"Ran, is it?" Yukari asks you a final time. You nod your head and she turns back to her shikigami. "Looks like you were chosen. Don't let me down~" Ran bows her head and steps forward.
"As you wish, Lady Yukari. Let's get started right away." You give Ran your own nod too and soon, places are taken. In front of the porch to the mansion, you and Ran put a great distance between each other, creating a large clearing. Yukari stands further off to the side of Ran, while Yuyuko and Youmu sit on the porch closer to your side, spectating.
"Here Ran, you will be using this." Yukari says, before calling forth a border under her hands to spit out a slow moving but peculiar white sphere. "Catch." She then tosses it gently over to Ran, who fumbles a bit before realizing the slow speed of the orb, which travels along it's course to Ran as if unhindered by gravity, not budging an inch downward and not slowing it's constant pace. Ran catches it and curiously looks back at her master.
"Lady Yukari, what is this?"
"You could say I picked it up from my many travels across boundaries. It is an interesting ball of matter that is completely inert, having no weight and no friction, thus it is unaffected by gravity." Ran lets go of it and to her surprise, the ball sits there floating in mid-air, unmoving. She pushes down lightly on it and it slowly moves towards the ground before bouncing lightly off it and back into her hands.
"So, if I were to throw this ball up, then..."
"It would never come back down~ Don't lose it now." Yukari then turns over to you, shouting at you. "Right, Satoya?!" Your focus is broken when Yukari calls attention to you.
"Uhh, yeah!" That was weird. You were completely able to hear everything they said clear as day, despite being a great length away from you. You were focusing on this before Yukari called out to you. How did she know about your sudden increase in hearing? A better question would be how did you get such an increase in hearing, but it feels like new things about you can all be blamed upon your 'youkai' unlocking, or something. You're not about to argue, really.
"Satoya! Are you ready?" Ran shouts over to you. You give her the signal back and close your eyes, standing perfectly still. Your hands aren't even in preparation. You've done this before.
The longer you keep your eyes closed, the better your other senses become. Your skin feels even the slightest change in the air, your hearing picking up the smallest sounds, and, sadly enough, your smelling receiving the tiniest change in the utterly disgusting scent of death. But most of all, you feel as if you're getting in tune with what seems to be a sixth sense. You're not sure if you can call it that anymore, because with Yukari's presence, you're becoming more and more aware of what it actually is.
You feel Yukari's 'power' or presence. Her very aura emanates from her body and the longer you keep your eyes closed, and the more you try to ignore your other senses, the more noticeable it becomes. As the aura reaches you, you can feel a light increase in your vitality, as if her very being gave you power. As part of the chain, you can feel Ran and even Chen's presence to an extent. What certainly sets this ability apart from any other explanation is that you cannot sense Yuyuko or Youmu at all. Their presence is completely missing inside the aura, but Yukari's, Ran's and to an extent, even Chen's auras are all noticeable to this newly accumulated sense. This was how you were able to get in touch with Ran earlier, you guess. It felt so vague then, however. With Yukari closer then ever, it's much more noticeable.
When Ran throws the ball at you, there's no sound, no change in the still air. The only way you are able to sense the ball coming at you at all is by 'seeing' the aura of Ran change in pattern as the ball is thrown, and as it approaches you. But this is the very reason that makes it so easy. Once you've shifted yourself to the tune of Ran's aura, it's almost better then using your eyes. In an instant, you throw up your arms and catch the ball with relative ease. Due to the inert nature of the ball's effect on gravity, even at the amazing speed it was thrown at you, there's absolutely no force put on you when you catch it.
You open your eyes just in time to watch everyone start applauding your work. It's not an overly enthusiastic applause but it's still kind of nice. Yukari is the first to comment on your success.
"Good catch~! Certainly nothing no human could do without extreme luck." As you let go of the ball, a gap opens up near you and pretty much eats the sphere. "I can't help but feel that this method has already been done enough, however." Ran looks over at Yukari.
"Do you really think so?"
"Mmm. Satoya indeed has great adaptability. How long were you training him for?"
"Well, not very long. A few hours, at the most."
"Hmmmm...~" You can Yukari glancing over at you. You can't exactly tell her expression from this distance but the chill you feel going up your spine certainly tells you it's not a healthy glance she's taking at you. She then starts walking over to you with Ran right behind her. She confirms your status once she reaches you. "Well, it seems you've passed this with flying colors. I must say I'm impressed at your first showing. But I suppose this might be a very easy and, well, basic training. It's not doing exactly what either of us wants, however."
"Exactly, you say? Well, I guess I can attest to that," you start off, crossing your arms. "Not much strength involved in this at all, is there?"
"You'd be right. So let me ask you this, Satoya; how good are you at fist fighting?"
The notion passes right over your head for a brief moment. After wrapping your head around it, you finally come to realize what she's asking you.
"I'm fairly sure you heard me~" Yukari looks beside her at Ran. "Ran here may not be the best fit for this job, but if you wish to stay with her, there isn't much I can't get her to do~" Ran then closes her eyes a bit shamefully.
"Please forgive me." You on the other hand, are a bit in the dark about this.
"Wait, so Ran isn't very adept at physical combat?" Yukari stifles a laugh as you ask that.
"Oh no, quite the opposite in fact. On the contrary, darling Ran here was among the most physically strong youkai in Gensokyo for some time. However, she doesn't like admitting to it." You take a look back at Ran, and it seems that Yukari's right. Her head is turned away, eyes diverted, trying to avoid any manner of gaze.
"Huh...how come?" When you look back at Yukari, all she gives back to you is an enigmatic smile.
"You'll find out in due time." She then turns around and walks away a bit, towards the porch. She then turns back around towards you. "The basic goal of this training is that your sparring partner will be delivering attacks while you block them. It might be best to start off with the basics, this way when your body senses danger, it'll call forth that latent power inside you on it's own, and the more it happens the more you might be able to pick up on how to do it yourself."
"So you're thinking that my body will react on it's own if I take an attack too strong for me alone to handle..." Yukari raises her fan up to her face, staring at you intently from behind it.
"You can't deny it. The body's natural instinct to survive. You should know, even humans have it. It will do anything to keep itself intact." Well, you're no expert in that field, you do language. But you certainly can't say she isn't right. You'll have to trust her on this one.
"Alright then. So what's the catch?"
"You really are adaptive...caught on that quick~?" You can't help but raise an eyebrow at this. You were right? That may as well have been a feign guess but you hit the nail on the head. "Well, this is an exercise in controlling your latent abilities. Which means your human instincts need to be turned off in order to maximize efficiency. So for this training, you'll be blocking attacks blindfolded~" You feel yourself unable to stop from stepping back a little in fear. The thought of a bone crunching punch coming at you from any direction, and not knowing where it's coming from, is somewhat terrifying.
"W-What? How is that going to help?"
"In order for your body to react properly, you need a consistent sense of danger. The more attacks from the unknown you take, the more fear becomes instilled in your body, thus causing it to react accordingly much more often." Yukari looks back over at Ran. "For this reason, it might be best to refrain from having Ran as your partner, since you've clearly demonstrated that you can sense her whereabouts." Suddenly, right on cue, Yuyuko happily chirps in from the porch beside Yukari.
"Is this where Youmu comes in handy~?" Youmu, realizing that it's soon to be her turn, stands back up on the porch.
"I'm prepared for this task, if my assistance is required."
Well, Yukari has a point that the training might be more effective with Youmu in charge, but is there really any harm in having Ran? You feel much more comfortable with her as your partner, at least to start out with, so that you aren't completely overwhelmed from the beginning. Now might be a good time to chip in your opinion.
[ ] Hold the phone! Let's start with Ran first. [ ] Hey, what of Chen? [ ] Say nothing, you'll start with Youmu
"Alright then, Youmu. You're up~" Yukari announces with a smile, before Youmu hops off the porch and stands in Ran's place, as she steps aside. Before anything else happens though, Yukari steps forward. "Wait, hold still Youmu." The smaller girl turns over to Yukari puzzled, and then, for seemingly no reason whatsoever, Yukari begins unbuttoning her shirt.
"Wh-What are you doing, Lady Yukari?" Youmu's flustered speech shows that she can still apparently be fazed. Just like that though, Youmu is stripped completely of her two shirts, leaving her wearing nothing but a modest sarashi for a top. She's certainly not much to look at in the chest area but that might be the tight wrapping of the sarashi talking. All Youmu can do is look at Yukari totally confused before she explains.
"This way, it should be alright, even if you work up a sweat." She then turns back around to return to the porch. "Don't go easy on him now~" You feel a sense of fear causing you gulp, you're not sure how strong Youmu exactly is, but it's likely a lot stronger then you are. You almost can't believe you're humoring the thought of a small little girl being much stronger then you.
"Alright. Satoya..." Youmu turns over to you with a serious look on her face. "Are you ready?"
"About...as ready as I'll ever be..." Youmu assumes a fighting stance, and you start bracing yourself rather nervously.
"Oh, don't forget this Satoya~" You bring out your hands just in time to catch a black blindfold that Yukari had gapped over to you. Great, at least you won't be able to see death approaching you so fast. You reluctantly put the blindfold on, wrapping it tight.
Your senses are once again blocked, you can sense Yukari and Chen to the left of you on the porch together, and further to the right is Ran. You've already become very adept at the aura sensing, but you get this feeling the rest of the training isn't going to be as easy. Youmu's presence doesn't seem to really effect the auras at all. You brace yourself again, expecting Youmu to come out at you at any time. Your fears heighten suddenly when you can vaguely hear Youmu's footsteps coming at you with intense speed. You brace yourself tighter the next oncoming hit, throwing forward your arms in a cross in front of you. You feel Youmu's fist meet hard with your forearms, with enough force to push you back a few feet, skidding across the ground. That single punch alone felt like it shattered your arms! It really makes you want to scream out in agony.
You can hear Youmu coming at you again, and you can only put your upper arm in place of your now fractured forearm, and the result is what feels like a nasty kick sends you reeling backwards a great distance, skidding across the ground painfully. You try to get up using your arms, but they're in far too much pain for you to do much with them anymore. Out of nowhere though, you have this scary sense that Youmu is about to attack again, and you roll out of the way just in time dodge what seems to be another offensive aimed at you, hitting the solid ground instead. It's barely been a few seconds into this and you're already quite done.
"H-Hey! Calm down! That's enough!" You hear Yukari's voice in the distance talking back.
"This training isn't over until you can fend off Youmu on cue. Hop to it now, here she comes again~" Not even a mere moment passes after she says that and you're instantly throwing your arms up again in a defensive pose, receiving another hard hitting punch from Youmu. Again, it knocks you back a few feet, and straight on your rear end. Your arms are quitting on you, the pain has become intense enough to where everything from your elbows down to your hands is totally numb. You can hear Youmu coming at you once more.
But there's nothing you can do. You bring your arms before you again and another blow is delivered to you, your arms are no longer up to the task of guarding, so you practically take the full force of the blow straight to the chest. It sends you back yet another few feet, skidding across your back. You're down for the count, no matter how much energy you muster, you can't even move. Your chest feels under tons of pressure, and there's a light burning sensation where the hit struck.
"Satoya!!" You focus your senses a bit and realize what appears to be Ran standing over you, she takes your arm and attempts lifting you back up. Somehow, the presence of her aura grants you just the amount of energy needed to stand back up on your feet. You can't keep yourself from panting, and your posture sure as hell isn't that great anymore, but you're ready for at least one more strike. "Satoya, don't focus on yourself, focus on blocking the hits, no matter what." Ran's aura moves away from you after her advice is given, but you can't hear Youmu's footsteps anymore over your panting. Before you know it, your quick foe has kicked you in the side, causing you to tumble around for a few moments. Despite that, you manage to keep yourself from tumbling further after landing, kneeling down on the ground.
You still can't feel your arms, and your side hurts like hell, but what bothers you most is is the damnable burning feeling idling in your chest. It feels as if it's trying to make you even shorter of breath then what you already are. You remember what Ran told you though, to stop focusing on your injuries and only focus on trying to prevent future hits from doing more. Your arms are once more, serving as a shield to Youmu's next fierce kick.
Shockingly, they hold up, because despite your slight knockback, you're able to keep your arms from completely folding back into you from the blow. Youmu isn't through with you, however.
You suddenly realize you have to keep your still numb arms steady as Youmu stands before you and starts to rapidly fire punches into your arms over and over again. This girl's speed is beyond amazing, the delay between punches soon reaching nil. It's as if she's bombarding you with several thousand fists all at once. Hell, you wouldn't know, you can't see. It certainly feels like it though. The more and more punishment your arms take, the more it feels like her hits are going to break though, and your chest feels as if it's about to cave in from all this pressure.
And yet, as if matching up to the offense, the burning sensation in your chest continues growing, soon it's becoming the only thing keeping your rib cage from falling apart at the seams.
Eventually, Youmu lets up, and she seemingly vanishes from in front of you. You can't pay well enough attention to where she went. It's impossible to not focus enough on yourself now. Your breath is hot, your mouth is dry, your throat feels like a desert, the flame inside your chest has grown so strong. Your legs now feel numb too, along with your arms, and your head is becoming lighter.
No, wait, you need to focus on Youmu! You can only feign a guess as to which direction she's going to strike from next though. She could be attacking from the front again. Or she could backstab you suddenly. She could attack from either side, or even from above. However...a particular sense is telling you to bring your guard up on your right side.
You bring your arm up quickly to your side, just in time for you to feel the incoming blow from a powerful punch crash into your arm. Your arm however, doesn't budge.
You still can't feel a damn thing in either of your arms, but your shoulders can tell the difference; they feel like they just took on a couple hundred pounds, in both weight and mass. Despite this, lifting them is no problem, as summoning the strength to move them is suddenly very easy.
Would this be...youkai strength?
Putting your previous arm down and throwing up the other, you block another of Youmu's attempts to pierce your guard. You vaguely hear her leaving the ground and you put both arms up above yourself and take another blow from above with relative ease. Thinking quick, you roll forward and out of the way of the next attack, turning around fast enough to block yet aanother offensive from Youmu that doesn't let up, although thankfully it doesn't seem as bad as before. Defending against the barrage of attacks is simple now that your arms practically feel like their own brick wall against her blows. Soon, you feel Youmu stopping her charge, giving you a breif moment to counter attack by spreading your arms out.
You apparently hit something, and you hear Youmu shrieking a bit before hitting the ground.
You remove your blindfold, and sight is restored to you once more. The first thing you see is Youmu getting up off the ground, looking rather embarrassed.
"You caught me off guard...good move."
You can't really spare a word right now though, you're trying to get over the intense fire burning inside you. You swear your mouth rivals the sun right now.
Looking down at your arms, the damage looks incredibly severe. The back of your forearms, where you blocked more of your attacks, are sheer black, spreading out through your hands and upper arms fading into a purple, then blue, before going back into your original skin tone. Your hands are extremely shaky. You cannot feel any part of your arms past your shoulders. At all. The more sense that washes back into you, the more you realize you seriously worked up a sweat. Your legs ache, and your chest burns like hell. Your rib cage feels somewhat fractured to boot.
"Well done~" You look up, realizing that Yukari is standing before your battered and wrecked body. "It looks like you've more or less discovered what an actual youkai's strength involves. Very good..." She then bends slightly towards to you, looking at you at eye level. "You should keep it up. There's no telling what you might achieve. The more you push yourself, the more you'll gain."
You think you can manage a reply to Yukari after a bit of catching your breath, you're not entirely sure what she means by that though. Does she want you to keep going, despite these injuries? You'd rather take a rest, really. But you've come to realize that this...'new' body of yours recovers very quickly. Under any other circumstance, it'd be hours before you could speak a word right now.
[ ] Keep training like this [ ] Switch Youmu in with Ran [ ] Switch Youmu in with Chen [ ] Ask for/Suggest a different training method [ ] Take a break
Rather small update, but this was all I could muster for the time being. The next update should be very juicy indeed.
[x] Keep training like this
You struggle a bit to prop yourself back on your feet. Your chest is on the verge of totally collapsing. Your head hurts too now, but you need to keep going. You want to find out what it is that's inside you, you feel that the less you know about this mysterious power inside you, the less you truly know about yourself.
"I'll...keep going...a little...longer..." Your speech comes out in pieces shortly before you put the blindfold back on. For some reason, the auras of your family that you were sensing earlier have become distorted. Is your sixth sense faltering? You have a bad feeling about this.
"Good, good~ I'll let Youmu handle the rest then." Yukari seems genuinely pleased as she appears to step back once more. You try to keep yourself from groaning, making you unsure if you could really endure anymore attacks like this.
But...what scares you more then that right now is the fact that you don't know what's really inside you.
