Leaving the Kappa outpost behind you make your way to the junction in the river, giving yourself the best chance of spotting Shou whenever she returns, and in the meantime you can get more practice with your new armor. You know how to move, but the upper limits of your current strength, agility, and motor control are a mystery until you've put some time exploring them in.
You pump your arm up and down as a start, there's a small buzz from whatever devices the Kappa's put into your arm, but otherwise it seems to be entirely normal.
You cock your arm back and begin punching at the air with increasing strength. At first it's the same; no difference. But as you put more and more strength into your swings you begin to feel the armor applying force along with you. It seems that the suit's just barely applying enough strength to keep you from noticing however much weight the Kappa's added. But once you start applying more, the suit increasingly applies added strength. It's odd to say the least, but at least you'll be able to avoid accidentally crushing something or someone.
Thankfully this principle seems to extend to your movements, almost every step or motion of the arm is aided by the armor, in fact hadn't seen the additional items attached to it you'd probably never even noticed something had been changed.
Jumping, however is quite another matter. Jumping in armor had never been an easy task, but with the armor further weighted down as it is, you're barely able to get off the ground...
All of this is going to take quite a while to get used to, but you're sure that in the long run the benefits are worth it.
It's been barely an hour, and to pass the time you've begun testing the limits of how far you can throw whatever objects you happen to find. As it turns out you're able to toss a rock right over the river and into the forest behind it, but before you can begin trying anything larger, Shou appears in the distance. You wave toward her, and thankfully she spots you and heads in your direction.
After rushing through greetings and an explanation of what the hell you'd gotten done to your armor, you and Shou are already well on your way back home when she finally begins a conversation:
"Did you enjoy the Kappa's company?"
"More or less. I didn't have any of their currency, but I was able to get a room at the inn for performing some menial tasks."
Shou stops in her tracks and fishes in a pocket for something, you hear the telltale jingle of coins as she freezes in place. Eventually she clears her throat, and asks: "I forgot to give you the money for a place to stay, didn't I?"
"You most certainly did... but it's nothing to worry about. After all, everything worked out fine enough in the end, right?"
"I suppose." Shou continues walking, though even out of the corner of your eye you can tell she's visibly depressed.
"Really, don't worry about it. I would have stayed in the same place regardless, so in a way you've saved some money for a future venture."
"It's not just this...I have a bad tendency to forget important small details."
Shou fishes into her pocket once again, producing a small bag that you assume is filled with coins. "It's a bit late, but here. These were meant to be yours."
After taking the bag and tying it onto your belt, you notice that the Mansion and therefore the lake are coming into view. As comforting as the prospect of being away from the woods is, you can't help but feel a creeping sensation of fear at being so close to where Flandre lives, and therefore potentially within her line of sight. But after a short walk, you come into view of the front of the mansion and it's gate. It seems that neither Flandre nor Meiling are outside today.
That's unfortunate, since even a visit from Flandre would have been somewhat welcome at the moment. Ever since Shou had realized she'd forgotten to give you the money, she's been distant and quiet.
 Ask Shou what's wrong
 Whatever's bothering her, she probably doesn't want to talk about it
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1600x1200 , Screw you Socrates you and your damn allegory.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] Ask Shou what's wrong
Not wanting to spend the entire journey in silence, you clear your throat and ask the obvious question: "Shou, is something bothering you?"
"Come now, it wouldn't do for a knight like me to leave a damsel in dist" You freeze in place, deciding against continuing with that word. It seems you've offended Shou, as she's pressing her spear toward your neck.
"I appreciate your concern, but I am not a "damsel", nor do I require your aid. I am a disciple of the God of war Bishamonten, and armor or not I am quite capable of beating you to a bloody pulp."
The myriad of ways you could attempt to escape flow through your mind, but given the speed Shou has demonstrated before, none seem to be ideal solutions. "You...most certainly could, I was only trying to make it clear that I'm willing to help if need be."
Thankfully Shou retracts her spear and takes a deep breath, followed by a sigh. She resumes walking, and once you begin following she speaks again: "I suppose, if we are to be working together I should be more trusting."
Yes! Trusting is good! Trusting means less spears in your face! "If you're willing to share, I'd be happy to listen. However I won't pry further if you refuse."
"It's just...counting the money, that incident with Nitori, and falling asleep while guarding you the other day, I've been letting everyone down more and more lately. I've gotten soft."
"There's nothing wrong with relaxing during times of peace, and as far as I'm aware all of those things turned out fine in the end."
"Even still, I should be better than this."
"Shou...Look: I'm not sure if I didn't explain this properly earlier, but the land I come from? The Hospitaller order is considered the devil incarnate amongst our enemies. To our allies, we're the finest of soldiers, to be a Hospitallier is to be counted amongst the greatest fighters the Crusades have known. But even with all that comes with being a knight, the training, experience and equipment I have, I still need you to protect me while we're in this forest."
Shou casts a glance back toward you, but you can't properly read her expression before she turns back toward the path.
You might be pressing your luck slightly, but you decide to press the point: "Consider my feelings, would you? If this is truly how you are while weak, what does it say about me, who can't hope to match you even now?"
"Nothing good." You're not entirely sure of it, but you feel Shou's tone of voice has relaxed considerably, a welcome sign."
"Exactly! So, don't say something like that, it's an incredible blow to my pride as a Knight."
Shou lets out a small chuckle, waving a hand dismissively in your direction. "I suppose it wouldn't do for a servant of Bishamonten, or Myouren for that matter to allow such delicate feelings to be harmed.
"If you're trying to avoid hurting my pride, a good place to begin might be to never refer to it as delicate feelings ever again."
"Agreed...on one condition."
"Don't tell Nazrin I forgot anything, understood?"
"As you command, milady."
Ahead, you finally see it. The bridge leading to Myouren. It's something of a shame, really. The moment you'd gotten Shou talking again your journey was over.
On the other side of the bridge you can see Hijiri, waving toward both you and Shou as you approach. Once you've crossed, she has a short, hushed conversation with Shou before hurrying her toward the temple on some unknown task. Then she turns her attention to you; examining your armor and in particular the micro fusion reactor the Kappa had attached to your back. "It seems you've made some additions...What are they for?"
"Truthfully, I have absolutely no idea how it works. But it's made me a fair bit stronger from my own reckoning."
"Excellent! You'll be needing that, I'd imagine."
"For guarding your temple?"
"Precisely. Though I imagine it will also be helpful for whatever else might happen to you.
After all, Gensokyo is nothing if not unpredictable."
"Yes, I'm starting to see that."
"Then it should come as no surprise to you that Nue has extended an apology."
"Sh-...she what? A sincere one?"
"As far as I can tell, yes. It might be that she honestly wasn't expecting you to join our crew, and now that you have she'd like to..."Bury the hatchet".
Though I suppose it's equally likely she's looking for a chance to scare you again."
 Accept her apology
 Refuse her apology
 Refuse her invitation
 Accept her invitation
- Ask about Nue's nature
- Ask why she's trying to apologize
- Ask about the mark on your arm
- Oh so very reasonable write in
 Stab Nue in the face as soon as you see her
[X] Accept her invitation
[X] Ask about Nue's nature
[X] Ask about the mark on your arm
>>130126 I understood the humor, I was just wondering if orders like the Hospitaliers, for instance, were bound by the same celibacy vow that the priesthood had to take. From what I remember, the Catholic Church did not always have this vow.
Nope. The Hospitallers were allowed to take wives, since they weren't actual clergymen. Many of them ended up taking local women to be their wives wherever they were stationed, as evident with the ones that were assigned to patrol the Mediterranean area. That being said, it wouldn't be out of place for Crusanon to form a romantic relationship with someone, albeit its development might be a bit awkward, considering this could be considered as inter-species romance to a non-native of Gensokyo.
[X] Accept her invitation
-[X] Ask about Nue's nature
Ehhh truthfully I don't -really- give a damn if we actually end up on any character's "route," just been playing too much Tsukihime, so that joke comes naturally. It's good reading regardless; no need to shoehorn in romance if it won't provide significant character development and interesting writing.
Also LOVE CAN BLOOM etc. But seriously, the unusual but well-written perspective alone makes this a good read.
>>130170 >From what I remember, the Catholic Church did not always have this vow.
Are you sure? To my knowledge, while there are many Protestant denominations where priests can marry (this is, in fact, the source of a major controversy today because some former Anglican priests who have joined the Roman Catholic Church were allowed to stay married), the Catholic Church has demanded celibacy of its clergy since the earliest of days - the Apostle Paul and St. Augustine both had a great deal to say about why sex is evil.
Furthermore, if you have any familiarity with the Grail quest in the Arthurian mythos, you would know that the reason why virtually all of the Knights of the Round Table, including both Sir Lancelot and Sir Gawain (respectively the most skilled and the most physically powerful knights in the world), fail to achieve it is because God judges them as being proud, unchaste and addicted to "feats of arms and vainglorious wars."
In short, for a Hospitaller, a warrior-monk whose strength comes from his singular devotion to God, a worldly love of objects or people is an expression of moral imperfection, and to yield to it means falling under the power of the Enemy.
>>130172 >The Hospitallers were allowed to take wives, since they weren't actual clergymen.
Do you have a source that confirms this? Because as far as I know, at the time of their founding, the Hospitallers were a legitimate religious order created by a Papal Bull. Whether or not they were held to exactly the same standards as the Benedictines, Franciscans or Dominicans, I doubt that marriage would have been very enthusiastically endorsed or seen as much in line with the Crusader ideal.
>Many of them ended up taking local women to be their wives wherever they were stationed, as evident with the ones that were assigned to patrol the Mediterranean area.
I would point out that by the time the Hospitallers were in Malta, they were a very different beast from the brotherhood that had been the terror of the Saracens (example: at one point in the second book of the Three Musketeers trilogy, D'Artagnan responds to a question about whether two prisoners are dangerous by saying that one is sick with a fever and that the other is "a knight of Malta, as timid as a young girl") and that the church as a whole had become extremely corrupt - to the point that the Pope himself was married (see: the Borgia family).
