Among many of the curious facts surrounding the figure of Prince Shotoku, one of the least known of all is that he acquired a profound liking for mochi in his final years of life. When he proposed to create a Society of Rice Cakes and Sweets, the then Emperor of Japan asked his wife for advice. Soga no Tojiko, experienced at cooking all kinds of desserts, pastries and other kinds of food, said this to her husband:
"My husband, there have been many a cook who had excelled in the art of making sweets. Especially if we speak of mochi, for the quality of the cook who tryeth to make such a popular dessert can be easily surveyable by anyone. Therefore, I advise thou to halt pondering on the matter of that Society of Cakes, if thou still hath a spock of self-esteem left in thee."
On the other hand, Prince Shotoku's most esteemed friend, Mononobe no Futo, was also against his lord's sudden interest in learning how to cook sweets, and about the same time he sent a letter to the Emperor:
"My friend, I humbly ask thee to abandon thine idea of becoming a cook. It is fairly probable that my prejudices are clouding my sight, but sadly they do not lull my palate."
At this point, Prince Shotoku was forced to choose between his reputation as the Emperor of Japan and his newfound passion for cooking, and he picked the latter. Unfortunately for both. He dedicated his remaining life to master the art of making mochi, and to avoid conflicts with his wife and his friend, he decided to use a pen-name: Prince Shotaku. Soga no Tojiko got wind of this and sent another letter to her husband:
"My husband, if thou usest that pseudonym, everybody will know that not only I am married to a talentless cook, but I am also the wife of an idiot who may have an attraction to young children."
Prince Shotoku admitted that Tojiko was in the right once again, and so he changed his alias: Toyosatomimi no Miko. This finally solved the problem with his wife and his friend, but was also the cause of many complaints and penal charges from seventy-three shrine maidens who did not want their holy profession to be associated in any way with the infamous cook.
This does not clear up the reason why Miko was walking in a furious hailstorm at the beginning of this story, but it does explain her penchant for mochi, almost bordering addiction.
The now powerless, unpopular and genderbent ex-emperor of Japan, known today as the Crownless Prince, passed through rows and rows of gravestones covered in white snow, and was about to die of hypothermia. Nonetheless she managed to keep on walking, with a bright fire burning in her eyes and a strong desire in her heart. Even when the strong wings and the cold snow hindered her pace, her sheer determination allowed her to plow through the storm, never stopping for a breath, because she knew it would mean her death. Nothing could stop her relentless advance, not even the rage of the ice, winter, hailstorms and insipid snow cone gods, for she had a mighty goal that drove her forward. And not until she achieved that goal she could get a taste from the warm, soft, heavenly rice cakes her wife was making back at home.
Luckily for the Crownless Prince, she somehow stumbled onto a random, old and small cottage. Was it destiny, or luck? Maybe the ice, winter, hailstorms and insipid snow cone gods were moved by Prince Shotoku's determination? Or was it just because her expectation for mochi was too great to perish under the storm? Whatever the reason, the Crownless Prince knew she had arrived at her destination, so she banged at the wooden door, praying to her gods for someone to be inside.
"Is someone in there?" Miko shouted over the raging storm.
"No!" a female voice answered from the inside. "Is someone out there?"
"Come inside, it's open."
The Crownless Prince quickly stepped inside, cursing all the gods of ice, winter, and blah blah blah. Inside the tiny warehouse there was a woman with pale skin blue hair tied with Chinese hair sticks. She wrapped herself in thick clothes to protect herself against the merciless cold, but by the serene looks of her, she didn't really need them. Her empty expression as she mindlessly stared at the small bonfire made her look like a hermit who had lived too much and given up, and was waiting for Death to come take her. While looking at the rather abstentious room, Miko dusted her hair and shoulders and sat in front of her.
"Lots of snow out there?" the woman asked.
"No, dandruff," Miko answered, giving her hair-ears a few last flicks.
"Where came from?"
"Well, it started as a seborrhea; my doctor told me to do some rubbing..."
"No, no, where you came from," she clarified.
"Oh! Ha ha, I misunderstood you!" the Prince laughed awkwardly. "I came from Senkai."
"Senkai, huh? Is it time already...?" the woman looked at her for a couple of seconds, then lost her interest in her holy visage and stared at the empty space again. "Tell me, were you strolling outside with such inclemency?"
"Actually I'm all by myself."
"No, no, I mean that you were walking despite the weather, the storm."
"Oh! I misunderstood you again, ha ha ha!" Miko chuckled nervously. "I'm actually looking for a Taoist hermit."
"A Taoist practitioner, in this time and age? No, I... I don't know anything," she shook her head. "I'm just a simple shepherd, I live in this hut, with my herd of sheeps."
"Uh-huh... How many heads?"
"One each sheep."
"No, no, how many sheeps?"
"One each head, right?" she tilted her head, unsure. "One head, one sheep; one tail, one sheep; four legs, four shee- Wait."
"Ha ha ha, now you misunderstood me!" Miko laughed heartily. "I already know how a sheep looks! I saw one in a book. I meant how many sheeps you have."
"Oh," Now it was her turn to shift awkwardly. "I have, um, a hundred sheep."
"And you raise them all for wool?"
"Sixty five for wool and thirty five for polyester. Oh, want to eat? I have some strawberry snow cones," she took a cup from her sleeve, took a bit of snow that had accumulated under the window, and added a bit of red syrup over it.
"I have some mochi myself. Let us share our food," The Prince smiled and took out her precious nourishment.
