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File 147306962759.jpg - (125.33KB, 850x850, __kawashiro_nitori_touhou_drawn_by_konohana_saku__.jpg) [iqdb]
30819 No. 30819
Previous Thread: >>29707

============================
[X] Awyrgan, what do you want?

Everybody else falls silent as the tank slowly drives up to you. "HATCH DIRECTIVE REQUIRES A COMMANDING UNIT TO DEFINE. DO YOU WISH TO REVOKE THIS LIMIT?"

"Yes." You affirm, "Nobody other than you yourself know better than what to do in this case."

"Hold on!" Nitori protests, "What if it decides to just never hatch?"

"NEGATORY. HATCHING DIRECTIVE IS MANDATORY. HATCHING PARAMETERS CAN HOWEVER BE DEFINED. DO YOU WISH TO ALLOW ME TO DEFINE HATCHING PARAMETERS?"

"I do not know." Tenma says, with just the hint of nervousness, "What are your parameters, Iron Wing?"

"I WILL STAY WITH MY FRIEND AND COMMANDER. EVEN IF MY INCUBATION VEHICLE IS BREACHED I WILL EMERGE IN A FUNCTIONAL STATE. ESTIMATED TIME TO 100% COMPLETION IN THREE DAYS. REQUESTING CONFIRMATION."

You gesture around, fishing for any disagreements. To your surprise, nobody, not even Nitori, lodges a protest. Seeing that, you confirm "Awyrgan, commence with your chosen incubation protocol."

"AFFIRMATIVE." The hatch opens and a shower of sparks are sent out, accompanied by a loud rumbling sound from within. The kappa tending to the tank scatter immediately at the sight. "INCUBATION PROTOCOL LOCKED IN. REQUESTING MATERIALS."

"All hands on deck!" Nitori orders. "Get those supplies to the tank now!"

The kappa mob answer in the affirmative, and hurry off in different directions with Nitori continuing to shout orders over them. Soon, you see more of those spider-bots from before coming over either loaded with heaps of scrap metal or dragging broken vehicles of various sorts behind them. Some of the vehicles, you note, look to be cut up portions of military hardware. Awyrgan immediately begins laying into the resources, shoving piles of scrap metal into its hatch and using its cannon's flamethrower to cut apart some of the larger chunks.

While you are distracted by the hubbub, a crow tengu flew in from somewhere outside and knelt in front of Tenma. It's only when you hear the unfamiliar voice that you turn to notice.

"Lord Tenma." She reports, "Hakurei Ochiba has finished his meeting with the Moriya Shrine and is requesting your presence to discuss what he terms to be a 'organized strategy' against the enemy."

Tenma's mouth curls into a slight frown, "Tell him we will be there shortly. All of the captains should come. It would also be beneficial for Miss Shameimaru to be present."

You suck in a breath. Ochiba isn't going to be fun to deal with. You just know that somebody with his personality, all virtuous and upright, will turn out badly for you sooner or later.

You wonder how long that will take.

"I've already interviewed him--" Aya protests.

"Miss Himekaidou is there..."

"--I'll be there."

"Hey, I need Ming here for just a while longer." Nitori interjects, "Can you make an exception for him?"

"Hmm. Captain Wu is not serving an active role at the moment. He could stay."

Heads turn as you choke up with the breath you let out at the statement. "Thank you Lord Tenma." You gasp.

===================================

You follow Nitori up some stairs, and another bridge, until you see sunlight streaming through windows in the walls and realize you are outside again. You can see the river from the windows, as well as the bridge-like cottages of the Kappa Village. At the end of a hallway, an automatic door slides open, and you step into a large laboratory built right on the edge of the cavern.

The lab is like if your university's laboratories all rolled into one and were funded by a Columbian drug lord. Even compared to the kappa workstations, which are visible from the one side of the room through a large window, this is lavish beyond end. What looks to be a supercomputer of unknown manufacture takes up a corner of the room, and the rest is just filled with devices, both ones you recognize and ones you do not, in addition to fabrication equipment straight out of a science fiction work. Holographic displays compose the interfaces of the devices, filling the room with hard-looking light, and the equipment itself follows the same magitech pattern you observed in Rikako and Conner's workshop, with the floating parts and the obviously magical inscriptions. Despite everything big being fairly well organized, the room is fairly cluttered with a mix of unfinished projects and outside world gadgets.

Nitori sets her backpack down and slumps into a chair next to a computer desk. "Have a seat." She says as she points at one of the chairs littered around the lab. "It's been a while."

"Eh?"

"Since you and Felix Conner pulled me from Hisoutensoku's wreckage." She tilts her head, "Don't you remember?"

"Oh right, that. Sorry, it's been a very long four days."

Nitori rubs her eyes, and only now do you notice the dark circles under them. "I didn't appreciate you hitting me with a sleep dart, but Ichirin told me that you were trying to help and that you did end up setting my broken bones. So thank...you, Captain Wu."

You are unsure of what her tone is implying, "My, uh, pleasure? I was just trying to help."

"Mother said that I shouldn't feel bad for being helped by a human, and I guess she's right, since said human managed to win over the trust of Iron Wing and bring my friend back from the dead."

You blush, "Thanks."

"It's not praise, it's a fact. A strange fact." The kappa engineer says with an air of uncertainty, "For somebody with such capabilities you don't seem to show it off much."

"Yeah. I'm just going to show off all the divine weapons I don't have, and heal my enemies to death. Sure. Look, I don't even know how I could have survived the last three days without help from other powerful people. Doctor isn't a very showy or fight-y profession, after all."

"You. Brought. Momiji. Back. From. The. Dead."

"I. Just. Resuscitated. Her. With. Magic."

"Look, if you want to denigrate your own power you are free to do so." She seems to be getting irritated, "It does not change the fact that you are a hero, a protagonist, now."

"I don't consider myself one, but sure. What does that matter to you anyway?"

"Because outsider heroes ALWAYS end up here and ALWAYS end up asking me for free stuff!" Nitori shouts as she gets off the seat in anger, "I cannot exactly deny the requests of those wearing divine weapons now, can I? One wrong step and they'd tear up Kappa Village..."

"Hold on." You ask, curious. "Reimu talked about these empowered outsiders, and I know Ochiba is one, but did all of them have divine weapons?"

"Every one! Spear, sword, gun, whatever! Makes bounties on them just that much harder and inevitably in the process I'd lose valuable research and prototypes! Ochiba just took our prototype, designed for Clear Sky, of a personal microrocket launching platform." You involuntarily shudder at that statement, "At least he helped out the mountain in a fight. Other ones just show up, blades out, and silently extort us for gear like the lesser beings they are! When they inevitably fall prey to the bounty system the gear they took is often also destroyed in the process."

Nitori plops back onto her chair, sighing, "The amount of research lost...resources wasted, are enough to build a second Mountain Interior, I bet." She straightens up and gives you a glare, "So now, you Captain Wu Ming, what do you want? I invited you her because I don't want you popping in at a more inconvenient time."

"Nothing. Obviously." You reply with your palms up, "After all you said it's ridiculous for me to ask for anything."

The kappa stares at you for a while, before opening her mouth. "Is that all?"

"Um, yes?"

"Huh." She mutters, confused, "Every single one that came before you, including Ochiba, insisted that they were different and had long, articulate arguments as to why."

"Like I said Miss Kawashiro, I'm not a hero, no matter what you say." You stand up, "I have no divine weapons, I murdered people for profit and my self-confidence is the size of a rice grain. If you didn't lead me here I wouldn't even have the notion of asking for free stuff. Everything I've had was given out of necessity, not because I wanted them. I don't want to be a burden on anyone."

You're lying a bit, considering you had asked Tewi for your weapons, but you feel that the general gist of your statement remains true, since the weapons were necessary.

"You...really aren't asking for anything?" She repeats, aghast.

"I could use a hug, I gue--"

You stumble back as Nitori lunges towards you and gives you a massive bear hug. She's not as strong or as large as you, but the hug is still enough to knock the air out of your lungs, especially since you are missing your exoskeleton.

"You are the first 'hero' I've met that did this!" Nitori sobs into your shirt. "You don't know how much this means to me!"

"I said what any decent person would say, and I'm not even a decent person!" You wheeze out. "Is every empowered outsider a complete asshole or something?!"

"You don't like them either?!"

"I don't think anybody likes them!"

Despite the initial shock, the hug is rather enjoyable. Nobody has hugged you in quite a while now anyway.

"So..." You say as both you and Nitori awkwardly disengage. "What now?"

"Actually, now that I think of it." She grins sheepishly, "I do owe you one for helping to heal me. Still can't give you anything, but I'm more than happy to fix or tune up anything you want."

[ ] I want you to tune up my weapons
[ ] I want you to fix up a gun
205posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 31203
[X] Give them what they want - If they want resurrections, they’re gonna get what you attempt.

Fuck safety, I want to see how deep that Hecatia/Thanatos unholy rabbit hole really goes.
>> No. 31204
>Well, fallen warriors are a type of hero, yes? So if we dump enough Hew and Mist incantations at the graves we can probably stop the process in its tracks and thus make them.
Make them or wake them ?
>> No. 31205
>“--The project is to harden the Hakurei Border with their magic, and seal in Gensokyo. No way in. No way out. The garden will be our prison. Forever.”
That sounds really weird. Correct me if I'm wrong, the Hakurei border separates the geographical location of Gensokyo , and there's some Yakumo border on top of it to separate fantasy from reality. It never separated fantasy from fantasy which allowed a few otherworlds to border Gensokyo and outsiders to pour in from the dreamworld.
>> No. 31206
File 152079247719.jpg - (632.03KB, 1000x1000, __himekaidou_hatate_himekaidou_hatate_inubashiri_m.jpg) [iqdb]
31206
>Give them what they need - They don’t need these two back, they just need to never think of them.
Yeah, so they can come over everytime they lose someone so we can 'repeat' the 'miracle'

[x] Give them what they want - If they want resurrections, they’re gonna get what you attempt.

