he's exsplaining the truth to Sanae there are hints of the person that he was as Mikio.

>She is lost, without even a single marker to help her find herself, without a single person to believe in. Yes, this is what must be done. This is what you have to do. At the least, you can help her sort out her feelings.
>> No. 20657
>>20654
we are a curse god, the HIGHEST of them all, and if we can defeat the person right below us on the rung and another god we'll be one powerful fuck. and you know what happens when powerful and evil mix? death. death in the worst possible way
>> No. 20658
>>20657
Death for the evil, not necessarily the body.
>> No. 20659
[X] …the Second Great Suwa War.

>[x] "...buiding schools and hospitals for the people."

Lion, you should really make some spinoffs or alternative endings when you're done with the main storyline.
>> No. 20660
[x] "...buiding schools and hospitals for the people."
>> No. 20661
Hmmm... I suspect that Suwako is Mishaguji's mother. More later.

[x] …the Second Great Suwa War.
>> No. 20662
[x] …the Second Great Suwa War.

Well, allright. I like the given choices.
>> No. 20663
[x] "...building schools and hospitals for the people."
>> No. 20664
[x] …the Second Great Suwa War.
>> No. 20665
>>20661 coming back

First bits of evidence : See the the previous post - the very childish nickname 'Mii' and how Suwako thinks it's her fault he suffered. Why would this be? I suggest that it's might be because it was her responsibility to raise him right.

>”… The path that never ends…” Arami began to sing with a soft, yet clear voice. ”… The child walks the path… How much longer must he walk… How much more must he suffer… longing for home, he sighs… If only, if only, I were sleeping in mother’s arms…”

The child likely refers to Mishaguji. If this is the case, who is the mother? And why, in post >>13281 after meeting Suwako were we >so happy?

The idea brings up some interesting perspectives on a few other events too. For instance, how was Suwako able to control the Mishaguji? Apparently, she was just a humble goddess before ruling, so how would be do it? Perhaps instead of power or trickery, she might've just asked them to - and they would have obeyed because she's Mommy.

And how about the attempts to use Hoshuu to kill Sanae? In this case, it might've not just been her being becoming a living goddess - it may have been sibling jealousy, or at least something very similar. As much as it would make sense in which Sanae and Mishaguji would trace themselves back to the same person. And if killing seems a bit much, remember plain, non-insane Tayasumi wished his sister dead in his backstory.

>>12219
>… You remember having hated your younger sister, blaming her for everything. If she hadn’t been born, mother wouldn’t have died, and father would still be healthy, and you would all still be a family. That’s why you hated her, and wished she’d never been born. It was all because of her. Everything was.

>But there was no one else who could take care of her but you. Mikihisa never came home. Father was too sick and heartbroken to do anything for anyone. So it was all up to you, the horrible older brother who wished she were dead, to care for her. And… beholding that small and frail child, you couldn’t bring yourself to hate her anymore.
>> No. 20666
>>20665
This would be pretty awesome
>> No. 20670
>>20665
>And how about the attempts to use Hoshuu to kill Sanae? In this case, it might've not just been her being becoming a living goddess - it may have been sibling jealousy, or at least something very similar. As much as it would make sense in which Sanae and Mishaguji would trace themselves back to the same person.

I think that probably had more to do with simple provocation. By threatening Sanae, the Mishaguji force Yasaka and Moriya to take action, regardless of any sentiments or sympathy they might for him/it/them. If his intent was solely to kill Sanae, he certainly had the ability to get her alone and kill her very quickly. I mean's he's apparently waited for so long for this, and neither Tayasumi nor Headgame's impulse put much effort into making speeches before chucking spears at people, so why is he doing all this grandstanding? He cold cocks Aya and Momizi in an instant, and yet he telegraphs throwing a rock at human girl. Then as soon as the gods show up, she's completely ignored. It doesn't add up.

I don't know if I buy the child-parent connection, since the Mishaguji were supposed to be primordial and animistic gods of a people conquered by those worshiping a war god in antiquity. It's really an allegory for the beginning of the Japanese iron age, when the predecessors of modern Japanese pushed the Ainu out of Japan. Maybe the Mishaguji and Suwako could have been siblings in a sense, but the Mishaguji seem to be a composite entity. Maybe they're related inasmuch as they come from the same pantheon. He refers to himself as kunitsukami (chthonic deities) to Kanako, which pegs her as amatsukami (heavenly deities) but that doesn't necessarily mean Suwako is one too. Seeing as he says she betrayed him, I think it's safe to say she sided with the latter though.

Not related, but the change in person gives me some hope for Miki.
>> No. 20671
>>20670
It might be in relation to helping Kanako rule as opposed to letting Mishaguji run wild after Suwako lost.
>> No. 20672
>>20670

I was under the impression that kunitsukami was another term for the native gods, which I'm pretty certain Suwako would be.

>>20671

That is my thought as well. In my head at least, the situation is rather screwed up for multiple reasons.
>> No. 20673
>>20672
>I was under the impression that kunitsukami was another term for the native gods, which I'm pretty certain Suwako would be.
It is, and she is. Kanako is an amatsukami as well.

I think the "betrayal" is in Suwako surrendering and serving Kanako. Or, perhaps, it refers to Houshuu being killed upon his meeting with Suwako.
>> No. 20684
[x] …the Second Great Suwa War.
------

He trails off, standing there with the base of his spear driven in the ground. The air is thick with tension, so thick that to an ordinary human it would feel suffocating, maddening. Of the three gods standing there, not one dares to move even an inch, not even to breathe. It’s as if they had forgotten to—or rather, they had forgotten to put up even the pretense of breathing. The sky above them, as if sensing the hostility present, darkens with black, ominous clouds, blocking out the pale light of the moon. A single drop of water falls from the sky, and hits the dirt at Mishaguji’s feet, soaking into it. Another drop follows, followed by another one, and another one, and another one. Before long, a light drizzle envelops the world, showering it.

And then it begins.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkZdPeRCxd8)

Mishaguji shoots forward, breaking the tension with the swiftness of an arrow. He pulls back his arm in the same motion, and hurls it forward. The thrown weapon cuts through the air at an unimaginable speed, faster than any ordinary pair of human eyes can follow, and yet its target reacts almost instantaneously. The Moriya god, tossing aside her rings, raises her hands, touching her index fingers together while clasping the rest. A great earthen wall raises itself up before her, and the spear lodges into it. The curse god keeps moving, however, and retracts his hand – the spear dissipates into dark mist, traveling to its owner’s hand and reforming at the tips of his fingers.

Letting out a crazed, distorted yell, Mishaguji leaps into the air, his weapon held high. With a mighty swing, he slices down at the sky god as he lands, but she moves quickly – she sidesteps his stroke, and raises her arm as he swings the shaft of the spear at her, blocking the strike. Her arm shakes and trembles with pain but nevertheless she grits her teeth and pulls back a palm, slamming it into Mishaguji’s body with incredible force, striking him just above the stomach. He’s sent flying back and up into the air, but regaining control, he swings his body around, flipping it in midair and descending down safely on his feet.

With a grimace, Mishaguji raises a hand above his head, the tattooed markings on his palm appearing to give off a dark glow for just an instant. He slams his palm down on the earth, sending a strong tremor through the dirt. Responding to his call, from underneath the earth at the god Moriya’s feet, a great white serpent bursts forth. She takes a great jump into the air, and the serpent follows up after her, soaring into the sky. Jerking back a hand, she smashes her fist into the snout of the serpent, hitting it with such power that its head immediately slams into the ground. Hissing in pain, the serpent slowly retreats back into the earth, and Mishaguji straightens his form once more.

There’s a lull in the fighting again, as the raindrops continue to fall around them.

“...I’m going to start attacking now,” the Moriya god says, descending to the ground. The rings she had thrown away earlier return to her hands, as if bound to them with a magnetic attraction. Grasping them in her fingers, she assumes a fighting stance, brandishing the iron rings. “Get ready, Mii.”

She coils up for a spring, and hops forward, jumping in a wide arc. When she lands, she slips through the surface of the earth, into the ground, out of sight. Mishaguji tenses up, his grip on his spear tightened. Only moments later, the Moriya god pops up out of the ground behind him, breaking through the rough earth, sending fragments of the ground up into the air as she swings out one arm, intending to hit the curse god with her ring. But even without looking back, Mishaguji swings his spear to parry the attack, knocking away the iron ring with a hard stroke.

