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File 128116827746.png - (1.07MB, 965x1050, 78.png) [iqdb]
5414 No. 5414
[X] If a fight is what it takes to bring this to a close... you'll just have to find some way to survive!

It's too late to run now. Hell, it's been too late to run ever since you first talked to her; you have a feeling that she made up her mind to kill you as soon as she found out that you were against her 'cause'. At this point, even if you could get Orin out of her funk and moving, trying to run might just end up bringing Okuu chasing after you up into the city, and you can't think of a worse outcome than that.

Which means you're going to have to fight here. With one last look at Orin, you stand from your crouch and turn towards Okuu, sizing her up as you mentally prepare for battle.

That cannon is still pointed towards you, but she isn't firing yet; there must be some sort of limit on how quickly she can shoot, or she would have just hit you with a follow-up after her first shot grazed you. It's too heavy for her to wield it easily, too; she has to brace herself with her free arm just to keep it trained on you, let alone re-aiming. Add in the weight of the thing slowing down her footwork and the fact that she'd be fighting one-handed, and your path is clear: you're going to have to get close and stay close until you can knock her down for long enough to give yourself a chance to get out of here.

The only problem is how. There's about a twenty foot gap between the two of you now, and If Okuu's done the same thinking you have, then she'll be trying to maintain that distance just as sure as you're trying to close it. Dodging those fireballs won't be easy at any distance, but getting closer will only make the task more difficult, and judging by the speed of that last shot, twenty feet is as good as point-blank range for this weapon. Danmaku as a distraction is a possibility, but you have a feeling that putting what little you've got up against her projectiles would be like showing up bare-handed to a knife fight. At closer ranges, maybe you could--

"Get away from Taizou, Rin."

And thinking time is over. Stepping back into a more balanced stance, you ready yourself to make one of those flight-assisted jumps and glance down at Orin once more--

--and she's already gone, with nothing but the shadow of a black cat in the corner of your eye to indicate where she's gone. Your head whips back around to Okuu, but she hasn't taken advantage of your distraction, her gun remaining unfired.

Which means you still have time to try to talk her down. "I'm not going anywhere, Okuu. This is what you call 'hiding behind someone strong'?"

Okuu is silent, and the stoic expression on her face is only marred by the ripples in the air as her gun begins to pump out heat.

"And it's not going to end with me. You think the oni are just going to keel over and die when you attack them? Rin and Satori, you're willing to start a war that'll risk their lives?"

No response.

"You aren't, are you? You're going to protect them personally, aren't you? Because it's not so easy to make these 'necessary' sacrifices when you know it's real people that you're--"

She fires.

Your leap away comes a split second too late. You manage to avoid the fireball, flames just barely nipping at your heels, but the blast of superheated air as the projectile passes by sets your flight off course, and before you can correct yourself, the ground is there. You just barely manage to tuck your shoulder under you before you hit, turning your landing into a half-roll, half-flop that leaves you lying on your back and breathless.

Before you can even feel the pain, though, your battle plan resonates in your head, and you force yourself onto your stomach. Now's your chance to get close to her! Scanning the dim cavern frantically, you eyes catch on a speck of light, and you haphazardly throw yourself towards it, using some more flight power to pull yourself into the air straight from your hands and knees. It's not until you reach the top of your arc that the speck that was Okuu's chest light becomes a beacon, and you can make out the rest of your target; her cannon's resting against the ground at an off angle from the direction that she fired, pushed back by the recoil, and she's staring off after the fireball, oblivious to your position. Tensing your upper body, your eyes follow your trajectory as you prepare for a--

--landing, your knees scraping the rock below as you hit the ground just as off-balance as you were when you jumped. Okuu shouts in surprise, but it's too late; as your momentum carries you the rest of the way, you kick yourself onto your feet and pivot your body forward, your punch--

--PAIN. You barely notice your fist going wide as you hit the ground, the blow to the side of your head turning half of your vision a spotty white. Instinct sends you rolling to the side, but the second blow never comes, and you force yourself from your knees onto your feet, still staggering as you try to pick out your target again through the haze of stars in your eyes.

Okuu's cannon is still resting on the ground, but its new position between you and her tells you what you just got hit by. As if on cue, the side of your face burns with pain, but even as you cringe involuntarily, you recall your plan once more and step forward to press what little advantage you have left. This time, you step outside her right arm, and as she grips her gun with her off hand to take another swing at you, your fist connects with her face with a power that vibrates through your body, sending her staggering back...

...a single step.

Pushing your shock aside, you take a correcting step and turn your body to deliver a follow-up punch, but she's already regained her balance, wings flaring wide behind her, and as your fist clips her shoulder, she swings her weight around to bring her gun crashing into your ribs. Your feet leave the ground as you fly backwards into the dirt, and your next attempt to stand leaves you clutching your stomach and moaning, barely able to move.

Gritting your teeth through the pain, you use your arms to lever yourself up, only to be pushed right back down, a gust of unnatural wind kicking dust up into your face with enough force to sting. As the breeze dies down a second later, you understand its source; Okuu's wings are unfolded and opened wide now, wider than she is tall, and she floats backwards through the air, fluttering her wings gently as she lands a few dozen feet away.

And raising her gun to fire at you. Mind working frantically, you ready your last resort; raising one arm to chest level, you send a burst of danmaku her way, leading her fall by enough to hit her within a few seconds of landing. Her gun comes up to point straight at your bullets, as though to catch them in the barrel, but they just barely slip past her arm, heading straight toward her chest--

--and then she fires, and the last thing you see is the danmaku vaporizing in midair as the flames blossom. Closing your eyes involuntarily, you take the only option you have left to avoid the oncoming fireball, pressing yourself flat against the ground--

And then every inch of your body is on fire, your top layer of your skin popping and bubbling like boiling water as your body boils from the inside out. Your mouth dries up as soon as you open it, but you scream anyway, and your feel a wetness leaking through your skin as your heart tears itself open, trying vainly to pump blood through burst capillaries. Even with your eyes shut, your eyeballs swell to fill your skull, and you begin another scream as the pressure in your head threatens to burst--

--and then it's over. Your scream cuts off into a gasp at the sudden disappearance of the source of the pain, followed by another half-scream, half-groan as the sting of your burns radiates into your bones.

You're... not dead. You're not even that badly injured, you realize, scanning yourself up and down with your eyes.

And that means you need to get up, to keep moving, but everything hurts, and it takes several seconds and a few false starts before you're able to drag yourself onto all fours and slowly raise your body into a semi-standing position. You blearily scan your surroundings for Okuu--

--and step out of the way just in time to avoid the next attack, an overhead swing of that gun from midair. The wind from your attacker's sudden arrival hits a moment later, nearly forcing you back to the ground, but you remain upright, staggering a step forward to take another swing at Okuu.

The punch feels like it hurts you more than it does her, but you connect solidly with the side of her head, and this time, you don't miss your chance for a follow-up strike, swinging your off hand into her ribs. She growls in pain, crouching to try to defend herself, but with only one arm free, there's no way she can guard her entire body, and you continue your advance, alternating targets between her head and stomach. Each successful strike pushes her back another step, and you keep up the pace, the sheer speed of your attacks preventing her from striking back.

But you can't keep this up. Even putting all the energy you have left behind your fists, you're not doing much but making her angry, and with the pain of your injuries threatening to overwhelm you, you know you won't be able to do even that for much longer. Gritting your teeth in concentration, you prepare another danmaku strike, gathering the energy into your arm as you continue your assault.

Your mind doesn't want to stretch that far, though; as the power reaches its peak within you, your punch flops off-target, and Okuu takes the opportunity, parrying your arm away with enough force to spin your entire body around. Flailing back towards her, you point your arm at her body as she heaves her cannon, now glowing brightly, skyward with both arms--

The explosion pushes you backwards, knocking you onto your back once again, and you know without looking that your danmaku were caught in the blast as well. Trying to breathe in through the cloud of dust, you use your good arm to force yourself into a sitting position--

--before Okuu's foot hits your forehead, sending you back to the ground and snapping your head back hard enough to make you black out. Before you can even try to rise again, something hits you in the neck and stays there, pinning you with enough force to stop your breathing. Working near-blindly, you grab the impediment with both hands, trying to pry it away, but you already know it's useless; even if you could find a way to gain some leverage from your position on the ground, your arms feel like they're about to fall off, and they're only getting weaker with every second you spend gasping for air. Even as your vision begins to return, you can only blearily make out Okuu's form towering over you, her body seeming impossibly tall as she suffocates you with one foot.

But that light is unmistakable. Through the fog, you can see Okuu's right arm, covered with dark, blotchy burns, as it begins to glow once again, her fist pointed straight at your head. Just like before, the air around her seems to darken and blur, and the cannon that she detonated to make that explosion slowly begins to reform around her arm, its tip mere inches from your head. Your vision dims, but that light stays constant as the space inside the barrel begins to glow, preparing the fireball that will end your life.

"Did you really think you would win this fight?"

You try to look past the barrel of the gun pointed at you to Okuu's face, but it's too far to see any more, and your head flops back onto the ground. "You... ghk... would've killed me if I ran anyway..." you choke out.

"True."

"Besides..." Maybe it's the lack of oxygen getting to you, but you even bark out a laugh, continuing to talk even though you know it's just wasting your breath. "It's worth... khh... worth it if it makes you realize... nng... that there's more to being strong than just being able to kill things..."

"...I don't think that's true."

...It's not an illusion. You're still struggling to take a breath, but Okuu's body is coming back into focus, and you can even see as far as her head now...

"But, hey, whatever makes you happy!"

...and her mouth isn't moving.

...Because she's not talking.

"...Koishi."

And as you say the name of the person that voice belongs to, your vision is filled by that vapid smile.

"Ooh, that was pretty quick!"

"Wha... why... ghk..." you sputter, renewing your vain struggle against Okuu's foot if only to get your questions answered.

"Oh, Okuu, you silly goose. Stop crushing Taizou's windpipe." The weight on your throat lifts immediately, and you roll out, chest spiking with pain as your deflated lungs hastily refill themselves. "There's a good girl. Now why don't you go play somewhere else for now?"

Okuu sets her foot down and lets her arm cannon dangle limply, staring blankly at Koishi for a moment, before turning away...

"Lady Koishi..."

But she doesn't leave. You catch a glimpse of the light in her chest burning bright as she jerkily turns back around, her free hand supporting her gun--

--as she swings it around to point straight at Koishi's chest.

"Please do not..." Okuu speaks through gritted teeth, and every word sounds like a struggle. "...do not interfere, Lady Koishi..."

"Oh, you." The smile never leaves Koishi's face, and she doesn't move to avoid the gun; instead, she pulls it even closer, folding her arms and resting her upper body atop it at she smiles at Okuu. "You realize it, don't you? You could fight me as many times as you want, and you would never, ever win." Koishi leans forward, and Okuu recoils away, the eye in her chest flickering on and off frantically. "And I could kill you whenever I want. Right now, even." Her voice gets quieter, but that smile never changes, even as Okuu's stoic expression begins to crack with signs of fear. "Now, Okuu. Go play."

"...I..." Okuu hesitates for one last moment, eyes flicking back and forth between you and Koishi. "...Yes, Lady Koishi." And then she's gone, the already-dim light in her chest growing further and further away as she takes off into the sky with a single flap of her massive wings.

"Now, then!" Koishi claps her hands once, spinning on her toes back towards you. "We have some talking to do, Taizou!"

"...What?" You're still trying to wrap your head around Koishi being here in the first place. "Was it you that sent Okuu to kill me, then?"

"Hm? But I just saved you! That would be dumb."