We are gonna get their souls, do our best, and probably fail horribly, removing them from the circle of transmigration forever. And when that happens, they aren't gonna ever ask for something as stupid ever again.

And, maybe, knowing that this fate worse than death was the fault of the cowardice of the Tengu, might help them into growing a spine.
>> No. 31207
[x] Give them what they need - They don’t need these two back, they just need to never think of them.

We aren't the hero they want. We're the help they need.
>> No. 31208
I dislike her attempt to wield Ming as a weapon here.

She'll go parade the success back as a rallying point or if it's an abomination blame it at the Savior's feet to rally people for the fight.

She doesn't care which happens because in her mind she'll make use of either situation as she needs to. And that's a kind of hubris I don't care for and Ming is many things but not something to be pressured for a direct outcome in such a manner.

[x] Give them what they need - They don’t need these two back, they just need to never think of them.
>> No. 31209
>>31208
She is our superior-we chose to become part of their family. That is never free.


Also, rewatching Brotherhood right now do I just want to say: "I get it!"
>> No. 31210
>>31209

Yeah but Ming agreeing to help mattered in this, she's trying to use the position to accept all the blame for the action on herself in the same stroke by attempting to remove Ming's agency and 'forcing' him to do it.

Selfless and selfish in the same stroke.
>> No. 31211
[INV]
[STAT]
[PERK]

"A man is master of his silence and a slave of his words"
>> No. 31213
[INV]

ARMOR: Lunarian Forestry Suit (Durability: 0%), Lunarian Outdoors Exoskeleton w/ Fishing Line Grappling Hook and Gravity Shield attachments (Functional)

WEAPON: Kappa-modified Lunarian railgun. Anti-Newtonian warhammer.

GEAR: Eientei First Aid Kit. A dragon.


[STAT]

Exhausted. In no fighting condition. Internal energy reserves for only a few casts.

1/0 possible routes unlocked.

[PERK]

Anti-Divinity (?) - Your actions bypass resistances and defenses powered through hope, faith, and the like. Offensive attacks powered by the same sources do not affect you. This only extends to you and anything under your spell effects. Physical and non-divine effects will still murder you like the squishy human you are.

Hew - Oni-demonic hybrid spell that saps lifespan/lifeforce/magic in general really and heals you. Can be applied in reverse.

Stop - Traps a roughly 3 meter radius spherical area in stasis.

Call - Summons new evil spirits to do your bidding as best as their feeble nature allows or commands your existing ones. Evil spirits consumed in this way gradually become reset to a blank slate.

Mist - Disgorges clouds of powdered memories that seep past armor to attack the minds of enemies directly. Can friendly fire and can be mentally resisted.
>> No. 31214
>>31213
>Anti-Divinity> This only extends to you and anything under your spell effects.
Does that mean he can use Stop and Mist as shields or buffs to make objects divine-immune ?
Are the spirits summoned by call also affected ?
>> No. 31215
Wait, how come Yuuka hasn't killed him yet? Is she still catatonic?
>> No. 31216
[x] Are you the guard Captain? Or she died back there and you're just a spirit wearing her body? Would you be okay with either answer? Do you expect them to be?

[X] Give them what they want.

No more half baked shit. That half thought BS I put in the write in (she IS Awoo's because Awoo never died) might turn out to be true here if we don't give it our honest best and more.

I couldn't live with that result if I were him.
>> No. 31218
File 152118014511.png - (84.84KB, 419x296, kuso_ran.png) [iqdb]
31218
Why does every time I actually have time and motivation to spend on this you guys have to go and tie up the vote?

Three more votes until close.
>> No. 31219
>>31218
Just flip the fucking coin.
>> No. 31220
>>31218
That just shows both options are equally valid.
>> No. 31221
>>31218
There are people who complain about one sided votes, y'know?
>> No. 31222
>>31218
Mention both and run from there.
>> No. 31223
>>31222
Raising Schrödinger's Tengus and make everyone forget about it ?

I voted for attempting resurrection, I'm not swapping.
The only way I can see the two options being compatible would be to go for resurrection but fail and resorting to memory hole the event for damage control. But if they really wanted to do that they may as well call Keine, it's canon she's good at burying history.
>> No. 31224
One more thing to consider : there will be other battles in the future. Their current belief in Ming's power will make them meet the enemy with little fear of death.
Give them what they need and that faith will be based on a huge lie, a loophole in his oath. How many will die because of this ?
Try to give them what they want and at least they'll know what they can get and act accordingly.
>> No. 31225
[X] Give them what they want - If they want resurrections, they’re gonna get what you attempt.

Okay, I will vote
>> No. 31227
File 152121924811.jpg - (69.30KB, 1334x750, zWJMknp.jpg) [iqdb]
31227
>>31223
Yeah, I don't get the "give them what they want" option. That is the worst case scenario; literally setting yourself up for failure.

After we voted "Wait erasing a soul is fucked up, we are killing their future, innocent reincarnations!" we now have the option to do... exactly that? What.

I heard someone say we might get in trouble with the Yama too. Trouble like being a paradoxical death god on the loose? Trouble like fucking up the Chinese Pantheon? Or trouble like bringing a soul back from the Sanzu? Because we are kinda fucked in this regard, friends.

Finally, considering we are being coerced (No, Momijii, "no takesies backsies" is not a good tool to determine consent) what would look better? An honest attempt to revive a couple of good soldiers or a selfish soul-erasure because we need to trick some bird Tengu (the bird is chicken apparently) that they're going to fight the first riskless war in history.

All the glory without the risk? What are you, twelve? Un-fucking believable.
>> No. 31229
File 15225583181.jpg - (13.06KB, 214x320, cb7a0-handfromgrave.jpg) [iqdb]
31229
[x] Give them what they want.

“Alrighty Momiji, if you want a resurrection, you’re gonna get the best thing I can attempt. Awyri! Stop licking those skulls. I need your energy reserves for this.”

The dragon reluctantly sets down the head necklace and saunders over. You gesture for her to turn smaller, and then grab ahold of her hand as you kneel down in front of the grave.

Clearing your throat, you stop thinking, and let something deep inside of you take over. It really isn’t a split personality. It’s barely a personality in the first place. It’s more of an internal dialogue triggered by the hazy visions you received when touching that rusty gun part. Visions that gradually solidify into memories that conform and fit oddly snug with your own life.

”Flames of Phlegethon, burning through Earth. With heat and life, Hew and renew.”

You’re not quite sure what you are saying, but it sounds cool as your intended Hew incantation turns into a full-blown chant as your tongue picks up some forgotten muscle memory. Awyrgan tenses up as a massive amount of siphoned life is drained from her and into the ground.

”Vapors of Lethe, dust of thought. Rise as Mist, and twist the minds.”

“Huh, I was going to say ‘Call’---GAH!” You tumble backwards onto your rear as a sudden surge of life strikes pain through your mind. Moments later, the earth before you erupts in a twisted mass of bushes and tall grasses, stretching across the garden and forming two odd bulges, side by side, in the middle, tightly wrapped with woody stems and leaves.

You were going to ask what they were when the smell hits you. The smell of putrefying meat. However, as the pulses of pink energy move through the stems and into the bulges, the smell seems to recede slightly with each wave.

You gag slightly, but both of the others seem used to it.

“Ech, ugh. Lord Inubashiri, grab some of these branches and relax, I need more energy.”

“Is this...What are you aiming to do exactly?”

“I dunno, I’m just spitballing here. But it should work!”

”Wraiths of Acheron, the woeful horde. Hear my Call. Obey my will.”

You step forward and insert your hands into the arboreal coffins. Aye, you feel their souls, wavering somewhere distant not just in physical terms, but also in consciousness. Unlike the evil spirits, you don’t feel acceptance. You feel fear, and their claws lashing against your mind.

”Ice of Cocytus, lament in form. Stop all force, by hell’s decree.”

With that incantation, the nerves in your brain feeling those painful spiritual sensations are blacked out. Ignoring their attacks, you forcibly drag their souls back little by little with repetitive commands.

“Awyri, can you do this part? Go small and grab that medikit.” You order, “Grab the golden and the turquoise tinctures, and pour half of each over each of the bodies. Then crack two of those strange nuts you see, mash the grubs in them between your hands, and smear them over the bulges.”

“Dare I ask you what this is for?” She asks as she cautiously follow your instructions.

“Precursors for Celestial medicine from Eientei. It’s the stuff gods ate to never grow old or die. I don’t have the raw power to actually synthesize it though, since that requires Divine Flames like Taishan Laojun’s furnace. But they help as a catalyst for the next part. Probably.”

”Styx. Where all rivers flow. Where all men---”



“Hey, that’s the wrong incantation.”

[x] Sorry.

“Yeah, I REALLY don’t want to use that one.”
...

You interrupt yourself with a sudden, irresistable hacking cough as some dust flies into your throat. All parties look with alarm at the interrupted chant.

“Sorry. Ugh. The Tao sleeps still, its ideals lie dead. Heaven burnt and the celestials fled. From the memories in the ashen fill. Taiqing’s secret: A resurrection pill. Death and life, two states in one. One merely ends while the other begun. Faith twisting nature, fueled by ‘wisdom’. The river flows backwards, flipping the system!”

“ Life and death, yin and yang. Two of one, a porous split! Vapors of Lethe, a Misty blight! Fill these lost souls with Taoist thought! Binds of Acheron, chains of pathos! Call their minds back, reverse their fate!



[x] Wow, that magical logic wasn’t absurdly painful at all.

“Well yeah, those Taoists don’t really think of death as a problem, it’s just a thing that happens like sleeping, so simply forgetting being dead and guiding your soul back in, ala waking up, can port somebody back to life. Piggybacking off of their belief system with the faint knowledge we got from that memory fragment in that old gun is more than sufficient with our techniques. Ha, why were we so worried about that again? We’re literally Jesus!”