You throw up your arms, apparently just in time to be on the business end of another offensive on Youmu's part, feeling much more aggressive then before. Instantly your arms fold in and your chest nearly caves in as you're knocked back, tumbling and rolling backwards until your back meets a tree behind you. You try to keep your guard up, but at this point it more feels like you're defensively hugging yourself then attempting to stop an attack on you. Youmu comes in with a flying kick that practically crushes you between her foot and the tree, and this time you can't keep yourself from screaming in agony.
Despite that, the aggression doesn't stop. Youmu keeps attacking.
Youmu keeps on with an assault of punches and kicks, coming at you in a flurry of a spectacular offensive. Your body feels as if it's given up, the earlier pent up power that was burning within you appears to have all but burnt out. You can't move, your body is being assailed by innumerous amounts of attacks being directed at the center of your body. It isn't long until Youmu steps back, ready to deal the finishing blow.
But you can't move. No matter how much you try, your body's energy has been sucked dry. You take the full force of the final charge, and your consciousness instantly blanks out.
Why?! Why are you trying to kill me?!
You foolish man! How could you not see the wrong doings of your ways?! I promise you...that for every day that passes by, I will kill a thousand of your people!!
What?! ...then, in return, I will ensure that a thousand and five hundred are born every day! Do you hear me?!
Your whole body aches. No, it beyond aches, it is sore beyond belief. Pain like this feels incredibly unreal. Your sense of feeling is completely nullified by all the pain, as is your hearing. Trying to open your eyes, you find that it's difficult to even see. The blinding white entering your eyes pains you, serving only to amplify your agony. After a while though, the white starts fading, and you can manage basic sight.
You're no longer outside. You're inside Yuyuko's mansion, it's a brightly lit room with two windows shining light in. Despite the lack of sunshine, the amount of light coming in from outside feels bright. That might just be you, though. As you groan and open your eyes, you believe you see Chen staring down at you, suddenly shocked at your awakening before immediately turning tail.
"Master Ran! Master Yukari!"
Soon after, everyone seems to have entered the room. The time it took allowed you to get a bearing on yourself in meantime. Your sight has more or less been restored, your hearing is a lot better, though your pain and soreness is at an all time high.
"Ah, Satoya, please forgive me..." Youmu is the first to speak. Bowing her head politely at you would normally make you feel bad like this, since you were the one that pushed yourself, but your discomfort keeps you from saying anything, and from really feeling much. Ran, as well, starts by apologizing.
"I too am sorry, things might have went a little smoother had I been the one sparring with you." Yukari just disregards all this, more concerned over your progress then anything else.
"Yes yes, enough about that. As long as Satoya can develop his abilities, it'll be fine, right~?" You can't help but feel like Yukari is being just a little cold towards you, but that's the least of your worries.
"Yes, he does appear to be trying hard..." Just then Yuyuko kneels down gently towards you, which almost seems unlike her. "I was really impressed though, I guess it is to be expected of Yukari but for someone who was just human not too long ago...you have lots of potential." With a kind, joyous smile, Yuyuko seems to magically heal you with just words. You're impressed yourself. Though, when you try to speak, your pain does come crashing back down onto you.
"I, aghh...th-thank you, Yuyuko." Yuyuko stands back up and looks at Yukari.
"Shall we take a break then? Satoya should rest before attempting something like that again." Yukari somewhat painfully nods, as if realizing that it can't be helped. "Youmu, could you make us some tea to pass the time?" Youmu quickly nods and walks out of the room. Ran seems to have some guilt leftover still, however.
"I will stay here and keep watch over Satoya's recovery, then." You're a bit flabbergasted, is that really necessary?
"E-Eh? You don't have to, Ran..."
"I feel it is my responsibility." She states back at you, rather matter-of-factly. All you can do is look over at Yukari, as if you want to tell her to order her not to do this, but you swallow your words the moment you spy her devilish smile.
"Well Satoya, your body will do us no good staying down there. You could attempt to join us for some food if you like~" Ran looks over at her master.
"Lady Yukari, are you absolutely sure that is wise, for him to walk around in that condition?"
"If he doesn't endure the pain now, he won't be able to later. It's inevitable." She says back at her, turning her face away a little rebelliously. Ran can't argue back, so all she does is look back at you worriedly. A bit of a problem, you sense. You'll have to give a firm answer.
[ ] You'll go out and eat, you could use the food [ ] You'll stay here with Ran [ ] You'll stay here, but get Ran out of here
Orrrrr....she may end up realizing that what she really wanted was Ran's attention for herself. It may be a bit early in the story for it, but it's definitely a possibility she could. Though...would the shikigami bond alert them of that?
That could be a possibility, Chen seeing you as the father figure to Ran's mother figure however is also another possibility. What I'm saying is that, yeah, it's possible, but just the opposite could also happen. It's okay to be paranoid once in a while but taking risks is just as much a part of life too.
>Would Chen go yandere for this fast? Doesn't she want to help us along with Ran?
Didn't see any sparks flying on the way to Hakugyokurou. They worked together nicely, and Chen did her best to impress. This should not be unexpected because the option chosen was definite a 'Chen route' option.
>"Satoya collapsed suddenly onto the stairs so Chen carried him up to the netherworld. Satoya didn't look so good so Chen had to take care of him..." Scratching the back of your head, you think back to how soft it felt rest in her lap like that. You were very unaware that Chen would do something like that.
Resting Satoya's head on her lap or being the first to notice he's recovered consciousness would also seem to strike against that. As well as the total lack of emotional reaction when Satoya brings up Ran. I have the feeling the only quandaries in her head are over nomenclature: "The master of my master is also my master, but the servant of the master of my master is...?"
>[ ] You'll go out and eat, you could use the food
Assuming he's Yukari's shikigami, following his Master's orders should improve Satoya's condition. But he doesn't know that, because Yukari never said anything to that effect. Why? On the face, it's rather cruel. Unless she doesn't know if it will, because Satoya is actually a [insert theory].
She definitely wanted him beaten up, or else she wouldn't have handicap him so badly after he barely was able to defend himself. She definitely wanted him to get beat up. If she was doing it to impress her friends, she wouldn't have hobbled him so much. She certainly was watching his interactions during his first trip, so maybe this supervised interaction is to show how small he is. It'd be kind of ironic in that case, since as a professor of dead languages, he should already be used to thinking in terms of centuries and millennia.
Or, she could be throwing Satoya a bone and fostering chemistry between him and Ran. But she's Yukari and therefore she must have the worst intentions!
>[ ] You'll stay here, but get Ran out of here
This is probably a Youmu and/or self-pity option. It could just as well be a Chen or Yuyuko option, but they are less likely to leave a party already underway. I wonder what Youmu's opinion of him is now, seeing his (poor) interactions with his own master, and I'm also wondering if that had an impact on how hard she fought.
>[ ] You'll stay here with Ran
This reveals nothing about his condition. Ran can heal him, but she she might be forbidden to do so. Still it's a good opportunity for constructive feedback since she's presumably gone through the same thing or would be most likely to tell him so if she hadn't. It's also clearly a 'Ran route' option, and thus the tide of voting has turns in its direction. Youmu will probably stop by to offer a pat apology, but nothing more.
>>22161 I think Yukari is trying to break his 'human' habits in a very rough fashion, more so for a being whom such boundaries are a plaything. But the whole aloof act isn't endearing at all in contrast to Ran and Chen's vastly warmer interactions.
Okay, since I feel like throwing a bone for this anon's INCREDIBLE perception, I'll give some clues as to how the previous choices have effected the story thus far. Do note that if you want to be surprised or play "true" then avoid the spoilers here might be a good idea.
>Would Chen go yandere for this fast? Doesn't she want to help us along with Ran?
The story might lose some of it's life from not being a horribly standardized "dating sim" kind of story by saying this, but this Anon is correct in saying that going after Chen was most definitely giving her affection levels towards Satoya. While someone would normally be a bit taken aback by the fact that their common master didn't come to get them, and instead some stranger has come, Chen's nature allowed her to hide this fact and attempt to consider Satoya friendly. This very nature can be attributed to the fact that Chen was so easily able to accept Satoya as part of the family, though she still apparently shys away from him, as can be seen if you look closely enough. She gained a little respect for Satoya after recognizing that Satoya could reach her via Ran; although this respect will very quickly go away if Ran starts viewing Satoya in a bad light, obviously. Regardless though, Chen was able to experience something rare for her when Satoya fainted on the stairs...this becomes important later on if you stick by her side.
>[ ] You'll go out and eat, you could use the food
This anon is very perceptive, yes, choosing this option would improve Satoya's condition and speed up his training even further. Yukari is very ambiguous though and the more you watch her, the more this becomes apparent; she's definitely hiding a lot of things from Satoya.
It was stated by Yukari earlier that in order for Satoya to begin getting in tune with the youkai powers (apparently) dormant inside him, that he'd have to feel them coming out on it's own will first. The youkai blood inside him thirsts for self preservation above all else and if Satoya's life is threatened, then the blood will act of it's own will in an attempt to keep him alive. Yukari's hopes is that Satoya can learn from when those experiences come and be able to pull out that kind of power on his own. How much effect that training has had hasn't been answered yet, though.
>[ ] You'll stay here, but get Ran out of here
Definitely spoiling something, but suffice it to say that any sort of option where Satoya forces independance on himself will more or less score points with Youmu. While this has no bearings on his daily life within the Yakumo family realistically, it'll mean that his friendship with Youmu will drastically improve and help speed up training starting out, and produce better results in the future for the times Youmu becomes involved.
>[ ] You'll stay here with Ran
The Anon would more likely be correct in assuming that Ran wouldn't heal Satoya; many times has Yukari made it certain that Satoya does everything all on his own. Teamwork will definitely become important to him later on, but Yukari makes it clear that this training is Satoya's burden and Satoya's burden alone to bear. Ran as of right now feels quite indifferent towards Satoya at the moment, though all her past experiences with her have helped her gain a lot of respect for him. Most of the worry and happiness that seems to come from her in Satoya's presence however, can quickly be attributed to the fact that Satoya is a special person chosen by her master. By now, it should be clear that Chen and Ran respect and trust Yukari with a highly burning passion. Crossing Yukari at an early point in this story will be very much akin to crossing both Ran and Chen at the same time, and will ultimately lead to Satoya's distancing from the entire family. However, any one on one talk with Ran will improve Satoya's relationship with her; she's not as easy to please as Chen is, but the chances for which are potentially much higher due to Satoya's position being on the same level as Ran.
A lot of what's in this post's spoilers could be deduced if you paid enough attention, but a lot of them is so extremely subtle that I doubt anyone would've really caught it this early. All this said though, I may as well call the vote now on staying with Ran, and update sometime tomorrow or the day after, hopefully after I've given the /youkai/ story I'm doing some attention.
"Ah, well I think a little more rest will do me good, so I'll just stay here with Ran for now..." You say, relaxing in the futon. Looking out the corner of your eye, you can see Ran breathing a light sigh of relief. Yukari however, looks less then pleased.
"...well, so be it. It's your choice, Satoya." Yukari just walks out of the room a bit huffy. Guess she really wants to get this done. You almost feel bad. Almost.
"Hm, well then, take as much time as you need to rest, Satoya." Yuyuko says calmly to you, looking down at you with a gentle smile. "Whenever you're ready, we can continue your training. Until then, our home is your home~" She gestures over to Youmu to follow her and the two leave outside the room, and after a bit of encouragement, Ran gets Chen to leave as well. It feels kind of odd, actually, being alone with Ran like this.
"...hey, Ran." You call out to her quietly. For the short time before you did so, she was simply sitting there beside you with her eyes closed on her knees. It almost made you feel comfortable. When she hears you, all she does is open her eyes.
"Uhh...you really don't have to watch over me, you know."
"It is my responsibility, Satoya, however if it's really uncomfortable I can leave if you want me to."
"Ah, no, I'm just worried about bothering you really." Ran shakes her head and gives you a bit of a comforting smile.
"Think nothing of it. If we are to help Lady Yukari it is best if we work together as much as possible, right?" Hmm...you guess you really hadn't thought about that before. Both working together with Ran and whether or not you really want to help Yukari.
"Huh...well, I guess you're right. Thanks then." Ran just simply nods. The air falls silent after a while, at least, until you notice Ran seems to be looking down at the floor, thinking for some reason. "Ran? What are you thinking?" Ran looks at you a little confused and worried.
"I...I'm still curious about this hanky panky that Lady Yukari mentioned a while back..." Gurhk. If you had anything in your mouth, it would've just shot out towards Ran. It's a very good thing there wasn't.
"Ghghk, I-I'll tell you later, preferably when I'm not in such a vulnerable position..." Ran seems to look at you even more puzzled now, but nonetheless, she drops the subject.
Ugh, you really need to do something about Yukari. At least you held your composure this time. Then again, sex is really the last thing on your mind right now. Your body is in nowhere near the proper shape for anything strenuous like that right now. It's so torn up you feel like you could just drift away at any moment...
Huh...you don't know how long you were out, but you feel incredibly well rested, wow. Your body springs to life as if it were brand new once again. Instantly, you're on your feet and ready t-
...where are you?
You're in middle of a stone path, cutting through some cherry blossom trees. The path leads upwards and up a large amount of stairs. At the top is a very familiar sight. That demon...thing. The demon which poses as a tree. A large one. The one that nearly killed you. What are you doing standing in front of it?
But you feel...different. You're not in the Hakugyokurou anymore. The air is fresh, alive and teeming with life. Nothing like the underworld. Looking up, you see a bright white sky. It nearly blinds you to look up at it, but it is definitely not the sky of where you once was. This is weird. You don't remember a thing about how you got here. In fact, it felt like you were asleep, right here, for the longest of times...
The cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. They urge you to pick a path, a direction of which to carry on with this nonsense. Standing here does you no good, so you might as well comply.
[ ] Follow the path up to the demon tree [ ] Backtrack down where the path starts [ ] Wander into the forest instead
[x] Follow the path up to the demon tree We aren't in Hakugyokurou right now, so the tree should be completely safe to investigate. We might even learn something from our exhausted slumber. Or maybe this is just a crazy dream which has no bearing on anything.
I just wanna say sorry for the horrifically weak update coming back from such a long hiatus. I do intend on updating with high frequency provided I get a good amount of votes. (Discussion would be nice too...)
The voting is tied right now. Consider your actions, which one you choose here will be rather important for the rest of this "time"
>>22473 True, cryptic choices are never a good thing if you want discussion, most will just gloss over and not bother to try to figure out which specific way the writer happens to be thinking at the moment, or even worse, what obscure things the writer happens to be quoting/referencing with the choices. I'm looking at you, Fell.
Referencing other works can be acceptable when your audience should be expected to be familiar with the referenced content, but care should be taken as many things that are popular/widely known may, or may not be known at all elsewhere. Take http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr_Rodgers for an example, he's absolutely unknown outside USA and maybe britain, but yet ubiquitously known at least in USA. And that's just scratching the surface.
Now unknown references themselves aren't necessarily a terrible thing, but when you're supposed to make a choice based on them it becomes just that.
Outside of cultural references, obfuscation can also be achieved through assuming a very specific thought pattern on the writer's part, and this is where things become muddied to say the least. On the other hand it's a good thing if a work of art can make people think outside their own personal reference frames, it expands thinking and allows for new solutions. On the other hand, if done carelessly, and without proper setting up of the frame itself, all it will do is confuse the fuck out of the reader, giving neither englightenment nor enjoyment, only confusion.
TL:DR: used correctly, obfuscation is a great tool of storytelling, used incorrectly it becomes nothing but a masturbatory aid for artists who think they're being cool, hip, deep or whatever other delusions they're having about themselves.
Oh, and this is more of a general rant, not directed against Sukima in many ways, most of the time he does use obfuscation properly, when he actually does use it. This time he didn't.
>You're in middle of a stone path, cutting through some cherry blossom trees. The path leads upwards and up a large amount of stairs. At the top is a very familiar sight. That demon...thing. The demon which poses as a tree. A large one. The one that nearly killed you. What are you doing standing in front of it?
>But you feel...different. You're not in the Hakugyokurou anymore. The air is fresh, alive and teeming with life. Nothing like the underworld. Looking up, you see a bright white sky. It nearly blinds you to look up at it, but it is definitely not the sky of where you once was. This is weird. You don't remember a thing about how you got here. In fact, it felt like you were asleep, right here, for the longest of times...
You take a moment to examine your surroundings, it's best to get a grip on where you are. This place is rather new to you, and yet...it feels familiar. It has an air of familiarity to it, as if you've been here before, even though you clearly remember never seeing such a place. You look back at the demonic tree once more. It's sprung to life. The blossoms are in full bloom. You find it strange actually. The tree looked deader then dead when you last saw it. But now it's brimming with life. It definitely doesn't look so...demonic either. It looks like a real tree, and feels like one too you bet. You don't feel sick just looking at it. However, you can never be too sure so you're a little hesitant about actually walking up to it and risking that deathly feeling once more.