There's no problem if our knight has close friendships, but, assuming that he's true to his religion and to God, he should leave aside indecent things and focus on exterminating evil and performing charitable deeds.
>>130178 You're right, looking on Wikipedia even though clerical celibacy wasn't in force, it was obliged by canon law to be continent and have no sexual relations, even with one's wife. Reading up on the Gregorian Reform, it seems that there was widespread resistance against the anti-priest marriage campaign. I guess before, celibacy was a tradition, but it wasn't truly codified until later.
Here's something from wikipedia: "Celibacy for priests is a discipline in the Roman Catholic Church, not a doctrine: in other words, a church regulation, but not an integral part of Church teaching. It is based upon the life of Christ and his celibate way of life. However the first pope, St. Peter, as well as many subsequent popes, bishops, and priests during the church's first 270 years were in fact married men, and often fathers. The practice of clerical continence, along with a prohibition of marriage by men once they were ordained a deacon, priest or bishop, is traceable from the time of the Council of Elvira. This law was reinforced in the Directa Decretal (385) and at the Council of Carthage in 390. The tradition of clerical continence developed into a practice of clerical celibacy (ordaining only unmarried men) from the eleventh century onward among Latin Rite Catholics and became a formal part of canon law in 1917. This law of clerical celibacy does not apply to Eastern Catholics. Until recently, the Eastern Catholic bishops of North America would generally ordain only unmarried men, for fear that married priests would create scandal. Since Vatican II's call for the restoration of Eastern Catholic traditions, a number of bishops have returned to the traditional practice of ordaining married men to the presbyterate. Bishops are still celibate and normally chosen from the ranks of monks."
>>130185 What Wikipedia might not mention is the "why" of the resistance against the mandatory celibacy demanded by the Gregorian Reforms. Simply put, the noble families all across Europe were pissed that they couldn't set up clerical dynasties or seize Church land by inheritance anymore. Gregory the Great was a Benedictian monk before becoming Pope, he saw such practices as a cause of the corruption of the Church and sought to cut at the roots of said corruption. In this, one could say that the Gregorian Reforms are still on going, as there is still corruption in the Church, but we've made great steps towards cleansing it.
As an aside, did you know that John Paul II is increasingly being called and becoming known as "John Paul the Great"? We are, in our lifetimes, seeing the same process that saw Alexander III of Macedon becoming Alexander the Great, or Gregory I become Gregory the Great. Let our good Pope be well remembered, friends, for by his acts and words he truly was one of the greatest Popes in History despite the small controversies.
[x] Accept her apology
[x] Accept her invitation
--[x] Ask about Nue's nature
--[x] Ask about the mark on your arm
"You're quite sure she's being sincere, yes?"
"As sure as is possible with Nue."
"Then...I suppose I'll accept. "
"Excellent! Now, she's also asked if you would be so gracious as to visit her in person, how would you feel about that?"
"Will someone else be present, in case things get out of hand?"
"Would it be acceptable if I keep watch outside?"
"If you can pin her to the wall with a snap of your finger? Yes, that will work."
It's a short walk from the entrance of the Temple to Nue's room, Hijiri raises a hand and moves to knock, but the door slides open before she has a chance, through the open door Nue bursts into the hall, grabs you and pulls you into the room, you barely have time to shout in protest before she slides the door shut behind you.
You're now sitting, facing Nue as she floats above her bed. You try your best to hide the sour feelings you've gotten from the sudden 'greeting' she gave.
"Soooo" "So." You cut her off, in return she scratches her chin and looks toward the ceiling.
"So I'm told...how did you know I was in the hall?"
"Oh, Icansmellyou but that's not really important! I'm sorry! Do you forgive me?"
"I have, for the most part. But there are some things I think we need to talk about first."
"That would be a good place to start, yes."
"What about it?"
"What does it do?"
Nue hovers over, you flinch slightly as she extends a hand toward you, but in the end all she does is tap the spot on your arm where the mark would be. There's a slight tingling sensation from beneath your armor, but it passes quickly.
"There, you won't see it anymore."
"That's lovely, but it doesn't quite answer my question."
"Ah...the thing is, I don't really know what it does. At least, not all of what it does."
"You stuck this on me, but you don't know what it does or what it might do?!"
"Well~, I have an idea here or there about it, but for now what I know is that it's what let me go into your dreams so easily, and normally when someone knows what I really look like, my powers stop working. But while you've got that there, I can use them anyway."
"That would bring me to my next question. What are you, Nue?"
"I'm a Nue."
"I've heard that joke already."
"No, literally: I am a Nue, and the only Nue.
Basically, as you've see I can manipulate how people see me so long as they don't know what I really am. When somebody's afraid of me, I feel more...content. So I transform into what they fear, and scare the living daylights out of them. "
"You feed on fear?"
"More or less, I suppose. I can still eat other stuff, and it helps a bit. But fear is better."
 "Are you going to keep scaring me?"
 "Why do you stay at Myouren?" / "How do you feel about the others?"
[x] Are you going to keep scaring me?
[x] Can everyone else not see the mark, or is it just me?
>>130251 She's never been in a situation where everyone knew her powers before... No reason to ever experiment with fresh prey everywhere. She might even be willing to not scare us just to figure out what else she can do with the thing.
But if she wants to keep scaring us, get Hijiri to beat her until she removes the mark.
>>130264 There's plenty of other scary shit in Gensokyo that isn't a Nue. Wondering if the Tentacle Monster that appears to be trying to eat us is actually Nue or not doesn't seem like the correct line of thought, regardless of context.
Even with all of what Nue's been explaining to you fresh in your mind, , the thought that continues to pop up is what exactly she intends for you, if anything at all. There's no point in mincing words, so you ask directly: "If your powers still work, does that mean you're going to continue trying to scare me?"
"I'm...not really sure. I hadn't thought about it. I doubt I'd really need to anytime soon with all the people in the village, but if I start starving or get really bored I might."
"Starving I can understand, but I'd really prefer if you not use me to alleviate your boredom."
A wicked grin creeps over Nue's face, you stare straight at her, intent on showing no fear. She leans forward and prepares to say something, however before Nue can say or do anything, a loud knock from the door causes her to move back, she sits straight up on the bed and with a look of clearly feigned innocence she turns toward the door: "Yeeees~?"
The door opens and Hijiri leans into the room. "How are you two doing? Everything okay?"
Nue enthusiastically nods, and you halfheartedly sigh before giving your response: "Yes, everything's fine. Nue was just explaining some things"
"Excellent! I'm glad to see you've managed to put your differences aside and" A hand reaches in from the hall, tapping Hijiri on the shoulder and interrupting her. Whomever it belongs to stays out of sight, but Hijiri seems to get some message from a quick glance in this persons direction. "Hm? Oh, right!"
Hijiri steps back into the hall and away from the door, the other person steps into view: The woman is surprisingly dressed much the same as a nun, though her outfit is quite clearly modified, perhaps a member of some order you've not yet heard of?
Regardless of her sect finding out that there are other Christians is a welcome relief.
"Hello, you must be our new guard."
You stand and greet her, eager to introduce yourself. "Quite right, I'm _________, it's a pleasure to meet you."
"Likewise. Shou tells me you have some rather interesting stories to tell about your home. Perhaps later, you could share them with me?"
"Ichirin. Ichirin Kumoi, and this-"
From behind her back Ichirin pulls up a large golden ring, accompanied by a cloud of pink mist. It swirls over her shoulder, forming a distinctly male face, which glares directly at you.
"Is Unzan, my partner."
Unsure of how to respond to this new presence, you glance toward Hijiri, Nue and back to Ichirin. None of them seem to find the situation odd, so you decide it would be best to avoid angering it..him, whatever. That in mind you hold your hand out "I'm honored, sir Unzan." The mist extends toward you, shaping into a hand which grips your own. It's without a doubt the oddest handshake you've ever seen, let alone been part of. You hear a muttering from Unzan's 'mouth', and Ichirin clarifies: "Unzan says he looks forward to working with you."
Hijiri nods with approval, clearly happy that you've taken so well to the crew. "There's still someone you haven't met, but it's likely you'll come across her soon enough.
For the time being, however. There's something of an issue arising for the day that would be an excellent introduction to your work. Are you ready for that?"
"Absolutely! I have to earn my keep, after all."
The explanation is simple enough; the temple is acting as a neutral ground between some of the more intelligent Youkai in the area and the humans of the village. With Byakuren as a mediator they've come to various agreements regarding land, resources and apparently even the use of some Youkai's powers to help with farming.
Naturally, some members of both sides don't quite agree with this, and while Byakuren assured you that in open combat Myouren temple would be more than able to deal with them, there exist weapons and items that could, if deployed in a surprise attack, give them problems.
While anyone in the temple could stand out here, with the same enchantment Byakuren has placed on your eyes, causing any such items to stand out or even glow, she believes that those that choose to carry such weapons will find it easier to be disarmed by a fellow human, rather than a Youkai. So far you've done what you assume to be a rather good job, taking swords, scrolls, a staff or two and even a strange orb. You're unsure as to whether it's because you're human as Byakuren suggested, or simply them having a good day, but almost everyone that you've asked to hand over their weapons has complied without much confrontation. Thankfully given your unfamiliarity with the area, Byakuren has allowed Nue a chance to redeem herself. She's standing nearby whispering advice and commentary on whomever or whatever moves past you, and given their reactions, she's apparently invisible to them.
A pair of horned humanoids exit from the nearby forest, stumbling in your direction, Nue whispers into your ear: "Ooh~, Oni! Big, quick on their feet, strong enough to lift mountains and drunk enough to do it half the time. Fun guys."
Despite what you assume are her exaggerations, she's correct about one thing.
The pair of people approaching are incredibly drunk. At least one of them can't even seem to be able to stand properly.
"Should they be here?"
"Probably not, I don't remember hearing about Oni having much of a part in anything up here. I bet they just figured it was a party."