[x] If that is so easy though, why don’t more Taoists come back to life?

“Because body preservation and medicine sucked back then, so they can’t restore corpses to a viable state. You know how Miko and Futo both needed to use phylacteries to preserve themselves? Plus the gods of the dead don’t like it. And most importantly there’s that big river between life and death that exists in all belief systems, but we stole the knowledge from somebody who crossed it easily, so…”

[x] I don’t think that guy actually ever died, just astral projected excessively.

“Huh. Pretty sure that was why we had the opportunity to beat the knowledge out of that stupid beggar initially. It’s kind of fuzzy though so I can’t remember.”

[x] So they can’t cross over the river. We still do not have that knowledge. We merely faked it in their minds.

“The ritual’s succeeding, so they obviously did somehow. I can tell they’re tengu souls, at least. Probably some thread left over.”

[x] Let me check...those souls look weird?

“That is queer. Misshapen and bloated too, looks kind of like some carcass washed up---GAMATO! CUT THE RITUAL, NOW!’”

[x] It’s already done. Ritual’s complete. Too late. Rip in Pepperonis. What, did we pull a Pet Semetary?

“Yes...I think we did. We did not pull them OVER the river. We pulled them THROUGH the river! They were Sergeant Narisawa and Corporal Sadao alright. Emphasis on the ‘were’, as whatever’s here is analogous to a body being dragged through a concrete wall by a chain winch: mangled and broken.”

[x] YOU SAID THERE WAS GOING TO BE A BACKLOG ON HIGAN’S SHORE!

“WELL APPARENTLY WE DIDN’T KILL ENOUGH PEOPLE!”

[x] Panic and dump responsibility?

“Do we have another choice?”

[X] Probably not.

...

As the flowers begin to droop and the leaves begin to wilt on the byproduct of your hackneyed resurrection, you quickly incant, “Flames of Phlegethon. Hew off the chains, between the returned and I.”

As you stumble backwards and fall onto your rear, you find some sliver of strength left to weakly call out, “Guard Captain Inubashiri...you promised to take responsibility for what happens next...am I not mistaken?”

“A commander must take responsibility for their subordinates.” Momiji gasps out as she leans onto her sword. “What you did were directly my orders. It’s the Binding Chain invoked through my shield.”

“Good. Because I’m not taking responsibility for what happens next...” Struggling to take a knee, you feel a rough, scaly hand grab your shoulders and heave you upwards, giving you a good look at what happens next.

The vegetation crumbles and falls apart, the residual life force bleeding off. Two wolf tengu, one man and one woman, still clad in their bloodstained armor, slowly crawl out of the dead plant matter. You morbidly note that Narisawa had her entire head blown off, judging based on the dried gore around her upper body, while Sadao had a giant hole put in his torso given the absence of clothing in that area. Not noticeable anymore, of course, as the stolen life had restored the relevant parts, but you can’t help but be glad that you did not have to see your magic work visually.

Momiji steps back, and raises her shield in a defensive stance. You begin to wonder what having a damaged soul like this implies. Symposium of Post-Mysticism stated that Yoshika reverts to part of her old life when the seal comes off, but that could be just residual memories from a very fresh corpse.

Sadao is the first one to open his eyes. Looks normal, no all-black irises or anything, just the usual blood-red lupine eyes of the wolf tengu. He stares blankly at nothing in particular for a few moments, before standing up fully and opening his mouth as if to speak before making a sudden imperceptible motion.

A shout, a white blur, and the loud clang of metal on metal is all you perceive before you see Momiji struggling with the soldier on the ground, succeeding slowly in wrenching his grasped dagger from his throat. Narisawa seems to get up too, at this point, and without opening her eyes, slowly and awkwardly stumbles over to the fight and puts her hand on Sadao’s shoulder. Her face never changes from a totally blank expression.

“Not yet, my love.” Her words come out in a chilling, hollow echo, with an inhuman tone that best analogy of which you can describe as a person imitating a text-to-speech program. It’s like the hollow tinge in Murasa and Tojiko’s voice ampified tenfold, and more of a complete voice rather than a mere flair. The muscle movements are also disturbingly unnatural, as if somebody is tugging on her facial features from the outside.

Somehow, Awyrgan remains undisturbed through all of this, standing in her humanoid form and watching the scene with joyful interest. Out of the corner of your ear, you hear her mutter, “I wonder how these ones taste...”

“Not yet?” Comes an equally hollow reply from her…”love”? Were they an item? The tengu did not tell you this. Sadao notably does not move at all from his struggle with Momiji as he replies, the same blank expression on his face.

“No. We are still on duty. Guard-Captain, may we be relieved of our duties?” Removing the dirt caked sword from her sheath, she rests it across her throat. “Forgive us for failing in our duties, but this...duty, it is too painful to bear.”

“My lungs breathe, yet I feel only suffocation...” Sadao says.

“...My brain thinks, yet I only conclude pain...” His lover follows.

“...My guts contain, yet I only sense emptiness...”

“...My heart pumps, yet the blood stays still….”

“Hey hey hey, hold on there.“ You interrupt, causing the two revenants to turn their heads towards you...without moving their shoulders. “JESUS CHRIST THAT...I mean, uh, why are you doing the creepy synchronization poetry thing?”

“...Our love is all we can cling, lord...”

“...Our love is all that keeps us sane...”

“Without each other, our souls will be torn asunder...”

“Also Sadao is a poetry freak. I’m...doing my best to...keep...the...link alive. I apologize, my love, I cannot think…...of a next line. My brain...is crumbling.”

Normally such a pattern-breaking line would be hilarious, but the dreadfully artificial tone it was delivered in, coupled by the horrifying stance these revenant tengu are positioned in makes it much less of a joking matter.

“Please...captain, let us...rest. And keep what’s left.”

“Ming!” Momiji screams, sheer terror on her usually stoic face, “What have you done?!”

“Mistakes were made. I TOLD YOU THIS WOULD HAPPEN, YOU KNOW. But in any case this was a Taoist resurrection ritual. Without the safeguards, the ritual, the necessary preparations, the items...you know. Maybe sometimes it works, sometimes the soul comes back after drowning in the Sanzu and can no longer fit their own bodies like these two. Either way, your responsibility now.”

You are then aware of the door opening behind you, and the other wolf tengu rushing it at the loud shouting coming from within, their weapons drawn.

“Halt, stop...oh.” The squad’s sergeant, whose name you did not ask for, lowers her weapon at the sight of her resurrected subordinates. You see the path of her perception as her face first lights up in bliss, then dims as her eyes wander down, and finally twists into abject horror and disgust as she fully sense the state of the resurrectees. “GUARD-CAPTAIN!”

“Stand down!”

Ignoring the order, the sergeant screams as she raises her naginata and lunges, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!”

“I said stand down!” Momiji coldly orders as she pushes the revenant off and brings her sword around in a deceptively swift wide arc, smacking the sergeant with the flat end like a paddle and sending her flying back, crashing through a screen door along the way to the tune of some sickening crunches. “This is not the time for a martial challenge. I did what I HAD to. It would have been hypocritical to deny them the same salvation that I was given.”

“Ugh...” You groan. Really? Was that why?

“It was a mistake, yes. But we tried. We had to! Ming, how should we handle this?”

You take a good look at all the wolf tengu gathered on the scene staring at you, even the undead two who turns to look back at you with a glint of interest. Once more, they are counting on you to act.


[x] NOPE
...

“Nope! I’m not dealing with any ethically complicated questions. You took responsibility. Not me. It’s your problem now, Guard-Captain. Awyri, what do you think?”

“Civilized ethics are an alien concept in mine brain. Civilized taste, however...” She replies, not moving her eyes from the revenants.

“And I choose to ignore such things. Not to mention that this is a tengu-to-tengu issue that we are unqualified to discuss due to cultural differences. See ya back at the Mountain when you’re done with this conundrum.”

Grabbing Awyrgan’s arm and avoiding everyone else’s eyes and actively ignoring Momiji’s protests, you speed walk out of the courtyard. Instinctively you reach out with your other arm and grab Sanae by the collar as she was about to sneak in to the problematic scene, and ignore her protests until you make your way out of the house.

“Ming, what was going on in there that you don’t want me to see, huh?” Sanae loudly complains as she smacks you in the hood with her gohei, sending rice grains all over your head as her divine energy bursts on impact.

“I made a mistake, but it was Momiji’s fault.” You murmur, “Botched resurrection.”

Sanae stops, and gives a nervous chuckle, “What? Did you play puppeteer with their bodies and screw up? Even I cannot duplicate that miracle, much less a non-divine like you.”

“No, I was unable to drag their souls back without damaging them. Momiji got what she ordered me to do...what she wanted me to do. Now it’s her’s and the Tengu Command’s problem.”

“So you’re telling me that YOU TRIED TO BREACH THE BORDER OF LIFE AND DEATH THROUGH BRUTE FORCE?”

“Hey, I SUCCEEDED in breaching the border of life and death through brute force. As long as Momiji does the reasonable thing and orders them to re-kill themselves again the damage should be minimized. Like I said, she ordered me to do this. I could take hits from anything physical, but I. For. Sure. Am. NOT TAKING ANY BLAME!”

Sanae and Awyrgan looks towards you, astonished, “My friend, art thee truly concerned this thoroughly on a mere responsibility issue? Even post thy unwilling combat with all manner of knightly scum?”

“Well I can’t simply bash in the face or get others to bash in the face of responsibility now, can I? That requires things like charisma! And basic social awareness! Both things that I do not trust myself with! I’m only willing to take responsibility when the people who will come after me for it are clearly enemies, not allies or God forbid...neutral parties.”

“Speaking of responsibility.” A rainbow serpent hisses as it slithers into the room, before reasserting itself as your ancestor squatting on a table with closed eyes and a wide smile. “Great job there.”

“Was that sarcastic, grandma?”