Distracting yourself from the massive tree, you examine your other surroundings. The various cherry blossom trees are similarly in full bloom, waving back forth lightly in the gentle breeze that passes by. Without the thick, dark air of the Hakugyokurou, you can see through the thicket of trees easily. There appears to be a few sparse children playing about in the pink forest, but you lose sight of them before long, it would probably be better not to follow them and look like some sort of stalker anyways. But children means one thing; civilization. Looking behind you down the opposite direction of the large tree, you see the stone path leading into some sort of village. A very olden style one, houses made of bamboo and such. It feels like you just went into the Edo period. You could bet that all the residents are probably still wearing kimonos and such. You sense no real life from it however...which is weird. The rest of the forest is teeming with it.
The trees around you sway in the wind, urging you to pick a path. Even though the village feels as if it lacks life from this distance, you can see people walking around admist the buildings. You then look back at the massive tree. You don't know what lies in front of it. Whether or not you choose to examine it once more is up to how brave you're feeling, especially in new territory, though it'd be a lie to say you're unacquainted with this area, even if you've never been here. It's not the Hakugyokurou, but someplace different you feel you might've been to before, but can't remember for the life of you. No matter which way you go, you're unsure of the results. On the other hand...standing in one place will get you nowhere fast. You'll just have to deal with being alone for now.
[ ] Examine the tree, something is up with it [ ] Follow the stone path backwards into the village [ ] Wander into the forest instead looking for something else
I'll restart the vote here with this reiteration. Hopefully this clears some things up.
[x] Follow the stone path backwards into the village
You decide not to bother with the massive tree yet and go into the village you saw behind you. You can't really sense Ran, Yukari or Chen around you at all. You feel pretty alone for once. Walking into the village, you notice that while not exactly bustling, life seems abundant, and many humans, such as how you used to be, are walking around, being merry. It's a fairy happy time, it seems. You decide to walk up to one of the shopkeepers. Since they deal with people all the time, it makes sense to ask them about this place rather then some random person.
"Hey, could you tell me where I am?" The old man functioning as the keeper to the produce market seems to look you up and down like you're some alien, but he gives you a comforting smile nonetheless.
"Ah, you're not from around here, eh? Well you're at the human village, of course."
"The human village?"
"Mm, yes. Although there are others, this one is probably one of the largest. Even so though, there's not enough of us to really give the different villages separate names."
"Really? So then...that tree..." The old man seems to smile more bountifully once you mention it.
"Ahh...that is the great Saigyou Ayakashi. This land's most beautiful tree. Since you have seen it I assume you have paid your respects to it?"
"Uh, not really..." Very soon after you say this, the old man suddenly gets grumpy with you for some odd reason.
"Gah! What's wrong with you? You should have at least done that much when you saw it! Get out, out of my store right now you ungrateful child!"
Jeez...what was his problem?
You find yourself in middle of the village after being shooed away from the old man's store. You feel...depressed for some reason. And it isn't because you got on the bad side of some geezer. The air around this village makes you sick, honestly. You don't know how to describe it, but it feels drab and dull. You're unsure of how these people are actually dealing with it, but they seem to all be happy and joyous, so maybe it's just you. As you walk around, you overhear a conversation taking place between two ladies.
"Ah, do you know where that child has gone?"
"Oh, her? Probably hanging around the tree as always, I haven't heard any mention of her comin' by today...poor thing."
"Don't say such a thing! You know how much she has cursed the Ayakashi!"
"You're right, you're right...it's best we just forget about it then."
Interesting...you have no clue what this place may be, but the tell tales surrounding it intrigue you. It couldn't be that abandoned village Chen showed you, could it? For instance, you'd probably have to climb those stairs again to find it...ugh. Not something you wish to do too often. No, it's much more akin to the Hakugyokurou but...no, you sense life all around. No way could this be the netherworld. There's still the matter of the tree though...
The Saigyou Ayakashi, was it? They talked about a poor child hanging around it. It's suddenly worth a visit, but the cautious side of you is a little iffy on that prospect. Maybe you could learn a bit more about the subject at hand before delving into this.
[ ] Ask around about the child [ ] Ask around about the tree [ ] Ask around about the area surrounding this village [ ] Go to the Saigyou Ayakashi
That tree. You're most cautious about the tree. If Yukari is to be believed, then most humans probably couldn't do you much harm as you are now, and you don't intend on wandering too far without getting a good idea on where you are at this moment. However, that tree will loom over you for a good while as long as you stay here, you do not yet know of the circumstances surrounding it, so it's better safe then sorry. You just hope no one starts acting like the old man you met earlier...
"The Ayakashi?" One woman inquires after you stopped to ask her about the tree. "Hmm, it's very odd for someone to be asking about the tree but since you seem to be new here, I'll let it slide. The Ayakashi is a magnificent tree that grants good luck and protection to all the inhabitants of the village."
"Really?" you ask. Certainly doesn't feel like it to you. "How so, do you believe?"
"Ahh, they say a great benevolent god resides within the tree, you know. You should pay your respects, maybe you'll be blessed like the rest of us!" You think you'll pass on that for now, there's other questions you wanna ask. But you'll get those answers from others for the time being.
"Alright, I guess I will. Thanks."
You go around the rest of the village, asking more about the once demonic tree you're slowly becoming more familiar with. One by one you notice a pattern, not only do these people seem so adamant about the tree, but it's only when you mention it that they seem to become lively. At first glance, the village seems pretty bustling but the more you talk to people, the more sleepy it seems, like everything is incredibly laid back. Maybe you're just too used to how rowdy an actual city like Tokyo gets but this is a little unnerving.
"The Ayakashi has been around for decades, possibly longer then that! It's protected many generations."
"The Ayakashi is so beautiful when it blooms, it sooths your soul and releases all the evil spirits from your system..."
"Nothing could stand in the way of the blessing of the Ayakashi. It is absolute."
"Ahh~ The Ayakashi is so pretty! I wish I could stare at it forever..."
"There can only be good that comes from the legendary tree! Go pay respects to it now if you haven't already!"
"People come from all over to see and pray to the tree, if not for the accursed that hang around it sometimes, we'd all be sitting under it as it blooms!"
Hmm, that's right. That girl that was mentioned earlier. Supposedly anyways. The child that cursed this so called great and blessed Ayakashi. You forgot about her for a moment. You'd ask around about her, but given how much you've questioned people now, you might appear really suspicious if you went ahead and started asking more. You decide the best way to answer those questions is to find out yourself. You could probably get along well with this child if she curses this tree as much as you want to right now. There's just something about it that doesn't sit right with you at all. It couldn't be blessed. No, that tr-...that DEMON, it has to be evil. Nothing but pure, sheer, unadulterated evil. You're going to get to the bottom of this.
You go ahead and somewhat hastily exit out the village, returning to the stone path you found your way here on. Leaving the village in your wake, you see the massive blossomed tree people call the Ayakashi. It fills with a sense of relaxation just staring at it, even from this distance, and you can really see what the people have been talking about. But deep down your awful first experience with the demon tells you that not all books should be judged by their cover. You have a nervous anxiety wallowing up in your heart. You don't know what to expect, but something has to be done, right? Maybe it's the first clue on getting back to the Hakugyokurou.
You approach the tree, and soon, you stand right before it. You look up at it's sheer girth and size. If it truly were a tree, it would be the most magnificent one you've laid eyes upon. An odd, sixth sense calls forth from within you though, somewhere deep within your body...is sensing the out of this world energy this demon contains. It's definitely no tree. You're not sure what to make of this sense, but even against any rational, it's making you believe that this thing...this demon doesn't belong here.
The pink cherry petals slowly fall to the ground around you, around this demonic tree. The scene is peaceful and serene, almost out of a fairy tale. No matter how much anxiousness is balled up inside you, you can't deny that simply being in the presence of this tree makes you feel soothed. It's so strange. Before you have much time to dwell upon this thought though, you realize you aren't alone. You hear the sounds of vague footsteps coming from the side of the tree right of you. Sounds like wooden sandals. You go ahead and around the corner of the tree and spy your mystery visitor.
It's a girl. Not exactly a small one, but probably young enough to be a child. She seems to be somewhere in her mid to late teens. Short, ruffled pink hair, with a pure white kimono. She looks like someone you know. A lot like someone you know actually, just younger. You aren't going to take wild stabs in the dark yet though, even so, she probably wouldn't recognize you. The solemn look on her face certainly looks different on her though, she seems to be oddly depressed and sorrowful. You're not sure why. You don't have much time to think about it though as the girl suddenly realizes you're staring at her.
With a light gasp, the girl almost feverishly steps backwards and even ends up falling backwards onto her rear end, you realize she's utterly stricken with fear, as if you were some sort of ghost. You're sure you appear normal right now, otherwise the village wouldn't have accepted you as they did, most likely. So you're rather confused as to why she's so afraid of you. She seems incredibly adverse to your presence, but totally out of fear...you wonder what it may be.
[ ] Approach her and try to comfort her [ ] Keep your distance, no need to worry her further [ ] Walk away, but keep your eye on her [ ] There's nothing left to do here anyways, go back to the village
God, you can't stand it when a woman looks like this. Much less a younger girl. It tears at your heart. You have to give her some support. You take some cautious steps towards her to make sure you don't scare her too much. The girl doesn't seem too keen on you going near her though.
"N-No! Please, stay away!" You don't quite understand, but you're not about to leave this girl alone. You want to help.
"It's okay, I'm not going to hur-"
Suddenly, it stops. What's it?
Last thing you remembered was taking more steps towards her, and reaching out to her as she cowered against the tree like a helpless little animal. Then, your body just instantly shut down. Everything stopped. The only thing that remains moving is your consciousness, and some feeling. Most particularly, the feeling in your chest, around your heart. You feel such an extreme, intense wrenching in your chest, like someone grabbed your heart with the intent on crushing it with their bare hands, and succeeding quite gratuitously. Your body, momentum and all, falls straight over, collapsing on the spot without a single word. You hit the ground, hard. At least, judging from your sight, it was hard. It's the only sense left available to you. Your hearing is shot, your body is numb, and your other senses have left you.
You're certain that if you could see the girl right now, she'd be screaming. If you could hear her right now, she'd be screaming bloody mary. A frightening visage, your limp dead body is to her. Death wraps it's cold bony fingers around your soul, much like it has done to all the other people who carelessly approached her like you did. Seems you've now joined their ranks to walk the eternal dead.
Ah, Satoya~ I see you got yourself in quite a jam! Thought this was going to be nothing but a walk in the park? Remember that every limited adventure has it's dead ends~
I suppose you need a little help from your dear old master Yukari, hm? Don't worry, this ending wasn't entirely your fault, however careless it might have been. Had you asked about the girl first in the village, you would've been made aware of her unique ability to instantly kill those that come near her. Seems that you're no exception! Remember that while I awoke that demon sleeping inside you, it's still far too early to do anything risky. Take things slowly~
Since this is your first dead end, I will go ahead and give you the benefit of the doubt and let you off easy. I'll even give you an extra tip~ If you want to really benefit from this, or rather, want me to really benefit from this, you'd better listen to every damn thing you're told and write it down~
[ ] Go back 1 choice [ ] Go back 3 choices [ ] Fuck this, where's my custard pie?!
I keep getting messages about it. I keep getting told it was the wrong decision, that I've done something stupid. I keep seeing how much it was liked.
Well, good news, I'm folding now.
I know I haven't written in a while. Several projects cropped up and I've been trying to get them done in decent time, leaving no time for writing. I'll get on that soon, don't worry.
The reason why I'm making this post is because I'm torn, people want to see my previous story revived, that I shouldn't have stopped it. So now I'm caving and giving you this chance. It doesn't come without it's drawbacks however.
Basically, there's a conflict. This very story you see here. I started it in hopes that I could reboot the previous story I stopped with a much better overtone and far less faggotry from me. Seems I've failed in this however, either that or that's not what you people want.
There's three options. I could ignore the plea to revive Sousha's story and just go about my usual business, updating this story as it were and acting like nothing happened. Or I could drop this story in favour of Sousha's. This story would be declared abandoned unless I felt it was really necessary to come back to it. The third option is to write both but bear in mind I'm writing two stories at the moment, and I like to keep myself limited to two so that I don't over do it and give myself too much to do. If the third option is taken, I have to put one of the stories on hold until one is finished. It's not going to be the unrelated story to all this either, just so you know.
So, have at it, my humble readers. I'm very grateful to any of you that's stuck around this far and this is proof that I listen. So I want your honest opinion on what I should do. If I continue the story with Sousha in it, I'll try and put past me the mistakes I feel I made with it. I have no qualms with continuing it otherwise.
[ ] Screw this story, bring back Sousha! [ ] This story is good enough [ ] Both at once
I like this story, it just always seems like it doesn't get enough attention from you. Updates seem to be few and far between. It seems like it has awesome crawling right beneath the surface. Your /youkai stories are great and I'll follow whatever you write.
[x] this story if good enough. no need to disrupt something that's going at a decent pace. if there is a single fan of this story, it will be all worth it.
on another note... I've actually never read the other storyline. although I'm a tad curious, I'm more interested with this story for the moment. perhaps when this story finishes, you can go back to the other.
Thank you all for sticking with me then, and for sticking with this story. Hopefully I can turn it into something great. Well, eventually anyways.
Again I wanna apologize for my long absence, I got a job recently and it's pretty much sucked my free time to nil, and any free time I get I'm trying to keep my spirits up, as my family is not in the best of shape right now, what with my father trying to commit suicide and all...
Worst part about it is I feel my mother would commit suicide too if she cared enough.
I'll write something here eventually...I can't promise you it'll be great, I can't promise you it'll be long, but I can promise you that I will get back to this eventually and when I do, you can expect me to pay much more attention to it. Hopefully I can resume my usual near daily updates when it happens.
[x] Keep your distance, no need to worry her further
You want to comfort the girl, but something tells you no, that you shouldn't approach her so carelessly. After all, if she's truly afraid of you, walking up to her is probably the last thing you should be doing. You take a careful step back, and try to reassure her, and most of all, attempt to understand this situation you're in.
"Ah, my apologies...er, are you okay, miss?" The fear in the girl's heart seems to slowly settle down as she calms herself. All she does though is nod while trying to stand herself up. You wonder if it's okay to go up to her now.
"Stop!" You freeze in place in middle of taking your first step towards her, that fear seems to be boiling up again. Ah, was it too soon? "P-Please, don't come too close..."
"Why not? I'm not going to harm you." The girl blinks for a moment, as if you were crazy, but she seems to understand after a bit of thinking.
"You're...not from around here..." You simply shake your head in responce.
"No, I'm not. I'm actually really confused right now." The girl then leans into the tree, a depressed look garners her gentle face now.
"I see...you haven't been taken in yet..."
"Taken in? By what?" She then looks up at you, worried. About you?
"Please, leave. At once. You do not belong here." A sudden change in words, but her tone remains the same. You don't let yourself become taunted by the words she chose though.
"No. I want an explanation. I can't leave until I get one." The girl's face looks a little pained but she seems to concede anyhow. She chooses to turn her back to you as she tells you however.
"This tree you see here...it's a demonic tree that has possessed the lives of the people living here. It lures helpless beings into it's aura with it's beauty, and slowly drains the life out of them..." Is that why the people at the village nearby are so obsessed with this thing? Because it's possessing them and sucking out their own energy? "That...that is why you should leave, now, before it's too late..." You're not about to leave. Not yet. You've been given powers to resist this false tree's deadly aura, and you're not about to let that go to waste.
"What about you? You seem to know a lot about it without being possessed..." The girl just tilts her head down, the air around her almost seems depressive by itself.
"I...I've been cursed...my father passed away under this tree, and the tree cursed me to get revenge...I'm naturally immune to it's powers because of my father, but...the curse it laid on me kills anyone I come near...I'm no good like this..."
The way she speaks is incredibly saddening and you really want to help her. But if her words at to be believed, maybe you should keep your distance as you planned. You may have had some sort of innate youkai ability within you unlocked or some bull like that, but you'll wager a guess that you're not entirely invincible either.
"...is there any way I can help?" Those are the only words you can manage right now. You can't find anything else to say to her at this moment.
"Just please, leave...I don't want another innocent soul taken in by this damnable tree..."
"But...but you..." You really want to help her. Like, really. Her depressive tone, her slumped figure, all this sadness, you can't stand it! This is what you get for being a nice guy.
"There's no help for someone cursed like me! Please leave!" Her voice was raised, she's getting desperate to get rid of you. However, you really feel the need to say something about it.
"That's not true...! It's not your fault that you were cursed like that. You deserve that help! I only just met you but...I don't think you really deserve such a sorrowful fate." There's a long silence. Eventually you realize the girl is breaking down a crying a bit.
"P-Please...don't...please...just get away...the tree will just...just..."