 Confront the Oni, and ask that they leave
 Ask Nue to go fetch someone to help deal with them while you stall for time
>>130536 You have no idea how many Templars died defending Acre in 1291, right? The Templars were the last Order to leave the Holy Land and were decimated fighting for Acre, most of the remaining Knights returned to France, hoping to rebuild the order, gather funds and come back for another go.
The reputation that they were better bankers then warriors came from the defamation campaign led by Philip IV of France against the Templars (mind, they were good bankers, but they were equally good warriors). The very objective of this was to take out those to whom Philip owed the most money, as well as to take out a "state within the state" that could interfere in Philip's royal policies.
[x] Confront the Oni, and ask if they're supposed to be here.
-[x] If not, ask them to leave.
-- [x] If they refuse, ask Nue to scare them off, besides drunk people that are ridiculously strong can be troublesome.
This, we don't want to have unnecessary conflict after all.
[x] Confront the Oni, and ask if they're supposed to be here.
-[x] If not, ask them to leave.
After hurrying the current group of guests into the building you march forward to meet the pair of Oni. Neither is carrying any visible weapons, but according to Nue they might not even need them to be a threat. You mutter out of the corner of your mouth "Moving mountains?"
"Well...some of them. Doubt these two can do it though, they look more like moving grassy hills kinda guys."
The pair approaches, the one in front is male, and apparently a fair bit more drunk than his compatriot, he swings back and forth along the path with almost every step, barely keeping his balance.
"I'm afraid this isn't the place, they're holding a meeting. Quite boring stuff."
He take a swig from the gourd he's carrying, then leans down toward your face. It's only as he does so that you gain an appreciation for just how much bigger than you he really is. At least four heads taller, and a fair bit wider. Whether or not he's magically endowed with strength beyond his physical appearance, he'd still be far stronger than you. As he speaks the stench of alcohol on his breath assaults your senses: "Ain't no way 's so many people here if it ain't a party!"
"...I'm sorry, but you're wrong. It's not a party, just a meeting between some of the villagers and the Youkai."
The Oni pulls himself back, standing straight. He snarls as he tosses the gourd to the ground below, shattering it. "Out of the way!"
The Oni cocks a fist back and swings his whole body down toward you with the punch, but a simple sidestep allows you to avoid him easily, your dodge causes him to stumble forward, however he manages to stay on his feet, eventually recovering.
The second Oni, a tall, blond woman with a large red horn centered on her forehead is shouting various jeers from the sidelines, thankfully for the moment it seems she's staying out of the fight.
"Shaddup!" he shouts out toward her, before cocking his arm once again, and again you move out of the way with plenty of time. He stumbles forth and falls to the ground. But almost immediately moves to stand back up once again.
He's clumsy, inefficient and of course drunk. With all the experience you have, you've learned to pick up on subtle clues and hints as to what your enemy may do next: twitching and tensing of muscles, tracking their eyes, and rhythmic patterns to attacks. But this is beyond any of that; the man just simply doesn't care that you know what he's about to do, and all the extra time you gain with that precognition is allowing you to make a fool of him for the time being. possibly even indefinitely, so, to resolve this little dispute you'd best-
 Continue dodging
- Until he tires
- Until there's an opening
Until he tires could be a very, very long time away. Going for an opening might not be a good idea either, since it could end with a grapple, and it doesn't matter how drunk he is when all he needs to do is cuddle you to death.
Potential-Yuugi might be up for diplomacy, but she'd probably just rather watch us dance with her friend for a while.
Nue option doesn't seem like it's in our knight's style. Maybe he doesn't know what she could do, and given that it's Nue even we readers don't really know what she could do, but given the propensity for writers to just make her try to mind-rape shit to death...
[X] Continue dodging
-[X] Until there's an opening
The Oni steps forth once again, your time for decision making is running short, you could simply wait him out, or ask Nue, or his companion for assistance in restraining him.
But, no. If they wished to help they would have done so already.
It's not becoming of a Knight to beg for assistance when he doesn't need it.
His fist swings down, and you move around it, just barely avoiding your face. You continue by stepping toward him, placing your grip on his forearm and pulling toward your shoulder, using his own strength against him you flip him straight over your back and into the ground. Between his extraordinary strength and your armor enhancing your own, the Oni slams into the ground with a resounding slam.
Face down into the ground, the oni lets out a groan as he pushes himself up. The indentation he's made into the dirt becomes apparent as he shakes himself off and stands straight once again.
Your positions are reversed now, with the temple right behind him. If he really wanted to go inside, he could now. Fortunately, he's still stumbling toward you. Intent on getting some revenge.
As he closes in he hefts his arms over his head, clamping his hands together. You hold your ground, and only as his arms swing down like a massive club do you step backward, avoiding his strike.
With your body out of the way his fists slam into the ground, cracking the rock and sending bits of dirt and debris scattering everywhere. Before he can pull his fists back up, you step forth and on top of them, pushing holding them into the ground with your foot.
The Oni, hunched over from his strike, looks up at you as you heft your hands over your head, clench them together and slam them into the top of his skull. Unsurprisingly, the impact brings him toppling over himself, unconscious. A sharp whistle from behind draws your attention, and ignoring the pain in your hands from the impact you turn to face the second Oni, now walking toward you. A saucer of some kind in one hand and a slip of paper in the other.
She sips a small amount of whatever drink she has in the saucer out, and holds out the piece of paper to you. After taking it, you turn away from her, both to examine the paper in detail, and to see if the other Oni is still safely unconscious. This is pushed to the side as you read what's on the slip....Gibberish.
You're unsure of whether it's a foreign language, or a distraction. You glance over your shoulder to the woman, who is standing with a smug smile, chuckling at you.
"Nue." You hiss out of the corner of your mouth
Nue hovers to your side, making no effort to be stealthy or quiet, though you assume that's simply because she has no need to. "What?"
"What does this say?"
She peeks over your shoulder, a small grin creeps over her face the moment she sees what's written on it.
"It's an invitation. For the Oni and her friend."
"Why didn't anyone tell me they were in" "You done talkin' to yourself yet?" You whirl around to see the Oni woman, standing a fair bit closer than she had been the last time you'd looked. For a moment you're conflicted, but concede to the idea that even if it's a forgery or trick, with help from the others in the temple you could get rid of her.
You glance over your shoulder to the unconscious body of the male Oni, and ask: "What about your friend here?"
"Eh, let 'em sleep it off."
"No, I mea-...I knocked him out. Surely you have something to say about that?"
"He started it, you finished it. Good job."
She pushes past you and hefts her friend onto her shoulder before continuing on to the temple, and given that there's no-one else in sight on the road, or any indication that someone might have been left behind, you follow.
Truth be told, once you'd found out that you'd managed to knock a guest unconscious on your first day at the job, you'd expected some sort of reprimand or punishment. However the female Oni who introduced herself as Yuugi had only given a glowing report of how you'd humiliated the drunken man who picked a fight with you, and upon hearing this story, Byakuren had simply chuckled and patted you on the head. Oddly comforting, but somewhat humiliating given that you were in a room full of people.
The meeting itself, in contrast to the excitement of the fight had been rather dull. For the moment it was at a recess, you had found a chair in the corner of the room and begun listening in on random conversations, getting an idea here and there of who wanted what. For the most part it seemed to be disputes over land, and water use. Unsurprising, really. Thankfully your boredom had been stifled by a pair of men you assumed represented a group of farmers, who had entered into an argument with some form of three headed lion, more surprising than the existence of the creature itself was the eloquence it displayed in arguing back at the villagers that the land they were attempting to use for a farm belonged to his family.
As she, Shou or Ichirin had done several times over the course of the hours, Byakuren stepped in and almost immediately neither side really wanted to argue with the same fervor they had before.
With that conflict resolved for the time being, it seemed the meeting was just about to get underway once again. So -
- Ask for permission
- 'Sneak' out. It's not as if you'd been told to stay or attend.
>>130872 That sounds about right. I'm a little worried that we might end up doing OOC votes out of damage control. An update of "-10 Nue, +10 Meiling, +10 Shou, -30 Byakuren" (I have no clue what might do that) after one particular action might send anonymous about trying to re-earn the lost respect, despite whether or not Knightanon meant to do what he did and thought it was the best thing. That sounds like a happy medium, though.
You decide to remain seated for the time being, as more people and youkai file back in, a few begin moving chairs and other obstacles out of the center of the room. Thankfully your seat in the back is, apparently well out of the way of whatever they're preparing for. It doesn't take long for the group to have a large circle of space within the center. As the others clear out, forming a crowd of both youkai and humans around her, Byakuren remains in the center of the room.
The murmur of the crowd is silenced as she places the scroll she carries on the floor, her voice seemingly resounds through your ear: "Earlier, we discussed some of the suggestions to changes for the treaty we've proposed. But I feel it's important that tonight we begin discussing the details in depth." The scroll emanates light, which quickly bursts forth into the same map you'd seen earlier, a full and detailed model of the landscape for miles around. Almost as soon as the colors settle in, the map shifts once more, closing in and giving a better view of the area around the village near the temple. Each stretch of land begins to gain a more defined hue, the village itself is soon engulfed in green, which stretches away for a small distance in various directions, with several dots in varied size spread throughout the areas around the village.
What patches of forest you can see have become red, with various spots of blue spread about, from what you can see, the main source of blue is focused in areas that are nearer the edge of the forest, but along the river, and one of the larger areas you can see is the base of the nearby Mountain, as well as the tips of the mountain itself.
Thankfully Byakuren continues: "For those who weren't here last week: this is our best guess at the current population of this area. The green represents human populations, the blue, sentient youkai regardless of their thoughts on our agreement with the red being..."
There's a pause as she searches for the right word, but from the crowd you can hear a deep the voice speak up, you recognize it as one of the voices the three headed lion from earlier had: "Beasts."
Byakuren seems slightly disheartened at the term, but nods. "For lack of a better term, yes. Both regular animals and the more...mindless Youkai are represented in red. While there are not enough to cover all of this, they mill about frequently, and attack almost any that enter."
She motions her hand around the room, and the map follows, zooming back out to give the full view of the land. "The problem is...with the deal we've crafted, the human village is required to produce more crops, more crop means more fields, and whether it's by terrain or proximity to fresh water, the areas that can be tilled are limited."
