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"If I had to be classified according to the sort of crude generalizations you seem to have in mind, then just by virtue of being a generalist rather than an expert, I would technically be a Fox. But really, what's the point in quibbling about definitions like this?" Recovering from your surprise, you begin your counterattack. "Our perceived faculties aren't the sum of our true character, not by any stretch of the imagination."

You break your stare on a nonplussed Murasaki to look at Konngara and Mima. "It's just as the two of you observed; a person who could be called a Fox by her talents might very well be a Cat by her disposition. "And in some cases..." Pausing, you remember her "... our abilities could be just one big coincidence; the product of decisions, cirucumstances and exigencies outside our own control."

"'Decisions, circumstances and exigencies outside one's control?'" Murasaki slowly repeats what you just said, the words rolling smoothly and amusedly off her tongue. "...Boy, rather than use such a grandiose title, why not call it by its common name?" Resting her head in her hands, she just smiles at you. "Most people just call it Fate."

"It seems to me," says Mima, interceding on your behalf, "that whatever you think of as 'fate' is even stranger than what you think of as 'comedy.'" Her expression hardens slightly. "Yes, many things in people's lives happen without their knowledge, participation or consent. But when you carelessly label those things, those factors outside our immediate control with such a loaded term as 'fate,' it spits on the hard work of the living and the pain of the dead. 'Fate' distances people from the actions of their own hands by removing human culpability and reducing them to the level of innocent bystanders. I hate it." Pronouncing that last sentence with a strong edge of bitterness, Mima then looks at you, uncertainly.

"Though said with more eloquence and conviction than I could ever muster, Mima's feelings echo my own." You smile admiringly at her. "Denying the primacy of karma cheapens life because it robs us of intentionality. And that," you say, turning back to Murasaki, "... brings me to what I was going to say next. As I said, I am a Fox according to just the measure of my abilities, but with regards to the significantly more important question of whether I actively pursue a Cat or Fox ideology, I can confidently tell you that I'm not a partisan for either side. Rather, I see valid points and deficiencies in both positions presented."

This seems to really get the attention not only of the ladies at either side of you, but also of the other Lady, who had been whispering with Youki about something. With everyone watching intently, you start by looking to your right.

"Konngara, your position is entirely correct, but I think we should add one proviso. While the success of society does indeed require that most everyone will become specialists, there is one important exception to this rule, an indispensible class of people who, if successful; are almost certainly generalists. Rulers. Think - is the duty of a ruler to be better at keeping house than his maids or to be a better warrior than his generals? N-"

"Nay, not in the least." Answering your rhetorical question, Konngara nods at you in realization. "Having been awakened to my oversight by way of your supposition, I find myself in agreement with you. Insofar as I have an understanding, the mark of a good ruler is in his ability to elect capable subordinates, which by necessity would seem to mean that he would also have at least a rudimentary understanding of said subordinates' duties. And to achieve that level of understanding, he would need to be a quick study, the adaptable sort of person who easily internalizes new information. In short," she says, looking at Mima, "he would be a Fox. Though, giving this yet further thought, would rulers also not be a sort of Cat? In the respect that their position as the only Foxes in a society of Cats would seem to be a kind of specialization, in and of itself." Responding magnificently, Konngara has a delightful smile on her face.

"That was my proviso and more," you say to her, shaking your head in admiration, "but I'll get back to that last point of yours in a moment." You look to your left, at the petite woman watching you coolly.

"Mima, the second objection you presented was the whole business of apparent talents. As I said, though Konngara is a Fox in her capacities, she's a Cat in her intentions and ambitions."

"Yes, I know. Now how about the first?" In spite of her collected appearance, her voice is full of the kind of excitement only enjoyed by those who love the exercise of rhetoric.

"I would answer that objection by saying that while some of the talented end up outcast as you speculated, the overwhelming majority intergrate into society as its aristocracy. And I don't mean just in the stereotypical sense of the aristocracy in Kyoto or Nara. Think about what it means to be an aristocrat. The exemption from work, palatial dwellings, fine clothes, needlessly extravagant forms of address - all of these are marks of status, rather than the status itself. That status, of being an aristocrat, is actually much simpler; just being the ability to strongly affect the opinions of at least one person other than yourself." Thankfully, you didn't seem to offend Lady Saigyouji, who's listening earnestly. Someone else, however...

"You! You're worse than her!" Unsuccessfully trying to hide it with a frown, she giggles merrily and points at Murasaki before poking you in the side. "That was by far the most weird and untenable definition I've heard tonight! From where did you pull that one?"

"It's just my own observation, and let me explain, so that you think better of me, Miss Mima." With your hands raised in mock submission, you begin to explain, gesturing.

"Think about how society came about. Small groups of people, families probably, encountered each other by chance and saw advantage in banding together. With time, their numbers grow, till there's a need for rules to govern everyone. Now in this state of natural harmony and social equality, these rules are made as a body politic and reached via consensus. And in these first discussions, of a kind probably like to the one in which we're engaging right now, some voices would invariably carry farther or louder, being able to influence the hearts of others."

You pause dramatically, staring down everyone in the room before driving your point home.

"Those voices were the voices of the first aristocrats. And yes, for some, it may not have even been their voices as much as the size of their bodies or the strength of their arms. My point is that anyone who has the ability to induce another to follow him, whether through intelligence, or personal charm, or force, or threat of force, or because his ancestors were respected or through any other type of artifice; that person is an aristocrat and a member of the ruling class. The poor, but magnanimous local farmer on whom everyone depends for their troubles? He's an aristocrat. The priestess who, though avoided by her suppliants is nevertheless revered from afar? She's an aristocrat. The wandering mendicant dressed in threadbare clothes, who uplifts the downtrodden and heals the sick? An aristocrat. And what of the Witch, whose name resounds for hundreds of miles, though she may never leave the threshold of her own door? Yes, she is also, unquestionably; an aristocrat."

The room's silent in deference to Mima, hand stroking her chin as she thinks about what you've said.

After a minute or so of this, she abruptly loses her composure and strikes the table in annoyance. "I-I have nothing right now! ...Blast it." She looks you in the eye mischeviously, smirking broadly. "That was an interesting argument from you. A completely radical one, reeking of cheap sophistry and whose conclusions I won't accept, but interesting. If nothing else, you're a creative man."

"Isn't he? Though if only he were a little more bold and willing to cut loose... Then he'd be just my type~" Murasaki laughs heartily as you pretend to ignore what she just said.

"Anyway, I'd like to bring this all to a conclusion by revisiting what Konngara was saying earlier. It's rulers, but also anyone else, really. If you continue down either the Cat path or the Fox path for long enough, you find that they return full circle and reveal themselves to be two sides of the same coin, whose perrogative is excellence in action."

Lady Saigyouji timidly raises her hand (to the apparent embarassment of Murasaki). "So... what you're saying is, whether we're Foxes or we're Cats, the important thing is... um, to... not forget that we're all.... animals at heart?"

That isn't quite what you were saying and even by your standards, that's an excessively sappy answer, but...

"Right on the mark, sweet Lady," you say, giving her a gratifying nod. "It's important for people to be occasionally reminded of that fact, so that they don't wound each other over all the petty, contentious details."

... you just decide to run with it, by way of encouraging her for having contributed.

Lady Saigyouji must really eat this kind of stuff up. Looking a little bit teary, she lowers her head. "...Thank you. Really, thank you all for being my guests. It's just been me and Youki and Murasaki for so long that I'd... I'd forgotten how wonderful it is to have company over. This has been the m-most happy night in the past ten years for me."

Your heart freezes at the mention of the figure of ten years again. To not draw undue attention to your alarm, you just keep your attention on the Lady and resist the urge to look at your companions. They apparently do the same, because she starts to grow visibly nervous.

"But, oh my... I'm rambling aren't I? I-I'm sorry!" Misunderstanding completely, she starts to panic before Youki puts a hand on her shoulder, upon which she immediately calms down, taking a moment to collect herself. "Ahem. With this, dinner is concluded. I can guess that some of you are quite tired, so if I don't see you again before tomorrow morning... I hope that you sleep well." Standing to see all of you off, the Lady bows.

Everyone takes this as his/her cue to scatter. Youki begins clearing the dinner table while Murasaki whimsily slips out, strolling off towards the left wing of the house. Konngara and Mima are talking quietly about something as head off they head off to their rooms on the opposite wing. The stillness in all of this motion is the Lady, who's kneeling on one of the cushions at the far end of the hall, her thin body cast in a red light by the dim votive candles. She's... praying? And with perfect posture, no less.

What do you want to do?

[ ] What were Konngara and Mima discussing?
[ ] That first story of Murasaki's was interesting.
[ ] Ask to join the Lady in prayer?
[ ] Give Youki another hand. Or six.
[ ] Just sleep. Other matters can wait till tomorrow.
[ ] Do something else. (Specify)
[x] What were Konngara and Mima discussing?
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[X] Ask to join the Lady in prayer?

Good lord, every single one of these options is desirable. However, of everyone here, we've spent the least time with our hostess, and now we see her in prayer? Considering we specifically noticed her perfect form, she's probably rather practiced at this. Given her rather rambunctious personality, I am curious as to what would compel her to act so solemnly.

Also, there was something particularly adorable about Mima's enthusiasm for a battle of whits. I think I was still a little traumatized after she had her breakdown, so seeing her with so much energy was especially enjoyable.
[c] Ask to join the Lady in prayer?
[X] Ask to join the Lady in prayer?

I think we should pray as well, being a monk and all.
That was a most pleasing thread-starter indeed, dear...

...You really should get a trip, author.

[+] That first story of Murasaki's was interesting.

I'd like to use this option as a method to open up discussion regarding the Orb.
I'll get a trip if the need ever arises. I'm not particularly partial to the idea, though I completely understand why others would take one.

Author's note: Just letting you all know, I'm occupied writing something else (also interesting, though unlike this, it's for a grade) until tomorrow evening. I won't be writing till then.
[x] Give Youki another hand. Or six.

Between cats and foxes, Youki is definitely a cat.
edit2: readability, lol

This one's short and there's not much left to this segment, so expect me to call it in a few hours.

Thanking you, but refusing any more proferred help out of a sense of shame, Youki clears the table by himself and quickly exits, leaving the hall empty save for you and the Lady. The deathly silence dispelled only by your soft, appropriately reverent footfalls, you step into the darkness at the far end of the chamber, circling around her back.

"I pray that I'm not disturbing you, Lady Saigyouji?" Maintaining a respectful distance, you press your hands together. "I'd like to join you, if you'll have me."

She relaxes her deportment, eyes aflutter as they light up. "I will! But first..." With visible happiness, she casts a quick glance at the tablet at which she's kneeling before searching the floor around her.

"Here." Moving one of the nearby cushions against hers, the Lady looks away shyly. "Um... I hope you don't mind. I just thought that it was just a bit lonely with only us and..."

"I don't mind at all, dear Lady. No, on the contrary; for accomodating my presence like this, the least I can do is to advance your prayers in whatever modest way I'm capable." Politely affirming her invitation, you assume a seat on the cushion beside her.

"Then... if it's not too much a bother, could pray for something a little... specific?" She looks at you hopefully and asks.


The most common prayers by far are those made out of self-interest; for personal health or longevity, for the increase of one's family or the prosperity of one's field. These are not unworthy wishes - reaching Enlightenment is proportionally harder for those without security or means, to say nothing of the more difficult task of guiding others towards Enlightenment. But yes, for the most part, prayers are directed at the business of the living. Though it may seem surprising, Death is rarely touched upon, except with regards to the prospects of saving one's soul or in request for the series of graduated prayers necessary to properly honor the recently deceased. And that's why Lady Saigyouji's request floors you.

"Could you please... pray for the redemption of all the dead? All those who continue to suffer and have yet to attain paradise?"

It's not at all what you expected from the lively young Lady. You expected her to make a good wish, and she did, but this; this is a solemn and noble wish of uncommon character, one in which you can earnestly believe!

"Lady Saigyouji, I believe I can see why Youki's so dedicated to you now." With eyes full of approbation, you bow your head to her. "there could be no more noble endeavor to which I could devote my heart and my mind." Having given your pledge and said your part, you close your eyes and start to pray. For now, there's nothing else which needs said - to the living. The Lady seems to agree with you. With her response coming by way the feeling of her arm against yours, resumes her prayers, right beside you. Kneeling shoulder to shoulder with the Lady, the two of you speak to the World itself, petitioning on behalf of the voiceless dead for a deliverance from sorrow.


Having stayed with the Lady through all her devotions, it's probably well into the hours of the early morning when the two of you finish. Bringing you back to reality with a tap on the shoulder, she helps you to your feet and hugs you, offering her express thanks and profuse apologies for keeping you up so late. Then, wishing each other a good night, you're about to go your separate ways when she seems to remember something.

"Sorry, I-I know I've been asking you odd things all evening, but ..." Not able to see her face in the darkness, she asks you a question:

"Do you think the good of the many is worth more than the good of the one?"

[ ] I think it is.
[ ] I think it isn't.
[x] I think it is.
selfless martyr go.

What's your reasoning for choosing this?
[x] I think it is.
[x] But explain that that's only if it ultimately comes down to making a choice; you'd much rather prefer to cover the good of everyone if possible.
[x] I think it isn't.
[0] I think it isn't.
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[X] I think it isn't.

I know what she's asking; is it not better for one person to suffer to prevent the suffering of many? The most logical (and entirely too dispassionate) answer is to let the one suffer. It's a hard decision to make, of course, but it's ultimately the best one when it comes time to decide. But whenever such situations arise, it's usually because there is a failure to comprehend an alternative solution. Something one may have believed to be impossible may very well be possible. This new possibilty, chance, solution, etc. can alter the very foundation of a situation, or provide alternatives where there existed none. Where there was only a choice between the good of the one and the good of the many, now there is a chance where such a distinction need not be made. It's all a matter of perspective; one that can be obfuscated when the situation is particularly dire. However, sometimes all it takes is a particularly courageous effort to achieve prosperity for everyone.

I probably shouldn't be trying to apply shonen manga logic to this situation, but between the "right" answer to this question and the right answer, I know where I stand.

(Re-worded previous vote; less whiny, more verbiage)
[x] I think it isn't.

Mokuren isn't the type of person who'd take the lives of others over the death of a single person.
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H-hey anon! Um, I just have a few little things I wanted to ask you. N-no, no, no, no! There's no specific reason, at all. Really! I'm just using it to, uh... help a friend and since you're really smart...

1. I thought about this a while ago, but... isn't sacrifice really the basis of human society? The family, that most basic of social groups, is founded on it. There's no parent who saw her kids grow to adulthood without sacrificing. And I've never met anyone who said that the sacrifice of a parent for her child is wrong. So, if she isn't being forced into it, why should a 'one' sacrificing herself for the many be bad? Is it that you see it as a sacrifice of the individual for the intangible?

2. And what if... the 'one' wants to sacrifice herself for the greater good and that she has a... uh, well-thought out and reasonably complete knowledge of the circumstances? Like, she's not being misled or anything?

3. I'm not really as well-read as some other people I know, but... it seems common to every time and place that self-sacrifice is thought of as the most praiseworthy of qualities. If there's no good reason for a person to ever have to sacrifice herself, why do you think that is?

4. Is the opposite, sacrifice of the many for the one, any better?

5. ...Isn't there someone who sacrificed herself for you? Um... I would think that if you deny the value of sacrifice, you dishonor what she's done for you.
Disclaimer for the panicky: You are not getting these questions because you chose incorrectly. Whether this position or the other, either choice would have you defend your position and in fact, this is the easier position to defend, by virtue that the person asking the questions is nicer.

Author's note: So that there is no confusion this time, let me explain what I would have you do. These are the sorts of things against which you will need to defend in order to justify your choice. Your success in this update will be based on your ability to refute or deconstruct the arguments presented above. The more of them against which you can argue effectively, the more convincing you will prove to be in the update.

Also, there's no need to 'vote' good arguments - I will take into account everything said. Successfully defending your position is not a matter of psyching me out or telling me what you think I'd like to hear, but providing sound positions against what Yuyu has proposed. Basically, I'm just asking you to think.

Godspeed, anonymous - I hope you succeed in this trial, I really do.
[x] I think it isn't.
I draw fortitude in my answer from my inherent dislike of the notion of 'sacrifice.' To me, something is only ever sacrificed when it is given due to a sense of duty or obligation, rather than a genuine desire to forfeit something cherished with no regard of your self; giving because you feel you have to, as compared to giving because you want to. Just like the man that will never work a day in his life because he loves what he does, no man that gives freely of himself will ever sacrifice anything. Concepts such as 'choice' and 'free will' seem to be mutually exclusive when it comes to 'sacrifice.' Something I want to do for someone else with no regard of how it may effect me is not a sacrifice. Furthermore, a 'willing sacrifice" is an oxymoron to me; notions of 'sacrifice' and feelings of 'regret' almost always go hand-in-hand.

In my opinion, something you genuinely want to do will never result in a sacrifice. Parents wear the hardships they endure for the betterment of their children as badges of honor. Furthermore, the last thing a good parent is going to want is for their children to live beholden of them because of the challenges they faced. They worked hard to give their child a life better than what they had. What is a more fulfilling response to that effort: maintaining the status quo, or acheiving something even better for future generations?

This is not to say sacrificing something or oneself isn't praiseworthy; to overcome the sense of attachment and feelings of loss associated with giving up something treasured is a feat that should merit the highest of praise. However, it should also merrit also the deepest of sorrow, for something of great value was given against someone's will. Would it not be preferable to bypass that latter consideration? To that end, I wonder to myself, "Were I to die for this person, would I want them to live their lives to the fullest because they felt that had to, or to live their lives to the fullest because they can?" While both may acheive the same end, the former shackles them (sacrifice), while the latter sets them free (something freely given).

My mental faculties are failing me; sorry if this is incomprehensible
>>102534 Here and my reason?

I think such a thing should be avoided as much as possible (explore every other option), but if it came down to a decision of one life or many, or even one life or a few, that our lead might be inclined to give up that one life.

But as far as the questions.

2. There isn't much to stop someone from doing such a thing if s/he feels there's no other choice. But one'd hope she'd understand the effects it'd have on those that s/he knows

3. The only reason I can think of is a failure to consider every possible option in regards to the goal.

4. Such a move would be more selfish in nature, but to say if that was good or bad would ultimately depend on perspective. Again such a thing should be considered only if about every other option fails in regards to the goal, and perhaps not event the.

5. True, if there was someone who sacrificed him/her-self for my sake of say not dying, I'd be thankful.
[+] I think it isn't.

If you ignore the good of the one, the good of the many will never come about. "The many" is, after all, made up of many "the ones."

1. The parent sacrificing her happiness for their children's sake is attaining happiness of a different sort. It's less of a sacrifice than it is an exchange.

2. Counter-question: How can she be sure? Sacrificing one's life - which I'll assume you refer to, due to the finality you imply - is the last possible option, and not one to be taken lightly. If you sacrifice your life based on flawed reasoning, there can be no returning from such an error. With such drastic finality on the line, how can one be sure that such a sacrifice is needed? And what if there were someone who needed this person alive?

3. I argue that it is primarily a function of admiration of a person's willingness to give up something precious, rather than the sacrifice itself, that is seen as especially noble. Indeed, the sacrifice of a life for a cause is often responded to with the thought that "It's a shame they didn't live."

4. I'd like to hear more of an example before I answer this one.

5. I do not discount the value of sacrifice, but I argue that more can be accomplished through living and hard work. In fact, I would say that living is far more difficult than the alternative.

If I fail to see the correct thrust of any of these points, please do enlighten me further.
Two more open-ended questions for everyone (the first 5 are still open):

6. Do you think that there is anything in the world, concrete or abstract, that is more valuable than your own life?

7. Related to the above question, would you make the ultimate sacrifice yourself?

And in case you all wanted an assessment of your answers so far: Satisfactory, but not an airtight case.

>My mental faculties are failing me;sorry if this is incomprehensible

I think I have an understanding of what you're saying. It's an attempt at deconstructing sacrifice by trying to redefine it in such a way so that it's incompatible with free will, thus mainly addressing points 1 and 2.

Not a bad argument at all, though I'd raise a few things.

>A genuine desire to forfeit something cherished with no regard of your self

You've distinguished the above from 'sacrifice,' which you say is made out of a sense of 'obligation' rather than love or free will. Which means that if someone had a 'genuine desire to forfeit something cherished with no regard of your self,' then it would not be a sacrifice by your own definition. So would you not have a problem (or at least be unopposed) then, if someone were to do this?

>What is a more fulfilling response to that effort: maintaining the status quo, or acheiving something even better for future generations?

This statement affirms the value of sacrifice.

>>102578 said:
>The only reason I can think of is a failure to consider every possible option in regards to the goal.

in answer to

>3. I'm not really as well-read as some other people I know, but... it seems common to every time and place that self-sacrifice is thought of as the most praiseworthy of qualities. If there's no good reason for a person to ever have to sacrifice herself, why do you think that is?

You're saying that self-sacrifice is the product of short-sightedness and failure, but not why there's a universal human tendency to admire it. Ergo; when lays, epics and literature ennoble self-sacrifice, do they do it because short-sightedness and failure is admirable or is there some other reason?

>True, if there was someone who sacrificed him/her-self for my sake of say not dying, I'd be thankful.

Just to make sure we're all on the same page, Yuyu isn't just talking about sacrifice in the sense of ceasing to live. In the case of question 5, she's talking about a specific person who could have acted at critical moment in your life to fulfill her own desire to always be with you. She didn't. Instead, she chose to do what was best for you and so, gave you a chance to experience a life better than the sad, brutish and short of most people. That is a sacrifice too, and no less powerful in light of its consequences for both of you.

>1. The parent sacrificing her happiness for their children's sake is attaining happiness of a different sort. It's less of a sacrifice than it is an exchange.

If the person making the sacrifice for the many attains happiness from her choice, then isn't that also an exchange?

>3. I argue that it is primarily a function of admiration of a person's willingness to give up something precious, rather than the sacrifice itself, that is seen as especially noble.

What if I said that 'a person's willingness to give up something precious' was the 'sacrifice itself?'

>I'd like to hear more of an example before I answer this one.

It's as the question says. If you're placed in a situation where sacrifice is unavoidable unless you plan to do nothing at all, and you oppose the notion that one should sacrifice herself for the many, then do you find the alternative - the many sacrificing themselves for the one - to be preferable?

Edit: spelling
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>Which means that if someone had a 'genuine desire to forfeit something cherished with no regard of your self,' then it would not be a sacrifice by your own definition.

That's the thrust of my argument, yes. I draw a distinction between the two acts, mainly due to the different state of mind or intent of the person.

>So would you not have a problem (or at least be unopposed) then, if someone were to do this?

Oh, I have a problem with it alright. I can admire a parent that works and toils for the sake of their children with no regard for themselves, but given a choice between that and for a family to grow without undue burden, I'll take the latter. Overly naive example aside, selfless giving is certainly preferable over the need to 'sacrifice' oneself, but I'm still not a fan of situations requiring such actions when they can be avoided (me on the topic in >>102542). I cannot absolutely deny that there is a value in this type of 'self-destructive giving;' doing so would not only dishonor those that have given or sacrificed themselves, but also turn a blind eye to those situations where there exists no alternative. That said, nothing is more tragic than an unneccessary sacrifice.

>This statement affirms the value of sacrifice.

Indeed it does. I think 'value,' whether real or perceived, is what sets sacrifice apart from mere forfeiture.

As for these new questions: yes, on both accounts. I know why someone would sacrifice themselves, and I know what that can mean in the most dire of circumstances. Furthermore, I know that there are things more valuable than my life, and that I would sacrifice myself for them. That I understand the magnitude of that decision is why I'm particularly adamant about exploring alternatives.

This is getting pretty deep.
"I don't believe it is, nor do I believe that sort of relationship, one of sacrifice; should be considered as anything other than unjust for both parties. The many will believe that they have the sanction to violate the rights of individuals and may thereby fall prey to demagogues, while the one, by his own example; will send the message to all who come after that sacrifice is somehow a laudable action rather than a calculation made out of tragedy and desperation." Speaking resolutely, your voice reverberates through the hall.

The Lady doesn't move, nor does she say anything immediately. But when she does, it's an uncharacteristically subdued tone.

"...A very... priestly response. I'll remember what you've said, but... let me leave you with something." She steps towards you and comes so close that even in the darkness you can see her face.

...Her sad, glowering face with eyes full of grief.

"You say that sacrifice is wrong as it applies to other people, but think about what you yourself would do."

Having said this, she leans back and turns; walking slowly towards the chambers on the left side of the hall as you just ponder her words. When she's some distance away, she says to you in her normal mode of speech, "Er... I'm not sure what came over me there, s-sorry! Sorry about that! Good night! And rest easy, you're safe in my house!" Sounding considerably more cheerful, Lady Saigyouji gives a clumsy farewell and disappears around the corner.


When you made it back to your room, you were greeted by an unexpected sight. Holding each other lovingly, Konngara and Mima were soundly asleep in your bed; various articles of their clothing scattered about the floor. You didn't have much of a choice. As it was, with no space to join them and in light of their state of probable undress, you quietly wished them sweet dreams and moved one door down, into the room Mima had chosen as hers. ...It's been a long day. Settling into the bed, the first that you've had in years, the satisfying fatigue in your body urges you to sleep. You do. Stretching pleasurably, you turn on your side and forget about the waking world, for now.

You've reached the end of the second day, Anonymous. All of today was interesting. Through your actions, you've simultaneously advanced the cause of greatest good, while possibly furthering the cause of ultimate evil.

Specifically, there's something of considerable importance that all of you have either misapprehended or outright missed. Offsetting this marked failure, there's also a matter of unrivaled consequence that some of you have realized and for which you're going to be rewarded, right now.

For more on the former, pick the Commentary option. For more on the latter, pick the 'SECRET OPTION: Intermission.' Otherwise, just select to continue the story.

Note: You may pick more than one choice, but if you do, put the one you'd like to see first at the top of the list.

[ ] Commentary.
[ ] SECRET OPTION: Intermission.
[ ] Continue the story.
[c] Commentary.
[c] SECRET OPTION: Intermission.

