Still, you know next to nothing about these two demons. It would be better to sit tight and observe, at least for now. You do remember quite a few of the demons that you got from that interrogation, as well as your other sources - but none of those really had pictures next to them, so placing them by looks isn't something you can do.
The top floor of this shop thankfully has a few windows for you to observe out of. Small windows, such that you can't get a complete view no matter which way you turn, but enough that you can follow these two demons as the smaller one flails about. The assaults seem to have stopped for now, while the two in charge of this operation 'discuss' what to do next. With fists.
It's a pretty violent match. Fairly one-sided, too - you wonder if this is how routine problem solving is done in Makai? Either way, it ends when the smaller one finally blocks a few blows, and manages to parry one. They exchange words, glaring at each other all the while, before the smaller one gives a reluctant nod. They talk for a bit more, but it's not long after that that the smaller one gives a signal to the lesser demons.
About one third of the group pulls back. The bigger of the two leaders pulls back even further - so far as to be out of view of your windows.
“... Yoshiro,” You whisper, turning to one of the tengu. They've both been intently watching, either out the window or towards the hall leading downstairs. “Keep track of that tall one. Stay out of sight, and report back if she does something odd.”
She knows you're here - and, if she's coming to find you, you definitely don't want to find out as she's coming up the stairs.
The tengu nods, and swiftly makes his way down the stairs without making much noise at all. You go back to tracking the smaller group of demons. They seem to be making for a flanking maneuver, heading back and around the group defending the warehouse.
However, that's not all they're doing. They also seem to be setting fire to various buildings as they go.
Yoshiro returns after watching them for a few minutes. You don't hear him come up the stairs, so even his whispered words startle you a bit.
“What is it?”
“The demon is doing something odd.”
He shows you to a window that, up until now, had been relatively worthless - it's facing away from all the action, and mostly on rooftops. Now, though, you can see the demon perched on a roof nearby. It's not looking this way, but instead is watching the ongoing battle intently.
This time, the tengu try to drive the opposition - but the demon's manage to block the way to their counterparts, who are busy setting fire to the buildings left in the market.
[ ] Continue to watch. There's nothing you can really do. [ ] That taller demon is planing something. You should disrupt it. [ ] Someone needs to do something about those marauding demons that have split off. Even just harassing them would help. [ ] Write-in
[x] That taller demon is planing something. You should disrupt it.
You turn towards the rest of the group, and head back to your previous spot. From here, you should be out of sight of that demon. Ichirin gives you a curious look.
“That tall demon,” You say, quietly, “it's definitely planning something.”
There's no way it's just going to sit there patiently and watch this all unfold. Although you aren't sure what, it's definitely preparing to do something terrible. You need to do something, since, from what you can tell, no one down at street level has noticed it yet.
Ichirin gives a nod. “Unzan thinks so, too. What should we do?”
That's another question that you don't know the answer to. Your forces are fairly limited right now, even if you ignore the fact that you're all tired after that last engagement. You won't be good for anything, personally.
“How is everyone feeling?”
“... yeah,” Ichirin says, “We're probably not good enough to take on a tough demon.”
“I am ready for anything,” Yoshiro answers, dodging the question completely.
“Yes,” Toshi nods, “Anything.”
Sakuya frowns a bit. “You're still able to think about a fight?”
“I can't join,” You say, “I'd be worthless. That isn't answering the question, though.”
That seems to ease her mood a bit. Yoshiro frowns a little, moving into a position where he can see both you and the demon.
“I am able to, but I won't fight,” She says, “That would leave you defenseless.”
You chuckle a little. “Not defenseless. I've got a few tricks up my sleeve.”
“Not nearly enough,” She says, coolly. She does know how to stick to the truth, doesn't she?
You feel like she might actually stand a chance against that thing. It's not much more than a hunch, but unless that demon is being deliberate to hide how strong it is, your hunches are usually pretty good. Somewhere, something inside of you is calculating the odds, and they might be fine.
Still, if she's not going to fight, you don't know. It might disrupt whatever the demon is planning, but it likely won't end in a victory. You might need to risk yourself if you want her to get in on this.
[ ] Ask the other three to draw the demon to you. [ ] You'll be going with them to strike at this thing. [ ] Perhaps something more subtle would work. You need to avoid a fight.
>>47133 Mostly done - I've just been too ashamed to show my face on the site after how long it took. I hope to update this weekend, but I've been saying that to myself for two weeks now... so I guess we'll see how it goes.
[x] Perhaps something more subtle would work. You need to avoid a fight.
The more you think about it, the more it seems like a head-to-head confrontation isn't a good idea. You need to find a way to strike at this thing without actually striking. A cloak-and-dagger approach may be better here, both for you and your group.
What do you have to use against this thing, though? You try to settle your thoughts, to slip into something more useful - but it doesn't really work. Yoshiro has gone back to watching the demon out the window, so you join him.
For a few moments, anyway.
Toshi motions for you to come look at the battle, just as you get into a good sitting position. Fatigue is starting to set in from the trip down here, you think - your legs are a bit sluggish to respond.
You motion for Yoshiro to keep watch at this window, while you go peer out to the main battle.
It's quite the sight. The demons that had been setting fire to the rest of the buildings around are now flying - quite literally - in all directions. You've got your guesses, but all you can really see from here is that someone strong enough to toss them around like rag-dolls has finally showed up for your team.
Yoshiro grabs your attention, quiet but with some urgency. You head back to the other side of the attic, and look to where the demon had been. She's sitting cross-legged, and is now wielding the strangest bow you've ever seen.
Fire dances around the wood, but there's no smoke - even the string seems to be made of flame. The arrows themselves are equally unreal. It's as if someone struck the night sky, and used the resulting shards to form projectiles. They're far too dark to be anything natural.
A conjurer, then, and one good with bows. Her target is obvious - she's completely ignoring the tengu line at this point, her gaze locked on the fury currently raining down on her troops.
Does she really think she can down an oni with that thing? Her face doesn't have even the slightest hint of doubt.
---you get it now. You don't need to fight her - you just need to block an arrow or two. Simple, for one of your talents.
Mostly simple, anyway. You're a little too far away at the moment to do much.
“Can you get me up there?” You ask Yoshiro, “On that porch?”
Whoever built the house that the demon is perched on did so with some taste. The top floor has a porch overlooking the market - and, if you could get up there without being seen, you could definitely nudge a shot or two off target.
“We can try.”
The tengu's restlessness shows through a bit - he almost smiles a little at the idea of going out there and helping.
“Then I will go as well,” Sakuya quietly adds. You didn't notice her even walk over, but she to now be standing behind you while looking out the window.
You're a little surprised that she's not stopping you, but perhaps getting a glimpse of that bow was enough. With a firm nod, you motion towards the stairs.
“Toshi, Ichirin,” You say, trying your best to keep quiet. “Stay here. We only really need the three of us.”
Toshi seems somewhat displeased at that - but Ichirin looks almost relieved.
Swiftly, the three of you make your way outside. The battle sounds much closer out here, even as one-sided as it is. After moving down a few buildings, you look up. This is the place.
Yoshiro motions for you to come close. Much to your surprise, when you do, he picks you up almost like one would hold a child. In a few more seconds, he's leaping between two neighboring buildings effortlessly, finding small nooks to place his feet as he jumps. Then, before you know it, you're where you expected to be - all without making hardly any sound. Thankfully, the porch seems to be very sturdy. He sets you down.
Sakuya, through her time manipulation, is directly behind you by the time you're on your feet again. You give a nod to them both. This should be simple enough, and you should only need to do it once.
You're not quite up to a rigid barrier in your current state, but a soft one - one that only repels, and even then only repels specific things - should be enough. An unexpected breeze can throw even the surest arrow off course.
From where you're standing, you can see the demon's knees, and part of the bow sticking out from over the roof. The battle on the far end of the market is still raging, but it's only a matter of time until the demon's target has won. Another minute at most.
You wait. The demon waits.
Then, the last few demons fall to a solid haymaker. One punch for three demons. With as much effort as you can manage without passing out, you pull your anti-magic-slightly-repulsive barrier into existence.
The demon fires. You feel a slight tug as the arrow and your barrier interact.