A human to your right shoots his hand up, Byakuren pauses and nods toward him "Yes? You have something to say?"
The man, wrinkled and old, steps out of the crowd. before speaking, it's clear he's favoring one leg, using a cane to keep himself balanced. "Yes, ma'am. As we were discussing earlier, before the meeting resumed: the lands directly to the north of my farm are adequate, the terrain is acceptable and the ground fertile. The problem" he motions toward the three headed lion "Is the land is taken already."
The left mouth of the lion opens, but the center shoots a glare at it, causing it to stay silent. Byakuren follows the motion of the human and acknowledges him "I remember your conversation earlier, but for the benefit of others. Would you reiterate?"
The lion bows slightly before stepping out of the circle, his left mouth speaks "My family and I have resided along the river, in this location" He rises to stand on his hind legs to point toward one of the blue spots along the river. "For four generations. We haven't always been...friendly with this man and his farmhands, but we've never been of harm to them, or any other. We will not leave simply because he believes our home would be better suited as a farm."
Surprisingly the right head speaks in counter to it's left. "Hard as it may be. If we're to make any progress we must be willing to make some sacrifice."
The center head speaks up "It's not just about our home, we hunt the beasts of the forest. If we leave they will return, bringing with them whatever creatures we push out during our move. The humans will pay the price."
It's odd, seeing a creature debate with itself. Odder still is when the old man raises his cane, and in defiance of any self concern begins berating the creature which could most probably tear him in two: "You only need to go across the damn river, or up it! Or down it! Wherever!"
The lions right head nods, but the center and left shake in unison. "Unacceptable. Our home is a small cave situated on the bank. There is no other place to shelter our cubs, nowhere for them to go. Even living alongside one another is a problem, to till the land could compromise the safety of our home."
The mans cane is lowered, obviously strained from the sudden activity, he leans upon it as he turns to Hijiri: "You see, ma'am? We're at an impasse, almost everywhere that's safe, or a good place to grow already has someone, or something there. We can't meet the quota that's been agreed upon."
You don't know much about farming, but a glance toward the map seems to confirm what the man says. Without a large source of water like the river nearby, you can't grow effectively. Most of the river seems to wind back and forth through the forest, which is by your own experience an unacceptable place to be. The areas that are at the edge are where sentient youkai live, where it runs into the village is where the humans live, or where they already have farms anyway...You go follow the river all the way through, too rocky, too hilly, too close to the forest, too far from the village. There's a myriad of problems seemingly everywhere. Even at a glance.
You can see a few spots, but it seems that there's not enough to go around. Them aside, there's something bothering you...A pair of flower fields, far apart from one another to be sure, but both independently seem perfect locations. Flat land, proximity to the water, ideal. Perfect.
You raise your hand, and pray to god you're not going to sound like an idiot for asking about them. Hijiri spots you immediately, and gestures for you to enter the circle with the others.
She introduces you as you step up, placing a hand on your shoulder: "Gentlemen, allow me to introduce the man you met outside earlier today. Our new guard."
The lion and old man bow, and you return the gesture. Content with the silent greeting Hijiri addresses you, "So, ______. What is it?"
You motion toward the map, the pair of flower fields that stand out "These two flower fields...What's wrong with using them? Or the areas around them?"
There's a muttering that spreads around the room, but it's silenced as the old man bellows at you while shaking his hand in your direction: "You're daft! That's suicide!"
"What? Flowers?" you reply, honestly confused.
Hijiri places a hand on the mans arm, slowly pushing it down. "Calm yourself...He only arrived here the other day, he doesn't know much of anything about the area.
I'm afraid the fields are inaccessible, the smaller is...toxic. To anyone and everyone, youkai or human."
"And the other...Well, it's not feasible. There's a resident who will not leave, and no one is willing to try and make her do so."
 Surely they're just not willing to trek all the way there to ask a question, I'll do it (Oh god what are you thinking)
 If nobody here wants to, there must be a reason. (Go back to your chair and never speak of the flower field again)
[X] Surely they're just not willing to trek all the way there to ask a question, I'll do it (Oh god what are you thinking)
Yuuka and Medicine? I DON'T SEE WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG. I would be interested to see if knightnon can avoid a bad end there by not being a dumbfuck; interesting characters deserve some screentime.
[x] Surely they're just not willing to trek all the way there to ask a question, I'll do it (Oh god what are you thinking)
-[x] If the resident is concerned about the flower field, plantation can be done on the outer areas, there's plenty of space to go around.
This idea would work perfectly if Yuuka weren't there. Of course, he doesn't know that.
>>131057 What I see happening is everyone thinking we're insane and Byakuren having to interrupt the meeting to explain to Knight why this is a very bad idea. And possibly asking Nue to stop us from ever going there.
[x] If nobody here wants to, there must be a reason. (Go back to your chair and never speak of the flower field again)
Seriously... if the author actually puts something like the "(oh god what are you thinking)" in a choice, it pretty much means it's a bad one... And racking up bad ends isn't something to do on purpose.
A bit unrelated to all of this, but I've been wondering, will Knightanon have any sort of faith-based powers? By "faith-based powers" I mean something like what Michael has in the Dresden Files, like the sheer power of his faith actually sometimes burning evil beings or being able remove a mind block through prayer like in Small Favor, when he removes Mab's mind block over Harry?
Or will he just be a simple knight, with the powered armor the only special thing?
I'm not trying to push anyone or anything, just asking.
>>131140 Spoilerific, but it's a valid concern and I think it's only fair you're aware of the potential.
Anything's possible, but for the moment? No. He's not getting help from his lord. A lot of where he goes next depends on what interpretation you guys choose for the events around him. Just about anyone can use magic, but if for example Hijiri offers to teach him, would he reject her based on her craft being heresy? Or would he see the use of magic as an expression of divine blessing? Things like this are pretty important. Depending on stuff like that, he could become more and more powerful, or stay the same.
Though it's still highly unlikely he'd ever gain power comparative to any of the big players, he's a stage 1 boss at best.
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[X] Surely they're just not willing to trek all the way there to ask a question, I'll do it (Oh god what are you thinking)
"If that's the case, why not have me do it? It's a short enough walk, and without the forest in between here and there I'd be able to go alone and be back before the night is through."
The old man, the the three headed lion, and nearly everyone else in the room stare at you, completely dumbfounded, but in contrast to their shocked expressions Hijiri seems to be seriously considering the proposal.
You catch her muttering under her breath, presumably running through the idea once again: "She doesn't attack humans often...It could..."
Surprisingly given his age, the old man apparently can hear her as well, shaking his cane in random directions as he yells. "Daft! The pair of you! The lot of you! She'll kill him and then come to kill you for sending him!"
Calm as ever, Hijiri once again pushes the cane to the ground, and even moves to support the man as the strenuous activity catches up to him. Rasping for breath, he calls out a name toward the crowd, and someone steps forth to escort him to a chair.
"In any case, it's rather clear my comrade doesn't fully grasp the situation as of yet, and I'm sure none of us wish to delay the meeting further by considering such a plan, yes?" She pauses, glancing toward you, you miss her expression, but decide it would be best to move back to your seat for the time being. You push your way back through the crowd, and hear Hijiri continue once you're out of sight "Then, if there's no objections we'll continue under the assumption that Kazami Yuuka and the field of poison will remain as they are. Which brings us to one of our main reasons for being here today."
You opt to move even further back this time, behind the crowd and away from sight, silently listening to the ongoing meeting, you recognize the voice of Yuugi pushing into the center of the circle somewhere nearby
"That's my cue, right?"
"Quite, Miss Yuugi. Did your people consider my proposal?"
"Yeah, the elders had a few problems with it, but I think we can work something out. Ryuk...the guy I brought with me, volunteered to take a look at some of the fields you're talkin' about."
"The young man asleep outside?"
"Heh, yeah. Him. Soon as he wakes up, anyway."
A tap on your shoulder draws your attention from the meeting, spear in hand, her clothing far more elaborate than earlier, with a strange form of cloth attached to each shoulder that stretches into the air. In as hushed a tone as she can manage while still being heard.
"We're having supper early, did you want to join us?"
You rise to your feet, looking toward the center of the room, it's true you could learn something of the area through listening, but anything important you're sure you can find out about later. More important for the moment is finally getting something warm to eat, you nod to Shou, and she turns to the door.
A hot meal is sitting on the table in front of you, mashed potatoes, a piece of meat, and some variety of vegetable or fruit you've never seen. It looks absolutely delicious.
Shou is to your right at the table, already eating. But Ichirin is staring intently at you with Unzan floating directly behind her, both are apparently waiting for your appraisal of their cooking.
It's something of a conundrum, normally you'd offer a prayer before eating. But most of the ones you know are part of a partial ritual, with a Priest or other higher ranking member of your order offering part, while you respond.
Ichirin, in spite of her attire doesn't seem to be very bothered by the idea, and part of you thinks it might be rude to let her meal sit and go cold while you scour your memory for something appropriate, or even to bring it up with her.
 Start eating now
-Ask Ichirin if she'd like to join you
That aside, you might want to have a dinner topic in mind before you begin eating anyway, what should you talk about?
 The members of the crew you haven't met yet
 Why this "Yuuka" is so dangerous
 Why they follow Hijiri
>>131145 Foolish? How could he have known after being here for one day? That's not being foolish, that's just not knowing. In fact, considering knightnon's not knowing anyway, it'd be more foolish not to ask.
[x] Start eating now
-[x] Why this "Yuuka" is so dangerous
That's why we need to educate ourselves.
>>131150 That doesn't change the fact that while it seemed normal on our side, that action certainly didn't improve Knightanon's reputation. Maybe they knwo we don't know, but we probably still looked foolish and reckless to them.
>>131149 If you deem it necessary. He knows all of the prayer and, while it is traditional in a group that a figure of authority (the priest or the patriarch of the family) lead the prayer, it can also be said by one man alone.
