I didn't want to become like this. I don't want this. Let me out. Let me out. Let me out, please.
Let me die.
i wont let you go
youll stay with me
ill make your wish come true
Stop it. Stop it. Stop it stop it stop it, you freak. Get out of my head. Get out of my mind. Get out of my body. Get out get out get out get out get ou
What did you do to me?
I feel so small I
what have you done
We can't stop now. Let's keep going. Nothing matters to us, so let's just kill and ruin and rot away all of them. That's the only thing we can do, isn't it?
Let's keep going and going until the entire world's bathed red in the accursed black and red blood of youkai and gods.
Let's burn away everything that's hurt us and made us suffer. And then?and then we'll finally be free from our burdens. Isn't that wonderful? Wouldn't you like that? Free, free, free from everything. Happiness, sadness, fear, anger, none of those things will ever mean anything to us anymore.
You don't need to do anything.
Just watch me. I'll definitely
fulfill our goal
You open your eyes.
The world blurs into view.
And you see a red world, as always. Nothing but red. You reach up with your hand, covering your eyes with it as you let out a deep breath. It seems you've woken in an unfamiliar place, inside an unfamiliar home. In any case, you're lying on top of a soft bedroll inside a small room. Considering the facts, you're probably correct in deducing that the abode likely does not belong to a youkai.
You get up from the bed, tearing your hand from your eyes as you sit up. This is probably one of the homes in the human village. Odd, considering how far from the settlement you were when you were last conscious. Though, you suppose it doesn't matter. Right now, you should leave before your benefactor notices you're awake.
You take a scan around. It seems that this room is not usually used as a guest room. it's a messy sight, with melted candles strewn around the place, a calligraphy set lying about the floor, and rolls of scrolls haphazardly leaning against the walls. Not the best hospitality you could hope for, as you've basically been tossed into a storage room, but it's not as if you care. No, what you're searching for right now?that would be your weapon.
You can sense it?the wretched scent of the mixture dried blood and rust on it practically fills your nostrils with its pungent odor?probably a room or two away. You step toward the door, reaching out at the handle with your hand to tug it open, when it suddenly flings open and slams into your face, sending you stumbling back?but not falling.
"Whoops, did I hit you?" a woman's voice comes from the other side of the doorway. "Hahaha, sorry ?bout that. Didn't think you would be awake!"
How unfortunate. It seems you've had the misfortune of running into the owner of the home. For a moment, you consider simply knocking her out with a simple chop to the back of the neck, but right now your strength is unstable, and if you were to try, you may end up breaking her neck by accident.
The woman steps into the room, revealing herself to be tall and striking in appearance, commanding sagacious yet fierce and strong-looking features. Still laughing, she adopts a disarming, friendly grin as she approaches you.
"Hey, so you weren't dead after all," she says jokingly, giving you a wink. "For a while there I thought maybe I'd brought home a corpse, because you sure as hell smelled like one."
She's very blunt, this woman.
"I bet you must be hungry," she says, folding her arms together. "Well just wait a bit and I'll cook up something, huh?"
She turns around and marches back out of the doorway. You walk after her, not to get your meal, but to find your weapon. It must be nearby. As she walks into what is presumably her kitchen, you poke about the somewhat narrow, cramped rooms of the home. Where? where? Where can your weapon be?
"Hey, the rice is all dry and kinda hard, is that okay with you?"
Not here. Not there, either.
"Hell, it's all the same if you stick it in a broth, anyway! Oh, I guess I'd better fix up something for the little one, too."
it's nearby. But where?
"Alright, here it is," the woman says as she emerges from the kitchen, carrying a bowl with what seems to be a piece of metal sticking out of it. She sets in down on a low table nearby and scrambles for a cushion lying in a disorganized manner to the side, placing it on the floor next to the table. "Come on, eat up. You look like you're still a growing young man. You can't go on skipping a meal!"
Is it in the kitchen?
"Hey," the woman's voice becomes more firm and stern, and you feel her hand coming to a rest on your shoulder. "it's not polite to refuse someone else's hospitality, you know."
"No, you can't harm a human woman like her. No matter how irksome this woman might be, you have to remain patient. You wouldn't want to attract the attentions of the other villagers here, after all. That would only make things more complicated, and it would take a century for the rumors of you to die down. No, you can't have that. Not at all.
You shake your head, touching your forehead with your hand in disdain before speaking out a single word in a quiet, raspy voice. ??Fine."