As expected, the arrow strikes one of her fallen comrades not even a foot from the oni. The oni notices, and looks to you. The demon on the roof looks down - also looking to you - but she seems more surprised than anything.
Before you know it, all sound stops. Everything stops. Everything except for you, and the maid behind you.
“Are you happy now?” She asks, her tone a little irritated, “We should leave and rest.”
Resting sounds wonderful. Yoshiro, though, will be left all alone against a furious demon if you book it now. Not that that's a problem, but
“Yeah. Let me buy Yoshiro some time first.”
“Do it quickly.”
You fish around for something in your pocket - and, thankfully, find it in a few seconds. A small charm. It's supposed to be highly effective against demons. Not beating them or anything, but making them uncomfortable.
With a light flick of your wrist, you send the card-like charm sailing towards the demon. The instant you let go though, due to the time manipulation, it freezes in mid-air.
“Right,” You nod, “Down we go.”
The roof nearby isn't exactly steep, so getting down isn't too much of a hassle. Not for you, anyway - the amount of energy going into sustaining this distortion is nothing to scoff at.
At the very moment your foot touches the ground, the distortion ends. Sound returns with a roar, followed by a few very real roars from around the place. Oni, demons - everyone is pretty much yelling at this point. You duck close to the building you were on, trying your best to keep out of sight.
Yoshiro ends up nearby. Although you're glad to see him still moving around, the fact that he takes off running doesn't bode particularly well. He seems to be heading for the tengu line.
[ ] Stay put. The less movement you make, the better you'll stay hidden. [ ] Take off in the opposite direction. He's clearly running from that demon, and you'd like to avoid that fight. [ ] Take off after him. There's an oni in that relative direction, too. ================================================ I've been sitting on this for a few weeks... I guess I should post it. This thing will never move if there are no updates.
Next update will probably be this weekend sometime. Update schedule from here on out is going to be kind of sporadic, but I'll try to get one or two a week.
[x] Stay put. The less movement you make, the better you'll stay hidden.
He'll be fine. He's almost got enough speed to outrun an arrow, and a good shield to match. What you need to worry about now is not drawing attention to yourself. This is a good spot to wait out the end of this fight, you think, so you lean in close to the wall and wait.
Sakuya puts another ten feet or so between the two of you before she notices. When she does, though, she also butts up against the wall. Anxiously, the two of you wait.
You see an arrow - no, four arrows - lance across the plaza simultaneously. A thunderous explosion rings out from each one as they impact their targets. The demon must be firing something different now, although she still seems to be perched on the rooftop.
The tengu line, or what you can see of it, starts to fall back. Normal archery would probably be no problem for them, but exploding arrows are a little too intense. Yuugi, who you can definitely make out now, comes barreling into view. You see her pass a cart, and in one swift motion send it sailing through the air towards the demon.
Another volley of explosive arrows impacts the cart, sending debris flying in all directions. You're nearly struck by one piece that lands, still smoking, only a few feet from you. Truly, a bow fit for a demon.
That's the last volley, however. As the oni crashes straight through the front door of the building, you notice the demon leap across the alley towards another roof. Making her escape, you assume.
With the fight all but over, you cautiously make your way out into the main plaza. You make sure to double-check the rooftops, but the demon really does seem gone.
“Come back, you chicken-hearted...!”
Yuugi doesn't seem to pleased by that fact. Looking up, you see her standing on the balcony. After throwing a solid punch through the wall, she turns around and notices you.
“Oh. Hey, ya made it.”
Her drastic change in tone jars you a bit.
“We made it,” You say, “But what's going on?”
“Our 'friends' are getting serious now,” She shrugs, “Guess they're getting tired of us.”
She leaps down off the balcony, landing solidly on the street. The cobblestone cracks a bit at the impact. “You look beat. Who's that?”
“That's Sakuya,” You say, “She's... acting as my bodyguard for the moment.”
Sakuya gives the oni a very slight nod. “He is beat,” She says, “Do you have some shelter we could take?”
Yuugi laughs. “Sure, you guys can head inside. We'll talk later, Jack - I've still got a few fires to put out.”
You nod. “Sure. Watch yourself out there.”
After rounding up Ichirin and Toshi, you make your way towards the large warehouse. The tengu still look fairly tense, but the line from before has been reduced to a few watchmen. By the time you enter, a good number of them are working on putting out - or at the very least, containing - the fires that the demons had set. It's a lot less busy inside than it was yesterday.
There's a lot more wounded than yesterday, probably ten times the number. Most of them seem to be tengu, but there's a good number of humans and other youkai there as well.
Yoshiro is speaking to another Tengu when you enter the wide, open area in the center of the warehouse. He notices you, but quickly returns to his conversation.
“If you need us,” Ichirin says, “We'll be over here. I'm still not 100% from that thing we met underground.”
You nod, to both her and Toshi. “That's a good idea. I think you're out of my service, anyway - we've made it back after all.”
Ichirin shrugs. “Well, the offer still stands. Unzan says if he's got to fight, he'd like to be around you.”
“I will offer the same,” Toshi says, giving you a bow. “But for now, I must report to my clan leader.”
That might be what Yoshiro is up to, although you don't notice anything high-ranking about the tengu he's talking to.
“Right,” You say, returning Toshi's bow, “Thanks for all the help.”
Still no sight of Nitori, but you suppose that she had quite a bit more distance to travel than you did. You're sure she's fine.
It's just you and Sakuya after those two leave. She doesn't seem to have anything to say, and you're a little too battle-weary to come up with much for conversation.
[ ] Remain focused. As a tactician, you'll need to gather all the information you can. [ ] Rest for a while. You're going to be worthless later if you don't. ================================================ Update on tuesday, I imagine. Depends on how work goes, though.
[x] Rest for a while. You're going to be worthless later if you don't.
I think the last choice made us score a few brownie points with Sakuya. She will never like us and is the most likely partner to turn on us at the end, but there is no harm in getting her to endure us, at least.
She is also acting like the voice of reason. Rest up already!
[x] Rest for a while. You're going to be worthless later if you don't.
“... I think that Ichirin and you have the right idea,” You say, after a minute or so of thinking it over. “I should get some rest.”
It would be more useful to take a short nap, you decide. If you're---
--- going to want to be ready for any situation that arises, you'll need to be on the top of your game. Even getting here was quite the workout. You doubt that pushing towards the Guild headquarters is going to be any easier.
“That would be wise.” Sakuya says, as if that much should be completely obvious to anyone.
First, you make a point of informing some important-looking tengu about that thing you saw in the underground. It seems that Yoshiro had already been on that, but it makes you feel a little better. You sincerely hope that that's the last you'll see of that thing, but it may not be.
It doesn't take long to find a place to lie down, even with the large number of people in this warehouse. A nearby tengu informs you that if the cot is open, it's fair game - and, with it being mid-morning and just after an attack, you don't have any trouble finding an open one. You peel your boots off of your feet, take off your coat, and take a seat.
“You should rest, too,” You tell Sakuya, “It's only going to get worse from here.”
She doesn't take your suggestion, but she doesn't seem to deny it either. You just shrug. She can do as she likes. You, on the other hand, need a good solid nap - so, you kick back and close your eyes.
You open your eyes, and find a towering woman standing over you - a demon? No, it's... right. Yuugi. She's on your side.
“Hahaha,” She laughs, “Didn't think I'd scare you that bad.”
“What time is it?” You ask, sitting up. You've got no idea how long you slept - you feel rested, yet at the same time don't feel like you've slept at all.
“Relax. You've got two...?” She pauses, catching a glimpse of the natural light coming through one of the windows near the top of the building. “... yeah, about two hours, according to that thing you sent me.”
You try to shake the sleep out of your head. You didn't exactly check the time, but that probably puts you sleeping over an hour. “Good,” You say, reaching down for your boots, “I'm going to need to be caught up on what's going on in the city.”
Yuugi nods. “The tengu have been doing a good job of keeping that straight for me. All those years of keeping out of the eyes of the guard, I guess.”
You chuckle a bit. “Maybe.”
Sakuya seems to be standing nearby, doing something with her knives. You've got no idea if she's slept or not, but she seems to be ready to go.