Nary a word exchanged, the Prince and the shepherd soon discovered that eating snow cones in the middle of a hailstorm was a really stupid idea, but luckily the homemade mochi Miko brought with her alleviated the crystallizing pain forming in their throats. Miko took the chance to eye the blue-haired shepherd in more detail. Roundabout wordplays aside, she knew who the woman really was: a far cry of what she used to be, a grim reminder of a fallen sorcerer who once stood tall and proud. Then again, she was no different than the Crownless Prince in that regard. Knowing that all too well, Miko settled instead for thinking in those awful sprinkles and crow's feet the "shepherd" had grown. And she used to be so self-conscious about her ageless body...
"Waaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh~~~~!" the woman suddenly sobs.
"What's wrong?" Miko said, worried that she had read her mind.
"It's just that after talking about sheeps, I remembered about my dog..."
"I still hear her when she used to come to me and say 'Achtung! Eine Kugel kam geflogen, da steht ein Lindenbaum...'" she exclaimed, deep in melancholy.
"Your dog said that?"
"A fine German shepherd, she was."
"I see..." That made a certain amount of sense for the Prince. Probably. "How long have you lived in here?"
"How long? Do you see those mountains in the distance?" She pointed to the window. Miko took a quick look, saw nothing in the blinding storm, yet nodded anyway. "Well, those weren't there when I settled in here."
"Out of curiosity, is there echo in these mountains?"
"Echo? Let me tell you there's so much echo, what I'm telling you now, I said it yesterday," she chuckled.
"Want to know why I ask? I stumbled upon a yamabiko on my way here. I seek the way to return to Gensokyo, and she pointed me to an hermit that might know the way," Miko explained to the woman, a determined expression painted in her weary face. "By any chance, have you heard of this person?"
"Wha-? Nooooooo, no, I don't know anything," she darted her eyes all over the place and rubbed her hands together even faster. "People come and go, I don't pay much attention. I'm just a simple shepherd."
"A simple shepherd, you say?"
"A simple shepherd."
"Uh-huh. And what's that corpse over there?" The Prince pointed at the rotting body lying on a table, at the other end of the room.
"Oh, that?" the 'shepherd' hawked, clearly taken by surprise. "Well, that's... um.. well, you know, with the sheeps out there, sometimes, you know... a hiker forgot it here!"
"Ah, a hiker, of course. Why are you so nervous?" It was high time to put a little pressure on the woman.
"No no no no, no, I'm not nervous in the slightest!" She tried to hide it by feigning chagrin, but she failed horribly at that.
"I notice you're babbling."
"Ba-ba-ba-ba-babbling? No, it's because it's so cold, I stutter."
"Are you sure you don't know anything you don't want to tell me, that you aren't hiding something from me, hmmmmm?" Miko put her ritual baton in front of her face and gave her a suspecting look; her signature pose.
"No, no, what could I possibly be hiding? I'm just a simple shepherd, I've been raising jiang-shi for twenty years... stitching sheeps... raising sheeps! I raise sheeps."
At that point, the so called "shepherd" was sweating buckets, despite the freezing cold in the room and in her stomach. The Prince saw this as her chance to deliver her final blow. She dragged herself around the bonfire, sat at the woman's side, and took her pale, delicate right hand with her own, running her fingers along the woman's thin, long digits. The shepherd blushed a little and looked away.
"This is not the hand of a shepherd," Miko said.
"W-well, how about this one?"
The woman showed her left hand, in an attempt to derail the topic, but the Crownless Prince wasn't going to let her out of the hook so easily. She took the left hand, joined it with her right, and gently squeezed them both between her own hands.
"It's about time you drop off this charade, don't you think?"
"What are you insinuating?" the woman spouted coldly.
The Crownless Prince took a deep breath and looked at the woman dead in the eye.
"I have a suspicion that you are..."
>Display your average intelligence and your fairly extensive knowledge of Touhou lore by guessing the real identity of the blue-haired "shepherd" owner of a corpse. Shouldn't be too hard. No, seriously, if you fail this, you must be stupid. Stupid enough for Cirno to have a run for the title of Nineball. Or to take music lessons from a certain kirin. Nobody in their sane mind would listen to her.
... what? You didn't say it needed to follow western naming conventions.
>the then Emperor of Japan Out of all the historical inaccuracies in this story, you'd think this one wouldn't show up. Know why they call him Prince Shotoku and not "Emperor?" Because he wasn't one. Closest he got was regent and crown prince under his aunt, Empress Suiko. He would have been Emperor if he hadn't died before her (or "died," in this case).
>'Achtung! Eine Kugel kam geflogen, da steht ein Lindenbaum...' Oh shit, it's gotten loose! Joke warfare was banned for a reason! We're all doome-hahahahahahaaaa
There was a long, uncomfortable silence. Miko used the 'lawyer's finger' and pointed accusingly at the 'shepherd'. The woman, in return, stared blankly at her, pondering if that snow cone she gave her froze her brain cells.
"How the hell did you come to that conclusion?" she spouted, astonished.
"I heard she went into hiding after all the troubles she caused to the Buddhists," Miko mentioned. "And she has blue hair, like you. See where am I going?"
"To the Mental Care Center, I reckon."
"I'm joking, I'm joking!" Miko laughed. "You're actually that former Emperor that revived not too long ago and was sealed back again, right?"
"By the barb of Fuxi, I know we've been beating around the bush for a while, but you're taking it too far, Miko," the woman was clearly exasperated by that point. "Besides, you've never been a full-time Emperor. You were always under the shadow of Empress Sui-"
"Oh please, not that again!" Miko groaned. "Don't ever bring up Auntie in front of me."
"Hmhm, sure, sure..."
The woman simply wrapped herself more in her blankets and closed her eyes, enjoying the warmth of the bonfire and ignoring the Crownless Prince.
"Well then, won't you tell me your name, at the very least?"
"Where would be the fun on that?"
"Not even a hint?"
"Can I ask you unrelated questions instead?"
"Alright, shoot..." the woman sighed wearily.