True enough. Sitting yourself up, you bring a palm to your forehead, trying to ignore the pain in your... well, in everything. "So what are--"

"In a few minutes, Orin's going to come back and plead with you on her hands and knees, you know. Even though you broke her poor little heart."

"..." Wasn't there anyone else who could have saved you just now? Anyone at all? You are just not mentally prepared for this shit right now.

"You don't remember? She was so sure that you would be able to talk some sense into poor, bird-brained Okuu. So sure that she told you that you wouldn't have to keep this a secret anymore."

...That's right, isn't it? "Wait, you were there when--"

"And now that you've broken her trust and failed her," Koishi continues happily, dancing around the cavern in time with her own words, "she's going to come back and ask you for one more little favor. 'Please, Mr. Taizou, can you keep this a secret for just a little while longer?'"

"And you're going to say 'No!'" Koishi chirps, trying and failing to sound stern. "And, leaving a heartbroken kitten in your wake, you'll return to the surface and face some of the most important decisions of your life! Who should you tell? What should you tell them? How can you keep yourself safe amidst the turmoil that's sure to arise?" Koishi claps her hands to her cheeks, swooning exaggeratedly. "Ooh, so exciting! Just like a spy thriller!"

"Or maybe you'll say 'Yes!' when Orin asks you! Then everybody will be happy! Except you, since you'll be lying to everyone who's ever trusted you down here, plus some! Will your mind snap under the strain of your deceit? Will you seek comfort in Yuugi's arms, even as you betray her trust?" Koishi poses again, pressing a hand against her forehead and pretending to faint. "That one could be a pretty good romance novel, huh?"

"Or maybe..." Koishi begins once more, only to cut herself off with a gasp. "No! Of course not! How could I think such a thing?!"

"..." You don't want to listen to her. In fact, you'd rather she just left you alone now to consider how you're going to deal with the very real problem she's just brought up. You don't really want to go against Orin's wishes, even if it wouldn't technically be breaking a promise, but how are you supposed to keep quiet about what just happened? And for that matter, what does this mean for your tacit agreement with Satori? The idea that she's trustworthy enough to justify hiding this cavern from the oni is pretty well shot to hell now, but does that mean you should just go tell the council head right away? And what about... the...

...She's breathing in your ear.

Fuck it. Best to just give her the reaction she wants, and hopefully she'll go away. "...What, Koishi?"

"Well, I was just thinking..." This time, she stops herself with a slap across her own cheeks, loud enough that even you flinch. "No! I musn't! I promised!" And then, her dramatic speech finished, she returns to staring at you in anticipatory glee.

"..." If you roll your eyes any harder, they're going to come out of your head. "...What?"

"Welllll..." And in an instant, Koishi is sitting right next to you, her face inches from yours. "...You could just forget about all of this. Then you wouldn't have to make any hard decisions, and everyone would be happy!"

"That..." Is she saying...?

"Buuuuut you said I'm not allowed to play around with your head any more, so there's no way that will ever work, huh?"

She is. For a moment, your anger at her -- at this whole situation -- nearly gets the better of you, and you reach toward her, only to let your hands fall short, coming to rest on your knees. You let your head hang on top of them a second later, staring down at the ground below.

"So?" And she's there, laying on the ground with her head between your legs, looking up at you. "What'cha gonna do?"

[ ] So? What'cha gonna do?
Expand all images
>> No. 5418
[x] "Thanks for saving me"
-[x] But taking your option would mean that not only I'm a liar, but a coward as well. Even if I don't remember, I'd probably still feel it. Call me romantic if you will.

Well, Okuu is a danger to everyone so keeping this a secret is out of the question. And lying to Koishi is also not an option because, unlike her canon counterpart, she seems to read completely conscious thoughts as well. Like, y'know, lies.
As of who should know... I suppose that, if Komeiji manages to put her down asap, there'd be no reason to make an incident out of this.
>> No. 5420
File 128119401168.png - (242.04KB, 400x560, 12381621.png) [iqdb]
5420
>--and then it's over.
Huh, I wonder what that was all about. I was getting kinda scared that glas had pulled one over us with the assurance over the last update. I'm pretty impressed and quite surprised how this situation resolved itself. Thinking about it, this was just about the only way Taizou was going to make it out of there alive. I wonder if she would have showed up if had ran too?

Honestly, her offer is pretty tempting. I'm probably just about the only one that doesn't unconditionally hate Koishi (I reserve that for her incarnation in AFT), and it feels like some of the abuse we get from her is due to how antagonistically Taizou decides treats her. She pretty accurately summed up our situation and what each decision probably entails. Anyway, for Taizou the person, a mind wipe is actually pretty appealing. Set aside all the nastiness of the genocidal hell raven aside and back to his "normal" days underground. He's got more than enough going on keeping the oni from wrecking everything without bringing Okuu into the situation.

For Taizou that is our character in the malleable prologue of SA, there's only one option: No thank you to the memory wipe, and apologize to Orin because there's no way you're going to let this be a secret anymore. Orin has done all that she could, Taizou tried the diplomatic route, then he tried to beat his resolve into her, all to no great effect. Keeping this a secret from Satori is impossible short of the memory wipe or just flat out avoiding her. I know she can't read memories, but not thinking about Okuu even once while we're around her is next to impossible (speaking of which, how has Orin managed to keep this a secret for so long?). Avoiding her is going to exacerbate the problem between Satori and the oni, and that's just going to rile up Okuu even more. On top of that, it would seriously strain Taizou's relationship with the oni and the Ancient City in general.

If we choose to walk this path, we're going to have to break Orin's heart and strike out into the underground with a new purpose based on what we've learned. We can really only talk to a few people about this, mainly Satori and Yuugi (maybe Yamame, but I doubt she has much of a mind for politics and doomsday scenarios). First thought was to go straight to Satori, but going to her with no leverage or general understanding of the situation would be foolish and dangerous. We really need to confide in Yuugi that we've found what was destroying the crops, it's happening because of how the oni are behaving towards Satori, if the oni find out it could cause something even worse to happen, and we need to work with Satori to defuse the situation.
The Komeiji sisters seem to be the only ones capable of stopping Okuu right now, and the youngest seems content to enjoy the spectacle. I just hope Satori doesn't take this opportunity to become a dictator.

[X] "Thanks for saving me"
[X] "I can't choose to forget this though, so I'll have to decline your offer."
[X] "After that, well, as much as I hate to say it, I guess you're going to get your 'spy thriller.'"

I want to add something about wanting a sweet piece of the romance novel, but the analogy is stretched enough as it is and say that while very desirable, the opportunities to romance Yuugi seeming to be dwindling away as we unravel the story. It's great how frequent updates are now, though. Feels like we're starting to get into the dense part of the story, so having it flow like this is great. Keep up the good work glasnost.
>> No. 5422
[X] "Thanks for saving me"
[X] "I can't choose to forget this though, so I'll have to decline your offer."

>>5420
I was thinking Orin can avoid Satori pretty easily, since she is a cat and Satori is busy with the oni most of her time.
>> No. 5424
Yeah, I guess I wasn't too clear here. If you could, include in your vote a decision on what you're going to do after turning down Koishi in terms of your agreement with Orin and/or talking about Okuu with someone. Not that any of the current votes are invalid or anything, but if there isn't a consensus on a plan of action at the end of this vote, the next update will probably be fairly short so that I don't end up making a decision for you.

>>5423
Oh, don't be that way. I was referring to the little barbs like "step away from the keyboard" and >implying, and nothing further. I think I've made it perfectly clear how much I appreciate the discussion that ULA gets, both on a personal level and in terms of contribution to the story, but I'll say it again by way of apology: thank you.
>> No. 5428
[X] "Thanks for saving me"
[X] "I can't choose to forget this though, so I'll have to decline your offer."

And it'll only get worse from here.
>> No. 5429
[x] >>5420 and everything he said.
>> No. 5430
Koishi could just make Utsuho forget about her whole evil overlord idea.
>> No. 5431
>>5430

I don't think Koishi CARES about that. Like she does about almost anything. She could completely rewrite her mind, but she simply doesn't feel like doing so.

>>5418

No matter how good of a liar you are, you always have a bit of guilty conscience when you lie. She can read the subconcious part of your mind, which includes the conscience, as it should be part of your super-ego.

(I'm not sure about the use of "conscience" in the english language, as I see it rather rarely. Hopefully everything was comprehensible.)

As for the vote:

[X] "Thanks for saving me"
[X] "I can't choose to forget this though, so I'll have to decline your offer."
[X] "After that, well, as much as I hate to say it, I guess you're going to get your 'spy thriller.'"

I guess that's the Koishi fanboi in me, telling me we should've accepted her help right from the beginning. Bear with me.
>> No. 5432
[x] "You saved my life, Koishi, and I thank you for it, regardless of how our previous interactions may have played out. Let's hope I've gotten the wrong impression of you, after all."
-[x] "I must decline your offer, however, as tempting as it might be on the surface. I don't think I could stomach abandoning my responsibility both to the Oni Council and the people of the underground city, Oni and Youkai alike. Despite how I may have been treated by some of them, I honestly believe they deserve better than that. I seem to have a tendency to try to help with other's problems, sometimes to my own detriment. I will stand by what I believe, though. After all, one of the main reasons humans and youkai mistrust or hate one another is a lack of understanding. If no one takes the first step towards reconciliation, nothing will ever change. In the end though, you are in the position of power here, not me, as I'm sure you know full well."
-[x] First and foremost, if you can, inform Satori in some way about what you learned about Utsuho and her intentions. Make it clear that while you can understand a desire to protect the hell-raven, there are others living underground and on the surface, and they deserve better than total annihilation, regardless of past misdeeds on both sides.
--[x] Suggest that Satori herself inform the Oni Council of the situation. They have a right to at least be informed. It also needs to be clear that brute force on their part would be both useless and potentially disastrous. This will probably not sit well with them. It may be in both Taizou's and Satori's best interest to explain the situation to Yuugi, as well. She and a few others may be the only ones capable of dealing with the council in a way that doesn't result in all out war.

Utsuho needs to be made to understand the reality of the, admittedly unsatisfactory and unideal, situation and the effects her actions could have in working against her ultimate goals, rather than for. Mutual understanding between humans and youkai, something that would by no means be simple or easy to achieve, must be reached through compassion and communication, rather than use of (excessive) force which can only result in more of the same. Many humans and youkai may not at first be receptive to any sort of cooperation, but open-mindedness, kindness, and respect often can have surprising effects. While there will always be stubborn or prejudiced individuals, having vocal leaders working towards a relationship that is, if not symbiotic then at least mutually beneficial or respectful, will go a long way towards achieving shared goals. Satori is by far the most likely candidate to be successful in this regard of anyone in the underground city. Yuugi could help significantly in this, as could Orin. If Utsuho is as important to her as she seems to be, she should want this to come to a peaceful solution as much or more than anyone else, hard as it may be to stand up to her power-crazed friend.

This vote puts a lot of faith in Satori, but I'm not sure we have much choice. It also assumes Satori isn't completely aware of Utsuho's intentions. Hopefully that's not a misconception on my part. And that she won't be totally opposed to dealing with her pet, and attempt to hide bird-brain's 'master plan' and misguided zeal.

This may be modified or removed when I sober up. I'm not sure I'm really in line with Taizou's character, here, but I think the sentiments fit. Feel free to pick and choose. Probably would've have made this half as wordy, if not for the fact that this seems to be a rather pivotal decision in the story, much more so than the last.

Taizou doesn't know that without his involvement, events would play out in a relatively bloodless manner, with Utsuho being taken down by Reimu or whoever. We as readers also don't know for sure whether the events of this story match exactly with canon SA. On top of that, even if Koishi wipes our memory, and makes it so that we go back to where we started down this path, I'm not sure if she'd be able to completely undo or negate the effects we've had on the underground population, for better or for worse. That'd be a whole lot of mind-wiping, and while I wouldn't put it past her, it just seems implausible.