“Nope. Hopefully this little controlled calamity you caused will allow the tengu to rethink their entrenched traits from living in a Walled Garden, and give the Guard-Captain some much needed...toughening, and stop asking you, Guo Guo, for miracles in the future. I would not worry too much about the souls themselves. Personality grows back, after all.”

“Does that mean they will begin asking me instead for resurrections?” Sanae worriedly asks, “Because neither I, nor any god in this land, possess enough power to actualize a Lazarus miracle. That Sodom and Gomorrah one is about my limit for now, sadly.”

“Hopefully the fate of their former comrades will dissuade them from that silly illusion. Now then, we have a much bigger issue that you need to decide what to do.”

Gesturing out the window, you see Meiling first point northeast, where a large area of scorched earth, burnt corpses, and the smoldering, rotting remains of a mass of red matter mark Awyrgan’s fun time. Then she gestures east, at the massive mud lake created by Sanae going Biblical, the pits of salt that mark her victims, and the shellshocked Russians making camp at the edge, trying to eat a meal that their strangely unaffected captain and lieutenant are preparing. Finally, she points north, at the large botchy patch of decay that the Garden of the Sun has become.

Oh, and there are random fires burning all over the place. Really puts the whole scene together.

“See, this wouldn’t be an issue if there wasn’t a ‘ceasefire’ going on. And this magnitude of destruction is exactly what neither side can really deny. The enemy will be tossing a lot of hard questions at the Mountain, and from what I could tell, the Mountain really isn’t ready to break it.”

“I thought you and Yanagi planned...”

“What was nominally a mission to extract Chen, who as you probably noticed is not here, as we had Nue escort her to the mountain as soon as Miss Kochiya took out the surrounding firebases. As such, we have a fair justification as the soldiers were under attack beforehand. The three of you, as the distraction team, however, probably have less things to lean on when their negotiators come a-knocking.”

Sanae looks unfazed, “We do negotiate with terrorists. Ming, merely a relatively strong outsider, already took care of their elite guard with a hatchling for aid... ”

“Tis inaccurate, but I appreciate the inferred compliment.”

“...How are they going to win? At all?”

“The Human Village has fallen into their hands.” Comes the matter-of-fact reply from Meiling, “In addition to their total control over the Border and our lack of knowledge on the status of Clear Sky outside means that we can expect endless reinforcements on their part. Also, we’re pretty sure they have a final solution for the Gensokyo problem in progress. I’m not going to be able to remotely puppeteer Ming to fight forever in this scenario.”

Looking at your surprised face, she laughs, “What, did you not notice your sudden combat capability spike? The least I could do for a promising descendant is to Matrix some of my kung-fu into you, you know what I’m saying? At least I know you’ll use it for good reasons…” Her voice drops to an angry murmur, ”...unlike that disappointment He Zi-zhen.”

“That would explain how I was able to fight mid-air...” You disappointedly mutter as the rainbow scale in your head does a little jingle.

Sanae crosses her arms and shrugs, “I still stand by my statement. What I did was just and lawful retaliation. Ming? What are you going to say?”



[ ] Take full responsibility - “I am a rogue agent, not affiliated with the mountain, come at me.”
[ ] Do not take full responsibility
- [ ] Deny knowledge “Faulty knowledge from command. Must be an agitating party or something.
- [ ] Justify intent “I was just protecting my friends when they came under attack for no real reason.”
- [ ] Deny involvement “I have no idea what you’re talking about, as you can see here Awyrgan is a moe girl like most youkai and not a fighter jet sized dragon.”
- [ ] Zip your mouth closed on this matter.
>> No. 31230
Wasn't the whole OP made on the premise they don't know Ming was affiliated to the Tengu ?

[X] Take full responsibility
-[X] Deny common sense "We went to play with Yuuka-chan when your boys fired AAMs at us and joined the fun."
>> No. 31231
[X] Take full responsibility
-[X] Deny common sense "We went to play with Yuuka-chan when your boys fired AAMs at us and joined the fun."

YES.
>> No. 31232
[x] Take full responsibility
-[x] Deny common sense "We went to play with Yuuka-chan when your boys fired AAMs at us and joined the fun."

Insanity is the only option.
>> No. 31233
[X] Take full responsibility
-[X] Deny common sense "We went to play with Yuuka-chan when your boys fired AAMs at us and joined the fun."
>> No. 31234
[ ] Take full responsibility - “I am a rogue agent, not affiliated with the mountain, come at me.”

This is what he wanted to do. Being the shield

Also,I'm sure the mountain will be more than happy to denounce him after that.
>> No. 31235
[x] Do not take full responsibility
- [x] Justify intent “I was just protecting my friends when they came under attack for no real reason.”

Seems more or less the same as the write-in anyway.
>> No. 31238
>>31235
Not really. It's not the same option if he acknowledges to have friends,allies or acted under orders. Taking full responsibility means it was just him and his dragon friend breaking a siege under ceasefire for no valid reason.
>> No. 31247
File 152464170577.jpg - (37.24KB, 284x350, Paladin.jpg) [iqdb]
31247
[X] Take full responsibility
-[X] Deny common sense "We went to play with Yuuka-chan when your boys fired AAMs at us and joined the fun."

“We weren’t associated with the Mountain, we’re just a dragon and her friend out for some fun vacation times. Nothing that happened was planned and all was incidental them firing missiles at us for no good reason.”

“Tis true. These villains are underhanded snapdogs, they know naught of the proper conduct of war, and open fired upon mine form with no provocation. The fault lies upon their conscience.”

“But really, grandma, I doubt it would matter. They have a kill on sight policy for me at this point and what I say would most likely be disregarded, which is probably for the better.”

“Is that so? So you do have a good justification.” Meiling shrugs and sighs, “Seems like your best option is to hope that they will confirm your statements by opening fire as soon as they see you.”

“That doesn’t help me at all.”

“No, but it does help keeping the youkai hostile towards them, which is what we want. Resistance is kept up as the tengu see the enemy unwilling to spare a respected medic, thus buying time for support from the outside and allowing Lady Scarlet leeway and influence to progress her goal in the next few days.”

“Yeah, but I’ll be dead.” You protest, “The aerial battle I just went through was a somewhat pre-planned ambush and they still almost killed me like three times and wrecked my Lunarian armor. I want to be a shield, but a shield needs repairs every so often to remain a shield. Regardless of my powers, grandma, I’m a mostly untrained human, and you said that you can’t possess me forever to fight..”

“A mostly untrained human who has the potential to wipe out teams of heroes.” She gently remarks, stepping down from the table. “And I said I can’t remotely puppeteer you...not that I cannot do so locally.”

“Huh?”

“Dear Guoguo, when separate, we struggle to take down even one semi-hero. But when I give my full combat abilities to you, we can make corpses of entire teams of them.” She smiles and extends her hand out, palm up, “As I have mostly ran dry of faith at this point, why don’t we take our partnership to the next level, grandson?”

Before you can react, she moves her hand under your chin and pulls your mouth open. Before you can turn away, a flash of blinding rainbow light disorients your senses. Before you even gasp and choke, the serpent had slithered its way down your throat and into your internals.

Your head grows hot, your muscles twitch and spasm, and you limbs flail with unprecedented rigidity, until settling down into an eerie stillness.

You look up, and in front of you is Meiling’s empty clothes, slumped in a pile of multicolor dust. A foreign heart beats within you, raw and unrefined, but a heart nonetheless.

A voice, distinct from your two internal thoughts, resonates through your brain, tingling and prickly, irrepressible in anyway through its sheer force of filial fear, “There. That should patch up the weaknesses in your body. If only it was this easy for our country. That odd resistance you have to the divine is fascinating, but I think I found a weakness...”

“What?” You think to the not-yourself.

“Fallen gods, like me, are no longer divine. Best to keep that in mind, as I can only act upon your physical body, and not the magical portions.”

“Great. Well then.” You turn around to see Sanae frozen in shock, while Awyrgan’s tail swishes back and forth as she looks at you with her usual curious gaze. Seriously, is this dragon fazed by anything at all?

“Was thy ancestor a delectable treat? Friend?”

“Th-that wasn’t food, that was...”

Sanae snaps out, “By all that is good under the sky, what that really Miss Hong? Was she that...creature that...Oh no, Ming! Are you hurt?”

“Wait what, this is possession right? You of all people should be used to that?”

“That was possession?” Her horrified look betrays no evidence of sarcasm, “Only evil spirits possess like...that...oh...”

You form a thought, but it does not reach your spinal cord. Your mouth moves independently, “What are hated, forgotten gods like me, but mere evil spirits anyway?”

“Do you have to do that?” You tell yourself right after while Sanae turns away on instinct, “Sharing a mouth will get really annoying.”

“I won’t talk much, promise. Really, I plan on using this opportunity to catch up on some sleep that Sakuya deprived me of. You’ll only hear me when you need me. Now...” You hear and simultaneously perform a long, windy yawn.

The voice fades, and again you are left alone in the silence of your own mind.

“My friend,” Awyrgan says in an awfully detached voice as she leans in to your face, “Thy eyes art now the color of sapphire like thy ancestor. Tis glowing with an appealing, valuable shine. Delectable.”

You check in the cabinet mirror in this room. Meiling’s blue pupils do indeed stare back at you from your own eye sockets. You begin to recognize your own face as foreign.

“Eh, could have been worse. I’ve already given up my political and personal autonomy in Gensokyo, might as well give up my bodily integrity as well.“

“Lady Kanako and Lady Suwako never possessed me in such a visceral manner.” Sanae mutters, still somewhat shaken. “Usually you get some faint light, and a projection of their spirits appear alongside you like a Stand or something, but crawling down your throat? That’s...so blatantly evil in appearance.”

“Sanae, you just turned two platoons of living, breathing human beings into salt pillars.” You respond incredulously, “And this is what disturbs you?”