You can't see her face right now, but she must be extremely saddened by her experiences with this tree. It's the source of all her problems. It's greatly disturbed what must be a very nice young girl. You hate to see this.
You're pretty sure you're immune to this tree's powers. Not only did you feel more resistant to that stale air of the Hakugyokurou after Yukari 'unlocked' your latent abilities, but there's also the matter of that supplement that one girl gave you to save you from the tree the first time you laid eyes upon it. Now the only thing you feel from being near it is the hatred and contempt for it for having done all this. But...would this girl believe you? The only youkai around seems to be the tree itself, and you want to avoid being likened to it. Still though, part of you wants to be honest...
[ ] Tell her you're a youkai [ ] Tell her you're immune, but avoid why [ ] Tell her you'll risk it to help her [ ] Follow her directions for now, and leave her be
[*] Tell her you'll risk it to help her Compared to the other two help choices, this one doesn't incriminate Satoya in any way. She might also be convinced by seeing someone that actually cares about her.
[x] Follow her directions for now, and leave her be How are we going to help her? We can't even get close to her or we will just drop dead, and we know next to nothing about that fucking tree, so we can't do anything about it.
You were about to step towards her, when you realized her power might kill you. You don't want to risk that just yet. You'll have to do your best from where you stand.
"Listen, I don't care about the tree, or your curse, what I care about is what's happened to you, and how you don't deserve it. Sure I might die, sure I might become possessed or something...but that's a risk I'm willing to take. As long as I can help you. I'm sure that if I got possessed or something anyways, I could trust you to free me from it, right?" You're only figuratively speaking at this moment, as you know that's an impossibility, but you're saying it for her sake...who seems to look back at you like you're insane, tears still welling up in her eyes.
"Y-You...why would you...do something so-"
"Stupid? Idiotic? Moronic? I've been called those so many times, I don't care anymore. If wanting to help people is so wrong, then I don't want to be right." You kinda gave it to her straight there, but it's all pretty true. You've been known to bend over backwards for people you really felt needed help, and some people called you crazy for it. But you never cared.
It's not like they knew what you were going through. Or what you're going through now.
"Well? Tell me how I can help you...please."
It sure as hell can't be as bad as what the people you've helped have been going through.
And you've never felt better about it.
The girl stands up, a bit weakly, you want to help her up, but that power still antagonizes you. She straightens herself out soon enough however, wiping the tears from her sorrowful eyes.
"My name is Yuyuko. Yuyuko Saigyouji. You are...?"
"Satoya. Satoya Kotono. Nice to meet you, Yuyuko."
It's just as you thought. Her skin seems just as pale as it was when you saw her before this whole mess, but she doesn't have that...ghostly aura about her. She's alive, breathing, a real human.
You must be back in the past.
You have no idea, but given how much you were told about Yukari's incredible powers, you think only she would have the kind of capability to do this to you. But why? Unless your dormant abilities include time travel, but somehow you doubt this. You only had that unlocking thing not too long ago. You don't know how long ago in the past you were sent, but it feels like a very long time.
"You're one of the very few people to have actually cared about me...I hate to imagine what might happen to you, but maybe you can...help diffuse the spell the tree has on everyone..."
"I want to help you most of all, but I'll agree, it's the tree's fault as to why everything is the way it is." Yuyuko looks up a bit at you, exhaustedly. That depression must take a lot out of her.
"Well...since you're the first human I've met that's so willing to help, I think you can help cleanse the village nearby..." As you thought, your appearance fools even this girl. Your apparent 'youkai blood' is undetectable by the people here.
"That sounds like a good idea. What about you? And the tree?"
"I will stay here...my presence is usually enough to deter most people from visiting the tree more often."
"Alright. Any way I can 'cleanse' this village?" Yuyuko looks down, a bit troubled seemingly.
"Since they are possessed by the tree, even if they left, they will always come back seeking more of the tree's enlightenment...the only way to free them is through a spiritual ward or by making them believe the tree no longer exists..."
"That's easier said then done...is there any spiritual ward I could use?"
"My father owned one...it's a necklace of magatama he imbued with his own spiritual energy...it should have enough to ward away the possession of at least the majority of the village in the most danger. From there you could get the rest to believe the tree doesn't exist from there."
"That doesn't sound too hard...alright. I'll see what I can do then." It sounds like something Yuyuko has wanted to do herself, but it's likely the curse that has prevented her from doing so.
"Thank you...thank you so much..." Yuyuko closes her eyes, leaning upon the tree for support. "The necklace is back at my house, it should be somewhere...behind the tree, opposite side of it from where the village stands..." That figures. A girl who kills people just by going near them couldn't possibly live in a village with other humans. So she isolates herself from the rest as much as possible.
"Okay then. I'll come back once I think I've gotten the village under control."
You walk around the tree and start going in the opposite direction of the village. As you walk through the grassy path, you look back at the tree occasionally, seeing Yuyuko now sitting on the ground against the tree, looking as depressed as ever. You can't stand it. You'll have to hurry.
You see a beaten down hut in tatters a bit later. Looks like it's been under attack many times. What a sorry sight to see. Heading inside, you find that it's barely hospitable to any real human...how has Yuyuko been dealing with this? It's a shock she can live like she does. No wonder she's so depressed. It's...so very unlike the friendly, happy ghost you met with Yukari earlier.
You rummage about the interior looking for what appears to be a necklace, finding it in one of Yuyuko's chests. As stated, it's a ring of sparkling blue magatama, full of life. These will apparently free the villagers from their possession by the tree? You're not sure how though...do you get them to wear it? Or do you just slap them with it? Wouldn't that kinda...make a stir? You're not sure if you want to rile up the entire village. You need to get back to Yuyuko quickly though, every minute you leave her alone is a minute you spend in agony thinking about what torture she must be going through, and how you could end it that much earlier.
[ ] If you're going to risk a ruckus, you might as well start it [ ] You don't have time, just coax some random human to wear it for a bit [ ] Lure someone out and get cleanse them with it discreetly [ ] Go back and get Yuyuko's advice on how to use the necklace
[x] Go back and get Yuyuko's advice on how to use the necklace
You can't quite figured it out, unfortunately. There may be a little bit of time, perhaps. Are you in the biggest rush to get this done? Maybe not, you think. So, instead of mulling it over and potentially making a huge mistake, you head back to the large tree with item in hand, to try and make a bit more sense of your job.
Except, shortly before you arrive, you stop yourself. She isn't alone anymore.
You freeze up standing somewhere behind one of the many other trees in the area surrounding the demon tree. Yuyuko is talking to...Yukari? You can't believe it. But the long, golden hair, the enigmatic parasol and that unmistakable hat...it's her. The same Yukari that dragged you into this mess in the first place. But the more you look at her, the more different she seems. You quietly approach without being noticed. She's wearing a long purple dress, which is rather simplistic in design compared to her rather complicated clothing that she bore while watching over you at the Hakugyokurou. You're very afraid to get noticed, but despite your fears, you almost subconsciously walk right up to the pair, though not close enough to be effected by Yuyuko's power.
Of whom happens to notice you first, with her paranoia induced shock as she suddenly turns to you. In comparison, Yukari's turning towards you is rather calm. The look on her face...no, it's not her expression. It's the face itself. It's incredibly different from the face you know back in your own time. You don't...you can't actually put your finger on it, really. You don't know what about it is different...it just is. Something in the back of your head tells you that this is not the same Yukari you're familiar with. To confirm your thoughts, Yukari speaks up and says exactly what you thought she might say.
"Oh, hello. Who might you be~?"
You want to say it.
No words come out. Your name remains unspoken for reasons unknown. Yuyuko, with a mixture of fear, shows that she is both curious and worried as to why you can't apparently trust Yukari enough to give her your name.
You must be giving her quite the stern look. In true Yukari fashion, however, she laughs it off.
"Hmhmhm! I get it. I guess you want to be alone with this girl then? Well, someone like you is certainly no threat to her, right?"
The face is different. But the expressions are the same. This might not be the same Yukari you know. But in all the time it must've taken between here and your time, she has not changed the least bit. An ever-present whimsical and mysterious youkai, all the same. Perhaps that is why you neglected to tell her your name, maybe at first at any rate.
"I will leave you two to your own devices then." Yukari continues on as she turns away, gracefully walking away. You know that the moment your eyes aren't glued to her back, she will disappear into thin air, so you don't bother looking back when you turn back towards Yuyuko. Her fright is still apparent, are you still wearing your stern face?
"Don't worry about it." You quickly tell her to try and alleviate her fears. "Me and her...we go way back." You want to say that you go way forward with her, but that would make very little sense to Yuyuko. You try to change the topic quickly, so you can get this done post haste...or, well, that's what you think for now anyways. "This is the necklace you told me about, right?" You show Yuyuko the ring of glowing magatamas. With a slow nod, she confirms it's the one.
"Yes, that is it. It isn't powerful enough to dull the curse the tree has put on me, but it should be just enough to lift the possession on the people in the village nearby. By myself I stand no chance of using it's aid but...since you are human, unrelated to this mess, you might be able to convince the people otherwise."
"So that begs the question...how do I use this thing?"
"In order for the energy to lift the person out of the tree's possession, the person must wear the necklace and meditate on it's energy for a short while. The spiritual powers within the necklace should overcome the energy of the tree's and snap them out of it, albiet slowly...from there, you should try to convince them to leave the village of their own free will."
The entire time Yuyuko speaks, she still sounds meek, but a bit more composed then before...was it Yukari? You weren't around, but Yukari did get awfully close to Yuyuko, perhaps she's naturally immune to the curse the tree laid on Yuyuko.
Come to think of it, you really don't know Yukari's relationship with Yuyuko at this point in time at all. But it's safe to say she means no direct, immediate harm...
"Alright, thanks, I'll...get to work right away then."
"...Satoya." The tender voice of the girl stops you in middle of turning around. When you look back at her, she seems worried. "Are you...okay? You're not being effected by the negative energy of the tree, are you?"
"Oh, no, don't worry about me, but I should hurry just in case...thanks."
You rush off and away from the tree, and away from Yuyuko. You're not entirely sure why. You just...need to get away.
It's not because the tree is possessing you. You're quite sure now that you're resistant to it's powers for the most part. There's just...other things that are bothering you.
This really is the past, isn't it? But...is this okay? This is messing around with history, right? You may teach language, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to be able to tell that performing tasks here might have grave consequences on the ultimate timeline at stake here. You never studied much about the potential of time travel, but you don't think you want to start now. You're honestly quite afraid.
Having realized that, all your drive and motivation to do what Yuyuko told you to do has vanished. You have an empty feeling in your stomach telling you not to do this. That there's a possibility that Yukari sent you back here to simply observe, not participate. Yukari herself being here certainly doesn't make matters any easier. Your anxiety is taking control of you...standing here is doing you little good.
[ ] Ignore the gut feeling and go ahead to the village [ ] Get side tracked and wander about the forest instead [ ] Go back to Yuyuko and come clean about the situation
[X] Ignore the gut feeling and go ahead to the village
It's worth a shot, and Satoya might learn something from the attempt. Even if we can't change the past, I think it'd be better for Yuyuko if we told her we tried than to confuse her with talk of time travel or disappear and let her think the tree possessed us too.
[x] Ignore the gut feeling and go ahead to the village
It's the tree, I can feel it. It's getting in our head with its fell power. Seriously though, we should ignore all that shit and just do what feels right. Trying to help Yuyuko purify the village feels pretty damn right to me.
[x] Ignore the gut feeling and go ahead to the village
You try your best to overcome this inner fear of yours involving time and the like. Maybe this was meant to happen? You really don't know anymore, but in a way, it couldn't hurt to try you suppose? What if the future you lived in is actually the future you're meant to shape right now? Argh, you don't get it in the least, but your overly helpful nature and desire to do something about this is getting in the way and you intent on listening to them first before anything else in your gradually warping mind. Yukari is definitely someone to avoid, but sadly, you have no more choice now. Stupid survey.
"Hello good sir! You seem down in the dumps!" You declare as you approach one of the lesser guys in the village with your best corny impression of a salesman. You're not sure how it'd work in this era, but you seem to have grabbed his attention, for better or for worse.
"What? What the hell do you want?" You smile and hold up the necklace.
"Only for you to try this on and see how wonderfully it works! I've captured the essence and charm of the great tree that inhabits this area into this necklace and now you can carry the enlightening spirit of the tree everywhere you go!"
"Eh? Are you for real? Lemme see that!"
Heh, you are so masterfully good at this, you could have very easily gotten a good career as a salesperson. Totally.
"Sure thing! Just put it on, close your eyes and focus on the mysterious power of the tree that resides within the necklace." You get the man to try on the necklace with no problems, and after a short few moments with his eyes closed, the man seems to have a startling revelation.
"By god, I feel so...enlightened. It's as if the tree can guide me now regardless of where I go...a-and how much is this?"
"Ahaha, well this particular one isn't for sale but if you head that way, you'll eventually come across a stand where an associate of mine is selling many of these necklaces imbued with this magical property for very cheap! Don't wait too long now, they sell fast!"
You pointed the man in the total opposite direction of the tree. You're taking a gamble from here on out, hoping that the exorcism and his distance from the tree will eventually lead him to forget about it and go back to...wherever he once was. You at least hope that's what's happening. You have a long road ahead of you here...
More and more people are coaxed into believing your false story and putting their faith into the necklace. You manage to get very far without any sort of ruckus, and best of all, rumors haven't quite started spreading yet, due to your directions of leading anyone captivated by the necklace right out of the village and therefore, straight out of the way of other, still possessed people. But the longer you go on, the more difficult it starts proving. After a close call, you decide to lay low for a few moments and examine the item you got from Yuyuko.
When you spied it in the small shack, it glowed with a mysterious power. The magatamas that line it and now all starting to dull, one has even cracked...the power of the tree must be very strong. You've barely led a little over half the people in the village away. You feel a little disappointed, you're not sure if you want to continue taking the risk. But there's not many people left, you kinda...think. You're not sure. It's dangerous to keep going like this, as people might include you in with Yuyuko if you're found out. Given her power, it might not be wise to get too close to her as well. And then there's...Yukari. You don't know what she wants. In fact, you're quite curious about that.
...the longer you stay here, the more vulnerable you feel. It's time to take the next step.
[ ] Take the risk, continue liberating people of the tree's curse [ ] Seek out Yukari [ ] Go back to Yuyuko and report [ ] You're quite done here, time to make like a tree and leave
Yeah, that seems to be a general thing with me. Whenever I do finally get the energy to update, I tend to update several times a day, with once daily being the absolute minimum. Then after a while I sorta lose all motivation and stop updating altogether for a good nice while.
Hopefully longer updates will follow after thisSukima!g/OFHYXEWQ2010/12/22 (Wed) 12:40No. 24708▼
[x] Go back to Yuyuko and report
...you don't want to risk it. Not now. Not yet, anyways. You've come this far, and you didn't get here to just fail and cause irreversible damage. It's time you went back to Yuyuko. You can't trust this necklace's power any further without the potential for everything to fall through. You don't know if she can recharge this thing or what, but getting back to her is probably a good idea. Nice and discreetly, you slip out from under the village eyes and back into the forest, towards the fateful tree that started this whole mess in the past.
You spy Yuyuko hunched over by the tree...is she hurt?! The moment she comes into view and you notice this, your calm pace is quickly replaced with a hasty run towards the poor girl. You don't know what's going on, but maybe you shouldn't have left her side. It was careless of you not to think that maybe one of the people you tried purifying didn't go through all the way and returned here. You charge up the stairs as fast as you can, nearly tripping at one point, but only one thing matters right now; Yuyuko's well being.
"Yuyuko! Are you okay?!" You see Yuyuko quickly look over at you. As you get closer, you see that she doesn't seem hurt...but she was crying. Terribly, at that. Tears seem to stream down her face uncontrollably. But one thing sets you off. She isn't hurt now...but she might've been. In her hand she holds a cold, steel knife, meant for cutting into human flesh.
"S-Satoya...you're..." Her face is riddled with confusion, despair and fear as she looks at you, she has intense trouble picking herself up to talk to you more properly. But you think at this rate, it's a bit of a lost cause.
"Y-Yuyuko, that knife..."
You're not dumb. That's a tantou. A typical dagger or short sword carried by samurai. But prepared a certain way, it was an instrument of suicide. Given the instability Yuyuko has shown, you have a vague feeling you know exactly how this would've played out without you.
"Stand...egh..." Yuyuko has difficulty getting her words out, for some reason, and an unusual inability to stand, as she continues to be hunched over even as she's turned toward you, forced to use the tree to keep her from falling straight to the ground. Though, as you approach, her fear takes control. "S-Stand back! I have to...I need to seal the tree..."
"Wh-What? What are you..." You can't necessarily find the words, but a weak, regretful smile from Yuyuko is all you need to be worried further.