>>5424
Sorry, I was being pissy and lazy. I'm drunk now anyways, and its probably better all around this way. I'll edit this for consistency and coherence in the morning. I wouldn't want a half-assed decision made in one of my favorite stories here.
>> No. 5433
[x] "Thanks for saving me"
[x] "I can't choose to forget this though, so I'll have to decline your offer."
>> No. 5434
[X] "Thanks for saving me"
[X] "I can't choose to forget this though, so I'll have to decline your offer."
-[x] Explain the situation to Satori and ask for her for her opinion on this.
-[x] Explain the situation to Yuugi and ask her for her opinion on this.

I don't care if we get a short update, we can't make a decision such as this without the point of view of the two main parties. That said, I want the council to find out but not on their terms. They seem intended to start a war or something.
>> No. 5435
[X] "Thanks for saving me"
[X] "I can't choose to forget this though, so I'll have to decline your offer."
-[x] Explain the situation to Satori and ask for her for her opinion on this.
-[x] Explain the situation to Yuugi and ask her for her opinion on this.

Sounds good. They are probably the two most well-minded people and at opposite sides of the "war", although Satori will probably take care of it when Taizou tells her.
>> No. 5436
[X] "Thanks for saving me"
[X] "I can't choose to forget this though, so I'll have to decline your offer."
-[x] Explain the situation to Satori and ask for her for her opinion on this.
-[x] Explain the situation to Yuugi and ask her for her opinion on this.

Works for me~!
>> No. 5438
[X] "Thanks for saving me"
[X] "I can't choose to forget this though, so I'll have to decline your offer."
-[x] Explain the situation to Satori and ask for her for her opinion on this.
-[x] Explain the situation to Yuugi and ask her for her opinion on this.

Satori seemed kinda reasonable. Much more than I expected actually. And Yuugi is a given.
>> No. 5439
[X] "Thanks for saving me"
[X] "I can't choose to forget this though, so I'll have to decline your offer."
-[x] Explain the situation to Satori and ask for her for her opinion on this.
-[x] Explain the situation to Yuugi and ask her for her opinion on this.

sage for worthless vote with no discussion
>> No. 5440
[X] "Thanks for saving me"
[X] "I can't choose to forget this though, so I'll have to decline your offer."
[X] "After that, well, as much as I hate to say it, I guess you're going to get your 'spy thriller.'"
[X] "Speak to Yuugi about what you've learned."

Talking to Yuugi and Satori seem mutually exclusive to me. That is to say, I don't know how to talk to both without a fairly significant choice being necessary after talking to the first. I remember Satori (would have) made some threats of violence (if she thought it would have been an effective way of keeping Taizou quiet). Without Yuugi's backup, I assume the worst if Satori got to Taizou first. I know that'll be an unpopular opinion, but we don't know enough about Satori and her motivations to hope for the best again. Hopefully I'll be proven wrong about not entirely trusting Satori, but until then, Yuugi first.
>> No. 5441
This isn't going to end well.
>> No. 5442
[X] "Thanks for saving me"
[X] "I can't choose to forget this though, so I'll have to decline your offer."
[X] "After that, well, as much as I hate to say it, I guess you're going to get your 'spy thriller.'"
[X] "Speak to Yuugi about what you've learned."
>> No. 5462
I'm unsure about whether or not to tell Satori before Yuugi, she may or may not go through with her threat. I think we need to know what Orin plans to do too, now that this plan failed, before going forward. Don't exactly need to lose the trust/gain another enemy right now. No mind wipe though, they'll just resurface anyway.
[X] "Thanks for saving me"
[X] "I can't choose to forget this though, so I'll have to decline your offer."
-[X] Ask Orin what she plans to do if you keep it secret
>> No. 5465
[X] "Thanks for saving me"
[X] "I can't choose to forget this though, so I'll have to decline your offer."
-[x] Explain the situation to Satori and ask for her for her opinion on this.
-[x] Explain the situation to Yuugi and ask her for her opinion on this.
They don't really seem mutually exclusive and if by any chance Satori (the elder) goes crazy and decides to do a 180º turn in her behavior by using violence, she won't risk harming a member of the council.
>> No. 5515
Called for refusing Koishi and telling both Satori and Yuugi. Updates may have to take a backseat to work temporarily, but I'm shooting for the weekend at the latest.

>>5434
Nah, this is fine; the only way the update was going to be annoyingly short was if you didn't make a decision with regard to your 'promise' with Orin.

>>5439
Oof. I can't even win for losing, it seems. I love you too, guy, so don't feel compelled to sage for no discussion.
>> No. 5660
File 128254661559.jpg - (577.79KB, 683x900, 79.jpg) [iqdb]
5660
[X] "Thanks for saving me."
[X] "I can't choose to forget this, though, so I'll have to decline your offer."
- [X] Explain the situation to Satori and ask for her opinion on this.
- [X] Explain the situation to Yuugi and ask for her opinion on this.

Orin, Satori, Yuugi, the rest of the oni... so many conflicting interests. You know you have to make a decision, but the longer you sit here, the harder it becomes to convince yourself that anything you could do counts as the 'right choice' anymore.

"Helloooo?"

You do know of at least one wrong choice you're not going to make, though. "No," you say resolutely, pushing yourself to your feet and taking a few steps backward, away from Koishi. "No... memory wipes, or whatever it is you do."

"Hmmm." Koishi doesn't move from her position on the ground, and her neck cranes backward awkwardly as she looks up at you, that vapid smile of hers taking on a more contemplative air. "Why shouldn't I?"

...So you only ever had the illusion of a choice here, after all. "Fine. Not like I can stop you," you spit, masking your fear with anger. "Try not to knock out the part of my brain that reminds me to breathe while you're in there. Unless you feel like killing me, in which case, hey, be my fucking guest." Masking your fear with anger rather poorly. At least with Okuu, you had a chance to defend yourself; with Koishi, you won't know what's coming, even after she hits you with it.

"What? Don't be silly!" Behind you. You wheel around to find her on her feet a few yards away from you, adjusting the brim of her hat as she looks off into the distance in the direction that Okuu flew away. "I promised, right? I would never play with your precious memories without your permission."

You breathe out. You don't believe her for an instant, of course, but if she's playing coy like this, then maybe she really does plan to let you go.

"I just want to know why." She turns toward you, folding her arms behind her back. "Since if I were you, I would just forget."

"And just ignore Okuu until she puts her plan into action?"

"But that's what you were doing before, right?" she asks, looking genuinely confused now. "Keeping the door in the underground garden a secret."

"That was before I knew there was a genocidal maniac down--"

"But you knew there was something that Sister didn't want the oni to know about. Before you came down here, you wouldn't have known if she was keeping something even more terrible than Okuu down here, and you decided to keep her secret. Now that you know exactly what it is, you're going to tell everyone!"

You take a step backwards. Koishi hasn't moved yet, and her voice is still calm, but there's something in her eyes that you don't like. "That's because I trusted her to--"

"That's strange, right? Sister didn't lie to you at all, but now you trust her less! Even when the only thing that's changed is you!" And now that something is in her voice, sending her pitch up just a little too high as she stares at you. Funny, how you'd never noticed how that perpetual smile of hers doesn't quite reach her eyes. "That doesn't make sense, does it? People should be more consistent in how they think about things than that, shouldn't they?"

"Hey, maybe I made the wrong decision before," you admit, taking another step backward. "All I know is what I'm going to do now." And you do know, you realize. As much as you'd like to make Orin happy, this is too big to keep a secret anymore; you've got to tell at least Yuugi, if nobody else, and the two of you can figure out where to go from there. "You have a problem with that, you know exactly what you can do. Until that time, my mind's made up."

But before you've even finished speaking, any sense of malice you were feeling from Koishi is gone, and when she smiles at you, it's the real thing, or at least as close as she ever gets to the real thing.

"Okay, then! If you've decided, then I'll go get Orin so you can leave! Bye, Taizou!" And with that, she finally moves, turning on her heel and bounding-- no, skipping away into the darkness.

"That's... it?" you mumble to yourself. You were expecting things to turn out... well, less pleasantly for you.

"That's it!" she calls back without turning around, even though she should have been well out of earshot.

...Huh. Maybe you've misjudged Koishi, after all. There's no denying that she's not really right in the head, but when it comes down to it, she has saved your life multiple times now, and for all the antagonism between you, she hasn't actually caused any permanent injury yet. Maybe the two of you just got off on the wrong foot?

Well, except the wrong foot was her trying and failing to wipe your memories. And there was that time she made you strangle yourself--

Ah, screw it. "Koishi?" you call after her retreating form.

"Yeees?" Off in the distance, Koishi stops mid-skip, one foot still in midair, and without putting it down, she twist-hops her way back to facing you again. "What is it, Taizou?"

"Thank you for saving my life." A brief pause. It seems like it would be much less awkward to say this if the two of you weren't 30 paces apart. "Uh, twice." Another pause. "That's it, really."

Even from this distance, you can see Koishi's head slowly turning sideways until her head is at a 45 degree angle, brow furrowed in confusion. She stays that way, unmoving, unspeaking, for at least 15 seconds, just staring at you--

"Okay!"

And then, with a single word and another flash of that smile, she jerks herself back around 180 degrees and continues skipping, rhythm unbroken.

...Well, at least you feel better. Sort of.

For the next few minutes, you're alone in the dark, waiting; the thought occurs to you that Koishi may have just left you down here to die, but you manage to ignore it long enough for Orin to show up.

Or at least, for most of Orin to show up. Physically, she's unharmed, but even in this dim light, you can see that she looks a mess; her eyes are puffy and bloodshot, and the cat ears on her head are turned sideways and folded down, drooping like... well, like the ears of an unhappy pet. Clearly, Koishi told her about your plans. Saves you the trouble, and yet...

Well, there's nothing you can do about it now. "Hey, Orin," you say neutrally.

No response. She carefully avoids meeting your eyes as she walks past you, and she doesn't even speak as she motions for you to follow her. With nothing left to distract you from the pain of your injuries, you hobble your way through the cave in uncomfortable silence, Orin keeping a firm distance between the two of you as she navigates.

It's not until you can see the light of an exit off in the distance that she finally breaks the silence. "Taizou?"

"...Yeah?" you reply, bracing yourself for the worst.

"I'm... I'm sorry."

...Oh? "Huh?"

"For l-leaving you alone with Okuu." She still hasn't turned toward you, but the sound of her voice tells you well enough how she must look right now. "You could have gotten h-hurt, and I... I..."

"Hey, don't worry about it." Now that you think about it, her running away after all those assurances that Okuu wasn't dangerous wasn't exactly the nicest thing she could have done. Still, the time has long since come and gone for you to get angry about that, and it certainly wasn't on your mind during the actual fight. "I can hardly blame you f--"

"No!" But Orin isn't content with that. "I shouldn't have done it! It was dangerous and wrong and if I had been there..."

"No, really, I forgive you--"

"--and if I had been there, I would have been able to stop her! S-She's not really as strong as she looks! So..." She's slowed to a halt now, and as you try to move around in front of her to get a look at her face, she hurriedly turns away, hunching her shoulders as though to keep you back. "So don't think of Okuu as a bad person! She's not!"

...So it does come down to this, after all. "Orin--"

"She's not! Even if she talks like that, she wouldn't really hurt anyone! So... so you don't have to..."

