Drei !ELmRacmJAc 2012/07/05 (Thu) 08:56 No. 159298 ▼
File 134147859890.jpg - (95.04KB, 850x637 , ThatSureIsAnUpdate.jpg)
I'm sure that none of you are interested in all the tales of why I was incapacitated for a few months which I assure you, was as hilarious as it was painful. This isn't a fucking blog.
But hey, updated. First update that has to be done in two posts too. I guess that’s a milestone.
[X] You should find Daiyousei (again). She's been going through a lot and even though it makes no sense to prioritise her over all of the far more useful people, you should at least apologise.
-[X] Start with the Team-building already
“I still can’t believe those can be real.”
You frown as you look up at the twisted trees. You probably would have noticed them when you came round here this morning, which means that they’ve sprung up in the intervening time since then. That’s uncomfortably quick.
Are they another portent? When will they stop? Will they stop? Or will they just keep on happening until everything is altered to what they want it to be?
Regardless, you know that it means you can’t ignore the problem. If you do, the vision in the book might come about in a blink of an eye. That would be irritating, considering that you just got here.
“Hey, Komachi. You’re still coming with me as part of the group to deal with this, right?”
She brushes her hair out of her eyes.
“The Yama didn’t have anything against it, as long as I did it in my free time.”
“Yes…All of this, this was on your free time, wasn’t it?”
“No, this is actually just me skiving off work again. I completely failed to learn any lesson whatsoever from my near-dissolution. Of course I’m on break! Don’t you trust me?”
“No need to snap at me. I was just making sure my investment was safe. All that business with Eiki was difficult, you know.”
“I’ve already thanked you for that once. Don’t try to squeeze anything else out of it. Also, investment?”
She has her hands on her hips, though she’s clearly still just taking it as a joke.
“Well if you have a better term for what you are to me, young lady, I’d like to hear it!”
“You’re such a romantic.”
“Only to those who I know will appreciate it.”
And that’s true, more or less. You’d have a whole different kind of talk if you thought for a minute that she was the kind of girl who’d get offended rather than just taking the insult and coming back with another later.
“And ‘young lady’? I’ve walked this vale of sins for nearly three hundred years. That makes me what, ten times your age?”
“I’m not some pale inexperienced stripling of thirty that I may appear to be. I am seventy-six, thank you very much. That officially lets me refer to anyone I want as young, regardless of how old they actually are compared to myself.”
You can’t help but feel that you’re forgetting something. That you got too carried away in actually being so close to another person after so long and something has just slipped your mind.
‘So what, I’m still four times older than you? T-”
“Pfft. You’re an asshole, you know that right?”
“Well first off, so are you and secondly, of course! I am an insufferably smug jerk, a dick, a self-interested arse of titanic proportions. And yet aren’t I just so darn loveable?”
Komachi snorts and…Oh shit. How did you forget her?
“I have to go. You and I might both be jerks but there’s someone who isn’t. Someone that probably deserves better.”
Komachi trails behind you for a moment, confused.
“What’s this? Kind of came out of absolutely nowhere!”
“There’s something I have to do, is all.”
“You just enjoy being cryptic for no real reason don’t you?”
“It is one of the few joys I have left. Don’t ruin it.”
You get yourself ready for a search but once again, you seem to find the little fairy easily. In fact, you nearly trip over her when you first enter the village marketplace. Daiyousei is sitting in the corner behind one of the stalls, looking over the scene.
It’s not an entirely happy sight. While the stalls that were knocked down and destroyed have since been moved or replaced, an awful lot of scorch marks litter the corner of the marketplace.
Particularly near the burned out shell of what was once a small house.
“Fifteen villagers were confirmed to be injured and two dead.”
Keine’s voice litters the back of your mind as you and Daiyousei look over the ruined house, standing like a memorial to the senseless dead. The people give it a wide birth and the usual noise of people is muted and low.
You didn’t mean for this to happen. You wouldn’t do something like this. Not now. You’re a good person, you changed. You had a whole oath about not doing it. No. This is not your fault. This is Shikieiki’s fault. Her responsibility, not yours.
You don’t have to shoulder this burden.
Daiyousei turns around to look at you with a solemn expression on her face. This wasn’t what she needed to see after she fled Komachi.
“You knew about this, didn’t you? You knew about this and you didn’t care. You just kept going on with…with everything else!”
Her voice is shaking with both sad anger and a deep desperation to believe that you didn’t, that all of this was untrue.
