Well, at the time I write this chunk of story the subvotes are tied with the unaltered votes so I'll just go with whatever I feel like doing. They're all pretty much the same thing save for the subvotes.
It occurs me that I haven't pestered Shou in while, and that it might be worth making a trip to the Temple of Myouren on less hectic terms so I can actually talk to the inhabitants more. I consider making sure that Nazrin's not around so Nari doesn't feel tempted to act like a cat when we get there, but she ought to be a good girl when we visit this time. "Hey Nari, shall we go pester the tiger?" I crack a smile at the possibilities of such a risky endeavor.
She perks up as she finishes off the last of her cone and regards me with wide eyes. Not really 'wide' in the sense of having her eyelids wide open, but rather having her irises open to where there's more black than color in her eyes. She then reverts them to normal since having them open like that must be painful in the sunlight, though she gets her point across as well. ...And that kind of thing still puts me off just a bit. You think I'd be used to that sort of thing by now, but that just goes to show you that a little over a week just isn't long enough to desensitize you to everything Gensokyo can throw at you, or even to a solid chunk of what can spontaneously show up.
Anyways, we walk off in the direction of the temple and I make a mental note to talk to that Yukari lookalike and her friend. The resemblance is downright uncanny. Uncanny enough to where I'd be tempted to think that she's Yukari's long lost twin sister if I didn't know any better. It's not something I want to get into right now though since we're already closer to the temple than we are to them, though it doesn't look like they're going anywhere for a while yet.
Oddly enough, Shou is not present on her current perch on the roof. Given that I don't see her anywhere I must assume that she's either somewhere else or that she's inside the temple itself, so I decide to check the temple interior since I'm pretty sure they have an open door policy to those who wish to enter. ...There's no rules about those who wish to annoy the tiger, but that should be a self-evident danger. I open the door without a word and note that the entry area is devoid of life save for the odd mouse here and there, which means that Nazrin ought to be around at the very least. I then step up to the door that leads to the inner sanctum of the temple and knock.
"Just a minute..." If I recall correctly, that sounds like Murasa on the other end of the door. I could be wrong though, especially since Nue has shown a certain fondness for taking the form of others. She opens the door, takes a good look at the both of us, then regards us both. "Welcome. I don't think anyone expected guests today. But do me a favor and keep your pet on a leash this time, will ya? I don't feel like hunting around for all of Nazrin's scouts again."
"You have my word that she won't go chasing Nazrin or her scouts around this time. We're more here to pester Shou." We step inside at the ghost's invitation, and I make a point of at least trying to reassure her that Nari won't go running off to be a cat. I don't know how well my word will hold considering that deep down Nariko is still a house cat, but she's one that can feel my emotions and sense my thoughts.
"Shou, huh? She's off in the dojo, and it's your funeral if you do." She says that with a grin on her face as she points off in the direction of the indoor training facility.
"She's not still mad about Nazrin getting chased around is she?" If she is, then that means I'm going to have to apologize to the tiger for Nari's actions. No sense letting bad blood linger if there's no reason for it, or if it's entirely one-sided.
"Sort of. She thinks of Nazrin as her adopted daughter, so it only makes sense that she'd be a bit P.O.ed when she found out your cat was trying to use her as a toy. I doubt she'd go so far as to kill you for it, but she'll probably challenge you to a duel if you try her patience too much." Murasa simply floats alongside Nari and I as we head down to the dojo, and I'm left feeling rather guilty for not helping the others stop Nari sooner. "I'm not going to try and soften things up for you, but I don't hold you responsible for that little incident. You might be her owner, but your cat's perfectly capable of making her own decisions."
"So I'm not the one who should be worried about the possible duel." A nod from Murasa confirms my suspicions on the matter, and I begin mentally preparing myself to support my shikigami however possible in the event she has to beat up Shou to let the tiger vent enough to where she'll be reasonable. If
it comes to that that is. "Thanks for leading us here Murasa."
"No problem. Actually, I wanted to stick around for this since I've never seen either of you fight before. I've read about your exploits in the odd tengu newspaper and I never quite believed any of it. Turning into a giant warship on a whim is pretty out there, even for Gensokyo." She steps inside before us, then waves us in. She takes a seat near the doorway and watches Shou go through her movements.
"You know what's even more unbelievable? I could have turned into an even nastier warship if I had half a mind to." That's right. I almost forgot about the time I turned my soul's shape into a Hiigaran dreadnought. While I can't mimic the form anymore, I could mimic the firepower that came with it, or even take another step up and mimic the Siege Cannon, or even Sajuuk's primary weapon. Come to think of it, the Siege Cannon might be something to keep in mind when up against Toyohime since, if I recall correctly, the cannon disrupts the target to deal damage or destroy it outright. Range is a bit of a concern but it's not like I'm going to be fighting at anywhere near the same distances.
"Heh. I'd pay good money to see you put your money where your mouth is." She doesn't quite believe me, but that's fine. I could show her at some point if I can figure a way to expand my soul's radius outside of my physical body and transform it that way...