Swiftly turning around with a kick, he catches her hard in the stomach, knocking the wind out of her. Savagely, he swings his spear at her, smashing the shaft into the god’s head and throwing her aside. She hits the ground -- and as soon as she does, she twists her body around, her arms pointed to the ground, bouncing off the earth on her knuckles and leaping up into the air. She takes a deep breath – and exhales water. A stream of high pressure water shoots out of her mouth, and Mishaguji quickly steps to the side – the stream hits the ground, leaving a large scar atop it. Moriya takes another deep breath, spitting great, thick globs of water like bullets. Leaping here and there, the curse god evades these bullets with quick footwork, each of them striking the ground and leaving great holes in it.

“Hhh--!” he lets out a surprised breath, looking behind him.

The heavenly god Yasaka meets him with a cold gaze and an arm poised for a blow. She swings her arm out, smacking the curse god hard across the face, his head jerked back so far that it almost seems like she broke his neck with that single swing. Not even a second after the blow connects a strong current of air follows it, sweeping the god off his feet and blasting him into the air, his limbs tossing about forcefully like the loose ligaments of a ragdoll.

With a hiss, he springs up, straightening his body and hovering in midair. He points the tip of his spear at the wind god, a crackle of electricity running across it. With a flash, a formidable bolt of lightning crashes down from the dark clouds above, striking down at Yasaka. She raises her arms above her head, attempting to block the bolt with her hands. The lightning strikes her dead-on, stray bolts striking the ground around her, covering her in a screen of smoke and dust. She emerges from the debris, one eye closed in a wince, her body slightly scorched. He looks down at her, and grins with the sadistic joy of a child torturing a small animal.

“Hmph,” Yasaka snorts and lowers her arms as she dusts herself off. “You’ve grown weaker, brat.”

“Although I guess we’re not in a position to talk,” Moriya adds as she descends down to Yasaka’s side. “…Still, it’s about time we got serious.”

Mishaguji lets out a small laugh, his grin growing wider.

---

I…

Do I deserve to die?

Why do I have to die?

Who was it… that decided that I have to die?

Who are they, to judge my worth?

Who are they… to decide who lives and dies…?

It isn’t fair. It just isn’t fair at all.

I don’t want to die.

I don’t deserve to die.

That’s why… that’s why…

[ ] They should all die instead.
>> No. 20685
[x] They should all die instead.

I know it's your style, but I find myself hoping you would just write this all up in one shot until next real choice now...
>> No. 20687
[x] They should all die instead.

Commendable skill, Mishaguji.
>> No. 20688
[x] They should all die instead.
>> No. 20689
[x] They should all die instead.
Maybe you can take the time and write the rest out in one go.
>> No. 20690
[x] They should all die instead.
>> No. 20691
>>20685
Pretty much this. The story's great, But come on? The entire thread is just... no choices really.
>> No. 20692
>>20685
he's just dragging it out as to excuse him from any extra writing.
>> No. 20694
[X] They should all die instead.

>>20685
I understand the sentiment, but I'd rather not be left hanging for a month or three. Also, it's probably easier for him to write when he breaks it into smaller chunks.
>> No. 20695
[x] They should all die instead.

Let them see how it feels.
>> No. 20696
Yeah, Lion, if you're going to only have a single choice at the end of a update, you might as well just leave it blank. It's getting annoying.

Just doing an update with no choices is ok, plenty of other writers have done so.
>> No. 20698
>>20696

I prefer it this way. It makes me feel like I'm helping.

[x] They should all die instead.
>> No. 20699
>>20698

Well to me it feels like he's stalling.
>> No. 20701
>>20700

Fool. Doing so in this case merely ensures you will be drowned not only by tide water, but your own waste was well.
>> No. 20702
[X]...I want to be forgiven.

Remember that write-in from way back in thread nineteen? Remember how Mikio didn't quite understand why he would put that on a new year's wish?

See why I'm bringing this up?
>> No. 20703
>>20702

Huh, totally forgot about that. It'll be a massive pissin' against the tide but I'll give this a shot.

[X]...I want to be forgiven.
>> No. 20704
>>20703
Well, if we all vote for it, one of two things might happen. One, it's accepted. Two, it's not. There's nothing to lose, really. The "tide" here is just people wishing for the story to continue.

[x] ...I want to be forgiven.
>> No. 20705
You know I heard a rumor that Lion's waiting for someone to finish what someone started a year back with one vote, said to nearly uncover whatever was going on.
>> No. 20706
[X]...I want to be forgiven.

Seems good.
>> No. 20707
>>20704
[X]...I want to be forgiven.

Pretty much my logic. Though chances are the vote's only there as a placeholder for next update.
>> No. 20708
[X]...I want to be forgiven.
>> No. 20709
[X]...I want to be forgiven.
>> No. 20710
[x] ...I want to be forgiven.
Changing.
>> No. 20711
[X]...I want to be forgiven.

Eh. Let's see if it'll work.
>> No. 20712
[x] ...I want to be forgiven.

I have faith that Mikio isn't 100% gone.
>> No. 20713
[x] ...I want to be forgiven.
>> No. 20714
[X]...I want to be forgiven.

Screw a rage-fueled fight to the death, we can fucking do this.
>> No. 20715
[X] ... I want to be forgiven. (screw destiny, and cell phone numpads too)
>> No. 20716
[X]...I want to be forgiven.
>> No. 20717
[X] They should all die instead.

I want my rage-fueled fight to the death.
>> No. 20718
[x] They should all die instead.

>>20717
This.
>> No. 20719
[x] I want to be forgiven

Because fuck thoses choices, we're doing things our way.
>> No. 20720
[x] I want to be forgiven
>> No. 20721
[x] They should all diet instead.

Bitches should lose some weight, yo.
>> No. 20722
[x] They should all diet instead.

Kanako for Prime Minister!
>> No. 20724
>>20702

I remember when I did that write-in. Didn't expect it to win, to be honest, and much less Lion's response.

[x]..I want to be forgiven.

So yeah, as someone has said, either it gets throught and something possibly nice happens, or it doesn't and we lose nothing.
>> No. 20725
>>20723
man i remember everytime this has been used yet it just kept getting darker
funny how that works huh
>> No. 20726
>>20724
Call me skeptical, but somehow I don't think lowering our weapon and asking nicely for forgiveness will be very effective. Neither will miraculously loosing our resolve before begging for our lives. I really can't see the point of this vote. It will only end in a quick dispatch for us, and I'm pretty sure just yesterday we had a hell of a fight with Yukari to avoid such an end.
>> No. 20728
>When the darkest hour arrives, you must fight; never to kill, but to show your conviction. Remember that well.

[X]...I want to be forgiven.

I deleted this to repost with the option Lion gave us and say that I trust him, then remembered that the last time I second-guessed myself, the other option won by one vote and the whole story went to shit in the next few updates. Never again.
>> No. 20729
>>20726
The way I see it is if the write in matches what Lion is looking for, assuming folks are referencing the right bit of anon analysis made a year back, he'll go with it. If not, he'll just use the default option.
>> No. 20730
>>20729
If Lion doesn't like the write-in, he might just throw our second (third?) bad end at us, which would be kind of frustrating considering his current update rate of once every two weeks, but other than delaying the story two weeks, no harm would be done besides telling us "hey, write-ins = bad."
>> No. 20731
[X]...I want to be forgiven.

Alright then. Alright, then.
>> No. 20732
[x] They should all die instead.
>> No. 20733
[x]..I want to be forgiven.
>> No. 20738
[x] They should all die instead.
Because the write-in is stupid.
>> No. 20741
[x] They should all die instead.

I have nothing against the write-in. It's just that it's out of character for the personality that is currently dominant. He's been seething, for countless years, wanting nothing more than revenge. He's had opportunities to be forgiven, and has probably brushed them aside in persuit of revenge.

Not to mention having a sudden change of heart in the middle of a fight to the death against two gods pretty much ensures that in the middle of his realization, he'll be blown the fuck up and diced apart.
>> No. 20742
>>20741
What if Lion wants us to try going against the flow? Well we know who to blame if going with the flow wins and we get a snow end 2.0.
>> No. 20743
>>20741
It's out of character for the personality that's currently dominant, but the one that's dominant might not be the one speaking in that last section. After all, Mishaguji's been represented in 3rd person while this last section was in 1st. And while it may be OOC for Mii, it's not so for Mikio.
>> No. 20746
>>20742
>Well we know who to blame if going with the flow wins and we get a snow end 2.0.

>>20454
Lion?
>> No. 20747
>snow end 2.0

Christ. Let me offer a small glass of perspective here.