You decide not to burden her further. She can see the connection to what you and her did with this but doesn’t want to believe it’s so. Telling her the truth would only make her feel worse and given your own particular manner of speaking truth, it would probably make her despise you.
“This? No. I didn’t. Keine only just told me about it earlier today. It’s a tragedy. And I see what you’re thinking Daiyousei and let me tell you something right now, you are wrong. We didn’t do this. Our little accidental rampage bruised a few people but nothing serious. As I said, I was talking to Miss Kamishirasawa earlier. She told me what happened here. Arson.”
“Y-you mean it wasn’t…us?”
“No. No. The little fire we started only burned for a small time in the haypile. Someone took advantage of the confusion we caused to burn a house down. Nobody knows who, nobody knows why.”
You put your arm around her.
“And don’t feel bad that it was our debacle that let them do that, don’t ever think of blaming yourself Daiyousei. Some people…some people are just monsters and there is nothing we can do to change that. I wish there was.”
There is silence for a moment before the fairy collapses against you, choking out a sob. A single look at her painfully guileless face tells you everything you need to know. She takes your words on faith because of course, she wants to believe. The lie should be easy to uphold, provided that you can get Keine to back you up. Any conflicting opinions could be dismissed as wrong after that.
“I’m sorry you had to find out about this. This kind of thing…isn’t really the province or place for fairies, is it?”
Death is not for them.
The silence stretches further. You really don’t need Daiyousei dwelling on this, you decide. She might not say it but it’s abundantly clear that she’s been taking on a lot of stress these past two days. Everyone has their Limit of how much they can take before even the smallest thing could push them over the edge.
You would bet that fairies certainly aren’t accustomed to death. Here, the lie might be almost as harmful as the truth if she lets herself focus on it.
“Do you know their names?”
She finally speaks.
“These people. The ones who died. Do you know their names?”
Of course not. And you have no desire to ever learn.
“No. I have no idea who they were. Miss Kamishirasawa probably knows. I imagine that all of these people do too.”
You make a vague sweeping motion to include the villagers moving through the marketplace.
“If it helps you, their names will likely live on long after today. I’ve been told by some that that is a kind of immortality.”
“Do you know if they even had names?”
“Er. I assume they did. People generally have names.”
“Really? I don’t.”
“Pretty sure you do. It’s Daiyousei. Unless you’ve been lying to me in a rather improbable fashion.”
“That’s not a name, that’s a title. ‘Great Fairy’ is all it means. I’m more of a Daiyousei than the Daiyousei. There’s a whole bunch of us all called that! I think I need to be more powerful to get an actual name. I thought humans were the same.”
Well, she’s already been fortunately distracted from the overall situation by this little conversation derail. From what you understand of Gensokyo, this isn’t unusual. Fairies will be fairies you suppose, even if she is smarter than most.
“No, humans generally get names at birth. I’m not sure how it works here but where I come from, they get it from their parents.”
“Mmm. Nash. So you would have gotten that name from your mother or something right?”
“Well, not my mother. The simple elegance and beauty that is my name came entirely from my father. But you have the general gist of it down.”
“Wait, so fathers choose the names?”
“No. Well maybe, not like that. There’s no set of mystical rules or guidelines that we defer to when it comes to naming children. I’m pretty sure it’s more of a shared project usually. It’s just that my mother wasn’t really around to name me.”
She looks confused for a moment before her expression turns horrified.
“Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to remind you of her de-”
“What? No. Damnit. It wasn’t some melodramatic thing like that.”
People always like to assume the worst, don’t they? You really don’t need the conversation to redirect its way back to death again.
“No tragic family past here, I’m afraid. When I said she wasn’t around, that was exactly what I meant. My father met her on one of his trips and that was that. He wasn’t really the type for committed relationships.”
Having explained the matter to your satisfaction, you find that Daiyousei is still looking at you quizzically.
“Aren’t you going to tell me more? That wasn’t a very good explanation!”
“I think it served its purpose.”
“Oh no it didn’t! If I’m being open to you, couldn’t you be the same? I don’t really know anything about you.”
“That’s just my natural aura of mystique. It’s entirely beyond my control.”
She does have a point though. Considering all you’ve put her through, Daiyousei deserves at least this small thing. And sheer raw curiosity is certainly a motivation you can sympathise with.
“But seriously, if you really want to know, it’s not something that could have happened if my father hadn’t travelled so much. He was a freelance priest, I guess you could call him.”
“A freelance priest? What?”