The woman grins brightly at your response, letting out a satisfied ?hmph!" before wheeling around you and placing her hands on your back, forcefully (though not too roughly) shoving you along toward the table where she's set the food down. She grabs you by the shoulders and seats you down on the cushion, and leans over the table, pushing the bowl closer to you.
"What," you say in a flat voice as you look at its contents. It certainly isn't the most appealing-looking meal you've seen in your life, and foraging in the wilds, you've had to eat quite a bit of unsavory food. The broth looks discolored and the rice dumped inside it look hard enough to break your teeth on. Perhaps this woman is trying to kill you after all.
"Go on, eat," she says with a hopeful smile, picking up the metal utensil stuck inside the bowl and turning the contents over. it's strange, the way the head is shaped. it's like a miniature bowl attached to a handle. Do you? use it to scoop things, like a ladle?
"it's a spoon," the woman explains, beaming. "The neighbors think I'm crazy for using it, but I think it's pretty damn convenient."
Not deigning to reply to that, you stick the ?spoon? into the bowl, scooping up the food and putting the head of the utensil in your mouth. You slowly chew the food inside your mouth before you swallow. The woman looks at you expectantly, waiting for you to say something. It? certainly has a unique texture. it's like chewing on bits of sand. The aftertaste is really quite a thing to talk about as well. You have mixed feelings about this meal, but if you were to sum it up, you would say?
The woman lets out a sigh, shaking her head. "So I failed again," she says dejectedly, sulkingly looking away.
You continue to shovel the food into your mouth. You don't care how it tastes, as long as it can fill up your stomach and replenish your energy. Even if it's something not fit for a human mouth, you can endure it and keep eating. As you resume in your endeavor to empty the bowl, the woman stands from the table, apparently having swallowed her own woes of her inadequate cooking skills, and heads off to another part of her small home.
Your spoon soon scratches at the bottom of your now empty bowl, and you set the used utensil down inside it as you stand back up. it's time to return to your search for your weapon, so you can leave this place at once, preferably before that pestering woman returns. But as if answering your dread, she does just that the moment you stand from the table.
"Finished up already, huh?" she asks you with a nervous, shaking laughter, looking slightly guilty. "...Sorry about that, I should probably taste my own cooking before I serve it to anyone." She sighs, deflating for a moment before puffing herself back up, swelling with confidence. "Right, better fix up something new, then," she says, giving herself a thump on the chest, before turning her head behind her, gazing below. ??Go on, sweetie, take a seat."
The skirt of the woman's long dress makes small, stirring movements. A moment later, a small child emerges from behind it, peering out at you with frightful eyes; a very young girl, shyly peeking out from behind the legs of presumably her mother. The woman gives her a small shove toward the table, and meekly, the girl takes a seat on the floor, though she's still glancing up at you with no small amount of fear.
"Well, if she's here, you might as well try asking.
"Where is my weapon?" you ask the woman.
She turns around at the question, looking puzzled. "Huh? Your weapon??" she repeats, closing one eye thoughtfully and folding her arms together. "Oh! You mean that rusty spear thing? Right, I think I put that in the toolshed outside, but?"
A knock comes at the door leading into the house, interrupting her. ??Scuse me for a bit," she says, biting her lip, before rushing off toward the door. You slowly walk after her. So it's outside, then? You were sure it was closer, but it seems even your senses are in an abnormal condition at the moment. The wooden floor creaks underneath your feet as you continue to step forward.
"-please, sacred guardian, you must help us!" you hear a man's voice?probably one of the other villagers?coming from beyond the door. You make sure to keep out of the line of sight while listening in on the conversation held between the two. "They've been harassing us for weeks, and this time they're really going to take everything!"
"Yeah, alright, I understand," the woman replies, nodding. "Then, please tell everyone to shut their doors and not to go outside."
The door shuts soon after, and the woman hurries past you without a word. Your curiosity slightly aroused, you continue to follow her frantic movements as she rushes into the room you were sleeping in just a short time ago. She emerges with an armful of scrolls, and makes to rush past you, but she suddenly jolts to a stop, dropping the scrolls to the floor. She runs back to the table, where her child is still seated, and kneels down next to her.
"Okay, sweetie," she says soothingly, running her hand through the young girl's hair, petting her. "Mommy has to go cave in some heads, but she'll back soon to make you dinner, okay?"