>>9652 Bullet Timing
>>9702 Counter-attack Cyclone Seal
>>9722 Turbulence
>>9772 Domination, Small victory.

Mikio vs Maid - 4 updates

>>10385 Remi-chan VICTORY. Guilt by association. Youmu fight.
>>10408 Youmu fight continues. A gash in the mask.

Scuffle with Youmu - 2 updates

>>10599 The power of the oni
>>10629 Let's rock
>>10665 Up and personal
>>10693 Giving it all you got. Losing.

Mikio vs Suika - 4 updates

>>12874 Mikio the Masked vs Marisa the Magician. (Also Known As Kirita And Kirisame And Kombat.)
>>12899 You've activated your trap card!
>>12915 Defense and lines. Master Spark to the face.
>>12931 Sneak attack! Old times? Charming and disarming.
>>13038 Short time out. Deforest and demask. Marisa's attack.
>>13099 Counterbomb. Kzinti Lesson, inverted. Losing, blessing in disguise?

Mikio vs Marisa - 6 updates

>>13703 Continued search. Warning. Old Enemy. Two down.
>>13723 Hidden power. Counterattack. Burn baby burn.
>>13787 Subduing the monster. Counter-counterattack. Can't move. Counter-counter-counterattack.

Missing child search - 3 updates

>>14408 Fighting. Inhuman powers. Disarming, failed regeneration.
>>14466 Pursuit. Healing and a change of clothes? Sado-machoism.
>>14536 Near-tentacle rape. Flesh wound, Extended reach.
>>14592 Stunt double FTW. Flower power.
>>14624 Fear-ic victory. Tactical withdrawal.

Tayasumi vs Yuuka - 5 updates

>>15027 Arriving phoenix. Tengu Trap. Teachers are badass in Touhou.
>>15062 Seven unseen slashes. Steel-breaking Stone Armor. Losing fight. A woman's interference.
>>15108 Biding for time. Unstoppable Force, Immovable Object. Kiyone.

Tayasumi vs Sojobo - 3 updates

>>15639 Drunken danmaku. Slow start.
>>15676 Dodging Suwa Iron.
>>15738 Closing in. Like Mecha attacked by Teddy Bears.
>>15821 Triple-hit swing. Wind-cutting claw. The long-lasting fight and the unseen eyes.
>>15884 Twice-striking lightning-blessed blade. Sword to fist. Crumbling mask. A goddess's interference. Costly victory.

Mikio vs Kanako - 5 updates

>>19733
>>19831
>>19911

Yukari's failed assassination plot - 3 updates

>>20294
>>20352
>>20388
>>20419

Tayasumi's final stand - 4 updates

>>20622
>>20684

The Second Great Suwa War, 2000 Years of Resentment and Loneliness, The Long-awaited Clash of Gods and Kings, Homecoming of the Bloodstained Lord - currently at 2. 2! In other words, it's about as long as the Youmu match. And it's questionable if the first update actually counts since it's more like "Hi, I'm Lord Mishaguji. I'll just causally demonstrate that I can crush Sanae like a bug, and then allow her to get the fuck away from here. Also : powerups." Have we become so paranoid that we can't trust Lion to make this one at least average-sized?
>> No. 20748
>>20747
There's signs that he seems rather set on such a end, and the rumor I heard goes that the only way to stop it is to complete the analysis that an anon a year back made. So I figured might as well try as even if we fail to get it right, it'd still be better than not trying at all.
>> No. 20749
I trust Lion.
>> No. 20750
>>20748
You seem to be forgetting a key thing:

You're putting too much belief in a rumor.
>> No. 20751
>“…I might not be human,” you continue in a grave voice, unconvinced. “I might even be something worse than a youkai. Even so… even so, would you still not be afraid of me?”

>“Of course,” she answers immediately, her nod firm and sure. “And it’s not just me. Lady Suwako and Lady Kanako will stand by you, after everything you’ve done for us. And I’m sure, with some time, the tengu will accept you again! They might just need a little time to adjust, that’s all…”

From >>15989

After rereading some bits I have to wonder if this will, in the end, hold true.

The whole situation is the result of everyone being perfectly fine with ignoring the problem at-hand until the situation started fracturing and falling apart with Mikio's revealing of the truth to Sanae.

And, as far as Yukari is concerned, I'm a little surprised she hasn't sent Reimu after him. Then again she may feel it's an unnecessary step that she can just skip on the road to resolution.

Hm. I have to stop staying up to four in the morning drinking with friends. This is longer than I intended.
>> No. 20752
I do wonder if we're being a tad too hasty.
>> No. 20753
Lion asked us to trust him even if things look bad (which they are right now), so I think that I, personally, will do just that.
>> No. 20754
>>20753
this
>> No. 20760
Update tomorrow.

I promise.
>> No. 20761
>>20760
Huh. Day early.
>> No. 20762
Character analysis? I'll see if I can finish this one, I've been pondering it on and off for a few weeks at least. I have a few others as well. (How Kanako and Mishaguji could be more similar than they think, how Kanako's personality might be an act to keep Sanae and Suwako out of despair after Hoshuu died, and how Tayasumi and Hoshuu might've been human incarnations of Mishaguji (although I doubt, consciously aware of being) all along rather than just possessed.)

I think of Mishaguji as a paladin.

If that sounds a little strange, I think of him as a badly played paladin.

If that isn't enough, a badly played paladin played by a child. Possibly an autistic one. (Although in my experience autism is a subject that is only slightly less flame-inducing than religion.)

So think of Miko Miyazaki from Order of the Stick, except uglier and in charge. A person that can hear, follow, and recite back rules years (In Mishaguji's case, thousands of years) but doesn't understand how to apply them properly, when to bend them, and what contexts in which you discard them. This leads to trouble.

For example : Take the rule that you should 'kill youkai'. It's understandable how such a thing became a rule, but when put as an ironclad law it becomes a bad thing. (Again, D&D comparison - he'd be the type to kill NPCs simply because they are of monster races, no matter how helpful or good they might be. To the rest of the party, he looks like a psychopath. To him, leaving them alive would be the injustice - doesn't his code say that monsters should be killed? Neither side fully understands the other, and even if tells them in words his reasoning, it really doesn't come across because normal people wouldn't understand just how much following the rule means.)

That being said, if it were just 'kill youkai', it wouldn't be so bad - at least, it's you know how to deal with it. (Namely : if you're a youkai, run the hell away.) It's the part about 'malefactors' - criminals that make this thing really, really bad. I'm not certain that Mishaguji really gets the concept of having the punishment fit the crime. Frequent slow executions via cursing might have a negative effect on crime - but it would terrify the populace, making it a really unpleasant place to live. Ironically enough, since Mishaguji is a curse god these negative feelings he generates increases his supernatural power - thus enabling him to generate even more curses. Then factor in he's also going to generate hate and resistance in much of the population by doing this - friends and relatives of the punished who speak up against their ruler and in turn are punished as well. This generates even more terror, and more power for Mishaguji. He starts punishing people for crimes that seem crystal clear to him but obscure to everyone else. Even if he explains that they 'commited a crime', they might not understand what they were being punished for. This seemingly random nature makes the situation even more terrifying - if you were certain of your safety OR your doom it wouldn't be so bad, but if you didn't have that then... In any case, there would be others who would try to figure out what Mishaguji wants - pray more, figure out the things that the victims were doing and not do them. (Like Victim A might've been wearing a red scarf when he was executed. So some people jump on that and refuse to wear red scarves, and idea spreads. Another person might've claimed that praying on Tuesdays does the trick, and the idea spreads. Then Victim B, who prays on Tuesdays and doesn't wear red gets killed, and they try to figure out what to do next. The entire thing gets built up further and further until they are offering human sacrifices, and it's their own idea.)

On the other hand, Mushiguji might not understand what's wrong. For all I know, he could be all like "Hey, I'm doing such a good job they're offering human sacrifices to me now! I rock!" If it's at this point, someone would have to step in before Suwa is destroyed. That being said, simply attacking Mishaguji wouldn't help - given the amount of faith that he gained, he would be hard to match in terms of might and even if you could beat him, the resulting war would ruin Suwa anyway. If that's the case, you have to get someone to talk to him. In this case, it ended up being Suwako, whom Mishaguji trusted. Suwako ended up halting Mishaguji's reign of terror not through force, but by trust. Note that by doing so, she'll gain faith - all the terror that was Mishaguji's faith is going to be converted to gratitude for Suwako, so the humble little goddess becomes a powerful ruler in this manner.