"I'm going to seal the tree...with my body...I'm sorry, Satoya...I couldn't...nnggh..." You take a step forward, but stop yourself, you forget who you're dealing with for a brief quick moment.
"Yuyuko, stop this, it doesn't have to end this way."
She doesn't respond. Was everything you had just done for naught?! You're really riled up, but you don't understand, nor do you know what to do, it's so frustrating! You feel helpless, yet you feel the need to help...
You're reminded briefly of a friend you had back in college, the same one you teached at. She was a short haired woman, that was highly unstable. After a little deliberation, you started comparing your old friend to Yuyuko here, as you know her in the past. The resemblance is a little unsettling. While she tried very hard, though typically failed, to not show much stress in college as she taught her own field, away from class she was tired and emotionally drained as you could get.
Her husband left her a couple short months before you started teaching. He even took her only daughter with him, through a series of legal loopholes, despite the fact that he actually abused her. Her daughter ended up dying about a couple weeks before you were spirited away by Yukari. Died in a horrifying accident you were told that could've been avoided had she claimed custody of the child. It just seemed so inherently tragic, she often complained that no one loved her, and no one cared, that her daughter was the only thing she had. You really wanted to help, but you just found yourself repeatedly pushed away at every turn. You guess you aren't very good at helping people, as much as you want to.
As Yuyuko raises the knife, you feel a stinging feeling in your heart. That you want to prevent history, as it were with you, from repeating itself so helplessly.
"Please, Satoya, I know it's...hard...but it's too late...just tell Yukari that I'm sorry..." This girl really looks like she's on her last legs. Is the tree rapidly draining her life or something? With each passing moment she seems unable more and more to continue on with life. The stinging sensation multiplies when you see the knife about to graze her neck. You're not sure if you want to stay frozen like this any longer, but...
[ ] Egads, stop her right now! [ ] Try and talk her out of this [ ] There's nothing left for you to do then to watch
Once this weekend rolls around, they're shutting my internet off. I don't have the money to pay for it anymore, so you can expect me to vanish altogether. When will I come back? I haven't the slightest clue...but any stories under my name will have to be shut down until I get that internet back. So sorry.
>>24713 Don't sweat it, it seems nowadays every good writefag has to disappear for excessive periods of time. At least you're kind enough to announce your departure. Hope you get your internet back somehow.
"S-Stop!" You cry out to Yuyuko. You don't want it to end this way. Not quite yet. "At least wait a moment! It shouldn't have to end this way! I can change that, just believe in me!"
The knife inches ever closer to her throat.
"Yuyuko! No! There is another way we can fix this!"
Your words aren't reaching her.
"Stop this!! Please!!"
You can't save her.
"There she is!"
The last of Yuyuko's energy to kill herself vanishes when her eyes shoot open and look behind you. That voice wasn't your own, you know that for certain.
Turning around, you see a mob of people, carrying various weaponry. It looks like the entire remainder of the village you were trying to purify is here. They look very unhappy. Not a good sign.
"Come on, let's end this once and for all!" You hear one of the men near the front shout as the mob approaches with reckless abandon. What the hell is going on here?!
"Wait, stop! What are you doing?!"
"Move aside! We're tired of her spiriting away all our townsfolk!"
"It's obvious it's her, she's killin' everyone for following the tree!"
"She wiped out half our population, it ends here and now before she gets the rest of us!"
Oh sod, that's not her fault! But you don't think it'd be wise to say you did it, not yet anyways. Then again...
"No, stay back! Please!!" You find yourself slowly being sandwiched in between the angry group of villagers and Yuyuko. She's cowering closer to the tree, knowing full well what the mob intends on doing with her. The fear and shock on her face tells you that any ability she had to kill herself and 'seal the tree' vanished with the coming of the imposing on her. Is it too late? Or does she just not want the villagers to see her sacrifice?
You don't have much time to do anything, but there's little need, as before you can react to the mob closing in for the kill, you notice that they've all stopped and started staring down at your feet. Before you, on the ground, sits an odd rift...a strange disturbance that you can't place. It doesn't look like it's a part of this world, or even this plane of existence, and it is here on the pure, sheer will of some paradox. You've never quite seen anything like it, but it glows with a very strange and dangerous power. Standing close to it feels as if time has suddenly stood still, all the while you're staring at it.
And just like a bullet piercing glass and breaking the silence, a malformed tree branch shoots out from the rift and right into one of the villagers in front of you, racing right through his jugular and coming straight out the back of his head, all in one fast movement.
It was probably a swift, painless death. So why does it make you feel sick?
"Idiots. I knew they were a waste of time."
You quickly look to the side of you. You see Yukari. Not even bothered in the least bit by the splatter of human blood around her.
"I-It's the witch!"
The choice of words was probably not the best, as before any of the innocent can react, a large stone crushes the poor guy's head from the side. You weren't even watching all that well, where did it come from? It just appeared out of nowhere...
"Run! She'll kill us all!"
"She's finally gone mad!"
The voices of the panicked mob seem to run right by you as lives are needlessly taken one by one. Several objects seem to phase in and out of existence from many angles, disemboweling, dismembering and mercilessly shedding blood everywhere. It's nothing but a sheer massacre, and for once, you're too frozen in place to move. But not because the mindless slaughter is so jarring and shocking.
The look on Yukari's face. You've never seen her angry before, you don't think.
You're quite positive, now, that you never, ever want to, ever again.
"Yukari! Stop!" Yuyuko's exhausted cries fail to reach her properly, as she takes more and more frustration out on the innocent people.
"Shut up! They aren't worth it anymore!" Then, in middle of her carnage, Yukari suddenly realizes your existence. A deep, stricken feeling of impending doom hits you. So much so that you stop breathing. All your bodily functions cease and halt the moment that monsterous face turns to you. "You...you-!"
Before anything else happens, it's too late.
But it's not your own.
The last thing you remember seeing is Yuyuko laying on the ground, her neck cut wide open, and her blood splattered all over the stone flooring.
The design is intricate. She almost looks like...
What makes you think this is a good idea? Isn't just alienating the people further?
I don't have a choice. Have you seen the effect this has had on everyone?
There has to be another way! In fact...you of all people should know. I thought you gave up on the humans. What is your motive?
...I have a promise to keep. A promise that doesn't involve you.
Ugh, Yuyuko is dead now...how can you still hear her voice?
"Satoya, wake up. Satoya?"
Maybe...Yukari killed you too. Just as Yuyuko had killed herself. Yeah. Of course she would. Why wouldn't she...
"Sa~ to~ ya~..."
You sit up very hastily, your heart is beating plenty of times faster then it really should. Your body is shaky, and your nerves are shot, you're covered in sweat and your vision is blurry. When things come around though, you find yourself in bed. In front of you is a rather shocked and mortified Youmu, who's holding a tray with what seems to be warm tea ready for serving. Following her line of sight, you find Yuyuko sitting beside you, looking at you with a look mixing surprise and confusion.
...why are her lips pursed together?
"Ah, Satoya, you're awake." You hear Ran's voice bring you out of the awkward situation as she walks in. "Forgive me, I was merely out checking on Chen." She then looks at Youmu, then Yuyuko, then back to you. "Am I...interrupting something?" Yuyuko stands back up and smiles her usual, warm smile.
"No, not at all~ You came to bring in tea for Satoya, right Youmu? Let Ran handle it and let's been on our way." Yuyuko then walks past a rather bemused Youmu and Ran, out of the room. Before handing the tea to Ran and following suit, you notice Youmu giving you a strange, horrified look, as if wondering something absurd.
...just what transpired here before you woke up?
"You should drink up and get to better health, Satoya. Lady Yukari wishes to train some more post haste." Ran tells you as she sits in Yuyuko's spot and offers you the tea Youmu was bringing in.
To be honest, you're not sure if you're up for tea right at this moment. Your head hurts. A lot. A little clearance is in order. Your dizziness is quite apparent.
[ ] Go talk to Yuyuko [ ] Go and find Yukari [ ] Stay and chat with Ran [ ] You need to be alone
If we're going to talk about this, may as well do this with someone who wasn't present at that time. Yuyuko and Yukari could provide more answers but... do we really want to find out if we actually appeared in their memories of that event yet?
To be honest, I'm really not sure but I'll go with this unless convinced otherwise.
[┼] Go and find Yukari Some answers would be nice & she's likely to have them or, at least, be able to help get them with the least fuss. >Go talk to Yuyuko Assuming what we say in the dream was true do we really want to bring up the event of her own suicide? >Stay and chat with Ran I'd be all up for it if there weren't questions that needed answering. >You need to be alone No real reason to.
Satoya has just been through a tragic, harrowing experience, that he will undoubtedly blame upon himself. He needs time to cool off, and clear his mind. To that end, we'll go quietly brood in a corner until someone forces us to interact with them, which will slowly break us out of our funk. Trust me, I am a pro at this advanced technique.
Interacting with Yukari or Yuyu guarantees no answers and in any case would just seem to wind him up further. Between this and brooding alone, he has a chance of retaining some sense of social grace after just looking like a spaz in front of a lot of people.
"...is something the matter?" Ran asks you after a little deliberation. You sat there for a few moments pondering what to do next. You were humoring the thought of spilling your guts to Ran, but you don't think she'd fully understand. You probably would have seen her in the past if she was around at the time. But it's not like you have to talk about that, oh no, chats with Ran, as you would expect from a woman of her demeanor, are kind of relaxing. Perhaps that will ease the frayed nerves you have.
"Uhh...no, not in particular. Say, do you enjoy, uh, 'working' under Yukari?" You had to ask. You also had to word it that way, you felt being Yukari's slave is one of the more degrading things you could possibly say.
"Working?" You're not sure Ran understands at first, but her guess seems to tell you that she figured it out. "Well, I do a lot of housework for her, and she tends to sleep a lot. Anytime she is doing something, I am typically by her side at her call to do as she wishes. She has had some allies and had some enemies, and her life tends to be rather more complicated then you would expect..." Then, with a bit of a warm smile, Ran continues telling you, "but I've had plenty of fun 'working' under her, I guess you could say. I have had no regrets being Lady Yukari's shikigami."
"Hahaha...really?" You say with a bit of a nervous smile. After breathing out and falling back into the futon you've been sitting in, Ran inquires further.
"Satoya? Are you okay?"
"Yeah...you're quite loyal to Yukari, aren't you?" Ran seems to hesitate for a moment, though it's not to consider whether or not you're right.
"...yes, I am. What makes you ask such a question?"
"Huh? Oh, uh, just asking I guess. Sorry if that's a bit of a touchy subject. I mean...I just couldn't see myself trusting Yukari in the slightest right now. She's really..."
"Whimsical?" Ran finishes your sentence, knowing full well what you've been putting up with thus far. "Yes, I was that way too myself, when I was first contracted under her."
"...what was your first meeting with her like?"
You probably shouldn't have asked. Ran looks at you a little taken aback by your question and looks away a bit, as if dodging it.
"I'd...prefer not to say. That is...well..."
"S-Sorry. You don't have to."
There's a thick silence in the room shortly after. A thick, awkward silence. You're not even bothering looking at her. She's probably not looking at you either. How could you look at her after that? So much for relieving your uneasiness...
As if right on cue, not even a few moments of that silence passes before it's spectacularly broken by Yukari hastily sliding the door to your room wide open. Both you and Ran quickly look at her and see that she has that kind of determined look on her face. This being Yukari, you know better then to try and resist.
"L-Lady Yukari--" Ran doesn't get many words out before Yukari walks over and grabs your arm, and starts brashly dragging you straight out of bed and out of the room. "Lady Yukari!"
This woman is a lot stronger then you took her for. She's pulling you around like it doesn't even matter, as if you were just some dog on a leash. With your arm acting as the leash. It's not very pleasant.
"Ow! Y-Yukari, come on, stop this! Ow, hey! Watch it!"
You bump into many things as Yukari continues dragging you through the old style mansion. At some point you watch Yuyuko and Youmu stare you in utter bemusement as you pass through the room they happen to be having tea in. You try to look at them in such a way that begs for help, but you don't think either of them understood, and were too speechless by terribly embarrassing sight. It's not long after that Yukari manages to drag you completely outside of the mansion, off the porch and just plainly chucks you out in front of her, causing you to land on the ground in a ragdoll manner. It kinda hurts, but less to your physical body and more to your pride.
"Urgh...what the hell are you doing?!" You shout to her angrily, although you're still on the ground. Yukari just looks at you quite unamused.
"Such a slacker." Like she's one to talk. "I brought you here to train your new abilities and all you've done is sleep!" You wonder if she even knows about your freaky little trip to the past, or if she's just avoiding it. "That is not befitting of my new shikigami at all." She then closes the fan that she mysteriously had produced in her hand a while ago and points it at you. "Your latent powers are no joke, Satoya. If you wish uphold my pride, you should learn to use them, and use them well!" What, and your own pride doesn't matter? You wonder how you got roped into this...
"I assume I am to resume my services now?" Youmu says as she walks up beside Yukari, seemingly having followed the two of you out here sometime after watching the spectacle that was on display earlier. Looking past the two, you see Yuyuko and Ran standing on the porch as well, along with Chen, who happens to be rather confused at the current situation, having just arrived. Seems like the whole gang is here now.
"Why yes, I'm so glad someone like you is so much more attentive and ready to work, unlike our dear ol' Satoya here~" Yukari's smile, at this rate, will only serve to awaken further rage begat inside yourself the more you see it, if she keeps this farce up. You don't know if being condescending is a part of this shikigami contract or not, but you still think Yukari is being just a little bit of a jerkface.
Thus, another sparring session between yourself and Youmu begins. It more or less passes like a blur this time. You're opted to forgo the blindfold this time and rely on your own power to keep Youmu from advancing upon you. This time goes a hell of a lot smoother. When you're relaxed, your feel like any other, vulnerable human, but the moment you see Youmu coming towards you, your muscles tense up and suddenly reach the density of stone, and you're able to block even the strongest of punches and kicks with relative ease. You're probably getting quite the workout here. Back home, while you weren't an exercise freak, you tried to stay in some semblance of shape, due to the college's policy, and people always said you were touted for having an excellent metabolism. Perhaps this is where it all comes from. The more and more you think about it, the more you realize that back where you came from, you were a lot more 'perfect' of a human then most people were.
Maybe, just maybe, you'll give in a little, and humor the crazy thought that you aren't quite human yourself. It's a little jarring, sure, but training with Youmu, you can't help but realize that the solid proof is being shown to you right before your eyes. No ordinary human could take a punch that normally shatters rocks.
"Okay, that's quite enough~" You're not sure how much time had passed, but Yukari felt she had seen enough display. You take a quick moment to assess yourself as Yukari approaches. Your arms are just mostly red instead of the deathly black color they were when you finished your first session with Youmu. You feel like you have a greater control over yourself now, as well as feeling a metric ton stronger. You feel like you're progressing almost too fast; it's reminiscent of the time you spent working your way up to being a college professor.
"So am I doing what a good shikigami should be doing?" You ask Yukari when she arrives at the two of you, rather sarcastically. However, Yukari doesn't seem to pick up on it at all.
"Why yes~ You're doing absolutely splendid and you've reminded me why I picked you, Satoya." She then walks over and pinches your cheek, in such an awkward fashion that it feels like your grandmother is doing it. "Aren't you just the cutest thing~?"
"S-Stop that." You rub your cheek, trying to forget that Yukari just did that as she goes on about her next idea.
"Well then, since you seem to have a proper grasp over your newfound strength Satoya, I believe it is time to take the next step."
"Would that happen to be magic?" Yukari seems to retain a little laughter at your prospect.
"Hmhmhm, well it very well could be~" She then looks at Ran out of the corner of her eye. "While dear Ran is adept at physical combat, she has always preferred using the method of magic and spells to fight. However, being a human - sorry, former human of the outside world, you lack the proper faith to truly take advantage of such." The foundation on what you laid upon your reluctant belief that maybe you're a youkai after all was shaken up by Yukari's teasing slip up. No, it wasn't a slip up, she meant to say that, the look on her face says it all. This woman loves grating your nerves. "For now, until your faith is at a proper level, I'll have you engage in physical combat any time I need you to. It would make a perfect balance with Ran, don't you think? Fighting bare handed is something I couldn't let you do though."
"Why not? I've done well with it so far."
"Well let's just say that some people who are adamant with it haven't gotten very far in Gensokyo. Besides, with someone like Youmu here, what could you lose~?" Youmu retains her stoic, serious expression, despite having worked up a bit of a sweat training with you. It's a little weird, you don't feel like it was much. But on the other hand, the most you did was take hits, not actually deliver them. It makes Yukari's proposal all the more fishy, of course.
"So then I guess that means you're going to give me a weapon?" Yukari happily nods and then opens her fan beside you. You're not sure what the gesture means until a massive pile of what appears to be...weapons, lands next to you. It causes you quite the shock actually, you were almost positive that a few blades just skewered you from the sky. Your body is a little shaken up now, particularly since the prospect of nearly being turned into a living pincushion almost came true, but Yukari seems to ignore this.