[ ] You'll want to talk to the scouts first. A broad overview would be helpful. [ ] You'll want to talk with Yuugi and the other people on the ground first. See what sorts of demons they've been up against so far. [ ] You still want a bit of time to wake up. Take a walk around, and see the sorts of people you'll have following your orders. ================================================ Update tomorrow, barring a tie or the apocalypse.
[x] You'll want to talk to the scouts first. A broad overview would be helpful.
“You said that the tengu have been keeping a good eye on things?” You ask, still sorting yourself out after that nap. “We should probably talk with them first.”
“Been talking with them all morning,” Yuugi laughs, “But yeah, you'll need to get caught up if you're going to do anything useful. Hey, you!”
A tengu who happens to be nearby snaps to attention. An oni yelling at you will do that, you suppose.
“Go grab the scout leaders,” Yuugi says, “We're having a meeting. My office.”
The tengu nods, and takes off rather quickly. Good. It's always easier to work with a well-oiled machine.
“They'll be there when we get there,” Yuugi says, “Let's go.”
She turns out to be right. By the time Yuugi, you, and Sakuya enter the oni's office, there's already six crow tengu standing around inside gossiping to one another. Four males, two females. You don't recognize any of them, but the outfits seem familiar. Each one of them is probably from a different family.
“So,” Yuugi says, breaking up the gossip circle, “I'm sure you all remember this guy from yeterday. He's back, and you're going to tell him everything you know.”
“Oh, who could forget?” One of the taller males says, “Why, I've never seen old Tenma so riled up.”
On cue, one of the females pipes up. “The Guild and Tenma made a deal, didn't you hear? He was laughing all morning about it.”
“I heard,” The taller one says, “I was just reminiscing. Jack, was it?”
It takes a while to get through introductions. Every single one of them makes sure to inform you of exactly what family they're a member of, their age, the names of their brothers and sisters, what day they were born on, etc. It's a little annoying, but after the third one or so Yuugi begins to get impatient.
“Hey,” She interjects, after one of them mentions a pet they had, “What does that have to do with anything? Talk about that after you give your report.”
“R-right,” The taller one says. He barely misses a beat. “This morning, we've seen quite a lot of movement throughout the whole city. Here, we'll show you.”
On Yuugi's new table, you find a very large map of the city. There's random bits of litter - corks, small chips of wood, stones, and the like - scattered about the thing. It looks like a huge mess at first, but after having it explained to you, the rubbish begins to make sense.
It's a tactical map. They tell you that, if they can see it from the air, it's on here - and you're inclined to believe them. They spend about a half hour playing out the demon's movements for the morning. You're actually quite impressed. As a group, they somehow manage to remember the movements of several thousands of demons down to the minute that their scouts reported in.
The numbers from the scouts suggest that they outnumber you by about eight-to-one, although there's no actual numbers on who is inside the stasis field in the middle of town. If you exclude those, and the handful of neigh-invincible demons, the balance of power actually works out to be in your favor. It's going to take some clever maneuvering to keep everyone out of the way of those behemoths, though - at least, until the stasis field falls.
After the tengu get the battle up to where it left off when this meeting started, they suddenly stop. You look up towards the one who had been doing most of the talking - he just gives you a blank look.
“That's it?” You ask, unsure.
He blinks, like he didn't get your question. An odd bunch, these tengu. “That's the battle as of thirty two minutes ago. Should we find out more?”
“Yeah,” Yuugi says, not missing a beat. “Go out, get the latest information, and come back here. I'm gonna be real angry if I find out you're just chatting with people though.”
The group gives a rapid nod. “Yes, of course.”
With that, they scuttle out of the room. After the door closes, Yuugi sighs.
“They like to talk, don't they?”
“Well, you know what they say. 'A little bird once told me...'.”
She laughs. “So, tactician... what's the plan? Let's see what the Guild can come up with.”
You look at the map again, and do a quick replay. Crunch some numbers. Remember what Patchouli said. Try to get into the heads of those demonic commanders... although that just gives you a mild headache. There's a few valid options here.
[ ] Your letter to the Guildmaster... you said that you'd deliver it today. Form a plan around getting it to her earlier, rather than later. It might be crucial to your victory. [ ] This battle is going to be very difficult if you're not well-coordinated with the main Guild group pushing in to the city. First priority should be getting them in. ================================================ Update will probably come tomorrow.
[X] This battle is going to be very difficult if you're not well-coordinated with the main Guild group pushing in to the city. First priority should be getting them in.
We hopefully should be able to hook up with the Guild and reach Erin quickly that way. The first choice depends too much upon a lack of pressure from the demon and mysterious factors/beings too much in my opinion.
[x] This battle is going to be very difficult if you're not well-coordinated with the main Guild group pushing in to the city. First priority should be getting them in.
Meeting up with either of the two groups you need to meet up with is going to be quite the feat. Still, if one of them needs your help more than the other, it's going to be the ones outside the city. Holding the inner city while your two groups merge shouldn't be difficult for the Guildmaster - especially if there's fighting on more than one front.
“We've got to clear a path for the rest of the Guild to get into the city,” You say, pondering over the map, “I'm still working on the details, though. They've got the city pretty well covered, and their movements are so... random.”
They aren't behaving like an army. It really feels like there's no central leadership here, even though you know that there has to be.
“Have you ever seen them act as a big group?”
“Aside from the ones guarding the gates,” Yuugi says, “Not really.”
“I'm wondering what their response time is,” You say. “If we struck, say, here,” you say, pointing to a location on the map, “Would we be able to draw them away? Or if they sighted the large Guild group here,” You say, pointing to a spot just outside the city, “How long would it be for them to get word to everyone and set up for a huge defense?”
“Dunno,” Yuugi shrugs, “We haven't been sticking around long enough to find out. We've been hitting and running.”
“Hmm. Do you have the tables we sent you earlier?”
“Huh? Yeah, they're over here.”
You try to account for the high-ranking demons on your current unit listing. Unsurprisingly, you're noticing that most of them aren't on the map. As you're doing your work, some sort of din starts growing from outside the door. You ignore it, until the door itself flings open.
“Y-y-yuugi! Come quick!”
A tengu pup is standing in the doorway now, looking positively terrified. Yuugi looks to the pup, then to you, and then leaves. She? The way the child says it, it almost sounds like Shinki herself has shown up - but you know that that's impossible. Probably impossible.
Either way, you take off after the Oni. Sakuya follows behind. After getting just outside the warehouse door, you see something odd.
The scene reminds you of the earlier battle... however, this time, there is no opposing force. From the way the tengu line is looking around, it looks like there still is an opponent.
Yuugi is just as confused as you are. However, it becomes clear what you're dealing with in a few moments. As the sky grows darker, a thunderbolt falls - and strikes the tail end of the tengu line. A few unfortunate souls fall.
“You must help!” One of them says, after noticing Yuugi standing there, “We can't fight this dark magic!”
It must be the Nue. That's the first thought that comes to mind, anyway - although you don't know why it would be attacking from the front like this. Attacking, you could see, but announcing your presence like this doesn't seem to be the best way to draw out some delicious humans.
“It's the Nue,” You say to Yuugi, “It has to be.”
“Nue?” Yuugi asks, confused “What are you talking about? Why is there a Nue in the capital?”
You guess that neither you nor Yoshiro's message got very far up the command chain. Another lightning strike - this one blows a clean, man-sized hole in the warehouse roof.
[ ] Stay out of this. No need to get on it's bad side - you'd rather not eat one of those bolts. [ ] Take charge. Pull everyone inside - it's probably looking for food, and that's where it'll find it. ================================================ Update tomorrow, probably.
[x] Stay out of this. No need to get on it's bad side - you'd rather not eat one of those bolts.
“I'll tell you later,” You say, taking a few steps back. “The short version is that it's almost certainly looking for a meal.”
You don't plan to get involved in this one. This is one of those cases where you need to just step back and let someone else handle it. Yuugi, you imagine, is more than capable of it.
“Oh, yeah?” She asks, stepping away from you and out beyond the tengu line. Then, with much more force behind her voice, she yells out. “No Nue is going to be eating anyone under my watch! You'd better get out of here while you still can.”
That horrible chimeric laugh echoes out from both nowhere and everywhere at once, leaving no doubt in your mind as to what this is. The tengu react, too - for a split second, it feels like the entire line is about to break and hide.