The girl nods, and her mother affectionately gives her a smooch on the forehead before standing back up and dashing back to the scrolls, scooping them up in her arms. So there seems to be some? trouble with youkai, if you've guessed it right, and it seems this woman? is something of a youkai exterminator herself.
She barely seems to have remembered you as she rushes past you again. "Sorry, stranger, but could you watch the house for me for just a bit?" she asks hastily, not even waiting for an answer before waving goodbye. "Okay, thanks!" she says, opening the door and running out.
"Of course, you have no intention of complying with her request, because you?
[ ] Go find your weapon outside.
[ ] Go assist that woman.
>In before Tayasumi is shunned away for showing he is a monster during the fight because he was unarmed.
Yes, but I don't think he's likely to become any more of a misanthrope than he is as a result, and not protecting humans in harm's way definitely will. Besides, perhaps Keine's mother will prove as tolerant toward youkai as Keine herself?
If youkai are involved, then there's no way that you can steer yourself away from the conflict. You don't care if that woman gets herself killed trying to fight them by herself, only that you kill every last of the invading youkai. But you suppose as she is human, you should protect her as well, even if she is highly irritating, annoying, and meddlesome.
You walk toward the door, swinging it open as you take a step outside. No time to search for your weapon; your bare hands and your natural powers will be enough for pieces of trash like the ones doubtlessly on their way to raid the village.
As you stride through the doorway, you take a last glance back at the table, where the small child still sits, making no effort to stop you. What an irresponsible mother that girl has, leaving a stranger she knows nothing of to care for her. You shut the door behind you, before quickly following the scent of the woman who has rushed off to the place of conflict.
The trail leads you to a small farmhouse located at the edge of the village, and you waste no time in seeking out the woman the villager called the ?sacred guardian." She floats high above the main building, her arms crossed sternly with the various scrolls she has brought with her accompanying her in the air. She looks self-assured and confident, staring coolly down below, awaiting the arrival of the youkai.
...and sure enough, you can sense a small group of youkai approaching. Normal villagers would be no match for them, even with their few numbers, and even a skilled human youkai exterminator might be hard-pressed to repel their attack by oneself. You can strike and kill them all if you acted now, but with that woman around, you won't be able to fight to the true extent of your strength. Unless, of course, she was rendered unconscious
or if she was killed
A moment of hesitation on your part means the opportunity is lost to you, however, as the group of youkai shows itself, boldly striding toward the main building of the farmhouse, presumably to steal the cattle held inside. Before you can decide on which plan of attack to choose from your hiding spot behind the farmhouse, the woman descends to the ground to confront them, and the youkai stop in their tracks.
"Hold it right there!" she says commandingly, her scrolls unraveling themselves as they float around her body, wavering and fluttering with the flow of the gentle night breeze. "Vile youkai who threaten humans, I won't forgive your oppression of those weaker than you. I, Kamishirasawa?!"
"Aww shit!" one of the youkai throws up his hands in frustration upon seeing her. "it's the sacred cow again!"
"C-cow!?" Kamishirasawa repeats indignantly, her face flushing with anger. "That's so damned disrespectful!" she rages, losing her focus as the scrolls about her drop to the ground. Pointing her finger at the group of youkai in front of her, she continues to shout. "And anyway, I wasn't done introducing myself! Don't you all have any sense of manners at all? Don't you know not to interrupt?"
One of the youkai hurls a bright orb at her while she's talking, and it speeds toward the woman, who calmly holds up her other hand in front of her, pointing her palm toward the attack launched at her. Instantly, a circular magical shield forms in front of her, and the projectile crashes against it to little effect, Kamishirasawa continuing to rant. ??someone when they're talking? And now you just did it again! Honestly, you might all have only slightly higher intellect than wild beasts, but you should at least be able to grasp the value of common courtesy!"
"Oh shut up!" one of the youkai shouts.
"Which one of you said that!?"
"I did, you wanna make something of it, grandma!?"
"I'll kick your godforsaken ass, kid!"
You grab your face with your hand, shaking your head. This is so goddamn stupid.
You move from your place, intent on ending this idiocy here and ripping all of those youkai apart, but a fight's already broken out between them and the Kamshirasawa woman. Gracefully, she flies into the air, her scrolls floating around next to her.
Unravelled, the parchment of one scroll spreads itself out over her head, and the characters transcribed in ink on its surface begin to glow with an unearthly light. The woman directs her hand towards the ground, and from the middle of the paper emerges a narrow beam of light. The incinerating ray casts itself across the earth in a wide arc, scorching the dirt. The youkai all jump in to the air to avoid the emission of light, though one that's not quite so lucky yelps in pain, clutching a leg singed black.