“You know. He sold his services to the highest bidder. And he was good, too. He wasn’t very suave or persuasive but he just had a way with spirits. Minor gods would call on him all the time and pay him to organise and spread their cults. Regular people would hire him if they needed someone to negotiate or talk with some new god or elemental that had just moved in or to placate an old one or if they just wanted some thaumaturgy done even. It was a pretty lucrative business.”
“That’s weird. What’s the point of even having a priest if they aren’t devoted to you?”
“It seemed to work. Most of the time that is. Sometimes he’d have to do other jobs when the economy of faith was sluggish. He also worked a bit for the Guild, which was a…big merchant organisation. A really big one.”
“And what did they sell?”
“Everything. He normally just did a bit of godbothering on their account but when he needed the extra jade, he also sometimes worked as a voyageur. Someone who is paid to travel to all kinds of far and hard to reach places to harvest things the Guild needed. It was this travelling that lead to…well, me. He spent a year away searching through the edges of Creation for a certain job once. Completely off the grid. It wouldn’t have been the first time he’d taken a long-term assignment so nobody was really worried.
And once the year was past, he returned with his objective. And with a baby boy.”
“Which was you.”
“Well it sure wasn’t my evil twin brother or anything. No doubt fathered on some frontier town who-…woman. He was never much for romance. It’s actually a little surprising that he even felt obligated enough to raise me. I guess even he wanted a legacy in the end.”
Not that he ever got one. Or at least, certainly not in the manner he would have wanted. It feels a little old to be talking about something as familiar as him in a land as foreign as this one, in a time so far beyond his.
“All in the past anyway. It’s not healthy to worry about the past. I’m absolutely certain I’ve said that to you at least twice already. I think we’ve dallied enough here, Daiyousei. The others will be getting impatient.”
“Oh come on! You have to come too. You are a very important part of the team, Daiyousei. I dare say we would all be very lost without you. Let’s go. Now, one thing. You’re not going to tell anyone about this little talk, are you? I like my secrets the way they should be, small and needlessly kept.”
She grins and shakes her head as you take her hand and pull her up, walking her out of the marketplace.
“How ‘bout this. After we finish up here, I’ll teach you a very special way to put one’s mind at complete ease. And only you will know. There’s a little game called Gateway that…”
The meeting is at Keine’s house. It doesn’t have to be at a bigger location since you must admit that the initial group of ‘investigators’ is rather small. Granted that there wasn’t a whole lot of people that Shikieiki would have let you trust with the information about Yuuka but you’ve been part of Yozi cults secretly taking place in a tiny Threshold village with a total population of twenty people that had bigger memberships than this.
Alright so it had turned out that everyone in the village had all actually been part of that cult and was hiding it from everyone else but hilarious party icebreaker aside, there’s five of you.
And the fifth member isn’t even here.
“Eiki couldn’t make it,” said your favourite shinigami. She and Keine were sitting at a table inside, the house’s interior having been restored miraculously from the wreck it had been.
“I didn’t think she would be able to. I’m sure she’s very busy,” you reply. You take a seat opposite Komachi, Daiyousei sitting next to you. Komachi arcs her eyebrow at the fairy’s inclusion but says nothing.
Keine is clearly nervous, her hands fidgeting under the table.
“I’m sorry but I thought that Damas-”
“I’m right here, Keine. Current circumstances dictated I appear this way. The name’s Nashar when I’m like this but you can just call me Nash. Sorry about the trouble.”
You fish the copy of the Crane out of your pockets and pass it to her as proof. She looks confused for a moment before her expression changes to one of comprehension. She looks decidedly less nervous.
“Ah yes, of course. …Loom-Snarling Deception, right?”
“Yes, that’s correct. How astute of you.”
How the fuck did she know that? You’re willing to believe that reading the entirety of some strange offshoot version of the Crane would give one insight into Malfeas and to a lesser extent, Infernals. But to the point of knowing the exact names of techniques? Something’s not quite right.
“Whatever,” Komachi says. “So…what do we actually do? Now that we’re all apparently here?”
“Well,” you say. “How about we go over and make sure everyone is on the right track?”
The next ten minutes are spent going over the appearance of Yuuka and her apparently only recent psychosis, the transformation of the Misty Lake and the upside down trees. None of it is new to you and it reveals nothing that you haven’t thought about already. At least the changes seem to just be ‘superficial’ so to speak. The acid lake is just a lake full of poisonous acid, not an actual extension of Kimbery herself and neither are the altered trees actually part of Szoreny.
It’s less of an active intrusion so far and more like some kind of twisted and aggressive terraforming. But you don’t understand how that would help the Yozi escape. What’s their plan here?