Yuugi, however, is unfazed. “You've got until I count to five. One...”
Sakuya shifts her stance, obviously preparing for something, but you're mostly unconcerned. You've already lost to that thing once - it's probably not going to decide to eviscerate you now, especially if you're just watching like this.
The tengu line also stiffens up. The whole situation begins to feel like you're watching a storm quickly moving in, and all you can do is wait for the lightning to start.
By the time she hits five, you end up wishing that you'd just ducked inside.
Yuugi's opening move isn't something you'd expect. She brings her hands together in a loud, sharp clap - and, when she does so, you see a familiar figure floating through the air, perhaps twenty feet up. It takes the nue a second to realize what just happened, but when she does... you do your best to make yourself small, butting up against the warehouse.
That single second is all it takes for the sky to violently explode with magic. It's bright enough that you have to close your eyes. By the time you manage to get them open again, both Yuugi and the nue are halfway across the plaza.
The fight almost looks hopeless at first - although Yuugi has fairly good aim with her throwing arm, all of her throws are slow enough that the flying nue has no trouble dodging. For a while, anyway. You're still not sure what the Oni is doing, but she claps her hands again... and the nue falls to the ground.
“Anti-magic?” Sakuya asks, turning to you.
You think about it for a moment. That makes sense. You've heard that Oni are susceptible to the more subtle schools of magic, so an ability like that would let you live a very long time. “I think so,” You say, nodding. “I can't say I've ever seen that as an ability, though, so it might not be that general.”
It's somewhat hard to see the battle from where you are, but with all the dust, debris, and bits of magic flying around you can guess that it's still going on. It lasts for about three minutes - then, all at once, the raucous stops.
Everything seems to stop at that point, if just for a few seconds. You try to get a look, but there's nothing to see really. The last big bang came from a smaller storefront across the plaza, but you can't see any movement. After a few minutes, the tengu begin to mutter. You'd really expect to see a victor by now.
[ ] Check it out. [ ] Hang back. ================================================ I forgot that "tomorrow" was monday, so sorry about that. Next update will be on saturday.
You've stayed out of it long enough, you suppose. With everyone getting anxious, someone is going to do something eventually - it may as well be you.
You work your way across the plaza, with Sakuya tailing you. A few if the tengu end up following you as well. By the time you reach the smashed storefront, there's ten of you total.
It seems like the battle took them inside the building, judging by the way the front wall is mostly missing. It looks like one of them struck a support, as well - the building is sagging a fair bit, and it looks like the second floor has at least partially fallen down to the first.
“They are in the cellar,” Sakuya reports from behind, although the voice comes from the opposite side of where she was. It's a little disturbing to have her instantly changing positions like that, but the knowledge is always helpful.
“Who's still standing?”
“Both of them.”
That seems a little odd, but maybe it's a similar situation to the one you were in yesterday. Oni aren't usually the type, but Yuugi seems to know when to stop fighting. Maybe the nue does, too.
The way down to the cellar turns out to be a hole in the floor. Although you can see both of them down there, they don't seem to be doing anything other than staring each other down.
[ ] Might be best to get out of here, before they bring this building down on you. [ ] Stick around, but just to understand what's going. [ ] Stick around, and be prepared to offer any insights that you can. ================================================ Update tomorrow, since this one is so short.
[x] Stick around, and be prepared to offer any insights that you can.
Although the situation is dangerous, you decide to stick around. You could certainly use this nue as an ally - hopefully, it's that kind of standoff - and you'd like to be able to do something if Yuugi starts acting like a more typical oni.
Neither of the two say anything for a while. They don't even seem to breathe. The more you watch, the more you're sure that this is some kind of standoff. Everyone is waiting for something to move. They're ready to react, but there's nothing to react to. You could probably toss a coin between them and blow up the whole building.
You'd rather live, though, so you keep watching instead. It takes another minute or two, but eventually the nue breaks the silence with a laugh. It sends shivers down your spine. Neither of the two moves, though.
“What do we do now? Stare each other to death?”
“I'll keep doing what I'm doing,” Yuugi says, “You can either get out of my sight, or help us fight off these non-youkai.”
“That almost sounds like a deal you'd make if you won.”
Another laugh. “Maybe. It depends what move I make next, right?”
Yuugi chuckles a bit. “Sure does. Don't make the wrong one.”
There's a pause as the nue thinks it over.
“Haah, fine,” The nue says, placing her arms behind her head, “Even though I could flatten you, I'll let you have this one. If,” She pauses, “you give me some food. I'm sooo hungry.”
Yuugi gives her a serious look. “Are you joking?”
“Hey, I don't even want to eat some flesh anymore,” the nue says, although you immediately doubt her sincerity, “Even some rice would be fine. You've got food in there, right?”
Yuugi seems to have the same thought. “You know what? Just get out of here. I can tell you're just going to be more trouble than you're worth.”
[ ] Yuugi's probably right. Stay silent. [ ] Trouble or not, she could prove useful. ================================================ Guess I got started a little earlier than I thought. Well, update tomorrow if I've got some votes.
That kind of firepower could prove useful, and you'd rather not just pass up the opportunity to use it if you don't have to. Yuugi seems capable of beating her, too - so you've got at least one person who can keep this beast in line.
“If there isn't food here,” You say, stepping a bit closer to the hole while peering down, “We can probably find you some elsewhere. Maybe Yuugi would reconsider, though, if you'd help us.”
Neither of them turns to look. Had they noticed you already? You guess that it's pretty likely that they have.
“Oh, so he finally speaks,” The nue grins, still fixated on the oni. “What do you think of that? I like it.”
Yuugi keeps her stare, speaking flatly. “I think he'd better tell me why I'd do that.”
You shrug. “Do you really think she'd prefer eating demons? We need any help we can find.”
Those two seem to mull it over for a bit. Getting anyone to trust this creature is going to be impossible, but she could make a useful diversion - or even an assault force - on her own. Hopefully Yuugi can see reason.
After about a minute, the nue gets a little impatient. “So, what's it going to be? He's right, you know. On both accounts.”
Yuugi finally eases her stance a bit. Just a bit. “Fine,” She says, lightening her tone of voice a bit too. “But I'm still not letting you inside.”
“Hey,” The nue says, reaching out a hand to the oni. Yuugi doesn't seem keen on shaking it, though, so she pulls it back a little awkwardly. “You bring the food out here, and that's fine. It's probably better if I stay away from the good meals inside.”
Yuugi makes good on her word. The first words to the tengu waiting outside were to prepare a table and a meal for the nue, although she does make sure to point out that it shouldn't be more than what everyone else is eating. Everyone else scuttles inside as your group nears the building. A few brave souls remain by the door, trying to catch a look at the beast, but most of them seem to feel safer far out of sight.
The oni does pull you inside when you get back, though. It's a little forceful.
“So,” She says, after guiding you inside the warehouse, “Explain. I want to know where this thing came from.”
It's a pretty neutral statement, and you've got no issues telling the story - so you give her the story of how you got into the city. Near the end, her mood seems to lighten a bit.
“Makes sense,” She says, “So you're pretty sure it trailed you here.”
“We had no way to stop it,” You nod, “I figured you could do a better job than us. What was that clapping you were doing?”
“I like to call it cutting through the bullshit,” She says, with a proud grin. “It doesn't work on liars, but it works on mages and people like her.”
Your initial guesses were on the mark, then. Some sort of anti-magic, or manipulation of magic. That may be useful. You're glad you learned about that now. It may prove useful later, assuming she can direct it to some extent.
“I'm going to say this, though,” She says, an edge creeping into her voice, “I'll be keeping an eye on her, but if she hurts anyone here... it's going to be on you. Got it?”
You're suddenly very aware of the maid trailing behind you. So far, that seems to be working out alright. Maybe you can go two for two on this mission. “Understood.”
“Good,” She says, simply. “What do you need to do next?”
[ ] Now that it's not trying to kill you, taking with the nue might be productive. [ ] Back to planning. You'd like to finish up those calculations you were doing. [ ] See about any new scouting reports that might have come in. You want to see how they're moving. ================================================ I say that I'll update tomorrow, it won't happen... but I'll be trying to.