Just don't have him begin to shout it out to the heavens. Refectories usually have a good enough acoustic that simply speaking is easily heard by all. Simply praying normally in a clear enunciation should be quite enough. Explanations of the meaning of our prayers (no one in Gensokyo other then Remilia and Patchouli is likely to understand Latin or be very familiar with Christianity, I should think) should be given freely and patiently, as our Lord taught to the masses during his travels across Judea.
[X] Why this "Yuuka" is so dangerous
Modest suggestion about the visit to Yuka (why two bloody "u"? Romanize properly, barbaros), remain polite, courteous and calm. We're simply going to discuss field allocation and management with the lady in charge of those lands. For all we know right now, in our medieval mindset, Yuka might simply be a Noble Lady farming exclusively sunflowers as a cash crop. No unheard of even if uncommon and risky as a farming practice. Possibility option: Introduce Yuuka to the concept of vassality. Protect peasants and grant them fields to exploit in exchange of services/taxes to maintain and care for her flowers?
Also on the agenda, find a proper shield, by God! We're a primarily Sword and Shield fighter and our fighting style has been crippled since we've got here.
Other item on the long term agenda : conversion of natives and recruitment. Gensokyo is a dangerous land, an Order Militant could make it safer for humans and allied youkais by serving as a police force and by pushing back Beasts, allowing more fertile land to be reclaimed. The recruitment pool doesn't even need to be restricted to Humans, after all the Christ never said only Humans were of his flock. So long as they abide his teachings, the traditions of the Church and the Bulls of the Pope, any sentient being can be a Roman Catholic.
Interesting long term possibility. The Knight's reaction to learning of the modern date and the dogmatic shifts of the Catholic Church since 1291. He might well be at ease with most changes, considering his temperament.
Other interesting possibility. In a universe that once was densely populated by the supernatural, I would not be surprised if the Catholic Church was aware of the existence of Gensokyo, nor if it could gain access to it given the desire or opportunity. Remember, what's said in Langley or the White House on Monday is known by the Pope the next day; that's how good the Catholic intelligence services are. They should be just as good concerning the supernatural.
On that note, the Knight becoming an outright Paladin would not be surprising, considering the mechanics of Faith in Gensokyo. Sanae is impressively powered by her severely diminished patrons Suwako and Kanako. By comparison the Lord is (if you write Him with the limitations of Shinto gods)... not diminished by a lack of faithful, to say the least (with about 1/3 of Humanity being Christian [of any denomination], 1/6 being Islamic and a good number of Jews). Of course, that depends on Him intervening directly, which He seems to dislike, but granting some Miracles and abilities like those of various Saints to the Knight would not be unbelievable or overpowered. The Lord works in mysterious ways, after all.
Hmm. This was a rather long post, but I've not posted in a while. Forgive my verbosity, but all these points came swarming into my mind, maybe because I'm working on my Medieval Ages exam.
>(why two bloody "u"? Romanize properly, barbaros)
It is proper Romanization, or at least orthodox within the Touhou fandom. 幽香 becoming "Yuuka" uses the same Romanization system as with 東方 becoming "Touhou", the Hepburn system. This system is what's most commonly used among Touhou fans. If you say "Yuka" is proper Romanization, then you will also say that "Saigyouzi", "Momizi", "Sikieiki", "Kotiya", and "Onoduka" are proper romanizations, because that's according to the Kunrei-shiki system. I can understand your ignorance because ZUN decided to start using the K-s system starting with PoFV, when Yuuka's name was first officially transcribed into English.
According to the Hepburn system, just plain "u" between consonants is very short, often even silent. (See: Rinnosuke) A "uu" is a longer sound. Same goes for "o" and "ou".
>>131162 The long "u" does exist in English, French, Latin and Classical Greek. In each of those languages, as far as I'm aware, this long "u" is written as only one "u", despite being a long sound. Only exception would be in Classical Latin where "v" and "u" were the same letter, creating such words or names as "Iuuenalis" (Juvenal), but they were pronounced (in this case) as a long "u" followed by a distinct "v" instead of a long "u".
In fact, apart from "need" and other English verbs with similar structure, I'm hard pressed to think of any other words in French, Latin or Greek which present a double vowel to represent a long sound.
Augustus would have been desolated! Claudius would have despaired! Theirs is a language improper to be Romanized. So little sounds and yet so impossible to write with elegance in the Roman alphabet, while our own Indo-European languages boast far more sounds and yet can be easily written out without blunders. Quo usque tandem abutere, Japan, patientia nostra!
I've been awake for too long and I'm not exactly working on my Latin or my Greek right now. I might be wrong and melodramatic. Bah, I'll delete this message tomorrow if I was wrong.
>>131166 You may be the lord king of Latin, but that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about the romanization of Japanese words. Ignore, for a second, that Touhou words may have multiple ways of writing them, as in Yuuka/Yuka's case, in which you are both right. I'm more concerned with your idea that Karesh is wrong in the way he spells it.
The Hepburn system, the way that gives us westerners the easiest way of pronouncing the Japanese characters, would have Yuuka spelt as exactly that. In Japanese there are long vowels, and short vowels, and totally ignoring the difference between them will cause rise to confusion in the pronunciation, and make it impossible to work out the original Japanese. I'm not talking about the slightly questionable ways of spelling some words in Touhou (Gensoyou giving rise to the incorrect way of pronouncing it). All I am saying is that the way Karesh spells it, and the way most of the fans spell it, is no more wrong than the way you, and the rest of your Latin chums spell it.
Of course, on an entirely personal view, anything but the Hepburn system is downright stupid, as it changes the Japanese pronunciation of the word. But in the end, the best way of spelling these things is through the means of hiragana. Though I won't force Karesh to start writing in that.
>>131210 The point was already explained by others, thank you. No need to hammer it in. And I'm "lord King" of nothing.
Would you rather comment on the rest of my >>131158 post, instead of rethreading the same parenthesis, which I meant more as a semi-serious remark/opinion about the inelegance of writing something with 2 "u" next to each other then a critic of the various standards of Romanization?
Seriously, I make a big post with everything from religious practices and medieval mindset to international politics and the "Big Thing" is that? What about the mechanics of Faith in Gensokyo? That'll have impact on the storyline here and should be discussed. What about the Knight's long term agenda? Even if he hasn't the time to think of it yet, we can still plan out his possible reactions and projects?
>>131214 Probably because I'm not following along with the story. Karesh comes to me asking if this guy, who's just claimed he is wrong as well as insulted him, is talking shit. I find he is talking shit. Thus, I correct you.
I'm a merc, temporarily hired for the sake of telling you you're wrong.
>>131218 I didn't mean to insult Karesh. As I said, I meant it semi-seriously with no precise target other then the word itself, using barbaros to reference the common view of Classical Greeks towards foreign languages, regarding them as unsophisticated and inelegant. At the very worst it can be said that I aimed to slight the Japanese language that I think clumsy and inelegant when Romanized. This, I must emphasize, is merely my personal opinion and is not backed by any study or detailed analysis.
As I offended, all I can do is offer my apologies. The nuances I thought of while writing transmitted very poorly across the net. Perhaps by keeping "Yuuka" with two "u" before the parenthesis my intent would have been more easily seen, I did hesitate over that.
tl;dr. : Karesh, I didn't mean to offend you and I apologize. Japanese just seems to me inelegant when Romanized in the Hepburn method. My reference to said opinion was too specific to my field of study (and obscure in wording) and you, understandably, took it as an insult towards yourself. Mea culpa, mea culpa maxima.
Rude as it may be, a lifetime of this ritual isn't so easy to ignore. You clasp your hands together, close your eyes and utter a prayer under your breath.
You're nearly finished with your prayer, a short recital usually used for lunch, when Ichirin speaks up. "Latin?"
"Amen..." You look up at Ichirin, Unzan is still floating to her side as he puts portions of the food in front of him into his....mouth, you're unsure of whether he needs it or not. But nobody else seems to mind.
"Yes, Latin. I'd assumed you would have heard it before."
"Well, I have at times...but what was that? A ritual? Prayer?"
For a nun to have modified her outfit is unusual, but you've seen stranger. For someone to be unable to read Latin is understandable, but never hearing it used in a prayer? What's more, a prayer that is for most uttered daily?
"Yes...a prayer. A Christian one, have you heard it?"
"Not that prayer, no. But I'm familiar with Latin through some studies of mine. The library at the Scarlet Devil Mansion has quite a few books written in it."
You stab a fork into the edge of the meat on your plate and carve it off with your knife, taking a bite. The moment you do, the expectant look returns to Ichirin's face.
"So? How is it? I haven't had a regular human to try it yet."
The thought of whether or not you should press Ichirin on her religious beliefs is pushed aside as you try to come up with an acceptable answer to properly describe your reaction. "...Unusual, to be sure. I can't place any of the spices you've used, or the kind of meat...What is it?"
"I'm surprised a boar could survive in this land, with all the Youkai that inhabit the forest."
Shou, who had eaten in silence up till now finally joins in. "They don't survive if someone tries to hunt them, but a lot of beast Youkai prefer humans or others like themselves."
"Like the lions?"
"Right. As long as it stays away from the starving, the humans and Youkai like us" she motions toward Ichirin "just about anything can survive in the forest."
"Except humans." Ichirin corrects her matter of factly.
You chew quietly, slightly insulted at their assertion that a common animal would be better suited for survival in the woods than you, an awkward silence settles in. But almost immediately the topic you'd been thinking of earlier comes back into your mind.
"Forgive me for being blunt, but Shou?"
"You recall during the meeting, the flower fields?"
Ichirin looks up from her plate, curious. Shou simply nods.
"Who, or what is Yuuka? Why is everyone so...terrified of her?"
Ichirin and Shou look to one another, then back to you.
"You're not still thinking about going, are you?"
"I'd like to know for curiosities sake, that's all."
Shou lets out a sigh, but Ichirin, apparently keen to show off her knowledge fills in for her: "Yuuka Kazami is the Youkai of Flowers."
"About that...I hardly associate 'flowers' with 'horrific nightmare that makes other nightmares quake in their boots', what's special about it?"