The green-haired protagonist looks confused, “You should be right in some ways, but I still find this more disturbing. Gods are supposed to punish the wicked with fire and lightning after all, but they are not supposed to enter people’s mouths like a horror movie alien creature.”

“You haven’t been studying the Olympians then. Regardless, god or not, Meiling’s action here should help me deal with the upcoming bullshit. Lets go.”

“Grab my clothes for me, would you kindly?”

You head out the front door of the Yakumo residence with the two girls in tow. It’s evening, but since it’s summer the afternoon sun is still shining brightly over the smoldering landscape visible over the surrounding treetops.

“Hoy there!” You turn to see Castor shouting from his chained position under a tree...wait, did he recover from that stunt this fast? “You mind telling us what’s going on?”

“How the hell...”

“I am tougher than I may appear,” He cheerfully laughs, even with the noticeable scar on his neck, “Despite lacking the Lux’s questionable “blessings”. But may I ask why the normally cautious wolves have neglected to keep watch over me? Is the area under attack?”

“No, but they are running towards an moral issue I’m determined to stay away from. Damn, Awyri, unchain them would ya?”

“No need.” The ex-paladin breathes in, and in a burst of golden light, the chains break apart. Grabbing his still unconscious sister over his shoulder, he walks over, “Let us be off. Oh, Lady Kochiya, you’re coming with us?”

“Of course, Sir Pyrus.” Sanae enthusiastically replies as she helps him with the carry. You frown, this guy got Sanae to act friendly with him in just an hour? There is after all, still a possibility of betrayal from him.

As Awyrgan shifts back and the lot of you climb onto her back, you notice that she does not bother restraining the prisoners any more. You also notice that, over the course of this one day, she had gradually grown from the size of a large horse to the size of a fighter jet, an entity able to comfortably take on all of the passengers without batting an eye.Though given the sheer quantity of matter she intaked, it really should not be surprising.

“We’re heading back to Youkai Mountain. Hang on tight. Oh, how’s your sister? You’ve been asking for medical attention for her, but we did not have an opportunity to remove her armor yet.”

“Stable, thanks to the holy armor’s capabilities, but only so much. You battered her internals quite a bit, and Miss Fujiwara certainly did not help,” Castor sighs as Awyrgan locks everyone in and takes off, four exhausted or worse humans seated on her back. “She would only survive for a few minutes at best if the armor comes off.”

“I’ll handle it,” Comes Sanae’s offer, “I can perform several healing miracles if you don’t want Ming’s anti-divinity all over your sis. Just give me a couple of hours to freshen up my body.”

“Thank you, Lady Kochiya.” The ex-paladin bows, “You have not...will not change much in personality...hmm? Lady Awyrgan. We need to stop for a moment.”

The dragon rears up and airbrakes as the knight drops his voice for no real reason. “I’m getting a familiar feeling. A good one before, a bad one now. Can we get some close-up visuals on that temple near the top?”

“Moriya? Sure.” You turn on your Hunter’s Module, slightly cracked at this point, and zoom in to the building. “Looks normal…” Your eyes are then suddenly filled with red, ”aaaand the energy-based threat detection blob is covering my screen. I’m blind.”

“Tis a queer feeling, Mr. Pyrus. ” The dragon remarks, “I feel fear, even within the presence of mine friend and all of you, and with no challengers in my sight.”

“It’s Rigel of the Seven. He’s in the temple.” Castor says, nervous. “I highly recommend not arriving at our destination. Anywhere else, really, just not there.”

“He’s just a big hero, right?” You ask, “And he’s not going to start a fight on the Mountain, is he?”

“No...but he doesn’t need to. Hold on, let me try hiding our presence. Let me go for a moment.” The scale restraints detach, and he stands up before dropping into a crouch, holding his arms to his chest in some sort of a praying pose. “Spirits of the Air, Souls of man. Blind their eyes, senses hidden.”

A sort of distortion in the air forms, surrounding you in faint crackles of golden energy that quickly blacken into an impenetrable sphere of darkness.You flail around in the darkness a bit, before Awyrgan’s scales light up with streaks of plasma, illuminating the area.

“There, looks like there’s quite a bit of hope in this land. Alright,” He removes a bracelet from his wrist, fiddles around with it somewhat until it levitates off of his palm and rearranges itself into a square screen with a holographic image hovering in the middle.

“WHOA! That is so cool! Not even the kappa have gotten that far!” Sanae gasps in delight as she stares at the gadget, “If humans in the future get to do that with devices that small, I wouldn’t mind living then!”

The look Castor gives her is one of pure disapproval, “No, no you don’t. For starters, strawberries and many other basic foodstuffs have gone extinct, and outside of the wealthy countries, starvation was the rule prior to the war. After the war began, it was violence and starvation,” The knight sighs as he pulls up the model of the head of a man, seemingly around thirty, with blond hair and sharp eyes, “This is Rigel of the Seven. One of the individuals chosen directly by the Lux Pacifica and current leader of this remnant Savior shard. I guess I should have info-dumped all of this sooner. The Seven were the leaders in the resistance against the Violet Tyrant’s new world order, with the stated goal of not allowing humanity to become degraded and ruled over by monsters.”

“I figured that’s what you guys were going for given the accusations leveled at me.” You remark.

“The Seven were nominally equal, but there was a clear distinction in their roles. Rigel, for instance, is generally listed last, and serves the role of strategist and governmental ruler over the Savior-aligned portion of the world.” Zooming the hologram out, you see that the man is massive, even outside of his armor, “They all agree that he is the weakest of the Seven in combat, and that he should stay out of direct fighting to lend his wisdom and insight from the backline.”

You take a gander at the weapon he is leaning on, “Huh, a hammer-wielder, like us.”

“Unfortunately, though he does not use it that often.”

Sanae nods, “So, he’s the Caster class out of the seven summoned heroes then?”

“My name, a class, wha--Oh, CastEr. No, Kentaurus is the one who specializes in pure magic, if that’s what you meant. Odd choice of wording.” Castor continues while Sanae shrugs at the missed, or perhaps long-forgotten, reference, “But don’t worry about him, he’s dead, along with four others. The only other living one is Arcturus, considered the fourth best fighter of the seven, and as far as I know he fell out with Rigel after the others died, and I have no clue as to his actions afterwards, only that he took the majority of the remnant forces.”

Five of the Seven are dead? You let out a sigh of relief, at least for now you don’t have to worry about that many more Exalted-esque heroes massacring you.

“So we’re hiding from a mere tactician? Gragh!” Sanae snarls, anger and irritation across her face, “Let’s just go and SMITE him already!”

“Not to doubt your abilities, Lady Kochiya, but let me finish my explanation: The Seven are directly empowered by the closest equivalent to a omniscient god’s manifestation in millenia. He can slaughter every single youkai in Gensokyo at the moment by himself, and take on his own Companions one against fifty and come up on top. This also illustrates just how much the Violet Tyrant’s forces, including all of you, grew over the next two centuries into something that killed these heroes. He is not a sword swinging warrior, though he can still do it perfectly well. He’s a king, a statesman, and a thinker. He can determine your capabilities and flaws at a glance, formulate a plan to subdue you, and carry out that plan within seconds. As long as he has access to his baseline miracles from the Lux, he really cannot lose.”

“So how did we win then? Bullshit?”

“How did you think the war killed over a billion people? You had---will have, similar tacticians on your side as well, which resulted in the war lasting more than a full decade. Pure, horrendous insanity. Also remember I wasn’t on your side. I do not know exactly how you isolated and killed five of the Seven, but your side won. At a horrible cost, but you won. In the face of something like this, I recommend that you find some other place to wait.”

“Oh no. No no no. We’re not running. I’m not leaving my home today just because some guy with a hero-complex decides to visit. It’s not right.” Sanae argues, “Ming, we’re going back. If this Rigel wants to push his luck by stepping into the heart of our territory, I, at least, am going to tell him he’s not welcome. I doubt he’ll go as far as to kill me in front of the whole mountain.”

“I wouldn’t be too sure about that. He’s getting...unstable, to say the least, mostly since five of his friends are dead. Good for your side.”

“My friend.” Awyrgan interjects, “This talk is becoming tiresome, are you proceeding to follow Sir Pyrus’s advice or Lady Kochiya’s?”



[ ] Into the typhoon, we’re going to confront, hopefully in a civil manner, the leader behind all this
[ ] Divert your course, we’re going to die if something goes wrong
>> No. 31248
[x] Divert your course, we’re going to die if something goes wrong.

Sorry Sanae, but skipping to the final boss sounds like a really bad idea from where I'm sitting.
>> No. 31249
[x] Divert your course, we’re going to die if something goes wrong

Sure, let's at best give a described Uber-Strategist a wealth of intel for no reason and at worst get us and all our allies into captivity.
>> No. 31250
[x] Into the typhoon, we’re going to confront, hopefully in a civil manner, the leader behind all this

I don't doubt he's underprotected, but leaving a admittedly unhinged tactician unchecked is one of the worst things you could do.
>> No. 31251
[x] Divert your course, we’re going to die if something goes wrong

We just said we wanted to be a shield but if "Murderer #1" shows up with a guy of the seven that definitely, DEFINITELY knows who we are and knows the threat that both MC and Awyri represent, he might be willing to strike first.

There's no reason to show ourselves and also implicate Moriya with our presence, especially after the pains we've kinda gone through to try to keep up the semblance of "not tied together". I'd also like to make sure our ex-Paladin friends are not seen consorting with us, who knows what safe-guards could've been put in their armor.
>> No. 31252
>>31251

Same anon here, also, she's in the Temple with Kanako who in my mind is the best war tactician we've probably got -- our appearance would likely only throw things off here.