Wonder what Intermission has to offer.
I'm guessing by saying it isn't worth it, then we practically spit on Yuyuko's face. We denied her one way of telling herself it was "ok".

[x] Commentary.
[x] SECRET OPTION: Intermission.

sure why not.
[x] Commentary.
[x] SECRET OPTION: Intermission.

I get the feeling we screwed up talking with Yuyuko.

Way to go, guys. Real bright thinking there.
[x] Commentary.
[x] SECRET OPTION: Intermission.
At least we didn't eat some strange fruits.
[X] Commentary.
[X] SECRET OPTION: Intermission.

Yeah, sorry guys. I (>>102634, >>102570, >>102542) fagged this shit up hard. I'm out after this; clearer minds than mine are needed for this.

Saging myself in despair.
Again I never meant my statement about sacrifice being the absolute last resort to mean "something out of desperation or such" in such an insulting matter. I meant it to be "If you've tried all you can before this moment, then do as you feel is right" and not "going throwing something away at the first opportunity"

I hate to see how this screw up comes to affect things.

That and I still feel that our lead is someone who would give something up for the greater good.

Though I wouldn't doubt your good intentions in voting that one person making a sacrifice isn't worth it, but you must consider what else could Yuyuko do about her case?
File 12576303216.jpg - (103.44KB, 1200x819 , Thich_Quang_Duc.jpg) [iqdb]
Self-sacrifice has a place in Buddhism, but only when the person goes in with full knowledge of the purpose and consequences, as well as conviction that it is the correct course of action.

Bearing suffering to prevent and alleviate the suffering of others is the raison d'être of the reincarnating bodhisattva.
So you want the bad news first, huh? Please read this carefully then. It's rather important.
Oooh, I can't help myself, not when she's grinding her teeth in rage like that! "Ran~ Why do you look so -frustrated-?"

"I'm sorry Milady, but he practically spit in Miss Yuyuko's face there at the end! If he couldn't have gone along with what she said, then he should have made a better argument to convince her. That was as foolish as it gets."

"Mom, why are you being so hard on Sir Monk?" Clenching her fists and practically shouting, Chen earnestly leaps to his defense. "He's only known Miss Yuyuko for less than a day!"

"Oh Chen, that's right, that's so right! You're such a smart girl~" I reach over and ruffle her hair, as I have a nice, long, -elegant- laugh at my slave Shikigami's expense. "Really, Ran! Think about it - for how many years do you think Yuyu had decided what her own fate would be? You can't overturn that sort of certain determination easily and definitely not in one argument! Speaking truthfully, Sir Monk couldn't really have done -much- better than he did there."

Ears flattened under her hat, Ran folds her hands into her sleeves and looks at me unamusedly. "I hope you're not trying to say that he didn't make any mistakes today, milady."

"Oh come now, Ran! You -know- that if I had meant to say that, I would have done so. I mean, have you ever met a more honest and straightforward girl than me?" Huh? She looks so embarassed, for some reason! Who knows why, animals are strange sometimes~ "But yes," I say, becoming serious, "far more than with Yuyu, he made a mistake with Mima."

Chen cocks her head in confusion. "Mima? Really? Wasn't that just because of all the sad things that happened to her so many years ago, Lady Yukari?"

"And besides, she seemed perfectly fine later on," Ran adds, looking thoughtful. "Maybe I've just forgotten something, but could you explain, Milady?"

"I will, because you two are wrong on both counts." My -beautiful- golden tresses whipping every which way as I shake my head. "Listen, Chen. Do you remember what Konngara said about Mima?"

She's clearly doing her best to recall. It looks so cute! Eyes closed, her face screwed up in thought, she starts to nod. "I think. She had a lot to say, Lady Yukari."

I clap my seventeen year old hands together, smiling. "Good girl! Now, do you remember specifically what Konngara said about the way Mima reacted to Sir Monk's offer?"

She takes a moment before answering me. Not quite certain, Chen asks "She said something about it not being her past?"

"Yes that's right, Chen. Specifically that the way that Mima acted is proof that it's not about her past. If you'll remember, Konngara said that in all the time they've been friends Mima has never said anything about it to her. -And- that whenever the topic was brought up, Mima might lash out and become angry but never, ever did she just have a complete emotional breakdown like what happened there."

"But milady, how do we know Konngara's right? Isn't it obvious that the hero just failed to take some latent, undiscovered trauma into account?" With a face that says 'I don't like that milady keeps dismissing what I say,' Ran tries to remonstrate with me.

Unfortunately for her, I -love- seeing that face on my slave Shikigami. "You're so contrarian today, Ran~ What's the matter, do you think I'm favoring Chen over you?"

Ran instantly turns bright red. "I-I am not upset!" With her ears standing on end and tails swishing about, she looks off to the side and says, "I just think that milady is making improbable claims. With someone like Mima, it's clear as day to everyone that it was just the hero triggering so fears regarding her past which she couldn't quite yet overcome."

Oh wow. This is what she really thinks? "Ran, you're a fool." Frowning hard, I have to tell her this as directly as possible. "Konngara's assessment of the situation was absolutely flawless - Sir Monk failed so terribly because he misread the situation completely."

"Not to be rude, Milady, but I don't believe you. Even though you never accept anyone else's opinions and always talk down to everyone, rarely is it that you ever prove that you know anything. Looking extremely angry, Ran glares at me. "Tell us - tell Chen and I - what he did wrong."

Just smiling at her juvenile provocation, I conjure a file and work on my -elegant- fingernails. "You're going to be sorry for saying something that, Ran~" As noticable shiver runs down my slave Shikigami's spine, I decide to humor her impudence a little bit. "Anyway, in exchange for the punishment you're getting later, I guess I can tell you a few things." Setting the file down, I clear my girlish throat and get comfortable. This might take a while...

"First, we know for certain that Konngara is right because when Mima decided to tell Sir Monk about her past, she acted exactly in the way Konngara described. So let me say this for the last time - for whatever reason she broke down in the story today, it was because of something in the present, not something that happened years ago. Now to be fair, with what he knew in that situation, it was almost expected that he would misunderstand. Granted, if he were able to grasp the true nature of her denial, that would have been fantastic. But he didn't and that's fine. It's not the big issue in this case, because though there were some hints about what was going on, they weren't very obvious ones except in hindsight. No, his biggest mistake? That was in leaving and more specifically, his reasons for deciding to leave."

Taking the book from the table, I open and quickly flip back to the page in question. "Please read this line, Chen." Making this request, I hand it to her .

"...I apologize if I brought up any unpleasant memories. The invitation will be open if you change your mind..." Chen's timidity at the atmosphere in the room turns to abject puzzlement as recites this line. Saying it over and over to herself, she finally looks at me, completely confused. "Sir Monk really said this?"

Not able to stop myself from wincing when I hear it again, I cover my face and sigh deeply. "Yes, he did."

"I'm afraid don't understand the point you're making, milady. Could you explain?" Cowed back into her normally subservient stance, Ran asks me this with her head respectfully lowered.

I beckon Chen for the book and hand it to Ran."Read it. I urge you, say that line aloud* and tell me that I'm still wrong to call this a mistake. Think from the perspective of Mima. Something's caused her to do what she hates most - to cry in front of others. Bitterly sobbing her heart out, she's silently calling out to Sir Monk, hoping that he'll see through the cowardice of her words and love her. Instead, after receiving a curt, mechanical dismissal like this, she's callously abandoned by him. Him - the selfsame person who she likely considers as having caused her to break down in the first place. And for what reason? ...Because he placed a higher priority on playing around with her friend than comforting her in the depths of misery. All this, from a person who so lately promised to help her and for whom she developed such a powerful affection, so quickly. For someone like Sir Monk, that might seem like a little thing perhaps, as he makes bosom friends with ease. But for her, for Mima, she would think of it differently, him being the first she'd met of her own kind and seeming such a good and noble person, besides."

With a look of shock and abject sorrow, Ran's on the edge of tears herself. "That's horrible. Please tell me it isn't true, milady! Even if he doesn't know what's at stake with his friends, please...!"

I can't look at her face when I answer. "It's true. All of it. Did I not say before? Konngara and Sir Monk are very open-hearted sorts of people, but Mima isn't. Even before Konngara explained at greater length, he several times was faced with the fact that she has difficulty showing her true feelings and very often tests people to ascertain theirs. And even if he hadn't paid attention to that at all, common sense would seem to dictate that if someone asks you to leave as she cries in front of you, then you don't go. You stay put and help her no matter the cost, most of all when that person is a woman into who has nothing but admiration and love for you."

"Lady Yukari?" Chen interrupts me in a wavering voice. "Why are you being so harsh on Sir Monk?
He was only doing what Acala said! He' made a mistake but he's not some criminal, he's a victim!"

"Is that right?" I motion to Ran, asking her for the book. "Listen well, these are all things he said/thought by himself."

"Well with Mima you might never know if she changed her mind"

Reading this to them both with not a little distaste, even -I- feel a little sad. What an absolutely ridiculous misapprehension.

"That might keep Konngara waiting a bit much"

How selfish and misguided, this. Especially, when Konngara had made quite clear that she didn't begrudge her friend anything.

I look up at Chen, who's absolutely crestfallen at hearing these. "I know how you must feel, Chen. I understand you like him and you're right to say that it isn't all his fault, because it isn't. But the Wisdom King himself said that his specific perrogative was avoiding immediate conflict in Sir Monk's group. Saving the hearts of others is an entirely different matter and something Sir Monk needs to do himself." My face softens somewhat, at the sight of my two slaves Shikigami looking so dejected. "On a more positive note, whether he intended it or not, Sir Monk was right to give Mima some distance and not press the issue again after he left."

Chen suddenly looks at me, confused, but also a little bit hopeful. "But you said it was terrible that he pushed her away before!"

I give a gracious and -elegant- nod. "It was and is. He should have pressed her on the issue immediately, when she was disposed to talk about it. But what would have made the situation worse is if Sir Monk had tried to so clumsily correct an error of that magnitude later that night. Opening that issue again so soon would have seemed to Mima a kind of insincerity at best, so it's good that he didn't do such a foolish thing." I cast an eye at my slave Shikigami, who's hanging on my every word. "Incidentally, this brings me to why you're wrong, Ran. I wouldn't say that she was 'fine' later on, so much as she was able to present her normal appearance to everyone. Had Sir Monk visited her, he would have seen."

"Pardon me if I don't remember but what would have happened?" Ran asks this, a spot of fear in her eyes.

My smile becomes grim. "Nothing. Absolutely nothing." I look at Ran and Chen both, who don't seem to get it. "That's just it, you see. Having repaired the crack in her emotional armor and thereby covering the wound on her heart, her sense of self-preservation would force her to feel nothing. Acting on that suspicion of insincerity I told you about, she would have lost all feelings for Sir Monk and really have given up on him. In the worst case scenario, she might have even chosen to throw her heart away."

"... To throw her heart away. Milady, when you say things like that and over and over drive home the point that he was but a sliver away from dooming himself, I can't help but feel that this story is hopeless. Is it? Is there no way for the two of them to reconcile? Because depending on your answer, I might not want to listen anymore..." Looking towards the door, Ran starts to leave her chair.

"It's not hopeless Ran. Far from it." Opening a gap, I reach in it and take her hands into mine, arresting her retreat as I comfort her. "As he is right now, Sir Monk still enjoys the esteem (and better) of his friends. They positively adore him and Konngara's even started to trust him deeply. Yes, trust. Of all the emotions, trust is most easily lost and strenuously earned. By any measure, he's done well with everyone. There are certain issues now and in the future which he'll have to overcome, but most of them can be solved if he remembers something he should already know." Looking down at the book, I search for the line in question and read it. Concealing the irritation I feel takes all the discipline of my sagacious, seventeen year old mind.

"the apology was clearly for bringing up things that she'd rather not brought up"

"See, he needs to stop thinking like this. The premise behind this sort of statement is the source of nearly all his errors today." Slicing the air, I open another gap and take Chen's hand too. Holding both members of my precious family, I ask that they listen well as I say to them, "Never forget that if you love someone and not just in the sense of an attraction or passing fancy, but if you truly love them, then you'll do what's best for them over your own individual wishes. Or even their individual wishes. Even if they'll hate you for all eternity it. If you genuinely love someone, then that's what it means."

"Though not every choice is between what we like and what we think is right, Lady Yukari!" Chen is smiling again, her eyes sparkling with inspiration at what I've said.

I can't help but smile too, though mine's -incomparably- more dignified. "Absolutely right, Chen! Most of the time, they're the same thing! But sometimes, they're not and it's at those moments that we're truly tested. Though Sir Monk has many such tests before his journeys come to an end, I'm sure that he'll succeed in all of them if he never loses sight of what it is to love. ...And speaking of love," I say, facing a reticently smiling Ran, "you said you might want to hear something a bit different?"

Releasing their hands, I open another gap and peek around in it bodily, (elegantly) rooting through it for something particular. It takes me a while, but...

"Here we are." Adjusting my fabulous~ hat, I turn around and show to them an ancient, weathered looking scroll. "I've never read you this one Ran, but it's beautiful. It's also about love, an enduring love of over a thousand years..."
*I ask that all of you readers actually do this.

Author's note: Reading this again, I know it sounds unusually severe of me, so I'd like to apologize now if any of you feel offended. But offending you lot wasn't my intention, really. Just as was said by Yukarin, if you care about someone, then you act according to their best interests and not just in a way that they would like. The reason I spent the time to type this wall is not because I want you all to feel DESPAIR, but so that each and every one of you has a genuine understanding of the mistakes you've made. Because not only do I want to make sure that all of you get a good end, but I also want to ensure that end has real meaning by it having been attained only after our best collective efforts and with no deception from me.

If there are any other questions to which you'd like answer, just ask. I'll be around for a while tonight.

Seesh... I think now we'll be second guessing ourselves for a different reason. If it wasn't for Konngara waiting for us in the bath, I might have been more inclined to spent more time on the effort and with that last write in part, I merely intended it to be a showing of thought.

Boy do I feel stupid (And I consider myself a smart anon)... Good thing you're not in a rush to get votes since chances are future votes will get thought upon 2-3 fold before being cast.

At least I'm going to have to wait until the middle of the day to think and vote.
Told you so.

Idealists might preach a pretty case, but that's just not the way the world works.

Here and thinking on it, it was typical CYOA thinking that lead to that mistake. This story really is forcing a break out of old habits and thinking.

Since it was the flow thought, "Keep Konngara waiting too long and things might end up messed up"

My question so far: How many CYOA conventions are going to be broken by this story? Since this story seems to aim to be something completely new and different. And that's a good thing yet it'll have us rethinking many decisions from days to come.
Feels bad man.
You shouldn't feel stupid, on the contrary, most of the decisions made thus far have been sound. It's just that this mistake is one that seems to have made without appropriate recognition of certain things (which is fine) in addition to breaching the dictates of common sense (which is not fine and why I wrote this). Better that I should have told you this all now then suddenly have the tone of the story shift for the worse because of something you weren't fully aware, by my reckoning.

There's nothing wrong with idealism, especially considering that the hero himself tends towards it but still acts in a way generally grounded in rational pragmatism. It's just that successfully being idealistic requires you to work harder. See >>101889 for more details.

>How many CYOA conventions are going to be broken by this story?

Only the bad ones, hopefully.

>Since this story seems to aim to be something completely new and different.

Does it? Some stuff is different from normal, but that's because I had to do things in a specific way to achieve the ultimate objective of the narrative.

Believe me when I say it's not.
>Better that I should have told you this all now then suddenly have the tone of the story shift for the worse because of something you weren't fully aware, by my reckoning.

Very true. It probably is better to throw up the warning flags now when there's still an opportunity to correct ourselves than to suddenly pull the rug out from under our oblivious selves. For as disappointed and frustrated as I am, it's the good kind; instead of getting angry at the story for unnecessarily obfuscating or complicating something that results in a foul up, it was a genuine misinterpretation and lapse in judgment(/common sense) that caused this problem. While it feels like shit now, if we can rectify or surpass our failings, it's the most fulfilling kind of success.

I want to be angry at you, because that would be an easy way of alleviating this soul crushing depression, but you haven't done anything wrong and I still trust that you'll let us salvage the situation/story.

Still, I'd congratulate you upon writing one of the most depressing side-updates since GM's "Meiling waited for you, Anonymous," but I doubt you were aspiring towards such an inauspicious achievement. Instead, I hope this serves as a reminder for all of us to take a moment before voting to consider what a vote means and how these delightfully crafted characters will receive them. Is there an existing predisposition to not treat all votes seriously because Anonymous is used to a handful of BS votes because some authors don't know where to take the next scene? Perhaps... perhaps.

Here's to hoping the intermission is the other side of this particular coin.

As far as Mima goes, we didn't have some of the insight we do now, and I think everyone assumed that keeping Konngara waiting would be a bad thing. (In some CYOAs such a scenario does actually occur), but it was a case of bandwagoning. We should try to cut down on that unless we're absolutely certain that it's the right choice.

I do wonder what those idealists were trying to do with that vote, in that case I saw that saying many over one was worth it, but it seems I got drowned out.

But I do worry about if we'd recognize the chance to fix our mistakes or not.
>As far as Mima goes, we didn't have some of the insight we do now, and I think everyone assumed that keeping Konngara waiting would be a bad thing.
This. At that point, I could discern relatively little of her character, but she seemed such a proud individual that pressing her on the matter seemed likely to do more harm than good.

She didn't want the Monk to see her cry, and he (in my mind) didn't want to cause her further grief by staying around. It appeared to be the wrong course of action.

I'll try to make better decisions in the future, but between the philosophical questions and the far-too-deep expectations of us to divine the natures of the characters in the story, it's looking like this story is too cerebral for me to keep following. Having to devote so much of my mental faculties to making a single vote is more time- and energy-consuming than I can afford.

I hope that isn't the case since you and norseman are the few folks who light the way for the rest of us.

But it's a true risk, I'm willing to keep on reading, but you are asking a lot out of us with these complicated votes. I certainly can't vote on this story if I'm tired, due to the focus and energy needed to make a good vote.
Through everything that's happened, I've kept my promise to you. ...Oh dear, I'm making it sound like I've been through so much, aren't I? Let me try again. Maybe a better way of saying it is that I have not forgotten you and to this day, continue to hold you first in my heart. It's not been completely cloudless skies. For a time after you left, I endured the same cold stares that you so bravely weathered in those last few days. It was to be expected, given everything about us. Maybe you're thinking, 'that's so terrible, I feel sorry for you!' Please, don't. Nothing could make me more proud than the knowledge that I was courageous for your sake and I hope that when you come back - when I can tell you the story in full, you'll have a same measure of that pride I felt.

Though I was alone for a time, I wasn't alone. You were always there with me and I was still holding you in my arms, just like on that last day we were together. Come to think of it, it'll be the other way around when you come back, won't it? You've probably become taller than me now, so when we hug, it'll look like you're the one holding me. I don't know if I like that thought. I much prefer how things were, those lazy winter evenings when you'd come sit in my lap. There, in the warm glow of the hearth, you'd rest against my chest and tell me about this or that little thing and I - I'd have my arms around you, my head on your shoulder, giving a nod every now and again as I listened. ...I miss those days and the knowledge that they're gone, never to return, pains me sometimes.

But reminicising like this, I think I've changed my mind about not liking that thought. When you come back to me, I'll have you hold me in that way and you'll feel privileged to have the chance. In the time that you've surely spent becoming a wise, good and just man, I've become a tall, intelligent and beautiful woman, just for you. I'm yours. That's why, when people started to notice and they tried to vie for my hand, I refused all of them. One of them who didn't know who I was even tried to take me by violence. That poor, misguided soul. I hope that he's able to walk again someday.

A little bit after that happened, I learned that I was being bethrothed to some petty, tenth-rank noble. What was it that he said again? That I should 'be grateful that one of the Good People deigned to condescend and recognize a peasant girl like you.' Yes, that whole affair was funny. I wish you had been there to see it - when, on the day I was to be married, I broke his face in front of everyone and walked out. Looking back, I do feel a little bit sorry for that wayward noble. In a way, he's just a victim of the system in which he was born and completely paralyzing him like that was wrong of me. Special privileges breed a kind of corruption in the soul that isn't the fault of individuals, so every day I say a small prayer for him in the hope that he recovers.

As for me, I joined the nearest convent that day, still wearing my wedding dress. And that's where I am today, writing this. I don't love being here, but to complain about it to you would be selfish of me. I know that whatever trivial obstacles I face, somewhere right now, you're surely enduring something incomparably more trying and more difficult. So I will shoulder my small burden and wait for you, no matter how long it takes. Whether it's ten years and a day or fifty years or whatever remains of my life, I'll keep my promise to you, Myouren. Because I'm yours.
Author's note: It's good that you managed to figure out your identity. Let's just say that it's actually of critical importance to this story and that if all of you missed the signs I gave and was planning to give, then that would have had horrible, horrible consequences down the road.

Also, I liked writing this. Intermissions will (probably) continue to be offered to you at various intervals, assuming you want to read them and select the appropriate option.

Of course we look forward to such things, dear big sis Byakuren.
She's right there. Your sister's right there. You can hear the music of her voice, imbibe the fragrance of her hair and feel the pulse of her pure heart beside you. All the long years of time and the countless leagues of space separating the two of you are but a single flimsy paper wall right now and she's on the other side of it. So why? Why can't you tear away that last barrier? Why can't you even scratch it? You want to see her! You want to hold her again! You want to touch her, to kiss her, to tell her you love her! And...

You're jolted into wakefulness. The gray half-light falling against the papered shutter is completely at odds with your feelings; with the frenetic emotions coursing through your mind right now. Whether that was just your imagination actualizing your heartfelt wish to see her or if those were really her feelings having reached you, she - Byakuren was there with you till only a moment ago. ...You really do miss her. But it's neither in accordiance with your personality, nor your sense of justice to lament or to pointlessly angst about it. The best tribute you can give to your sister for everything that she's done for you is to cultivate your virtues and to spend your life in pursuit of good. That way, when you see her again she can be proud of you and of herself, for not having sacrificed so much in vain.

Thinking so, you resolve to fully awaken and climb out of bed. It's yet early, but there's no way you could possibly fall asleep again as you are and you promised yesterday to instruct Youki later in the morning anyway. As you perform your normal routine - stretches, dressing yourself, arranging your equipment and contemplating bits and pieces of the scriptures, something catches your eye. On the desk laying beside a discarded brush and inkstone is a book; the one in which Mima was writing yesterday before you came in. Of a length and breadth that it can comfortably fit in the hand, it's bound with some unfamiliar kind of leather and buttoned closed with a small clasp. Though you've never kept one yourself, you unmistakably recognize what this is.

It's a diary.

[ ] Have a look at it.
[ ] Don't have a look at it.
edit: formatting
[x] Don't have a look at it.
[x] Put it back where you found it (or the closest natural object.

We will not voliate her trust in such a fashion.

Though I can't say I'm 100% behind this.

But if this is through our hero's perspective, might we call upon his finer insights? (Not the Wisdom King, but Myouren the man's insights) Since chances are the character may be more insightful than we are about things and it'd be a nice tool to use.
Mima is not so careless a woman. Not with her own feelings, anyway.

We know from Yukari's aside that Mima reaches out to others in a very underhanded manner. If she was ready to open up about her past to him before, she could have left this here for the express purpose that Sir Monk reads it, while maintaining deniability and as providing another test for Sir Monk--and not for his virtue (that was never in any question) but whether his care for her is strong enough to break the borders of propriety and decorum.

Of course, after reading the contents, we should hold onto it until we're able to confront her regarding the contents at a more appropriate time.

[x] Read it carefully, pocketing it you're finished or interrupted.
>"Never forget that if you love someone and not just in the sense of an attraction or passing fancy, but if you truly love them, then you'll do what's best for them over your own individual wishes. Or even their individual wishes. Even if they'll hate you for all eternity it. If you genuinely love someone, then that's what it means."

[x] Have a look at it.

Good point, and I can't really counter it at all; I'll change my vote after the author answered my question of if we can tap into Myouren's insights when making decisions or not.
It depends if it's a situation in which you have enough information to answer it with what you already know.

In this case, I technically shouldn't be providing anything, especially given that >>102983 chose well and >>102982 made such superbly penetrating insights. The two of them have the right idea in trusting their own judgement. You should not be fazed or become uncertain of yourselves because of a single failure, especially considering how many ways you could have possibly failed in the story till now. Really, have some courage and think for yourselves. Every single one of you should have more confidence in your own decisionmaking abilities.

All that being said, since I took the pains to type an answer for your question in >>102966 and because this is relevant to more than just the immediate situation, I'll post it anyway.

This is strange. Just looking at this little book inspires sharp curiosity, vague misgivings and even a slight bit of fear, all at the same time. More than once, you move your hand to the clasp, only to stop and find that it's returned to your side. Why are you hesitating so much? It's unbecoming of you and there's surely an analogue in your own experiences that would help you. Closing your eyes, you recollect...


Many years ago, on a beautiful summer day; you had landed yourself in hot water. After your parents had been generous enough to let you free from the day's work, you went off to have some fun with some of the other kids. As you soon discovered, you couldn't join them because they were playing soldier and becoming a soldier required that you have a weapon. In hindsight, what you did seems incredibly stupid and knavish; but in your own defense, you didn't do it out of some misplaced desire to fit in or out of malice. The reason you stole back to your home and nabbed your father's pitchfork was to overawe those rascals, to make them bow and apologize for their (as it seemed to you at the time) unjustified exclusivity.

That's not quite how things played out, though.

After you made your various demands, they arbitrarily decided that you'd be the 'enemy' in their game and attacked you in unison. You quickly found yourself on the end of a losing battle, even though you had a pitchfork to their sticks and clubs. You managed to get three of them before getting knocked down and bludgeoned ferociously. Just the memory of it alone is painful to you and thinking back, you recognize that you might honestly have died there if it wasn't for her. Yes, it was at that desperate moment, surrounded by those jackals in the guise of children that your beloved sister intervened.