"Luckily I have a massive pile of old junk that I've been saving up over the years, reserved specifically for you Satoya~"
"Th-That's nice but did you have to drop it right in front of me?!"
"Of course, it would be more convenient if you didn't have to walk to it, right?"
Yukari says this in such a matter-of-factly way that it almost makes you sound stupid, despite the inherent danger that was present not too long ago. How the hell does she do this?
You decide to try and not let it bother you too much for now and examine the messy pile of various offensive utilities on the ground before you. There's a very wide variety of stuff here, but a lot of it seems useless junk; just as Yukari said.
"Take your time to pick, whatever you choose we'll be teaching you the ways of using so that you can become adept with it as soon as possible~" You only just kind of took notice now, but Yukari sure seems to be in a bit of a hurry to make you into a one man fighting machine. It's rather unnerving, but you know that if you asked, she wouldn't tell you anyways. She would have told you already if that were the case.
"Any old one, huh? But some of this is..."
You're not sure if you can find the proper words to describe how you feel. To exemplify it though, you pick up what appears to be a military style rocket launcher, of perhaps a bazooka. Some of this stuff clearly came from the outside world where you lived in up until now.
"Ooh, yes, unique, right~? Some of it I think only Kourin would know how to work, but given your previous life I think you know full well what many of these weapons do~"
You kinda doubt Yukari herself knows. You also don't know who this 'Kourin' is, but if they would know how to work a rocket launcher, you sure would like to meet them. You don't think even you could handle this beast.
Yukari's lack of knowledge of these weapons becomes readily apparent when you shift through the pile and realize that a few weapons of your current era have made their way in here, but without any sort of sufficient ammunition to make them work. You're not too hot on the idea of asking Yukari for bullets for any gun in here, and most of all, if Gensokyo is in an era before firepower was introduced, you doubt you wanna be the one that does so, even if it would give you an advantage in battle. Carrying so much ammunition on you also sounds like a bad idea, given how quickly bullets can run dry.
On the other hand, if you still had a penchant for ranged combat, there is a strong looking bow amongst the other weapons. Arrows, you're sure, are still prominent even in such a prehistoric place. It'd take a lot of dexterity to handle one of these, but the advantage of ranged combat is retained. Although you're still being forced to carry ammunition for it, at the very least you could get arrows from somewhere other then Yukari, if you had to. Archery is a rather healthy habit to take up, too. Ran might even be impressed by it, you think...
Much of the weaponry consists of a large set of bladed weapons though, typical to this era. Many swords, daggers and the like fill the pile, and only a few particularly stand out to you. Some of the swords and other bladed material seems broken or rusty, and you have to pick out the ones in best condition yourself. There happens to in fact only be one katana in mint condition in the entire pile, but it's long and sturdy, you wager that it would last you through hell and high water. It was sitting on top of a pair of daggers with a peculiar design to them, as if both blades used to be one, but something happened and it caused them to be split. There might be something about those.
Working your way through the bigger weapons, you also pull out a large, long spear type weapon. Maybe a partisan of some sort? It looks interesting, to say the least. It's about a foot or so taller then you are, so it would be able to cut at a much greater range then a katana or short sword. It feels really unwieldy at first though, but you're sure that could be amended. The most unique bladed weapon though, happens to be a scythe amongst the traditional feudal era military weapons. A scythe is rarely regarded as much more then a farming tool, but it has it's rather deadly uses. Being a prime tool of the Grim Reaper gives the scythe a rather morbid reputation as a weapon as well. It's not nearly as long or versatile as the spear you picked up earlier, but it has so much more potential.
"Well Satoya? You look like you have a few favourites~" Yukari points out that you've picked the pile quite clean now, it's even a little organized...whoops. You guess you should just get on with it and pick one now.
>Well let's just say that some people who are adamant with it haven't gotten very far in Gensokyo.
Isn't it sad, Meiling?
Most of the other weapons are played out, and it's not like he particularly relishes hand-to-hand combat. As far as defending himself in close quarters, his natural strength seems at least serviceable.
Scythe isn't the best weapon for a beginner (and it's fragile), short swords are fucking awesome, but not noob-frienly at all, spear is just fucking lame, and bow needs ammunition. Go for the katana. It's old and rusty, but we'll be able to ask Youmu for help.
You pick the long javelin back out from the pile of weapons and give it one more look over. The hilt is nice and sturdy, as it should be for a spear. The blade at the end protrudes a decent length, maybe enough for a small dagger or a bit longer, without the long reach of the handle. It's double edged, and is a little thick, good for absorbing blows you think. Realistically, from the world you came from, you have no real experience with weapons like this at all, but in a world full of magic and demons, going in fists flying is, as Yukari might suggest, not exactly the best idea. You have something to really defend yourself with, using this. You thought it over, but this weapon, you think, suits you best.
"Mmm, quite a long one, are you compensating for something~?"
Not for all the wrong reasons, though.
"Leave me alone, I don't even know how to use half this stuff. Why would I have ever needed to?"
"Well as you can see, this world is quite different. Don't worry though, there's one weapon that I know you're very well acquainted with, but I'll leave that to whoever you stick it to~"
What...what is that even supposed to mean?! Was it even necessary?
"Lady Yukari, am I to use my blades still for teaching Satoya?" Youmu asks as Yukari turns around and walks away from you.
"Yes, that's fine, Ran will even help so I'm sure things will work out." Ran doesn't seem to respond. Her stoic nature is showing again. You believe she has some emotion under all that concrete that she occasionally moves out of the way, but in the context of Yukari it seems like she's always putting on a strong face, and trying to be more professional for her.
You guess if you felt like Yukari really was your boss, you'd be the same way. But Yukari is just far too whimsical for you to see that in her. It's like having a seven year old for a superior.
"Is this how it will be then? Satoya as the brave knight in shining armor?" Yuyuko says with a smile as Yukari sits back with her and Ran steps back forward towards you and Youmu.
"Seems that way. It's just as well, any skill Satoya gains in physical combat will surely compliment the sheer magical power Ran has~" You hear Yukari say all this as Ran is conversing with Youmu. You're trying to listen to the two of them but your senses seem to be gravitating towards Yukari at the moment, possibly due to the lack of trust at this current moment.
"He chose to be stronger and even chose such a fitting weapon for such an endeavor...though isn't Ran adept at fighting melee too?" You don't hear much else then Yukari chuckling to herself seemingly, as Ran succeeds in catching your attention just before Yukari says anything else.
"Satoya, we are to assume you have absolutely no experience with that kind of weapon, correct?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah, you're right about that. I'm not sure where to even begin."
"It starts with learning how to handle it properly, of course. You'll learn how to fight with it once you can wield it effortlessly. Doing things one step at a time is the best way to go about teaching someone a method of battle." Ran sounds so inherently smart when she says all this, like...sorta like some of the professors back home actually. You get this sneaking feeling should make an excellent teacher.
"A proper stance is important, so we'll work on that first. It will help you get a feel for the spear you chose, Satoya." Youmu continues along Ran's drawn line. You feel kinda lucky, being tutors by a cute girl and a beautiful lady. At the same time though, you feel rather...insignificant.
"A-A proper stance huh?" You want to ask what exactly that means, but you're too afraid of sounding stupid by asking what is probably a very obvious question.
"Yes, Satoya, so that you may be ready for any oncoming attack aimed at you, or so you can take the offensive effectively and efficiently. Being ready is the first and most important step." Ran informs you, and thus achieving a bit in what you were trying to avoid; feeling dumb. You're quite positive at this point that not only are you highly inexperienced at this, you know absolutely nothing about how to go about it. This is going to be a very long day.
"Er, right. So how would I go about...doing that, then?"
"Keep your weapon raised and poised for combat," Youmu starts you off with. "Being able to strike at a moment's notice is important, but the main idea is to survive anything thrown at you. You cannot retaliate from an attack if you are injured too gravely from it." After a bit of taking that in, you look back down at the spear that's been laying in your arms like a wounded little baby. You can't say you know very well how to hold one effectively, apart from how people in television hold it. Taking the spear in both hands, you look back at Youmu, and she makes a short gesture to hold the spear up a bit more, and you follow through. She doesn't seem satisfied with that however and comes closer. "You have to keep your hands further apart then that. A spear is not a sword, so you must keep your hands across the longer handle accordingly."
...why are you getting embarrassed now? It could be for a variety of reasons. For one, Youmu's hands are clasped over yours. You know she's all business right at this moment, trying to adjust your hands to the length of the spear, but they happen to a lot softer then you expected them to be. They're like the hands of a young child, befitting for her height to say the least, but not for her actual occupations for all that. The way Ran is studying you also makes you nervous. It might be because of the peer pressure you've always felt throughout your school life, both as a student and as a teacher, but the sharp observation she's laying upon you now feels as if she's expecting something from you. It's hard not getting goosebumps over it. Another thing that bothers you, is the way you're stroking the handle of this beast...it's not a sensation you want to be totally familiar with, particularly with Yukari watching, and even more especially after the obscene comments she gave you when you chose this weapon.
But one thing's for sure. Your face is getting red. You need to get this over with as soon as possible.
You try your best to get through the somewhat haphazard lessons you receive from both Ran and Youmu. While Yukari and Yuyuko watch you contently, and Chen simply takes a nap beside them. You guess for as much energy as she has, she needs to take more time to restore all of it as a result. A few awkward lessons in your battle stance later, which you still need improving on, Youmu is trying to get you to swing the spear. It's not working out too well, because to be quite honest, you're a little afraid of wielding such a dangerous and offensive object. You don't want to hurt anyone.
"You need to put more effort into it, Satoya. You will never strike the enemy down with such a friendly blow." Youmu's words are sharp and stinging, but you can't help it.
"Gah, I'm sorry, maybe I'm not cut out for this after all..." Ran tries to console you while you're sulking about this.
"Don't say such a thing, Satoya. Lady Yukari chose you for a reason. Your potential is there, you just need to unlock it."
Unlock your potential, huh? You've been hearing so much about that ever since you came here. It's like some big responsibility was shoved onto you and forced you to lead an entirely different life. You didn't choose to be this way. Well, maybe you chose to be spirited away the way you were since you were foolhardy enough to fill out that false survey. Man, you are never falling for unsolicited mail ever again.
"I get it, I get it. It's just a little...more unwieldy then I thought it was at first, okay? Gimme time, I'll get it...I hope..."
You spend roughly another half an hour trying to master the spear you chose, much to no avail. The thing is a little heavy. You feel strength sort of draining out of you rapidly, like you're losing touch with the ability you tapped into a while ago fending off Youmu. It feels very awkward just holding onto it, and you can't get a firm grip on it as you swing it, so as a result you swing very weakly trying not to let it slip out of your hands, or cause an accident. Youmu and Ran watch you, practically in despair.
"Satoya...perhaps you're going about it in the wrong way."
"Perhaps you should reconsider trying at all."
Needless to say, Ran's words are a lot less piercing then Youmu's.
"Ugh, this is really hard. I'm just a college professor, I'm not built for fighting or anything like that..." Youmu goes ahead and walks over in front of you to try and regroup yourself.
"Satoya, every road is fraught with peril, and no path is ever easy. Such is the way of life, but if you want to step down that path then you must keep your chin up high. A lack of confidence is going to get you nowhere. Maybe a reevaluation is in order."
"A reevaluation, huh?" You ask her, trying to figure out what that means. "What kind are you suggesting?"
"Well, maybe Lady Ran is right. The earlier method seemed to work well, maybe the skill will come through shock?" As much optimism as you want to have, you're not sure if you want to go through with that again. Especially with weapons. You know, ones that could effectively and efficiently kill, or decapitate on a lesser scale of death. Danger such as that is something you're quite allergic to, particularly after being away from the comfort of your home for so long.
"Err, no, I don't think that will work, really. Could we try something else, maybe?"
"Well, if that is how you feel, then I suppose I canno--Satoya, behind you!!"
You thought for a brief moment that maybe Youmu was trying to falsely shock you into turning around and unleashing some sort of innate, hidden skill with the spear, trying to scare you into doing what she suggested as a ploy.
You thought that, but for a brief split second, you realized she was paying attention to whatever was behind you as she was trying to finish that sentence, shortly before bursting out like that. You also realized something that came back to you, a sense that you were afraid you would feel once more, and are afraid that you'll soon become very familiar with.
The sense of impending death.
In a quick flash, you barely understood what had happened, but the more you look at it, the more clear it becomes. A clash that was brought about by your spear, being quickly swung around to deflect the oncoming danger. The short sword embedded in the ground in front of you, after having met your spear with such incredible speed that it was flung high up into the air, enough to stick itself deep into the moist dirt on it's way down. Yukari, just standing there on the porch with an arm stretched out.
A mischievous grin sits on her face. A grin you've grown to hate. A grin that fans the flames of rage within you. You can't possibly comprehend how much you want to slap that stupid little smile off her pretty little face.
"What...what the hell?!" You're pretty sure that the loudness of your voice is enough to cause an echo, even in this wide open area, but if there was one, you couldn't possibly hear it over the rapid beating of your heart, sent into a frenzy from the intense close proximity doom came to your fragile little life. Despite your objections and aggressive shouting though, Yukari just laughs at you, making you feel even more insulted.
"Is something wrong, Satoya~?"
"Y-You tried to kill me!! With a sword!!!" Yukari seems to laugh even more, like it's some cruel joke.
"Oh please, we both know that there was no chance of you not perfectly deflecting that attack with absolutely accuracy." A mature, yet somehow obnoxious smirk, Yukari seems to be one step ahead of you yet again. You can't take much more of her.
"What...what makes you say that?! Without Youmu here, how else would I have known you were going to do tha-"
"Instinct." Everything seems to go silent for a moment. You look behind you to where that word came from. Ran is avoiding your gaze, seemingly uncomfortable with speaking further, even though she continues anyways. "The natural instinct of a living being, telling them that danger is near..."
"See, Satoya? Ran is right. You are no different from what she is, down in essence. You are a youkai, a vicious beast whose number one priority is self preservation. Survival is something your body is keen to uphold and will expand your limits gratuitously to help achieve that." You look back at Yukari, you can't believe you just heard that. That's nonsense! How could...you don't....you can't understand that quite fully.
"But you're not a youkai? Please, Satoya, don't make me laugh~" Yukari's smile is becoming more and more unnerving the more she goes on. "Are you to tell me that even if not for all this, you wouldn't have reacted in a similar way? Your innate abilities are what gave you the strength to fend off that attack, but that natural instinct to survive is something you had all along, even when you were believing you were still human." Yukari's eyes then narrow a bit, keeping the same nerve wracking smile she's been giving you. "You shouldn't go on believing anymore that your pedestrian human way of life is as complicated as you would make it out to be. A beast you may be, but that doesn't change the fact that as a human, your reaction would have been no different. Had you even killed a person to keep that blade from piercing your neck, your instincts would have done it without a single sliver of second thought."
You want to deny it, but for some reason, you can't. That is what disturbs you most. You couldn't possibly think of taking another's life. It's far too much of a responsibility that you could never bear it. The thought of bringing death upon someone else to save your own life, as well, would give you intense guilt beyond belief. Despite this, Yukari sounds about right. You cannot deny at all that if your body had to choose, no matter how much your mind protested, it would gladly steal the life of another person to preserve it's own.
The thought that your instinct rules over your mind is the most disturbing thing to you right now. It's a fear many humans share, but yours is amplified right now due to the sheer fact that your humanity is no more. Your fear of losing your sanity has become a stark reality, because the one thing that told you that you were still human, you can't fall back on anymore. The fact that you really aren't human anymore.
Perhaps this is the reason why you were in such denial of it at first. Because the thought of no longer being human, and becoming something else, awakened a sleeping fear that rests in the sanity of many humans like you. Or, the most depressing thought, humans like what you used to be.
You look over at Youmu hastily, trying to find solace in someone that could argue against Yukari. But no luck. Youmu looks a bit pained, but she isn't saying anything. She too, is avoiding your gaze. You look back at the spear in your hands. This is what saved your life, what kept that sword from burying it's sharp death into the back of your skull. Yet, you're afraid of it. You want to let go of it, you don't want to touch it ever again. You've come to realize just how much of a bad idea this really is.
If the fact that you can't deny Yukari and that you're losing your humanity to instinct is what disturbs you most, then the fact that you're going to shed blood with this weapon...it's probably what disturbs you second. She's making you into a heartless killing machine and you're not sure if you have any choice in the matter.