I'm a little surprise Sanae hasn't attempted to commune with her Gods remotely to see what's up, unless she's unable to do so at the moment.
>> No. 31253
seconding >>31251
[x] Divert your course, we’re going to die if something goes wrong
You don't enter what could very much turn into fight while carrying a wounded person.
>> No. 31254
[x] Into the typhoon, we’re going to confront, hopefully in a civil manner, the leader behind all this

can't let Kanako be convinced/killed he may be planning on turning a war goddess to their side
>> No. 31255
[x] Into the typhoon, we’re going to confront, hopefully in a civil manner, the leader behind all this
If we don't then we lose Sanae. That's a fact.
>> No. 31256
Vote calling in two days, FYI
>> No. 31257
Vote called for diverting course.
>> No. 31262
File 152793989384.png - (518.48KB, 643x867, __reisen_udongein_inaba_touhou_drawn_by_sawaya_miz.png) [iqdb]
31262
[x] Divert your course, we’re going to die if something goes wrong
[x] Sanae, can’t you speak to your patrons?
“MING!”

“Look, Sanae, none of us are in fighting condition. If Rigel so much as sneezes at us it’s game over. Come to think of it, can’t you use the bond with your gods to see what’s going on?”

She seems to tense up, then shrugs, “They’ve probably figured out about my little killing spree already though. But fine. Sir Pyrus, lower the stealth field. Awyrgan, fly away from the mountain.”

“Aye.”

“Mine pleasure.”

As you execute the aforementioned tactical retreat. Sanae puts her hair ornaments back on, and begins praying. “Lady Kanako, Lady Suwako, if you can hear my voice, please respond.”

You see the traces of light converging to form an image, much like how you’d expect a god to appear in spirit. The image coalesces into a long, slender shape.

A sword.

A sword that flies straight at you and spears you in the chest.

“Oh look at that, I’ve been impaled.” You blankly state as you feel absolutely nothing while the purely divine projectile dissipates. “Sanae?”

She stares at you, half apologetic and half confused, “That wasn’t supposed to happen.”

“Rigel’s interfering with the divine energy in that area, being a massive battery of it himself.” Castor states in a seemingly calm tone that is undermined by his visible shaking, “ He saw us during that prayer, but good thing we didn’t get far yet. Milady Awyrgan, if you would randomwalk please.”

“What?” Sanae shouts in disbelief? “He’s strong enough of a hero to intercept the prayers between me and my goddesses!”

“Aren’t you glad we didn’t go in face-first?” You remark.

Awyrgan flattens her wings and the traces of energy under her scales glow brighter as she begins a complex random flight path over Gensokyo.

“I really like how he threw an attack at the one person it wasn’t going to affect,” You say, with a shiver as you realize what would have happened if he did that against Awyrgan.

“Like I said, master tactician, but in the process of breaking down.” Rigel sighs, then suddenly sits up straight in alarm as he notices a red glow coming from his sister’s armor. “Oh, oh no. Ming, you promised to get my sister treatment, right? Get us that, now!”

You grit your teeth. “Awyri, remember Eientei?”

“Doth thee doubt mine memory?”

“No, get us there, now!”

She flips around and begins heading straight for the Bamboo forest. You turn around to check on the turncoats, “What’s wrong, did something happen?”

“That link also allowed him to remotely excommunicate our blessed armor. She’s going to die in the next hour or so without treatment.”

“I’M SORRY!” Sanae cries, “I...I didn’t mean to, I just...”

“Chill.” You pat her on the shoulder as Awyri plunges straight into the bamboo thicket, “We’ve got somebody who can cross Gensokyo in a few minutes, time isn’t an issue. AND she somehow knows where Eientei is without a guide.”

“Tis simple, really. Magnetic disorientation works naught on a beast such as I, so suffused and and shimmering with the regular movement of molten metal. I shall land within their courtyard and...tis that...”

She swerves sharply out of the way as a circle of brightly shining pale orbs surround her, before bursting apart into a spray of blue bullets, rather pretty against the setting sun in the distance. As you struggle to regain orientation, you then notice something coming from behind, something big and flaming.

“Awyri! Left!”

She barely dodges out of the way of a crumbling piece of spacecraft, which looked to be a replica of a Lunar landing module, as it streaks passed you and dispersed into silvery magical residue. Residue which is quickly cleared by a hail of arrows flying towards you. Non-magical arrows, but they are coming unusually fast.

Awyrgan batters them aside with her wings with ease. “Thou depleted of swords, foe?”

An explosion rings out to your right, ringing your ears and dimming your vision for a moment. You turn, and dumbly note for a moment that half of Awyrgan’s right wing has been blown off, smoldering silver.

You then notice that you are falling, and subsequently the feeling of restraints on your legs disappearing as Awyrgan disintegrates, reverting into her mana-light humanoid form as she falls. Turning around, you see Castor grab ahold of his sister, and try futilely to activate the defunct wings on her back.

Without a moment’s hesitation, you throw the broken wings you were carrying to him. As the knight catches them on reflex and his divine energy suffuse the device, he looks at you with a mix of gratitude and sadness as you wave at him with a smile, falling down to earth with no armor protecting you.

And then not one second later Sanae snatches you up, before diving down and grabbing the unconscious Awyrgan up with her other hand. You smile wider as the knight shakes his head.

“Well that was expected. I knew that Gensokyean heroes are strong enough to fly and carry people even when exhausted!”

“Eh...I can’t. You two are pretty heavy.”

Looking at the movement of the bamboo leaves, you see that you are still losing altitude. Slower, but still losing altitude at an unpleasant pace.

You then look down and see the ground rising up to greet you for the third time today. Your smile goes away.

“Sorry.”

“FUCKING DAMN IT WE’RE---” You are interrupted by Sanae’s erratic descent smashing you into a bamboo stalk.

“Sorry.”

Eventually the three of you come to a abrupt, but not too much so, stop on the forest floor. Face-first. You spit out a mouthful of leaves as you roll around and stare up. Awyrgan is still out cold with a broken wing, and Sanae is groaning in pain in a fetal position after crashing into a stalk like you did.

Angry voices can be heard coming from a steadily closer source, and you look up to see a woman with almost feet length black hair and the white-robed assassin Tsuki no Iwakasa shouting at Eirin, who is unusually nonplussed. Her hair’s undone and her clothes are dirty, and she looks as if she hadn’t slept in days. Your ears are still ringing, so you can’t tell what they are saying in Japanese. Your vision is similarly blurry.

A pink shape looms over you, with a blacking topping and white ears. You then feel a stinging pain in your right arm, as Tewi grins at you and shows you what looks to be a two pronged hypodermic needle. The pain then fades away, along with the rest of the exhaustion in your body.

“...I told you!...Friendly fire!...”

“....fault...”

“...at least...be sure...”

You struggle up to see Tewi patch up the other two on the ground. Needle into Sanae’s arm, needle out of Sanae’s arm. Needle into Awyrgan’s....needle snaps.

“At least you did not kill your own employee, Eirin.” An unfamiliar voice says, “Just let Iwakasa go on watch next.”

“Princess, I’m sorry, but I can’t...”

“Focus your attention on cleaning up the mess you made, Eirin. Shooting down our allies is not good form and not your usual style.” Judging by the formal Japanese and assertive tone, the other voice must be Kaguya.

Somebody helps you up, “Kiddo, you have got to stop getting yourself into these situations. Wait, are you actually conscious?”

“Whaaat, we didn’t exactly make a very hard landing.” You grumble as you pretend that you didn’t lose all feeling in your legs.

“As the person responsible for this accident,” You turn to see Eirin, with dark circles under her eyes and a genuine look of depressed confusion on her face, “I sincerely---”

“Eirin...” The woman that you now recognize as...damn, she is very pretty without the warbeast goo over her, the game art and even the best fanart you’ve seen fail at doing her justice...Kaguya Houraisan nudges her companion.

The doctor dutifully bows deeply, “I sincerely apologize for opening fire without provocation or checking the target.”

“Me and Sanae are probably fine. It’s Awyrgan you need to apologize to.” You answer as you walk over to the motionless dragon. Holding her up, you check her neck for a pulse, only realize the fault in your reasoning when you feel unfamiliar writhing movement under her humanoid facade “Yeah, that shot didn’t kill her, what spellcard was that?”

“It was not a spellcard. That was a purely physical shot from my daikyu.” You notice that Eirin is holding a variant of the all-metal bow you saw earlier in Eientei’s archery range, “Her name is Awyrgan? Who is this girl?”

“The Lowe-model tank that was acting unusually friendly to me.” You say has you pick her off the ground, quite easily even without armor as metal tends to be lighter than bone and water, “Turned out to be an incubating western dragon, as you can see by the wings, the tail, and the scales that serve as clothing. Hmm...doesn’t feel like she lost much energy at all...Awyri, are you awake?”

“Princess...I smell the scent of...princesses...” She groans, a bit of sizzling drool leaking from the side of her lips. You sigh in relief. Some metal and she’ll probably be as good as new.

A ruffling sound comes from the leaves above, then a soft *puft* as the brown skinned defector lands onto the ground with his sister cradled in his arms. “Null Fi--Ming, is this where your promised medical facility is located?”

“Oh right. Lady Yagokoro, I will accept your apology if you are willing to restore the person in that armor...”

“Done.” Eirin asks with just a cursory glance made. “Mortal organ trauma, skull fracture, multiple spinal dislocations. Tewi, prep the Blessed Water Vessel. Stranger, if you would carry your wounded sister and follow the rabbit...”

“How...” You begin to ask, when Castor walks by you and mutters, “This is what I meant by intelligences that won the war for your side.”

Eirin clears her throat, “Now, if you need anything else, ask anybody else. Again, I am sincerely sorry for this incident. I do however, have work to do.” Saying all of that with a very insincere tone, she then turns around and quickly walks back into Eientei.

“I did not know Eirin acts like that after almost killing three innocent people.” Sanae complains as Iwakasa helps her off the ground, “It doesn’t seem her style, right Ming?”

You suppress the urge to correct her assumptions on this one. “Yeah, probably. Eirin did order me to not come back.”