[x] Now that it's not trying to kill you, taking with the nue might be productive.
“That nue outside might know something about some of those demons,” You say, taking a glance to Yuugi's room on the far end of the warehouse. “That info we sent you is good for what it is, but some personal accounts of their leaders would be useful. Maybe she's even got some fancy trick for really messing with their minds. I've heard stranger things from youkai like that.”
Yuugi shrugs. “Maybe. So, we're still going with what you mentioned earlier?”
You think back. “Right. Causing enough of a distraction to get the Guild reinforcements inside the city is our first priority.”
“I'll be in there,” She says, “I'm going to fill the clan heads in on what's going on. They start to get anxious if I don't talk to them for a while. Any more detail than that?”
“Not yet,” You say, “I imagine we'll just be causing a large distraction somewhere, but I can't be sure.”
“Got it,” She says, as a very scared looking wolf tengu walks by with some rice and stew, “Don't get eaten.”
With that, Yuugi heads off. You suppose you should, too, so you follow behind the delivery boy. Sakuya trails behind you.
When you get back outside, the first thing you see is the nue sitting there patiently on a barrel, silhouetted by the smoking city in the background, as if nothing was wrong. It's a little disturbing - the more organic, blue sides of her wing twitch a bit as she notices the food.
“This is it, huh?” She asks the tengu, “Maybe I should eat you, too?”
The tengu flinches, setting down the food on a slightly larger barrel placed in front of her. Not saying a word, he heads back inside.
“Hmm. How boring.”
She completely ignores you, and sets to eating her food. You look to Sakuya, a little unsure of your first move - but she's fixated firmly on the creature. It's probably safe enough to try and talk to her, then. You notice another one of those smaller barrels nearby, and bring it to the “table” to take a seat.
“So,” You say, resting your hand on the table, “I've---”
You look down. Between your pointer finger and your ring finger, you find the tip of one of those blue tendrils. It's imbedded fairly deeply in the wood, and would have had no trouble slicing off a finger had it hit one. She doesn't even seem to be looking at you.
“Quiet, human. I'm eating.”
Sakuya seems to have moved much closer to you. Did she not see that attack, or just choose not to stop it? Well, it doesn't matter. Pushing your luck seems like a bad idea, so you let the nue continue her meal in peace.
For a while, anyway. The times between bites keep getting longer, and you're sure after about a minute that she's toying with you again.
[ ] Come back later. You'll get nowhere with her now. [ ] Ask your question anyway. This is just a different sort of battle. [ ] Wait patiently. You can get some work done here, even if you don't have everything right in front of you. ================================================ >>47744 What can I say? My family goes to bed much earlier than I do - I've got plenty of time to pass on my own.
[x] Come back later. You'll get nowhere with her now.
Well, that's alright. You suppose that's what she does. Since you have no real way of making her talk, your next few minutes would be better served elsewhere - not watching her eat. Maybe she'll be more agreeable when she's full.
By now, she's withdrawn that wing spike that she threatened you with, so you just stand up. Your eyes meet as you do so. With a thin smile, you give her a slight bow and back away from the barrel.
It's a command, not a suggestion. However, you're already at a mostly safe distance - she's not going to impale you from that far away, and a ranged attack would give your guardian time to react. You decide to ignore it.
The nue then proceeds to eat the entirety of her meal in a few seconds. It's shocking enough to make you stop and watch.
“There,” She says, “Do you have any idea how hard that was?”
You don't have the faintest idea of what she's talking about, so you shake your head.
“Fear,” She says, “It's a seasoning that dead cows and plants lack. There's no way I would have been able to eat that without some.”
Oh... so, that's her game. It doesn't much matter where the fear comes from, you suppose - it'll be tasty all the same to her. You guess that almost losing a finger gave her a fair bit.
“That was terrible,” She continues, “But I guess it'll keep me going for a while. I guess the deal that I agreed to didn't say anything about the food.”
“Then, you need to help,” You say, still maintaining your distance, “I've got a few things I want to ask you.”
She laughs. “I don't need to do anything, human. It wouldn't be hard for me to eat and run.”
All you can do is shrug and try again. “Would you help? I've got a few things I want to ask you.”
“I guess I can do that,” She says, as if you hadn't even asked that first question, “What do you want to ask?”
The exchange goes fairly favorably. It turns out that she has met a few of the bigger demons on your list, albeit many hundreds of years ago, and gives you a few tips on how to deal with them.
Most of them, she notes, are probably sitting somewhere watching this whole thing play out. They'll attack if provoked, or if things really go sour, but for the most part they're either to proud or too lazy to get their hands dirty. Aside from the ones you've personally ticked off, they'll probably stay out of your way until things go too far south to ever hope to recover.
As you've seen, though, there's at least two of them out to get you. Maybe three, now, with that bow shot that you blocked a little earlier.
The ones under them are the ones that you'll need to worry about. Thankfully, you've got most of those lesser demons and their units accounted for as of the last scouting report. There are still a few groups unaccounted for, but not enough to make much of a difference in any of the tactics that you're thinking of.
All in all, it's relatively productive, although cutting through all the snark takes some time.
Instinctively, you reach for your watch... which still hasn't been replaced.
“Do you have the time?” You ask, turning around to face Sakuya. She does. You've still got about fourty-five minutes left before this all goes down. Not much time, but you suppose that in this situation all the time in the world wouldn't be enough.
[ ] Focus mostly on getting a solid plan down. You'll be able to direct the various units to where you need them. [ ] Focus mostly on getting the various units to understand their roles, vague or not.
[x] Focus mostly on getting the various units to understand their roles, vague or not.
“I guess we should start pulling this together then, huh.”
Roles are the most important part here. This isn't going to be the type of skirmish that a static plan will work for, and it's certainly not going to be one you'll be able to manage from a central location. The various groups need to understand their roles, no matter how vague, and adapt on the fly.
The nue grins. “Do you want to give me orders too, boss?”
“No,” You say, doing your best to ignore her snark, “Do what you think would help us the most. And not in some 'you'd be better off if you lost' sense, or in some twisted way that involves eating humans.”
She laughs. “So nothing fun, then. Alright.”
As you go to head inside, the nue also stands up. With a wink, she simply vanishes into a sudden black mist which quickly gets blown away by the wind. Or maybe she did something entirely different - that's just how it looked to your untrained eye.
“Such a foul creature,” Sakuya remarks, “I don't trust her.”
You shrug. “I think she'll keep her word, but yeah. I agree.”
Gathering every unit commander takes a great deal of time, even with Yuugi's help. In the end, though, you cram the twenty-eight clan heads, heirs, and anyone with their own sub-clan in Yuugi's office. It's pretty clear that even though Lord Tenma and crew have agreed to help you, they haven't necessarily gained back any respect for their kinsmen. Seventeen of the heads, Tenma included, hang away from the other eleven - and neither of them really gets close to the large map in the center of the room.
You're not sure where that messenger's 40% number came from... but you guess that there's probably some other politics going on here.
“Right,” Yuugi says not long after everyone gathers, “I get that you hate each other, but you're going to have to work together. Get up here.”
Nothing happens until she gives them a solid glare.
“You want to do this,” She asks, “Or should I?”
“I'll do it.”
“We don't have much time,” You say, “So, here's the situation. You're all going to be working how you see fit. I do have some goals for you all, but it's up to you to achieve them if you don't end up within earshot when the battle begins.”
You lay out the general plan - distract and flank Makai's forces while the reinforcements, outside the city, make their way in. The idea is to cause enough internal trouble that the demons are forced to deal with that, rather than the advancing Guild. You imagine they'll have some decent illusory cover, but walking up on a fortified city is a challenge for any army.
More specifically, your group will be handling the outer ring or two of the city, while the Guildmaster and the imperial army do... something. One of the tengu leaders, who you recognize from yesterday as someone who didn't want to slit your throat upon learning you were Guild, offers to fight their way in and unite with the inner group. You tell him that it shouldn't be a priority - if it happens on accident, great. Otherwise, the priority should be on getting the rest of the Guild inside.
After your little speech, you decide that it would probably be best just to let everyone decide where to fight. You don't know what part of the city these Tengu came from, so there's probably certain areas that they know well.