Note that if Miss Suwako is indeed Mishaguji's mommy like I suspect, it's entirely possible that Mishaguji didn't realize that she was stepping in because he was such a screw-up. Instead, he could be all like "Mommy's here! Hooray! I am the BESTEST BOY EVER!!!"

Maybe more later. He does change a bit during his exile... in bad ways. Or he sorta changes in good ways, but they are twisted into bad ways. Which makes sense, somehow. If you're me. Which you are not, unless if you are me, but might make sense anyway.
>> No. 20763
>>20762
There's one key problem with this all:

We're willingly beginning a war.
>> No. 20764
>>20763

Doesn't disprove his theory at all.
>> No. 20765
[x] I want to be forgiven.
------

They should die, they should die, they’re the ones who deserve to die, and they should all just drop dead. Die, die, die, die, die die die die die die—!

…that’s what I thought before.

It was the only thing that I could think of. The only thought that kept me bound to this world. All that I could think of within that fragile mind was hatred; hate that burned so intensely, a dark flame that burned brighter than the fire of my life ever had. I hated them all. I hated them all so much. It was only because of my hate that I was allowed to continue to “live.” I hated those who had judged me. I hated those who had killed me. I wanted them to die. I wished for their deaths. If I had to die, why were they allowed to live? It wouldn’t be fair. They should die as well. They should know what it’s like. They should all suffer as I have.

But is that how I feel now?

What is it that I desire?

Is it because of my hatred that I continue to cling to existence?

Or… is it something else?

Is there some other reason now? Has my purpose changed? What is it that still drives me to live? What is the end that I seek? Is it… is it still just to kill those who I hate? No, that’s not it. I’m certain that isn’t it. But if that’s not it, then what is it that I wish for? The reason for which I’m doing all of this… it isn’t because of hatred, or a grudge from the past. That’s not it at all. It’s different. It’s different, I’m sure. But if it isn’t that, then what is it? I don’t understand, I don’t understand, but—

No, I do understand.

I’ve understood all along.

What it is that I really want.

The reason for all of this.

What I wish for, more than anything else.



…and that’s why I can’t stop.

---

The earth god leaps forward into the air, her small figure cutting a path through the rain as she hovers in a graceful somersault. She lands with one foot, striking the earth with her heel. A quake runs through the ground, the dirt beneath Mishaguji’s feet trembling for a moment just before a tree root springs up from the cracks of the earth, jumping at him like a coiled snake snapping at its prey. Reacting instantaneously, Mishaguji kicks off the ground, bounding back as the root shoots up toward the sky, the crack it sprung from widening as an entire tree rises up with it with a majestic sound of bristling leaves and swaying branches.

The curse god has barely touched down onto the ground again before the god Moriya leaps forward once more, kicking at the ground with the opposite heel as the first time. A vibration is sent through the earth once more, and Mishaguji quickly leaps back just as before, an even greater tree than the last one springing up from the spot his feet had touched. Moriya, crouching down, claps her hands together before slamming the surface of the ground with her palms. A much stronger vibration, enough to shake the earth they’re standing on, runs through the dirt, and a forest of trees begin to grow in front of her in a river-like stream, each much smaller than the ones before, but numerous. With a growl, Mishaguji sweeps his leg out in a motion like a kick, and a stream of wood – just like Moriya’s – rise up in his defense, the two streams crashing and twisting around one another, before breaking apart into splinters and dead leaves.

A blindingly fast figure flies past the debris, flying at Mishaguji like a hurled javelin. The wind god pulls back her arm as she nears him, and he raises his spear in defense. She strikes with her arm, dealing a powerful blow to the curse god’s stomach, digging deep with her knuckles. She pulls back her other fist, and with a roar, she delivers a ferocious uppercut that sends him flying up. Unfinished, she points her palm at the god and clenches her fingers, the four pillars gathered at her back flying up at her direction. Moving as though they had a mind of their own, the pillars scatter to the air before all flying at the airborne god, one from the front, one from the back, and the last two from the left and the right, crushing him and squeezing him in between themselves.

Clenching his teeth, Mishaguji squirms and struggles, and with a burst of power, he scatters the pillars once more. Zipping through the air, he grabs one of the waylaid pillars, throwing it like a spear at the wind god. Barely having time to gasp, the wind god bounds to the side, the pillar crashing into the ground – but a second pillar thrown immediately after the first one catches her directly, smashing right into her torso and dragging her against the dirt as it skids along the ground. Not allowed the time to gloat, Mishaguji quickly turns to find the god Moriya rushing at him from behind. Hissing, a long, forked tongue flicks out from his mouth, wrapping itself around one of the god’s ankles. With a snap of his head, the god goes tumbling to the ground, flying into the wind god just as she gets up again, knocking her back down in a tangle of limbs. Mishaguji’s tongue slips back inside his mouth, as he looks down on the gods as they get back up to their feet.

…Yes, I can’t stop now. This is all… this is all so that I…

---

Lord Mishaguji, Lord Mishaguji, what have I done wrong?

It hurts. It hurts. My whole body hurts. Everywhere, everywhere, I can feel the pain everywhere. It feels like my body is burning. It feels like there’s hot fire all around me. It hurts. It hurts. I want to cry. I want to cry out. I want to cry and scream in pain, but I can’t. I can’t scream, I can’t yell, I can’t even speak. Everywhere, everywhere, all over my skin I can feel the flames surrounding and eating at my flesh. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts so much.

At my feet, I see snakes. Snakes with scales as white as snow. Snakes with eyes as red as blood. Snakes that have been killed and mutilated, their heads split apart, the bodies scattered at my bare feet. They’re the same as me… they’re the same as me. I want to shed tears for them, I want to cry for them, I want to mourn their deaths, but I can’t, I can’t. I can’t cry. I can’t cry. I want to cry but I just can’t cry. Why is that? Have I forgotten how to cry, or have I just ran out of tears?

Lord Mishaguji, Lord Mishaguji, what have we done to deserve this?

I see a gleam of light above me. Tiredly, I raise my head, and look up at the light. I’m scared. I want to run away from that light. I want to escape. But I can’t move. I can’t move my arms. I can’t move my legs. They hurt too much to move. When I try to move them I feel like they’re going to be ripped off. I want to run away. I want to run away. I want someone to save me. Someone please save me. Someone, someone, someone... I’m scared. I’m scared. I’m scared. I’m scared. I’m scared I’m scared I’m scared I’m scared I’m scared I’m scared I’m scared I’mscared I’mscared I’mscared I’mscared I’mscared—

Lord Mishaguji, Lord Mishaguji, if you really exist

please, in exchange for my life, kill them all.

The dagger comes down.

...
>> No. 20766
Well, It seems our motive changed a bit but our course did not... we'll just have to wait and see how it affects the ending.
>> No. 20767
what a cruel place to end
>> No. 20768
>>20767
Yep. Oh well. Two weeks isn't too bad a wait.
>> No. 20769
I wonder if we actually changed things or not... well might as well wait and see at the end update... whenever it comes.
>> No. 20770
You know what I think?

I think the whole "THEY SHOULD ALL DIE" is because of all the sacrifices, some of whom pleaded for revenge as their last thoughts and prayers.

Maybe.
>> No. 20771
>>20770
I don't have a single clue what the hell is going on, man.
>> No. 20801
You know what? I'm going to take a stab in the dark here.

[x] A life for a life.

Bartering in only the finest blood.
>> No. 20809
File 132022999816.png - (760.63KB, 660x880, 154043800f27bd10c736d299fa2be95d.png) [iqdb]
20809
I have died.

I have been killed.

…but I am not dead.

The dry ground is soaked red with my blood, the dirt dyed in a dark red. The blood flows from my body, still, unmoving, without breath or life, left standing, not allowed to fall to the ground by the thick straw ropes binding it to the majestic pillar that stands erect, reaching skyward. It is dead, it is no longer alive; there’s not a single doubt about that. The dagger buried in its heart is the proof of that.

But I am not dead.

I am not dead.

I am here.

I am still here.

I am still alive.

I cannot feel my arms, or my legs, or even anything at all, but I know: I am still here. I am still alive. I am… right here. I am still me. I can think, and I can remember. I am here. I am here. I am here. I feel as though if I don’t keep repeating that, I will fade away. I am here. I am here. I am still here. I don’t want to disappear. I don’t want to lose my mind. But already, I’m starting to forget who I was, and what I wanted… what did I want? What did I want…?

kill them all

What was it that I wished for?

please, in exchange for my life

It was…

kill them all

Kill them all. Kill them all. Die. Die. They should all die. Die, die, die. Everyone who hated me should die. Everyone who blamed me should die. Everyone who wronged me should die. Everyone who wanted me dead should die. Everyone who killed me should die. I didn’t deserve to die. They’re the ones who deserve to die. They should die. They should die. They should die. They should all just drop dead.