Those of them who didn't know about her particular talents and weren't smart enough to run away as fast as they could ended up with black eyes, cracked vertebrae or broken fingers. Beating the stuffing out of all the ones on which she could get her hands, she rescued you and asked you about the situation.

"You stole Father's pitchfork? Just so that you could stoop to the level of a common ruffian?" With a hand on her hip and a stern expression on your face, Byakuren said this with obvious disappointment at you.

And if you remember correctly, what you said, tearfully begging for her forgiveness was, "I'm sorry, sister! Really! I'll put it back and I won't do it again, so please don't tell him!"

...What an embarassing sight you must have been to her eyes. But if she could be stern sometimes, it was never without compassion. She stopped reproaching you and instead wiped away your pain and tears with a gentle kiss on the head. And what was it she said to you then, calming looking you in the eye?

"I won't tell him, brother. You'll tell him."

At the time, the thought of what would happen if your father heard about how you behaved mortified you. Your reprehensible fear of punishment, led you to inconvencience your precious sister so. You threw a tantrum, you made all manner of unreasonable protests, you tried striking deals with her that you had no intention of keeping and worst of all, you even tried to say that she didn't love you.

...You truly were a contemptible person back then, weren't you? But that you feel heartbreak and shame at how you acted back then is a sign that you've made progress since then.

And even though you did such disgraceful things in front of her, your beloved sister remained smiling and patient through all of it. When you had finally expended the last of your guile and artifice and had been reduced to crawling on the ground pleading about how you would regret it forever if you were forced to tell your father about how you had acted, Byakuren said something to you. Even then, ignorant and uncouth as you were; you recognized it as a profound truth.

"You'll regret it even more if you don't than if you try and fail by your own choice."

Taking these words to heart and with a healthy dose of courage from her, you faced your father and took yourself to account for the irresponsible way in which you'd behaved. And it was then that your sister's advice to you was really vindicated. Fully expecting a beating, your father only gave you a short reproach for your rashness before going on to actually praise you for your honesty; for choosing to stand up for your rights and for your prowess in fighting so well when outnumbered. Granted, the fact that the pitchfork wasn't at all damaged helped you in this tremendously. But still, Byakuren was absolutely right and everything that's happened since has only confirmed the sagacity of her words.

Opening your eyes, you silently thank your sister while looking at the journal in your hands - Mima's journal - with freshly renewed resolution.

There. Don't make a habit of asking for these, because they slow down the story and lead to you, the readers not thinking for yourselves. I'm not asking that all of you become philosophers or to demand that all of you think DEEPly about every last choice. Just try to act in accordance with common sense and recognize that sometimes there's a difference between just doing what someone likes and doing what's best for someone and that the sum of your actions should comprise the latter as well as the former.

And about that, for some reason I've noticed that there's a tendency among you all to confound the two as being the same thing and it surprises me. I'm not sure why it happens and keeps happening, because it's completely at odds with what observable human behavior or even what constitutes successful behaviour in CYOAs (encouraging Sakuya to fight the monster in the attic by herself is a brilliant idea herpderp).

edit: spelling
They may not actually be the same thing, nameless writer, but when it comes down to the practical side of things, the difference is negligible in this story.

There are enough details in personalities and such here that it becomes frighteningly easy to miss or forget them. It's not a mark against your writing skill - far from it, in fact it's quite the opposite! - but rather, a note of the realistic on the other side of the reader/writer divide.

For me, trying to go back and remember - and take into account - all those details when trying to make an informed, common-sense choice would necessitate reviewing the story, sometimes from the first thread. Unfortunately, that's not a task that I find myself with the time and/or energy to undertake very often these days.

Good points, but Anon was generally dumber back then than it is now, and it was HY's writing that kept things in line.

But the change from WUiG type stories to one with plot wasn't without its bumps, the worse of it seen in MiG and DoLF.

And while Anon has gotten smarter, it seems to have lack the write in talent seen in the past.

And in past CYOAs there were often points where you had to make a choice between who you get closer to and who grows distant. It was this thinking that lead us to make the choice we did.

>>103022 Has a point though, cross referencing various past threads is a bit of a tiring task, hence my suggestion for checking in on Myouren's insights as a way of a summary of what he's learned about each person.

And we've learned from our failures, though I'm still wondering what the hell those idealists were thinking. And trying to think of a way to fix things with Yuyuko.
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[X] Have a look at it.

Are we still voting on this? I'm pretty confident >>102982 hit this square on the head. >>103019 is a nice touch, though I do agree that asking for something like this every other update is going to drag down the pace of an already slow story.

Back tracking for details isn't really a problem in this story when you compare it to others that are running/have run. Seriously, try doing it for Gensokyoland Saga or DoaLF or GH; you'll give yourself a head ache. The story or its writer doesn't need to change. In all honesty, the biggest problem this story has is anon's participation: learning to set aside our ego, unthinking traditional (and flawed) CYOA logic, and trying to talk about our decisions reasonably. Not that hard, really.

You keep referring to this group of 'idealists', but from the context of what you've written, I can't tell who you are talking about. Care to elaborate?

Posting onee-sama
Writing or rather, reorganizing everything I've written.
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Is it just me, or does Byakuren give off a bit of a yandere vibe in >>102905?

The clasp springs open with a small pop when you open it. You have no regrets; only a measured confidence in your reasons for doing this.

You were distracted from it by yesterday's engaging discussion, but in taking the time to scrutinze the recent past with the lens of hindsight; you vaguely sense something unsettling about Mima's collected nonchalance at dinner yesterday. Even accounting for her apparent emotional resilience, that she rebounded so completely from having been overcome as she was is unnatural; doubly so after considering her deliberate neglect of even the faintest acknowledgement of the shameful sight to which you bore witness. Therefore, with a distinct awareness that you're transgressing against appropriate ettiquette; you're going to insinuate yourself with the innermost workings of her mind to be certain that she's really alright in her heart.

Opening the cover and beginning to page through it, you quickly discover that this 'diary' isn't at all what you expected, for a number of reasons. The most obvious of these is that most of it isn't even written in a language you can read or rather, languages you can read. You count at least five different scripts, out of which you're fluent in only one - Japanese. Of the other four, you're able to recognize two of the others as being Sanskrit and Chinese; though reading them with any level of competency is far above what little training you've had. As for the last two, you're not able to ascertain anything at all, apart from the fact that they each bear a resemblence to Sanskrit. Some kind of corrupt dialect? Somehow, Mima seems to have expertise in all of these languages.

But what's even more surprising than the way her diary's written is in just what's written. Though you can't understand fully four-fifths of it, it's evident by both the variance in spacing and line breaks as well as the sundry drawings and diagrams that she's not just drearily recording her immediate emotions. It's very obvious to you now that her vehemence in arguing the Fox position with Konngara was out of a sense of personal investment. Though had previously conceived of Mima as being a Fox, it wasn't quite in this way. There's catalogues of flora and fungi from the forest in which she lives, bulleted lists which you infer as being recipes and instructions, blocks of text whose regular meter betrays them as poetry/songs, anatomical diagrams, mandalas of various shapes and even a map of the cosmos. It's more like you're looking at a textbook than a diary, at least near the beginning.

In perusing its contents like this, you're quickly able to discern that each of the scripts is associated with different subjects. One of the Sanskrit dialects only appears a few times opposite the pages with anatomy. Conversely, the other one appears all over the place; in some of the things which look like poems (some of which you suspect as being spells), on the star chart and even on some of the more unfamiliar mandalas. Sanskrit itself is on most of the mandalas and on some mantras accompanying them, while Japanese has seemingly been relegated to the inventory of trees, herbs and mushrooms. But by far the most common language throughout is Chinese, being used for the lists and on all the sections which you guess to be her actual diary because they're dated with reign periods according to the Japanese calendar. Yes, this might have been a fool's errand. All her most important, intimate thoughts are in a language foreign to you.

But in spite of this, you don't allow yourself to become discouraged. You're certain that you'll somehow be able to feel the heart and emotions of the author - of Mima; though the script itself is unfamiliar. On approaching the last few pages, this fidelity of yours bears fruit. Even to you, a person with only the faintest recognition of Chinese; it's obvious that the last five pages have a dramatic shift in tone. One of them's occupied by drawings - portraits of Konngara and yourself done with considerable skill. The other four are all diary entries and of a very different character than the ones the other ones throughout. Where the former were scattered and intermittent, small against all her inquiries into natural philosophy;* those on the last pages are consequtive and of considerably greater length. They're even more neatly written; with straighter lines, fewer blots and room in the margins. Or at least, three of them are. On the very page, the paper's discolored and the writing stops in the
middle of the page, having all been crossed out.

Nothing else is written.

A cold, sinking feeling washes over you as those horrible misgivings you felt yesterday resurface. More than the crossed out words, but that blank expanse - the only one of it's kind in a journal packed with energy and activity - confirms it to you. You made an awful, awful mistake in leaving her alone like that and what's worse, it was a mistake that wasn't at all in line with your character. Just how didn't you have even the faintest inklings of all this earlier?

...Because on the outside, she's been acting as if completely unaffected.

And for what reason would she choose to act as if nothing's happened?

...Because she'd rather nothing have happened.

And what would she stand to gain from acting like this?

...She would destroy all traces of having been overcome - of the emotional breakdown she had in front of you yesterday. By acting as if she were unaffected, she would aim to strike it from her mind and from yours. In other words, that you hadn't realized is part of her plan - she's taken you in magnificently.

And why would she go to such pains to execute such an elaborate plan?

Because you wounded her. Terribly. And in erasing all memory of that incident, she would erase her pain, too.

The paper on the page becomes more discolored as you're unable to restrain your own bitter outpourings at realizing the enormity of your crime. But you musn't allow yourself to drown in self-hatred. No matter how horrible you feel right now, how much worse must Mima feel? What must she have thought yesterday, with the knowledge that the one who wronged her so grievously carried on as he did, without the faintest care or realization of that fact? Yes, the question you need to answer right now is - how best can you repent for what you've done to her?

[ ] She left this as a test for you; write something in it and leave it for her to find. (A message, a time, something else?)
[ ] She left this as a test for you; go and apologize without delay. (Wake her up now and give her the kiss you didn't return?)
[ ] She left this as a test for you; take it with you to return in person later. (Wait for the right moment?)
*ie. Science, which isn't distinguished as a branch of philosophical inquiry till the 18th-19th centuries.
[X] She left this as a test for you; write something in it and leave it for her to find: a prayer, a vow reaffirming your promise, and a request to meet her on the bridge at the edge of Yuyuko's residence after lunch.

First, I'm placing a stupid fair amount of trust in the notion that Mima left her 'journal' out for us to find. Second, since she is writing in it with any frequency, I think there's a good chance she will find our message. Third, I think Mima would appreciate communicating in this manner: personally, privately, and intimately. Fourth, while we've promised to learn from/teach/spar with Youki this morning, and considering how seriously Yuyu treats each meal, I think the period of time after lunch would be the best time to meet. Seems like the bridge is far enough away to afford some privacy, and on the off chance that Mima doesn't read it, at least the area is fairly scenic. As for the meeting... an apology, pure and simple. That's not something properly conveyed by pretty words or empty gestures, and I simply refuse for let our apology wait any longer than this.

I'd prefer to write everything after the tear-stained pages, if there are any pages left. I don't want any kind words a time, something else?)"
I'm lost though I get the feeling that apologizing now might not be the best thing, but as that damning choice with Mima proved, it's not really reliable. I'm going to see what other insights others might have on it, since in this case mine are coming up non conclusive unlike the Yuyuko choice.
I really like the idea of writing something meaningful in her journal. I think it speaks to a level of intimacy and familiarity to comfortably share something private like writing in someone's diary (or notebook, as the case may be). But, it lacks a certain amount of impact. Kind words and the gesture are nice, but secret rendezvous and unvoiced promises just won't do compared to returning at a moment of our choosing. I think the trust in letting us read it should extend to placing it in our care for a while, too. We also got into this mess for trying to adhere to preconceived obligations that are more flexible than we'd imagined. When the opportunity presents itself, we'll know when to make our move (I hope?): waiting for the right moment, presenting to it in person, showing her what you added, and then using that as a segue to talk about those last few pages.

[X] She left this as a test for you; write something in it: prayers, for wisdom, for strength, for guidance, for forgiveness, of commitment, and of apology.
-{X} Take it with you for now, wait for the right moment, and return it in person later.

As for what to write, the best I can come up with are prayers, since that seems to be the best marriage of the academic/factual nature of much of the content with the poetry and the sentimentality of the gesture.

Sage since I still need to delete my previous vote later.

This seems to be the best shot so far.
I'm going to start writing as soon as I get home and finish making dinner. If you want to vote or if there's anything else you want to say or do, then be quick about it.
Another one later tonight - edit: spelling

No matter the circumstance, repentance begins with the reflection and acknowledgement of one's transgressions. And casting a baleful eye on Mima's diary again; on that empty last page, its surface twice besmirched by sorrow and its words all effaced - is this not that selfsame transgression made manifest? In spirit and in substance, your penance should begin here. Taking her forgotten brush, you stir it in its inkwell and start writing.

Yesterday, I inflicted an unforgivable wrong upon a cherished companion of mine. When she needed me most, I abandoned her; rewarding dedication and friendship with callousness and distance. She would be more than justified had she abandoned me after having experiencing such a wholesale betrayal of her feelings and of the promises I had so lately made to her. But far from responding with hatred, she answered me with love undeserved. Endeavoring to restore our amity to the former condition of freedom and happiness, she assumed the burden of correcting my mistakes; of which she had been the victim. By adopting a beneficient facade as she did, she deliberately sacrificed her own emotions and memories for one such as I - a contemptible villain and a faithless friend.

You've confessed your true sentiments, making an indelible record of your actions. It stands as proof of your sins, but also proof of your love. But, reading it again; there's something that seems to be missing...

The future. You've made only made mention of your regrets and that which was. What of your hopes and that is yet to be? What are your prayers?

I pray that cherished companion whom I betrayed finds it in her heart to forgive me. But much more than that, I pray for her - that whatever our future might be, that hers should be one of happiness, health and self-realization. She deserves nothing less.

Setting the brush down, you read over everything you've written with a sad satisfaction. You've done wrong, but you've also done right; the catharsis in your heart and the relief in your mind tell you as much.

After allowing the ink time to dry, you close the diary and stow it inside your cassock. When you see her again later, when the the moment is right; you'll return it to Mima.


Having gathering your possessions and wits about you, it's as good a time any to look for Youki. You're uncertain if he's awake; though the light outside's become brighter, the languid darkness of predawn hangs heavily inside the house proper. Passing the place where you prayed together with Lady Saigyouji the night before, now empty and unlit, you're crossing the main hall when something gives you pause.

There's daylight coming into the house from beyond the vestibule. Dark against the early morning sky is a hunched silhouette, seated on the ground just outside the front door. Even as you approach, you already know that it could be only one person...

"Well, if it isn't the boy?" Murasaki greets you with a delighted smile. Producing a bottle of wine and a small cup, she indicates the spot beside her. "I'll have you join me! Sit, sit~"

"Regretably, I can only fulfill half of that request, pretty young lady." Invoking your profession by gesturing at your clothes, you take a seat on the porch next to her. "Besides, how discourteous would I be if I let you to deprive yourself by giving me the only cup?"

"Taking my cup? Tsk, tsk, you misunderstand, boy." Looking rather coy, Murasaki leans close and puts an arm around your neck, whispering in your ear, "I was hoping we could share it."

...This is really creepy. Is this old hag drunk?

"I'd be delighted to take you up on that offer, pretty young lady, were it not for my duty to follow the Eight Prohibitions." Acting nonplussed by her disturbingly suggestive actions, you give a polite reply.

Seeing this, Murasaki starts giggling at you, covering her smile as she tries to restrain herself. It's like trying to hold back a deluge with a single sandbag. Doubling over and pointing at you, her snickering amplifies into full-blown laughter. "Dohohohohohoho~! You look so serious, boy! Don't be - if you're not going to drink, then at least loosen up a bit and enjoy the flowers with me!" Taking a sip from her cup, she urges you to look at the garden.

It's beautiful, but in a different way than yesterday. If less colorful, it's more sublime; with each verdant tree and pastel flower shimmering faintly with morning dew, shaking gently as if in anticipation of the Sun. And it's quiet, with only the peaceful song of a breezy summer wind and Murasaki's occasional little sips. After that doleful episode this morning, you're glad for a chance to put your mind at ease like this, inspired by the grand ineffability of the Lady's garden.

Clack. Calling you back to reality as she puts her cup aside, Murasaki places a sheer, satin-gloved hand on your leg.

"You look as if you're in need of guidance, boy." With as genuinely concerned a face as she's ever shown you, she asks this, starting to gently caress your thigh. "Is something the matter?"

[ ] Tell her you were just looking for Youki, per the agreed rendezvous.
[ ] Maybe Murasaki could tell you more about Lady Saigyouji, her likes and dislikes? (If that's not too bold...)
[ ] She said she liked the Analects yesterday, didn't she? ...Doesn't that mean she can read Chinese?
[ ] Why was she looking at Konngara so intently yesterday?
[ ] Thank her and say that you're fine.
[ ] Ask something else. (Specify)
[x] Maybe Murasaki could tell you more about Lady Saigyouji, her likes and dislikes? (If that's not too bold...), or at least how her life has been in general.

I think we should try to fix things with Yuyuko while we can, since we did make a bad choice of words.

Now I can't help but to wonder how this goes now with Mima.
[x] Ask something else. (Specify)

[x]The story she was speaking of yesterday before she was interrupted. It intrigued you.
[X] Maybe Murasaki could tell you more about Lady Saigyouji, her likes and dislikes? (If that's not too bold...)

>"You look as if you're in need of guidance, boy." With as genuinely concerned a face as she's ever shown you, she asks this, starting to gently caress your thigh. "Is something the matter?"

Something about this concluding sentence piqued my interest. Maybe I'm reading into this a little too much, but having handled Mima's situation in our own way, there's really only one thing that immediately comes to mind in terms of things we would be concerned about and in need of advice: Yuyuko. We responded to her in all the wrong ways it seems, and while we got a pass for it in the intermission for having known her less than a day, ignorance isn't going to be an excuse when opportunities like these start popping up. Regardless of that, I think knowing more about our hostess would be a good thing all around, and for some reasoning I can imagine Youki getting a little reserved when it comes to speaking candidly of his mistress.

This is tough, since >>103351 is right too; I get the notion that there's a lot to be learned from her first story.

Yeah and it's something that leaves a bad taste in my mouth for sure. We should find a way to apologize for speaking out of line ignorantly.
[X] Maybe Murasaki could tell you more about Lady Saigyouji, her likes and dislikes? (If that's not too bold...)

I agree. Baby steps, I guess.
You give her an abbreviated rundown of your encounter with the Lady yesterday night.

"I can't help but feel I offended her somehow," you say, finishing, "so if you could help me, pretty young lady, I'd be indebted to you."

Murasaki just shakes her head, laughing merrily. "You're a considerate person, boy. I like that. But about that affair," she says, giving you a reassuring pat on the leg, "you really shouldn't be so worried. That girl isn't the kind of person to hold grudges or anything."

At hearing this, you're a bit relieved to hear that you haven't given offense. But that doesn't mean that Murasaki can't help you at all.

"Then, what kind of person is the Lady?"

The playful smile she had earlier returns to her face. "Oh~? And why does the boy want to know? Could it be... he's starting to become a man?"

"Sorry to disappoint you, pretty young lady, but I'm not going through puberty," you say; giving her a roguish grin of your own. "My interest in Lady Saigyouji is one of a guest's curiosity in his lovely host, nothing more." ...At least for right now.

Withdrawing her hand, Murasaki crosses her arms and puffs her cheeks slightly. "That's no fun." After pouting for an instant, she seems to remember her age and sober up, giving a small nod. "Well, better that you're celibate than a philanderer. If you did something to sully her pure heart, her servant would never forgive you. Even if she herself did."

After checking to see if anyone's eavesdropping or approaching, Murasaki grabs you in a hug and starts speaking, quietly. "I've known that girl for sixteen years - her whole life till now. During the first six, I was just one of the other myriad guests in her parents' home who played with her from time to time. The next nine I spent alternately as her counsellor, guardian and surrogate mother. And now in this last year, when she's started to become a woman, I've been her friend. I know her better than anyone else alive, with maybe the exception of one person."

Pausing for a moment, Murasaki releases you, taking a second to look around again before meeting your eyes once more.

"She's a cute little thing, fond of flowers, sweets, butterflies and springtime. But you should already know that, boy. After all, the evidence of it is all around you." Murasaki casts her arm wide, indicating the sky, the garden and all the vast lands beyond. "And her personality's like the season she loves - warm, lively and innocent, never ceasing to greet the world with a sense of wonder. Now, in the same way that spring surprises us with its sudden storms, that girl's not without some unexpected qualities to her. You might not guess it from the shyness and naivete with which she normally acts, but she actually hates being alone and seeing others alone. It can be hard to convince her if she's made up her mind on something, not simply because she's stubborn but also because she's extremely shrewd when she becomes serious. Then there's her power..."

"Those butterflies?" Feeling a chill, you recall that gorgeous sight; of death incarnate. "I find it strange that one so cheerful and surrounded by life would command such fell powers."

"Trust me when I tell you that the Fates are fond of spinning such cruel ironies, boy." Murasaki looks down at her lap, closing her eyes sadly.

"Have you met them personally?" Murasaki freezes in place as you immediately regret your ill-timed jest. You just don't like to see people upset, even if they're old ha-

"Only once, a long time ago." Her sorrow subsided, Murasaki's abruptly begun giggling. "At least, I seem to remember having met them. Did I fight against them or...?"

As she goes off on a tangent, muttering ridiculous things, you decide to move the conversation back on course.

"Would she be a Cat or a Fox in her disposition?"

"A Cat. All the way." Without even taking the time to blink, Murasaki says this. "Youki's made her start to learn swordsmanship, but she's been unenthusiastic about it because as she says, 'B-but! If I'm ever in a pinch... you'll be there to save me, Youki! Just like I'll always be there for you!'"

You smile, reminded of her. "It sounds as if they're really devoted to each other."

With a dreamy look in her eyes, Murasaki smiles too. "Beautiful, isn't it, boy? Though their relationshi-"

"What of it."

From behind you is a ringing voice, edged with irritation. Youki's voice. Glaring at Murasaki, he steps over to your side and delivers a short bow. "I am ready for instruction, Teacher."

This is embarassing. "I don't see the need for such formality, Youki. Like I said to you before, if the Yama sees fit to view all living things as being equal, then we wouldn't err in following his example."

"Her example." As she's saying something strange again, you just disregard Murasaki.

Also ignoring her, Youki nods at you. "Will we be starting?"

"Yes, in a moment." You turn to the old hag beside you, looking clearly downcast at having been ignored.

"Pretty young lady." She raises her head at your call and it's then that you pull her into a kiss. Unclouded by age, her strange, golden eyes are looking at you wide with surprise. But far from resisting, she enjoys you; relaxing in your arms and losing herself in a tender moment. For your part, you're glad for a chance to make her happy and you're genuinely grateful for her help, besides. After the two of you finally withdraw, you stand up and face Youki, who looks less than amused at your behavior.

You had no way of knowing this at the time, but for a long moment lasting well after you had left, Murasaki just sat there quietly; touching her lips with a faint smile on her face.


Youki wanted to learn about the moral virtues, but how should you do it?

[ ] A sermon on skillful means and its role in the cultivation of virtue.
[ ] A discourse on how the moral virtues affected that battle of two days prior.
[ ] An analogy about one of the Six Perfections, using his relationship with the Lady.
[ ] Something else? (Specify)

And where should you do it?

[ ] While you're walking through the orchard.
[ ] Inside the hall, like yesterday night.
[ ] ...Wasn't there a waterfall?
[ ] Somewhere else? (Specify)
[X] A discourse on how the moral virtues affected that battle of two days prior.
[X] ...Wasn't there a waterfall?

Tough vote, mostly because all of the options seem very good. But in the end, I like the notion of easing into our teaching by using something Youki is familiar with. Also, waterfalls are cool.

>"Her example." As she's saying something strange again, you just disregard Murasaki.
I lol'd...

>You had no way of knowing this at the time, but for a long moment lasting well after you had left, Murasaki just sat there quietly; touching her lips with a faint smile on her face.
...then I daaaaaw'd
[X] A discourse on how the moral virtues affected that battle of two days prior.
[X] ...Wasn't there a waterfall?

Let's make sure that Youki is able to kill us if we cross swords again.
[X] A discourse on how the moral virtues affected that battle of two days prior.
[X] ...Wasn't there a waterfall?

He certainly made a 'youthful lady happy' (I think if he ever sees her true or modern form, he'd be very surprised)
>"Trust me when I tell you that the Fates are fond of spinning such cruel ironies, boy." Murasaki looks down at her lap, closing her eyes sadly.
>"Have you met them personally?" Murasaki freezes in place as you immediately regret your ill-timed jest
Well, Yukari, Ran, and Chen are pretty much a textbook example of the maiden-mother-crone trio (Which I thought was called a triptych, but that seems to not be the case).
Pretty sure a tryptich is one of those paintings that folds into three. Maybe you mean trinary/triumvirate?
It's a ways off, but there's really - what could be a more fitting place to expound on the Dharma than beside a waterfall?

...Or at least, that's what you'd like to say.

Though it's the ambition of every mendicant priest to successfully meditate beneath a waterfall, you've had extraordinarily bad things happen to you on encountering them in your travels. The first time, excited for a chance to try something so iconic, you made a detour away from civilization only to end up running away from a pack of wolves. Your second brush with waterfalls was even worse, in the sense of being wholly unexpected.

Travelling through an unpeopled greenwood along a poorly maintained road, you'd been ambushed and surrounded by bandits. Even after injuring, immobilizing and otherwise incapaciting all of the ones who'd chosen to enter into melee, scores of them armed with bows remained. Not wanting to resort to murder, you broke through a corner of their encirclement and, under a storm of arrows; escaped into a nearby river.