You'll be going with Yuugi's group, which consists of the non-tengu youkai and some of the humans that insist on fighting. In terms of firepower, it'll be one of the strongest groups. The reinforcements will be coming from the east. You decide to place your group...
[ ] ... near the east gate. It'll be important to consolidate forces as soon as possible. [ ] ... underground, striking randomly. With that sort of force popping up at random, they'll have no choice but to hunt you down. [ ] ... near one of the identified enemy camps. Maybe you'll be able to keep their commanders focused on you and not the advancing group. ================================================ Sorry. I'll try to pick the pace back up - it would be a shame to go so slow this close to the end.
[x] ... underground, striking randomly. With that sort of force popping up at random, they'll have no choice but to hunt you down.
... underground. Hopefully, by striking fast and hard at various locations, you'll be able to keep Makai's focus within the city. As long as you can keep just out of reach, this should be the best use of your talents.
The rest of the tengu leaders place themselves in, judging by their gossip, places where they had been leading some operation or another before this all happened. It all goes very smoothly. The ones in adjacent districts discuss plans with each other - where they'll run if things get to hairy, what sorts of tactics they'll be using, and that sort of thing - mostly without your intervention. It seems like it'll work out.
However, it's not completely smooth. Tenma, and two other tengu that you don't recognize, hang back and refrain from interacting with the rest of the leaders. Yuugi seems to be eying them up, too. Once they catch her gaze, they step up.
“Gotta make 'em realize it's not a suggestion,” She says to you, quietly. “Good thing they'll be doing their own thing.”
The other two do follow the rest, picking a spot and setting up some local strategy. Tenma, however, walks around the table towards you three.
“I can choose anywhere I want, right?” He asks, although you don't realize exactly what at first. You give him a respectful nod.
“Yes, wherever you think you'll serve best.”
“Then,” He says, “I will be with your group.”
A few different possibilities go through your head when he says that. The biggest one, though, is that he doesn't trust you - and that he might “serve best” by staying close and keeping you in check. When you meet his gaze, you can tell that it's exactly that.
[ ] That's fine. You'd rather keep him close - you don't trust him much either. [ ] No need to cause a scene here. He's still under Yuugi's command - you can get rid of him later if you need to. [ ] Refuse. You're well within your agreement to do so, and you want him as far from your operation as possible. [ ] Refuse. Tactically, it makes no sense for his group to be with you. ================================================ I've managed to free up Tuesdays and Thursdays now, so next week I should be able to update on one or both those days.
Just going to say that this isn't dead, but that I'm having a hard time just sitting down and writing it lately. Saying that I'm going to update, then feeling too worn down to actually do so only makes it worse, so I guess I'll just say that for the next few months updates will be sporadic.
So... still not dead. I've got something other than bad news this time, too.
We're pretty close to the end, and I think I'm at a point where I can finish this. It's been a long time, though, so I don't know how many people who cared about this are still around. I'm also not sure if it's been too long for voting to even make sense anymore - even I had to go back to re-read it, and I wrote the thing.
Since I can't decide on the best course of action for this myself, and this is a CYOA, I'm going to leave its fate up to a vote. I'll call it Sunday if an option for writing is winning, otherwise I'll let it run until next Sunday. [ ] Continue as normal (will include a general recap) [ ] Give me an ending, please (one wall, no voting) [ ] No particular desire to see this end (dropped)
[x] Continue as normal (will include a general recap)
Memory's fuzzy, but I think I remember the gist of it. >Train ride with Patchouli >Innistrad setting >Lots of tense planning >Slightly-anticlimactical bust-in to the SDM >Marisa+Patchouli on the train? A hard time coping with Sakuya. >Demon Issues >Learning about the Capital, Picking up reinforcements >Visit to Yukari House for some reason? >Underground, Say hi to the Kappa, The Oni >Scrambling about above ground, trying to keep hidden from demons while doing something?
For the recap, it would be good to include what the MC is currently trying to accomplish.
So... the power randomly went out about 2 hours ago, and hasn't come back on yet. Not sure how much of the update got trashed. I guess I'll have to push the update out until tomorrow, since there's no way I'm going to be able to write it on my phone.
[x] No need to cause a scene here. He's still under Yuugi's command - you can get rid of him later if you need to.
“If you really think that's best. We could use some more people.”
That statement is a complete lie, of course – you've got more than enough firepower in your group to be effective without him and his troops. The extra bodies will slow you down, as well. However... with a little under half of the room serving his interests, it would be best not to start a fight with him here.
“I do,” The old crow says with a sneer. “Glad to see that you also agree.”
You can't tell exactly what he's thinking, but judging by his face it must be incredibly hard for him to not be gloating over it right now.
“Cut the crap, you two,” Yuugi says, joining the conversation, “If either of you are plotting something that doesn't involve getting our city back, I'll smack you into next week.”
You just smile at that. That is your goal, after all, so you probably have nothing to worry about as long as you can keep Tenma from pulling something. It's going to be difficult to watch both the real enemy and this new one at the same time.
Tenma, in a rare bit of passivity, just nods. “I wouldn't think of it.”
He catches your gaze moments after saying that – and you can see in his eyes that the old crow definitely hasn't 'cut the crap'.
“Just remember,” Yuugi says, not missing a beat. “I never lie.”
Animosity aside, you do need to revise your plan now that you have more men, so the two of you set to work. He's very easy to work with, all things considered – his knowledge of the underbelly of the city gives you a few new ideas for entry/exit points into the underground.
Tenma opts to leave most of the tengu he's responsible for with one of the two tengu he was conversing with earlier, keeping only 90 for himself. In the end, your plan looks very close to the old one, only with thirty tengu at the front of each push out of and back into the underground. Most of the important decisions will be need to made on the fly anyway, based on what you encounter out there.
No one can ignore a yelling oni, so the entire room goes silent in seconds.
“Planning time is over, everyone,” She says, “Grab your guys, and meet outside in twenty minutes.”
The sudden announcement causes some brief confusion for the people in the room, but the order doesn't go unheeded for long. Most tengu take one last look at the map and converse with the nearby leaders before heading out.
“I will see you outside, then,” Lord Tenma says, taking one last look at over the city map. He nods to his cohorts, gives you a bow, and takes his leave.
Eventually, it's just you, Saykuya and Yuugi left in the war room. With how quiet the former maid has been, however, it may as well just be you two.
“I suppose you don't really have many to gather, do you?” Yuugi laughs, “Myself, I've got another oni in mind. Anyone else you want with us?”
“Anyone you think would be able to stand up to a strong demon and come out alive,” You say, shrugging, “As long as they aren't already working with some other group, anyway.”
“There might be a few fitting that bill,” She says, “I'll go see what they're up to while we wait.”
“Sure. Sounds good,” You say, “We'll meet outside.”
As you leave the planning room, you see a now-familiar face amongst the crowd. Seems like your kappa friend made it back to the city unscathed.
She notices you, too, giving a big wave to catch your attention. You make your way over. The last time you had seen her, you had just escaped the sacking of your staging area and she had volunteered to escort a family to safety.
“How was the trip?” You ask, making your way over, “Uneventful?”
“Yeah,” She nods, “We didn't actually end up in any danger on the way there. Your friends made it, too.”
Even more good news. Of the two Guild groups that escaped, yours was probably least likely to make it... but with the types of demons running around, any sort of encounter could be fatal.
“Oh, and here. Uh... Patchouli, right? She wanted me to give you this.”
She pulls a small scroll case from her pack and hands it to you. There's multiple seals on it – both physical and magical – that let you know who it's from and that it's for your eyes only. You open the top and pull out the scroll. More seals... you wonder if she did this because it was easy for her, or because she's protecting important?
Ah... Guild plans. It highlights the 4 or so avenues that they'll be using to enter the city, timetables, and general compositions of each group. This would have been a lot more useful if you'd had it during the planning session, but you suppose that your group is the only one tasked with something other than raising havoc.
“Is it important?” The kappa asks, looking over your shoulder, “I can't read it.”
“Pretty important,” You say, stashing the scroll case while you read the scroll itself. You'll want to commit this to memory, then destroy it. “Thanks for bringing it to me.”
“So... what's going on now? I just saw a bunch of clan heads leaving the room before you came out.”