I move.

I feel my arm moving again. I see my arm moving again, and I know now, surer than ever, that I am still here. I haven’t faded away. My pale hand, still marred with black burns, reaches out toward my body. My fingertips brush against its cheek, passing through it as though they weren’t there, but that doesn’t bother me. I behold my own face, frozen in the end in a look of grim despair, drooping red eyes still open. A gentle breeze passes by across the clearing, caressing the body’s snow-white hair.

I smile.

It’ll be alright. It’ll be alright. There’s no need for you to look so sad.

Because…

Lord Mishaguji will surely grant your wish.

---

The god Moriya snaps her body back into action, hopping into the air while coiling both of her arms back over her head. Lacing her fingers together, she brings down her hands like a hammer, smashing the ground with her immense strength. Cracks in the ground appear, and from them spring countless, misshapen metal blades, flying up into the air like a fountain of metal. Yasaka points her arms forward, the metal blades hovering in the air as the sharp points turn toward the curse god. Fierce winds whip up and roar from behind them, launching them forward into a storm of edges.

Mishaguji lifts his spear, his fingers dancing about the rusted metal shaft as he spins it about, completing each circulation so fast the spear’s movements appear only as a blur. Metal strikes against metal, and white-hot sparks fly up into the air with every furious clash of blades. Each impact sends him flying back in the air, until he’s hovering above the middle of the lake of Suwa, swatting away each blade that flies at him with a flick of his wrist, his blood-red spear his shield. A single blade breaks past his defense, and strikes him right between his brows. His head is thrown back, his eyes open wide in shock, and immediately the remaining blades take advantage of his lowered guard to plunge themselves into his body, each blade burying deep into his torso and limbs with a crushing impact.

The curse god remains still for a moment, his head still jerked back, blades sticking out from his body, making him resemble a pincushion. Slowly, he lowers his head, without the slightest indication of pain or suffering. He reaches up and grasps the rough edges of the metal protruding from his face with a bare hand, yanking it out. There is no blood from his open wound, no indication that it is a wound at all. Where there should be exposed flesh and bone, there is simply nothing. He no longer has the body of a human. No, more accurately, he no longer cares to continue any pretenses of having the body of a human.

“This won’t be enough to kill me,” he says in his echoing voices, letting the blade slip out of his grasp.

He reaches for another piece of metal impaled into his body, sticking out from under where a human’s ribcage would be. Touching it with a finger, a dark smoke begins to billow out from the metal’s surface, and it begins to corrode away. The other metals embedded inside him follow suit, leaving behind only empty gaps in the body. Mishaguji remains still, the open wounds in his form simply left there. The two gods say nothing in reply, the rain splashing down their faces as they float up into the air, to the same level as their enemy, floating toward the lake.

The sound of the raindrops hitting the ground is broken by the splatter of feet against water. From the direction of the shrine’s gate, the wet footsteps grow louder. A raven-haired crow tengu and a white-haired wolf tengu hurry toward the gathering of the gods, the priestess of the shrine trailing long distantly behind them, harshly out of breath. Although they do not show themselves, hundreds of pairs of eyes have gathered around the shrine, observing the happenings in silence, unsure of what to do besides that simple act.

“Miki!” the crow tengu shouts out.

Mishaguji refuses to even acknowledge the pair rushing toward him with a glance, instead merely pointing two fingers in their direction, palm facing the sky, and raising them up. The ground shakes for an instant before two white serpents spring out of the ground, lunging at the pair of youkai as they near the edge of the lake. Caught by surprise, the tengu attempt to fly away, but the snakes quickly coil themselves around their legs, constricting them as they quickly slither about their body, wrapping themselves around their arms as well. Struggling, they attempt to free themselves, but these serpents prove extremely powerful.

“Wait, Lady Yasaka!” the white wolf tengu attempts to shout, “Don’t kill him, he’s trying to--!” Before she can say anything more, the white serpent uses its great length to wrap itself around her throat and her mouth, muffling her words and preventing her from speaking. She opens her mouth, using her canines to attempt to bite free, but even her sharp fangs can’t pierce the tough-as-diamonds scale of the serpent.

The priestess stops, skidding slightly in the mud as she witnesses the tengu become subdued. Her chest heaves forward and back, and her breath is laborious, both from physical fatigue and from fear. She stays where she is, gazing frightfully at the tengu, forcefully wrestled to the ground by their live bindings, not daring to take a step closer to the battle. She slowly raises her head toward the figure flying up above the lake.

“Now everyone’s gathered to see the conclusion,” Mishaguji speaks slowly, in a hauntingly hollow tone of voice.

The two gods do not say anything. They stare at him, their eyes set not with hatred or pity, but with resolution.

Without any further words, Mishaguji raises his hands. He touches the tip of his index fingers and his thumbs together, lacing the others. A dark mist begins to surround him, whirling about his body as a thick cloud of black obscures him from view. The cloud grows and expands, becoming larger and larger, before beginning to elongate itself, growing in length and width, one edge of the cloud plunging into the surface of the water underneath.

A white body bursts out from within the cloud, clearly the smoke away with a wild flailing of its head. From the long trail of smoke emerges a monstrously large snake, its length so great that even with its head extended out toward the sky the tip of its tail is submerged deep in water. The snake’s face is painted black with the same markings around the eyes and the top of its head as Mishaguji’s, and its large, almond shaped eyes are unmistakably his as well, a sinister red orb within a cage of black split by a narrow black slit. A long blood-red mane flows behind its head, like that of a lion’s, giving it a more majestic appearance.

Lord Mishaguji’s fearful form: a monstrosity under which the old people of Suwa lived in terror and awe.

“Come,” the snake-like god opens its red mouth, exposing its cavernous red walls as well as its fangs, his voice booming out and echoing across the mountain. “I’ll devour you both!”
>> No. 20810
34. I will not turn into a snake. It never helps.

We're so going to lose now.
>> No. 20811
That was intense.

And now I must ask: will Reimu find out about this incident?
>> No. 20812
>>20811
She prolly already has.
>> No. 20813
>>20810
Some people just don't appreciate the List.
>> No. 20814
I dunno guys, I got a good feeling about this. We've got a shitload of power, we're a giant fuckign god snake, and I'm pretty sure we haven't suffered any serious damage.

Let's dance.
>> No. 20815
I have a good feeling as well, I'm not expecting this to be the final conflict of the story. So we have to surive until then at least.
>> No. 20816
I wonder if Lion'll draw this out into next year or not.
>> No. 20817
>>20810
Aren't we trying to?
>> No. 20818
>>20817
Oh, I hope not. That would be so cliche.

...
>> No. 20820
>>20817
Nope.
>>20818
This. I do agree that increasing in size never helps, though. You gain no strength, and just become a bigger target.
>> No. 20821
I'm waiting for him to raise the dead of the lake and to show them the memories of his pain in an attempt to inflict great mental anguish and guilt.
>> No. 20822
I'm waiting for a foreseeable end.
>> No. 20824
>>20820
Say that to Suika's super armor and her giant punches.
>> No. 20825
>>20824

We never had a chance in that battle. We were doomed by the canon of the story, as all of the participants barring us were either alive in the present or died elsewhere. So there was no possibly way to win without some sort of retcon.

However, there's no predetermined canon at this point, so I'm feeling optimistic.
>> No. 20826
And now, we shun the human and embrace the void.

[x]Kill the gods.
- [x]But protect the priestess.

This will be the only way you can catch them off guard.
>> No. 20828
You will never finish Border House, right?
>> No. 20829
>>20828
He's supposed to be focusing on finishing this first from what I recall.
>> No. 20830
I...I hope Aya and Momi will be alright...

(Is it wrong I kind of want this whole thing to end up with the poor guy getting a hug?
Possibly while being told everything is alright?)
>> No. 20831
Is it weird that I found the random hanging out with people more interesting then the fights?
>> No. 20832
>>20831
Nope, time with Shizuha was really nice.
>> No. 20834
>>20831
Nah. I'd have to say that, for me, the day-to-day normal interaction with others has been the most enjoyable.

It's totally not because I have confidence that I know what's actually going on during those times. Nope. No sirree.
>> No. 20862
Expecting not to sound too bold... Could someone upload a .doc/.txt of the story so far?, please!.