"Well, Satoya, having come to that realization, you know what the only way to go about this now is, right~?" You look back at Yukari, you probably have the most unsure face possible right now. But this doesn't faze her. It doesn't change her in the least. She knew you would be like this. She knew what she was going to turn you into. You think she's enjoying every minute of it too, but instead of enraging you further, this is more frightening now. You can't find the courage at all to speak until you feel a hand come onto your shoulder. A brief look behind you tells you that Ran seems to know what you're dealing with at the moment. Her stoic gaze says to you that you should try to move on, as difficult as it may be. Being strong is all that matters right now.
After all, that was your original wish to her when you came here to train, right? This is less to kill...and more for protecting. Yeah, if you tell yourself that, maybe you can find some bravery to continue with this after all.
"...I have to rely on my instincts to wield this weapon, right?" Yukari's smile brightens up at the sight of you learning what is possibly a very elementry fact at this point.
"Correct~! You learn so fast, Satoya, just why I picked you." You're really starting to become unsure if she's being sarcastic or not. She makes it very difficult, to say the least. "I think we can forgo the blindfold this time, since it's clear that with enough motivation, you can bring it out on your own. Of course I don't expect this to be simple either, so don't strain yourself too hard~" With Yukari's whimsical attitude slowly returning you to some sense of normalcy, you return a reply to her with a much straighter face.
"So I guess it's just more sparring sessions with someone, then?"
"If you want it to be that way. Letting your instinct use your spear for you is probably the best way to start going about this until you can learn from it and be able to replicate it on your own. Of course, not everything will work the first time you do it so don't get discouraged by any mistakes now~"
In other words, what she's saying is, that you will likely be doing everything trial and error relying on what your body is telling you, and that not every time you try to save yourself, it'll succeed. Sounds very thrilling. Your innate fear is picking up again, but you try to dumb it down as much as you can. Right now, your fear of losing your humanity is being overpowered by your fear of looking and being weak and helpless. You feel rather conflicted right now, but that sort of torment will have to wait until you can get this done. You'll think about the morals of things when you have time to relax and be by yourself.
[ ] Continue sparring with Youmu, then [ ] Ask Ran for help with this one [ ] You want to try sparring with Chen [ ] You think maybe going alone is a better idea
Youmu is skilled with swords. Not with spear. Let's keep her for later. Ran is a good teacher, and we need to keep a good relationship with her. Chen... is a pure magic user. I can't call that "sparring".
I trust Ran on this. She's a good teacher, and she knows what's going on. Besides, she's skilled at close combat. Unlike Chen.
>>24766 The idea is more about gaining combat experience and less about actual weapon training. Still, I'll go with Ran too on this. She probably understand better than Youmu what we're feeling and I don't think waking up Chen for a spar will make her happy.
Or maybe not. We went to get her but she didn't exactly do much so far, so a chance to do something... Well, maybe another time?
Considering how many magic users there are in Gensokyo, we'll have to train with Chen later.
Gaining experience against magic user may be useful if we have to fight some witch later.
But priority one is learning how to fight. Learning how to fight against magic users will be later.
And training with Youmu... well there's not enough swordsman in Gensokyo to justify that. UNLESS the writefag decides to bring back Youki. Of course, there's Shou who's using spear too, but I doubt we'll fight her.
Saged because it's not a vote. Just some... speculations.
Ran is too softhearted and sympathetic to get any real training done. She will hold back, preventing us from using all of our instincts to learn this. Youmu, on the other hand, is pure business. She has no vested interests in us, and will use exactly the right amount of force necessary to drag out our latent bad-ass. Also, screw you Yukari, this shit isn't some kind of game.
"Alright..." You reluctantly recede to Yukari's demands, even though you don't have your whole head in the game here. You try to reconcile though, and measure yourself that this is what you wanted, and by god you're going to stick to it, through hell or high water. "In that case...I want to spar with Ran."
Your own request is received a bit awkwardly and confusingly. Yukari herself somehow didn't seem to expect it, while Ran looks slightly stunned. Youmu's stone hard expression cracks slightly, you're afraid you might have upset her a little. Yukari chuckles a bit as she replies back to you.
"Oh? You wish you present your blade to someone who primarily uses magic to fight now? I feel as I should commend you on your eagerness~"
"And that I should commend you on your foolishness."
Shockingly, this statement comes from Ran, who's recovered, rather then Youmu, who also seems to have recovered.
"W-What? What's wrong?" You ask Ran, and she returns to you exactly the answer, in a rather matter-of-factly way.
"You have only just begun learning how to wield the weapon. Trying to learn how to use it in an unfavourable situation right away is ill advised." You on the other hand, don't quite see what the problem is.
"Okay? So why not just refrain from using magic then?"
You suddenly feel like you said something stupid, as Ran gives you an awful look. Yukari decides to fill you in while she savours your uncomfortable appearance to Ran.
"Hmhmhm~ Ran may be adept at physical combat, she swore off that long ago for untold reasons. Isn't she so dark and mysterious~?"
You're not sure if that's the right way to describe Ran, but her unerring non-reply to Yukari's comment towards her is unsettling at best. You'll just have to continue along the path you chose.
"Well fine! You said most of the people here use magic or something like that earlier, right? Then maybe this kind of training would be proper."
"For learning a weapon?" Yukari replies back to you. You don't intend on folding just yet.
"That's right. You told me I had great potential. I'm about to see if you're right." Yukari then suddenly, from entirely left field, bursts into a fit of laughter, seemingly highly amused with your grandiose proclamation. Afterward, she actually seems somewhat impressed the next time she says something to you.
"Hahaha! Yes, that is perfect, Satoya! Please do gratify me in the most endearing way possible then, as you so boldly claim~" Yukari then sits down, eager to watch your performance. Ran doesn't look very amused herself, however.
Man, what have you gotten yourself into?
"Satoya, I must agree that this is a very inefficient way to start your training." Youmu then suddenly adds on, her serious expression looking as if it's trying to bring you comfort. "I would have very well helped you in trying to get used to the weapon at first. But I admire your tenacity and will to become stronger. Please, do not let us down." After being a little stunned by Youmu's display of honor, you nod quickly to her to reassure her that you'll try your best.
You and Ran face off in the clearing, opposing each other, as Yukari, Yuyuko, Youmu and Chen watch from the porch in the distance. Yukari looks eager to see what returns this spar will have, while Yuyuko and Youmu look like they're taking it as an everyday thing now. Chen looks highly nervous for some reason. Ran...is still looking at you quite painfully as before. Part of her looks as if she doesn't want to go forward with this, on the other hand the other part looks ready to tear you apart limb from limb, to show you just how wrong you really are.
Part of you thinks that maybe Ran is a little stubborn about being wrong.
"Go Satoya! Show her what you're made of~!" You hear Yukari's voice cheering you on from the distance. Somehow it demotivates you further, rather then pepping you up. You are really starting to have second thoughts about carrying on with this. But you think you have little choice, as Ran gets ready for the session.
She starts out by spreading out several large colored orbs that orbit around her for a moment before stopping, facing you. They're all about as big as a torso, quite large in fact, and glowing with a mysterious power. You don't have much time to admire them however, as pieces of them detach from the main body and start flying towards you at rapid speed. They all swarm you like bees thirsty for blood, and it sends your innate fear skyrocketing to new heights as you feel your body instantly go into shock as they all approach you at breakneck speeds.
At least, it sure seems to feel that way. But as you lose all feeling in your nervous system to the shock of impending danger, your body starts moving on it's own in a last ditch effort to preserve your life. The technique applied however is haphazard at best, and not working at worst. Your body jumps back and wildly swings the spear around trying to deflect the orbs of light from getting closer. While your feeling has been temporarily lost, with careful observation you can tell that the orbs appear to be gelatinous in matter as the spear slows down significantly, but not instantly, as the blade hits them. When one catches you though, it explodes in a furious shower of light that feels like being slugged with a gigantic ball of silly putty that was previously traveling at the speed of light.
Which is to say, it was not very pleasant.
"URGH!" A loud, painful expression leaves your mouth as you're sent a ways back from the intense blow one of the orbs brought to you. You tumble a bit until your body reacts once more, sensing more danger. Your feeling has returned, but only briefly, as the pain from the attack near instantly severs your nerves and you begin to feel frayed and paralyzed. Your body doesn't seem to care though. You swiftly attack more orbs, trying to fend them off, but you're quickly overwhelmed as another orb explodes beside you, knocking you into another one and causing an agonizing chain reaction.
But it somehow doesn't seem to matter. The more you're knocked around, the louder your instinct becomes. The more drive you feel to move your body, the less energy you have to actually move it. But it's as if your senses are trying to force your body to move, to try and preserve itself. Is this what Yukari meant? Even if it would meant the death of another living being, your instinct would gladly take it's life to preserve your own...
Smack. Splash. Splat. Your body is quickly turned into a rag doll for the magic attack thrown at you. They start pummeling you into submission without any sort of mercy. The more you try to dodge, the more useless it feels. You no longer have the strength to fend off the oncoming attack with your weapon, and must resort to simply trying to run away, which also does not work due to the inherent homing abilities of the orbs. It's only a matter of time until you're pinned up to a tree and used as a punching bag for the numerous orbs ready to explode in your face.
No matter how much you try to move, you can't.
No matter how much you try to defend, you can't.
No matter how much you try to ignore it, you can't.
You can hear it clearly now. A loud, booming voice from within your mind. You're sure it's yourself. But you don't want to listen to it. You know what it wants.
Why? What good would it do you? You're being torn limb from limb here as a result.
Would you really go so far as to prove Yukari wrong? To let her know that instinct is not the only thing that drives you?
>>24782 So we made a mistake, big deal. We'll probably do more of them in the future so there's no point regretting it now. It's not like it's one that will make everyone look at us wrong. Heck, while Youmu think it's wrong too, she at least understand why.
Now, do we really want to prove Yukari wrong at the price we're paying now? Getting the crap beaten out of us in training to prove a point is kind of stupid and I doubt someone will like it. There's no point getting mauled for pride when we're supposed to learn. There will be others occasions to make our point.
This is exactly what this training is supposed to accomplish. We can still prove her wrong later, when we are more skilled at fighting, but for right now, we still need to listen to instinct. Trial by fire, and all that shit.
Yukari was right after all. You're a beast driven by instinct, fueled by your desire to live.
Maybe the human mind is a weakness, despite what you once thought...
You will use it as much as you can. But at this level, it's becoming a liability in battle. You've realized that if you want to survive, you must ignore it.
You're not sure what happened. Sometime while you were being mercilessly beaten to a pulp by Ran's magic, you couldn't take it anymore, and let the voices do as they pleased. You let them take control of your body so that you could survive. During this period, you saw a lot of red. In fact, you could see nothing but red. It was all red...both before and after you recovered from your stupor.
You have no recollection of what actually transpired. What you were told is that you somehow forced your way through Ran's magic, and expertly dodged and beat away the remaining orbs as you approached Ran with blinding speed. She could barely react; it was the swiftness of a predator coming out of it's stalk to kill it's prey. There was blood, everywhere. Ran''s blood was shed in so many directions, you have a hard time believing you did it all in one swift movement. The ground, the trees, your clothes...there was so much blood that it painted your vision red after you came to.
Naturally, your reaction to it was among the utmost disturbed. It took Yukari and even Ran hours to get you to calm down and convince you that it was no big deal. You're better now, in somewhat decent shape after the panic attack. You can't believe Ran could shake off a wound like that so easily, but in Yukari's own words, a flesh wound such as that to a youkai is naught but a paper cut to a mere human.
You still don't believe it. That's the only thing keep you from letting go of the massive guilt hanging onto your heart.
Ran comes back into the living room, where you, Yukari, Yuyuko and Youmu sit. Yukari was trying to give you another pep talk, but it's been going in one ear and out the other for the most part. Yuyuko has been trying to help with a few words of encouragement, but even her stalwart happiness isn't getting through to you right now. Youmu is being her usual, silent self. Ran's top is completely undone, hanging at her sides. The majority of her chest and stomach area is wrapped in thick bandages, red from all the blood you spilled from the wound under it. Chen walks beside her, looking both nervous and worried. Possibly both from the both of you. Ran's expression is quite sharp and glaring. You feel as if you're being pierced with the world's knives.
"Save your breath. I told you that it was no big deal. However, I underestimated your strength by a mile...I will not let that happen again, however."
Man oh man, what have you gotten yourself into?
"So, are you ready to continue your training, Satoya?" You hear Yukari say, bright and peppy as if she were enjoying this tension. She probably is.
"Wh-What? So soon after Ran got hurt? Should she be given some time to recover?"
"I am fine. I have more then enough energy to continue. Let's go." Ran says as she walks past you. This is just one bad thing after another here. Yukari seems all the more pleased about it, of course.
Here you stand then, in front of Ran once more, who looks even more serious then what she was before. Odds are, this assault will be much less forgiving then the last. You might even die. It's an extremely scary thought. In fact, just the sheer look on her face is causing the voices to boom forth, warning you of the impending death that she's about to deliver on a silver platter. Your grip on your spear is already sweaty, as if you needed more bodily fluids on it, after having been clensed of the shower of blood you gave it a while ago.
Your heart is beating fast, so rapidly that you could swear you're about to enter shock very soon. Your body trembles and shudders with intense might, afraid of what doom might be awaiting you at any second now. You have already lost the psychological warfare against Ran. It's only a matter of time now until she completely steps all over you and it ends as abruptly as it started. You want to move, but you're afraid to. Something bad might happen. But if you don't do something, then...
[ ] Get through it on your own strength [ ] Show Ran your true power
So it's get killed now or let loose with the beast... As much as I wish for a middle ground, life sure isn't that convenient.
[x] Show Ran your true power
The other choice is not viable with Ran being serious... But I do hope as hell that we can train to retain some sort of control in the future, else something will happen that we'll regret. We are not a mindless beast to be sent agaisnt whatever Yukari doesn't like.
I don't like either choice here, at all. It's probably the paranoia talking, but I'm really worried that choosing the True Power route is gonna lead to personality death and Satoya turning into a mindless killer.
However, the other choice is gonna be huge beatdown from Ran, unless we magically got some control over the skills we used last time.
I'm more annoyed that either Satoya didn't tell anyone about his complete lack of control over his previous actions, or everyone else there sees absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Sorry about the poor quality of my last update, I foolishly wrote it on my 30th hour of having stayed awake.
[x] Show Ran your true power
You feel yourself highly intimidated by Ran's seriousness. You're afraid that she might really be out to kill you. Why wouldn't she? You're horning in on her business, her position as Yukari's loyal shikigami. You're stealing her attention, and becoming the star of the show now. What if Chen started liking you more too? She couldn't have that...yeah, it's clear what her motives are now. You know what she's after. You know what she wants. She's dead serious about it.
You suppose then, you'll have to be dead serious about it too.
"Hyah!" With a quick gesture, Ran's hand glows brightly as she thrusts it forward and sends a colorful stream of bullets straight at you at breakneck speed. The tips are sharp and very likely to pierce right through you. The elaborate pattern makes it all the much harder to dodge it. The more you look at it before it reaches you, the more afraid you become. You're going to die here.
Your heart is crumbling underneath the pressure. You don't want to listen to it again for fear of hurting Ran again. You only just met her, but it's just natural to care, because after all, she's your partner, as Yukari said. It'd be treason to say oth-
In your frozen state of fear, you're unable to avoid the pattern of bullets, and a large majority of them collide with your helpless body. Sure enough, it feels like being riddled with actual bullets from a gun, from where you came from. Which is to say, it's swift, yet highly painful. Somehow though, you manage to continue standing, despite your bloodied stature.
You...you can't do this. You can't just die here. You're afraid, of a lot of things here. But you think your greatest fear of all is your fear of death. You've barely started, what good would it do you to die now?
MOVE MOVE MOVE
You may have left everything behind in the outside world...but that doesn't mean you can't go back to it. You'll find a way, and for that reason, you must. Not. Die. Under any circumstance.
DON'T DIE DON'T DIE DON'T DIE
None...none of these people matter. Who are you kidding? The people you met outside are the only people that matters. These people will cease to exist once you return to your world...yes.
All you want is to go back to your normal life. Death is not an option. Not for you, but it is for anyone who stands in your way.
Your fear takes command. Your feel your body moving on it's own again, despite the intense pain you're in. You've had enough of this. You want out. This is ridiculous, and you're about to show everyone how ridiculous this really is. You charge through the magic blindly, not caring if you sustain any further injuries.
You also fail to notice that after the first time you were hit, the pattern subsided. You completely neglect that Ran had stopped suddenly. You only thought of it until it was too late. She didn't actually mean to cause you such harm. Such a stupid little man you are, you think. She looked so serious, so you...
At some point during your hysteria, you forgot whether or not it really was your instinct you were calling upon. The more you listened, the more it felt like it was more your fears and loss of humanity talking. Like something inside you was falling apart at the seams. Sanity slips by you, and you become less like a beast and more like an insane animal that didn't know what they were doing.
YOU MUST LIVE
You wanna believe that you knew what you were doing though. Maybe that's something within you talking that wants to make believe that you're always right. But you knew one thing for certain. You wanted to live. You went about the best way to go about that, too.