“Right,” You say, “We'll be beginning things shortly. They should be gearing up their men and whatnot as we speak.”
“Do the kappa know?”
“Yeah,” you say, “I saw at least one in the room. I'm not sure what their plan is, though.”
“Well,” She says, “I'm going to find out. Want me to find you when I'm done?”
You hadn't known if she was going to make it back in time for the assault, so you hadn't really accounted for her in your plans. Regardless, you'd welcome the extra help – she's done well enough so far. You give her a nod.
“If you feel you can spare the help,” You say, focusing more on the scroll than the conversation.
After informing Ichirin (and Unzan) of the operation time, you spend the remainder of the time outside committing this new scroll to memory. There's a conveniently located barrel up next to the building, which provides you a good spot to sit and read.
When you look up, you see that the entire plaza is filled with youkai. Tengu, mostly, but there's a huge variety of different types. Humans, too, from the looks of things. The warehouse must not have been their only stronghold.
With a wave of your hand, you dismiss the decoding rune on the scroll, rendering it useless forever. You don't know what sorts of tricks Makai might pull, but there's no way they'll be able to read this now.
“You ready to get this started? I found a few more people for our group.”
Turning to your right, you see Yuugi towering over you.
“No time like the present, I suppose.”
“So,” She says, “I was thinking. We need to get these guys fired up, yeah? I'm not much for speeches, so I was wondering if you wanted to do it.”
“Really?” You wonder, “They respect you, so whatever you said would probably be enough.”
She laughs. “Yeah, sure, but mages are still better with words.”
It's a huge generalization, but it's not exactly wrong. Still, with the politics of the situation, a misstep could run completely counter to what you'd want to accomplish with a rallying speech.
[ ] Play it safe. Let Yuugi do it. [ ] --- “My friends. It is time to confront the great evil that has befallen our city...” ================================================ Sorry about that. Writing in bed is a bad habit of mine, and I fell asleep with just a little bit left to go. The update feels a little awkward, too, but I think that's because I haven't written in so long. The summary stuff will be in the next update.
I think from now on, you should count on sunday updates every week. It's better if I set hard deadlines for myself.
“It's for the best. I've got very little clout here. We want them fired up at the enemy, not me.”
“Yeah, well... I guess that's true.” She looks out over the crowd. “Fine. How hard can this be?”
Obviously, Oni aren't known for their oratory skills... but you still think she'd be able to whip a crowd like this into a frenzy fairly easily.
“Want to let me borrow that?” She asks, pointing to your barrel. “I need something to stand on.”
That may be the last time you get to sit down today, you realize. Still, she does need something to stand on. You stand up and lean against the wall instead. “Go ahead.”
Although it's a large barrel and filled with some sort of liquid, likely water, she simply hoists it under one arm and carries it off. You're glad she's on your side.
“... was that wise?”
Sakuya doesn't seem to be completely sold on the idea.
You shrug. “Well, I really didn't need that barrel.”
It doesn't take Yuugi long to get into position, her already towering mass now well above everyone in the square. It takes even less for her to get everyone's attention. All chit-chat in the square quiets itself instantly, leaving the sort of eerie silence that you thought you'd never hear within the walls of the city.
“I said we'd push these bastards out,” She says, her voice strangely loud. “And now, it's finally time. We're going to push them from every side. This city – the tengu, the humans, even the Guild – we're going to shove them into a corner so hard that they'll end up as nothing more than a stain. Isn't that right?!”
The language is a little bizarre, but it's not a bad speech. Short, sweet, and motivating. A fierce cry rises out of every mouth in the square in response to her yelling.
“So,” She continues, “What are we waiting for? Get to it!”
Another cry rises up, only this time it's accompanied by the sound of a tremendous amount of movement. The crowd starts to organize and depart with impressive haste – you're actually very surprised at how professional it looks. You'd known that the tengu houses routinely went to war with each other, but you had no idea that they did it with forces like this.
You make your way to Yuugi, with Sakuya following behind. By the time you get there your group has already rallied – along with the Tenma's group, and the others that Yuugi had mentioned previously. It takes you a second to notice the other oni she had mentioned. There's nothing obvious that you can tell about the others at a glance.
There's also very little time to learn more. Before the square is even half emptied, a shrieking wail echoes out from somewhere to the east of where you are. Demons – small and relatively weak, but in large numbers – start to pour in from the eastern streets. A few larger ones seem to be following slightly behind. You don't recognize any of them immediately, although there's not much to recognize from this distance
None of the tengu seem to be engaging. Mostly, they seem to be scrambling with slower members of their groups holding them back.
Yuugi looks to you, obviously eager to punch some heads in. “Well, tactician?”
[ ] Time to leave. You need to raise just as much havoc somewhere else for this whole plan to work. [ ] Defend the square until your forces can get out. You should be able to hold them until then. [ ] Push through the enemy line. Strike at anyone of importance you can see – the mooks can be mostly ignored. ================================================ Feeling a little better about this one.
Again, I'll shoot for having the next update on Sunday. Taxes won't be getting in the way this time.
[x] Defend the square until your forces can get out. You should be able to hold them until then. then: -[x] Time to leave. You need to raise just as much havoc somewhere else for this whole plan to work.
While we need to cause as much havok as possible, we can certainly hold out for a few minutes until the Tengu get their teeth in.
[x] Defend the square until your forces can get out. You should be able to hold them until then. then: -[x] Time to leave. You need to raise just as much havoc somewhere else for this whole plan to work.
[x] Defend the square until your forces can get out. You should be able to hold them until then. [ ] Push through the enemy line. Strike at anyone of importance you can see – the mooks can be mostly ignored.
--- the whole point of this offensive is to cause chaos for Makai, and not the other way around. Every single one of these clan groups need to make it out of the square intact if you're going to maximize the chaos.
“Keep them out of the square,” You say, looking between Tenma and Yuugi, “We need to hold it until everyone's out. I'll give you a signal when we need to pull out.”
“Should be easy enough, yeah?” She grins, turning to Tenma. “Give the order. Finally, time to bust some heads!”
Tenma turns around, and delivers what you assume to be an order to another crow tengu that you've seen around him a few times before. She very suddenly lets loose an ear-piercing screech, and the Lord's entire entourage springs to life. Yuugi gives a nod to the small group under her command, and they too rush off amongst the tengu wave.
You follow close to, but not quite within, the wall of tengu advancing forward. Sakyua, Tenma, and Tenma's aide (or whatever she is) stay close. It's not like you had expected him to fight, but... well, his sword and shield are obviously some of the best made gear here.
It doesn't even take a minute for Tenma's soldiers, flanked by Yuugi's group on both sides, to push the wave of imps back out of the square and into the east street. Although a few demons attempt to respond with some sort of magic, Yuugi's anti-magic abilities simply stop that without much effort.
Hundreds of demons lie in crumpled mess after the first two minutes. They seem to have no concept of defeat – they simply keep throwing themselves upon the tengu swords with little regards to their own lives. Demons of this tier... you wonder if they're even aware of what they're doing?
The battle takes a turn for the worse, however, when a few buildings just off to the right side of the line are simply pulverized. A trio of four-legged demons, at least twice as tall and many times more massive than you, rush at your flank.
… the human swordsman that Yuugi had picked moves quickly. With a single slash, one of the beasts stumbles into the path of the other two. It's enough to give the tengu time to react and extend the line.
You turn around. The square is mostly clear now. Hearing a thud, you look near your feet.
“Pay attention, human.”
An imp – this one with wings – lies there in two clean pieces. You hadn't noticed it with your head turned. Judging by Tenma's stance, he was the one to dispatch it.
“It was headed for you,” Sakuya says, looking directly at Lord Tenma.
“Hmph. I said nothing of where it was headed.”
Ignoring the banter, you can see that things are about to get bad very quickly. The demon army you initially saw when you entered the square today seems to be returning – that conjurer included. She's a head taller than the bulk of her forces, so she's easy to spot.
Given how the previous battle went, you're not sure what the best course of action is here. On one hand, Yuugi obviously has no trouble with demons of this tier – and although she's probably the strongest out of the particularly strong ones here, the new additions don't seem like slouches. You already know how good Unzan and Nitori are in a fight.