'Wouldn't hurt anyone'... you bite your tongue to stifle the retort that rises to your mind immediately; that's not going to do anybody any good. "Orin, your friend..." Is insane. "...needs help. I'm sorry there wasn't anything I could do, but just letting this stay hidden doesn't help an--"

"So just let me keep talking to her!" Finally, Orin turns on you, apparently oblivious to her own tears as she forces her face up to yours. "If you can't do anything, then you should just stay out of it! Then nobody has to get hurt!"

"I don't want to see Okuu hurt either. Nobody does," you say soothingly. Probably not strictly true, but Orin's beyond the reach of logic at this point, anyway. "I'm not making any plans, and I'm not going to take any sides. I just want to talk to a few people and see--"

"Not Okuu, you-- you-- arrgh!" With a sound somewhere between a growl and a high-pitched whine, Orin actually shoves you,and then stomps her way right back over into your face before you even finish stumbling backwards. "You idiot! You don't understand Lady Satori at all!" she screams, fists clenched at her sides.

Wait, you don't understand Satori? "What does--"

But she's already gone, sobbing loudly as she sprints off towards the light that marks the exit to this cave, and before you can even think to give chase, her human form disappears, and the black cat left behind in its place melts into the darkness and vanishes from your sight.

Even knowing it was coming doesn't make it any easier to take. The rest of the walk back seems even longer than you thought as you try to remind yourself that you really are doing what's best and focus in on what you're actually going to say about this. It's just going to be Satori and Yuugi at first, you decide; you'll have to tell the council head eventually, but you want some time to figure things out for yourself before that, not to mention time to figure out an excuse as to why you kept this underground room a secret through multiple searches.

Of course, you'll also need one of those for Yuugi, you realize glumly. It wasn't actually lying, it was for a good reason, you were being threatened by Koishi -- you have a laundry list of decent excuses, but your limited experience tells you that oni as a whole are more interested in moral absolutes than they are in whether or not you were 'technically correct'. Honestly, you don't know how upset she'll really be at the revelation, but you already wish you didn't have to find out.

And one more thing that's been floating around in the back of your head for a little while now: you still don't know for sure that Satori doesn't already know about Okuu's plan. You don't want to believe that she's been lying about her innocence all this time, but you can't rule it out as a possibility, and if it's true... well, she's already told you that she has no moral qualms about using force to keep people silent. Is it really safe to tell her about this now, while you're alone?

The exit you've been heading towards, it turns out, isn't the one you came in through, but the secret door in the basement of the palace, and you step through the narrow garden and begin to make your way up the stairs that lead out into the main foyer. You're still not sure of anything -- what you're going to say, how you're going to say it, what you're going to do after that -- but you know that you're going to need to have at least one decision made by the time you reach the top of these stairs.

[ ] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.
[ ] Satori's pet, Satori's mansion... she deserves to be the first to know.
>> No. 5661
[x] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.
Of course. What else.
>> No. 5662
[X] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.

That other choice smells like a bad end.
>> No. 5663
[X] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.
>> No. 5665
[X] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.

A) Yuugi's the most neutral in this whole thing while Satori might get defensive. And Hey Oni don't lie.

B) Taizo needs some comfort.

Now the interesting part is how will this play out.
>> No. 5666
[x] Satori's pet, Satori's mansion... she deserves to be the first to know.
I still don't know what Satori did to earn such mistrust. The only justification for that would be if she already knows what is her pet going to do...
Since this feeds in canon (somewhat) I don't think so.
>> No. 5667
[x] Satori's pet, Satori's mansion... she deserves to be the first to know.
While I have a hard time believing Satori doesn't know Okuus plans, I'm going to give her the benefit of doubt, and trust her anyways. Than we can call this shitty day done, and go home and drink with Yuugi.
>> No. 5668
[X] Satori's pet, Satori's mansion... she deserves to be the first to know.

Surely Satori should be able to tell of Taizou's intentions in maintaining a peaceful coexistence between the Oni and Youkai. For him to be upfront about his discovery first with her ought to provide something of a restraint upon Satori's actions if she wishes to continue acknowledging Taizou's relatively neutral position.

Besides, unless she manages to get Koishi to erase everyone's mind of Taizou's existence, Satori shouldn't be surprised if a certain oni starts searching for Taizou and asking questions.
>> No. 5669
[x] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.
>> No. 5670
[x] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.
>> No. 5671
[x] Satori's pet, Satori's mansion... she deserves to be the first to know.
All my arguments have been said so...
>> No. 5672
[x] Satori's pet, Satori's mansion... she deserves to be the first to know.

At the very least whether we fully trust her or not, she needs to know that WE know about Okuu, and that we seriously feel that just leaving her in the basement is not helping at all. The Oni may have been/are looking for a reason to move, but if she hasn't been able to do anything with Okuu by this point...
>> No. 5673
[x] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.

Now to just avoid Satori until we can get to Yuugi. Not sure how much of a range there is on her mind reading.
>> No. 5674
[X] Satori's pet, Satori's mansion... she deserves to be the first to know.
It would be simpler just to do this now

I doubt she had actual intent to hurt him, especially since the Oni would become suspious if you disappeared.
>> No. 5675
[X] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.
>> No. 5676
To be honest I have no real problems with going to Satori... it just seems too easy... and that doing that right away would start even bigger problems.
>> No. 5677
[x] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.
>> No. 5678
[x] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.
>> No. 5679
[x] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.

In Yuugi We Trust
>> No. 5680
[x] Satori's pet, Satori's mansion... she deserves to be the first to know.
>> No. 5681
[x] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.
>> No. 5682
[X] Satori's pet, Satori's mansion... she deserves to be the first to know.

You're supposed to be helping the search through the mansion. They're probably already suspicious that you left.
>> No. 5683
>>5682
I'm not sure if there's a search going on or not at the moment. I doubt it since the sound of the door opening or such would be a big giveaway.
>> No. 5684
>>5682

You should probably read the updates before you vote. We're not currently searching the mansion with the counsel.
>> No. 5692
[X] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.

Can you also update a little faster now glanost, please?
>> No. 5695
[x] Satori's pet, Satori's mansion... she deserves to be the first to know.

What if someone from the council asks Yuugi if she knows anything? Or if she feels she has to tell them anyway? I want to know whether Satori knew before we blow the lid off this, and maybe give her a chance to tell them herself.
>> No. 5702
>>5695
Kinda doubt that since Yuugi kinda made a point to distance herself away from this mess. She just houses the neutral guy.
>> No. 5705
[X] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.
>> No. 5711
[x] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.

I don't think I already voted. Honestly, I'm not sure.
>> No. 5715
Yuugi wins, even discounting >>5664 (which looks like a first draft of >>5665 that was mistakenly left undeleted) and >>5711.

>>5692
I really hope so.

>>5711
Do what I do; hit the checkbox on every vote and try to delete them all at once. It'll tell you if any posts were actually deleted, and posts that weren't yours will be unharmed.
>> No. 5717
>>5715
Sorry about that, I wasn't aware that made it, but I went and cleaned that up.
>> No. 5729
[X] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.

Yuugi Knows best.

(I hope.)
>> No. 5734
You guys need to mellow out. While Glastnost's speed of updates is slow as fuck, generally they're good and of decent to long length. There's other stories to read on the site too you know, take a look through the archives.

That said, 1 update every two weeks at the LATEST would be pretty cool, and if not, a status update then.
>> No. 5755
File 128369478699.jpg - (234.13KB, 800x622, 80.jpg) [iqdb]
5755
[X] You need someone you know you can trust. Go tell Yuugi first.

It has to be Yuugi. She's the one person involved in all this who you know you can talk to without getting hurt (at least, not immediately, physically hurt), she's the most interested in helping everyone actually get along with one another, she'll be able to help you tell the council head when it comes time -- and above all, you really want to talk to her. It's been a long time since breakfast, and you've passed yourself back and forth between people who want to use you, people who want to kill you, and people who need their heads examined enough times that you're no longer sure who fits into which category. With Yuugi, not only do you know where you stand, but you're pretty happy to be there, too.

If you're going to get there, though, it means leaving here. Taking a deep breath and holding it, you hit the top of the stairs at a brisk pace and just keep on walking; through the door, across the foyer, out the main door, and into the street without breaking stride. You don't see anyone, and if anyone sees you, they keep it to themselves.

Just as you had hoped. The coast looks clear out here, too; not really that surprising, given that the search was already ending when you snuck off to meet Okuu the better part of an hour ago. With a last look behind you, you head down the stairs and out onto the road. From here, you'll cut through the edge of the city, but after that it's just empty road all the way up until you get back home and--

"Hey, Taizou!"

--meet Yuugi?

Sure enough, when you turn around to look, you find none other than your oni benefactor, raising a hand to flag you down as she walks across the street towards you.

"Wha--" Er, maybe asking what she's doing here is a little rude. "H-Hey, Yuugi!" you call back haltingly, waving back to her.

"Good timing!" she booms, greeting you with a clap on the shoulder as the two of you meet. "I was just comin' over to see what was keepin' you! So what, you get held up?"

...You were really hoping you'd have a little more time to straighten things out in your head before telling Yuugi. "Uh, yeah. About that--"

"Hey, you had to skip lunch searching, right? You wanna go get something to eat?"

Damn it. In any other situation, you'd be more than happy to accept such an invitation, but right now, the two of you need to talk about things that you'd rather not have overheard. "Sounds good, but before that," you say hurriedly, casting your eyes back and forth over the street once, "I was hoping we could talk a little bit about, uh--"

"Oh, that? Don't worry about it!"

...You just left the mind reader's house, right? "Huh?"

"You're talkin' about, uh," she hesitates, lowering her voice slightly, "what we talked about this morning, right?"

"Uh..." This morning was so long ago.

"Y'know..." Yuugi casts another glance over your surroundings and leans in a little closer, lowering her voice even further. "What you overheard?"

"Oh!" Ah, yes, the other person/group that wants you dead. "Uh, that was--" Not what you were talking about. "Didn't you say I shouldn't worry about--"

"Well, yeah, but you seemed pretty freaked out, so I figured I'd do a little diggin', figure out what's up." She shoots you a cocky grin and thumps her chest once with her fist, puffing up with pride. "And now I've got it all figured out for ya. C'mon, I'll tell you 'bout it over a burger."

"Yuugi, there's something else," you say hurriedly, and Yuugi turns back around, looking at you confusedly. "After the search, I was... well, I found... something out, and, uh..."

"Yeah? Something interesting?" she asks casually, still clearly not catching your drift.

"Something that we need to talk about soon." Still nothing. "Somewhere where nobody else will be able to overhear us," you add pointedly.

And now she gets it. The switch from confusion to shock comes almost instantly, but the transition to melancholy takes an unpleasant eternity as you watch Yuugi's happy mood evaporate bit by bit; first her slumping shoulders, then a heavy sigh, and finally an almost pained expression that's quickly hidden by a hand at her brow, massaging her forehead.

Damn it. If nothing else, it helps to know that you're not the only one who feels like you're up to your neck in this shit, but this isn't what you wanted.

"So... okay. Yeah." It sounds like she's talking to herself at first, and you're almost struck by surprise when she raises her head to look at you once more. Her expression is... resolute; no sadness, but none of the happiness from a moment ago, either. "So, you wanna... yeah. Okay." She sighs once more, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear idly. "Okay, let's head home. We can get som--"

"No."

"--n the way-- eh?"

Fuck this. You're rebelling. "I've considered it carefully, and I've come to the decision that I have nothing to tell you that cannot wait for a half hour. Now, you and I are going to go get some food, and God help whoever or whatever should stand in our way. Understood?"

And just like that, the resoluteness is gone, replaced first by utter confusion, then an uncertain smile as she shakes her head. "Really, we don't have to--"

"Yuugi!" The mock anger comes naturally, fueled by the leftover real anger at your circumstances, and Yuugi actually jumps as you step toward her, brandishing your index finger. "There comes a time in a man's life when he must put his foot down! I have put my foot down," you say, stomping the ground for emphasis, "and I do not intend to pick it back up, except to move it in the direction of a burger! Now, are we clear?"