Having gained such a (minimally) bloodless victory, you started to rejoice at your good fortune before realizing that you'd fled the realm of beasts and starving ghosts only to fall into Hell, so to speak. Arrested by the river's swift current, struggling to avoid various jagged rocks and boulders, you were entirely unprepared when the ground disappeared. That you survived being hurled with torrential force off a hundred-foot precipice was only because you'd instinctively reached for your rope and, in a remarkable stroke of fortune; succeeded in lashing onto the branches of an overhanging tree.

Like that old mantra about meeting with success after failing twice, you're relieved to find that Lady Saigyouji's waterfall has neither wolves nor bandits awaiting you. Being at the foot of the peak which you scaled and descended yesterday, it's not as verdant as the heart of her land. But it isn't any less picturesque. Its lofty heights are all prismatic spray and white foam, falling downwards in a crystalline flood and emptying into a shallow stream, clear and blue. As you don't see any Bodhi trees, Youki and yourself become comfortable beneath a crooked, ancient-looking pine.

"In the battle of two days prior," you begin with a leisurely air, leaning forwards on crossed legs, "I gained a decisive victory, Youki. Have you considered why that was?"

Youki, sitting on his shins, hands folded in his lap; nods seriously. "Pride. I thought about what you said on it."

This is interesting. "True, that is one of the reasons. And?"

"Pride is unjust and dignity is just. One seeks to overawe and oppress, the other uplifts and ennobles. They both have their root in confidence, but this distinction is key."

"It is. You've done well to realize this on your own, Youki," clapping him on the shoulder, you praise him. "Now, while it's true that you misestimated my capabilities because of pride, that would be meaningless if you were in actuality stronger than me." You look at him pointedly. "Is there perhaps something else to your defeat?"

He nods again. "I became furious when Miss Konngara refused to beg for her life and I was blind to your will at emerging victorious." Burying his head in his hands, he sighs. "Grave errors. I should have recognized in you what my mistress has always said about certain resolve breeding certain results."

'A certain resolve breeds certain results?' You'll have to write that one down, it's good. And even better, it ties into the point you were going to make.

"Lady Saigyouji is right, Youki. Success is the result of right actions, which are the product of right intentions. Having right intentions is a consequence of moral virtue; that upon which everything else is impingent. Allow me to illustrate this using the example of the battle." Taking a stick, you start to write the things that Youki's realized himself on the ground as he waits, his pale face silent and earnest.

"The immediate cause of your defeat is, as you recognized yourself, pride; when you refused to recognize that the opponent was much stronger than you had anticipated. Wrong actions. But," you say, drawing a line backwards, "that intentional blindness was only possible because you became angry - by giving free rein to your hatred and disdain. Wrong intentions. And why did you do that? Drawing a second line backwards, you circle the first term in the sequence. "Your judgement - that's the key to understanding everything. When you decided that you would kill Konngara even after she honestly disavowed any knowledge of your grievances, you abandoned your rational sensibilities for wickedness."

"Then, reason is the heart of virtue?" Eyes wide, Youki asks this; animated by the spirit of revelation.

You smile at him, giving a proud nod to the affirmative. "Respecting both possible meanings, exactly. Fighting in absence of either purpose or ethical faculties against someone with both, your loss was a foregone conclusion, Youki. Whatever your strength of arms might be, you won't win anything other than hollow victories without reason; without virtue."

Studying the diagram you've made, Youki looks at you, the deep blue of his eyes all focus and intensity. "Then I would learn the method. Show me the path of virtue."

You can't help but smile to yourself at how much this reminds of your own days as a novice, having made that same request yourself so many years ago. ...And what was it that the abbot said in answer?

"...To what end?"

"To protect and serve my mistress, repaying her love with steadfast loyalty." Not at all hesitating, Youki says this with unflinching resolve.

Smiling, you bid him close his eyes and set to work. First, moving quietly behind him; you catch him in a bodily hug, forcing him to straighten his back. Then, you move his legs out from beneath him into a cross-legged position and place his left hand into his lap, open and palm up. To complete the picture, you last of all take hold of his right hand, covered in wrappings; and gently touch it to the ground. It's s beautiful meditative position, one for which he seems to have been made.

"Empty your mind of all distractions save whatever question on which you seek an answer. If you're having trouble, keep your breathing smooth and regular, focusing on its rhythm." Whispering these last bits of advice to Youki, you release him and stand up, facing the waterfall with anticipation. After all these years, you'll finally be able to-

You have neither bathclothes nor a rosary.


Know that Acala would have said something ea-

Don't say anything else. Just. Don't.


In the end, you returned early to the Lady's home alone. Youki just looked at such perfect peace with the world that you couldn't bring yourself to disturb him; happy in the knowledge that you've shown him the way to escape from suffering. Compared to so great a good, the frustration you feel at your own negligence and at your ill-fated encounters with waterfalls is trivial. By the time you make it back to the front door, it's about mid-morning. What to do?

[ ] You missed Konngara yesterday night. Breakfast together?
[ ] Time for the showdown with Mima.
[ ] The Lady seems to pray often. Maybe she has a rosary?
[ ] That silly old hag has yet to tell you anything about herself.

Sorry this took so long, it's just that getting it to a form in which I was satisfied ended up taking longer than expected.

edit: spelling, lol
[X] You missed Konngara yesterday night. Breakfast together?

Fucking waterfalls, man... quite the unexpected bane of our existence. Anyway; confronting Mima, apologizing to Yuyu, interrogating Murasaki... they seem terribly forthright and force conflicts at an unnecessary juncture. The right moments for these things should flow naturally. Furthermore, breakfast is the most important meal of the day; no greater good is going to be achieved without the fuel to make it happen.

Yet we should aim to apologize to our hostess sometime today. The choice though concerns asking for a Rosary, but no doubt most of us would want to apologize for speaking without thinking of her position exactly.

As far as Mima goes, not really sure when the 'right time' will be.

And who knows if we'd get much of anything out of Murasaki at this point.

[X] You missed Konngara yesterday night. Breakfast together?
Water is anon's enemy, regardless of its form.

[X] You missed Konngara yesterday night. Breakfast together?
Various things have happened since yesterday and out of your whole group, Konngara's probably the best person in whom you can confide them. She's grossly inexperienced on most questions involving the wider world or human character, but she's forthright and polite, commanding both intelligence and discretion in generous measure. In considering momentous information alongside her, you've found that it's not unlike facing a mirror - you may not see anything 'new,' but you might learn to see that which you already know in a different light. A priceless boon, made all the more valuable because she trusts you. Just as you trust her.

Now, your original intention, even in spite of not being particularly hungry; was to invite her to breakfast. But as it turned out, she was already in the kitchen when you found her, hard at work rolling some dough.

"I was taken by a need for food shortly after having risen and with Sir Youki occupied at some other task, I elected to bake some bread for everyone." Her stomach grumbling slightly, she chucklingly explains the situation to you.

Deciding now might not be the best time to reveal where Youki's gone, you instead shift the conversation to something miraculous - her left hand. She's regained full use of her left hand, putting it to the task of breadmaking without a hint of pain or limitation. While some spots still look a livid red against the alabaster of her skin, it's certainly not the blackened appendage uselessly covered in bandages and leaking pus that it was just three days ago.

"Congratulations Konngara." Taking her hand, you run your lips along it's length, kissing. "I'm happy to see tha..." An irritating feeling in your nose interrupts you. Flour.


As you're forced to blush for having looked the fool, Konngara laughs daintily, cheerily; before clasping her two working arms about your neck.

"Incompletely formed as they are, I accept your sentiments." Smiling broadly, she says this; hugging

you affectionately. And when she does...


...her stomach grumbles again. She's hungry.

"Rather than my sentiments," you say, laughing at this sudden reversal of roles, "would you rather have my help?" You point at the mixing bowl behind her.

Too embarassed to say anything, Konngara, looking down and shuffling her feet; just nods.

Excellent. Shall we get to work then?



You helped Konngara finish mixing and kneading the dough with dexterity, alacrity and panache, in spite of having only one servicable hand. Granted, Acala did give you a little boost but most of it was you. Really.

...Anyway, after putting the dough over the hearth to bake, the two of you went back to the audience chamber and sat at its table, talking. There's a feeling of desolation about the hall, even though - no, especially because it's such a bright morning. Where is everyone?

Holding up her fingers, Konngara thinks about your dillemma, counting off. "Apart from you, my savior, I've seen but two others. I encountered that elder lady, Miss Murasaki when I came near the kitchen." As if recalling something strange, she stops speaking just for a second, before she catches herself. "I believe she was inebriated or perhaps very happy about something, but it was she that gave me leave to cook."

It was probably both at once, but she doesn't need to know that for now.

"I take it that the last was Mima?" You make a guess, based on process of elimination.

"You guess truly. Though my 'charming demon' and I parted ways early this morning, 'twas not before she administered to me," says Konngara, gesturing at her hand. "A peerlessly remarkable power, to have healed an injury of this magnitude so expeditiously, is it not?"

"Wait. Your recovery is because of Mima? I thought it was because of the Taiji?!" Unable to hide your confusion in the slightest, you press her for an explanation.

"To what cause do you owe such an erroneous belief?" Asks Konngara, no less confused than you. "Lest I recall incorrectly, did Mima not-" Stopping mid-sentence, she brings a hand to her forehead in a graceful arc. "That's right, he was fainted." Speaking to herself, recalling something; when she looks at you again, she tilts her head apologetically. "Please forgive me, I seem to have erred." Composed once again, she points at your own injured left hand, covered in bandages. "Does it pain you?" She asks.

"No," you say. And thinking about it, isn't that strange? You recall one of Susano-o's swords splitting in near cleanly in two. So why..."

"After you were unconscious," answers Konngara, reading the uncertainty on your face, "she treated it as she's been treating mine." Demonstrating, she closes her eyes, reaching over and touching your hand; breathing deeply and rhythmically for a few seconds.

"That was but a poor, superficial imitation." She says, indicating her hands. "When my 'charming demon' concentrates and breathes like that, hers radiate a soothing silver light. A sight to behold, if there ever was any."

"Actually, now that you've told me all this, I'm interested in seeing for myself. Mima's still in the room?" You ask, looking about.

"No. She actually was off before I, saying that she had to do som-"

The faint chill that you feel is subsumed by a plaintive call and the sound of footsteps.

"Yoooouuukii~" Waltzing into the hall, the Lady's crying for her servant when she sees the two of you. "Oh. Oh!" The color drains from her face as she gives a sudden bow. "Um, good morning everyone!"

Not wanting to be remiss in courtesy, both of you rise from your chairs and bow to your host.

"If you were searching for Youki, dear Lady; he's presently occupied with some tasks outdoors," you say quickly, hoping to prevent an uncomfortable silence from accruing. "For what did you need him?"

Looking visibly distressed, the Lady puts two pretty hands on her narrow stomach. "He needs to make breakfast for me! I'm hungry~"

"Permit me to endeavor that you should endure but a little longer, Lady Saigyouji," says Konngara, stepping to the fore. "With Murasaki's permission, I baked some bread that I would be glad if we all shared."

The Lady's expression lights up at hearing this. Running over to Konngara, she takes her hand and thanks her, face all smiles. Then, for only a second, her eyes turn towards you before she leans in towards Konngara; whispering something. Konngara also then looks at you, whispering something back to the Lady after which she faces you proper. "Lady Saigyouji has proposed to borrow you for a moment while the bread bakes."

"It's... nothing really urgent. Really! I... I just wanted to talk to you about a little thing." She gives Konngara an apologetic glance. "In private." Waiting for you to answer, the Lady fidgets nervously, her dark eyes expectant.

[ ] Go with Lady Saigyouji.
[ ] You're not going if Konngara's to be excluded.
[ ] Politely request that she postpone this, you'd like to do something else right now. (Specify)
[x] Go with Lady Saigyouji.
[x] Go with Lady Saigyouji.

If it did concern Konngara, I'm sure Yuyuko would have her go with. I think it might concern the tree or yesterday, a perfect chance to make up for that blunder.

And it seems Mima's been helping out, driving in the weight of our mistake. But I'm sure this plan will work, for we put forth our best efforts, and I have faith in the writer. (Alot more than I can say for a certain writer)
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[X] Go with Lady Saigyouji.

Konngara won't begrudge us if we take our leave of her, especially if it's presented so straightforwardly and at the behest of our host. I can't even imagine what else there is to do aside from abide by Yuyuko's request, which is great, because we've been waiting with great anticipation for our next interaction with Yuyu. Here's to hoping we do better this time, knowing what we do from last time, the commentary, and Murasaki's insight.

>But I'm sure this plan will work, for we put forth our best efforts, and I have faith in the writer.

[x] Go with Lady Saigyouji.

Did I hugely misunderstand something here, or can Mima use Ripple powers?

Because that would be sort of fucking awesome.

Oh, damn. Hot for her brother?
I thought it was just... you know. Intense sibling affection, or something. This writefag seems to be all about intense affection; I thought it was just more of that. But re-reading it, now...
>And by Bishamonten, she's much stronger than would seem from her short stature and lithe frame. Curious. You file that information away as she locks arms with you.

Good catch. I'll give you another hint. To which linguistic family does Tibetan belong?

>Hot for her brother?

One of these isn't correct. One of these can also have a relationship of mutual exclusivity from the other. I'll leave you to decide.

Also writing.
>One of these isn't correct
I'm guessing the yandere one isn't. But Byakuren seems to be plenty into Myouren.

>Good catch. I'll give you another hint. To which linguistic family does Tibetan belong?
Well, according to http://www.indopedia.org/Tibetan_language.html , "The Tibetan language is typically classified as member of the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan linguistic family."

Not entirely certain how this has to do with Ripple powers --if indeed it does at all-- aside from the fact that the guy who taught them to Zeppeli was in India (I think).

I'm probably missing something. Maybe some kind of martial arts native to that area? I'm sure some other reader will spot what I missed in a heartbeat.

Either way, Ripple-Mima is sort of an awesome notion.
Let me clarify. The Tibetan language as written down - the spoken version is of different origins.

I didn't say anything at the time, but in light of recent revelations;

>"WRRRRRRRRRYYYY!!!" Their cry splits the night as they rush you with bounding leaps.

I love this story so much.

>One of these isn't correct.

So one of them is correct! Hot damn, if that isn't the definition of a win-win situation.
>So one of them is correct!
This isn't strictly true, and if I was the author and looking to troll, this is exactly the type of half-truth I would tell.

He is not a troll though. And unlike a certain troll written story, it was clear how we screwed up(overlooking some facts), and now we're ready to try to fix things, something I'm very confident in.
"How could I refuse a request from my host, gracious as she's been to me?" You say, offering her your hand. "With your pleasure."

Happy at your acquiesence, the Lady moves to accept your invitation before she stops, catching herself. Seeking permission, she casts an uncertain glance at Konngara who, rather than saying anything; gives her wordless encouragement and approval by way of a warm, but wryly amused smile.

Thus sanctioned, the Lady takes hold, her soft palms and sensitive fingers gripping lightly against the back of your hand. Saluting Konngara's generosity of spirit, she's giggling as you're led out; tipping your sunshade to her.


Passing into the left corridor, passing the kitchen, the Lady guides you down the length of the hall to a door at its end. Being hinged and wooden, rather than sliding and papered, as are almost all the others; your heart begins to beat slightly faster with the realization that this is probably her room. Your suspicions are confirmed when she bids you enter.

Sunlight streams in from three huge, unshuttered windows framed with glass, their butterfly-patterned curtains flung wide open. Various potted plants, but especially white crysanthemums; are set on the sills and on the bedside table, looking healthy and colorful. It's comfortably furnished -a desk, a bed, the aforementioned nightstand, a large dresser and a bookshelf- done in a similar style to the utilitarian equivalents you've encountered, but larger and decorated in an orchid-butterfly motif. Though obviously old, they're all well-maintained; dust-free and freshly oiled.

Having locked the door behind her, citing to you the possibility of 'weird interruptions,' the Lady walks over to her bed - a large, canopied affair with a veil matching the curtains- and sits, beckoning you to join her.

Coming this far, you can hardly refuse even though you feel a keen sense of danger. Your heart's practically hammering against your chest as you walk over and take a seat beside the Lady. While you invoke your training and all the strength of your willpower, she looks down at her lap and starts to speak in a quiet voice.

"I'm... sorry about what I said to you last night. I-I asked you such a weird question that most people

wouldn't have answered. But... you did! And you were honest!" Suddenly seizing your shoulders, her tone changes to complete approbation. "It took Youki and Mo- err, Murasaki to show me, but I know now! You didn't just tell me what I wanted to hear! You told me what you really felt!" Sounding almost overcome with passion, Lady Saigyouji's slender arms find their way around your back and she presses herself to you.

"Thank you. Thank you so much," She says, pausing. Listening. ...She's realized it too. As surely as you're feeling her wild heart against your chest, so too does she, yours. As if having decided on something, the Lady meets your eyes with hers, full of purpose; tear-stained and completely joyous.

"Please... let me do something for you in return."

[ ] Decline politely - you've done nothing for which you should be thanked.
[ ] Accept graciously - ask her how she wasn't stuttering a moment ago.
[ ] Accept graciously - ask if she could give you a rosary.
[ ] Accept graciously - ask if she would allow you to love her.
[ ] Accept graciously - but allow her to determine the service.
[ ] Accept graciously - ask for something else. (Specify)
[x] Decline politely - you've done nothing for which you should be thanked.
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>ask her how she wasn't stuttering a moment ago.

How did I not notice this until now? Anyway, suddenly I don't think apologizing is the right thing to do right now. She seems genuinely happy and grateful for our answer. I might be a little wary, but this line
>It took Youki and Mo- err, Murasaki to show me, but I know now!

puts me at ease. Apparently, she was bothered enough by our answer to consult both Youki and Murasaki, who both seem to have had a hand in reaching this conclusion. We've spoken to both, and neither were terribly upset with us (Murasaki seemed to dismiss it as well when we asked for her advice). I think apologizing and/or asking forgiveness would throw her new found happiness and understanding for an unnecessary loop. Finally,
>It can be hard to convince her if she's made up her mind on something

If she's intent on giving us something, I abide by the advice of my favorite pretty young lady

[X] Accept graciously - ask if she could give you a rosary.

I don't know why this appeals to me; maybe because it's so simple and straightforward. It's a sincere and simple request, but a rosary is a very special thing with a lot of sentimental value. In terms of physical value, it's fairly minor, but the value attached to it by the person giving it makes the gift that much more special. I also think having something of Yuyu's like this would just be right. Still,

>ask if she would allow you to love her.

If only...
[x] Accept graciously - ask if she would allow you to love her.
[X] Accept graciously - but allow her to determine the service.

Murasaki said that once Yuyuko decides on something that it's nearly impossible to change her mind. And I wonder what she has in mind.

>ask if she would allow you to love her.
This is tempting just due to the fact of what will happen. It'd be a terrible shame for a 16 year old maiden to pass on without knowing love. And perhaps it might be the greatest comfort she can have before she goes and does it.

But asking this would be rather Meta on our parts, since Myouren doesn't know what she's planning on doing in the near future.

Well this little problem seems to have fixed itself up without our input. Now for the Mima issue to resolve.
[X] Accept graciously - but allow her to determine the service.

I've simply always been of the opinion that it's better to allow someone to decide on their own what to give out as thanks. No deeper reasoning than that.
>Well this little problem seems to have fixed itself up without our input.

You're right to believe that this present situation was of your own creation, but I want you and everyone else to know right now that there was never a problem to begin with. None of you people realized it at the time, but amid that one dumb mistake with Mima, you actually did everything with Yuyu (which was more complex a series of events) perfectly. As I said, it honestly amazes me that you could have failed so miserably while succeeding so brilliantly.

Let me clarify.

You've all been worried about the way she responded to your solicitation last night. You actually did well, in spite of what you might at first think. Depending on how well you answered those questions, there were many ways in which she could have responded, but to fit it according to a general pattern:

If you had decided not to argue against the questions or argued badly, then that benefits you in the short term but seriously and negatively affects something down the road. I can't say more about that now.

On the flipside, arguing well against her questions makes Yuyu question herself and you, and she ends up seeking the advice of her friends. This is the key. You helped Youki with dinner and you had a conversation with Murasaki in which she ended up favorably disposed to you. Because you spent time with both of them and got them to like you, then they said each good things during said offscreen conversation. Remember what I said about good and interesting choices before? Yeah, that's why.

No matter what, choosing to argue against her is a good action in the long term, but the big variable in this situation was what she ends up thinking about you. Basically, this sequence would have had a much different tone had you not taken the pains to reach out to everyone through your own choices. Making friendships like this is a general recipe for success.And that's why I'm being completely honest when I say that I'm proud that you've succeeded like this. Whether viewed from the standpoint of an author or viewed from that of the reader, there's absolutely no way in which this scene could have turned out better.

Now some of you might be thinking - 'could we convince her to agree with us?'

Probably not, unless one of you was the next Immanuel Kant.

As has been previously said; the thought of completely changing another person's way of thinking in one conversation after you met her ten hours ago is ridiculous from a behavioural or narrative standpoint. The hero is talented, but he's not a Mary Sue - his successes will always be in a plausible, justified context that doesn't warp characterization or destroy the story.

...And that ended up being longer than I thought. I wanted to say this all in the commentary, but it was getting too long when I writing it, so here it is now. Pat yourselves on the back.

Ah, that's definitely something to keep in mind in the future, since I'm sure such habits will result in valuable boons down the line.

That and I wonder if this might end up changing history.

Though with Mima's nature I don't think running to Konngara would have been a bright idea. (Just due to the fact that even to her best friend/rival, she doesn't open up too much)

I must say it sounds like the dyanamic between those two is kinda similar to Marisa and Reimu, though Marisa's far more social.
>Now some of you might be thinking - 'could we convince her to agree with us?' Probably not, unless one of you was the next Immanuel Kant.

>As has been previously said; the thought of completely changing another person's way of thinking in one conversation after you met her ten hours ago is ridiculous from a behavioural or narrative standpoint.

Damn you and your undeniable logic.
Oh. Sanskr--

...Fucking awesome.
Do you want me to call it? The presently winning option is in the lead by only one vote and I'd rather see a more decisive opinion before I start writing later.
[x] Accept graciously - ask if she would allow you to love her.
[x] Accept graciously - but allow her to determine the service.
[x] Accept graciously - but allow her to determine the service.
Writing, I hope you're ready to make another choice quickly.
"You gave me a chance to express myself to you, dear Lady. Even if I didn't count this moment as joyous and beautiful, I wouldn't begrudge you the same." Saying this, you look at the Lady with serious intensity. It makes her uncomfortable and as she's starting to shrink back, unsure of what intentions to read into what you've said, she gives a small gasp as you suddenly renew your hug with her. "But you needn't worry about that. I count this moment as joyous, beautiful and more; eternal. Though I know not how long I'll be a guest in your home, I'll surely remember that I shared this short instant with you for the rest of my life." You say this quietly, resting your head on her shoulder.

The Lady sniffs tearily, moved. "A... timeless memory? To have such a chance...! Oh, thank you! I... I..." She shifts in your arms, moving so close that you feel her breath against your ear. "What is it you desire?" She whispers.

"Huh?" A little shocked, you draw back and face the Lady, who looks equally confused. "Then, did you not have something in mind, dear Lady?"

The glossy ponytail of her dark hair tosses about as she shakes her head. "Um... I thought you would ask me for something. Did I...?" Her face falls a little. "Y-you... haven't changed your m-"

"No." You resolutely declare. "It's with my greatest gratitude and gladness that I receive your feelings, Lady Saigyouji. I was just surprised by your question, both in the sense of it being unforseen but also in the sense that I wasn't quite prepared for it." For the second time this morning, you indicate your clothing. "I was never really a covetous person, but after having taken vows of poverty and charity, what was disposition's become force of habit for me. Truly, it's not often that I've been invited to ask for things..."

"But! Could you please? Please.... just this once," she says, looking deeply into your eyes, "...ask me for something? As an exchange."

"An exchange?" You ask, confused at her strange determination.

"Y-yeah... an exchange. Of..." She flushes a faint red and looks down, away from you for a moment. "...of our hearts." Mumbling she looks absolutely embarassed for having said that.

You're not sure why. After all, you say those kinds of things all the time without flinching in the slightest. But...

"Basically, because you asked me for something, you'd like me to ask you for something in return?" You ask, fairly certain that you've understood the situation.

Lady Saigyouji gives a subdued nod. "Can you?" She leans over, resting her shoulder against yours."..For me?"

"I'll ask, but could you at least help me a little? I'm... not very good at this sort of thing." It's true but worse; it's apparent. Why are you being so self-conscious about something like this?

As you're acting uncharacteristically shy, the Lady's acting uncharacteristically calm in inverse proportion. It's as if seeing your discomfiture somehow reassured and emboldened her.

"Hey... don't look like that." She says, trying to cheer you with a smile. "I'll help. Really!" Then, putting her arm around your back, she slowly thinks aloud, anunciating every syllable.

"You... you could have me perform some service? You could have me answer a question? ...Or you could have me give you some finer clothes? Or a memento of mine? Or..." She pauses and looks down at the bed, before speaking in a small voice.

"You could have me."

[ ] Ask that she do something. (Not limited to physical actions)
[ ] An answer to a question of some kind.
[ ] Clothing/memento. Something that you may always remember her.
[ ] The Lady beside you, a lovely, waifish girl of sixteen; lustrously dark of hair. Simply dressed in a pale blue, her full lips, bright eyes and bubbly disposition endow her with an impression of youthful innocence.
[ ] Actually, ask for something different.
[ ] ...This is dangerous. Really dangerous. Excuse yourself lest you fall prey to the Tempter.

Don't fail.
[X] The Lady beside you, a lovely, waifish girl of sixteen; lustrously dark of hair. Simply dressed in a pale blue, her full lips, bright eyes and bubbly disposition endow her with an impression of youthful innocence.
I failed.
[x]Actually ask for something different.
[x]Just as she takes yours, you'll take her friendship.
>[ ] Ask that she do something. (Not limited to physical actions)
>[ ] An answer to a question of some kind.

Not sure about this, I guess others might have more use.