Thanks in advance.
>> No. 20863
>>20862
http://westisblue.com.

the story downloader
>> No. 20864
>>20862

See >>/gensokyo/7144
>> No. 20865
>>20864
>>20863
Thank you so much.

I downloaded everything written after Thread 21, and the txt file is almost 2mb in size, wow.

I hope the downloader didn't cut off any parts.
>> No. 20894
I remembered clearly.

The man who faced me as I stood tied to that pillar. The man who raised the dagger high up above his head, as drops of rain fell to the damp ground. The man who plunged the tip of the dagger into my flesh and pierced my heart. The man who killed me. I remember him. I remember his face, twisted into an ugly scowl, every pore of his skin inflamed with his malice. The murderous intent that radiated from his eyes, the hate with which he tore into my body. I remember it, I remember it all.

That’s why he was the one I sought out first.

I found him, as he walked over a beaten mountain trail, gathering food. I watched him, as he wiped the sweat from his brows, fanning himself with his hand as he stops to take a rest. I moved closer to him, so that I could see his face. It was no longer twisted with evil feelings, as it was before, but even still, I recognized him. It was he who killed me. It was he who judged that my life was worth nothing. It was him, it was him, it was surely him.

A terrible smile came over me, and I muttered out a single word.

Die.

The man turned around wildly, spooked and disturbed. His eyes scanned frantically around him, but settled on nothing. His gaze passed over me, but no recognition came to his eyes, merely brushing by as he continued to look around him, confused. Suddenly, he screamed. He screamed and yelled in anguish and terror. He fell to the ground, clutching his leg, as a single snake slithered around him. Its scales were pale white, and its eyes ruby red. Sliding on its belly, the snake crawled away from the man, diving into nearby shrubbery as his eyes followed it, widened in pain and horror. The man’s face was pale, and he continued to clutch his leg, cupping his fingers around two punctures in his skin. His hands shook, and his body lost color. He slumped to his side, his eyes unblinking, wanting to scream but unable to.

Finally, he saw me.

I stood at his side, as he writhed pathetically in the throes of death. His wide open eyes glanced up at me, sheer terror evident in his gaze. He sees me, he sees me, he sees me, my wretched smile will be the last thing he sees before he dies, just as his ugly face was mine, I thought. My smile became even more twisted and terrible, entertaining those thoughts. Die. That’s what you deserve. I didn’t deserve to die. You deserve to die. So die. Die. Die. Die. Die. Die. Die. Die. Die. Die.

His eyes rolled up into the back of his head, his body going into convulsions.

I watched his life fade away.

Next, I visited the man who had given me those terrible burns, the man who watched me as I writhed in pain, pressing hot iron to my skin and reveling in the smell of sizzling flesh and the sound of agonized cries. He was a neighbor of the man who had killed me, and when he did not return from his excursion, he left to find me. I shadowed him. I followed his steps as he ascended the same mountain trails as that other detestable man did. I felt hatred boiling up inside me, just looking at him. My expression was frozen in a scowl, and my eyes felt hot with anger.

That’s why, I leaned closer, and whispered in his ear.

Die.

Bewildered, he turned around wildly, looking confused, just like that other man. Laughing silently to myself, I watched as he began to panic, looking beside himself with fright. Yes, he was frightened. He was fearful. He was fearful of me. He was afraid of me. He was scared of me. I could feel the depth of his fear. It was overwhelming, intoxicating, empowering. Again, I felt that terrible smile slip itself back on my face, and reached out to him, giving him just a single nudge

And with a scream, he began to tumble down the side of the mountain.

Once again, the last thing he saw… was my face.

Die.

Struck by lightning.

Die.

Illness.

Die.

Crushed under a roof.

Die, die, die, die, die.

Incinerated in a fire.

I smiled. I laughed. I danced. I sang.

They cried. They screamed. They begged for mercy. They threw themselves down at my feet. They, who hated me, chanted my name as they bowed their heads. They erected a shrine dedicated to me. They prayed to me. They held ceremonies in my honor. They offered me their greatest grain, their freshest meat, their loyalty.

I am loved, I thought.

On a rainy day, I watched over the lake. There was fresh blood on the ground, near the edge of the water, coming from the body of a child tied to a pillar. Descending to the ground, I approached the child, and stopped. He was the same. The same as me. I could feel his hatred for everyone and everything. So when I saw his spirit, looking at his body with a bitter, heartbroken expression, I extended my hand out to him with a smile.

“Hey,” I said, “let’s play together.”

He looked at me, hesitant and scared, but seeing the smile on my face, he slowly reached out, and took my hand. It will be alright, it will be alright, I told him. From then on, no one would hate him; no one would judge the worth of his life to be less than anyone else’s. We would be loved. We would be loved by all. After all...

We are Mishaguji.
>> No. 20895
File 132162159174.jpg - (138.84KB, 1280x720, 1320386345940.jpg) [iqdb]
20895
>We are Mishaguji.
>> No. 20896
Brilliant
>> No. 20897
... So what the fuck is going on again?
>> No. 20898
>>20897

Apparently, Mishaguji is the union of all the kids unjustly killed/sacrificed.

Which got me way off guard. Marvelous, Lion, marvelous.
>> No. 20899
>>20898
Called it.

Well, the "we were the child[ren] sacrifice[s]" part. For some reason, it didn't occur to me that said sacrifices would become the Mishaguji.
>> No. 20901
We are Legion.
>> No. 20902
>>20898
I had a feeling this was the case.

jesus fucking christ lion so much shit going on my mind is full of fuck
>> No. 20903
>>20899
Doesn't this mean that the whole child sacrifice to appease the terrible curse spirit was a self perpetuating cycle?
>> No. 20904
>>20903

Until Suwako stepped in and kick his ass? Yeah, it does.
>> No. 20911
>>20903
Pretty sure those sacrifices were to Suwako or Kanako, and Mishaguji embodied the hatred of those sacrificed. Things were pretty brutal back in the day, even if that means admitting that one's favorite Touhou wasn't some gentle, benevolent god.
>> No. 20912
>>20911
>They cried. They screamed. They begged for mercy. They threw themselves down at my feet. They, who hated me, chanted my name as they bowed their heads. They erected a shrine dedicated to me. They prayed to me. They held ceremonies in my honor. They offered me their greatest grain, their freshest meat, their loyalty.

No, I'm pretty sure they were sacrifices to us.
>> No. 20914
Most likely, the first kid was sacrifices for some now dead god. The other kids mentioned were sacrifices for us. After Suwako took over, they became sacrifices for her.
>> No. 20915
>>20914
We were sacrificed to Suwako.
Hence how Suwako is mother.
>> No. 20919
Makes sense.

Kind of obvious actually.
>> No. 20920
Oh god, the waiting.

Even with the railroading, this is still my favorite story on THP.
>> No. 20921
>>20920
Don't encourage him, we don't need another YAF, and we don't need /youkai/ becoming like /shrine/ right after he was banned the first time.
>> No. 20922
>>20921
You are really overreacting
>> No. 20924
Yay for Angra Mainyu
>> No. 20960
File 132317276483.jpg - (344.58KB, 1281x884, 348cd411fa73cecf06ec832d55bf49fe0cf1caba.jpg) [iqdb]
20960
----

The great serpent thrashes its head wildly, its red mouth wide open in a silent roar that shakes the air around it. The dark clouds gathered in the sky grow thicker, blacker, and the light rainfall becomes a rainstorm, the raindrops becoming thicker, heavier, and more numerous. The distant rumbling of a thunder responds to the Mishaguji’s howl, filling the sky with its deafening crack. The serpent-like god’s eyes burn with a bitter anger from over two millennia past. The two gods the snake god towers over with its huge form glower up at it with fearless eyes, even as the force of its roar whips their clothes about their bodies.

And then, without a word more, the battle resumes in earnest.

Mishaguji’s eyes flash with a dark light, and responding instantly to his calls, two pure-white serpents burst out from the ground behind the gods, raising their long bodies up into the air before descending down, their mouths wide open and their fangs ready to sink into their godly bodies. The god Yasaka raises her fist, effortlessly punching the serpent in the jaw without turning her head to look back, sending it writhing on the ground, while the god Moriya turns and leaps back as the white serpent crashes into the ground she stood on, materializing a ring in her hand and sending it flying into the midsection of the snake’s long body.

“Die!” Mishaguji’s voice rumbles out.