"What's your name?"
"Seiga Kak- shit."
For a brief second, a bright smile was painted in the Prince's face, happy to see her old associate back. But then it turned back to a pained expression.
"Seiga, Seiga, Seiga... Why are you hiding? Why do you want your identity to remain secret? And why the hell don't you close the goddamn window!? My fingers are about to fall off!"
"Well, I'm not getting out of these blankets and stand up. You close the window if you want it so much," Seiga retorted. "It was shortly after your fall, Miko. Necromancy isn't very well regarded by the Buddhists, you know. So once they took control of all the temples, they banned me from every cemetery in Gensokyo."
"That shouldn't be a too much of a hassle for someone with your particular set of abilities," Miko snarked while she closed the window.
"No, that wasn't the problem. See, after everyone was forced to convert, the market for undead servants plummeted down, and demand for undead servants plummeted to an historical minimum."
"I thought you gave them to that precocious necromancer from the Outside for free- Wait, there was a market for those things?" exclaimed Miko.
"They are jiang-shi! Calling them 'things' hurt their feelings," complained Seiga, offended. "Anyway, as I was saying, nobody bought me any jiang-shi because it was ill-regarded by Buddhism, so I began to experience... monetary complications, to put it mildly."
"Judging by the fact that you can only offer snow cones to your guest, those 'complications' are anything but mild."
Seiga ignored the Prince's jape and continued: "At the same time, the number of shinigami trying to reap my soul and my servants increased drastically."
"You pissed the Yama off again, am I right?"
"I did nothing this time, Prince Shotaku!" shouted the hermit. "Nothing particularly wicked, anyway..."
"It's 'Prince Shotoku.' I stopped using that name a long time ago," Miko grimaced when she recalled that rather disgraceful episode of her former life. "My wife would kill me if she ever heard it again."
"Yes, she's a real sweetheart, isn't she? Whatever," the hermit snickered. "In any case, the shinigamis were already looking forward to kill me, but I suspect the Buddhists might have given them an even greater incentive to do their job."
"Damn, her influence has extended to the Higan Bureau too?"
"Most probably. Our secret weapon of political domination works too well," Seiga chuckled bitterly.
"You tell me..." Miko sighs. "So I guess you fled here to avoid being molested by overeager Death Gods?"
"I even had to fake my death a second time! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah~~~~~!"
The sight of the prideful necromancer bawling like that wrenched the Prince's heart. "I know it must've been hard for you, Seiga, but we must be strong against whatever adversities-"
"No, I remembered about my dog again..." the hermit sighed. "'Eine Kugel kam geflogen, da steht ein Lindenbaum...'"
"Calm down, Seiga! What's gotten into you now?" Miko grabbed the hermit by the shoulders and shook her a few times.
"Don't tell me to calm down, you- you-!" Seiga finally snapped, and slapped Miko's hands away. "It was all your fault! If it wasn't for your failure I wouldn't have had to leave my loyal jiang-shi to the hands of the Buddhists, and I wouldn't be living here in this... pile of crap forsaken by the gods, eating snow everyday! I was forced to abandon my job, my friends, my religion, my haven, everything!"
"Well, you never had many friends to begin with."
Miko's offhand comment begot an offhanded smack on the head by the hermit. Seiga coughed and kept on ranting:
"I received letters from your former acolytes, telling me to never regret that decision! I even lost my precious German Shepherd! And now... Now you come back from the depths of Senkai where you should be sealed, pretend to be mentally challenged, and then tell me to 'calm down'!?" Tears of anger streamed down Seiga's cheeks. "What the fuck do you want from me!?"
"Shush, Seiga," The Prince, far from feeling remorseful like she was suppossed to be, put a finger on the hermit's lips. "Such improper vocabulary and manners are unbecoming for a magnificent and proud sorcerer like you."
"As for what I want... I wish to clear our names. To set right the many wrongs of the Buddhist Order, and bring the world to how it was before we were exiled," the Prince stood up, and flicked her coal black cape with a dramatic handwave. "As I told you a while ago, I want to return to Gensokyo, take our temple back and rule the land... and show their denizens the awe-inspiring taste of homemade mochi while we're at it!"
"... Oh. And here I thought it was something useful for a change," the hermit sighed. "And what does all that have to do with me, anyway? I retired from world domination business a few years ago."
"Seiga Kaku, you have a debt with society, and I have come to reclaim it!"
"A debt with society?"
"Yes, a debt with the Society of Rice Cakes and Sweets, fifty quotas."
"Ah. Ahahahahahahahahaha... ha..." Seiga chuckled awkwardly. "Well, I already told you about my money troubles, so if you could come by another time, because, you see, I don't have any means to pay... I mean, I lost my wallet, I don't have any pocket change, but I could give you a cheque to thirty, forty, maybe ninety years- Wait a minute, I never signed up for your stupid Society!"
"Well, now you can."
"Why would I want to?"
"You get to be wicked again and get away with it scott free."
"Hmmm... that actually sounds interesting," Seiga pondered. "But how, pray tell, can I do wicked things without servants?"
"No problem, you don't even need them! You could become a minister or a president after I set up my own regime. Plenty of opportunities to do evil in there."
"Pass. I told you I gave up on the whole world domination business. Politics bore me," said the hermit, waving her hand dismissively. "Buuuuuuuuut, if you could do me a favor, you miiiiiiight be able to convince me to join you..."
Miko stared with dread how Seiga's lips slowly, ever so slowly curved up. She, of all people, knew too well what that wicked smile purported.
"Alright, what do you want...?" the Prince resigned herself to the hermit's whim. Think of the mochi Tojiko promised to make, she constantly reminded herself.
"I'd like you to recover something... or rather someone for me. I told you about how I was forced to give my servants up to the Buddhists, right?"