“Well that is all very well and interesting but…Komachi, do you remember when we met back at the lake? I said that there was another sign I hadn’t told anyone about. Miss Kamishirasawa?”
The schoolteacher nods at you and unceremoniously drops her copy of the Broken Winged Crane on the table.
Daiyousei looks at it for a few seconds, trying to draw meaning out of it.
“…It’s a book.”
“Yes. That’s the problem.”
“Oh. I see. Yes. Books are very problematic.”
She’s doing her best.
“This book is another one of these signs. Keine saw it in history last full moon and wrote it down. It’s reverberating backwards and through time and talks a lot about the things we’ve seen.”
Komachi picks the book up before anyone can stop her.
“Do you mind if I take this?”
“If I didn’t bring a clue like this back to the Yama, she would flay me alive. I’m not even being figurative!”
“It’s the only copy, I’m not sure if I want to part with it.”
You’re not exactly sure how much you want Komachi (and Shikieiki by extension) to know about the Yozi. It’s bad enough that Keine apparently knows all there is to know. Do you really want all of them getting all up in your secrets? Not that you’re afraid that they might rethink their opinions of you. No.
“Actually,” Keine says. “It’s not the only copy. I made a second one today. So she can take one.”
“You…did, did you?”
“Of course I did! What else would I do?”
She’s perfectly happy about the whole thing, cheerful even. Sometimes you succeed and sometimes you fail. Sometimes you succeed too goddamn much. You’re going to have to have a talk with her.
“Excellent. I’ll give it back to you at some point. Shiki will probably really want to see this. Bye!”
Komachi doesn’t even bother flying away; instead she just vanishes into nothingness right in front of you. With the Crane. Parts of you are screaming inside that you shouldn’t let this happen but really, what could you do? Attempting to keep the book away from them will just make you look even more suspicious. In the spirit of investigation, there’s no way you could deny this book to them and not have Eiki see through it. And then they would probably just end up with it anyway later and you’d be in the same situation, only with added mistrust.
And why shouldn’t you let them have it? This is their world that’s under threat here, not yours. You wouldn’t withhold potentially apocalyptic information just to make things more comfortable for yourself, would you?
“Is she supposed to be able to do that?” Daiyousei asks. Keine shrugs but otherwise doesn’t find it too surprising.
“Well I was going to discuss strategy to catch Yuuka but considering that both of those who were helping me with that are gone…oh fuck it. This meeting is adjourned. We can always just get more organised later. Oh Keine! Have they caught those bastards that started those fires yet?”
You can practically feel Daiyousei’s ears prick up.
“Not yet, more’s the pity. I’m beginning to wonder if we ever will.”
“Ouch. I’m sorry. That really sucks.”
And bam, deal sealed. Having handily reinforced the lie, you need to talk to Keine alone.
“Daiyousei, you don’t mind going on ahead, will you? Miss Kamishirasawa and I have some things to discuss alone.”
“Go ahead where? And why do you need to oh. OH.”
She blushes bright pink.
“But I thought you and Komachi…”
“No. NO. Not that kind of talk! Why the hell would that be your first conclusion? Just get out of here. Shoo! I’ll talk to you later! Shoo!”
Daiyousei giggles her way out of the house, leaving you and Keine alone. Keine noticeably relaxes further. She’d been on edge for the entire aborted ‘meeting’.
“So how have you been, Damask?”
“Good thanks. You?”
“Great! I have a question for you. You said Yuuka attempted to scare you away in the Bamboo Forest. What were you doing there?”
“…I had to be sure. Do you know just what Eirin could have done with Vitriol? Who am I kidding, of course you do! Just did a little creative interpretation of her test samples. No need for the rest of the group to know about that, incidentally.”
“You what! Don’t you know who Eirin is? Do you have any idea what you’re doing?”
“Don’t question me, Keine. I can take that from the others but not from you. I was wary of Eirin, don’t worry. If I did it right, and trust me I did, they should be off on a wild goose-chase right now that has nothing to do with me. How’s the Scarlet Mansion girl?”
“Meiling? Oh, she’ll be fine. Eirin’s good at what she does. I think the interest of the Mansion is inevitable given that the transformation is on their doorstep.”
“Meh. They’re just one more variable in a bloody ocean of variables where nothing that is actually concrete exists. And while we are woefully understaffed, having more helpers risks the circle growing too large and too untrustworthy. For now just lie low and act normal, I’ll deal with these ‘vampire’ things when they come. Speaking of which, you’ve been making more Crane copies. I can’t help but point out that that’s kind of contrary to this ‘keep it secret, keep it safe’ business.”