Your final line is the last straw, and Yuugi's smile, growing steadily through your speech, breaks into a big, throaty laugh, and she bends double, grabbing onto your shoulder to brace herself as she shakes with laughter. "Crystal," she manages after a few seconds, wiping a tear from her eye as she looks back up at you with a grin.

"Excellent. Now," you say, bowing slightly and extending your arm to gesture down the road, "lead the way, if you would be so kind."

"Hm." Yuugi straightens herself back up with one last chuckle, eyes following after your gesture, and her expression turns thoughtful for a moment. "We're gonna have to run if we wanna beat the dinner rush, so..." And then, with a small step away, she reaches out and grabs hold of your outstretched hand. "Hope you can keep up!"

And before you can even realize it, the two of you are off, Yuugi's grip holding tight as she takes off down the road, pulling you off balance. You catch one last glimpse of her smile and hear her laugh echo back at you as you stumble awkwardly for a few steps, and you can't help but laugh in turn as you right yourself and pick up the pace, catching up to beside her as the two of you run off to who knows where.

---

"...And this is supposed to taste like meat?" you ask skeptically, peeling back the bun of your just-delivered meal to inspect the contents. It certainly doesn't look like meat.

"Well, no, it still tastes like tofu, that's why you've gotta cover it in sauce. But the texture," Yuugi says, opening wide to take a bite of her own burger, "is just like the real thing."

"I don't get the point."

"Cows don't eat rocks and dirt is the point. Meat ain't cheap down here, and oni without meat ain't happy oni."

"But it's still not actually meat, right?"

"Well, yeah, it's not like we actually need meat to live. It's just, y'know, a lifestyle kinda-- oi, are you gonna eat the damn thing, or just stare at it until it gives up and jumps in your mouth?"

"All right, all right, I'm eating," you say, parrying Yuugi's playful jab from across the table as you pick up the burger. You're actually a little surprised to see a meal like this down here; admittedly, the sandwich isn't exactly the most complex of humanity's inventions, but it only caught on in the village due to the relatively constant influx of people from outside the border. Does this mean that the oni are still in contact with humans on the surface somehow? Or maybe oni come in through the border and end up down here, just like--

"You've got five seconds before I hold you down and shove it in your mouth, Taizou. No joke."

You roll your eyes at Yuugi one last time and take a big bite. It's... sweet, but with a bit of a tang to it; something like a teriyaki sauce, but without the saltiness. The 'meat' itself is pretty flavorless, of course, but you have to admit that you wouldn't have guessed it wasn't the real thing if Yuugi hadn't told you.

"Not bad at all," you say, taking another quick bite almost as soon as you swallow the first one. It's got a little spicy flavor to it, too; even better. "What's in this sauce?"

She shrugs. "I don't have a recipe or anything. He puts in a whole load of molasses when he makes it, though." Well, that explains the sweetness. Not the spicyness, though. Wow, this actually has a little bit of a kick to it. "And ketchup is the base, I think." A lot of kick to it. Damn. "Oh, and there's like a barrel full of hot peppers in there."

Yuugi's hand reaches your glass a moment before yours, dragging it across the table and just out of your reach. "Makes me thirsty just thinkin' about it." Your fingertips just graze Yuugi's glass as she snags it with her other hand, holding them both at shoulder level on her side of the table. "Yes, indeed, I do believe I could drink both of these and still be thirsty."

"I will fight you, Hoshiguma," you growl, letting your mouth hang open to let your breath fight to cool the raging inferno in your mouth.

"Ooh, scary."

The small table squeaks against the floor as you make another fruitless lunge, and Yuugi leans her chair back on two legs, easily keeping herself and her hostages out of your reach.

"..." You're literally tearing up here. "...Please?"

With just the slightest hint of a smug grin, Yuugi wordlessly passes your glass back into your waiting hands, and you snatch it away instantly and drink, downing half the water inside in a single breath. As the pain in your mouth and throat slowly ebbs away, you collapse back into your chair involuntarily, gasping for air, and let Yuugi resituate the things displaced by your brief struggle. As the table squeaks back into position before you, you raise your head up at Yuugi once more, her expression meticulously absent any trace of malice or cunning.

"...It is pretty good."

"A little spicy, though," Yuugi says earnestly.

"A little spicy."

For the next few minutes, the two of you banter back and forth, talking about nothing in particular as you finish off your meals in short order (it's not that bad once you're expecting it, really). Yuugi was right to rush over here; in just the time it took for the two of you to get your food, the restaurant went from virtually empty to more than half-full, and the entryway is already full of people waiting for a table as the two of you make your way through the crowd and out the door back onto the street.

"So what was that you were going to say about finding something out?" you ask, following Yuugi's direction through the city.

"Ah, yeah. Nothin' much, really, I'm still thinkin' that the whole thing's not gonna be that big of a deal, all told." She shrugs. "I think I can tell ya who you overheard back then, though."

"Really?" That sounds like a pretty big deal to you, given that you were too drunk to give her any useful information about what you heard, apart from the message itself.

"Wasn't that tough, really. I'd already been keepin' tabs on who thinks what about oni-youkai relations and such, y'know, just in case it ever came down to it." You're not entirely sure what anything would 'come down' to, and the phrase sounds a little foreboding, but you keep your concerns to yourself as Yuugi continues. "And I hadn't heard so much as a whisper about any plans to get rid of you from the council proper, which just doesn't happen unless people are actually trying to keep secrets."

"Add it together with what you heard, and you have to figure that these two guys have been meeting each other outside of council work for some 'I hate humans' parties or whatever." She's a little more subdued than before, but some of that prideful energy creeps back into her speech as she continues to elaborate. "And obviously they're not just gonna tell everyone what they're doin', which means they're leavin' a trail of dodged questions behind 'em. Really, the only hard part was findin' the first couple of guys whose schedules had one too many coincidences. From there, it was just figurin' out how far out their little meetings went."

Wait, so she spent her day walking around and cross-checking people's schedules for you? "This sounds like it was a lot of legwork," you say appreciatively.

"Well, it's not like it was strictly business. Y'know, have some drinks, gossip, take care of some errands," she chuckles. "Basically a normal day, plus a little extra."

"I really do appreciate it, though." Honestly, you had begun to let the topic slide out of your mind in light of more recent events, but now that you're thinking about it, the prospect of more information is already making you feel safer. "So what did you find out in the end?"

"Looks like it's four people, maximum. Definitely Takeshi Taka and Yoshio Sakai, those're probably the two you overheard. Probably Eri Kishimoto, maybe her brother Masao Kishimoto. Uh, you may not have actually met any of those guys," Yuugi adds hesitantly, catching your expression.

That's not what you were thinking about, though. "Yoshio Sakai... blonde hair, kind of young-looking?"

"That's the one. How'd you... wait, don't tell me he's--"

"One of the oni I'm supposed to be commanding in the search," you finish unhappily. "I remember his name because I specifically called him out for not paying attention before the first search."

"Haha, ouch. So after he probably already had his horns in a knot over working under you, you went and chewed him out?" It looks like Yuugi's finding this a lot funnier than you are, but she cools it after taking a look at your expression, giving you a slap on the back. "Hey, I still think you shouldn't bother worryin' about the entire thing. This is just FYI, so you know who you're lookin' out for."

Well, you did hear at least one thing that made you happy. "No chance of Rasetsu being on the list?"

"Nah. He keeps to himself, really." She snickers. "Well, more like he's creepy enough that people stay away from him naturally. Ah, here we are."

You'd been taking an unfamiliar route through the city ever since you'd left the restaurant, so it's not until she pulls out a ring of keys to unlock the door that you recognize this place as Yuugi's liquor store. So this is where she was headed? You cup a hand over your mouth and nose to ward off the suffocating odor of sake in the air, and keep it there until the two of you have crossed through the main room on the ground floor and made it up the stairs to the distillery on the upper level.

"So." Your feet barely hit the floorboards, though, before Yuugi turns around, hitting you with that serious stare from before. "Now's your turn."

Well, it's not like you didn't know what you were coming here to do. You find yourself a uncluttered spot up against a wall, far enough from any fragile-looking equipment that you feel safe, and lean back, taking a few deep breaths. You already more or less know what you're going to tell her -- it's just a matter of how you're going to say it, now.

[ ] Write-in.

---

Kind of a tailor-made "lengthy dialogue write-in" point, but do feel free not to do it like that if you prefer.
>> No. 5756
When do you need the write in? do we have some days or does it need to be now?
>> No. 5757
Realistically, it's probably going to be another week before the next update, so you've got some time.
>> No. 5758
>>5757
Working on it.
>"...It is pretty good."
>"A little spicy, though," Yuugi says earnestly.
>"A little spoicy."
Nice conversation. Nay, nice scene. Quite charming... they make a good couple.
>> No. 5767
File 128371995731.png - (144.53KB, 411x600, 3865486.png) [iqdb]
5767
Despite what we've learned, there's quite a few things we don't know about why Satori wanted to keep the secret passage a secret from the oni. We can really only speculate why it was so important to her. One scenario is that Okuu's plan and Satori's plan are one in the same. I really doubted it, but the way Koishi was scolding Taizou for being inconsistent with his trust of Satori because of what he learned has me thinking about this somewhat seriously:
>Before you came down here, you wouldn't have known if she was keeping something even more terrible than Okuu down here, and you decided to keep her secret.
>"That's strange, right? Sister didn't lie to you at all, but now you trust her less!

Why is Koishi wondering why Taizou's getting so worked up about the genocidal bird girl? He trusted Satori, so that and/or worse should be okay, right? Keeping Okuu a secret so she can use her to take over the world? If she didn't lie and knew about everything running through Okuu's mind, that's the unfortunate implication. Add to that
>>5660
>"So just let me keep talking to her!" Finally, Orin turns on you, apparently oblivious to her own tears as she forces her face up to yours. "If you can't do anything, then you should just stay out of it! Then nobody has to get hurt!"

>"I don't want to see Okuu hurt either. Nobody does," you say soothingly. Probably not strictly true, but Orin's beyond the reach of logic at this point, anyway. "I'm not making any plans, and I'm not going to take any sides. I just want to talk to a few people and see--"

>"Not Okuu, you-- you-- arrgh!" With a sound somewhere between a growl and a high-pitched whine, Orin actually shoves you,and then stomps her way right back over into your face before you even finish stumbling backwards. "You idiot! You don't understand Lady Satori at all!" she screams, fists clenched at her sides.

Why is Orin asking us to let her 'keep talking to her so no one get's hurt' if the 'her' isn't Okuu? Is she actually talking about Satori here? Is Orin trying to convince Satori not to use Okuu to take over? Kinda doubtful, since earlier on Orin mentioned that Okuu was starting to act 'weird.' Oddly enough, crop destruction wasn't that big of a deal for Orin, but Okuu's behavior was. This leads me to another possible situation: Satori was in fact using Okuu to destroy the crops for some reason, but does not know about Okuu's evil plan to save the world. I'm pretty comfortable with Satori blowing up the fields, actually. She takes her responsibilities for the underground pretty seriously, so if she's actually doing it, it's probably (hopefully) for a good reason. From Orin's description of what's been happening (>>5244), and the bit at the end about with
>"What if Lady Satori doesn't--"
you can't help but wonder what Rin is afraid Satori will do if she learns what Okuu is up to. I think it's either 'doesn't let Okuu stay here anymore/live' or 'doesn't stop her.' It would partly explain why she doesn't want us talking to Satori. Still don't know why Orin got so angry at that part, but Satori's situation is a big ol' question mark at the moment. Speaking of which, another possible scenario is that Satori has no idea what Okuu is up to and has some completely different reason for wanting to keep her a secret.