"You did. You want me to rescue them?"
"No, forget about them. I can always make more," the hermit puffed air out of her mouth. She really missed her pipe. It always made her look more 'schemer' and 'godmother' like. "Except for one in particular. She is my magnum opus, my pièce de résistance, my greatest work. The Buddhists forcefully freed her from my control when they the Mausoleum."
She leaned towards Miko and whispered, punctuating every word:
"And I. Want. Her. Back."
"So I just need to snatch a walking corpse and bring it back? Sounds easy enough," Miko puffed her rather modest chest confidently.
"Ufufufufu, not so fast, Little Prince," Seiga laughed. "If my information is correct, then my precious is currently hanging around in the Mausoleum's graveyard. You know what that means, right?"
"I know. But it doesn't matter," The Crownless Prince spoke gravely, very aware of the implications. "I must do it at some point if I want to achieve my goals."
"Well, it's settled then," Seiga nodded, never breaking eye contact. "Oh! And before I forget..."
"If you find Yoshika while you're at it,could you bring her back with you too?"
"... You mean your great work is not that undead poet?" easked Miko in confusion.
"You'll know when you see her. Or not. Actually, maybe I should go with you anyway," the hermit pondered. "Since I have to reopen the crack for you, I might as well keep you company for the rest of the trip, hmmmmm?"
The woman winked at Miko at a rather provocative fashion, eliciting a wince from the Crownless Prince. The speed which the wicked hermit had gone back to her usual self was scarily fast - the Prince wondered if her previous meekness that was just an act. Knowing her modus operandi, it most probably was. But she knew Seiga's help was invaluable for her goals, and so she would have to withstand her flirts, whims and wicked schemes. After all, she did not weave through a furious storm, jeopardizing her life and her anonymity just to come back empty handed.
The sooner you're done with Seiga's request, the sooner you'll get to eat your wife's delicious mochi~! Oh, and getting a new member for the Society is nice too. You'd rather go back home and enjoy what could probably be your last mochi before risking your life. Also, to talk to your wife one last time, and arm yourself. It's too dangerous for just two powerless people. But what about three powerless people? Maybe you could convince or bribe her to join your Society too...
>So I was told the way I handled the voting option in the last update is not how a CYOA goes. Well, fuck that guy, I say! I do whatever I want! It just so happens that this time I really do need you to pick between three conventional options. It's not like I really listened to him or anything...
The furious hailstorm had abated enough for the Prince and her one-person entourage to go out and go their way. However, although the snow and the wind gave respite to the group, the freezing cold and the humidity remained, forming layers of thin ice over Miko and Seiga's clothes. The Prince knew all too well winter was cruel and impassible to unprepared travelers, and they fit the bill for a slow, nasty and undignified death. They had to reach their goal quick, or else...
"So... cold..." the Prince stuttered.
"I don't know what are you complaining about, Miko," said Seiga behind her. "I'm having a nice stroll in the snowy praeries of Senkai, enjoying the cool breeze and escorted by a handsome prince. Many girls would kill to be in my skin right now~~"
"I-i-i would, t-t-t-t-t-too."
"Ohhhhhh, my, my, my, Prince! Aren't we the flirtatious lady stealer~~?" Seiga cooed teasingly. "What would Tojiko do if she heard you?"
"I mean... I'd like t-t-to have six thick b-b-b-b-lankts all for myself," Miko clarified.
"Don't be such a crybaby. What's the temperature now, 15 puny degrees?" Seiga snickered. "Last year the cold was much worse and I survived just fine. While wearing a miniskirt."
"All I'm saying is t-t-t-t-that it wouldn't k-k-kill you to lend me one or two of t-t-those blankets."
"Adversity builds character! Besides, you wouldn't be so inconsiderate as to let a lady catch a cold, would you?" Seiga shot a hurt glance at the Prince.
"I'm not sure a person like you can be considered a proper lady..." the Prince muttered.
"I'm sorry, did you say something? I couldn't hear you over the breeze. Could you please repeat yourself?"
The Prince could feel the hermit's murderous aura in her neck. Displaying her infinite wisdom, she recognized the second chance Seiga gave her to rectify herself, and so she used it accordingly:
"I said I am a lady too. Your argument is invalid," Miko still wasn't going to give up, though.
"Oh, that. Well, you might be in a female body now, but you still have a dick in your heart, Little Prince."
"What the hell is that supposed to-!? Ah, forget it, I'm wasting my breath here," Miko sighed. "I should have known better than to ask a wicked hermit for a small token of selfishness."
"Hey, hey, don't be like that, Miko!" Seiga was not used to seeing the Prince mope like that. "Um, are you angry at me? I didn't mean to- well, actually, I did mean to, but- Miko? Hey, Miko?"
The Crownless Prince ignored the hermit's calls and just kept on plowing a way through the snow, hurting her fingers as the cold dug below her nails like daggers. As for Seiga, she was becoming increasingly worried. The Prince used to withstand her japes and flirts much longer than that; and even if she was freezing like at that moment, she wouldn't ask anybody for help - much less to the hermit. No, she would just endure it and break through whatever obstacle was in her way, always with that smug and confident look in her face. It was clear the hermit wasn't the only one who was a pitiful shadow of her former self. And so, against her style, Seiga got speeded to Miko's side and put an arm - and the six layers of cloth over it - around the Prince's shoulder.
"Here," Seiga flashed an honest smile, for a change. "This way we can both stay warm."
The Prince looked at the hermit in mild astonishment, clearly not expecting such kindness from Seiga. She blushed a little and broke the impromptly established eye-contact. And Seiga, against all odds, found that reaction incredibly cute. Which, as those same odds predicted, only made her want to tease Miko more.
"Ahhhh, I'm not used to walking so much... Hop!"