“In hindsight it wasn’t the best decision. But Damask, you have to understand! Writing the Crane, those words, that vision…it’s been some of the happiest times of my life.”
She’s gone all moon-eyed, her face slack with wonder. This is the first time in a long while that you’ve had to talk to someone with such a treasured memory. You feel an old urge rising.
“Right. And I understand that. But we need to keep it secret. Just because you enjoy it doesn’t mean everyone else will.”
You keep your face and voice neutral but your insides feel like they are slowly curdling and pickling inside of you as you try to force back the mad need. You’ve already done it to her before. You don’t need to do it again. You don’t. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.
It would be so easy. You’ve already done it once. You need to do it. This isn’t you. You’re better than this. You can just stop.
++ Limit: 0/10 ++
++Memory Poison Mastery: This Charm allows greater attunement to the Ebon Dragon, allowing greater power to defile the sanctity of memories. The catch to this power is slavery. Whenever you hear someone speak of a treasured memory, you must twist it or defile it in some way. To refrain is to act against your core nature.++
Ugh. You feel like you’re going to be sick. You were going to talk to Keine further, ask her about the Crane and her weirdly specific knowledge but you suddenly can’t stomach being around her right now.
Things have been getting far too serious lately. You need to unwind.
The air is thick with tension as your enemy considers their move. You pause, your breath catching as you consider the situation in front of you. So many have already hurt and suffered and died. Surely they wouldn’t…
“I move the Green Dog to cover your Yeddim piece!”
Daiyousei slides the Dog of Unbroken Earth piece across the board dramatically, slamming it down on top of yours with an awful finality. With an air of sorrow for your fallen soldier, you solemnly place the Yeddim to the side with all the other dead or captured pieces.
“Good move, you’re picking this up surprisingly fast! But then again, I suppose this is a game for immortals. Unfortunately, you’ve left yourself open. Again.”
You move your Dynast from the other side of the board, destroying the Dog. Daiyousei attempts to make another move but you stop her.
“Game’s over. With the Dynast moved, my Siaka challenges your Line directly.”
The fairy looks at the board for a few seconds before realisation dawns.
“Don’t worry. You’re picking it up amazingly quickly. This stuff usually takes ages to learn. With this progress, you could be playing actual Gateway in a day or so!”
“Wait, you told me this was Gatewhatever?”
“In a sense. This is the Fledgling Dragon variant of Gateway. It’s much quicker and simple than the regular game, so it’s good for teaching the basics. Plus it only uses one board which was easier for me.”
You’d crafted the single board and pieces with a handy use of Corrosive Pattern Infliction, repurposing the book you’d taken from Keine when you first discovered her house for a better purpose. ‘Proper’ Gateway would have required you to make at least two more boards and easily three times many more pieces.
“That sounds kinda stupidly complex.”
“Oh it is. That’s why there are so many variants of the game. Regular Gateway was developed for immortals after all, so it takes pride in being complex and looooooonnnggg. The best thing about Fledgling Dragon is you can actually get a game done in less than a day. Pass me back the Siaka piece, please.”
“I don’t even know what half these pieces are! What’s a ‘Siaka’ anyway?”
“What, you don’t have them here? But you have so many similar…alright. They’re a type of shark, you have sharks here?”
“Weird. Siaka are really big sharks that live in deeper waters. They eat whales. Don’t be disappointed about that capture because in my experience, Siaka excel at getting to places they don’t belong. I found one in my hotel room once. Long story.”
“Uh…huh. So do we have another game?”
“Nah, I think that’s enough for the night. It’s getting late. I don’t know about you fairies but for my august personage, sleep is still desirable.”
Well, less sleep and more rest but that’s just quibbling over semantics.
After Daiyousei leaves to do whatever fairies do at night, you break the crude game board into several pieces and shovel them into your mouth. The individual pieces soon follow. Keeping a board somewhere would have been a hassle and it’s not like you just can’t make more easily. And you felt somewhat hungry, which is always a good reason to start eating your surroundings.
As for where you’re staying tonight…well, you did see a nice looking river in the Forest when you and Dai were travelling over it. It shouldn’t be too far from here.
It isn’t. And just like you’d surmised from your glance before, it’s just deep enough. You jump in and sit down on the riverbed, your head just barely underwater. Still a bit more shallow then you’d like but good enough.
Resting here for a few hours should do the trick. Sleeping is for losers and people who can’t do aquatic immersion trances.
This way you have a few more hours to continue your own mental Gateway game before-