"Well in a fight there's few in Gensokyo that can beat her, some are more skilled fighters, some have greater powers, or magic. But...strength? Outside of the most powerful Oni, there's not a single Youkai in Gensokyo that even wants to try beating Yuuka in a physical contest.
Worse still...Mastery of flowers means that she can grow them, as far as we're aware wherever there is sunlight, Yuuka can make a flower of any sort instantly bloom."
"Imagine if a rose bush sprouted from your shoulder, or you opened your mouth and a poisoned plant grew the moment the sun entered."
Your eyes go wide as that sets in, it's such a mundane capability, you'd almost mocked it outright. But hearing it like that...it's frankly terrifying.
"Nue calls it flower power." Shou says, while idly poking a portion of her food around the plate with her fork.
"But even still, there's plenty of strong Youkai around here that get along just fine, the problem with Yuuka is she's..." "Insane." Shou finishes Ichirin's sentence.
"Yeah, more or less. Her reactions to different people or things are completely unreasonable. She ignores most humans, unless they do something that might harm her flowers, she treats Fairies and children like they're all her own, heck we heard from one of them she treated her to tea."
There's a pause, Ichirin glances toward Shou, Shou nods solemnly.
"But then...when Shou tried to go say hello, when we were still thinking about where to set up the temple?
No word of warning, no threats or even anything we can call a plan, she just attacked as soon as she landed."
You look to Shou, the prospect of Yuuka...growing something creeps up again, making your stomach churn "What happened? What did she do?"
Shou nervously rubs one of her wrists with the other hand as she answers. "Nothing...not to me, anyway. She used a blast to knock me out, restrained me and once I woke up, just had one question.
"Who is coming to save you?" I...I was so stupid, I told her- right out! "Hijiri Byakuren", and she got this look...this utter glee at the idea that she'd get to fight her. Thankfully, Nazrin came up with a plan to get me out without it coming to a fight, and we haven't heard from her since."
"No...Hijiri is right, it's just part of her nature. She's one of the older lone Youkai around...the whole of her existence has probably been one fight to the next."
"It's twisted, to be sure. But it's not too hard to think of it as a sort of...proactive self defense. If she beats Hijiri, that means none of us will ever think about going after her."
 Eat in silence (Skip the rest of the meal, go to early evening)
 Keep the conversation going (Note that switching topics won't be an abrupt swap, and multiple choices will mean less time for each.)
- "If Yuuka is so strong, how strong is Hijiri to be of interest to her?"
- "So, Ichirin. To be blunt: Are you a Christian?"
- Write in
[x] Keep the conversation going (Note that switching topics won't be an abrupt swap, and multiple choices will mean less time for each.)
-[x] "If Yuuka is so strong, how strong is Hijiri to be of interest to her?"
Something about Ichirin's statement bothers you, and once you've had a sip of the drink in front of you, you bring it up. "Twisted is right. Wouldn't hurting Hijiri just make all of you want her dead?"
"You're thinking of it from the perspective of someone who knows the meaning of loyalty and camaraderie. Yuuka doesn't.
In her mind, if she beats the strongest amongst us, we'll never think of challenging her."
You eye Shou curiously, again. Something about that is bothering you. "Hijiri's the strongest? I thought she was human?"
"Technically, yes. But her magic makes her...What's the phrase?"
"Superhuman, according to her."
"Right, superhuman. Physically she can put herself on around the same level as Yuuka herself, but then she still has the rest of her magical abilities."
"And...Yuuka wants to fight her? If she's just as strong, and a capable magician to boot, wouldn't Hijiri win?" Shou and Ichirin both seem to ponder this, and even Unzan moves to Ichirin's ear to whisper something or other.
"I've never really thought about it... Shou mutters.
"Yeah. I guess it depends on how durable Yuuka is, if Hijiri can take her out before she runs out of power it's an easy win. But if Yuuka can outlast her, she loses."
Unzan and Ichirin nod in unison, but Shou is still thinking.
"No, no. Endurance is important. But it's their nature that really matters."
"Oh?" You and Ichirin both say in unison.
"Yuuka doesn't want to kill Hijiri, she just wants to beat her. She's probably even hoping she'll live to spread more rumors about how strong she is. At that, all that Yuuka would know about Hijiri is what she's heard from others."
"So, what Yuuka knows is that Hijiri is an extremely powerful, but benevolent Magician that wouldn't hurt a fly but...uh..." "That's only half true." Ichirin cuts in. "If you set her off, Byakuren can be...somewhat difficult to calm down."
"So Byakuren wins?"
"If Yuuka goes about starting the fight the wrong way, and Hijiri decides it would be more prudent to blast her over and over from a distance rather than give her a proper fight? Yes."
You mull the idea over, it certainly makes sense that a magician would have a significant advantage at range over someone that relies on physical strength.
"So, is that why you follow her? Because she's strong?"
"It's certainly helpful that she's powerful enough to actually do the things she claims, but it's not the primary reason.
In our time of need, Byakuren saved me, and Murasa. The captain of the ship."
Ship? They have a ship?
You push that thought aside as Shou speaks up: "As for me...she introduced me to my God, Bishamonten."
"Introduced? You mean she taught you about the religion?"
You stare at Shou, dumbfounded.
"You've never met your god?"
"Not in person... I mean, he's everywhere, everything all at once, there's no-...You've met your god? Really?"
"Yes, many times back when I lived at his temple, it was either him, or Byakuren to give me commands in those days. Honestly I'm surprised yours hasn't had the time to at the least meet with you. You were fighting a war for him, weren't you? You'd think the least he could do is send you off."
 She has a point, but the Lord works in mysterious ways. He's not required to present himself to someone like me.
 My faith is unbreakable.
 Is it really so easy? Are Gods meant to be like that?
[X] "My lord has not been with us in a human form for a long time... ever since we executed him over a thousand years ago."
[X] My faith is unbreakable.
The best reaction is this case would be to shake our head at this unknowing blasphemy, while explaining to them their misconceptions. After all God is not like the limited spirits that the heathens here worship, but is much greater, all powerful, all knowing and all caring. After he gives us a chance at salvation after we sinned in the Garden of Eden and raised our hands against him when he appeared to us as the Son.
>>131312 Part of Catholic dogma is that the Crucifixion is the death of Jesus Christ as a Man, but Jesus Christ the Son of God does not die and it heralds his later Ascension to the Heavens. To clarify, Jesus the Man dies for our sins, while Jesus the God lives on and ascends completely to the Trinity. Which is why, unlike most Protestant Churches which feature unadorned crosses, Catholic Churches figure the full crucifix with a representation of Jesus dead or dying. Catholicism sees the Passion as the act that saved Mankind as the Christ willingly took on the suffering of the world to redeem us (explaining why good works and pilgrimages can redeem your sins in Catholic tradition. You suffer/give your time for the good of others).
Maybe also add a bit of specification to who executed Jesus, like "the Romans executed" or, more appropriately for the Middle Ages, "the Sanhedrin/Jewish High Priests executed". During the Middle Ages, the Jewish were sometimes referred to as the "deicides". For Christians in the Middle Ages, "we" didn't kill Jesus, the "unbelievers" did. It was a very "us" vs "them" mentality which, very ironically, started to mellow out as the Age of the Crusades died and a more "Shades of Grey" point of view took root in the Church.
Or go for the Heavy Metal/Klingon way and describe it as Christianity worshipping the One True God, but to be sure He was God we crucified Him first and were convinced when He came back better then ever 3 days later. Because not only are we badass enough to kill our God, He's badass enough to come back from being killed.
[X] "My lord has not been with us in a human form for a long time... ever since we executed him over a thousand years ago."
[X] My faith is unbreakable.
- Addendum if they insist : [x] the Lord works in mysterious ways. He's not required to present himself to someone like me.
If they make the argument that omnipotence is impossible (in their Shintoist mindset, it sorta is), reply that God can indeed make a rock too big and heavy for Him to lift... and then lift it anyway. Omnipotence means you laugh at logical paradoxes.
Keep in mind, Theology isn't my forte, so my arguments are heavily simplified and flawed.
>>131322 It would also be worthwhile to remind them that God Created everything including the lesser beings that they worship as "gods". He is not restricted like they are, because he is greater than them. I would bring up the ten Commandment s as well.
[X] "My lord has not been with us in a human form for a long time... ever since we executed him over a thousand years ago."
[X] My faith is unbreakable.
You know I've always wondered if the story of Doubting Thomas is applicable here.
Also I wonder if Byakuren, Reimu, or Sanae would know anything about the Burakumin? I found it interesting that Christianity reached out toward them more than Buddhism or Shintoism, though for Shintoism it's very understandable.
>>131328 It's because, at the very core, Christianity is a religion of salvation. It promises a better tomorrow, a recompense to the suffering of life in the afterlife. It promises Justice, Mercy and Love to those that most need it.
Some of the very first gentile (non-Jewish) converts to Christianity were in fact slaves, precisely because of that. It also provided them with a solid sense of community on which they knew they could rely with doubt. The very basic structure of the Church was formed during those days and the Catholic and Orthodox Churches never, ever forgot the lessons learned under the persecutions of Domitian and other hostile Emperors.
That, when Christianity/the Catholic Church reached Japan, it was more then financially and materially capable of alleviating the present suffering of the downtrodden masses certainly helped. That the Church was capable of doing so under the noses of the Shogunate, despite being restricted, as all Europeans, to very specific ports is a testament to how well the Church remembered the lessons learned in the first 3 centuries of its existence.
In other words, the Catholic Church gets everywhere, mostly because they're really sneaky and determined when they need to be (and it has no problems in funding these endeavours. At all) to further their mission of saving the souls of Mankind.
[X] "My lord has not been with us in a human form for a long time... ever since we executed him over a thousand years ago."
[X] My faith is unbreakable.
- Addendum if they insist : [x] the Lord works in mysterious ways. He's not required to present himself to someone like me.
>>131331 I can't remember where I read this, but I remember reading one reason why Christianity spread was because of the equality in its nature, that everyone would have the same reward regardless of their earthly status. Is that true? This wasn't from some Christian website or anything.