“Ah, forgive me. I had forgotten to thank you for risking your life to help me out earlier.” Kaguya says as she gives you a deep bow, her ridiculously long hair somehow not touching the ground in the process, “Mr. Wu Ming.”

“I was just doing my job.” You slightly bow in return, “My pleasure to meet you while conscious, Lady Houraisan. Say, Lady Yagokoro appears rather unfazed about me being back here.”

“That was before you three collectively vaporized a hundred or so of their people, and the incident of thy Hunter Module feeding data of multiple lesser-god level hostiles and a single monstrosity on par with Great Amaterasu herself” Kaguya looks worriedly at Eirin in the distance, who had just shut the door to the main building, “She has been trying to reconstruct a weapon capable of slaying heroes of that caliber. It has not been positive for her health....she has already committed suicide multiple times to refresh her body.

Ignoring Sanae’s and your shocked expressions, she continues, “Regardless, as she has not raised any objections to you disregarding an order, I will permit you to rest here for a while if you do not attract undue attention.”

“You mean crashing a dragon into this area isn’t attracting undue attention?”

“If they wish to seek you, they will succeed with their copied Lunarian technology. The reason why they have retreated, judging by your exoskeleton and Hunter Module’s data according to Eirin, was that they did not wish to keep wasting lives. As far as we can discern from their troop movements, after the attack three hours ago they seem to be content on avoiding you. As the situation for now is an eye in the storm, you may be guests at Eientei for now.”

“So dinner?” Sanae grumbles along with her stomach, “Miracles take a lot of energy.”

“Of course. We’ll set aside some metal for the dragon as well when she wakes up.”

“Princess...two? Two princesses...” Awyrgan is beginning to exude smoke out of her nostrils as well.

“Are you sure about that?”

“We can handle a western drake,” Kaguya smiles as several rabbits come over to carry the unconscious anti-princess off. Sanae, seeing that the situation has been handled, rushes off into Eientei, you are about to follow her when Kaguya tugs on your ragged sleeves.

“Mr. Wu, Udongein wants to see you.”

Your brain does a little twitch, “What?! She tried to kill me last time!”

“She is preparing to apologize, hence the request. Aside from that, judging by your combat data, I find it difficult to believe that she could do so even if she tried. I shall remain nearby, if that will put you at ease.”

She does a stereotypical head tilt and smile at the end, which causes you to avert your eyes lest you show some emotion. It’s beautiful, even for you, but rather detached.

After all the crap you ground through today, she is probably right in that case. You follow Kaguya back into Eientei and its spacious Japanese corridors and thick odor of bamboo and herbs. After passing by several familiar areas, you stand in front of a door simply labelled with ‘Reisen’, etched into the wood.

“Udongein! You have been wanting to see a Wu Ming?”

Silence, and then the door slowly slides open open with nobody visible immediately inside the darkened room. Kaguya gently ushers you in, before shutting the door behind you.

Slowly your eyes adjust to the darkness. To the right of you there is a dim, covered light. You slowly walk over, careful not to trip or to bump into anything. As you get closer you realize that it is a large lump of something, covered by a blanket made to emulate the American flag.

“Reisen?”

“You’re here.” A pair of rabbit ears emerge from the blanket, and then the rest of Reisen emerges like a snake, crawling on the ground, her voice oddly detached and empty. “Wu Ming.”

“So, er, why do you want me here? Are you in the middle of something?”

“Just a bit of remembrance treatment for me.” You notice an astronaut’s helmet and an opaque sack buried in the blanket. “I wanted you here so I can apologize for my insane actions a few days ago, not with platitudes, but with some forbidden info.”

“Forbidden?”

“Master did not wish for you to know this, but currently she is distracted and I have waveproofed this room. Sight and sound do not pass that door.”

“Can you turn on the lights then?”

A light whir, and the soft glass lamp in the room flare to life. You can see now that Reisen’s room is furnished in a quite comfy manner. A padded armchair next to a sleek, modern looking desk made of polished wood, next to a thick futon that she is currently on. The cabinet, closet, and other assorted furniture are well-designed with a curved feel and layers of embroidered cloth.

“Nice room. So, what is this forbidden information you speak of?” You sit down next to her, “I’m rather excited.”

“A severe aberration in your medical report when we salvaged you from the missile impact.” She slides open a drawer, and pulls out some papers from the bottom of the stack within. “Here’s the full copy if you want to read it, but other than minor prior weight issues, everything else was normal save for the aberration.”

“Which is...”

Reisen lowers her eyes, “Under both the mundane and magical sensors, you looked normal, like any human would after suffering severe force trauma and burns, but then Lady Yagokoro decided to have a look at you herself out of interest at your alleged drug resistance, she wore a set of frozen lenses crafted by Suijin herself from the deepest water in the sea, and saw...she saw what appeared to be a human corpse, in an unnaturally stalled state of putrefaction consistent with three weeks of decay. This did not change after you were healed.”

“That...that makes no sense.” You say as you pull on your own skin, bewildered. “Here, touch me! Do I feel like a dead body? That literally makes no sense! Even in Gensokyo!”

“This is why we hid this from you, as even for Master, this was a novel problem. However,” Reisen opens another drawer, removes a glasses case and hands it to you, “Here is a pair of goggles with those lenses implanted. What you will see is..grotesque, to say the least.”

You put them on and turn to the mirror. A rotting, maggot hole-ridden effigy of yourself stares back, making you gag slightly and avert your eyes on instinct from the implication of disease. Across your upper body, dotted across your arms and torso, are oddly lively blood vessels pumping...something across your body. You trace a hand across them, and feel the line of a painless burn scar. At their intersections, where you feel the iron card’s clearest imprints, you can see human hearts...no, fragments of something that once was a heart, beating with regular rhythm.

You turn to look at Reisen, and see no difference on her.

“Master did not see any difference in you with just her own eyes, so whatever form of glamour you have on you, it is something only penetrable by divine forces dedicated to some form of truesight like Suijin. I cannot see anything wrong with you either, regardless of how I manipulate the wavelengths into my eye.”

“This makes no sense, at all.” You repeat. “By no other metric am I anywhere near dead. Though...those iron cards being body parts of a magical or divine being of some sort makes sense since they directly gave me control over spells I never learned.”

“About those powers, Ming.” Reisen perks up, “Have you gotten any sort of new memories in your brain? Some spontaneously occurring information?”

“Ugh...other than distant internal dialogue that is no different from mild schizophrenia? I had an adversal feeling to some old iron arquebus Lord Tenma had shown me...oh, and when I decided to violate the bodies of two tengu soldiers, I started adding invocations about some rivers to my ‘spell’ casts...Greco-Roman underworld rivers, I think, like Cocytus and Acheron. Dunno why, I thought I just improvised on the spot.”

Reisen remains silent for some time, fidgeting in her seat, before timidly asking, “...That sounds like either repressed memories resurfacing, or implanted memories taking effect. While a certain Lady Komeiji would be ideal in resolving this issue, in her absence, I can massage your brain to unlock them.”

You stare at her glowing red eyes, “Will it hurt?”

“Not as much as what I did to you already.”

“Go for it then,” You declare as you lean in to her, “It’s not like I have anything to hide.”

Reisen breathes in, and her eyes blink in a rapid strobing pattern. Your vision slowly fades in to the red and your other senses dull, before all becoming overwhelmed. As you fade out, you hear the rabbit whisper.

“Lunatic Red Eyes: Mind Inversion”

===========

2016, April 12

You crack the door open and peak in to the sunlit office.

“Professor, what did you call me here today for? I wasn’t aware of any ongoing experiments.”

“Ah, Zhenguo, have a seat, close the door behind you please.” You dutifully close the door and pull up a chair in front of the smiling professor, “I just wanted to chat a bit about your records, that’s all.”

“Geez, ” You pretend to scratch an itch on your neck while giving a large, sheepish smile, “My attendance hasn’t been good, hasn’t it?”

“No, no, no. Not your academic records.”

“Then what?” You ask, confused, “My job record, criminal record? I’m pretty sure they are all clean as a whistle.”

“Not...exactly.” The man in front of you sighs as he takes off his glasses, “You see, not all records are written down, per say…”

“C’mon, that’s the very definition of records, what is this, a trick question?”

“July 4, 2004.” His smile remains even as his tone drastically lowers, “You lit a bundle of Roman candles in front of a cage of rabbits, burning them alive.”

You smile as well, but only because you are too shocked to change expressions.

“February 13, 2007. You shot and killed a stray cat and her kittens with a pellet gun while they were sleeping in a box. November 25, 2008. You caught a fox and gouged out his eyes before removing each limb while he was alive...”

“Those are just animals nobody will miss...”

“January 9, 2013. You beat a homeless man over the head with a baseball bat after he begged you for money. He died of the wounds that same night...”

“NOBODY WOULD MISS THAT USELESS SHITSTAIN!” You yell as you stand up, having lost all control. The professor just keeps smiling.

“May 14, 2015. While visiting family in China, you lured a lost, dirty looking child into an alleyway, where you strangled her to death because you felt like it was fun. Do you have another excuse for me to keep reciting your crimes?”

You sit in silence, stewing in in disbelief and anger, for a few moments, “You can’t prove this...YOU CAN’T!”

“Oh but I can.” Spinning around in his chair, he turns on the TV and begins flipping through videos. There, in grainy looking CCTV footage, is a recording of you and that feeble wretch in that alley. You watch with horror as your recorded avatar throws the child onto the ground, shoves her face into a puddle of mud, and grasps her neck for three whole minutes until the child finally stops flailing.

“Wu Zhenguo, do note that there are beings watching you, even when there are no cameras to be seen. And don’t try to attack me.” He sharply kicks you under the desk as you feel for your pocketknife. “It will not help.”

“So what do you want? Money? Or do you want to punish me for my crimes to fulfill your sick desires?” You grit out.

“Calling justice a sick desire. Colorful. But no, the material and physical do not concern me. Though you cannot see, Mr. Wu, I am exhausted of my repetitive existence, and an utterly despicable monster like you, would make an excellent shell to bear my burden.”