The air lights with crackles of electricity as a shower of Mishaguji’s cursed bolts strike the ground, scorching the earth as the myriad of bolts charges at the Moriya shrine’s gods like a wall of electricity. Yasaka raises her arm, and her onbashira pillars gather around her, floating in a cross-like formation in front of her to act as her shield, while Moriya materializes iron rings to both of her hands, spinning them around at high speed. The two gods brace themselves for the impact as the bolts strike against their defenses in a flash of blinding light, completely obscuring them in a cloud of dust and dirt. When it settles, the two gods appear again, slightly scorched from the blast, but not seriously injured.

The little Moriya god quickly moves to counterattack. She runs toward the lake, her arms outstretched behind her. Pulling back her little fist, she jumps up into the air before throwing a punch at the air in Mishaguji’s direction. Halfway into her swing, an enormous glowing aura manifests around her, in the shape of a monstrous toad, mimicking her action and launching one of its front legs at Mishaguji in a punch. The blow connects with the side of the serpent’s head, sending him reeling back in pain. His eyes widen in anger, and it lashes back, ducking its head under a second swing and smashing its head against the toad’s stomach, knocking it away – Moriya gasps in pain as though she were the one who was struck, her small body thrown back and almost knocked out of the air.

“I hate you!” Mishaguji’s voice screams, as he lunges forward, biting into the giant toad’s neck. He wraps the length of his body around it, squeezing it. “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you, I HATE YOU!”

Moriya winces in pain, the toad-like aura around her struggling against its binding, trying to pry itself free from Mishaguji’s constriction. It’s useless, however, and Mishaguji tightens further and further, and Moriya’s arms begin to twist at an unnatural angle, her body on the verge of breaking apart – until Mishaguji suddenly lets out a pained howl, losing his hold on the god, a silver-green serpent as big as he is biting into his body. Its jaw tightly gripping onto the base of Mishaguji’s neck, the silver-green serpent drags Mishaguji away from the giant toad, prying him off as he thrashes and splashes around the lake, trying to free himself.

“I’ve had enough of your temper tantrums, child,” Yasaka says condescendingly, standing on top of the silver-green serpent’s head.

Mishaguji raises his thrashing head to the sky, letting out a horrible hiss as he twists and throws about the length of his body, with Yasaka’s green serpent holding on for dear life. A roar crashes throughout the air as dark mist pours out from the scales of the silver snake. The wind god immediately withdraws away from the curse god, the jaws of her snake coming loose to avoid the black cloud. Directing his hateful gaze toward Yasaka, he bellows out with a voice full of malice.

“DON’T GET IN MY WAY AGAIN!!”

His white body crackles with electricity before pillars of lightning strike the ground in front of him, surging toward the wind god’s snake. The bolts strike the god and her avatar in full force, and the green serpent lets out a horrible, pained hiss, and the wind god drops to one knee on top of the snake’s head, an eye shut in a wince. Letting out a terrible snarl, Mishaguji draws back his head, ready to lunge at the other snake with its mouth wide open – but before it can, a pair of stubby purple arms wraps themselves around the great white curse god’s body from behind.

The god Moriya stands at the center of the toad still, wrestling with the giant serpent. It grasps Mishaguji by the throat with one of its frontal legs, its round, webbed toes holding the snake in a chokehold before slapping his head straight into the ground, causing the length of his body to shoot straight up into the air before slowly sinking down. Driving Mishaguji’s head into the dirt, the giant toad draws back its other frontal leg, smashing it against the serpent’s back. Hissing madly, Mishaguji squirms out of the toad’s grasp, ramming it with his head. The toad is thrown back, and the god within it lets out a yelp, rubbing her forehead with her sleeve.

“MoRiiYAaaa! MOORIYAAAaaaaAAA!” Mishaguji screams, his overlapping voices distorted and out of synch with one another. “YooUU beeTRAyyed meeEEee! YOU BetRAyED MEEEEEeeee! I wiIILLlll neEEVeEER FORGIIIVE YOOUUUuuu!”

Furiously, the curse god dives at the giant toad, its red mane wrapped in lightning, and as it does, half a dozen white serpents nearly as big as Mishaguji spring up from beneath the lake, wrapping themselves around the toad-shaped aura, coiling up around its limbs and keeping them from moving. Moriya struggles against the serpent bonds, but they’re too tightly constricting her, almost completely limiting her movement. Roaring, Mishaguji calls forth lightning, a giant bolt falling from the sky and striking Moriya and her toad with a deafening crack – Moriya screams in pain, and the aura around her fades out just for a moment, threatening to disappear before it stabilizes.

“DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE!” Mishaguji continues to shriek, his voice hysteric and almost child-like, and with each scream, a bolt of lightning strikes Moriya, sending her into even more suffering, her frog aura completely dissipating. “EVERYONE WHO BETRAYS ME SHOULD DIE. EVERYONE WHO HURTS ME SHOULD DIE. EVERYONE WHO HATES ME SHOULD DIE. DIE, DIE, JUST DIE!!”

A blast of wind strikes against Mishaguji, sending him reeling back; Yasaka’s serpent challenges him once again, its mouth wide open. From its open gullet, a second wave of air launches itself at the white serpent, striking against his head again and causing him to reel back in pain once again. Yasaka’s expression hasn’t changed as she stands stoically on top of her serpent’s head, her arms crossed and her eyes showing nothing but disgust, disdain, and dislike for the curse god.

“You stupid child,” she scolds him. “You think because you have the power of a god, that you have the right to choose who should live and die? You should never have received the power you hold now. You should never have become a god.”

“DON’T JUDGE ME! I NEVER WANTED TO BE A GOD!” Mishaguji snaps back, his voice more insane than ever. “DON’T JUDGE ME, DON’T JUDGE ME, DON’T JUDGE ME!”

He swings his body around, striking at Yasaka’s serpent with his tail. The green serpent hisses in pain, but before it even has a chance to recover, Mishaguji lunges forward, and sinks his fangs into the body of the snake. He chomps down on the serpent’s flesh, his fangs breaking through the scale and breaking apart the serpent’s body. The serpent lets out a final hiss as it begins to break apart, falling to pieces – Yasaka jumps from the top of its crumbling head to one of the onbashira pillars, but immediately on landing, she collapses to one knee, cold sweat running down her brow. Moriya lands on a pillar nearby, her body still sizzling from the storm of lightning she endured.

“Tsk,” Yasaka clicks her tongue, her teeth grit. “He’s still an incredible monster in raw power, even though he should be weakened like us.”

“Yeah,” Moriya nods. “We’re still no match for him individually…”

Mishaguji lowers its head so that its giant eyes are on level with the gods, staring at them with intense hatred, his black slit pupils shaking vehemently with indignation. He opens his horrible red mouth, black mist billowing out the sides of his jaw. His body crackles with lightning, and his red mane bristles out and trembles with hostility. The two gods remain on their knees, their expressions set in what almost seems like glum resignation. Moriya even closes her eyes, lowering her head. Mishaguji rears back his head, and prepares to lash out…

“Hold it!”

------
>> No. 20962
File 132317291439.png - (677.04KB, 480x640, df5c560dbaa819a28862549c2e0b0bcd125c0021.png) [iqdb]
20962
The curse god freezes his movements at the sound of a shrill voice ringing out through the air. A single girl stands between him and the gods, a divine haraegushi rod held in her hand, with the fore and middle fingers of her other hand pressed against its back. The wind priestess of the shrine stands defiantly against Mishaguji, shielding her gods from him. She’s scared, that much is obvious to anyone, but even so, she doesn’t give an inch to the curse god, speaking as calmly and as confidently as she can manage.

“Using your godly virtues and curses for your own selfish ends, unheeding to the needs and the balance of the world…” she begins, pointing the end of her divine rod at Mishaguji before continuing. “As the priestess of Lady Yasaka and Lady Moriya, and as a living god, I can’t allow you to continue to abuse your position as a god of this shrine!”

Mishaguji stares at her for a moment, unmoving. Then, dark mist surrounds his body, obscuring him from view once again, and when it all clears, he has returned to his previous form: a man with the face of a boy long since dead. He smiles at the girl, and begins to speak. “And what will you do about it? Will you kill me? Will you kill me, when my face looks like this?”

Her look of determination falters, but only for a moment. Calmly, she replies. “It doesn’t matter what you look like. I’ve accepted that Hoshuu won’t ever come back, that you aren’t him.”

“I see,” Mishaguji says, closing his eyes, his smile becoming almost… pleasant. “That’s good.”

His eyes open, and his smile immediately wipes itself off his face. His eyes have returned to their monstrous look, and his hair is blood-red once more, and his black tattoos glow with a dim light. Black mist surrounds his hand, and from within it, he withdraws his rusty spear. His eyes, merciless and cold, set themselves on the figure of the wind priestess, who does her best not to balk in fear.