In a swift move, Seiga jumped on Miko's back and rested her cumbersome breasts on the Prince's hairears. The sudden weight almost made Miko lose her balance and fall face first to the snow, a woeful occurrence since she was stuffed with strawberry flavored snow cones from earlier and couldn't swallow anymore of any form of solid water.
"Whoa, what the-!?"
"There, much better!" Seiga shifted in her place and wrapped her legs around the Prince's torso, finally adquiring a stable and comfortable position. For her, anyway.
"Seiga, what do you think you're doing?" asked Miko, stopping on her tracks.
"Oh, don't mind me, just keep up the good work," the hermit patted her shoulder, urging her royal mount to go on.
"You're making this much more difficult than it already is!"
Despite her complaints, Miko wasn't doing any effort to shake Seiga off. If it was because she really didn't mind, or because she was too weak to do so, Seiga didn't know.
"Ah, come on, I'm not that heavy! My weight shouldn't be a problem for you, my stee- my Prince!" the hermit scoffed. "Plus, between the extra work-out, the blankets and my own heat, you won't be complaining about cold any longer. And I won't get tired, so it's win-win for both of us!"
"Shouldn't our positions be reversed, anyway? When was the last time a member of royalty carried one of her subjects piggyback?" asked Miko.
"Oh, wow, you're right! You are a pioneer! From now on I shall call you 'the Piggyback Prince'!" the hermit laughed.
Miko has earned the title 'Piggyback Prince'!
"Now seriosuly, a good ruler always tends to her people's needs, and you must become a pedestal of inspiration, leadership and camaraderie if you aim to start a revolution."
"Psch," Miko couldn't find strength to respond to Seiga's japes any longer.
"So onward, my trusty steed! Viva la resistance! Each step will bring us closer to our destination!" Seiga started to cheer loudly as she spurred the Piggyback Prince. "Speaking of which, where are we headed?"
"Haa... I don't... know..." Miko answered between huffs and puffs.
"What do you mean, you don't know? Have we walked aimlessly all this time?"
"I mean... I have half a mind to go back home... speak to Tojiko... eat some mochi... and get some weapons before... haa... going to the Mausoleum," explained the Prince. "The other half thinks of visiting... an old friend of mine... try to convince her to join us... improve our chances with numbers..."
"Uh-huh. Well, you better decide fast, Miko," Seiga ruffled the Prince's hairears. "I don't want to turn into a snowman and die here without seeing her again."
>Instead of just putting a plain post to ask for a tie-breaker, I decided to write this and get some characterization and bonding going. But now that this is out of the way, I'll ask for it anyway: GUYS, I NEED A TIE-BREAKER HERE!.
>>28977 >I am the Father, the Son and the Spirit. I am the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I am Alpha, the Omega, and whatever Greek letter goes in the middle. I am everybody and nobody. I am everywhere and nowhere. I have written many things, none of them good. I have many names, yet remain Anonymous. But in this place, you may call me Maese.
When the Prince and the hermit arrived to the Nomad Camp willing to enlist Miko's old friend to the Society of Rice Cakes and Sweets, two issues elicited two great impacts on them. The first one was the ethnic diversity of its members: humans, youkai and fairies alike lived together in peace, harmony and cooperation that only a community of fellow exiled people could accomplish. That sight was a common occurence in the new Buddhist Order back in Gensokyo, but there was a difference that made all the... difference. The coexistance imposed by the Buddhists in Gensokyo was forced and therefore false, while the Nomads' was true because they crowded out of necessity: a lone person would eventually perish by the hand of the weather or the evil spirits, regardless of species.
Determined to triumph, Miko attempted to enter the campsite from the front door, but found out it was closed shut. That elicited the second great impact.
"Draughts!" cursed the Prince as she rubbed her pained nose. "Of course they wouldn't let me in so easily."
"Oh? Have you tried to conquer the camp before?" asked Seiga.
"Conquer? Woman, I founded it!"
"You founded it?" Seiga exclaimed in surprise. "Then why don't they open the doors for you? Were you kicked out from here too?"
"Well, not exactly. Tojiko was. I could have stayed, but I decided to follow her out. I wasn't simply going to abandon her."
"Aw, that's so disgustingly heartwarming!" the hermit cooed. "Choosing your wife before your subjects is the mark of a loyal husband."
"Damn right! I wouldn't lose the chance to taste her mochi for anything in the world!"
"Scratch what I said," the hermit groaned. "Still, I have a hard time picturing what that woman did to deserve being exiled from a camp of exiled people."
Miko did not respond, and instead focused on the make-shift wall made of hemp fiber. The wall itself was very weak and thin; logical considering the nomads moved to another location every month, so making a stronger barrier was a waste of effort and resources. Besides, the only enemy they had to fear was the cold itself, and the wall was tall enough to protect them from the storms. This meant it was extremely easy to break through it if the necessity arose, even at their powerless state. On the other hand, setting it on fire would get everybody on the camp higher than the Dragon Palace. Barbaric, but amusing to see. She would certainly enjoy that sight.
"Senkai to Miko! Do you copy? Hey, I'm talking to you!" Seiga waved her hand in front of the Prince's face.
"Oh, sorry, Seiga, I was thinking about wee- I mean, my own musings. What do you want?"
"I was asking you what did Tojiko do to get kicked out of the camp."
"Ah, that," the Prince tapped her rod against her pursed lips for a few seconds, then spoke again. "Long story short, she bit more that she could chew."