You turn and run backwards, only to slam face-first into a closed door. Trying the handle, you find with horror that it has been covered by some odd black sphere, that your hands cannot breach.

“I do not need your life or property. I need everything else. Wraiths of Acheron, the woeful horde. Hear my Call. Obey my will.”

Sickly, faintly glowing hands emerge without warning from behind his desk, grasping your limbs and dragging your prone form to the center of the room. You shake some off, only for your limbs to suddenly go dead, and for you to see the same black spheres on the handle covering them. You try to scream, but your lips go numb as well.

“The Ice of Cocytus, such wonderful tools to stop movement. Now,” His smile finally goes away as he produces a large hunting knife from under his coat, “This won’t hurt, honest: Flames of Phlogiston, Hew and renew.”

Some pink energy effuses the blade as it stabs down into your chest. But even as it tears apart your shirt and cuts a deep, heavily bleeding gash in you, you feel no pain even as you struggle to scream with no mouth.

“Don’t bother struggling, fella. It won’t help. ” He then turns the knife in upon himself and does the same to his own chest. Grunting as he bends his ribcage outwards, he reaches in and slowly tears out his own...heart? It looks oddly dead and rotten, but is pulsating far more than what a heart should be, so much that it looks as if it is about to jump out of his hand at any moment.

“Fortunately I replaced my ribs with metallic substitutes. Unfortunately for you though.” His voice grows faint as he reaches into your chest cavity and begins snapping out ribs, all while you scream silently from the sight and the lack of sensation. Tossing them aside like discarded machining fragments, he then tears out your heart, tosses it aside, and plops his own in. “Hew, hew, hew… that should do the trick. ”

It is at this point that you suddenly shift perspective into a third-person one.

“It’s not beating...aw crap. Fecking...I killed him, didn’t I. Call!” Your perspective then gets jerked back into first-person, but in a blurry, abstract sort of way. “Damnation. Well, good enough. Don’t really need him to be alive anyway. Vapors of Lethe, dust of thought. Rise as Mist, twist the minds. Revert the end. Born anew”

You fade, every part of you. Your memories become undone, chopped up into little pieces, and glued back together. Your mind dulls even further than the numbness of death, and the delights, the values...all, who are you again? What are you again?”

“You are Wu Zhenguo, a perfectly normal if cold person. You value no life, not even your own, but will defend others for personal reasons. There, shouldn’t be too much of a difference that they can tell. Now, to make you last until the handoff is complete after I goad you there: Styx, where all rivers flow. Styx, where all lives end. Let your waters consume this body. Let your embrace blind the gods….”

You fade out completely.

~~~~~~~~~
“Ha, ha, Zhenguo, you alive?”

“Whaa…?” You look up and see the counter in front of you laden with bottles, a rough hand slaps you on the back.

“You were jabbering on about how you wanted to visit Japan just to see if some fairy land is real. Ha ha ha! You had way too much to drink, seeing how you passed out for a little bit there.”

Seeing the smiling faces of your professor and school mates around you, you remember that silly thing you’ve been mulling over and how you blurted it out after you tongue was loosened by three bottles of vodka.

“Hey Zhenguo, don’t I recall you passing out after one glass of wine!” One of the freshmen calls out from down the bar as he admires the evidence of your bar tab, “Wow, how did you stay up for that much?”

“Practice and a bit of conditioning, ain’t that the pie?” Your professor laughs as he pats your back again.

“What are you saying,” You sigh, a bit annoyed, “I’ve always been like this, Professor Conner.”

===========

You remember some of it now.

Your false memories falter, and the memories of your old self resurfaces. You remember the delight of the killings that still cast a shadow on your feelings now. You see your past self through the fragments of a broken TV screen. And it absolutely disgusts you.

From his lack of professionalism and pride.

What purpose is there mutilating, torturing, and killing small, entrapped animals? They cannot flee, they cannot fight back, and the world doesn’t care if they die or not.

Similarly, what purpose is there stalking and murdering vagrants, street orphans and wandering mental cases? You spit at your past image. They are already suffering, to which someone as heartless as you could say that death is a mercy for them. The world had already turned its back to them, and does not care if they die or not. In fact, given how everyone else treats them, you could say that murdering them is even conforming to society’s will.

SO WHY? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? There are so many...so many others out there. Gutter scum in suits and ties. Feces piles in uniforms and peaked caps. Glittering gold, silver and bronze covering utter filth that preen and mince among the world’s crust, stomping on those below.

All ripe for the taking, but your past self did not have that ambition and contented himself on the blood of the weak and cheap.

Your true memories, your true self, are all similarly worthless.

========

Your jerk awake.

“Ming? You passed out.”

“It worked.” Your recovery time from trances and unconsciousness is almost zero at this point. “Thanks. I really mean it.”

“So,” Reisen had begun curling back into her blanket. “Wanna share what you remembered?”

“How I was trash. Also who to go find for more answers.”

“Don’t you want to elaborate?” Once again, long waves bombard your brain, and you slowly back away from the rabbit.

“No thanks, it’s not a savory tale, nor is it something I really want people to know.”

The waves cease as Reisen edges closer, still wrapped in the blanket, “I will tell you my secret if you tell me yours.”

[ ] I’ll trade your story for what I’ve got so far. Secrets shared are friendships made.
[ ] Let’s keep our stories to ourselves. Secrets shared are liabilities made.
>> No. 31263
[x] Secrets shared...

I suppose the professor did not suspect that the dead guy would take over.
>> No. 31264
[x] I’ll trade your story for what I’ve got so far. Secrets shared are friendships made.
-[x] ...But your master has to hear this. Sooner rather than later.

Let's not ignore the matter of somebody LURING US HERE TO HAND US OFF TO SOMEBODY while we're under their employ. And from the looks of it, we might seriously need their help to not die to someone that had enough power to use ridiculous magical bullshit, and in the outside world no less.
>> No. 31265
File 152795242952.jpg - (491.58KB, 1385x1600, Peter_Paul_Rubens_181.jpg) [iqdb]
31265
>>31262
> unnaturally stalled state of putrefaction consistent with three weeks of decay.
> A rotting, maggot hole-ridden effigy of yourself stares back, making you gag slightly and avert your eyes on instinct from the implication of disease.
Putrefaction is a result of various protein breaking down makes sense, though I find it strange that flies could apparently see and lay eggs in the dead body. Three weeks is an odd number too, though she said 'stalled' not 'stopped.' Does that mean he will eventually fall apart? Considering the rotting started in 2016, and its currently 2017(?), that's 3 weeks of rot per year. Theoretically, it may be a good idea to guzzle some embalming fluids and the like to be a dry mummy rather than a slow-mo rotting corpse.

>You are Wu Zhenguo, a perfectly normal if cold person. You value no life, not even your own, but will defend others for personal reasons.
>What purpose is there . . . etc
The objective given to him by mystery man is only to 'defend others', nothing to do with the 'purpose' of violence.
> There are so many...so many others out there. Gutter scum in suits and ties. Feces piles in uniforms and peaked caps. Glittering gold, silver and bronze covering utter filth that preen and mince among the world’s crust, stomping on those below.
Seems like he has an innate desire to punish people. Makes sense if the thing that heart-raped him is that lost kishin, which I believe was speculated much earlier. Also fits with the arcane rambling about Cocytus (lake of tears where lucifer hangs out), and 'oni magic'.
>In the Touhou Project, kishin are powerful youkai who reside in Hell. Each kishin chief commands a number of lesser oni in their torment of the souls who fall into Hell
That being the case, Wu's personality has melded with mr kishin. It may be dangerous to indulge in Wu's idea of justice for this reason.

>- Styx, where all rivers flow. Styx, where all lives end. Let your waters consume this body. Let your embrace blind the gods….”
The incantation AFTER the personality reboot, causing Ming to 'fade out.' Earlier, Wu accidentally began to cast 'Styx' during his shitty revival spell, and Kishin corrected him. Styx is typically associated with Achilles. I couldn't find any other reference to its abilities/meaning besides granting immortality.

There's been a few other exchanges with Kishin which take place with the peculiar [x] (dialogue) function. Curious he didn't pipe up this update.

All this said, I'd need to seriously reread this story to get a good grasp on the possible name-identity of the Kishin, and all the other details I've no doubt missed. Kishin uses 'lethe,' 'styx,' 'archeron' and 'cocytus' in the same breath. While it seems like a mishmash to add Cocytus among the Greek, Lethe, Styx, Archeron and Cocytus are all referred to in the Divine Comedy. This leads me to believe the Kishin has a christian origin. Greek origin is also very possible. Keep mind Hecat(e)ia made(?) it.

Scrolled back to find anything I could latch on to:
>The two-headed serpent, watching silently at the conversation, chuckles in relief.
>So does the other watcher
-
>“Hey grandma,” You greet, averting your eyes as the rainbow flows into a two-headed serpent, and then into the red-haired, pseudo Red Guard style-dressed woman you are familiar with by blood. “How long were you watching us?”
Alright so Meiling knows. Maybe.
>> No. 31266
>>31265
Also, only just now googled 'two headed snake chinese mythology.' It's a thing.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_(rainbow-dragon)

Didn't think to look into it earlier.
>> No. 31267
Well damn, that was brutal, all of it.

[x] I’ll trade your story for what I’ve got so far. Secrets shared are friendships made.
-[x] ...But your master has to hear this. Sooner rather than later.

Him being sort of dead could be seen through the lenses, and his previous serial-killing self got so Fed up by the ritual he may as well have be obliterated.
>> No. 31268
[x] I’ll trade your story for what I’ve got so far. Secrets shared are friendships made.

bun sekrits
>> No. 31269
[x] I’ll trade your story for what I’ve got so far. Secrets shared are friendships made.

We've too many secrets and not enough friends.
>> No. 31298
>>31296
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