“Die,” Mishaguji mutters.

Sanae immediately raises her divine rod, pointing it straight up into the air. She draws a pattern in the air with her tip, and a rune-like circle appears like a platform at her feet. The water of the lake responds to her call, swirling and swerving at her command. The lake itself splits apart in half, and waving her haraegushi like a conductor’s baton, she directs its tip toward Mishaguji. All of the water in the lake rises up at her direction, two roaring tidal waves launching themselves at him, trapping him within walls of water. Mishaguji smirks, however, and immediately, he breaks free of the water prison, carving a path out with his spear.

He meets with Moriya as he exits.

She presses her hand against his chest. Metal rings appear on his wrists and his ankles, and on his waist. Before he can realize what has even happened to him, Moriya waves her arm, and Mishaguji goes flying, dragged against the air by his iron restraints. His back slams against one of the pillars standing erect in the lake, knocking the wind out of him. The metal rings restraining him immediately dig into the surface of the pillar, trapping him against it. He struggles to break free.

As he struggles for freedom, Yasaka slowly descends down to his level, surrounded by her smaller faith pillars, all of them pointed at him.

“It’s over, Mishaguji,” she says.

The tips of the onbashira glow with light.

And then there’s a brilliant flash.

When the flash of light subsides, Mishaguji remains floating in the air. His body is battered, beaten, and torn, and the pillar that stood behind him has been completely demolished. Yasaka watches him quietly, no longer looking on him with contempt. Moriya flies up to her side. There is no contempt in her gaze, either, only pity, and perhaps a shade of regret. None of them say or do anything, until the wind priestess of the shrine approaches.

Mishaguji looks up. He looks at the faces of everyone there. At Yasaka, at Moriya, at Sanae… at Momiji and Aya, finally free from the snakes that bund them, rushing to their feet, trying to run to him. At the hidden faces of the tengu and the kappa of the mountain, watching the events from far away. At the myriads of gods, present and yet not present… he looks upon them all.

And, he smiles.

He smiles, not for everyone else, but for himself.

And then, he falls.

He falls, and falls, and falls.

He drops through the surface of the water.

And he falls, and falls, and falls, deep into the dark depths of the lake.



This… is alright, isn’t it?

This is how it should be, right?

This is… the happy ending that everyone would want.

















































NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
I DON’T WANT IT TO END LIKE THIS
I DON’T WANT IT ALL TO BE OVER LIKE THIS
I DON’T WANT EVERYONE ELSE TO BE HAPPY BUT ME
I WANT
I WANT TO BE HAPPY TOO













but it’s already too late, isn’t it

too late too late too late

I don’t want to die.

I don’t want to disappear.

But I have to… right? That’s… that’s how things should be.

This is what I wanted, isn’t it?

Is that wrong?

What was it that I wanted, then?

Even now, as I begin to die

I still can’t answer that question.

------









You stand at a crossroad, with three roads about you.

One leads left, and the other leads right, and the last – the one where you came from – leads back.

And in the middle of these roads, just ahead of you, there is a boy who looks no older than seven or eight years old, with snow-white hair and eyes as red as blood. He sits there on the dirt, his arms wrapped around his knee.

That boy is me.

We finally meet, “Kirita Mikio.”

Left, right, back – they all lead to memories, both happy and painful, and they all meet here, where I sit. The shards of the broken hopes and dreams of three unfortunate young men lie at the end of these roads, where only I reside. Tayasumi’s memories, Hoshuu’s memories, and your memories – each of them short, each of them unique, and yet, they’ve become nothing more than fragments of my own memories.

They are me, and I am they.

I am you, and you are me.

I created you, because I wanted to be someone who I wasn’t. I wanted to get away from being me. I wanted to be free from the burden of my past.

In the end, I couldn’t get away.

But before it all ends, I want you to answer a question.

I won’t ask it now, but when I do, I want you to answer it in earnest. I want you to answer it, after putting as much thought into it as possible. I want you to choose an answer that you feel is best. Please, that’s all I ask of you.

Now then…

We have one, final journey ahead of us.

Which way… shall we go first?

[ ] Left.
[ ] Right.
>> No. 20963
[x] Right

The right path is always the best choice.
>> No. 20964
[x] Left.

Because Hoshuu

Also, great scene Lion
>> No. 20965
[x] Left.
>> No. 20966
Woah. All he wants is a happy ending of his own.
This like the hedgehog's dilemma, if the hedgehog would ram people to death while trying to make friends.

[x] Left.
Welcome to FoM where left is right and right is... wrong.
>> No. 20967
[x] Left.
>> No. 20968
I literally fist-pumped when I saw the updates.

[c] Left.

Is this the end of our journey?
>> No. 20969
[x] Left

Honshuu Hoshuu path is only path.
>> No. 20970
[x] Back.

Return to your origins and reconcile your past.
>> No. 20971
[x] Left.
>> No. 20972
[x] Left.
>> No. 20973
[x]Up

Each of those paths led to tragedy and eventually a bad end. Seems like if we follow the conventional paths, we'll just make the same mistakes... so wouldn't it be better if we did something unconventional?
>> No. 20974
[X] Left.

He's gonna take you back to the past.
To relive the shitty times that sucked ass.
>> No. 20975
[X] Left
I assume that we're getting epilogues for these routes. And I hope that we'll get to see them both in due time.

>>20966
What've you got against Tayasumi man?

...Incidentally, we never did encounter "Lumiya" again, now that I think about it.
>> No. 20976
[X] Left
>> No. 20977
[x] Left

Huh. The more I realize we're nearing the conclusion the more I don't want it to happen.
>> No. 20978
[x] Punch the dick in the face.

That's what you get for ruining everything.
>> No. 20979
[x] Left

He asked which path to go first. I think we're going to all of them.
>> No. 20980
...what if we go back?
>> No. 20981
>>20977
Don't worry with the way Lion is dragging this out, it won't be until March 2012 before the story ends... if we're lucky.
>> No. 20983
>>20981
What's with this "update once every two weeks" thing he's been doing for the past few months, anyway? At least it's still relatively regular and reliable, but it's kind of painful after his previous "once or twice a week" schedule.

Did something big happen in his life recently? Is he losing interest in this story? Is he just fucking with us?
>> No. 20984
>>20983
I'm dealing with family health related issues. Sorry for not saying this before.
>> No. 20985
Things offline always have priority when it is things like that.
>> No. 20987
[x] Left

Honshuu awaits.
>> No. 20988
>Honshuu

Is this like a beam lead sort of thing or what?
>> No. 20992
Man, this feels odd. First vote in this story. Thanks, Lion.

[ ] Right.
The right path holds resolution. Honshuu isn't as resolute of a option. Actually I have no idea. All three characters Honshuu, Tayasumi, and Mishaguji have all fallen. As for a final journey, all three of them should be equally weighted, but I suppose Mishaguji has also been resolved the most, or at least, most recently. Ok, as for voting for sub-characters, I have no idea. I'm just voting right because past choices, it has always been the bitter future, instead of the bitter past.
>> No. 21006
[x] left
[x] take the boy with me.

It seems like most of the problems began because we kept trying to run away. So by taking him with us maybe he'll learn something, like not killing off the best pairing.
>> No. 21007
[x] Left.
[x] Take the boy with me.

If our younger self is there, we might as well try to use him to sequence break. If he's genuinely our past self, educating him might lead to something like a Dark Tower style ending, which would at least be better than an outright Bad End.

tl;dr: Take the kid, what's the harm?
>> No. 21009
[x] Take the boy with me.
>> No. 21010
[x] Take the boy with me.

I hadn't voted earlier, because I figured the other readers would know better on which road to take. But this, I'm all for.
>> No. 21012
[x] Left.
>> No. 21013
[x] Take the boy with me.

I don't think I've voted yet.
>> No. 21022
[x] Left

Where am I?
>> No. 21023
[x] left
[x] take the boy with me.

Why not? He can be our Virgil.
>> No. 21027
I don't want this guy to die...
I...I want him to live, and be happy.


[X] Left.
>> No. 21030
The idea of taking the boy with us is making me wonder, once again, just how frequently Lion's had to drastically readjust the story thanks to our write-ins.
>> No. 21033
>>21030

I wonder if those voting for taking the boy aren't just being redundant?
>> No. 21034
>>21030
Either he had something like that planned, he'll refuse it, or he'd give us a bad end.
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