Kamishirasawa points the second of her palms at the airborn youkai, and immediately another of the scrolls presents itself in front of her, glowing with that same light from earlier. The ray that shoots out of the scroll is much faster this time, however, and directly targets one specific youkai?the one who had insulted her before?zapping him before he can muster up the reflexes needed to dodge the attack. The beam hits him square in the chest, leaving behind a large burn mark and sending him dropping like a fly to the ground.
If she can handle those youkai on her own, then there's no reason to interfere. As long as she is able to repel them by herself, you'll stay your hand from this conflict. However, you'll still need to stay here and observe the outcome of this battle to make sure she isn't overwhelmed by the number of the youkai. it's your self-appointed duty to protect the lives of humans, after all: even the one of a loud, obnoxiously boisterous, annoying, and careless creature such as that Kamishirasawa woman.
One of the youkai, growling in anger, darts toward the woman, streaking across the the open night air. He takes a deep breath, and his torso becomes disproportionately inflated, as though it were made of rubber. He leans his head back, taking in as much air as he can, before expelling it all through his mouth, and from the end of his lips issues out a burst of fire, racing toward the woman.
She pulls back her scrolls, pointing her palms toward the approaching flame. She mutters something underneath her breath, and from the scrolls floating around her emerges a flood of water, wrapping around her body and serving as a barrier against the flame. A vision-cloaking cloud of steam appears around her, and you can hear her coughing from within; she didn't seem to have thought that one out too well.
The fire-breathing youkai takes the opportunity to close the distance between them, one hand outstretched to tear into that woman's body. Anxiously, you ready yourself to interfere at any moment, your body resting on the tip of your feet, prepared to spring to Kamishirasawa's defense.
But it seems it won't be necessarily; the youkai thrusts its arm out at her, but she easily telegraphs the strike, even as she coughs and wipes away water from her eyes through the smoke, and grabs him by that same arm. Twisting around him, she pins his arm to his back and grabs him around the neck in a chokehold. The youkai struggles against her, but she slams a glowing palm into his back, and immediately his fight ceases, as if stunned by the blow. She lifts his body over her shoulder, points his head down toward the ground, and gives a sudden drop, swooping to the earth below and slamming him down headfirst.
The youkai, the top of his head burrowed into the dirt, goes limp with his behind sticking out toward the sky, as the woman steps away from him, dusting her hands off while giving him a kick to the back for good measure. Looking toward the remaining youkai, she extends a hand toward them, and gestures for them to come at her with a cocky grin.
Their reactions are in a mixture of fear and anger. Several of them immediately fly at the woman in rage, not bothering to plan out their next attack, simply attacking senselessly as their kind are wont to do at times. She jumps to the air, and takes advantage of their lack of preparation. Her scrolls, still floating in midair, each fly to intercept one of the charging youkai, and with a flash of light, shoot them out of the air, leaving them sizzling, unconscious bodies on the ground.
The remainders of the attackers fall back, wary of the woman's power. They know that if they charge recklessly like the others had done, then that would only result in their swift dispatchment as well. More sensible than the ones already lying down on the ground, though you wouldn't go so far as to consider them clever. If they wanted to overpower the woman, they would require something beyond their natural powers as youkai, as this woman could clearly match and defeat them. No, what they would need is something like a?
"Don't move, Kamishirasawa!"
Something grabs you by the back of your clothes, flinging you into the open. You hit the dirt, bouncing on the ground like a ragdoll before you come to a stop, lying on your front. Sluggishly, you lift yourself up from the ground, only to be brought back down by a foot stomping on your back. It seems one of the attacking youkai must've noticed your little hiding spot.
"If you try to fight us at all," the youkai standing on top of you says in a clear, loud voice, directing his speech toward the woman. ??I won't hesitate to kill this human in an instant."
How hilarious, it seems he thinks he can use you as a hostage. You're curious as to what her reaction will be, however, so you'll be playing along for a while. You lift your chin toward the sky, looking straight at the woman flying above.
"What the hell?" you hear her yell at you, frustrated. "You damned idiot, I told you to watch the house, didn't I? I gave you pretty clear directions: watch the house! That doesn't mean you follow me out here for goodness sakes! That means you stay there, or do you not understand simple requests like that!?"