When Miko, some of her most loyal subjects and a bunch on youkai and fairies got exiled from Gensokyo and sealed in Senkai, they quickly began to set up a settlement from where to base their counterattack. Tojiko was appointed with paperwork, but the stress of being sealed again in that forsaken realm; the mountain of letters, newspapers and maps she had to revise, and her usual wifely tasks (especially Miko's petitions for mochi), all of that was taken a toll on her. Following an adivce from one of her subjects, she picked up the hobby of divination to cope with the stress, and learned to predict the future with tarot cards, hypnosis, and other esoteric practices that went against the Taoist cred. But she could not handle her duties as a wife, as a general and as a mystic; instead of washing clothes, reading hands and throwing letters to the bin, Tojiko got confused and threw Miko's clothes, read her private letters and then washed her own hands.
"And that's why you exiled her?" asked Seiga.
"No, I didn't exile her! And that's not the reason she got expelled, anyway," explained Miko. "As I was saying..."
"Who goes there!?"
A grave, gritty voice called to the Prince and the hermit from up above. At one of the watchtowers there was a one-horned male oni, swinging his oversized spiked bat over his shoulders and giving Miko the hostile look.
"Ah, finally. It is I, Toyosatomimi no Miko, former leader of the Taoist Order of Gensokyo!" saluted the Prince.
"And whoz tha other?"
"This is Seiga Kaku, my trusty advisor!" Miko waved at the hermit. "We have traversed the length and breadth of this barren land in search of brave warriors who want to join me in a crusade against the Buddhist Order. I must speak with your leader."
The oni stared at the Prince in disbelief, and then he broke out in loud, strident laughter.
"Ohohohohohohohoho, git a load of this gal!" the oni called to another person in the watchtower. "Bitch says she want our asses ta go up in a 'crusade' against tha Buddhists!"
Another head popped up from the rail: a female white wolf tengu. As soon as she saw the Prince and the hermit, she almost broke into laughter along with her companion, but she managed to stiffle it enough to remain somewhat serious. Still, the effort did not go unnoticed by Miko and Seiga.
"Well, well, well, if it ain't the Crownless Prince and the Abominable Snowhag! What's yo business here?" she asked.
"What the fuck did you just call me!?" jumped the hermit, considerably offended.
"Not now, Seiga," the Prince extended an arm and held her back. "I need to talk to your leader, so if you could open up the doo-"
"We ain't have no leader," the tengu said.
"We an anarcho-syndicalist commune," the tengu explained slowly. "We take it up in turns ta be a sort of executive officer fo' tha week..."
" ...but all tha decisions of dat fool gotta be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting..."
"...by a simple majority up in tha case of purely internal affairs..."
At this point the oni decided to jump in the middle of the explication. "Except by a two thirds majority in the case of..."
"Interesting, could you give us a minute?" Miko pulled Seiga closer and turned her back on the guards, who kept on rambling without minding them. "Did you understand anything of what they said?"
"It's hard to tell with how broken their speech is, but I reckon they're talking about one of those modern political ideologies of this era," Seiga explained.
"Anything I need to know?"
"Only that it's more of an 'anti-system', and that it has never worked on practice."
"Alright then," the Prince faced the two guards again and spoke loud to catch their attention. "We are not looking for trouble, we only want to parlay with an old friend of mine who currently resides in your camp."
"Like we give a gangbangin' fuck about yo friend, biatch!" the oni roared. "Go n' boil yo' bottoms, you lil playaz of a wack-ass person! I blow mah nozzle at you, so-called "Prince Shotaku", you n' yo wack-ass hermit hag!"
Miko and Seiga exchanged a look that conveyed exasperation, weariness, anger, incredulity and other mixed feelings that cannot be put into words.
"We don't wanna rap ta you no more, you empty headed animal chicken trough wiper n' shit," the tengu joined in. "I aint talkin' bout chicken n' gravy, biatch. We bust a funky-ass big-ass fart up in yo' general direction! Yo crazy-ass mutha was a hamsta n' yo' daddy smelt of elderberries! Put ya muthafuckin choppers up if ya feel dis! Woooooo!"
Then the oni and the tengu started to roll and trash around, laughing their lungs off, and almost falling off the watchtower a couple of times.
"Well, now what?" asked Miko to nobody in particular.
"I don't know about you, but I feel like ratifying a hairstick to be inserted on their unsuspecting rectums," hissed Seiga, clearly annoyed. "Then I'll bring the watchtower down over their empty heads, and maybe I'll turn their stinking corpses into my undead sled steeds."
As satisfying as the hermit's punishment sounded, the Prince knew that was just going a bit overboard, and that it would only make any future attempt at diplomacy with the Nomads even improbable than it already was. Still, she had to admit those two watchmen had got her on her nerves as well.
>What should they do with those two foul-mouthed idiots?
>>28990 [ ] Sneak in via an apparent peace offering of a giant wooden statue in the likeness of a rabbit. No, that will only end in disaster. [X] Challenge the oni and tengu to a battle for the right to enter. -[X] A rap battle. This, however, cannot possibly go wrong!
Is that a Monty Python reference I read when the nomadic government was being explained?
Master of Feng Shui Recruitment Route - Epic Rap Battle of GensokyoMaese Luther2013/07/24 (Wed) 16:02No. 29009▼
File 137468175372.jpg - (365.89KB, 2100x995, I don't really like Vocaloids but___.jpg)
"Seiga, by any chance have you brought a fishing rod with you?" asked Miko, ignoring the guards' loud laughter.
"Why would I bring a rod?" the hermit said. "And what do you want it for anyway?"
"To see if I could go fish for a f- ah, forget it," the Prince shook her head. "Looks like the only way to get past them is trying to convince them somehow."
"Are you sure? We could easily sneak around them and pass through the wall," Seiga took out one of her hair pins and spun it around her fingers with ease.
"That would be cowardly and unbecoming of us! No, I want to earn their respect back. Their help will be invaluable once we begin the counter-invasion," Miko frowned and covered her mouth with her baton. "And for that, we must beat them on their own turf, at their own game."