>[ ] Clothing/memento. Something that you may always remember her.

A nice fallback choice, even a monk has no shame in having a memento. Safe yet non-offensive.

>[ ] The Lady beside you, a lovely, waifish girl of sixteen; lustrously dark of hair. Simply dressed in a pale blue, her full lips, bright eyes and bubbly disposition endow her with an impression of youthful innocence.

So incredibly tempting, but yet it'd be falling off the path in more ways than one. But if history is to proceed as we know it, then Yuyuko will pass on not knowing of love and being with a man. A damn shame if I saw one.

>[ ] Actually, ask for something different.

I guess this is a free option.

>[ ] ...This is dangerous. Really dangerous. Excuse yourself lest you fall prey to the Tempter.

While safe, I'd think it'd hurt her feelings.

Let's see some other insights before I think about voting.
Not really sure what to pick here, so I'll hold off on voting until I finally get some sleep, but I really doubt asking to fuck her is going to go over well in the long term. Or the short term, for that matter.
I think accepting her offer of herself would allow her to go more peacefully (if history goes on as normal), but it might go against his vows, and while Konngara MIGHT be open minded enough to see the way in that in time, it'd be very much a damning thing with Mima.

I do think Myouren isn't aware of how hard the choice he's dealing with is (Just due to the fact that he doesn't know that she might not be on this mortal coil for too much longer)

A side note concerning something: I wonder if Myon might be a reference to Myouren in this history eventually. (Since Myouren seems to be a mentor figure to Youki, and perhaps he tells his daughter about him, thus perhaps recreating the name Myo~n.)

Funny thing about this story isn't the uncertainty of what might happen being something to think about, but the certainty of what might happen, since we know of possible events. If they'd still happen or not despite our actions isn't known.
[x]Actually ask for something different.
[x]Just as she takes yours, you'll take her friendship.
[x]Actually ask for something different.
[x]Just as she takes yours, you'll take her friendship.

sounds good so far.
>thus perhaps recreating the name Myo~n.)
Mind fucking blown
[x]Actually ask for something different.
[x]Just as she takes yours, you'll take her friendship.
>But if history is to proceed as we know it, then Yuyuko will pass on not knowing of love and being with a man. A damn shame if I saw one.

Meta-knowledge or not, this just brings a tear to my eye.

[x] The Lady beside you, a lovely, waifish girl of sixteen; lustrously dark of hair. Simply dressed in a pale blue, her full lips, bright eyes and bubbly disposition endow her with an impression of youthful innocence.

Even if this is the obvious 'failure' option (knowing the writer, one can never be too sure), I'm sure with our protagonist's personality so far it can be done right so as not to be a particularly bad failure... No? Such things need not always be bad (vocabulary failure), depending on the hearts of the participants.

Heck, this may not even have anything to do with the implications some of us are surely sensing. Our protagonist is not a lecherous man, and I'm sure any choice we make will be conducted in full accordance to our previously established character as best as the writer can manage.

I have faith. And I believe in the purity of love.
[X] An answer to a question of some kind: "You know my answer, but I would like to know yours, Yuyuko: how would you judge the good of the many compared to the good of the one?"

I'm interested in how she would answer.
>Don't fail.

This got me thinking. Maybe the writer is trying to get us to think outside of our usual mindset, again. Remember, he's said several times that we shouldn't let paranoia grip us, and that he's not the type to pull the bait-and-despair trickery certain other writers are known form.

Perhaps there are no bad choices. Perhaps, instead of thinking of Yuyuko's offer at face value, we should be considering what it truly is that she is offering us - an opportunity. An opportunity to give something to her. In effect, what she is offering to us is far greater than what it could be perceived as when only looking at it from a superficial point of view - the chance to show her love.

Maybe by 'don't fail', the writer means we shouldn't avoid considering all the given options as viable, with potentially good results. When was the last time he's thrown us thinly-veiled 'bad' options?

The choice of Yuyuko is tempting not because of "Sex with a young yet shapely beauty", but more the matter of showing her love, even if it's just for a short time. As far as something to remember Yuyuko by, it'll be next to impossible to forget, and perhaps when Yuyuko ends up a ghost, the memory is so strong it stays with her.
[X] The Lady beside you, a lovely, waifish girl of sixteen; lustrously dark of hair. Simply dressed in a pale blue, her full lips, bright eyes and bubbly disposition endow her with an impression of youthful innocence.

Deleted previous vote. I liked this originally, but felt a little uncomfortable choosing it. Reading the reasoning from some other anon, though, I feel like going with my first instinct now.

>An opportunity to give something to her. In effect, what she is offering to us is far greater than what it could be perceived as when only looking at it from a superficial point of view - the chance to show her love.

I like the cut of your jib, and I think you're onto something. If you step back from a voting perspective and try to imagine this scene playing out, it feels like Yuyuko is asking for this kind of intimacy and kindness. Flashing in my mind, I have scenes of numerous stories where a beautiful woman is pouring on all her charm and allure, but the protagonist fails to pick up on any of it, obliviously responding in the densest way possible. I don't want that; not for our monk or Yuyuko.

Like you said, man, not only is she giving us something incredible, we can show her something just as valuable; Love.

God, I'm going to be crushed if this fails miserably or doesn't get picked.
[x] Ask for Acasi's take on this.

Just for a bit more insight to work with.
[x] Actually ask for something different.
[x] Just as she takes yours, you'll take her friendship.
and also [x] Ask for Acala's take on this.

"I dunno, Acala... what do you think?"

Dude, I would totally hit that.

"...That's not helping."
[X] The Lady beside you, a lovely, waifish girl of sixteen; lustrously dark of hair. Simply dressed in a pale blue, her full lips, bright eyes and bubbly disposition endow her with an impression of youthful innocence.

Yuyuko deserves the opportunity to experience this.
Why isn't anyone explaining why they're taking the 'friendship' vote? Kinda hard to have a conversation about the best way to approach the situation if no one's saying anything.

Fixed that for you.

Thanks; here's the corrected version.

I suspect it's a safe nice option, nuff said.

While the far riskier and yet compelling choice is explained just to show that people aren't thinking "YES SEX!" (if one wants just that, there's that story in /at/ that isn't lacking in it)

But I might change my vote if the revealed insight strongly suggests otherwise. (I know that insight isn't perfect, but every little bit helps)
It isn't just 'Sex' is a Monk that is forsaking all his vows and risking all his friendships to give a girl in despair a moment of kindness.

Or that'd be if Yuyuko weren't teasing Monkanon. As things stand, unless I misunderstood her character badly, she just wants a friend.
[x] Clothing/memento. Something that you may always remember her.

Weak, the lot of you.
>picking the obligatory 'safest' option without a second thought
>This sounds like a serious moment, and we can't exactly rely on how Modern Yuyuko acts since it's been stated that Yuyuko was different when she was alive. And one difference is the weight of her ability on her shoulders.

So, the odds of her teasing/joking around are low, and she's more likely to be serious about it?
I don't think she's really in despair, though. Not right now, at least. In the update before this one she seemed quite happy and enthusiastic, and even by the end of this last one she's pretty calm and composed. She actually gets pretty different there by the end of the update, and our monk seems pretty flustered because of it:

>I'm... not very good at this sort of thing." It's true but worse; it's apparent. Why are you being so self-conscious about something like this?
>As you're acting uncharacteristically shy, the Lady's acting uncharacteristically calm in inverse proportion.
Furthermore, by the end she's not stuttering anymore, which I can only assume mean she's quite serious. Can't deny the "Lady beside you" vote isn't a risky maneuver. There's a lot in that vote that you may or may not read into it, one of which probably involves breaking our vow of celibacy.

What I'm struggling with is Yuyuko's insistance that this be an exchange. We gave her an honest answer which we argued quite vehemently to defend and justify. Apparently this was incredibly valuable to her. To that end, I think what we decide upon should have the same value to us that our answer had to her. That way, it will be a true 'exchange of our hearts,' something Yuyu can be satisfied with.
Problem is, as our monk pointed out, we don't really want anything. Asking for material goods seems pretty lacking when you consider the emotional impact our answer had on Yuyuko. Asking for her friendship, to me, feels like asking for something she has already given us. I don't think we'd be having a conversation of this magnitude if she didn't consider us a friend. Turning the question she asked of us back on her seems disingenious, like we're trying to placate her.
Yuyu wants us to ask for something we genuinely want. Problem is, the only thing I (we?) really want to do in this situation is make Yuyuko happy, but don't want to do it by asking for a token favor/item/response. The best I can conceive of is to show her something she may have not seen in these sixteen years of her life; pure love and affection. I genuinely feel like it would be just as much for her as it would be for us, but maybe I'm trying to doll up an otherwise prurient choice in noble trappings.

Murasaki isn't helping with her advice before about not putting our faith above our friends if we have to decide between the two. It should make decisions like these a lot more straight-forward, but all it's making me do is question whether this is that kind of situation.
>not putting our faith above our friends if we have to decide between the two


Make her happy.
Author here. Current tally is:

6 votes for friendship.
4 votes for her.
1 1/2 for a memento.
1 for an answer.

I get done today about 5 hours from now so that's when I'll start writing. In the unlikely event that some of you change your minds or haven't decided yet, that's your deadline. The tone this update will take depends on the winning vote, though everything that's said/chosen will probably be incorporated somehow.

Also, taking the body of votes that have been made as a whole, I have to congratulate you all. Seriously, read through the choices selected and reasoning offered and ask yourself, aren't they an accurate picture of the sort of inner debate that Myouren would really have on this question?

At least on this matter, many of you seem to fully understand his character, perhaps even more than I. Well done.
[X] The Lady beside you, a lovely, waifish girl of sixteen; lustrously dark of hair. Simply dressed in a pale blue, her full lips, bright eyes and bubbly disposition endow her with an impression of youthful innocence.

It's parable time, kids!

An old monk and a young monk were walking through a forest when they came to a river bank and saw a beautiful young woman standing at the edge of the bank.

The woman told the monks that she was afraid to cross the river because she might slip and be carried downstream. She asked if one of the monks might help her across.

Now it so happened that these two monks were members of a sect which practiced celibacy and they had both taken vows never to touch a member of the opposite sex. But the old monk, sensing the extreme anxiety of the young woman, lifted her onto his back and carried her to the other side of the river.

The young woman thanked him and went on her way. The two monks continued on their journey, but the young monk was shocked and disturbed at having seen his older companion break his vow so nonchalantly. Finally, after three hours of walking and thinking, he could contain himself no longer and he burst out, "Tell me, old man, what did it feel like to break your vow of so many years? What did it feel like to allow sensuality to tempt you from your spiritual path? What did it feel like to have her smooth warm thighs wrapped around your waist, her breasts brushing against your back, her arms around your neck and her soft cheek almost one with your own? Tell me, old man, what is it like to carry such a beautiful young woman?"

The older monk remained silent for several steps and then said, "It is you who should tell me what it is like to carry such a beautiful young woman. You see, I put her down 3 hours ago at the river, but you are still carrying her."

Religious vows (and, indeed, religious beliefs in general) are intended as guidelines as to how to behave to improve yourself and the world around you. Like any set of guidelines, there are situations in which it is inappropriate to apply them. I believe now is one of those situations.
Hm. What sort of bothers me about the 'friendship' vote is that it implies she hasn't already given us that.

It comes off as something we shouldn't really even have to be asking for. No? Heck, it might even disappoint her.
[x] The Lady beside you, a lovely, waifish girl of sixteen; lustrously dark of hair. Simply dressed in a pale blue, her full lips, bright eyes and bubbly disposition endow her with an impression of youthful innocence.
[x] Actually ask for something different.
[x] Just as she takes yours, you'll take her friendship.
[x] The Lady beside you, a lovely, waifish girl of sixteen; lustrously dark of hair. Simply dressed in a pale blue, her full lips, bright eyes and bubbly disposition endow her with an impression of youthful innocence.

Here I am paving a road with good intentions... where it leads, no one knows.
[x] The Lady beside you, a lovely, waifish girl of sixteen; lustrously dark of hair. Simply dressed in a pale blue, her full lips, bright eyes and bubbly disposition endow her with an impression of youthful innocence.
[x] The Lady beside you, a lovely, waifish girl of sixteen; lustrously dark of hair. Simply dressed in a pale blue, her full lips, bright eyes and bubbly disposition endow her with an impression of youthful innocence.
We've meet her for.. what? Two days?

I think that the 'Friendship' vote is actually asking her for a serious bond, more serious than a casual friendship at least.

I dunno what he'd want with that though. Maybe he wants to be remembered? Maybe that's why he's so generous and affectionate with his friends? Memory is a way to obtain inmortality after all.

I'd figure this Yuyuko is someone who if someone proves themselves offers sure friendship. Since it seems she's a lonely sort at times (perhaps due to her power)
>I failed.

Actually, you succeeded. Good work.

>I dunno what he'd want with that though. Maybe he wants to be remembered? Maybe that's why he's so generous and affectionate with his friends? Memory is a way to obtain inmortality after all.

You're not thinking about this the right way. Myouren is a nice guy, but he isn't a 'nice guy,' if you understand what I mean. As you see his thoughts, you should know that he has actual compassion for the people he decides to help and isn't just trying to manipulate them for personal gain.

And while that would seem at odds with human nature and with the world of egoism in which we live, he has every reason to have that sort of outlook as a result of his life experiences. Remember, aside from being inculcated into the ethical mores of his religion, just who do you think was his biggest influence when he was growing up? All people, but kids especially, become like those around them, so if the person whom he loved most as a boy was generous, selfless, honest and intelligent...

Anyway, writing (Might end up taking a while, probably won't be today). There was one way in which you would have definitely met with complete failure in this situation and many by which you could have succeeded, with varying degrees of success. This one - the one that won?

It represents nothing less than complete and total victory. Bravo.

I'm glad you all grew a spine and chose to go for broke. That's not always the right choice, to place everything on a gamble like this, but the other extreme - to never pick 'risky' options - might actually be worse, at least in this story.

Prudence is fine, but valor, tempered with rational thinking; is as good or better sometimes. Remember that, anon, or you'll end up missing out.
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You? Yeah, you're awesome. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

I'm so happy I am moved to tears.

He's a selfless guy who wants to do the right thing, not really concerned with immortality. Same goes for his most adored person growing up (but that might change and change back with time)

That and there's my theory on the origins of Youmu's ghost being named Myo~n (in this story's possible timeline, in a way, he has obtained memorial immortality via his impact on Youki's family and on his sister)

>It represents nothing less than complete and total victory. Bravo.

>nothing less than complete and total victory

>Anon choosing an option which leads to complete and total victory

I...what? Have I stumbled into an alternate fucking dimension?
>This one - the one that won?
Y'know, it's a really nice gesture to tell us the results of our choice before the actual update. Not only it shortens the painful torture of doubt, but it actually makes us look (even more than usual) forward to the next update.
Clever and kind move, really. Not unlike our MC, now that I think about it.
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How young is Youki in this story, again?

Looks wise, he seems about late teens to me, not sure about his actual age though; though this might be before he ends up a half-ghost. But he's alot like his currently yet to be conceived daughter: Serious, hot headed, overly dutiful.

But I doubt Myouren would advocate just leaving his daughter out of the blue one day, that I'm certain of.
Yuyu is awesome. I've seen the childish girl with a iron stomach so much that I've forgotten the beauty and wisdom that were part of her even before her untimely demise.

I'm moved, I really am. Thank you.
>But did you like it so far?

Very much so, and I think you've achieved all of the goals you've set for yourself, and then some. The update itself is quite wonderful; not at all what I was expecting, but in all the right ways. Despite being a dramatic decision made by our character, Yuyu really does steal the scene; like >>104485 said, everything that makes her such an intriguing character is on full display. I was really getting into it, too. Totally absorbed in the dialogue about Youki's and Yuyu's true feelings for each other, quietly telling myself "so this is how he's interpreting the 'show her true love' thing from the votes." But when she still insisted that we not change our request at the end of that I did a double take (and groaned a little when she hit us with our own definition of sacrifice). Everything after '...This isn't wrong' was fantastic, no two ways about (though my paranoia meter spiked a bit from the '...in which are reflected profound joy and sublime sorrow' line).

Really looking forward to the rest.
Edit: Spelling, readability.

You don't say anything immediately. Or rather, you can't say anything immediately, for fear of being unintelligible.

...Really, could you be anything except moved to tears right now? The Lady - this sweet and beautiful young woman - is offering to give you everything she has. Even herself. And she's not trying to seduce or ensnare you; of that your intuition keenly feels. Her feelings and motives for doing this aren't anything less than completely genuine and pure. ...How admirable.

"Lady Saigyouji." Having reigned in your emotional intensity somewhat, you address her. "I've no need of worldly things and I've not any desire to see you demean yourself by answering to me."

She doesn't say anything yet, just sitting still, her shoulders against yours and with one arm on your back; as she waits for you to finish.

"...And in truth, my heart's already chosen the sole remaining choice. Even now, it batters against the prison of my chest, struggling to break free - entreating, advocating; urging that I give voice to its demands. And a large part of me, one that requires all the strength of my will to restrain; wishes that I acquiesce to fulfill my heart's wishes. But..."

The Lady tilts her head, looking at you with tender concern. "...But?"

"...You have Youki, don't you?" Saying this, you're not able to look at her. "I... I don't want to do anything which would come between the you two."

"Myouren." Calling you by name, the Lady takes hold of your chin and lifts it, making a level with her eyes - her sympathetic, serious eyes. "...Youki is my truest friend and the one whom I love most in this world. But..." For an instant, her expression falters. "...He doesn't feel the same way about me. The love that he has for me is that of a servant towards his master and... not of a man towards his beloved." The Lady's voice gradually becomes more unsteady. "Anyone that Youki serves would... they would receive the same love and loyal service. The... person of me doesn't mean... anything to him. I-I could be anyone and-"

"I don't know how you've attained such an opinion, but you're absolutely wrong, dear Lady." You interrupt forcefully, when her eyes had begun to mist over. "Youki... He..." Thinking back, you remember what he's said to you.

"My mistress is, without a doubt, the most noble and selfless person I know. She's worth any sacrifice from me, up to and including my life."

"To protect and serve my mistress, repaying her love with steadfast loyalty."

"He loves you as a person and he recognizes how you feel for him." Reassured by your memories, you look into the Lady's damp eyes with complete conviction. "I swear the truth of this by my patron, Vairocana."

"T-then! Why... why wouldn't he tell me?" She asks, her doubt not quite abated.

...You think you've already correctly ascertained this situation, but it's best to make sure. Pausing, you give her a moment to think so that this question has all the impact it should.

"Did you tell him?"

Finally understanding, the Victorian Jet of the Lady's gaze widens with surprise and realization, as you can't help but give a sigh at the strangeness of human relationships. Two people with such a powerful love for each other were nevertheless prevented from realizing it by the mutual weakness and fearfulness of their own hearts.

...Murasaki was right about the cruel ironies of the world. Your beloved person is separated from you by an impassable gulf of miles and years, even though you'd like nothing more than to see her again. Meanwhile, the Lady's ignorant to the feelings of her own beloved person, even as he's standing right in front of her.

"Um..." Speaking quietly, the Lady snaps you out of your ruminations. "...Thank you. I-I... I've been so blind, haven't I? ...Youki will surely scold me when he finds out." She shakes her head, giving a nervous laugh. When she looks at you again, it's with a much lighter expression - one that's as if a great burden was lifted from her heart. "Anyway, please don't worry about this anymore." Lady Saigyouji shows you a gentle and composed smile. "Right now... I want you to make your request of me. The one in your heart. Don't change it."

She's turned the tables on you.

"I-I can't do that!" You stammer in surprise, taken completely off-guard. "Even after you know all of this - even still, you-"

"No," says the Lady, putting a finger to your lips and silencing you, "not 'even still.'" She shifts on the bed, coming closer to you and taking your hand, her rosy cheeks flushed with emotion. "It's 'even more.' I want you to ask even more than before. I... want to reward you for having done so much for me." She places your hand against her robe, moving it, caressing it; against her supple waist.


"Dear Lady, did I not tell you? I hate sacrifice." You remove your hand and place it on her shoulder, looking hard at her. "...You know not how much I want to accept this invitation of yours and to make my request of you, but how could I ask you to sacrifice the one you love for me in anything resembling good faith? No matter from what perspective I consider it, for me to place such a demand on you would be an irredeemable crime!"

"But it's not a sacrifice," she says, touching one of her pretty hands to yours on her shoulder. "You said to me that sacrifice is a forcible extraction and made out of duty to contract. This is neither of those. This is a gift, an opportunity given freely by me," she places her other hand against your cheek, stroking longingly, "...to you."

...You feel it now, as much in your mind as you do in your heart. This... isn't wrong. ...That sense of danger from before? It's washed over you and receded into nothingness, leaving just this kind and sensitive Lady in its wake. To refuse the touch of her gentle hands with some kind of desperate, selfish justification would be nothing short of cowardice; a betrayal of your own feelings as much as hers.


Be you certain of this?

...Do you remember what my sister said to us? To try and fail is less regretful than to not try at all. But this isn't a failing, no - to have chosen this is a success; a triumph. You know as well as I that the etiological purpose behind the prohibition on fornication was to forestall the amassment of power or influence across generations and to act as a preventative that offices should never become hereditary.

Heresy. You are forsaking the Eight Prohibitions, then?

When did I say that? This isn't the first time I've contravened the letter of my vows, but have I not always followed their spirit? Have I ever ceased to strive for self-realization by the denial of slavish desire and worldly ambition? Have I ever given all the diligence and devotion of my heart and mind to that great purpose? If I listen to what you're saying, then I would deny that selfsame heart and mind and fall prey to the same sort of unthinking slavishness I intend to conquer!

Look at Sakyamuni! If the Great Buddha of this cosmic cycle could spend the sum of his youth in carnal perversity and yet still attain Nirvana within that same lifetime, I think I could be excused even if this was motivated by my basest instincts.

But it isn't and you should know that! I am you and you are I. So, me; I invite you to look - no, to feel; to become my mind and my heart. And do you see, sense and experience the breadth of my reason and emotion? Then, you'll understand that I've not turned my back on anyone or anything! I've been true to myself and to the Lady!

...Indeed. I withdraw my objection, for your words resound with the voice of truth. But should you not consider your allies? Will the one called Konngara and the Witch of the Forest see this as having 'been true' to them?

I have faith that they'll understand if I explain myself to them. And I will, for I have every intention of remaining aboveboard to them - those treasured friends who appeared unheralded into my life of empty wandering.

...So be it. Then, I shall cease to obstruct you any longer than I have - enjoy the Lady with the knowledge that my Wisdom goes with you.

...Was that a joke?


"I want you to promise me something, dear Lady." Your doubts fully extinguished, you lower your head and make a request. "Promise me that if I ask what I will of you, that you'll give as much and more to the one you truly love and make him happy. Please...!"

"I will." She gives a simple oath, though one not lacking in integrity. "Youki deserves to be happy, to know love. ...He'll have both for... for..." The Lady falls silent for a second and closes her eyes. "...For as long as I'm with him."

"Then..." You rise to your feet and kneel at the Lady's feet. "Lady Saigyouji. I humbly ask for neither your acumen, nor your discretion, nor your riches. No, I humbly beg your pardon again, but I have the audacity to ask for something far greater and more valuable. I ask for the scent of your hair, the taste of your lips, the softness of your skin, the mildness of your breath and the warmth of your breast." Not leaving your position, you look up, up into her eyes - those striking eyes of Victorian Jet, in which are reflected profound joy and sublime sorrow.

"...My Lady, I ask for all these things; I ask for you and for the chance to love you."

And she assents, gladly. The Lady kneels and pulls you into a deep, passionate kiss; wearing a dazzling smile writ large with bliss.

There's more to come (ultros.jpg), obviously. But did you like it so far? For those of you expecting rape or jackhammers or something like that, my apologies to you for having to read that. I just felt it important that I present the opinions of both Myouren and Yuyu in a way that shows their respective struggles, believably explains what each party's thinking in a way that's relevant to other events and remains in line with established characterization. A tall order, to be sure and one which wound up being long, but I had the help of additional insights from all of you making it easier. So regardless of how you think it turned out, I'd like to extend each of you my thanks.

I don't think anyone was expecting jackhammers, but they were expecting an emotional, possibly touching moment.
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>...So be it. Then, I shall cease to obstruct you any longer than I have - enjoy the Lady with the knowledge that my Wisdom goes with you.

>...Was that a joke?

I chuckled just the same.

Eagerly awaiting the continuation.
Just a heads up, I'm to spend several hours going home today thanks to the break, so the next part might not be till tomorrow because I don't want to make it suck by rushing it.
Something to look forward to, then. Safe travels.
Hey, writefag?

When are you going to get a name and tripcode so I can have them tattooed onto a part of my body, surrounded by a heart?
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>But did you like it so far?

I'm blown away. Please write the continuation, I'm eager to know what happens between Myouren & Yuyu after this.

The only problem I want to ask here is: what if Mima and Konngara know of this?

Well Konngara I'd figure would understand once everything is explained. Since she is open minded generally. (And it was thinking that she'd be upset about things that lead to the big screw up with Mima)

Mima I'm not exactly sure how she'd respond, but I have faith in things working out. The first thing is finding a good time to return her diary and talking to her about it.

That and it's clear it'll be a one time thing, since chances are Yuyuko and Youki will end up something of a couple after this.
Like others have said, Konngara will probably be chill as long as we're honest about our intentions. As for Mima, I'm afraid of a reaction not unlike the one from >>100158. She might not be angry with us, but she might suffer the same sense of crushing disappointment in herself for not being able to open up to us.

Perhaps we should wait until we deliver the diary before revealing this to Mima.

But if there was going to be Fallout, I think the Author might have remarked on it.

But this event with yuyuko is just one moment (one I think both would remember forever yes), while to Myouren, the two ladies are more or less forever.
Can somebody give me the Cliff's Notes version of the last ~3 to 5 updates so I can understand why Yuyu is throwing herself at us, and more importantly, exactly how boning Yuyuko is the best possible choice?