KILL HER IF YOU WANT TO LIVE
KILL HER DON'T DIE DON'T DIE SURVIVE MOVE MOVE MOVE DON'T DIE KILL HER MOVE MOVE DON'T STOP DON'T STOP KEEP MOVING DO NOT STOP
In your hysterical fit of insanity, you unwittingly attacked Ran when she let her guard down. A while later you would think back on it. Why did she do that? She saw you coming after her like that. Was she giving up, knowing that you would've slaughtered her regardless of what she did? No...she could've easily repelled you, you weren't even thinking straight. So why? Why did she let it happen? Further more...why did you kill her?
You didn't actually kill her, but your rampage lasted for a while. You wouldn't stop attacking her until there was nothing left of her. You don't even remember how it went, or how it looked. But at some point Yukari had to do something. She probably did the right thing too. If she had approached you any other way, you would've tried killing her too. That would've been a big mistake. Instead, she just sent you away. You fell through the ground and landed in a dark, abysmal place, where your fear fermented and grew ever larger. She trapped you, confined you, and sent you someplace very scary. The eyes everywhere would stare at you for the next 500 years.
You still kept in good contact with the Yakumo family from time to time. Sometime after the incident you got slight hold of yourself, but what was done was done. Your fear was the largest part of you now and you remained ever most afraid of everything around you, except for talking to Yukari. You heard that it took her a very long time to pull Ran together from the pieces you mutilated. After a while though, Ran was apparently back in good shape, though the incident left her with quite a few emotional scars. You would feel guilty, but you're too afraid of her to do so.
You wonder how you would've turned out if you were employed as say, a police officer, back in your own world. Would you be able to deal with the fact that you might have to kill? Or that you might be killed at any moment? It's for the greater good, and that's why you thought you could do this...
But as it turns out, the thought of dying was too much for you. There was no instinct involved. Just fear. The fear of a little man named Satoya.
Oh, welcome back Satoya~ I see you found another dead end. Good job, I'm very proud of you for exploring every nook and cranny of this story, even if you know it'll lead nowhere~
As a reward for your tenacity, let me give you a few pointers on where you need to go. Satoya's powers are, despite what might be said, not reliant on instinct. It would be no fun to tell you exactly what they do, but I will say that if you just simply put your mind to it, you can do anything possible...maybe more~
Don't worry about making mistakes or failures, it's a part of the whole process of experimentation and learning after all, right? Satoya will get himself hurt throughout the story many, many times, that fact is unavoidable, but do keep in mind the old saying that anything that doesn't kill you makes you stronger~ Although in this case, maybe what DOES kill you makes you stronger too...
One more thing. Satoya's fears are numerous and plentiful, and you need to pay attention to them if you want to avoid walking into bad endings like this. Satoya's innate fear of losing his humanity is well founded and is the basis for many of his other fears, including that of which is dying. Facing your fears is one thing, but embracing them is another. If Satoya is afraid of something, address it! Don't make him face it so brashly without having considered the possible consequences. It's still early in the story, he's not a super magical hunk of a man-kai yet~
...hmm, that's a nice word, I think I will use it more often...mankai~
[ ] Go Back 1 Choice [ ] Go Back 2 Choices [ ] Go Back 3 Choices
>>24812 here. I was depressed over my recent failures (go for the katana instead of the spear, train with Ran, and lose your grip), but I managed to get back.
So, about what you said. It may be a good idea, but for some reason I don't think it'll be good. I mean, we started this thing with Ran, I think we should keep it up with Ran. Even if Sukima was kind enough to let us change the sparring partner.
Besides, let us think about it. Satoya went on a rampage when he was threatened. He managed to beat the fox out of Ran. And yet, Ran is 438546x more powerful than Youmu. And I highly doubt that Youmu can regenerate from those injuries, if Satoya lost it again.
TL;DR: Stay with Ran. She's almost invincible. She can takes Satoya's attacks without any other consequences than the mental scares. If we try the same thing with Youmu, sure we'll hae a decent sparring partner.
But if Satoya goes mad again, Youmu may be badly hurt. And I don't think she'll be resistant enough to endure it, on a physical, plan, or on a mental plane.
[x] Go Back 1 Choice Here's my vote. I don't trust anyone else than Ran for this (and sparring alone will be totally inefficient), and the choice between "Listen" and "Don't listen"... well I don't trust it either. We were in a dangerous situation that time.
I can see only two ways out: go and achieve this with your own strength (wasn't trusting that before, but maybe it's what Sukima was hoping), or spar alone, putting this trouble on hold.
>>24816 Except that Ran was badly owning us before the voices arrived. With Youmu, I think we'll get more training with the spear without it going that bad. Staying with Ran however does give us the awareness of the beast inside and how dangerous it is. That's why I asked if we should go back one or two... Oh wait, changing partner is going back three. My bad.
Also, 'your failures'? You,re way too hard on yourself. We all mostly voted for it, remember, so we all screwed up. Learn and do it again, like Sukima just wrote.
On a side-note Sukima, awesome job so far. Look like this story will be hard (we got two bad/dead ends so far) but you encourage us to keep going.
[x] Go Back 1 Choice While changing partners might help in a way, I think being ranhandled could help more than just learning how to swing a spear. I am assuming we don't actually have to make the vote again for the same thing, do we?
>>24818 Even if Anon followed me, I'm stille the one who suggested the bad choices. That's unexcusable. But enough with that.
Takingg Youmu as a sparring partner may not put us in a dangerous situation as well as Ran did, but it won't help us. Don't forget that Yukari's objective is awakening Satoya's power. And if you're right (and I believe you are), Youmu is too soft (DURR) to do it properly. On the other hand, Ran is too brutal. It's our job to keep a proper balance between "Survive" and "Kick the fox out of her".
>>24818 >On a side-note Sukima, awesome job so far. Look like this story will be hard (we got two bad/dead ends so far) but you encourage us to keep going.
One of the problems with my last story was that it was too easy. After reading around this site, I found they were right. A good story has it's fair share of bad ends that both teach you more about the story and give you more information on what to do next.
As a side note, I love you guys. Never leave. If you don,t I promise I won't either.
Hey writefag, you're writing a trial & error kind of story, so I wanted to know: are write-in available in this story, or not? Because, as I said in >>24820, the matter here is keeping a balance between sparring Ran and/or keeping the Beast under our controle.
While staring Ran down, you consider for a moment to let loose and show her what you're really made of. The kind of latent power Yukari has been hyping up all this time.
But if your last session with Ran was of any indication, then that would be a bad idea. Not only would be returning an even greater power then before back at Ran, injuring her further, but you would be losing a part of yourself in the process. A part of yourself that believes there is a human way of going about doing everything. After all, being an advocate of education means that your efforts are always for the greater good. This is no exception. That is something you feel the need to stick to.
Then it comes. Ran's attack. Her merciless offensive, which approaches you at such blazing speeds you have to wonder if it just brazenly teleported right into your face rather then having to deal with the effort of having to actually travel there first. You're assaulted with such a vast amount of magic that you instantly feel yourself pounded into the ground. Your chest feels like it's about to cave in from the intense pressure. It's like a million bombs being set off all at once into your body. It's painful and excruciating, and yet...
Your try hard to bring forth your weapon, and swing it at the false apparition. Your physical body fails to move, but in your mind, your fear is stalking you, and you make every attempt to stave it off.
"Get back! Please, don't!"
Gah! You hear loud, booming voices yelling at you from within your head, but you're too scared to listen to any of them! You don't want to even begin to think of hurting Ran again like you did before. Throughout your life, you're nary harmed such living beings in such a fashion, and it frightens you to think you could be so potent at that. You want to be strong, and overcome this fear, but part of you wonders if it's even worth it...
It's this very fear that leads you to being completely dominated only a few seconds into that sparring match. You don't remember anything after Ran's initial attack. If you had more confidence in yourself, you might've saw past your fear at that moment, but in the end, it would've been hopeless anyways because your strength as it is right now could never be anywhere near Ran's level of sheer power. You simple cannot match that.
...but he really doesn't seem to be in any shape to do such a thing.
Nonsense! He was the one chosen by her...that makes him the only one to be in such a shape to deal with her.
Are...are you certain this is right?
After what I have done, I have no right to turn back now...
Ugh...Ran? No, that female voice you heard was much younger sounding. It wasn't Chen though, as it lacked her energy...
That's Ran's voice you hear, as you groan trying to wake up. Your vision if blurred, but you see Ran above you. In a fit of shock, your body shoots upwards into a sitting position remembering what happened.
"Ran?! Are you hurt?!"
You come to your senses immediately after shouting such a phrase. You're back in the room you rested in after your first session with Youmu. You look down at yourself and see that your torso is wrapped up in various bandages this time. Ran has her clothes back on as this time, making the feeling of role reversal even more apparent. Ran herself seems puzzled by your reaction.
"...I am fine. I should be asking you that."
"Ah...I didn't attack you this time?" Ran shakes her head.
"No, you were knocked out by my first attack. You did not have any chance to do such a thing." After saying that, she looks down seemingly a bit guilty. "Please forgive me for my indiscretion in that offensive...I overestimated your limit."
"Eh, no, as long as you're okay...I should be the sorry one for not meeting your expectations like that." You breathe out and lay back into the futon you were placed in afterwards. It's odd, but you don't feel a whole lot of pain now. You must've been out for a while.
"The first time...you were very incoherent when you rushed me. I was caught off guard very easily, and that had never happened to me before...so why? Why did you hold yourself back this time?" Ran's question sounds rather serious. After a little hesitation from your surprise that Ran would ask such a thing, you chuckle a bit to yourself.
"Well...I guess because then that would've meant I would be giving up on something I grew up living with...my humanity. I didn't really feel like losing it would be any step forward for me, so this time, I tried very hard not to give into it." That's really not the whole truth, but you're a little against the idea of telling her the rest and making yourself look like a small child that wets their bed. Despite that though, what Ran says next surprises you a little.
"...I believe you're right about that. Being someone born from a fox, I have no real right to tell you this, but...your humanity is what makes you special amongst youkai like me, Satoya. So I feel that you should keep it and not let go of it, and try to stay who you are." You're a little stunned by what she's telling you. You can't say you expected it.
"...uhh, r-really? You're...well-"
"Yes, a youkai, and someone who was never originally human to begin with. But...ah, just please promise me you will try not to lose yourself in any endeavor you put yourself through." Ran's statements are made as stoic as ever, even her face hasn't budged much. But you can still catch the slightest hint of guilt and sadness in it. You're not sure from what she's speaking from and why she wants you to promise her that, but you're not one to let people down.
"Alright. It's a promise then. You can count on me, how's that?" A light smile finally unfurls on Ran's lips.
"Thank you. That's all I could ever ask from you right now."
"Well now that you two have kissed and made up, shall we continue~?" That voice is a voice you wish you could do without.
"Kissed and made up?" Ran asks her master, who had just entered in after beautifully eavesdropping on the two of you. You're not very amused.
"Yes, Ran dear. It's when--"
"Shut up and let's take this outside!"
Even Yukari is a little taken aback by your sudden hopping out of bed and pointing at her angrily, shouting such an odd proclamation.
Really, you just wanted to avoid a potentially awkward situation. You also wanted to avoid Yukari filling Ran's head with any further lies. Though you wonder how gullible you would have to be to fall for that one.
"Hmhmhm!" Yukari lets out a loud chuckle as she hides her amusement behind her fan. "I see you're eager to get the ball rolling too, Satoya. That's good, just what I would expect from you~" She folds her fan back up, turning around. "Well then, since you appear to be in good condition once more, let's get started right away." After leaving, you take a moment to assess yourself. You seem to be...fine. Huh, it's like you weren't even beaten to a pulp not too long ago. Very curious, but you're in no mood to ask right now. Ran walks past you, intent on finishing what was once started. Before she disappears into the hallway, she takes a quick look at you.
"Let's not waste any time. The sooner you become stronger, the sooner you can no longer be afraid of losing your way."
Despite the stoic nature of the way she said it, you find that it had something of a lasting impression on you, you think. Alone in the room, you ponder briefly why Ran cares so much about that.
...it's not something you feel you should dwell upon too long though, as you need to get going. You resolve to find out later and go ahead and get this over with.
Once again, you find yourself before Ran. Once again, her expression is serious and piercing. Once again, the threat of dying knocks on your front door.
The difference is that you're prepared for this psychological battle now. You've come to realize that the physical fight is only half the war, a lot of enemies you likely will meet will try to attack you both mentally as well as physically.
If you want to be stronger, then you have to be stronger through both mind and body.
With a swift movement, Ran throws her hands down and several brightly glowing orbs of magic emerge quickly from behind her and rapidly make their way towards you. Spear in hand, you're ready for it this time. You quickly duck down just before the first orb hits you and let it fly harmlessly over your head. It takes a very focused mind to evade the next few ones aiming at your new ducking position, something you have to tap into your strange, latent powers to successfully do. Unfortunately, it seems you cannot call upon any sort of the mysterious abilities you had that successfully kept Youmu at bay and you're not quick enough to get away from further shots aimed at you. Once again, you're pinned into the ground, and are beaten mercilessly.
Throughout your battle with Youmu, you had an itching, burning sensation in your chest. You thought that maybe this would return to help you fend off Ran, but every time thus far has proven quite useless; Ran's sheer power is just simply too much. Even when you can feel your body hardening and strengthening itself to try and overpower Ran's attack, it's no hope. You feel Ran's attack vanish suddenly after a while, and you try to get up. Your vision is blurry as you look at your opponent. You can barely make her shape out, especially behind the deep aura she's emanating. It's as if you can feel the magic burning off her, and it continues flowing like a mad, untamed river of death. You wonder briefly if this is even the extent of Ran's incredible power that you're feeling. Odds are, this isn't even half of it.
You brandish your weapon once more and prepare for another onslaught. At this point though, you're already about to throw the towel in. You can only hold yourself up using your spear as a crutch, and your body is shaking and quivering in pain. Youmu's attacks were strong, but you developed a resistance to it quickly enough. But Ran's unbridled strength in magic is so much stronger then that. You can bet that your back is black and bloody from being pinned to the ground for so long, like helpless prey to it's predator. No matter how much new found strength courses through your veins, it's not enough to match Ran's otherworldly power. Even as Ran's next attack comes charging forth with the same consistency, you find yourself unable to fend it off entirely. Your body reacts once again using an unknown voice within you, and your instinctively swing the spear mightily in front of you. It proves haphazardly at first, and ends up being a hopeless repeat of history.
You fought valiantly, but it ended up being ultimately fruitless you feel. You kept going until your body literally quit on you and could go on no more. Your memory gets fuzzy after failing to hold back the magic with your spear. The next thing you can feasibly remember is waking up yet again in the futon that has housed your battered body multiple times. Another try, another loss. You wonder if it's even worth trying with Ran anymore. Maybe she was right...
The room is oddly empty this time. You have no recollection of what happened after you were defeated yet again by Ran. She is simply too much for you right now. Be it as it may though, you need to pick yourself back up and keep trying. Part of you still wants to overcome Ran, because you know the people that you might have to oppose later on will be just as strong, if not stronger. You're going to have to pick up the pace some more.
Your body lightly aches, but not much more. Again, you're curious. No matter how hard of a beating you've taken after the first time you trained, you haven't felt much of the after effects. You're not sure if someone else is doing it, or if your body is taking leaps and bounds in self healing. You don't want to think too much about it right now. Your body aches, but your head aches even more. It's like it's been split in two. You could use a distraction.
[ ] Go find your would-be master [ ] Look for your sparring partner [ ] You wonder where Chen could be in all this mess... [ ] Maybe see what Yuyuko is doing [ ] Seek out Youmu's advice [ ] Lay back down, you'd rather go back to sleep
[x] Look for your sparring partner - [x] Ask her if there's a way to be "youkai", without killing the opponent. I would like to go after Yukari, but I don't think it's a good idea. I suppose she's trying to kill the "human" Satoya. And we don't want that, so, let's stick with Ran for now.
Besides, I'm afraid that Yukari may be incredibly disappointed right now.
PS: I used "youkai" here to instead of "berzerk", because I think it's more appropriate.
I really wish to vote for a quiet introspective choice, but the only one on the list makes it seem as if he is giving up. Something like hitting the kitchen for a quick break and maybe a light snack. Youmu will just have to suffice.
[X] Seek out Youmu's advice -[X] Ask if she knows any self-training exercice.
Added that last part so that Satoya can work on wielding his weapon better. Can't be relying on instinct all the time, can we?
And it gives something to do when we need to think about things too.
Lastly, we can't always take the Ran choice all the time, can we? Let's see if Youmu has any remarks so far. Also, glad to see that update. I was afraid you finally had your Internet access cut off. How is solving that bill problem going anyway?