One of the youkai in midair takes this as a chance, rushing at her while her back is turned to them. He lets out a joyous cackle as he takes a swipe at her?only for her to nimbly move her head to the side, evading the attack by mere centimeters, before being effortless backhanded in the face by a glowing hand, dropping him from the air.
"Goddamn it, you!" the youkai on top of you yells, tearing at his hair. "I'll really do it, you know! I'll kill him! You want that to happen!" If you don't, stop resisting!"
Kamshirasawa snorts, crossing her arms. "Do you think I'm stupid?" she says, brushing a lock of hair from her face. "Go ahead. Kill him. His fault for not staying at home like I told him to."
She may be smarter than you gave her credit for.
"W-wha?" the youkai seems taken back. "D-don't you care!?"
"Not really," she says coolly while checking on her nails. "Oh, but I'll tell you one thing: what's going to keep me from killing you all, if you kill him? Think about it." She touches off by blowing on her hands, crossing her arms together again and waiting for the other youkai to respond.
Comprehension appears to dawn on the youkai, and slowly, he removes his foot from your back, stepping away cautiously. Hah, so the woman knows how to bluff her way out of a situation like this.
Well, you've had enough of playing the hapless victim in any case.
Before the youkai can retreat, you reach out with your arm and grab him by the ankle, eliciting a startled yell by the youkai. Before he can pull away or kick at you on the ground, you pull his leg out from under him, sending him falling to the ground. Quickly getting up, and before he can do so as well, you bend down and plant a left into his sternum with a loud crack. The youkai spits up from his mouth, and becomes silent. Cracking your knuckles, you look back up at the air, where everyone?Kamishirasawa included?stares at you with an awestruck expression.
"D-damn you?!" one of the remaining youkai curses as he turns and retreats, flying away from the scene as fast as his body can carry him.
The other youkai stare dumbly for a while before following suit, not even bothering to collect the unconscious bodies of the fallen as they flee. Letting out a breath of relief, Kamishirasawa gently descends to the ground, approaching you with a wide smile.
"Nice straight," she says, playfully jabbing at the air with her fist. In the next instant, however, she raises her hand and gives you a chop on the forehead. ??Aaaaand this is for potentially putting yourself in danger," she says sternly, though the expression doesn't remain that way for long. "Sorry about the whole ?not-caring-about-your-life? bit. I couldn't let them know I did, you know? You understand, right?"
You give no answer, staring blankly at her.
"Heeeey," she frowns. "You're not mad about it, are you?"
"-No," you finally respond.
"Good," she says, cheery again. "Go on home first. You know the way back, right? I'll need to stay behind to clean these guys up here."
It seems you won't be able to finish them off with her present. Oh well, you'll get your opportunity to do so later.
You return to the home of Kamishirasawa. Pushing past the door, you step inside. No, wait, you should really be staying outside to resume the search for your naginata. Why is it that you've headed inside the door? It was on a whim. You shake your head of the confounding thoughts. You'll stay long enough for that woman to return, and she can retrieve your weapon for you, and then you'll be on your way like you planned to do so the moment you awakened here.
Kamishirasawa's daughter comes running to the front door the moment she hears it open, though she loses her enthusiasm when she sees you, her hurried footsteps coming to a stop when she sees that it is you who has returned, not her mother. Almost sulkingly, she walks back to the table, refusing to look at you. Hah, so the child doesn't seem very fond of you at all. Of course, that's no great surprise.
After all, what child would come to like a man who possesses the eyes of a monster?
It seems like an eternity within that quiet home, waiting for Kamishirasawa to return. Neither you nor the child utters even a sound, unmoving and still. Finally, after what seems to you hours, the wooden door leading to the inside of the house creaks open, and the child bounds to her feet, running toward the entrance. There, her mother takes her up into her arms, and they share a warm embrace. Carrying the child in her arms, Kamishirasawa approaches you.
"Hey, thanks for watching her while I was gone, sorta." she says.
"Where is my weapon?" you ask immediately.
"-single-track minded fellow, aren't you?" she mutters under her breath as she lowers the child to the floor. "Alright, I'll tell you," she says, retreating into the kitchen while you stay there in the living room.
"But! On one condition!" she declares as she reemerges from the kitchen. ??Join me for a drink!"
She holds up a thick bottle of liquor in her hand, its contents sloshing around within.
[ ] This isn't a big deal.
[ ] Stop screwing around.
>She lifts his body over her shoulder, points his head down toward the ground, and gives a sudden drop, swooping to the earth below and slamming him down headfirst.