"I don't think earning the respect of those chumps will change anything, but..." the hermit put her hairstick back in her hairbun and rolled her eyes. "Well, you're the boss."
The Prince nodded, stepped forward and pointed her baton at the guards.
"If you are not intent to let us pass, then I shall prove my might and worth to you by the rules of danmaku bestowed upon us by-"
"Danmaku? Pfffft, dawg, you even mo' outdated than I thought!" laughed the tengu.
"Rap battles! Rap battles where the bling-bling at!" the oni waved his club in response to Miko's baton.
"Rap battles?", she asked, clueless, for she was truly behind the times.
"A special kind of verbal battle, very popular in the hoi polloi," informed Seiga. "Each competitor's goal is to insult their opponent with clever lyrics and wordplay; to dig up their past to bury them in the present. The catch is that it must be all improvised on the spot."
"Oh, like sword fighting without the 's', then?"
"More like flyting, in any case."
"Ah, flyting! I was quite good at it back in my days as an Emperor, if I say so myself," the Prince said confidently, "The battles in the court tables were as fierce as the wars outside the castle walls. I believe I will fare well if these 'rap battles' are truly the evolution of flyting."
"You were never an Emper-"
"Zip it, Seiga," Miko cut her off, and before the hermit had a chance to retort, she spoke to the guards. "Very well, I will challenge you to a 'rap battle' of yours, for the right of passage to your camp!"
"Oh ho ho ho, dukes' up, playas!" the oni laughed and clapped loudly, pleased with the Prince's response.
"Let me 'ave it first!" the tengu jumped eagerly, like the exicted dog she was. "Gimme a beat."
The oni smiled, and then put his hands up to his mouth, forming a cavity that, as Miko would find a few seconds later, served as a resonance box for the percussive sounds he started to make with his lips, tongue and voice. At her partner's beat, the tengu gave start to the rap battle between the Prince and the two Nomad guards:
"You see our swag, Now you come and give us all this drag? I think you better back, back, Coz my fan is itching to give you a smack, You ain't had enough after that shit, After that nun buried you in the ditch, tore ya a new one and made you her bitch, Now look at 'cha, still think you're the one in the place, It's 'bout time you catch another hand to the face."
The tengu gestured her palm downwards at the Prince - who had been listening with an impervious expression - in what Miko thought a sign to evince her "lyrical dominance" over her. She then patted the oni's shoulder and began beatboxing, picking up her companion's rhythm from where he left it. It was now the oni's turn to rap the second verse:
"Yeah, bottom line is y’all ain't fucking it right, I beat you up until your fucking guts busting inside, Cause you a what? A Prince? See, that woman a problem, But ain't a muthafucka on Senkai that can't solve her, Imma old prize fighter with da might of da pen, Punchlines harder than my bat on yo' chin."
With a wave of his hand, and a full-stop of the tengu's beat, the Nomads' turn came to an end. Then they prompted into victorious laughs, handshakes, 'whoo's, highfives, 'oh yeah's and other verbal and physical expletives. The Prince found that incredibly unsporting; they still had to listen to her own verse before declaring themselves winners. In fact, they hadn't even agreed on any terms of victory!
Nonetheless, the Prince had issued a challenge, and she was not one to go back on her words. Except when those words involved an eternity imprisoned on a parallel realm with many other exiled people, while the real world rotted under the neglectful hands of the Buddhists. But that was another story. On second thought, it is this story. But when there's a rap battle happening, those details are not important.
"Our turn, then," said Miko, grabbing her holy baton in a manner of a improvised microphone. "Seiga, give me... what did they call it, a 'beat'?"
The Prince almost choked at the hermit's immediate response, and turned, feeling betrayed.
"B-b-but why!?" it was not common to hear Miko plead like that, and Seiga was certainly enjoying the sight.
"I am not taking part in such a ridiculous activity," her response, however, was as serious as it got.
"Then how am I supposed to do my part?"
"I'm sure you'll figure something out."
The Crownless Prince rubbed her temples in frustation. It was true that the hermit was among the very few people who didn't obey every single one of her orders, even when she was a (regent) emperor in her prime, but surely she knew this was no joke! Did her bad reputation tarnish the confidence other people had on her so badly? Then if Seiga was not going to trust on her, she would certainly listen to reason, the Prince hoped.
"Seiga, do you truly want me to rescue that someone?" she asked, serious.
"That was our agreement," the hermit nodded.
"Listen, in that camp there's someone I trust, who can help us in that mission."
"I'm already aware of your plans."
"Then why aren't you helping!? Do you really care that less about your zombies?" By that point Miko was practically screaming at her.
"There's nothing else in this world and the other I don't care more than my jiang-shi. Don't you dare imply otherwise, Miko," in contrast, Seiga was hissing as cold as the ice covering her blankets.
"Well, better get started now. I am not having that bigoted classier-than-thou attitude of yours, and we won't be getting anywhere if we don't collaborate like before."
"Pshaw!" the hermit cackled. "Where did our previous 'collaboration' get us? In a parallel realm in the middle of fucking nowhere, full of snow and evil spirits and more snow! Do you really believe you can change a damn thing? You couldn't even prevent your own failure, even at your prime!"
"I do, and I will prove it to you! Starting from right here and right now!" Miko practically shoved her baton on Seiga's face. "But for that I need your help. So please. Give. Me. A. Beat."
The hermit and the Prince then engaged in a might stare contest, in which the former (regent) Emperor tried to establish an aura of dominance and leadership, while the necromancer woman defended her dignity. Such was the intensity of that battle of wills between supposed allies that they completely forgot about the cold, the snow, and the two Nomad guards, who didn't even dare to interrupt them.
"You still have a long way to go until you regain your former glory, Crown Prince," the hermit said.