Just thinking out loud at the moment. Gonna take a walk to think about how to bring this up with Yuugi after that, probably something to the effect of "I've found what's destroying the crops, but we might have an even bigger problem on our hands. Before we go to the council with this, though, I need your help Yuugi. We need to have an emergency meeting with Satori right now." I initially wanted to go straight to Satori, but decided on Yuugi since we'd need her around if Satori learns what we know and tries to do something unfortunate to Taizou, the oni, Orin, or possibly even Okuu. Assuming, of course, Yuugi is even down with that and not going to the council straight away anyway. Definitely need to tell he we lied about the secret passage way, too. Probably a deal breaker for her, but I rather she hear it from Taizou.
>> No. 5768
[x] "This is gonna be a bit long winded, so bear with me and let me finish first, then you say what you wanna say, please?"
-[x] "First things first, Satori, from what I understand, is infact the 'cause' of these crop destructions.
--[x] "Except, she's not the one actually doing them, it's her pet, not one I think you've met. She has another one, that may or may not be a nutjob. Her name's Okuu and the reason she might be crazy is because she wants too completely wipe out humanity and possibly a couple of youkai races for some wrong one small group of humans commited to her and her friends some time ago. Well, the thing is, Satori doesn't know she wants to do this, and Orin has been trying to enlist my help to try and stop Okuu from going through with this. Which I tried, mind you, but almost got killed in the process. I'm also hoping Satori has a good reason for destroying the crops, but see, that's not the problem anymore. The problem is how we go about dealing with Okuu. Then we can worry about why Satori was destroying the crops in the first place.
---[x] "I'm here telling you first because I don't trust Satori enough, or know how she'd react to finding out one of her pets is bent on killing hundreds of innocent people. I'm also not telling anyone leading the investigation, like Kisaburou, because god knows he'd just freak out on finding out Satori is destroying the crops and I was *sort of* lying to you guys.
----[x] Lastly, I was sorta knew Satori was hiding something for a little while, just know how potentionally dangerous it was, or if it was related to the destroyed crops anyway. That, and Satori, promised it was better off if no-one found out and she had her reasons for hiding whatever it was. Uh, That's just about everything, and I'm not sure what to do at this point, because it seems like someone's going to get the short end of the stick no matter what happens...

I'm a bit fuzzy on the details as to what happened in the previous threads, but I haven't looked at them in forever, so correcrt me if I'm wrong on anything.
>> No. 5770
>>5768
Reposting, adding something to the end. And fixing a couple of typos.

[x] "This is gonna be a bit long winded, so bear with me and let me finish first, then you say what you wanna say, please?"
-[x] "First things first, Satori, from what I understand, is infact the 'cause' of these crop destructions."
--[x] "Except, she's not the one actually doing them, it's her pet, not one I think you've met. She has another one, that may or may not be a nutjob. Her name's Okuu and the reason she might be crazy is because she wants too completely wipe out humanity and possibly a couple of youkai races for some wrong one small group of humans commited to her and her friends some time ago. Well, the thing is, Satori doesn't know she wants to do this, and Orin has been trying to enlist my help to try and stop Okuu from going through with this. Which I tried, mind you, but almost got killed in the process. I'm also hoping Satori has a good reason for destroying the crops, but see, that's not the problem anymore. The problem is how we go about dealing with Okuu. Then we can worry about why Satori was destroying the crops in the first place."
---[x] "I'm here telling you first because I don't trust Satori enough, or know how she'd react to finding out one of her pets is bent on killing hundreds of innocent people. I'm also not telling anyone leading the investigation, like Kisaburou, because god knows he'd just freak out on finding out Satori is destroying the crops and I was *sort of* lying to you guys."
----[x] "Lastly, I was sorta knew Satori was hiding something for a little while, just know how potentionally dangerous it was, or if it was related to the destroyed crops anyway. That, and Satori, promised it was better off if no-one found out and she had her reasons for hiding whatever it was. Uh, That's just about everything, and I'm not sure what to do at this point, because it seems like someone's going to get the short end of the stick no matter what happens..."
-----[x] "Of course, I could be completely off on everything and everything I just shit is one stupid assumption. I'd really rather get the story from Satori's side first before we do anything to rash.

I'm a bit fuzzy on the details as to what happened in the previous threads, but I haven't looked at them in forever, so correct me if I'm wrong on anything.
>> No. 5771
oh wow, there's still some really some stupid typos i missed. First off, on the second to last option, it should just be 'sorta knew' and not 'was sorta knew'. Next, on the last option, where it says 'shit', it should say 'said'.

I'm sorry, I'm horrible at proofreading. I'm sure there's more though.
>> No. 5772
>>5771
>"Lastly, I was sorta knew Satori was hiding something for a little while, just know how potentionally dangerous it was, or if it was related to the destroyed crops anyway. That, and Satori, promised it was better off if no-one found out and she had her reasons for hiding whatever it was. Uh, That's just about everything, and I'm not sure what to do at this point, because it seems like someone's going to get the short end of the stick no matter what happens..."

Shouldn't it be "... just didn't know how potentially dangerous..."? Otherwise it doesn't really parse right.
>> No. 5774
>>5767
canonically Orin expected a far worse reaction from Satori than what actually happened, perhaps part of a pet's thinking. She's worried that Satori may flip out at her and Okuu or give Okuu up to the oni or something.

I highly doubt Satori knows of Okuu's plan or Orin's stunts. Though she may have her own reasons for keeping the burning fires of hell secret. I seriously doubt that Satori would condone Okuu's plan of genocide.
>> No. 5777
Where does this thing about Satori doing the crop destruction, it was all Orins work, wasn't it?
>> No. 5778
>>5777
Okuu is the direct cause of the damaged farmland, but since Satori's hiding her, she takes some of the blame as well.
>> No. 5779
>>5778
More like Satori's unwittingly allowing it to happen, considering it's not her doing the destruction or even ordering it. Saying she's the one who's doing it is bending the truth beyond recognition.
>> No. 5780
>>5779
I think in private, she's trying to find out what's going on but to no avail with how Orin and Okuu been acting.
>> No. 5781
>>5772
Yeah, uh, you're right. Like I said, i sorta rushed that write-in and im horribel at proofreading. If something doesn't seem correcr and like it should say something else, it probably should. Thanks for pointing that out, though
>> No. 5783
[x] >>5770, or whatever vote makes the most sense and is also closest to what's going on.
-[x] Before you get started: "By the end of this, you're going to be somewhat angry with me. Please keep in mind the insane situation I'm in, the juggling act I've been having to perform, the acres of bullshit I've been going through, and don't hit me too hard."
>> No. 5788
Hmm...

[x]"Take a seat Yuugi cause this is going to be one Hell of an explanation"
-[x]First off Satori is either oblivious what's going on at her home or knows it and is trying to solve it on her own."
--[x]"Next, it seems one of her pets, a Hell Raven with incredible power, had gone insane as Orin, a close friend of this pet, asked me to help her talk it out of following through a plan involving the entire annihilation of everything that do not follow its views. This goes beyond simply destroying croplands as I'm talking about actual lives at stake; Youkai, Human, Oni, it doesn't matter as we are all fair game to it."
---[x]"My attempt at talking it out didn't go so well, but I'm alive at least."
-[x]"I had little faith in Satori being able to handle my revelation fairly, so I felt I could trust in you Yuugi."
--[X]"Satori needs our help but without the brute force of the Chief Chairman's methods."

I didn't like >>5770 as it would imply that Satori actually had all intents of destroying the croplands. For what benefit could Satori possibly have in destroying cropland?

Not to mention at the end of it sounds horribly wishy washy; either Taizou actually faced a mad power-tripping Hell Raven with all intents of invading the surface and beyond or he didn't. Whether it's actual insanity or simply rage (one may get sympathy for insanity, not so much for rage) remains to be seen.
>> No. 5793
[x]"Take a seat Yuugi cause this is going to be one Hell of an explanation"
-[x]First off Satori is either oblivious what's going on at her home or knows it and is trying to solve it on her own."
--[x]"Next, it seems one of her pets, a Hell Raven with incredible power, had gone insane as Orin, a close friend of this pet, asked me to help her talk it out of following through a plan involving the entire annihilation of everything that do not follow its views. This goes beyond simply destroying croplands as I'm talking about actual lives at stake; Youkai, Human, Oni, it doesn't matter as we are all fair game to it."
---[x]"My attempt at talking it out didn't go so well, but I'm alive at least."
-[x]"I had little faith in Satori being able to handle my revelation fairly, so I felt I could trust in you Yuugi."

Works for me~!
>> No. 5796
File 128390038160.jpg - (271.34KB, 1280x960, 6478671.jpg) [iqdb]
5796
>>5755
[X] "First of all, I messed up my job while we were searching Satori's palace. Pretty bad, actually. The oni got to look everywhere they wanted, and none of Satori's property was too broken, so that was fine, but... I found something, and I didn't tell them about it."
[X] "Satori found out what I knew, she asked me to keep it a secret... and I did. She told me keeping it a secret was important to her, and that it was more important than politics, the oni, or anything else. I believed her. I didn't think she would be hiding anything related to the crops or something terrible."
[X] "But that might have been a mistake. Whether she knows it or not, what Satori is hiding is what's destroying the crops. It's one of her pets, I think. A girl named Okuu, she has wings and a giant cannon on her arm. I don't know how she does it, but she and Orin confirmed that she's the one doing responsible for the crops."
[X] "Orin asked me to meet her just now, to try and talk her down. Okuu is... disturbed. She has it in her head that with her powers, she's going to destroy everything and force the survivors to come together. I don't know if she can actually do it or not, but I tried to reason with her. When that didn't work I fought with her. As you could probably guess, she beat me up kinda bad. Koishi stopped her saved me in the end."
[X] "I'm sorry for keeping this a secret from the council, and I'm sorry for keeping it from you until now."
[X] (Assuming she hasn't kicked Taizou out by now) "Before I go to the council, I'm going to meet Satori. I need to find out if she knows what Okuu is doing and what she's planning. I'm worried about what Satori might do when she finds out what I've learned, but I want to know why this was so important to her. Would you please come with me when I go?"

Went back and read a lot of the stuff regarding our job as leader of the search, and aside from the self-designated responsibilities, our role was never clearly defined. Still, talking fine points isn't going to cut it here: we lied. On the one hand, lying is just something you don't pull with oni, and it turns out that we hid something significant. If Yuugi cuts all ties with Taizou at the point, I wouldn't blame her. After the council finds out, I think Taizou will be lucky just getting chased out of the underground city.
On the other hand, we made a decision and part of me wants to stand by that decision. Whether we really fucked up is going to be determined after we learn about Satori's situation and/or her reason for hiding Okuu. I'm still toying with the notion of not apologizing about the decision/apologizing but saying we don't regret the decision. If it does piss her and the other oni off, it sort of proves that Satori had a pretty good reason for wanting to keep this secret.
Last bit is a stretch and might not be important right now. However, if Orin is right and Satori does something rash after we confront her, I don't know if Taizou alone will be able to stop her.

I was thinking about adding in a bit about Okuu's penchant for shooting fireballs, Koishi and Orin's insistance that Okuu is a good person, Taizou's reluctance about going straight to the council and risking setting off Okuu, the line of reasoning we used with Okuu, the finer points (or lack thereof) of Okuu's "might makes right" philosophy, or going into the people/places/things Satori might rage against after we let her know we know, but the write-in is getting long, so I'll say that some of this knowledge is implicit in said vote.
>> No. 5806
[x] >>5796
I don't think Yuugi would exactly kick him out for lying, he has good reason and he's a human.
>> No. 5808
So many write ins, so hard to decide. I will let this stand here for another 2 days and wait for what other people vote for.
I really am not sure what to pick.
>> No. 5811
File 128395700377.jpg - (21.04KB, 330x218, oy.jpg) [iqdb]
5811
>>5808
>>I really am not sure what to pick.