>>131322 >Part of Catholic dogma is that the Crucifixion is the death of Jesus Christ as a Man, but Jesus Christ the Son of God does not die and it heralds his later Ascension to the Heavens. To clarify, Jesus the Man dies for our sins, while Jesus the God lives on and ascends completely to the Trinity.
That's absolutely not true. The Catholic Church holds that Jesus who is at once the son of man and the son of God--a hypostatic union--was crucified, died, buried, descended to Hell, rose again, ascended to Heaven. Like the trinity itself, they are not separate natures.
This distinction was so important in early Christianity that it was the focus of the third ecumenical council in in 431. Disagreement led to the Nestorian heresies. It's expressed in the Nicene Creed, and still held by both the Western Catholic churches and schismatic Eastern Orthodoxy.
Of course this has little bearing on successful conversion. Simple explanations that focus on the promise of salvation, toleration of superstitions, incorporation of folk heroes as saints and religious rituals as holidays, a sensible and internally consistent cosmology, and an explanation of the world in terms of natural and divine law. These are sufficient tools for converting heathens to Christ. Also, love. Lots of love.
It's those back-talking infidels that get the sword.
>Which is why, unlike most Protestant Churches which feature unadorned crosses, Catholic Churches figure the full crucifix with a representation of Jesus dead or dying.
A common explanation, but Protestant aniconism goes deeper than that.
>>131336 Thank you for correcting me. I must have confused one heretical creed for the official dogma in my fatigue and just wrote away. How could I forget the Nicean Creed? I should have checked before posting.
Are you studying Theology by any chance?
As for the issue of Protestant aniconism, could you elaborate? It was only briefly spoken of in my class on Modern Europe when we spoke of the Reformation.
You forgot to mention that we also quite shamelessly assimilate pagan gods as saints, not just folk heroes (who may just be de-mythified gods). The best exemple would be Saint Brigit or Brigid, the old Celtic/Irish Goddess of Fire.
This thread's getting a bit boring, and suddenly religious talk out of nowhere remind me why I started following it.
Story needs more Nue, though. She's apparently got some sort of stealth modo going, assuming Byakuren didn't cast an invisibility spell on her. If that's the case, it can't hurt for her to accompany knight to visit Yuuka. I can see her sneaking out and following whether he asks or not just cause it'd be interesting.
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[x] "My lord has not been with us in a human form for a long time... ever since we executed him over a thousand years ago."
[x] My faith is unbreakable.
"That's...something of a complicated story."
Ichirin leans over the table slightly "Do tell! I'd love to hear more about it."
"Well...after he'd created the Earth, the Lord granted humanity paradise"
"What's his name?"
"Your god, what's his name?"
"We..normally just refer to him as God, or the Lord. That which was, is, and will be. "
"That's a bit odd" Shou interjects. "I and Ichirin are both technically of the same Religion, but worship different beings. There's no mutual exclusivity."
"Our God demanded that we hold no others before him."
"He did? So you've never talked to him before, but others have?"
"A long time ago, yes. Technically the last time would be..." You trail off, Shou and Ichirin remain silent, waiting for you to continue.
"Well...About a thousand years ago, he sent his only son to Earth, we consider his son to be both a separate individual in mortality, but the same divine being. He came in order to relieve us of sin....and...well, w- they... most who lived in those times didn't acknowledge him as their savior."
"So...they executed him. That would be over a thousand years ago, and the last time he walked the Earth."
The pair stare at you, are they contemplating the idea that your people managed to murder their savior, or that given a thousand years of silence from him the religion had not only survived, but thrived to the point that people waged war upon their beliefs. Unzan's floats toward Ichirin's ear,
After dinner is through, and all of the cleaning up afterward is done you, Shou and Ichirin have begun sharing tales and tenants of your religions. At the moment you're reciting one of your favorite stories, while slicing an Apple you've been given into parts.
"Lucifer came to heaven with his army of Renegades, and met Micheal, leader...of..."
You trail off, as the most peculiar sight appears before you.
A hand, shrouded in mist has emerged through the table, there's no visible sign of damage to it, no hole was there before. But it's pushed its way through as though the table weren't there to begin with.
You eye the hand, both Shou and Ichirin follow your gaze, and don't seem to bothered by it, so it's most likely not a threat.
However, it is attempting to steal a slice of your apple.
[X] Repulse, slap hand.
[X] Quote the eighth commandment, "Thou art shall not steal."
[X] If said person moans\\reply's retort with, "ask next time." (if he\\or she ask's then give slice.)
Education! Our Lord, Jesus Christ, would approve.
And God's name(s) should be known to the Knight. The Tetragrammaton (YHWH) would be the simplest answer. Other possible answers include "I Am That I Am" used when talking to Moses, "The Almighty", "The Father".
Unzan floats toward Ichirin's ear, a sign that he has something to say.
"Is that what your war was about? Revenge against the ones who killed him?" Ichirin speaks, presumably as a proxy for Unzan
"There's many reasons, but the two are related when it comes to the primary one. The land we were fighting over was our holy land because as well as a few others significant events, it was the place where he lived and died.
I think, politically the war started when an ally of the Church called for aid, but many of the soliders, myself included, went to secure the Holy Land to allow safe passage for pilgrims."
>>131394 One interesting thing to note is that prior to the Crusades Muslim raiders often preyed on Christian pilgrims, and there was the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre by Al-Hakim bi_amr Allah, the Sixth Fatimid Caliph.
Whoever tells you that the Crusades were completely unjustified, is pretty much wrong. I'd write more, but I don't know enough of the difference between the Turks or the Seljuq.
>>131403 There's little difference, considering that their full name was the Seljuk Turks. The Ottomans Turks were simply a difference tribe which overthrew the original Seljuk that had formed the Sultanate of Rum. Mind you, the Ottomans still claimed to be the Sultanate of Rum... or the Roman Empire, if you translate completely.
It was Alexis I, Autokrator of Constantinopolis, Emperor of Rome in the East and Vicar of Christ on Earth that called Urban II, Pontifex Maximus of Rome, First amongst the Patriarchs (the recognition of this was something Alexis gave in exchange for help), Apostle of Peter and Pope, for aid against the advance of the Seljuk Turks into Asia Minor/Anatolia.
Alexis had asked for 500 knights, which amounted to about 5000 men when you added their footmen and attendants. Urban II, with his call for Crusade, sent him 15 000 knights and professional soldiers.
>>131413 Indeed. To be fair, no one really won the Crusades except the Turks. The Arabs bled themselves dry to reconquer the Holy Land, giving the Mamelouks and Turks the upper hand in control of the Middle East. The Crusaders came home defeated, but bearing spices, ancient texts, luxury goods forgotten in Western Europe, establishing anew the old trade routes from East to West
They didn't even achieve their objective, seeing as the 4th Crusade not only dramatically weakened the Eastern Roman Empire, it also definitively created the Great Schism between Catholics and Orthodoxes. I curse the Venetians still for that treachery. Without it, the Byzantines could have survived even longer. It was not to be...
In mindsets, the failure of the Crusades was the end of the Church Triumphant. No more could the Church attempt to unite all Christendom behind it. No more could it rule over all with a clear view of Right and Wrong. Ironically, despite the first incarnation of the inquisitions appearing, the Church became kinder and closer to the needs and fears of the people in reaction to the failure of the Crusades. In this time period, we see the creation/announcement of the existence of Purgatory, an in-between Heaven and Hell for those not virtuous enough to go directly to Heaven but not sinful enough to go to Hell, answering some of the great fears of the time. The Church takes a far more compassionate view of the world, accepting shades of grey in its mindset.
The first inquisitions are in fact a sign of this compassion. They were aimed at righting heresies, at bringing people back into the flock of the faithful. Did you know that, at the most, 2% of all people brought before the inquisitors ended up condemned to death? That only relapses were condemned to death? That people so condemned were seen as failures and black marks on the inquisitor's part, as he could not bring them back to reason and indicated he was a bad shepherd? That there were multiple contingencies to ensure that the process was lawful, including the accused making a list of all of those who could wish him harm and, if the denunciator was one of that list, he was immediately acquitted and freed? That only the most stubborn of heretics ever even got to the point were torture was used? That said tortures were specifically chosen to never maim the subject, nor cause long term harm? That each Papal inquisitor was specifically trained to ensure that no mistakes would be made?
The Medieval inquisitions conducted by the Church were downright tame and reasonable. The standard sentence for heresy was either good works or pilgrimage, of varying lengths depending on how long the heretic had refused to admit his heresy.
Ironically, it was the Inquisition of the Modern Age which was needlessly cruel. So much for the barbarism of the Middle Ages and the enlightenment of the Age of Reason.
This thread is a fun and tremendously efficient way to work on my exam of tomorrow. I just formulated part of my answer to one question.
>That there were multiple contingencies to ensure that the process was lawful, including the accused making a list of all of those who could wish him harm and, if the denunciator was one of that list, he was immediately acquitted and freed?
What happened to this safeguard, out of curiosity? It's my understanding that in the later inquisitions that there were people being accused with the attention of acquiring their properties, though I might be mixing that up with the witch hunts that the Church condemned.
>>131422 You are correct. Most of the more violent and unrestrained witch hunts or inquisitions were led (or staffed) by the state in which they took place, although the Church is not blameless. They saw a useful political tool and gained control of it. Best example in the Middle Ages would be the inquisition against the Knights Templars, which was conducted by agents of the French King and judged by bishops named by the French King, both against the feeble protests of the current Pope. It is noted, mostly by the recorded protests of the few relapses like Jacques de Molay, that the French agents did use tortures that could maim or cause long term harm to the accused in other to get confessions.
The Spanish Inquisition was led by elements within the Church heavily aligned with the Spanish monarchs and their interests. Meanwhile, the Inquisition in the Holy Roman Empire... well, let's just say that the ecclesiastic authorities, both in Rome and in the HRE, at the time were corrupt. Heavily corrupt. And thus far more concerned about suppressing political dissidence and seizing the propriety and funds of "heretics" then matters of faith.