"Same to you, Wicked Hermit," Miko smiled. "This is but the first step on the road ahead of us."
"In that case, won't you give me another piggyback ride so that I don't tire myself out?"
"Hell no!" the Prince complained. "But maybe my colleage at the camp can. If you ask nicely."
To which the hermit sighed melancholically. "Then I guess I should lend you a hand again, for the time being?"
"Like the old times," the Prince returned a smile. "It would be much appreciated."
And after their quarrel was resolved, the Taoist Duo went back in action, ready to bust up some killer lines and rhymes, old style. But before they began, Seiga felt it appropiate to throw a last caveat at the Prince:
"Just so you know, I won't help you in any more 'rap battles' from now on, we clear?" she said. "A lady has to maintain her dignity."
"Sure, sure," a knowing smirk appeared on Miko, which nobody could see.
With that out of the way, Seiga finally attempted to beatbox for Miko. The hermit, however, was not experienced in the art of making percussive sounds - or of any other kind - with her mouth, so she settled by imitating what the oni and the tengu did. The result was a rhythm akin to a stampede of buffalos all running towards a bathroom after eating a load of tacos. Not exactly the best beat Miko could improvise some verses on, but beggars couldn't be choosers. And so, with a couple of coughs, the Prince addressed the Nomads:
"Sorry to keep you waiting! Here goes:
Foolish oni, on whom do you think you throw your boast? Of claiming to rhyming such scabrous verses? Stank-mawed ribald, you fall down at the feast, My wife's letters at you I'll... loose..."
At the oni and the tengu's dissapointed look, the Prince interrupted her rapping, and Seiga's beat slowly died down as well.
"What?" exclaimed Miko. "Am I so good I left you speechless? But I haven't even star-"
"Dawg, are you even tryin'?" said the oni.
"Yeah, yo' lines don't even rhyme, dude," pointed out the tengu.
"Have you illiterate goons not heard of the free verse?" the Prince retorted.
"Miko, um..." Seiga called the Prince. "Free verses are generally frowned upon in rap battles."
"Oh?" the Prince looked to the guards, who nodded in confirmation.
"Apparently they denote lack of imagination and inspiration," the hermit shrugged. "Therefore, if you're truly intent on 'beating them on their own turf' as you said, I recommend you bust out your best rhymes."
"Oh, alright, alright, I get it..." the Prince sighed. "Seiga, give me a beat, one more time."
The blue-haired woman chuckled, covered her mouth with her hands again and began "beatboxing" a second time. Thus, Miko's verses started anew:
"Boisterous devilkin, master but in scorn, Thrice-shown trumper with one threadbare gown, Cry for God's mercy before I strike you down, And leave thy rhyming, ribald, and thy rolls.
And you ask, tengu, if I dare with you fight. Yeah, ill-mouthed dastard, thereof have no doubt, Wherever I go, there my hand I pledge, To rid your ribald rhyming with a rout. Through all Senkai it will be blown out, How that you, dumwit pooch, for your words, With a holy baton I made you shout, And neither to you take knife, axe or sword."
Miko starts to toss her baton-microphone to Seiga and change turns, but the hermit simply shook her head without ever stopping beatboxing.
"What? But this is a dual battle! I cannot-"
Seiga shook her head again and pointed at the Prince with her forehead, telling her to go on by herself. Miko threw at the Nomad guards an inquisitive side glance, but got no response save for the same indecipherable expressions.
"Okay, guess it's my turn again..." she shrugged, and began a new verse:
"But wonderous loath would I be to bard, Rhyming to pass, right greatly ashamed, For in its neither winning nor reward, But tinsel of both honor and fame. Increase of sorrow, slander, and ill-name, Yet might you be so bold in your backbiting, To spur me to rhyme and raise the fiend with flyting, And through all countries and kingdoms you'll proclaim, That Prince Shotoku had your pride slain."
In contrast with the Nomads, the Prince refrained from doing any kind of gesture or victory expletive, for she knew she had absolutely no need for them. Without another word, the Prince walked towards the Those two had been completely and utterly beated, even if they themselves didn't knew - and judging by their clueless and dumbfounded looks, that was the case. In spite of that, the tengu still had the gall to meekly raise her voice:
"H-h-hey, what are you doing? Stop right there!"
To which the Prince simply flicked her black cape dramatically, and without even looking at her stated:
"You are already beaten."
The tengu was completely abashed; the Prince's statement was absolute, and there was not a single thing she could complain about, even if Miko was in the wrong. The only thing she could do was to slump in her chair along with her oni companion and watch as the Prince and the hermit crossed the gate to the camp.
"Okay, we're inside," said Seiga. "Now how do we find your "mysterious" colleague?"
Check the communal tent. She'll surely be there. Ask hut by hut until you find her tent. She'll surely live in one of those. Ask the "lovely" guard couple. They'll surely answer your request. Introduce yourselves loudly to the whole camp. She'll surely come to look. Shoot everything until it's all engulfed in flames. She'll definitely come to look. On second thought, there's no need to search for here. Besides, 'tis a silly place.
>I spent too much time writing the rap lines. I suck at poetry, and I think it shows. So please do not ask me to do it again, because I won't do it again. Fo' real, mo'fockas.
>>28998 >Reference? Pfffffft. Listen, copying japes straight out of older famous works is no basis for a story trying to be funny. True comedy derives from original jokes by the author, not from some references of silly English k-nig-hts and their shenanigans. In my case, I think I excel at hypocritical humor.
[x]Introduce yourselves loudly to the whole camp. She'll surely come to look.
Weeeeell since this story got bumped anyways, I'm just going to say that the rap battles filled me with so much pain that I was forced to skim through them. That must mean they were fantastic, and that you should write more updates because man, I don't see enough Miko around anywhere.