Pick which ever makes the most sense to you as well as would work for in Taizou's best interest.

If I could I would again vote for >>5793 as it straight and clear to the point.
>> No. 5812
Voting for >>5793
>> No. 5813
[X] "First of all, I messed up my job while we were searching Satori's palace. Pretty bad, actually. The oni got to look everywhere they wanted, and none of Satori's property was too broken, so that was fine, but... I found something, and I didn't tell them about it."
[X] "Satori found out what I knew, she asked me to keep it a secret... and I did. She told me keeping it a secret was important to her, and that it was more important than politics, the oni, or anything else. I believed her. I didn't think she would be hiding anything related to the crops or something terrible."
[X] "But that might have been a mistake. Whether she knows it or not, what Satori is hiding is what's destroying the crops. It's one of her pets, I think. A girl named Okuu, she has wings and a giant cannon on her arm. I don't know how she does it, but she and Orin confirmed that she's the one doing responsible for the crops."
[X] "Orin asked me to meet her just now, to try and talk her down. Okuu is... disturbed. She has it in her head that with her powers, she's going to destroy everything and force the survivors to come together. I don't know if she can actually do it or not, but I tried to reason with her. When that didn't work I fought with her. As you could probably guess, she beat me up kinda bad. Koishi stopped her saved me in the end."
[X] "I'm sorry for keeping this a secret from the council, and I'm sorry for keeping it from you until now."
>> No. 5814
>>5811
I'd think >>5796 is clearer.

Hopefully Glasnost would take the best bits out of both in the next scene.
>> No. 5815
>>5814

problems with >>5796 and I'm going by points.

take what you will though from this anon's perspective of the situation.

[1]The first time around he found something but soon as our dear Hell raven made her brief appearance Both the Chief and Taizou along with any Oni's that were present were heading towards another direction. Had their minds relatively wiped clean of what they saw considering Koishi was with them. Taizou though had scraps of that memory remain and managed to piece them together.

Taizou can't very well just go and explain it to the Council without hard evidence as well as more likely than not, Koishi will do the exact same thing again, thus making Taizou a fool if not a liar. (intentionally or not)

[2] Satori may very well know of the situation but either does not realize the danger in prolonging it being discovered or truly knows what is the issue but does not know how to deal with it quietly on her own. She knows how the Oni will react if they found out she's been holding out a huge probable cause and may give the Oni Council incentive to kill some one she cares dearly. I'd say that's a difficult situation to try figuring out an answer peacefully.

[5]Taizou has no reason to apologize as he has not done a thing wrong in regards to staying quiet about what he figured out on his own. He could not very well gone simply on a hunch or scraps of memory that were left alone by Koishi. Koishi could have very well warped his memories where he could have ended up leading the attic area if she had wanted to but instead left enough (whether accidentally or purposely is up for debate) information that Taizou was able to piece things together with the chance meeting of Utsuho finalizing the truth of the matter.

[6]Yuugi wouldn't kick Taizou informally for one thing considering how the council seems to work for one thing. Another thing is she's probably the most reasonable player in the entire mess that is the underground society; what with Youkai and Oni fighting on occasion. More likely than not she'd agree on the prospect of meeting with Satori along side Taizou privately away from the council to help resolve the issue.

Less incentive for the council to raid Satori's home, the more likely that peace could not only be made between two major players but also open up chances for Youkai and Oni to co-exist on more peaceful terms.

Possibly...
>> No. 5816
File 128399207873.jpg - (139.38KB, 563x463, 2304802.jpg) [iqdb]
5816
>>5815
>Taizou can't very well just go and explain it to the Council without hard evidence
Taizou wouldn't need any hard evidence. In >>4133 he had his suspicions about the nature of his memory wipe confirmed, had the existence of the passage acknowledged by Satori, and the assurance that the oni wouldn't find it unless we told them. At the time, we knew she was hiding something, and she was dead set on not letting Taizou know any details aside from how incredibly important it was to her. With all of that well in mind, we decided to not tell the oni about the secret entrance in >>4467.

>Koishi will do the exact same thing again, thus making Taizou a fool if not a liar.
She's made numerous assurances that she would no longer mess with our memories. If Taizou sets his mind on revealing the hidden entrance, Koishi would have to be more direct in stopping him that tweaking his memory. That may not preclude her from the messing of everyone else's memory, though, as per our encounter with her in Yuugi's house.

>Satori may very well know of the situation
Not disagreeing on this point, since it's qualified by the third part of the vote noting Satori may or may not know what Okuu is up to or what she's planning to do. I'm not really following what's at issue here, so that's chill.

>Taizou has no reason to apologize
I think Taizou needs to say something, and while an apology might not be the exact right thing, it's certainly not the wrong thing. Furthermore, what Taizou said himself in >>5660
>It wasn't actually lying, it was for a good reason, you were being threatened by Koishi -- you have a laundry list of decent excuses, but your limited experience tells you that oni as a whole are more interested in moral absolutes than they are in whether or not you were 'technically correct'. Honestly, you don't know how upset she'll really be at the revelation, but you already wish you didn't have to find out.
really gets to me. I'm of the opinion that we need to lay our reasons for what we did bare so at least Yuugi understands where we're coming from. That's half of the theme of the vote; explain the situation to the best of our understanding, and to explain ourselves. Best case scenario is that Yuugi smacks him for being needlessly formal about the whole thing, but better safe than sorry. I also have this nightmare scenario playing through my mind where Satori feeds on Taizou not being perfectly transparent to Yuugi about why he made the decisions he did (a la what she did to the oni that got attacked in the middle part of >>4467) and turning us against each other.

>he has not done a thing wrong in regards to staying quiet about what he figured out on his own. He could not very well gone simply on a hunch or scraps of memory that were left alone by Koishi.
But he didn't really figure it out on his own. Refering back to >>4133, Satori pretty clearly explained why his memory was jumbled, there was indeed a hidden passage, and she wanted us to keep it a secret. We did exactly that a few updates later; we had the opportunity to reveal the truth of the basement and we did not take that opportunity.

>Yuugi wouldn't kick Taizou informally
Totally agree; my failed attempt at humor. I derped.

Like you said, different people, different perspectives. Content wise, the votes communicate roughly the same thing but going about it in two distinct ways. That said, please stop calling her Hell Raven from Taizou's point of view. No one ever said who or what she is, and there's no way he'd know what specific type of youkai she is. [/nitpick]
>> No. 5817
>>5815
>>5816

Now why can't most cyoa's that tend to have lengthy or concise discussions be like this without falling apart to petty things...

;_;
>> No. 5821
[x]"Take a seat Yuugi cause this is going to be one Hell of an explanation"
-[x]First off Satori is either oblivious what's going on at her home or knows it and is trying to solve it on her own."
--[x]"Next, it seems one of her pets, a Hell Raven with incredible power, had gone insane as Orin, a close friend of this pet, asked me to help her talk it out of following through a plan involving the entire annihilation of everything that do not follow its views. This goes beyond simply destroying croplands as I'm talking about actual lives at stake; Youkai, Human, Oni, it doesn't matter as we are all fair game to it."
---[x]"My attempt at talking it out didn't go so well, but I'm alive at least."
-[x]"I had little faith in Satori being able to handle my revelation fairly, so I felt I could trust in you Yuugi."
>> No. 5822
>>5816
>please stop calling her Hell Raven from Taizou's point of view. No one ever said who or what she is, and there's no way he'd know what specific type of youkai she is.

Huh, I was sure sometime way back Yuugi or Satori at one point mentioned the types of pets lived within the home.

Probably got another story that will always be sorely missed mixed up with this one in memory.
>> No. 5833
As always, will attempt to write over the weekend, so if anyone has any new write-ins or sentiments that they would like added to the current batch, now's the time. I was planning on doing some vote combining regardless of the result, and with the vote tally currently at 4-3-2 it'd be silly to declare a hard winner anyway, so don't worry about numbers and post away.
>> No. 5836
>>5833
>and with the vote tally currently at 4-3-2 it'd be silly to declare a hard winner anyway, so don't worry about numbers and post away.

Considering the nature of the vote, the character of the discussion that resulted (thorough, but not uncivilized), and a relatively objective standpoint of where the standard anonymous user might suspect this story is currently at (that is to say, creeping up on the end-game), I think taking the cumulation of the amassed votes is a damn fine idea.
>> No. 5880
File 128481337564.png - (1.76MB, 2200x2200, 81.png) [iqdb]
5880
[X] Write-in.

"You, uh, might want to sit down for this."

Yuugi raises an eyebrow at you, mirroring your pose by leaning back against a table opposite your position against the wall. "I'm plenty prepared. Talk to me."

"Uh, yeah. Just... this could take a while, so hear me out all the way through first, okay?"

A silent nod, with just a hint of a frown. She probably just thinks you're stalling, by this point. Hell, maybe you are; it's not like it's not an attractive option at this point.

Can't do it anymore, though. "Satori..." Is oblivious? Is trying to hide Okuu from the oni? Is the mastermind behind the crop destruction? "...Bad place to start." Yuugi cocks an eyebrow at you again, shifting her feet slightly and crossing her arms.

Okay, enough. "One of Satori's pets... Okuu. She's some kind of... bird youkai, I guess, I don't know wh--" Enough. "She's the one responsible for the crop destruction. Orin told me first, and Okuu herself confirmed it."

Yuugi's reaction is subtle; a clench of the jaw, a slight lowering of her head, and a second later, she's looking back up at you with that same resolute expression, giving you a slight nod to continue.

"Orin gave me a message during the search. It sounds like she's known about Okuu for a while." Yuugi exhales audibly, and you hear something that sounds a lot like 'fucking cat' on her breath. "I was late coming out because I went to meet with Okuu. She is..." Orin's tearful face rises to your mind, and you swallow your first choice of words. "Orin is friends with Okuu, she called me out because she needed help talking to her. Okuu..." There is not a damn way to sugar coat this. "...told me about why she had destroyed the crops. She plans to kill... everyone. Underground and above ground, regardless of species."

You hear a sharp breath in, but the surprise still doesn't show on Yuugi's face, and her attention remains singularly focused on you. Still, you give her a moment to collect her thoughts before continuing.

"She attacked me. If Koishi hadn't shown up, I probably wouldn't have made it out of there." As if on cue, all the aches and pains of the past few hours decide to remind you that they're still there, and you wince slightly. "But as far as I know, Koishi and Orin are the only people who know what went on down there. I didn't run into Satori at all after that, and you're the only person I've talked to." You take a short breath. "Orin specifically asked me to keep what happened a secret from Satori. From everything she said to me, it's possible that Satori doesn't actually know about Okuu's plans."

This time you get a real gasp, and Yuugi's eyes go wide for a long moment. Next is a confused grimace, first at you, then up over your shoulder, then down at the ground as Yuugi goes into deep thought trying to make sense of all this; you keep silent for longer this time, giving her as much time as she needs. Of course, knowing what you know about Satori's actions will probably change her mind on a few things, but tellling her that--

"That's everything?"

--is the hard part.

"...Not quite. Satori is hiding something. There's a..." Wrong angle. You still don't want to paint Satori as a villain here. "You remember what I told you about Koishi? What she does?" Yuugi flinches almost imperceptibly, clearly recalling the memory, and nods once.