In other words, it was simply a question of the corruption and debasement of the original intent to sever temporal interests. Even then, the condemnation to death remained around 2% of those brought before the Inquisition. Most other restrains were gone, however, in the favour of "expediency" and losing your possessions became a routine sentence... among other, less humane things.
[X] Repulse, slap hand lightly.
[X] Quote the eighth commandment, "Thou shall not steal."
With a quick motion you slide the knife in your hand to a position for stabbing, and then raise it over your head. Ichirin and Shou both look toward you, and you gesture your head in the direction of the hand. Shou begins violently shaking her head, making a slicing gesture across her neck that seems to indicate it's a very bad idea, in contrast, Ichirin is nodding happily. However you're fairly certain that for whatever it's worth, Unzan is behind her trying to say otherwise with his movements.
Two supporting, one against. With that in mind you quietly put the knife back down, lean over to the hand and give it a light smack. Surprisingly, even though it's passing through the table your smack is able to make contact, and at that moment you hear a small yelp from underneath the table. The hand retreats back through the wood, and you swear you can hear some muttered complaining.
You lean down, speaking through the cloth covering the table to whomever is hidden underneath. "Thou shalt not steal."
"Thou shalt kiss my ass!" The mystery person responds, in a voice that is clearly both female and incredibly angry.
"That's hardly the way to ask someone for something, is it?"
You hear a low, rumbling growl. The hand reemerges, mist and smoke following along with it. Almost immediately your view of the room around you has been clouded, Shou and Ichirin vanish behind a cloud of mist.
"Not during dinner!" you can hear Shou shout from her seat, as the outline of the hand reemerges from within the mist.
Followed shortly by the rest of the arm, the shoulder, a second hand, someone or something is crawling out from underneath the table, and toward you, and they're quite clearly trying to scare you while they do it.
Wait...impossible events? Trying to scare you? "Very funny, Nue."
"Huh?" Nue says as she floats behind you, peering over your shoulder. Even still, just because she's there, doesn't mean she's not responsible.
"Trying to scare me."
You look over to Nue, then back to the figure in the mist. A pair of bright teal eyes glowing through the shroud encompassing the room,
"Who are yo" A hand thrusts forth, grabbing your throat and halting the question you were about to ask. Its grip isn't tight, you can breath freely and you even feel like if you pulled back, you could escape. But for the moment you remain still.
Nue hasn't done anything, the mist is dissipating and now that you can see Shou and Ichirin, they're visibly agitated to be sure, but it's clear neither seems all that worried for your safety.
"Strange table creature with her hand on my throat." You reply flatly.
The mist clears fully, and you finally get a good look at your attacker, her matted black hair is topped by a strange white hat, which is matched by her clothes, blue eyes and at least a head shorter than you, but like many others you've met lately, her size hides a strength you're unable to properly measure.
She sighs as she lets go of your throat. "I thought you didn't know what a Youkai was? Why aren't you scared?"
Nue flies past you, giving this newcomer a hug as she swings around to her back. "My fault~, it's hard to scare someone once they've been scared by me."
Shou rises from her seat and walks towards you, putting a hand on your shoulder. "Minamitsu, this is _______. And this" She shoves an arm out toward the girl "thieving girl is Minamitsu Murasa."
"You can drop the 'thieving girl' title and just call me Captain, if you prefer."
You hold a hand out to her, but by the time you're about to introduce yourself and ask what exactly she's captain of she's already turned to Ichirin, completely ignoring you.
"So aside from the apples what's for dinner?"
"We already ate, but your portion is in the kitchen."
"Thanks!" She dips into the floor, leaving Nue, who was still wrapped around her neck to slam into the wood.
"Hey! That hurt!" Nue flies off toward the kitchen, where sure enough Murasa pops up once again, grabbing her plate.
"Sorry sorry, here, I'll make it up to you." She holds out a slice of apple, which Nue eagerly grabs.
Glancing down at the table, with a quick count you realize one of your slices has gone missing.
With Murasa eating her meal, you, Shou and Ichirin settled back into conversation. Once she's done eating Murasa joins in and you're able to formally introduce yourself. According to herself, is a ghost. One that was trapped within an ocean, until Hijiri liberated her. Though she refused to go into details, it's quite clear even through her disrespectful attitude toward you, she holds great regard for Hijiri.
You take a second to glance out a window, and see that night has already fallen. Nazrin and Hijiri have yet to leave the meeting, or even stop in for something to eat.
"How long do these meetings normally last?"
Surprisingly, it's Murasa that answers you. "Oh, it ended just before me n' Nue came back. But Hijiri n' Nazrin have some extra work to do since some of the guys are worried about Oni coming back to the surface in force."
She sighs, admittedly it's not the first time in the evening you've been forced to ask something that was apparently common knowledge in this land. "The Oni live underground. Most people like it that way because they're drunk and destructive.
If they start coming to the surface regularly, some think that it's going to cause problems.
"Yes, thank you."
"Worried because it's dark?" Shou interjects, probably because she doesn't want Murasa grabbing you by the throat again.
"More or less, I didn't think that it would take so long."
"It's a complicated issue."
Ichirin stands up, walking from her seat toward a window, apparently she couldn't see outside from where she was. "It's night, already?"
"Yeah. Full moon and all! Great night!"
You can't see where the voice just came from, but you recognize it as Nue, and it's from Murasa's direction. So she's probably lying on the floor somewhere over there, or otherwise concealed.
Murasa glances towards the window now as well. "Wait, didn't that gate guard tell us something about the full moon a while back?"
"Yes. She said to watch the mansion. Something about a show, as I recall." Ichirin responds, still standing at the window.
Whatever this 'show' is, it seems Nue and Murasa are rather excited about it. Both hop to their feet almost immediately.
"Can't miss that, can we?" "Hell no!"
Before you're sure of what's happening, Murasa is gone, and Nue is pulling on your arm. "C'mon! You want to see it too, right?"
You glance toward Shou, who is still seated on the floor, and Ichirin who is walking back to her own seat. Neither seems really eager to do whatever it is Murasa and Nue have in mind.
Shou rises from her seat, glaring toward Nue. "If he's going, we're going to have to set some rules.
Number one, no leaving the temple grounds. Especially not beyond the barrier.
Number two, no impromptu flying lessons.
Number three, he comes back in one piece.
"Yes mooom~" Nue sing songs as she floats out the door, pulling you along.
A short climb up a ladder leads you to the roof of the temple, with Marusa leaning against a pole toward the center.
You glance around the area, though until your eyes adjust to the relative darkness you're not really able to see much of anything, even still the design of the roof feels...odd, yet familiar.
"So, best view would be up the mast. If you don't want to miss this, you'd better hurry."
"Mast?" You glance up the pole Murasa is leaning on, and with your eyes finally adjusted you can see, sure enough there's the framework of a mast, a ladder leading up, a crows nest at the top, ropes tied around the intersecting pole keep the sail from falling down into position, but even from here it's clear enough to see.
Truthfully, you'd never actually gotten a very good look at the temple from a distance, it had never even occurred to you. It's larger than any other ship you've seen, probably in a class all its own when compared to the cogs or any other ship within the harbor of Acre.
"Why is...this temple, why is it designed like a ship?"
"It is a ship."
"Okay. Why did you bring a ship here?"
"Because it's where Hijiri wanted the temple and it didn't make sense to build something new when we had a perfectly good ship we can live in?"
You lock eyes with Murasa, and she stares back with a grin. It's clear she knows what you really want to know, but is dancing around the issue.
"Nue, why is the temple a shi" "Not tellin'." Nue says flatly as she moves to the ladder up the mast and begins climbing.
You follow as Murasa begins floating up along the side "Okay, fine. But why are you climbing the ladder if you can fly?"
You start climbing, and keeping Nue's immensely immodest clothes in mind you're careful to avoid looking up. "View of what?"
"Well, you can't see it if you don't look up, human."
"You're trying to get me to look up your skirt so that you can laugh at me, aren't you?"
You can hear Nue let go of the ladder, jumping off into the air and floating beside you "It's no fun if you don't play along, Knighty."
You haul yourself up into the Crows nest unlike any other you've seen before, where it was a basket on other ships, the temple simply has what seems to be a platform built atop the original crows nest.
Murasa is standing at the edge of the platform, facing toward the mansion off in the distance. Nue goes up ahead of you and sits down alongside her. She turns to face you before speaking.
"Took ya long enough."
"I'm comfortable in blaming Nue for that."
"It's not my fault! I'm not used to climbing."
"Yeah, I remember the whole thing being pretty inconvenient. You should become a ghost, like me."
You walk up behind the pair of them, taking a seat away from the edge. "I'll pass on that."
"Oh oh! Wait, we kill him right? Then we bribe the Judge to have him reincarnated as a Youkai!"
"Gotta make sure it's a smart one though. If he gets any dumber we won't have a use for him."
"Do I get a say in any of this?"
"Well obviously Hijiri will insist that you get a vote, but with 4 Youkai and two humans your odds aren't really looking very good I'm afraid."
"You're forgetting the other two Youkai are sane."
"So you think."
Nue suddenly cranes her neck back to look at you "Wait, did you just call us crazy?"
"Alright, alright. Scratch the plans involving immediate death.
Maybe we can teach him to fly?"
"Nuh-uh. Shou said no flight lessons."
"I outrank her on the ship! We're having flying lessons until the show starts!"
Terrifying a prospect as it may be, they do have a point. If it's as easy as they make it seem, surely you can learn.
 Impromptu flight lesson
 Polite and mature conversation to fill the time until whatever's going to happen happens.
Before I head to bed over here I wanted to confirm something, for those of you against I'm getting the impression it's more because it's Murasa and Nue offering rather than an aversion to learning to fly itself.
So would you guys like an option later on to learn from say, Shou or Hijiri instead?
[X] Polite and mature conversation to fill the time until whatever's going to happen happens.
Impromtu flight lessons aren't a great way to learn how to fly, unless you consider the idea of Knightanon getting into a fatal/near fatal accident is a good thing. But then again people who like that like to lose.