I mean, I'm not against the notion of banging the Dreamcast, not at all. But... it feels not right, in this story. I must be missing something. Quite likely a lot of somethings.

Maybe I just like your Konngara an awful lot, and the idea of saying "okay, let's get freaky" to an emotional girl who's throwing herself at him... I don't feel clean.

But I'm sure there's somebody who can explain this nonsense to me in clear terms and make it not seem so uncomfortable.


I don't get it either anon. I also don't understand Myouren's reasoning. Why'd he go exactly for that, given his vows any other choice was just as good.

I can't sum it up in words, but I think the author can explain it better in the next bit of commentary.

And you're thinking too much as "sex" as opposed to "showing some love if just for one moment"

I might have to question if you were really reading this at all or not as of late.
Have you been reading the story (and the discussions) recently at all?

...Is it that you two don't understand or that you don't agree?

Either way, I guess I'll compose an answer to your objections now. Wait a couple minutes if you please.
Bit of both.

And yes, I've been reading it, I still don't quite grasp the monk's logic on the matter. Even if it isn't betrayal, (for the lady has said as much) why does he -need- to "show love" in such a way? It just seems like it'd cause trouble with Mima. Yuyuko can know love from Youki, isn't the act of greater piety pushing those two along? Why is he deciding to push aside the vows? I understand he's quite a pragmatic character but I don't see how this particular choice warrants breaking his vows. If he truly has no need for anything material, can't he ask for something else?

Fuck, he could even be sappy and just ask for yuyuko to be happy.
>Can somebody give me the Cliff's Notes version of the last ~3 to 5 updates so I can understand why Yuyu is throwing herself at us.

Because this isn't something as simple or base as Yuyu 'throwing herself at you' and would require you to go back further than 3-5 updates to fully understand. She's been disposed to like you ever since you first conversed with her via butterflies by choosing to welcome her and that feeling that was reinforced when you chose to greet her, to encourage her and to talk to Murasaki about her.

But what really touched her was when her friends (who also became disposed to like you) helped her to realize that you were willing to draw upon yourself her possible ill-will and to vehemently argue how you honestly felt out of compassion and a real concern for her well-being. Most people would hardly make such a choice out of a fear of giving offense, but you did and you did it well. That's why you're where you are. All the despondence she felt because of what you said was transformed into gratitude and love, but only because Murasaki and Youki helped her realize it together.

If you've been following what I've said with reasonable attention and making a conscious effort to place yourself in each character's shoes, to distance yourself from your own prejudices and to truly think as they do, I don't see what's to not understand.

>more importantly, exactly how boning Yuyuko is the best possible choice?

Because this choice is the one that makes her the happiest and is the only one that would make Myouren ask about Youki and thereby work to bring Yuyu together with her true love. You had one other possible opportunity to bring them together from Youki's end ([ ] An analogy about one of the Six Perfections, using his relationship with the Lady.) but you didn't choose it (even after I had given multiple cues from both Youki and Murasaki to suggest that maybe it a topic on which learning more would be useful). Youki's not the sort willing to volunteer that kind of information to you if you're not willing to ask on it in a context that doesn't result in pissing him off.

>But... it feels not right, in this story.

I think it's more that you either personally disagree with the choice or misunderstand something that you feel that way. Judging by the two statements of

>I must be missing something. Quite likely a lot of somethings.
>Maybe I just like your Konngara an awful lot

it's the latter as well as the former for you. And on the topic of:

>Maybe I just like your Konngara an awful lot

I wonder if you like her enough to realize she's not such a jealous and hard-hearted person. If you recall, as you left to help Youki make dinner, she struck up a conversation with Yuyu. You didn't see what they talked about (you will), but as a result of it Konngara gained a great deal in respect, affection and pity for Yuyu. That's why she let Yuyu 'borrow you' this morning. Yes, 'borrow you.' There was a particular reason why she used that choice of phrasing.

>I don't feel clean.
I don't see why you would feel that way unless you're imprinting lust onto Myouren's actions where there isn't any.

>I don't get it either anon. I also don't understand Myouren's reasoning.

I'll explain this to you as best I can. I don't expect to convince you, but at the very least you'll be able to understand.

Myouren's a difficult character for me to write sometimes because he's a paradox in a number of ways. Even though he's quite a rational pragmatist, he's also a ridiculously sentimental person who's supremely confident in the veracity of his feelings. His conversations with Acala are all metaphorical representations of this inner struggle for mastery of his between his feelings and his rationality. They usually work in complete concert, but it's natural that they're opposed sometimes.

And even though he's a devout person, one who's taken vows and obeys the perceived duties of his profession with the utmost seriousness, he has his own opinions about how best to pursue them. See what he said to Murasaki yesterday on this very question.

>Why'd he go exactly for that, given his vows any other choice was just as good.

I've said above why the other choices aren't as good, but on the question of his vows I'd like to bring something up.

This was going to be addressed later, but do you think his monastery on Mt. Shigi was happy to learn that he (for them) literally disappeared off the face of the Earth after he was ordained in Nara?

When he thought to himself that this wasn't the first time in which obeyed the spirit of his vows rather than their letter? That was true and it’s been consistently demonstrated in his own prerogatives. Just as he didn't like the idea of sitting in a monastic cell and only working towards his own personal salvation, he also wanted to ask Yuyu for something he felt that would make her happy that was true to his own heart, even if it came into conflict with the letter of his vows.

Think about it, to run away from his feelings and Yuyu’s while hiding behind the justification of oaths or to accept those mutual feelings to make her happy even at possible risk to his own interests – which of these is the truly courageous choice?

>I still don't quite grasp the monk's logic on the matter.

See above.

>Even if it isn't betrayal, (for the lady has said as much) why does he -need- to "show love" in such a way?

Because that was the winning vote and it won without votespam (Yes, I went on IRC and asked one of the mods to check because I had suspicions). If it was really out of character for him, I wouldn’t have offered it in the first place. And it hasn’t been out of character. You see all of his true thoughts. Where does it say anywhere that he’s succumbed to animalistic desire, forsaking all sense of his obligations or justice in the process? He was honestly planning to refuse out of a respect for her wishes when he realized that to respect her wishes and his would actually mean accepting, not refusing.

>It just seems like it'd cause trouble with Mima.

Not if you choose correctly.

>Yuyuko can know love from Youki, isn't the act of greater piety pushing those two along?

It’s been detailed above but you ARE pushing those two along.

>Why is he deciding to push aside the vows?

He hasn’t pushed aside any vows of his, even if he doesn’t follow them to the letter.

> I understand he's quite a pragmatic character but I don't see how this particular choice warrants breaking his vows.

It’s explained above what he’s thinking in making that choice.

>If he truly has no need for anything material, can't he ask for something else? Fuck, he could even be sappy and just ask for yuyuko to be happy.

He could, but that wasn’t the winning vote. And like I said before, nothing else for which you could have asked would have made her happier than this choice.

And that ended up being more involved of a refutation than I had expected. Anyway, I’m fairly certain both of you remain unconvinced but as the author, I can say with certainty that the hero is acting in ways that are consistent with his character and that he hasn’t ruined his chances with anyone else. If you’re against certain choices winning, then you need to present a more convincing argument to the other voters as to why it doesn’t deserve to be picked.

I gave ample time for it and especially in this case, it’s obvious that the ones who chose Yuyu thought about what that decision entailed and were able to make a strong and convincing case that it was the right choice. That’s why they won.

Now, if you can’t spare the time or effort to match the opposition, then I understand. We’re all busy people, myself included. But if that’s the case, I think it’s fair that you not lament if things don't go quite as you've wanted.
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Well, I can only give you my understanding, and you can make of that what you will. While Myouren is a monk, he is not entirely defined by his faith. His friends and companions are equally, if not more precious to him (see >>99328). Furthermore, Myouren has displayed a very high level of understanding for the purpose and meanings of the precepts of his religion beyond their strict wording and interpretation. More than once, people around us have responded with surprise at our un-monkly behavior and appearance, only to have Myouren explain exactly where he's coming from and why it works. While it may say that celibacy is a requirement of monastic life, he knows that the act of making love isn't inherently wrong. Rather, it's that the "slavish desire" (or "lust" for lack of a better term) typically associated with craving sex that is counter-productive to seeking enlightenment. Doubtlessly, there's some physical attraction between Myouren and Yuyuko, but there's no carnal desire in either compelling them to ravage each other.
Even if his faith won't prevent him from fornicating in situations such as these, he still needs a reason. First of all, while she didn't know it at the time, we gave her something incredibly valuable: an honest and well reasoned answer to the question she asked in >>102527. She discovered the value of this when she consulted Youki and Murasaki, whom we had endeared ourselves earlier. Upon this realization, she set upon the task of repaying us. If it wasn't immediately obvious up till now, it's worth pointing out that Yuyuko is a brilliantly honest and forthright person; the definition of wearing her heart on her sleeve. That said, when Yuyuko listed off the things she could give Myouren, she was absolutely willing to give him whatever he asked for. At this point, I looked at the list of things and thought to myself: "If I had just been given the thing most precious to me in the entire world; so valuable that I would do anything for the person that gave it to me, would I be satisfied with giving just that to them?" With that in mind, I thought of Yuyu's character.

Would we, as Myouren, be satisfied with her happiness, friendship, or even a memento? Sure, more than anything it's the thought that counts. But would Yuyuko feel like we've consummated an 'exchange of our hearts' like she asked for before with just those things? I think she would, but to a far lesser extent, contenting herself in satisfying our meager wishes, but feeling unfulfilled for not being able to do more. By asking for her, she can be perfectly satisfied giving us something just as valuable as we gave her.

That's just my thought process, though.
I apologize if I came across as being dissatisfied with how the voting went. I'm not "butthurt" over the votes. I just don't understand how such a choice could have a positive outcome (Yes, I understand it's gonna turn out well, but I don't understand why). While I'm not entirely convinced in the rationale, I appreciate the insight into the character's state of mind and taking the time aside to try and explain.

So sorry again if I sounded "butthurt" it wasn't my intention.
No offense taken and I don't think you're 'butthurt.' I'm glad you were concerned enough to ask because you weren't the only one that felt as such and you raised legitimate questions.

>Yes, I understand it's gonna turn out well, but I don't understand why.

It's been explained in as clear terms as I can muster.

We kinda missed those cues... since we didn't know of something greater than servant/master between those two until the latest update. This in itself may change Gensokyo's history as we know it (or not)

Since a romantic couple of Yuyuko and Youki could result in Youki not being so quick to leave, or that how Yuyuko is as a ghost caused him to leave somehow. Hard to tell at this point.

And I noticed the term borrow just now... and how those two whispered to each other, I think Konngara already knows what may occur, and basically ok'ed it.

As far as Mima goes, we can only hope we made the right choices as to patch things up.


Something I learned with the Mima screw up: This isn't a typical CYOA based on VNs. This is something something different, so thinking along VN lines will not help much (at best, it'd badly hinder us at worse), but to take a look at things from a wider perspective.
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Hello, writer.

I, too write on THP, yet reading your story has made me start feeling shame over my own writing.

I mean this in the very best way possible. Your writing is innovative and, if you'll pardon the crude term - awesome. Whereas I have invoked plenty of stereotypical Visual Novel tropes and clichés in my writing, you have averted them completely. You have changed the way Anonymous thinks, for the better.

Your writing is like that of the finest authors of history, provoking deep thoughts and imparting new philosophies unto its readers. Perhaps you've changed someone's entire outlook on life with your writing. Your characters are all wonderful, real people - I smile for them, and weep for them, and cheer them on.

Your story takes itself seriously, yet is not without well-placed, tasteful humor, drawing laughs from those who would not even change facial expressions at a more light-hearted, comedy-oriented CYOA.

To sum up, good Sir - I have the utmost respect for you, and I eagerly await your next update. And the one after that, and the one after that, until this journey of ours comes to its epic finish - because this is what it feels like, to me.

You are the prophet, the guide, the living saint, leading us on a journey to a new generation of CYOAS. I, too, hope to one day learn from your examples, and write a story of my own in the same spirit - if it reaches even one hundreth of the level which you have displayed here, I will have accomplished my goal.

I tip my hat to you, Sir. And to Myouren, and to Acala, and to Mina, Konngara, Youki, Yuyuko - everyone that we're taking this journey with.
Signed. On those days when I'm struck with a sudden pang of perspective about the fact that the major creative endeavor in my life is Touhou fanfiction on the Internet, I think of stories like this and RaAN and remember that real skill and talent will shine through regardless of how they're expressed.

Thanks for writing this; I really enjoy it.
Holy crap, how have I missed this story? Man, I need to be checking the boards more often if awesome stuff like this is popping up.
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Well, after reading everything a few times i am ok with the choice. Well, i can't say i understand it completely but i trust in you and believe that you will guide us toward the right way when things are uncertain. And that you don't let things end up in utter shit.
>It’s been detailed above but you ARE pushing those two along.
This, plus the story is not character centric. So something like a Yuyuko Route is out of question.

After Taisa mentioned how good this story is, i read all 3 threads in 5 hours or so. Comments including. It was a really great time and made me actually feel with the characters and eager await the next part. Something that 39 Threads of GH did not accomplish. This story just makes you think, reread updates a few times to fully get everything and just think for some time. Well, too much praise will just go to your head and make you lazy so... good work. I eager await the next update.

I am really curious how exactly you will solve all the problems at hand. Yuyuko, Konngara and Mima. They all have their fates, how they will end up. Are you going to throw everything overboard and change destiny? A whole new outcome? Or will you just retell the whole story until the present? I wonder.
But most of all, Byakuren. She should probably play a big part later on. Maybe a time skip to forward the story? She worked once with him and became what she is now because he died. Makes you think how and why he died. Many of her spellcard resemble other characters like Yukari, Yuyuko and Shinki so you can really see a connection there. Maybe she met them all because of her brother? After he died, is she trying to continue his work? And there is much much more to think of. It's just hard to see how this story could have a good end, i can only see a tragic one so that everything would fit.
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Couldn't find any of her as I've described. Still, isn't she beautiful?

If ardour had a taste, then the Lady would be its flavor. Though her kiss is clumsy, though her yielding hands betray inexperience, she's unmistakably happy; filled with love. You savor it in the warmth of her mouth; feel it in the black silk of her hair and the arch of her smooth neck. And she reciprocates, relishing your lips, touching the skin of your face and of your bare chest inside your clothes. Before she goes further though, she withdraws herself from you.

"Just a second." Flushed with bated breath, the Lady beckons that you wait. She steps back towards her bed and takes hold of its coverlets, spotless, pristinely white; pulling them open. Settling onto the plush mattress, her bare, shapely legs are exposed by an upraised knee as she gently reclines on one elbow. And, with a dreamy smile; she nods for you to approach.

You join her on the bed in a position that mirrors her own. Laying on your side facing towards her, you're focusing determinedly on a small beauty mark at the side of her face, trying your utmost to keep your mind and your eyes from wandering towards her long, lithe calves when she recalls your attention with a touch. The Lady guides your fingers to the sash at her waist and delivers a soft command.

"...Undress me."

An emotional cocktail of keen anticipation, mild anxiety and overpowering affection mixing about in your blood causes you to fumble with it at first. But as you're picking at its cord, trying to untie it with trembling hands; Lady Saigyouji steadies your wrist.

"You have to relax, Myouren." She encourages you with her words and with her tender gaze. "I want you to take a deep breath, okay?"

Per her order, you do it; close your eyes and focusing on the uncertainty in your body. ...Yes, you've never done this before. It'll be your first time. But you're not completely ignorant as of what you should do. Though you didn't pay it much attention at the time, you were instructed in some of the basic principles behind Tantric practices. Much more than that though, you know how to approach this. You're human. The capacity to fully love another person is written on your heart, graven in your bones and etched in your sinews. And that's why you'll approach this with confidence in yourself. ...What was it he said? 'A certain resolve breeds certain results?' Yes, that's right. Youki said those were his Lady's words. ...How fitting, then; that you'll believe in your happiness and in hers to realize it. A wonderful memory with this sweet and beautiful Lady that you'll carry in your heart forever.

When you look at her again, you've mastered yourself.

"Thank you for that, dear Lady," you say, clutching her hand on your wrist and showing an indomitably serene smile. "Awkwardness is unbecoming of me, I think."

"Isn't it?" She gives a little giggle, covering her mouth with a wide sleeve. "It... really doesn't feel right when I'm the one guiding you like this." She turns on her back and intimately opens her arms in invitation. "Please set things right."

You don't respond with words. Instead, you move to the Lady's front and kneel, straddling one of her beautiful legs as you start to undress her; slowly. After unwinding the cord on her sash and discarding it, you undo the tie on her robe and loose its front. But you don't open it. Instead, you lightly shut your eyes, leaning over to kiss her. Tasting her tongue, her nape and her collarbone, your skin's tickled by her pleasurable gasps as you feel up around her shoulders and start to pull her robe off; off down the length of her body. With your eyes still closed, you strip her; your fingers brushing the sheerness of her skin and feeling the gentle curvature of her body through the silken fabric of her garments. Peeling them off her slight arms, they slide against her gently sloping waist and the over the slimness of her thighs before coming free in your hands. And that's your cue to look.

It... makes something stir within you. ...Between your legs and beneath your hands is Lady Saigyouji, in all her natural splendor, fully unclothed. Her slender body's as felt by your fingers, but how much more sensual when experienced with your eyes! The soft plumpness of her breasts, the fecundity of her maidenly hips, the slight dampness sparkling on the insides of her thighs and the whole breadth of her fair skin colored with the same scarlet emotion about her blushing cheeks - none of these were appreciable with only your hands and your imagination! And as surely as you're appreciating her, the Lady's appreciating you; restfully cushioned against a huge pillow, elbows crossed and cluching over her taut stomach as her dark eyes appraising your unspoken sensations.

"It's my turn now, Myouren." She whispers, wearing a quiet smile that bespeaks delight. Raising herself on one arm, the Lady draws near and places the other against your chest again. "It's my turn to undress you."

Your heart's racing wildly as she slips her hand inside, feeling around and squeezing experimentally as she removes your cassock, first off one shoulder, then the other. While this is happening, she's come really close to you; resting a knee on your crossed legs and bringing the tips of her snowy, bared breasts just centimeters away from your skin. And her touch - her touch is electrifying. After she removes your cassock, she gives a light push to have you fall on your back. Then, in a repeat of what you did for her not a moment ago, the Lady kisses you and begins to undo the drawstring at your waist; the heat from her flushed skin and the stray locks of her unbound hair falling against your bare chest. You only experience her flavor for a handful of seconds this time before her kiss goes lower, to your sternum and then your abdomen as she pulls your pants down and liberates your arousal from its cage.

The sight of it makes Lady Saigyouji fall back on her butt, mouth slightly agape. "I-it's robust!" Pronouncing her first impression, she looks up at you before fixing her gaze upon it once more. You can only stifle a laugh at the sight that follows. The Lady, laying on her stomach with her bare legs dangling in the air, studies you fastidiously; looking from various angles, measuring her hands against its girth and even giving its tip a small lick with her tongue. As you're distracted by the shapeliness of her rear, considering its fullness and the harmony it makes with the rest of her body, your attention is abruptly recalled with a snap.

"Look!" The Lady motions that you look down at yourself, as she measures the broadness of her soft palms against it, "It's bigger than my hand!"

"But dear Lady," you say, chucklingly; petting her back, "that's more a credit to your small, pretty hands than to any exceptionality from me."

"Mmmm~?" Purring, she's looking at it with peculiar intensity. "But... it ... really looks... delicious." Saying this (as if to herself...) and wetting her lips, she cranes her neck downwards and opens her mouth to taste it when...

"We shouldn't do that, inexperienced as we are, my Lady." ...you stop her. "...You're my first and... while I don't know if what I've read is true, but," you indicate yourself, her parted lips and her outstretched tongue, "my understanding is that it's difficult to do correctly and that it requires not a little practice to avoid using your teeth and to achieve the correct rhythm."

Everything you just said is true and a legitimate concern of yours, though you've decided to withhold that what worried you more was the predatory way in which she was looking at it. When coupled with the memory of how much she ate last night, how hungry she seemed this morning and that she hasn't yet taken any food; the Lady's declaration to eat you actually caused your blood run cold, if only for a second. But she doesn't notice, her attention completely taken by something else you said.

"I'm ...your first?" In her surprise, she draws back and sits up, looking at you concernedly. "Um... a-are you su-"

"Quite sure, dear Lady - no, absolutely so." You say, borrowing a leaf from her own book, and silencing her fears with a fingertip against her mouth. "I'm not acting out of obligation - when I said that I wanted you, I was speaking my true feelings." The fingertip moves to her cheek and becomes your whole hand, caressing. "...Rather, I fear for you. You, haven't done this before... have you?"

"N-no..." Looking embarassed, her ponytail waves as she gives a small shake in the negative.

Though not what you'd have preferred, this is what you expected and for what you've been prepared. Taking the Lady's hands, it's now your turn to look concerned.

"This... might end up causing you more pain than pleasure, then." Not looking away from her, you gesture downwards at yourself with your chin. "I don't want to hurt you, dear Lady, so if you'd rather n-" You try and look away so as to not guilt her with anything that could be construed as disappointment when something catches you. Her tongue.

"I'm staying, Myouren," she whispers between kissing you. "We can learn together."

Respective intentions affirmed and out of the way, the two of you start to explore each other's bodies with gusto. Having shifted herself onto your crossed legs, the Lady reaches down and starts to stroke you while her other hand runs free over your back and abdomen. Towards her, you've your working hand on her shoulder tracing a line down the center of her chest and circling over her right breast; generous, but not huge - of a fine size to hold. You draw out slow arcs, massaging it; wondering at how your fingers sink into its yielding firmness. And she's obviously enjoying it. Her breathing's started to fall erratically, being interspersed with gentle moans. The moment intensifies. The Lady increases the speed and pressure of her hand and in answer, you give proportionally greater focus to her breasts. Cupping your hand, you've her nipple between your fingers kneading the right as you take the left into your mouth and suckle it; her flesh smooth and warm in your mouth. Working on them as you are, her response is quite something else. She's closed her eyes, clutching tightly at your back. Her moans have become louder and more ragged and there's a sensation of moistness, of something dripping onto your legs. ...Is the face you're showing her as wonderful, right now? Because the Lady's is a picture of ecstacy; breathless, reddened, full of love. It's with this fevered expression that she climbs further onto your legs, bringing her skin in all its heat and sweat against your own. Changing the grip that she has on you, Lady Saigyouji gives a brave, beautiful smile and, before you can stop her; lowers herself.

The aroma of the Lady's sweat, the euphoric panting of her soft voice, the sensual tang of her naked skin, her tight, heated wetness; all of these work in concert to create an incredible experience pleasurable to every one of your senses and doubly more, because of the knowledge that you're having sex with someone who loves you. ...It's no surprise that people become drunk, intoxicated by this addicting intensity. But you're not going to succumb to temptation and forget yourself or your training. You're neither a Beast nor an Asura but a Man; a being acting not out of lust for the Lady's body but love and admiration for her person. You need to remain yourself, for her sake as much as yours, because...

A feeling of penetration.

"Ow..." There's a sudden film of tears shimmering in the Lady's dark eyes. Her movements grind to a halt, tightening painfully on you. Doubled over and clutching her stomach, she's gently crying out her hurt as blood's running down and staining the sheets - a vivid, sickening red against their brilliant white. But even through her pain, a fearsome determination at continuing appears on her face. She's trying to sink deeper onto you, clenching her teeth when you stop her; seizing her shoulders from below, hands clasping her armpits.

"Don't." You arrest her attention in an assertive voice. "I know it's sore, dear Lady. Forcing yourself is only going to make it hurt more and you won't enjoy it. Doing this is something that should make us both happy, so I'm going to try something." Trying to staunch her distress and pain, you've a reassuring, compassionate smile; quickly brushing away the tears from her cheeks and lashes. Looking simultaneously appreciative, hopeful and confused by what you're planning, you’ve a bold idea.

"Please trust me."

Concentrating, you close your eyes and imagine something. You’re unsure whether this will work and you can't count on your instincts to help you in this situation. But there's a definite similarity, so maybe...

"When my 'charming demon' concentrates and breathes like that, hers radiate a soothing silver light."

Recalling Konngara's words and mentally recreating the battle with Youki, your breathing temporizes into an even rhythm after only a few moments. A tingling, animating force dances across your skin and courses through your veins as that golden power is reborn; created in your body anew. You feel it flowing into your arms, your palms, your fingertips and-

"Myouren, your hands!" In the darkness of your mind, you hear the Lady's astonished voice. "It's... w-warm! Like sunlight!"

Sunlight? Vairocana's power, the wellspring of all growth and life? Then... this will work, won't it?

You tenderly withdraw yourself from the Lady and, modestly as you're able; work one finger into her, praying all the while.

"Ow...ow...ow...o...h...aaah? Aaaah~!"

When you open you eyes again, two things have changed. First, you've fully regained your left hand. It moves as perfectly and strongly as you always remember, with nary a hint of pain or fracture. Secondly, and far more importantly to you; the Lady's without a hint of pain or fracture. Feeling between her legs, she looks up in astonishment.

"It's... It's amazing! It doesn't hurt at all!" She casts her eyes on your hands, then at you, completely stunned. "...How did you do that?"

Shrugging helplessly, you can only give her the same answer as you did Youki.

"I wish I could tell you."

Understanding, Lady Saigyouji gives it no further inquiry and instead, shifts onto your ankles again. Her hands on your shoulders, her breasts pressing lushly against your chest, she looks in your eyes. "I want to keep going from where we stopped." She takes you in her hand again and positions herself over it, wearing a whole and happy smile.

“We can both feel good now.”