"That wasn't the first time it had happened to me. The first day of the searches, she led me and the council head down to where Okuu is, though a hidden door in the basement. She... threw some kind of fireball at us, then..." You close your eyes for a moment, trying once more to grab hold of the slippery memories of that time. "...I don't remember. She erased our memories. The council head didn't seem to have noticed a thing, I don't know why I even remember any of it. I wasn't even sure what had happened, or if my memories were real, until I talked to Satori the next day." You swallow once, twice, a third time, but your throat is still dry as you open your mouth to speak again. "She told me that what I had seen was real, and... asked me to allow the search to progress without revealing what I knew." You want to look away, but you force yourself not to. "I agreed."

A moment of silence.

"But..." Yuugi is clearly still just confused at first, furrowing her brow at you. "They searched down there, didn't they? You're sayin' you just..." The corner of her mouth twitches up in an odd, disbelieving half-smile, and you finally look away, unable to look her in the eye any longer.

"You mean you really... C'mon, Taizou," she says, a hint of a nervous laugh in her voice, "that wasn't how it was supposed to go, right? You agreed to it, too. You're supposed to be on nobody's side, right? So we could finally get this thing over with? How could you--" She cuts herself short as her voice begins to shift to an almost pleading tone, and you bow your head a little lower, biting your lip.

"...You swore an oath," she begins a moment later, the waver controlled, but still not completely gone from her voice. "To the council. A proper one, like..."

She trails off into silence gradually this time, and the two of you stay there for a long while, nothing but the sound of breathing passing between you. When you finally get the nerve to look up again, her head is in her hands, hiding her face as her body slumps heavily, leaning on the table behind her for support. Truthfully, you don't remember any of the details of that oath you made, but you're pretty sure that's not what Yuugi wants to hear right now. Really, you doubt there's anything you could say that would be what Yuugi wants to hear right now. Except--

"I'm sorry, Yuugi," you say solemnly. "I didn't mean for things to turn out like this." You mean it, but that doesn't make it ring any less false in your ears, and after another few seconds of silence from Yuugi, you forget about trying to say anything else and let the room fall back into silence.

"Okay." When Yuugi finally does speak, nearly a minute later, it's clearly not directed at you; she's staring at her hands, held out limply at waist height. Silently, her fingers flex around empty air, as though to grab hold of something unseen from the space before her, and she holds them their for a moment longer, just staring, before letting them drop to her sides.

"Okay," she repeats, more solidly this time, and with a short step forward, she pulls herself up to her full height, brushing off her skirt lightly with her hands. "What's done is done. Can't be changed." She takes a fleeting glance at your face once more before turning on her heel sharply, pacing a few steps away from the staircase. "Cannot be changed. What we need to do now is figure out where we're going next." As she reaches the far wall of the room, she does an abrupt spin and continues to pace in the opposite direction, her words speeding up in time with her pace.

"Komeiji is an unknown. Even more than she was already. Everything I know about her says she's not the plotting type, but if she's gonna deliberately hide things, she doesn't get the benefit of the doubt anymore." You frown reflexively, turning your head away in shame, but there's no malice in her voice, and she doesn't even glance at you as she continues to pace to the opposite side of the room. "The trick now is just doing things properly from here on out. We can't risk anybody getting half the story and deciding to lynch Komeiji before we know for sure what her role in this is. First thing, we need to... to... ...why?"

At that last word, you raise your head once more, just in time for Yuugi's palm to land right beside it on the wall behind you with a dull thud, bringing your faces less than arm's length apart.

"I don't get... I can't..." Her voice is clipped and halting, but there's no anger on her face, and no sadness; mostly, she just looks... tired, like she's been through days in the past few minutes. "Why would you make a promise like that to Komeiji? Why did you even agree to do this in the first place, if you were just going to..."

This time, you continue after Yuugi's words fade, before the brief pause can become another long silence. "I don't have any excuse to make, Yuugi. All I can tell you is what I was thinking when I made the decision."

She doesn't say anything, or even nod; she just keeps staring with those tired eyes, and your next words tumble over your tongue as you try to get them out. "Satori told me that what was down there was bigger than the search, and it was the first time I'd seen the council head's... searching method, and I was... I thought that the danger of waiting and seeing about Satori's secret was less than the danger that would come from telling the council head."

Yuugi's reaction is immediate; her body sags, bringing her face even closer to yours, and her lips twist, her tired eyes joined by an unimpressed sneer. "Right, 'cause oni are dangerous, huh? Best keep 'em at arm's length, even if it means a few lies--"

This time, you can tell that her words are aimed to hurt, and knowing that gives you the nerve to reply. "That's not what I--"

"No, I, I didn't--" But Yuugi is already backpedaling before the words have even left your mouth, raising her hands to cover her own mouth as she stumbles backwards away from you, wide-eyed. "I s-shouldn't have said that. I... I just... I mean..."

Before the emotion makes it all the way back into her voice, she takes another step away, and as you reach toward her, she turns away, quickly crossing the distance to the stairs.

"A-Anyway," she begins again, talking over the sound of her own footsteps, "we need to tell the council head about this."

"Yuugi--"

"We have to tell the council head now." She stops short of leaving altogether, one foot on the stairs, but she still doesn't look back at you. "We can talk a-after about... we have to tell the council head now," she repeats helplessly, like a mantra to herself.

You open your mouth to try again, but close it without going any further; for good or for ill, that topic is closed for now. Already, you can see Yuugi pulling her shoulders back and her head up, going back into the same all-business posture she took while analyzing the situation just a moment ago; probably preparing what she's going to tell the council head.

Even that's a problem now, though. You left the palace in a hurry, but you really do need to talk to Satori; if not to find out what she actually knows, then just to warn her about what happened down there. If things had went your way here, you doubt that going there first would be a problem, but after this, you're not sure how Yuugi would react to such a suggestion, and you're out of luck to press finding out. You could try just going back to the palace on your own, you guess, but you don't want to do that now for the same reasons that you didn't want to do that before you told Yuugi, plus one more; you don't really want to part with Yuugi on these terms.

Not that you're looking forward to giving the council head the news, either. It looks like things are going to be unpleasant for a while no matter what; all you can do now is try to make the best of a bad situation.

[ ] Go along with her to the council head.
[ ] Try to convince her to see Satori first.
[ ] Split up and go to Satori alone.
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 5881
>consequences to agreeing with keeping satori's secret

Called it. We're clearly in Oni camp now, secrets and lies are just gonna blow up on our face in a spectacular fashion.

[x] Go along with her to the council head.
>> No. 5882
[x] Go along with her to the council head.

I really would have liked to go and split up and talk with Satori while Yuugi does her part.
But it was stated that this is a horrible idea. So let's go with normal.
>> No. 5883
First of all: correct me if I am wrong but I do not see the problem here.

First and foremost our role was that of an independent observer and arbitrater. We somehow kept part of the memories of the first underground visit and questioned Satori, who assured us that it did not have anything to do with what the oni were searching for. Personally I am inclined to believe that she really does not know that Okuu is the culprit, and thus told us her truth. We decided to believe her and accept it as that, until Orin finally spilled the beans about Okuu and brought us there for our second visit. Now that we know who the culprit is the searches should be over, all that is left is to stop Okuu, who should be held responsible for all that, perhaps adding Orin because she kept quiet. Satori did not know anything and was actively deceived by both of her pets. Now, as soon as we found out the truth the first thing we did was go to the oni we trust the most and tell her to find a way to tell the council and solve the whole incident.
Since I remember the vow to the oni about as well as Taizou does I could be wrong here too, but did we somewhere along the line promise to tell the council about every speck of dust we personally see? Our only responsibility was to make sure the search does not get interrupted and is undertaken in a civilised manner. We did not stop them from searching the garden again, and from our and Satori's knowledge Okuu's cavern was not relevant either, which is why we did not specifically state that there was one during this second search. Yes, we and Satori were wrong about that, but I seriously doubt we are to blame for being deceived.

So I ask again, what is the problem Yuugi has with Taizou's alleged lies? And where is the problem in telling both the council and Satori the truth of what is going on in order to reach a mutually agreed conclusion to this?
>> No. 5884
[X] Try to convince her to see Satori first.
-[x] "You know it as well as I do that in order to improve relations between Oni and Youkai we need the cooperation of all sides. If we march in over to the Earth Palace and make declarations on what we know without providing evidence it wouldn't do anything but worsen the situation between all.
--[x]"For the record, I did what I felt that not only could keep any possible violence from spilling out into the public, but also to give you some peace of mind."

Shame Taizou couldn't show that in his best efforts, he wanted to minimize the possible casualties that may occur regardless of who may strike first. Is Yuugi even aware of what the council does during their searches..?

I just have a feeling we are teetering between "altruistic hobo end" and "Best End" Either way both very well may grant a peaceful underground city, but only one seems to give a true sense of peace instead of that feeling of hostility lingering throughout the city.

Thing is, technically even if Taizou did everything to the letter and specifically behaved in favor of the Oni camp, regardless of what is happening, I can't see it ending all that peacefully. Hell it may even spark a possible civil war that old oni from way back mentioning...
>> No. 5885
>>5883
It's about following the spirit versus the letter of the agreement.

As you can tell from our dealings with oni, this difference is NOT trivial, and we swore an oni oath, into an oni council. It's natural for them to expect us to behave in an "oni way", instead of the "tricky human way".
>> No. 5886
[x] Try to convince her to see Satori first.
>> No. 5887
>>5885
The oath was to be neutral, right? Everything we've been doing is being just that even with some lying. It's not our fault that the Oni Chief expected us to play along with his plans.
>> No. 5888
[X] Go along with her to the council head.
>> No. 5889
>>5887

>>5883 here:
I know oni are not too hot on the whole lying business and I can also see the argument >>5885 made of the "tricky human way", but otherwise you are right with us staying neutral, to the best of our abilities as well if I may add. Personally I see the part of keeping quiet about Okuu's room more as an "everyone has his/her own little secrets" thing, just that neither Taizou nor Satori were aware that this particular little secret was important to the whole affair.
Also about the oath: if anything we can say that the oath itself was the oni trying to undermine our neutrality. We were not really in a position where we could have declined swearing it and stay safe(read: alive) for the rest of the day. When Taka and Sakai were plotting our death after the oath, they would have probably downright killed us on the spot if we did not. Even disregarding them as a special case the oni should have at least been aware of the intimidating effect they can have on a puny little human when he is faced with them, especially after most (Yuugi excluded) were not really polite most of the time as well.
So even if they were to bring up the whole oath thing and/or wanted to question our neutrality, we only did what we decided best with both sides in mind. Mistakes were made, but not out of ill intent but rather misinformation.

Also not voting since I am lost on what to do now, just wanting to bring these points up.
>> No. 5890
>>5889
The problem with the "I didn't think that giant fireball was important" argument is that it's incredibly shaky. Taizou and the others were supposed to look for anything that could cause all of the crop damage, but he thought that wasn't related? It sounds like an excuse a kid would make to get out of trouble.

[X] Go along with her to the council head.

On the one hand, the council might appreciate Taizou owning up to his lying directly; on the other, this gives the oni that want him dead a reason to kill him that the others may approve of.
>> No. 5891
>>5890
telling the Oni head would basically give them the basis he wanted to oust Satori... and what might have been a one sided slaughter might be an complete apocalypse once Okuu gets involved.

Let's not forget he isn't concerned about the crops so much as getting rid of Satori and have the Oni dominate the underground; the crop incident is just a nice excuse to possibly do just that. Now if his objectives were purely I'd be more for telling him about it.
>> No. 5892
[X] Convince her to wait until you can set up a meeting with both Satori and the council head.

We’re supposed to be the neutral party, so why pick one side first over the other?
155posts omitted. First 100 shown.
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