On the other hand... you doubt this demon would have returned like this without a plan. Last time, the plan was to throw away her troops for a single shot at the oni giving them so much trouble. Although you don't know the answer right now, you have no doubt that it's at least as sinister.
There's a few avenues of attack that you can see, but they'd all leave the square some level of undefended. There's simply too many bodies around her to strike without using Tenma's men to keep her from fleeing. Although her real strength is unknown, you could give your strongest a good shot at her.
[ ] Continue as planned. You can hold another minute or two. [ ] She's clever, and if she's advancing then you're already at a severe disadvantage. Cut your losses and retreat. [ ] She needs to be dealt with, even if it means losing some of the stragglers in the square. ================================================ Shooting for next tuesday for the next update. For real this time (I hope).
[X] Continue as planned. You can hold another minute or two.
The great Chinese general Chuko Liang was once caught away from his army by a force of ten thousand men. He ordered the gates of the city he was in to be drawn open, and played the guqin atop the city walls. Seeing this, the enemy general, familiar with Chuko's devious strategies, became sure the situation was a trap he could not comprehend, and retreated from Chuko's force of a hundred men.
That said, we shouldn't rush in and attack it, and we certainly should at least keep an eye on it, especially since I suspect its target may be us.
[X] Continue as planned. You can hold another minute or two.
Chances are he can't really pull off a attempt on her without getting bogged down by unending waves of demons. Best thing to do would be to advise everyone to be on their toes and prepare to reinforce any portion of the defense that gets hit harder.
>Chuko Liang Eww, Wade-Giles. He's better known through the pinyin romanization of his name, Zhuge Liang.
Our force's objective is harassment - getting pinned down is going to get us killed. Even if we manage to retreat from the square in good order, that won't change anything - she's still going to be right there, keeping us suppressed.
[x] She needs to be dealt with, even if it means losing some of the stragglers in the square.
[x] She needs to be dealt with, even if it means losing some of the stragglers in the square.
… you'd really rather not run into her a third time today. If you were to wait for the square to evacuate, you might lose any chance of a counter-attack – you need to do it now. You turn to Tenma.
“Could you lend me your messenger?”
“No,” He says, bluntly, “But I might forward the command. What is it?”
Seems you should have requested someone of your own to relay messages. You motion for him to crouch well below your cover. There's enough general noise that you're not worried about being overheard, but you are worried about lip reading and the like. It would be strange for a demonic archer to not have excellent eyesight.
Besides, the ashen ground turns out to work well as a sketch pad. You draw out two formations – one heading north, and one heading south. By faking a retreat, you may be able to draw them out into the square – that's ideal – but if not you've seen what Yuugi can do to a city block.
“Basically,” You say, “We'll fake a retreat, double back, and strike at their leader as she enters the square. If she doesn't, we'll have our Oni friends knock down a few walls and attack her from the side. There's alleys every two building in this portion of town, right?”
He frowns a bit. “Yes. Why the change of plans?”
“Striking their leader down would fit well with our plans. ”
“And where will you be?” Sakuya asks.
“Here,” You say, putting yourself into the middle of the southern group. It's not Yuugi's group – instead, you'll be with the shorter Oni and the swordsman. “Staying in the square... wouldn't be wise.”
“No, it wouldn't,” Lord Tenma says, “Maybe it'll force them to move as well.”
His unexpected callousness catches you off-guard, but then you realize – the clan shields on the stragglers in the square don't seem to be Tenma's. Being this slow would be seen as a sign of weakness, so... well, that explains that.
“Will you relay the order? Specifically to the two Oni.”
“I will,” the old leader says, nodding to his aide, “I'll also join your group.”
The aide nods back. This time, instead of shouting, she simply flies towards the group. You watch, waiting until it's obvious that the order has been recognized. Once you start to see the previously impenetrable shield wall begin to split, it's clear that you need to move.
“Would you lead?” You ask Tenma. “You're the one with the shield, after all.”
He laughs. “Fine. Follow me.”
All three of you leap out from behind cover, bolting for an already mobile group of tengu moving south. A few stray projectiles head your way, but you don't meet with anything particularily dangerous.
The tengu group is incredibly fast, especially for being a retreat formation. It's tiring just trying to keep up with them. Although there are a few demons on your retreat path, it's not nearly as dense as the main street. The oni do a good job of making sure nothing is going to stop your group.
As you move, the demons do being to pour into the square like you'd expected... however, the leader doesn't follow. The tengu there don't last long as the ever-spreading demonic mass pushes everything out of the square, forcing you further into “retreat”. A few of the remaining few do seem to make it out, but it's not many.
“Do we have any scouts?” You ask Tenma, who seems to be intently focused on the task at hand, “Is she still there?”
After a series of chirps from his aide, he answers. “She is, and we're nearly in position.”
Although you're still not entirely sure of your chances of success, throwing a few oni at the problem probably still is your best option. “When we get there, have everyone push through.”
It doesn't take long. Soon you're running through a recently gutted storefront of some kind, following the oni's warpath. Both groups are almost perfectly synchronized on their entrance to the main street. The wall comes down. You look, and, just as planned, the demon's leader is---
--- aiming straight for your head with that golden bow of yours. You're not sure how, but you manage to deflect the shot with a haphazard barrier. The demonic arrow impacts a wall nearby, causing even more damage to the structure.
You're not sure who shouts the order, but it's a good suggestion with the way the building is creaking. Fortunately, it doesn't collapse until your group has driven itself deep into the demon forces.
--- still, your initial push isn't fast enough – the brutes around the leader are no match for the oni on your side, but it takes a precious ten second or so to actually defeat them. It's enough time for the demonic leader to pull deeper into her own group and begin nocking another arrow – although the demons she's taken refuge in don't seem nearly as strong as the ones that she had guarding her initially. You...
[ ] … order the two attack groups to fuse and make a larger push. It should still be possible to get her, and with the tengus' shields her arrows will be easily deflected. [ ] … order a covered retreat back through the buildings and into the sewers. She'll just keep retreating and shooting - and not all of those arrows will miss. [ ] Write-in. =============================================== Actually made it on time this time. Tuesday will probably be the update day from now on, since it seems to fit into my schedule well.
If you want to do a write-in but the update was kind of unclear about something, just ask about it - I will try to answer quickly.
Would it be possible to get a rough overview of numbers and positions? I'd like to know if numbers suggest there's merit in pressing the attack. The demon chaff seemed fairly flimsy, and you haven't said anything about any real friendly casualties - but an ambush and a straight-up fight are two different things.
It's worth noting the demon leader is smart enough to recognize an attempt on her life, and not to charge in when confronted. We also need to be careful not to spend our own forces frivolously.
I'm inclined to press the attack as the demons are still unbalanced, but it'd be stupid if we're seriously outnumbered.
>>58447 Numbers are pretty overwhelmingly demon at this point. They now almost completely take up the stretch of street that you're on, as well as a good portion of the square. However, most of them are also the weak fodder you've been facing so far. They haven't even managed to take out one of your tengu - partially due to Tenma's men being top notch, but also due to them probably being not much stronger than an average human with some gear. At the very least, they're good at blocking your movement with sheer numbers.
Anything else? Sorry if that wasn't a good answer.
>>58480 A bit more specifics on the numbers would have been nice (5:1? 10:1? Higher?), but 'hella outnumbered' is ultimately enough.
Retreat is the better option now, much as I hate it. With us outnumbered so much, we'd just get surrounded and drowned in chaff - and only most of them are chaff.
[x] … order a covered retreat back through the buildings and into the sewers. She'll just keep retreating and shooting - and not all of those arrows will miss. -[x] Set some explosives in the sewers (detonate on command, or failing that, 10-20 minute fuses) to collapse tunnels and split the demon group if they follow us. --[x] If we have detonation on command, set more small bombs, for antipersonnel effect this time. Then have a scout or two shadow each enemy group with a detonator.
I'm assuming the Tengu know the sewers well, so collapsing a few tunnels shouldn't impede our maneuverability too much. Meanwhile, splitting the enemy will give us bite-size chunks of enemy to mop up, possibly with a chewy leader-filled center. The explosions and isolation should wreck the demons' morale, so reducing pockets shouldn't be too hard.