Guiding herself onto your tip, she releases her hands and descends onto you, moaning with pleasure as she sinks down your shaft. Every inch of her insides feel tight and slippery; gradually parting and giving way for you, till the Lady comes to be seated on your legs. Overcome with stimulation, she rests herself for a moment, relaxing; smearing her sweat, her heat and her passion against your skin. It’s then that she starts to move, leveraging your shoulders and sliding up your length. Your hands, which had been manipulating her breasts, now feel intuitively drawn to her hips. Gripping them, you smooth her unsteady ascent and find yourself pulling into her almost naturally. Cycling this series of actions, tentatively, then seriously; the two of you start to move in a slow, satisfying rhythm. Though not completely in synchronization at the first, the Lady and yourself settle into it quickly. Much more than the other dreadful possibilities - of awkward passivity while the Lady grinds herself on you or, Guanyin forbid it; of the Lady on her back, unstimulated and crying as you despoil her body - you’re engaged in an experience immensely enjoyable for both of you.

You’re engaged in having mutual, loving sex.

The Lady’s possessed by a spirit of elation, having given herself completely to you. Hands clutched tight, legs locked around your back, she’s embracing you with her whole body; rocking up and down your length. Your legs and even the bed are soaked by her exertions, as she sighs breathlessly, calling your name.

If not quite the same, you’re experiencing something similarly unfamiliar as the Lady, having entered into her over and over as you have. Holding her slim waist, kissing her and sometimes removing a hand towards her breasts, there’s a growing ache right above your groin; as if being perforated with small, red-hot needles. But even while it stings, it sutures – like rending and repairing a skin of liquid emotion, allowing small drops to seep through the tears, barely contained. But… what would happen if the whole skin was upended at once? That’s the question with which you’re struggling right now, fighting a concerted assault of pain and pleasure on the bastion of your mind.

The Lady, seeing it; leans close and whispers something in your ear. “Myouren… you can let it out.” There’s contentment, ease and gratification shining brightly in the Victorian Jet of her smiling eyes. “Don’t be afraid… come. I-I’ll come too so… so… - Ahh~” Distracted by pleasure, she’s cut off; moaning excitedly.

Something deep within you responds to her encouragement, loosing itself. Calling each other’s names, the burning pain intensifies, heightens for one moment and is subsumed completely when rapturous, ineffable pleasure; like nothing you’ve ever before experienced, whitewashes your body and mind.

For that one instant; an eternal instant that was forever after graven on your heart, your entire world was the Lady and hers, you.

What happens next?
[ ] ...Tell the Lady you’re going ahead.
[ ] Leave the room with her, hand in hand.
>"I-it's robust!"
Oh, God, I laughed so hard I though I was going to die.

[X] Leave the room with her, hand in hand.
About the update: It was easy for me to write but a combination of the break and the subject at hand (ultros.jpg) made for frequent distractions. My apologies - stuff's going to be back at normal speed now.

>I, too write on THP, yet reading your story has made me start feeling shame over my own writing.

You shouldn't feel this way. Just as there are only things that only I can do, there are things which only you can do and as long as you're above the level of a J to the E or a FrozenTuna (or whatever that one terrible writer's name was) then you've no reason to feel bad.

Thank you, though I'm being serious when I say that this I consider this inferior to RaAN in pretty much every regard save one (I don't feel bad about it for the reasons I've said above, just pronouncing my own honest judgement). Barring the unlikely event that I die, this story's not going to be left incomplete.

...If only the author of RaAN hadn't quit.

I'm glad you liked my story and I can see that you're engaging some of the questions I've been trying to raise. But one thing:

>It's just hard to see how this story could have a good end, i can only see a tragic one so that everything would fit.

Please don't take offense when I say that's why I'm the author and you're the reader.

I'm glad you've started to write again. MiG was one of the first things I read from this site and providing a corrective to the mindset you (intentionally or not) helped to create was one of the reasons I decided to try my own hand at this sort of thing. In a bit of a strange way, I'm quite indebted to you.

May I ask what is your reason for choosing that despite the possible risk to Yuyuko and youki's soon to be relationship?

I'd like to know, since It might change my mind.
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[X] Leave the room with her, hand in hand.

This was something special and precious to both of us; a mutual exchange of experience, intimacy, and love. In my mind, I see Myouren taking as much time as Lady Saigyouji needs before departing with her, so I've no fear of needlessly troubling her. That said, I feel there's no need to worry about broadcasting our newly realized affection. Any misunderstanding/misconceptions that may arise are actually opportunities for Yuyu or ourselves to address underlying issues that have long since needed attention.

Regardless of story commentary, I'm hard pressed to recall any piece of literature that has managed to amuse, captivate, and interest me as simultaneously as this. Quite wonderful, to say the least.

>"When my 'charming demon' concentrates and breathes like that, hers radiate a soothing silver light."
>"Myouren, your hands!" In the darkness of your mind, you hear the Lady's astonished voice. "It's... w-warm! Like sunlight!"

Almost makes me wish this occurred in modern Gensokyo, just to see how the Scarlets would react to this ability. Furthermore, would Sakuya be our destined rival?

Regardless, I need to ask: there are residents of Gensokyo that are far older than their appearance would betray we can expect to interact with? Interactions with certain fools faeries, ghosts, or youkai would be downright incredible if we were afforded the chance.
[x] Ask the lady for her leave before deciding to go ahead of her.

Both our MC and Yuyuko have gained an understanding of each other, and I feel they're now above of such things as embarrassment. however, they aren't alone.

Leaving this place with their hands togheter may cause confusion to the other members of the house, mistaking a candle, which shines even more due to their temporary nature, with the sun.
We (he) were a breeze in Yuyuko's life. Youki will be her mountain. I find no sense risking that, even if it's in account to Youki's immaturity.
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>would Sakuya be our destined rival?

Only if she's good at bread-making.
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[x] Ask the lady for her leave before deciding to go ahead of her.

>Please don't take offense when I say that's why I'm the author and you're the reader.

None take, i just stated my thoughts. I am REALLY looking forward to how the whole thing will unfold, i bet you will surprise me with the outcome that i will probably be shocked or out of words.
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Holy cow. This update, it demands me to read and re-read it. A thousand times.

It was excellently written. You, dear writefag, should be proud of writing it.

[c] Ask the lady for her leave before deciding to go ahead of her.
This story sure went downhill.
[x] Ask the lady for her leave before deciding to go ahead of her.

>"Myouren, your hands!" In the darkness of your mind, you hear the Lady's astonished voice. "It's... w-warm! Like sunlight!"

>just to see how the Scarlets would react to this ability.
I do believe they would not be happy.

Kinda have to agree, but maybe for a different reason. The sooner we get the hell out of Hakugyokurou, the happier I'll be (And this is coming from someone who likes Yuyuko).
Why, what's your complaint?
Whee, can't delete it.

It occurred to me a bit afterwards that this place isn't exactly Hakugyokurou, but you know what I mean(t).
>The sooner we get the hell out of Hakugyokurou, the happier I'll be

We still have swordplay with Youki coming up.

We still have some tasks, but we shouldn't forget our next major task: Making amends with Mima.

And we still have yet to hear the task Yuyuko wants us to do.

[x] Ask the lady for her leave before deciding to go ahead of her.

sure it's slower paced, but I think we will see some major events soon before the trio starts wandering.

And I think as Youki is Yuyuko's mountain, Konngara and Mima are Myouren's mountains.
[x] Ask the lady for her leave before deciding to go ahead of her.

This seems sound.
I still don't know how I missed this gem up until now.

A suitable climax needs a suitable buildup.

“That was wonderful!” With an adoring eye, the Lady’s snuggling under the sheets with you, pillowed on your chest and speaking excitedly. “I never thought that sex would feel so amazing!”

“It’s because we have a mutual appreciation for each other, dear Lady,” you respond, no less affectionately. “Had this just been base, licentious coupling in the manner of Beasts, then we would feel empty, not full.” You’re speaking from your heart. Truly, you’ve a keen sense of having become happier and more complete over what you were but even a day ago; fulfillment burns brightly in your breast. And to whom do you owe your newfound inspiration?

“Lady Saigyouji,” she looks up curiously as you comb the ends of her black hair with your fingers, cradling her warmly. “… I’m glad that you’ve given me a chance to connect with another person as deeply as I did, you.” There’s only the sound of your even, common heartbeats when you stare into her eyes, peaceful and at ease. “… I’m glad that my first time was you.”

She’s incredibly embarrassed by what you’ve said, though whether for you or for herself, she doesn’t say. Becoming a color not unlike the cherry petals fluttering just outside the window, the Lady averts herself, speaking shyly.

“Um… I-I feel the same way, Myouren.” She says, flustered; looking down at her folded hands. “It’s because of you that I...,” sneaking a quick peek at your face, she becomes redder, “…that I can t-tell Youki how I feel about him.”

You can’t help yourself.

“Better than that, you can show him. And when you do, dear Lady, make sure you show him thoroughly.” Having punctuated that last bit with an emphatic wink, she responds by sinking lower in the bed, burying herself in covers up the eyes. It’s only after a delay, after you’ve already risen and started to dress yourself; that she rallies herself enough to give an answer, muted by the blankets but unmistakably resolute.

“… I’ll keep my promise.”

“Good girl.” Leaning close, you kiss her forehead. She’s still in the same position as before and by her expression, seemingly occupied by some matter of importance. “Lady Sai-“

“It’s Yuyu.” Interrupting, the Lady says something strange. “The name my parents gave me,” she explains in a quiet voice.

… She’s told you her name. You fully comprehend the magnitude of her decision. All the nobles you’ve met, even the ones who had already become monks; had insisted on being addressed by either an assumed name or their title, so as to avoid the contempt that comes with familiarity. And that’s not simply true for nobles deigning to address commoners. It’s a practice sustained even among the peerage of the capital, between nobles of the same rank. From what you’ve heard, Lords and Ladies more readily give themselves to each other than give their names.* But the Lady just gave you, an impoverished wandering priest of common birth; her name - her personal name with which she was born and called by her mother and father. A gesture of extraordinary intimacy.

“Yuyu…” You test it, forming the syllables. “Cute and a bit strange, with a cheerful ring… yes, it’s meant for you. You’ve a nice name, dear Lady. It’s certainly much more pleasant to the ear than my own.” Speaking plainly and honestly, you elicit her giggling on giving your estimation. All’s well. You’d considered whether asking if it would be actually permissible by which to address her, but that she’s decided to tell you is proof enough. Would it not be a slap in the face to be unnecessarily polite after she’s been so good to you?

“Then… Yuyu.” Having fully dressed, you stand up and address the Lady, tenderly. “With your leave, I’ll go on ahead so as to ready your place at the table while you freshen yourself.”

“That…” She sits up a little and... “That would be great!” …Clapping her hands together, her face brightens incredibly. She doesn’t even pay any heed that the sheet’s fallen away to expose her chest.

Out of propriety and respect, you ignore it; just giving a nod of acknowledgement. “I’ll see you in a few minutes.”

“One last thing, Myouren.” Having woven her fingers together into a sign of prayer, her face is one of pure, unaffected kindness.

“…Thank you for loving me.”

Closing her eyes and attending to some silent devotion in her heart, she doesn’t say anything else. Neither do you, though there’s much that could probably be said. There isn’t a need, at least not now. The two of you are of one heart on this matter; that whatever might happen from now on, you’ll never regret having loved each other.

When you return into the hall it’s as yourself, with your head held high and not stealing in; as would a thief or criminal. The table’s as you left it but with two additions. There’s the bread you’d helped to make, now loaves; on a plate at its center and a large clay pot beside. Into the latter, Konngara’s dipping chunks of bread and eating quietly by herself when you take a seat next to her.

She looks at you curiously, tilting her head. “You took quite some time. Was it an intense exchange?”

“You could say that. Things got rather heated, but they ended on a good note for both of us,” you deliver this double-entendre with a face that would put the most prodigal gamblers to shame. …You’ve no intention of misleading Konngara, for you trust her; but you’d like to better ascertain the situation to determine the most effective moment at which to explain yourself. Honesty doesn’t preclude diplomacy.

“I would expect no less. That one who so readily regards strangers with coldness and indifference as my charming demon came to like you stands as a testament to your amiable and temporizing character.” Offering a generous compliment, Konngara politely partakes of more bread and between bites, looks towards the hallway then at you in query. “Will the Lady Saigyouji be taking her meal with us?”

“In a few minutes, I believe. She seemed to have been made slightly drowsy by the fervor of our interview, so I thought to give her a moment to collect herself.” Having given a true account of the situation, Konngara nods understandingly.

Then, her beautiful face darkens.


Repeating it with a suggestion towards skepticism, her carefree half-smile becomes a slight frown. And… her nose twitches. Once, twice. Sniffing. The bread she’s been eating’s forgotten on her plate, as her newly operative hands are crossed over her chest. With her liquid, amber eyes narrowed, she’s staring at you.

Into your heart.

[ ] On your own initiative, tell Konngara everything. She deserves to know.
[ ] On your own initiative, make an admission of what you’ve done. Focus on justifying your reasons.
[ ] Stay quiet and let her question you as she will.
[ ] The Lady should arrive shortly. Offer a joint explanation when she does.
[ ] Apologize and beg her forgiveness.
[ ] Say/do something else. (Specify)
'Admission?' It sounds like he just committed a crime. Where is your confidence Myouren?

That said, I'm torn in telling her outright, waiting for her to ask and answer truthfully or just wait for Yuyu and explain it together.
My analysis of the choices
>[ ] On your own initiative, tell Konngara everything. She deserves to know.

So true and being honest would go a far way, and I'm sure our monk will explain things well. Though we might need to apologize for those half truths.

[ ] On your own initiative, make an admission of what you’ve done. Focus on justifying your reasons.

Not so great, since this reeks of a guilty man, but I could be wrong.

[ ] Stay quiet and let her question you as she will.

Decent but not great.

[ ] The Lady should arrive shortly. Offer a joint explanation when she does.

Another good option since Yuyuko'll back up his explainations.

[ ] Apologize and beg her forgiveness.

Unsure on this, but we would be wise if we go with option one to apologize for the half truths.
That leaves me torn between
[ ] On your own initiative, tell Konngara everything. She deserves to know.
[ ] The Lady should arrive shortly. Offer a joint explanation when she does.

I really can't decide on which is better because they both sound equally good.
[x] On your own initiative, tell Konngara everything. She deserves to know.
-[x] Apologize for the half truths you told; you were just waiting for a better time to reveal this.
-[x] Explain that the Lady will back up your story and assure her that it was just one moment.

Feel free to improve this folks, but here's my shot at it.
>[ ] The Lady should arrive shortly. Offer a joint explanation when she does.
We have what amounts to an author guarantee that Konngara will be understanding, but there's no guarantee that said understanding will come immediately. Even if she isn't upset, though, I'd rather spare Yuyuko having to explain herself if we can do so for her.

[x] On your own initiative, tell Konngara everything. She deserves to know.
-[x] Apologize for the half truths you told; you were just waiting for a better time to reveal this.

Guess I should have said "can back it up" since the intent with the write in was that Yuyuko's part was a fallback matter.

Though assuring her it's just a one time thing might be nice, but it could not.
[x] On your own initiative, tell Konngara everything. She deserves to know.
[x] Apologize and beg her forgiveness.

On your knees, crying and begging.
[x] On your own initiative, tell Konngara everything. She deserves to know.
-[x] Apologize for the half truths you told; you were just waiting for a better time to reveal this.

We've always been straight forward with her, so why break with our previous behavior? She trusts us deeply. We should return her trust and tell her everything with faith that she'll understand. Having Yuyuko there to explain helps, but it also says that we ourselves aren't confident to handle it on our own.
The question is, can we handle it on our own?
This is a tentative vote and I'll gladly yield to someone with better logic.
[x] On your own initiative, tell Konngara everything. She deserves to know.

What are you guys apologizing for? He didn't do anything wrong.
>What are you guys apologizing for? He didn't do anything wrong.
How well this line of thought ends up working out depends on how much of a typical woman Konngara truly is.

Which is to say, not a lot, and I mean this in the most positive sense possible.

[x] On your own initiative, tell Konngara everything. She deserves to know.

No excuses - the only one we had to justify our actions to was ourself.
No avoiding the subject and hoping she doesn't press the topic - we'd be leaving the impression of thinking her to be stupid.
No roping Yuyuko into a matter between just you and Konngara. It's just not fair to Yuyu, and it makes Konngara feel like you're ganging up on her in your defense.

And we have nothing to apologize for - certainly not to her or anyone else, at the very least. And I mean this in a non-hostile sense, naturally.

tl;dr: She's not our girlfriend so she has no reason to be a bitch about it, nor would that be in character for her. Have faith in the dear woman, would you? We've been nothing but a true, understanding friend to her so far. If she truly intended to be the same to us, then this situation is a test of her character, not of our own.

The fact that our Monk told her half truths (trying to dance around the issue), something that might come off as kind of insulting.


You three will like this, I think. At you three and everyone else who voted on this last choice, you've given me some confidence in knowing that I'm doing enough things correctly that people can understand the characters at their level.

And especially to >>105259: you've impressed me with your discernment. I salute you.
If Myouren gets away from this unscathed and with Konngara being all "lol okay that makes total sense," I am going to be fucking pissed.
Why? In the past, Konngara has displayed a remarkable amount of understanding, trust, and compassion when it comes to those close to her. Which part of her characterization in this story would lead you to believe that she would respond to our declaration with violence or anger?
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Skimming the last few updates made me stop feeling bad for dropping this story.
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>implying that sex is vulgar and has no place in a serious story
Relax, people like that are everywhere. I dunno if it's due to lack of experience, misinformation or just plain stupidity, but that opinion seems to be relatively common nowadays.
Different strokes I guess.
I skipped it, never read such things anyway... outside of /at/ i mean.
Even HYs was horrible.
…That’s right. This girl’s got such an imposing presence when she actually brings it to bear over her normal pleasant courtesy. …The atmosphere right now feels not unlike that of that first conversation on the day in which you met her. Sitting beside her on that bright morning in Mima’s home but a few days ago, you only fancied her as a striking beauty of gallant deportment when she called you to account for the what purpose for which you had intervened to save her life in absence of prospect for gain. Even back then, even when she knew you as nothing other than an eccentric, vagabond spiritualist; she placed her faith in you after having listened to your true and honest feelings.

So isn’t that the course you should follow again - to volunteer to her the truth, freely and of your own will? Whether viewed from the perspective of enlightened self-interest or of your real, powerful approbation for her nobility of spirit, you’re not able to see anything to suggest otherwise.

And on the contrary, how much more have the two of you come to appreciate the other’s talents through all that’s happened, since that first day? How much has that nascent faith and respectful fondness grown, cultivated in the garden of tribulations; blossoming into the beginnings of close friendship, deep trust and true love? That’s what you’re about to find out – testing the pledge you exchanged with her yesterday night.

“That’s right, Konngara. ‘Fervor.’ It’s an appropriate description for what transpired between the Lady and I.”

At her apparent displeasure, you’ve responded with self-possessed seriousness appropriate to the situation. Though you offer her a moment to reply, to respond, even to hit you if she should so please; Konngara doesn’t take it. Instead, she just moves to hold her chin in her right hand and waits, watching silently.

“After I left your sight, we two exchanged words – passionate words of joyous emotion and personal loyalty. Though, it didn’t stop at just words. We… exchanged other things, too. …Our hopes. Our hearts.” Pausing and letting the moment steep in its tension, you look in her eyes, with courage.

“Our selves.”

She doesn’t do anything to relieve the stillness of the atmosphere; this overwhelming pressure on you to explain. Her expression covered as it is, you’re only able to register a slight, barely perceptible twitch on the side of her face.

“In our exchange,” you continue quietly, “we were able to discover and appreciate each other in a way that neither of us had believed possible before that moment. I don’t regret having taken part in it, nor do I in any way feel ashamed of my actions. When I accepted the Lady, it wasn’t out of profligate enticement, or a greed for her body, or any other kind of moral weakness. I wanted to be true to her feelings and to my own; to receive that fervor we’d tempered by our integrity and uplifted by our happiness. …But never did I neglect the trust that you’ve placed in me, Konngara. Not for an instant. I only made my choice when I was sure that it didn’t transgress against our bond of amity and friendship. And it’s why I’ve told you all this now – a whole account of my reasons and deeds; my truth, freely given of my own will. I trust you, Konngara; and I won’t break faith with you. Even if it means forfeiting all your affection in return.”

Having told her everything, you lower your head and await her pronouncement. Though you’ve done nothing wrong and you’ve neither regret nor guilt about loving the Lady… there’s a heaviness in your throat. And a feeling of something in your eyes. Does Konngara see it? Does she see the fear you have of losing her?

“…Have you finished?” In a cold and almost excessively chilling voice, she asks this.

You’re not able to answer her. For only a second, faintheartedness creeps into your determination – a temptation to go against what you’ve said, to try and salvage things at all costs, to crawl on the ground and beg her forgiveness; apologizing. …But only for a second. You’ve not betrayed Konngara, not her or anyone else. Even if you stood to gain from it, to apologize in absence of any perjury would be an insult against her moral conscience and worse; an actual betrayal, doubly against the Lady’s heart and your own heart. So you stay quiet, and it’s ultimately with your silence that you signal to the affirmative, staring at the floor.

There’s a sound from beside you as she rises from her seat. Back faced in your direction, she’s folded her hands and walking with short, deliberate steps. As if signaling that she’s thinking about something.

“There’s but one question I have for you,” she says in a strange voice, looking over her shoulder, “a question before which your eloquence and verbosity seems to have failed.” She stops in her tracks and… there’s a curious sound.

With a single spectacular step, she’s facing you.

With a silly grin. Giggling. “Did you two do it well?” She asks, trying hard not to laugh uproariously.


Seeing your bewilderment, she clarifies. “Your robe.” Konngara gestures at your cassock. “Upon your return, I became aware that the sides were crossed opposite to that when you departed. Also,” she says, indicating the rope tied around your waist, “it’s been tied anew. The knot had previously been slackened in the course of movement and exertion. Most of all,” she points, completing her deduction, “You. The latent frustration that weighed heavily on your countenance and that hampered your steps was conspicuously absent upon your return. In its place was only confidence and ease.”

“…Then, you knew I had coupled with the Lady from the second I entered?” You ask in amazement.

She tilts her head, unsure as to the thrust of your question. “Would I fail in bearing witness to a fact so eminently apparent?”

“I don’t think it’s ‘eminently apparent’ to anyone save you, Konngara; but that’s not what I mean. Why weren’t you angry? And why did you then become angry?”

“I should be angry?” Genuinely not understanding, she explains herself. “I required an instant to apprehend it, but I discerned that you had been intentionally ambivalent in answering my queries when you termed the process of copulation as an ‘interview.’ For that reason, I elected to mount a modest deception of my own to pay you back. I was never truly upset with you.” The silly smile comes back and she bows. “Please permit me to beg your pardon for maintaining it as long as I did.”

You can’t believe what you’re hearing. “Konngara, you would be justified if you chose to harbor some anger or resentment for my actions. After all, wasn’t I less than forthcoming about the fact that I just slept with another woman and one whom I met yesterday? Don’t you think that casts a specious glow on my personal integrity?” In an effort to really understand what’s really floating around inside her head, you’ve actually started trying to condemn your own actions.

“Your insistence on my displeasure with you is troubling,” she says, frowning. “Were you being less than truthful when you said that you felt you had done nothing for which you would be ashamed or regretful?”

“I was not. I believe in the purity of that moment I shared with the Lady and nothing will sway me from the opinion that it was one free of all evil; sanctified with love.”

“Then there is no problem. Would it avail me to harbor doubts when he who experienced the deed first-hand does not?” You’re about to say something to counter, when she holds up her hand and bids you listen. “On the other things you’ve said, I also take no issue. If you were the kind of lewd person who would so readily volunteer your sexual exploits unbidden, then I would have quite a different opinion of you. That you displayed some discretion and forbearance while remaining nothing less than honest is laudable, by my reckoning. It’s proof of your prior declarations’ veracity that you considered the feelings of Lady Saigyouji and I with appropriate seriousness when you felt a kind of hesitance. I approve. Now on the second point,” her face starts to screw up with laughter, “I can hardly criticize you for sleeping with the Lady when I would happily do the same if I were afforded the opportunity. Is she not such a lovely person, and pretty?”


“Konngara, I-“

“Have no fear, you know well that my affections aren’t exclusively reserved for women,“ Konngara smiles, trying to relieve your visible distress. “But on the topic of my affections, I believe I appreciate the aim of your queries now. Correct me if I misunderstand, but you’d like to know why I’ve no jealousy of Lady Saigyouji?”

“Far from condemning you, I’ve the highest admiration for the greathearted magnanimity you’ve shown me, Konngara;” you nod, glad that she finally sees, “but to speak plainly, the way you’ve responded is… atypical.”

“Is it?” Once again, she seems confused. “I’m unable to see how any sensible individual who styles herself a good person would act to the contrary.” She clutches her hands together and gently closes her eyes, wearing that faint half-smile. “Everything which you divulged to me in the course of my little joke testifies that I was correct to have trust in your decisions and trust in you. And respect, reciprocity, recognition – to my mind, these are inseparable from a relationship of trust. That is why I am not jealous, nor will I ever be induced to feel jealousy. Because you trust me, I refuse to lower you to the level of a possession and transgress against your faith by covetously loving you as a miser loves his gold. You are your own person with your own heart and your own will and it’s because of that fact – because we are equals, that my affection and partiality for you is of trust. Furthermore, there is this.” Taking her left hand and extending it out from her side, the Taiji, that black-white jewel, appears in it. She holds it before you, lifting it to the level of your eyes. “Long ago, that golden goddess granted me this as an oath that I may receive happiness. Were I to condemn you out of jealousy for granting happiness in kind, then I would be a contemptible hypocrite and one who dishonors the motives of her patron.” Konngara closes her hand and looks at you warmly. “Truthfully, I have only esteem and veneration for what you’ve done. I spoke at length with Lady Saigyouji yesterday evening, and having learned something of her life and her circumstances, I feel gratified that you were able to give her happiness. ”

…It takes all your willpower to stop yourself from bowing down right now. She’s high-minded. She’s really high-minded. Maybe even as much as her.

“So, nothing I could have done would have incurred your displeasure?” You pose this question to gauge her.

“No.” Her face becomes serious. “I would not be kindly disposed if you had violated our pledge by making a serious effort at deceiving me, nor would I approve if you had tried to conceal this, or spoke of it lamentably. To have done so would be a tacit admission of guilt and utterly disrespectful of the favor Lady Saigyouji granted you. However, worse than all of the former in my eyes,” says Konngara, frowning hard, “is if you had trampled on her feelings and rejected her out of cowardice, egoistic self-aggrandizement or because of some sort of misplaced desire to please me. Had you acted so shamefully, I would be hard-pressed to ever forgive you, even in consideration that I owe you my life.” She pauses, taking a deep breath and is then back to normal. “Happily, I have not to account for such loathsome behavior from you. I’m glad.”

…She’s a frightening person. Looking at her carefree, smiling face as you are, you make a mental note to never attempt at deceiving this girl.

[ ] Konngara is perceptive, but the manner of her thoughts is completely removed from anything that would be considered normal. Is there perhaps some reason?
[ ] You can’t agree with what she’s said. Insist that her viewpoints are incorrect and that she should hate you for what you’ve done.
[ ] She wanted to know if ‘did you do it well,’ right? Wait till the Lady shows up and then start explaining.
[ ] Thank Konngara for understanding and politely excuse yourself. You’ve something else to do right now. (Specify)

Are you saying that I should just alter her character to suit your whims or can you cite anything in how she's presented herself as to why that would be the case?
Konngara isn't even angry at us for making love with Yuyuko? I'm scared now.

[c] Konngara is perceptive, but the manner of her thoughts is completely removed from anything that would be considered normal. Is there perhaps some reason?
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I cannot believe the levels of bullshit going on in this story.

Somebody tell me when this nonsense is over with such that the story is readable again without facepalming.

Or just write a Myouren x Byakuren incest one-shot; I would completely forgive you for everything.
[ ] Konngara is perceptive, but the manner of her thoughts is completely removed from anything that would be considered normal. Is there perhaps some reason?

Insight option here. Let's see if we can't learn more about her. She is absolutely not your average woman.
Let me guess, you're either being unreasonable and close-minded or you only read the comment above yours and not the update itself?

If you have a legitimate criticism that you can justify to me, I'll listen. I fully expect something like:




But you can certainly do better, right. Also, I don't see why I should change my plans to appease you.

With the way it's being set up, do you really think it's only going to be a one-shot?
...The funny thing is that the comment above mine hadn't been written when I started writing.

And there's no reason to get all be--

>indeed possible to forgive anyone for anything.

My sincerest apologies.
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Yup, glad I dropped it, indeed.
Or just write a Myouren x Byakuren incest one-shot

Yeah, soon. He obviously has the hots for her. Bad.
Just wait until it is revealed that they are not releated by blood

[y] She wanted to know if ‘did you do it well,’ right? Wait till the Lady shows up and then start explaining.

Fuck it.
Old pic is old.
Tempting. But calling her behavior 'abnormal' for a third time could easily be considered an insult.

[x] She wanted to know if ‘did you do it well,’ right? Wait till the Lady shows up and then start explaining.

Just to see Yuyu's reaction.
[x] She wanted to know if ‘did you do it well,’ right? Wait till the Lady shows up and then start explaining.
[x] She wanted to know if ‘did you do it well,’ right? Wait till the Lady shows up and then start explaining.

I think insight gaining can wait, perhaps answering her question would work. Dunno how Yuyuko would feel about this though.

But if we were to ask about her insight we should ask in a way that doesn't make her sound like a freak.

Though it seems most folks can't get their heads around the fact this isn't a normal VN-based story where actions with one girl tend to penalize your standing with others. Apparently people must love the shitstorms and such in certain stories.

And Konngara isn't a normal woman in any sense (then again none of the folks in this story are ordinary, yet people expect to have them act normal by our standards); but it's a quirk with Touhou in general, expecting such things. Might this be a sort of wide scale butchery?

Well good sir, I'll keep on reading your story even if people do drop this because it's not your same old VN-based story.
[x] Konngara is perceptive, but the manner of her thoughts is completely removed from anything that would be considered normal. Is there perhaps some reason?
>I'll keep on reading your story even if people do drop this because it's not your same old VN-based story.

Same, i just discovered this and it would be a shame if i were to quit now. Well, i don't know if the writers minds if people drop it and if he writes for fewer people.
>Just wait until it is revealed that they are not related by blood

Don't do such a cold thing.

[x] "I hit that so hard her power of death got pounded all the way back around to being the power to bring people back to life."
So wait, are people actually complaining because the author stays true to his established characterization of Konngara?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but this doesn't sound like the most well-founded criticism.
Konngara’s continued her meal anew, having reseated herself. You’ve just finished setting a plate for the Lady as promised, but you’ve not touched any of the bread yet yourself. No, there’s something on your mind.

“…In the course of my travels, I’ve seen myriad fascinating and wonderful things,” you glance to your right, “but even among all of those, you’re something quite special, Konngara. And I mean that in the best way possible. You’ve a singularly high-minded perspective and such a liberal disposition.”

“I’m appreciative of your kind words, unworthy though I may be to receive them. Would they not be better lavished on another?” Delivering a characteristically gracious response, the sides of her mouth then start to draw upwards. “For flattery will win you no further in my esteem than your present condition. The debt I owe you is of my life, not of my body.” Enjoying herself immensely, she’s smiling in good humor with the backs of her fingers curled against her lips.

“If you’ve a longing to win my hand and plight your troth with mine, then I fear you’ll need to be more creative.”

Could you let her put you at a disadvantage like this, again? You…

[ ] …Sense that under the humor, she’s speaking seriously and from her heart. Then, you’ll give an answer with appropriate honesty of feeling.
[ ] …Are certain she’s just kidding around. So you’ll do the same; jokingly imply that you’ll have to settle for lower, as you know your station.
[ ] ...Think that maybe you can turn the tables by asking her what she would have you do?
[ ] …Don’t want to give her any more ammunition. Just say that you’ll think about what she’s said.
[ ] …Will hedge your bets. Tell her that’s fine because your intentions were only of friendship, anyway.

More later, namely the winning choice being fully addressed.
[X] ...Think that maybe you can turn the tables by asking her what she would have you do?

Turned tables or not, I want to hear her answer.
I've finally decided to read this story and the anons above have already said it more eloquently than I could've explained. This story is nothing short of amazing. You nameless writer, sir, are the author of my favourite Touhou LA since Blankfag.

As for the choices, I am torn between
>[ø] …Sense that under the humor, she’s speaking seriously and from her heart. Then, you’ll give an answer with appropriate honesty of feeling.
>[ø] ...Think that maybe you can turn the tables by asking her what she would have you do?
I agree on every level.
I'll think on this choice for a bit longer.
[x] …Sense that under the humor, she’s speaking seriously and from her heart. Then, you’ll give an answer with appropriate honesty of feeling.
-[x] But reply in a kind and slightly playful tone (not to much she might fail to take your words seriously, but enough to return the sentiment.)

Feel free to improve this.
[c] …Sense that under the humor, she’s speaking seriously and from her heart. Then, you’ll give an answer with appropriate honesty of feeling.
-[c] But reply in a kind and slightly playful tone (not to much she might fail to take your words seriously, but enough to return the sentiment.)

Dropping this? Now way, I've had too much fun and enjoyment reading this from the start.
[x] …Sense that under the humor, she’s speaking seriously and from her heart. Then, you’ll give an answer with appropriate honesty of feeling.

May I see an example of the sort of statement you had in mind?

>Well, i don't know if the writers minds if people drop it and if he writes for fewer people.

If I was really interested in making this story popular, I would have done a number of things differently in an effort to try and please as many people as possible. (Example: drastically changing parts of the story to reward a massive failure of common sense, instead of telling them they've failed and to what degree.)

As I've said before, e-popularity isn't really my thing. Though I'm naturally appreciative if people like what I've written and while I want anyone who decides to read it to enjoy themselves, I'm not going to wreck or derail the plans I've made just for the sake of gaining more readers. While I don't fault anyone who thinks along such lines, I just have a personal aversion to that kind of action. In my view, aside from being just distasteful, nothing good can result from that kind of calculation. In the long run, you'll have to pull out ridiculous and nonsensical Code Geass-style plot twists to justify things that happen and worse, your story might end up evolving into something that clashes with your tastes and that you don't personally enjoy.

Leading to indefinite hiatus.

Better that you write something in your own tone that pleases you and however many others than not writing at all, no?

That said, I'm far from hostile to the idea of adaptation when there's good reasons, soundly presented.

(Example: The opening of the story? Almost completely improvised based on your choices. I only decided for certain that the hero would be Myouren, that I would present him as a nameless monk in a vein similar to the first few stories on the site and that the first person he would meet would be Konngara. The circumstances under which you actually met her were completely a result of the paranoid tone of the choices selected.)

Since they've not deigned to tell me their reasons, instead preferring reaction images from /v/, I can only guess.


I can assume there are some people who think along the lines of this person and that the kind of things he’s saying symbolically represent the lion's share of their problem. That Konngara gives her reasons in complete detail and with sound reasoning that’s in line with her character doesn't matter because they personally don't agree with it and nothing can convince them to change their mind. I don’t deny her response is strange. In fact, that’s why it's noted in the story, by the hero who actually argued for the dissenting opinion to try and figure out if she has a reason. If maybe, just maybe the same reason she’s a woman in an unusual occupation with unusual skills is the same reason that influenced her to look at the world differently than most people?

We were paranoid since we were so used to weak protagonists that died really damn easily to even wild feral youkai. We had no idea we're Myouren, Monk that can kick ass pretty damn good.

>>105607 Here

"It is simply the truth, I wouldn't dare insult you with empty words. I assure you, I give all I know their proper due. More creative? Very well, the journey is worth as must as the destination. But your friendship is already worth much."

but the main points are
-He was being honest, if a bit flowery
-She isn't the only one he thinks highly of (he'd find such nice points of Mima, Youki and Yuyuko.)
-A playful response to Her line about being more creative
-Yet the intent that it isn't a night in bed that he'd ultimately pursue.

Still as always, this can stand to be improved.

And if I didn't think it'd be against the mood, I'd try asking where Mima is, we do owe her an apology and returning her book.
Oh hey, considering you're here; your last post was a little too dense to take in all at once, particularly Konngara's monologue. Blocks of text like that aren't usually anything to get all flummoxed by, but you were laying down some particularly thick diction there. That whack of narrative would benefit from a line/carriage return here or there.
[x] ...Think that maybe you can turn the tables by asking her what she would have you do?
You consider asking tell what she would have you do, but immediately decide against it. Responding to an incitement that you woo her more ‘creatively’ by requesting that she tell you how you should be ‘creative,’ could hardly be a good idea. Instead…

“I can hardly be creative by myself,” you shrug, hiding a coy smile. “The act of creation is born from the interactions of the male and female, together. You’ll have to help me.” Your insinuation causes her to blush deeply, but you’re not done. “All jokes aside though,” you say, pressing your assault, “my statement wasn’t intended as empty flattery, despite being salutary in nature. Rather, I’d like to learn more about the origins of your character, both because the greatest pleasure of my occupation is coming to understand others and because I have a sincere desire to deepen our bond.” A pause and you add something. “Whether this means marriage or better, I’m unable to say right now.”

“Well-spoken,” she answers serenely, encouraged. “I am more well-disposed in applying myself towards the increase of my present condition than in speculation upon some distant star in my future, as you’ve so rightly advised. If we gain daily in each others’ trust, I believe circumstances will evolve as they will. But on the other matter,” she falls quiet for an instant, “to answer your question with any degree of insight requires that I tell you something more of my past. Though I have no hesitation in divulging said story to you, my preference was to tell it when we were alone together.”

“Since we’re alone together right now, should I assume that your story’s of a length that you couldn’t finish it before the Lady joins us?”

Konngara shakes her head. “The story which I wish to tell you isn’t especially involved as it is especially personal. It was my hope that you would hear it in an appropriately suitable place, perhaps during a quiet evening in bed at my side or in the course of a walk through those blossoming, picturesque groves outside.”

…You’re deliberating.

Konngara’s proposal has a definite charm to it, but even the most optimistic estimates on finishing this meal, heading outside and enjoying the day with her, suggest that it would likely occupy your time till early afternoon – at which time you’d meet with Youki. The other obvious use of that time would be to find Mima and level with her, so which of th-

Neither. You would do well to heed the purpose for which you were called here.

I take it you mean the Lady’s ‘problem?’

Indeed. You have rested for half a day and established appropriate familiarity with the residence and residents. For how much longer do you intend to lay dreamily ensconced in idleness?

If you’re saying that I’ve been languid, you’re mistaken. I just was of the opinion that I should allow the Lady – Yuyu, to explain her problem at her own pace. By my measure, broaching the topic on my initiative could be seen as prying and rude.

You refute your own claim. That she awarded you the use of her name demonstrates that Lady Saigyouji stands not on arrogant, aristocratic affectations. More likely, she would be gratified by your continued interest in her fortunes.

…I can’t argue against your reasoning. Still, what should I do on this business with Konngara and Mima?

I am less prepared than you for a resolution to such questions. Know only that I have given my counsel, as always.

I appreciate it. And, uh… sorry if I came off as harsh to you, a bit earlier. In both cases, I became rather… emotional.

Your apology is unnecessary. That your actions were taken in accordance with your strengths is preferable to the opposite.

…So that even if I had made a mistake, then it would be one corresponding to my character; right?


After everyone’s full, in what direction will your day progress?

[ ] Propose that walk with Konngara.
[ ] Finding Mima takes precedence.
[ ] Learning about Yuyu’s ‘problem.’
[x] Finding Mima takes precedence.
[x] Learning about Yuyu’s ‘problem.’
-[x] See when she wants your help.
[x] Propose that walk with Konngara if there's time during the visit.

I added that sub option because Yuyuko might not want us to help right away (Due to things like time with Youki and such)

And just an order of preference, so just count the first vote if there's only one. We must mend our past mistakes before progressing forth.
[X] Finding Mima takes precedence.

That journal of hers is starting to weigh a little too heavy for my tastes, and this is an encounter I've been anticipating/dreading for a while now. Besides, even if we don't take a walk with Konngara now, she has extended an invitation to continue our conversation in bed if you know what I mean. Acala has a good point, but considering Yuyu's personality and how much we value our two beautiful friends, I think all three of us sitting down to talk with her would be better than just Myouren. To that end, making amends with Mima is very important right now.
>I think all three of us sitting down to talk with her would be better than just Myouren.

Clarification: You are going to be asking her at the table, not in private. This means that anyone already present at the table or who joins you will be included.
[x] Learning about Yuyu’s ‘problem.’
-[x] See when she wants your help.
Yes, I want to find out if our plan to make apologize to Mima succeeds or not. That'll be a big weight off our shoulders. Then we should be able to go about seeing Yuyuko about what she wants.
[ø] Learning about Yuyu’s ‘problem.’
[ø] Finding Mima takes precedence.

We are already at the table, might as well talk to Yuyu first. After that, though, we should not delay finding Mima any longer.
[x] Finding Mima takes precedence.

This sounds good, we have to take care of our Mima problem anyway. She just needs some love and trust too because i think she is the most broken one here.
Note: Votes are tied. As soon as you sort it out, I'll start writing.
[x] Finding Mima takes precedence.

I see the logic in this choice. Having Mima with us 110% will help Yuyu a lot more.
Since there was a fairly even split, you're getting a mix of which this is the beginning.

Though you intended to find Mima after breakfasting/brunch, things proceeded rather differently than you’d originally planned.

As you were making enjoyable small talk with Konngara, recounting to her all the passionate love-talk and juicy details about whether you ‘did it well,’ and as the Lady at the other end of the table gorged herself on bread and honey, wondering to herself on what topic you two were trading whispers and giggles; the front door burst open.

A strong wind blew into the hall, upsetting the candelabra on the table and causing the three of you to suspend your conversation/eating.


Then, footsteps.

Light footsteps, and graceful; but imbued with a commanding spirit by the crisp click of booted heels and the palpable willpower of the proud young woman from whom they originate. Short and lithe, she’s an overwhelmingly regal bearing – in the flowing mane of her dark hair, in the high cheekbones of her pale face, in the imposing arch of her fine brows, in the ferocious, barely-contained intelligence of her cool jade eyes, in the impetuous energy of her delicate hands; in the pantherine elegance of her measured stride. Newly attired in a deep blue-black and wearing what’s easily the strangest hat you’ve ever seen, a huge cape billows behind her as she fearlessly approaches the table with all the panache of a conquering hero.

Mima’s back. And she looks to mean business.*

Paying no heed either to Konngara or yourself, her attention’s only for the Lady – for Yuyu. Mima’s staring her down, appraising her with a face absent of any emotion; studying her as a scribe would a scroll or an apothecary his ingredients. And for her part, Yuyu demonstrates the ‘stubborness’ of which Murasaki related. Though you fully expected her to shrink in timorous embarrassment, she isn’t. No, quite the opposite – looking serious but relaxed, she’s enjoying the tension. Yuyu’s become comfortable in her chair, crossing her legs and leaning backwards; resting her chin in a hand that’s propped on the chair arm. In her other hand’s a cup of tea, held in her palm and being swished slowly about as she waits calmly for some rejoinder of Mima's.

[ ] Wait for Mima to speak.
[ ] Say something witty? (Specify)
*ZUN is a master troll for leaving open the possibility of her return for as long as he has.

edit: spelling
Well this is a difficult decision to make

>[ ] Wait for Mima to speak
An safe option I think, not sure. But with her mood being unknown,who knows what will happen.

>[ ] Speak first
Hard option, but I guess the main point is Yuyuko's problem.

But I do suspect Mima's on to Yuyuko about something.
[x] Wait for Mima to speak
Given that I'll have some free time tonight, I'd like to think about how I'm going to write this. Having one vote to work with makes that difficult. Am I to assume that your pointed silence on this is a reflection that you're picking not so say anything or is it that you don't believe this choice is consequential?
I think a write-in is the better option here, but unlike some other people, I was unfortunately not graced with the ability to make witty remarks nor the eloquence with words, so that is the reason why I am staying silent.
However, I believe that we should certainly dissolve the tension building up between Yuyu and Mima.
Until some one come up with a good write in, however, I'll go with staying silent.
[ø] Wait for Mima to speak.
Oh, and we just hit the autosage limit.

It's a hard choice to make, and I have no idea what to say for the say anything option, since there's two subjects, and perhaps ignoring the Mima matter might backfire.

And most of the site's superb write in artists aren't on at the moment it seems.

I don't mean to be insulting, but why are you two so content to allow others the lead in making choices and give up without even trying? It’s a phenomenon of which I’d previously taken note and it's a disheartening one, because it suggests to me that there’s a lack of trust between us and also that I’ve not had much success in any of my personal objectives for this story.

I wanted to help you lot overcome your lingering inclinations towards paranoia, pessimism and indecision, to eliminate the ridiculous pretense that ‘cautious choice = good choice’ and most of all, to dispel any of your unnecessary fears of failure in this story and in any others you might read by instilling in each of you a sense of confidence in your own ability to read and interpret choices. Those were (and still are) my first principles in writing this. I know that encouraging all of you to rethink such a deeply entrenched collective mindset requires considerable effort and unusual forbearance from me, as it’s the sort of endeavor that’s not completed overnight. But I don’t want to think that it’s an impossible task and that I’m a Don Quixote tilting at windmills in the pursuit of a fool’s errand.

Surely I’ve not given anyone a reason to distrust me (…have I?), nor do I think that I’ve been particularly punitive of your actions, so could you tell me why you’re willing to follow others and not place faith in yourselves? Is it that you think my expectations are too high and that you’ll fail? Or is it that you aren’t trying because your motivation to do so doesn’t seem good enough? Or is it something else that I've not mentioned?

Tell me how you feel so that I can figure out how to have you not be spectators, but participants.

Well my faith in interacting with Mima has been shaken since I wrote that damning write in (Yes I feel AWFUL about that) when we last dealt with her, and I don't care to frivolously make a choice out of the blue.

My trust in you is quite high, it's my ability to do a write in that's not so trust worthy.

And usually those write in artists give me something to work with and modify.

[x] Speak first
-[x] "Since everyone's here, I must ask: What is it that you need our assistance with?"
-[x] "Not to say we haven't enjoyed your hospitality, but this question has been on my mind."
-[x] "I think I can safely say we are all grateful for the Hospitality"

Here's my shot, though I hope I don't shoot our progress with Mima in the foot again.
[x] Wait for Mima to speak
We kind of owe her so...
I wasn't the choice made as much as the reasons for which it was made and the fact that no one at all thought to argue that maybe it was a bad idea to abandon a woman that loves you in a moment of her weakness to go mess around with her friend.

If at least one person had seriously made an effort to say 'look, this might not be the best plan' then you would be in a better position than you are now and I wouldn't have had to write as depressing a wall as I did. If someone had picked up on what I said in that post about 'feeling as though you've made a horrible, horrible mistake,' even after the fact, then you would be in a better position than you are now and I wouldn't have had to write as depressing a wall as I did.

I certainly didn't want to tell you in such awful detail as to how wrong all of you were. There's nothing I hate more than making people (and by extension, myself) feel despair, but under the circumstances, I had no other choice unless I wanted to make an example of rewarding actions that were poorly considered. (Or worse - not saying anything and having that failure avenged sevenfold upon your unknowing heads.)

But I'm going off on a tangent. My point is that you're actually less to blame than some of the other people because you at least thought about the choice and made your own decision, rather than just parroting someone else and allowing them to think for you.

Yukari's comments were enough to drive the point home. I blame thinking too much in normal terms for that mistake, something I'm trying my best not to repeat. (And with other characters I'm perfectly confident in my choices.

But in this case this is abit of a loaded case, especailly since we have yet to make up with Mima.

Thing is this isn't about just her at the moment, so that might be a mistake for all I know.

Again I might be wrong for all I know.
Well, pertaining to your concern about our lingering sense of paranoia; even though you've been particularly forgiving and explanative in terms of our misconceptions and shortcomings, it has been driven home quite convincingly that the last time we had any direct interaction with Mima, we failed pretty spectacularly. I'm given to the notion that that particular episode is weighing heavily on more than a few minds. While writing this, >>106020 chimed in, pretty much confirming this suspicion. I dunno what 106018 said, but you know what your wrote in that intermission was harsh. It may have driven home the notion of voting boldly and with purpose, but it also probably damned any vote concerning direct interaction with Mima to an unfortunate level of paranoia.

On separate note, I think some of us are compelled to try and bring the best possible forward because it's what we think the story deserves. For such an open-ended type of vote, I think there's some pressure to try and bring something particularly awesome to the table. Reliance on so called "write-in" specialists, both perceived and self proclaimed, is something else you should work on trying to break anon of too. All told, I spent about 3 hours today trying to come up with something 'witty' to say in this situation. Verdict: next to impossible, particularly because there's no dialogue to try and riff off of in this scene.

When in doubt: WWSWD?

[X] Say something: whisper to Konngara loudly enough for Mima and Yuyu to hear, "I've read of the condition that grips our beloved Mima: she is most likely overcome with emotion upon discovering her dear childhood friend after so many years of separation. Upon realization of whom the fates have delivered her to, her desire to rekindle the friendship she long since thought was lost is so fervent that it is easily mistaken as rigid determination. Perhaps we should take our leave, allowing these long lost friends to share an intimate moment?"

Myouren pretends to withdraw coolly~

I'm both 106018 (deleted post) and 106020. I was just talking for myself, not so much other people.

But some folks are better at envising a right course than some of us when it comes time for write ins.

And having written a damning write in doesn't exactly boost confidence. And it's not because how the author drove the point home, but the point itself. And the knowledge I basically caused it to happen.
>And having written a damning write in doesn't exactly boost confidence.

Yeah, but thinking your voice alone is the most important is a sure fire way to ruin any story. You messed up one write-in, but enough people thought you were right to make it win. Unless you spammed your vote, it was a collective foul up by all anon involved. None of us got it right, so don't try to hog all the blame.

Setting aside how melodramatic the writefag got in the intermission, our relationship with Mima is still salvageable and we learned a valuable lesson in terms of how to handle the story. Ponder the following: would we have taken up Yuyu on her offer and achieved all those beneficial effects if we hadn't been warned away from voting conservatively so explicitly? The immediate effect may have sucked, but in the long term, it may have worked out for the best. And no story is complete without a little drama and conflict.

Take it easy, bro.
I'm going to start writing after I make dinner. Might not be done tonight though.
>All told, I spent about 3 hours today trying to come up with something 'witty' to say in this situation. Verdict: next to impossible, particularly because there's no dialogue to try and riff off of in this scene.

You could try something like 'You look dressed to kill.' or 'Nice hat.'
>You could try something like 'You look dressed to kill.' or 'Nice hat.'

>“In our exchange,” you continue quietly, “we were able to discover and appreciate each other in a way that neither of us had believed possible before that moment. I don’t regret having taken part in it, nor do I in any way feel ashamed of my actions. When I accepted the Lady, it wasn’t out of profligate enticement, or a greed for her body, or any other kind of moral weakness. I wanted to be true to her feelings and to my own; to receive that fervor we’d tempered by our integrity and uplifted by our happiness. …But never did I neglect the trust that you’ve placed in me, Konngara. Not for an instant. I only made my choice when I was sure that it didn’t transgress against our bond of amity and friendship. And it’s why I’ve told you all this now – a whole account of my reasons and deeds; my truth, freely given of my own will. I trust you, Konngara; and I won’t break faith with you. Even if it means forfeiting all your affection in return.”

Okay, maybe I don't understand the protagonist as well as I thought.
No write in yet, going with the standard then.

[x] Wait for Mima to speak
Damn it, I just noticed this due to the autosage. I gave some thoughts and I don't think we should go with "wait for Mima to speak".

[ø]Good morning, Mima, You look dressed to kill!
[ø] Why don't you have a sit and join us for breakfast?

I initially voted in >>105981 to perhaps spark some write-ins by explaining what I would like that write-in to contain, as the votes were extremely slow.
However, now that I think about this, it would be better to go with this half "witty" comment rather than let Yuyu and Mima have a match of wits through a staring contest.
What the hell happened to all the smoothness?

I am sad at you people. At and with.

Thread Watcher x