Vertical suplex? Fuck yeah, Keine's mom.
We have shown our possessed abilities yet, I don't think. Though there is still that void between the aftermath of the Yuuka fight to waking up in the Kamishirasawa household to fill, Unless there was some history hax involved.
On another note...Keine's mom is the fucking shit.
What a complete waste of time. It would be faster if you simply searched for your weapon yourself. Why is this woman insisting on getting in your way like this? A meddlesome pest. A hindrance to your goals. You should just rid yourself of her here and now. Yes, that would be best, wouldn't it? She's in your way, and if she doesn't remove herself from it, you'll do so by force.
No. You can't kill her. It wouldn't be prudent to do such a thing. She's well-known in this village, it seems. Questions would be asked, people would search for her murderer. It would all be a terrible, unnecessary hassle. And?
You can't bring yourself to kill a human like her. No. Not humans. You can't kill them. You won't commit the murder of a human.
As you stand there, motionless, the woman walks around behind you, eagerly ushering you back to the table, shoving you along gently with those hands of hers. You allow yourself to sit back down at the table, as she steps around to the other side and plops down herself, slamming the bottle of sake on the surface of the table and popping its cork off.
Stop it. Stop touching me. Stop looking at me with those friendly eyes.
"This is pretty strong stuff," she says as she pours into a sake dish in front of her, sliding it over to you before pouring into another dish for herself. She sets the bottle back down on the table and lifts her drinking dish to her lips. "You think you can handle it?"
Wordlessly, you take the dish offered to you in your hand. Bringing to your mouth, you part your lips and take the edge of the dish between them, letting the strong-scented liquid pour into your dry, parched mouthed. The taste is like a cold fire running through your mouth and down your throat, but you don't falter or cough, continuing to drink until you completely drain the dish of its liquor.
"Whoa, in a single shot!" the woman says, impressed. She'd been drinking in small sips.
Apparently taking your performance as a challenge, she eagerly snatches up her dish and downs the liquid held inside in one go, though midway her face quickly burns brightly red as she pounds at her chest, heaving a little bit as she coughs, nearly choking on the acidic taste.
"Ugh?" she groans as she wipes her mouth with the back of her hand. ??Okay, so you can handle the taste. But how long can you keep it up?" she asks with a grin, taking hold of the mouth of the bottle next to her and pouring into her dish. Her pale-colored eyes burn with almost startling passion. "Let's keep going!"
"S-so, so then he had the nerve to s-say that he loves me! He was all, "Might you perhaps be the light that this lost ship has been searching for all this time?" Pffffffttt! Like?like I'd fall for a stupid line like that! And? and so?you know what I said to him? Hey, hey, pay?pay atteeeentioooon?!"
The woman, face flushed with inebriety, crawls on her knees over to you. She reaches out to grab you by the shoulders, but in her instability, nearly falls to the floor, only just barely managing to catch herself by burying her swaying head into your chest and leaning against your body. For a few seconds, she seems to genuinely doze off with her head resting on you, though she jerks awake a moment later, pushing herself away from you.
"Uh? where was I?" she says dazedly, shaking her head, seemingly to clear her clouded head. "Oh yeah! So I toooold that jerk that he can go ahead and get dashed against rocks ?cuz I ain't taking no shine to him, hahahahahaha! I totally won that, didn't I? I toooootaaaaally did!"
She slaps you heartily on the back a couple of times, letting out a mad fit of giggling. "You should have seen the look on that guy's face! It was like someone just slapped him right in the face!" she says as her giggle bursts into raucous laughter. ??though, I think that might be because I did slap him," she mutters as she settles down. Her head sleepily slumps back down, held against your chest.
"-sheesh, you stink," she says after a moment, pulling away and stifling a yawn with one hand. "You? you reeeaally need a good?a good scrubdown, you know that?" She pulls up her sleeves, baring her forearms. "Alright, I'll bathe you, so take off your clothes! Don't be shy now."
You do nothing, just sitting there and staring at her with a blank expression.
"-damn, it's going to take the end of the world to get a rise out of you, isn't it?" the woman says with a snort, pulling her sleeves back down.
Scooting herself back over to the other side of the table, she pours the last of the liquor in the heavy bottle into her dish and tosses her head back, drinking it all in one shot, and slams the dish back down on the table with a satisfied sigh.
"You've been drinking for a while too," she says, glancing over your way, her head swaying slightly with a heavy blush making her face glow red. "Bu?but you don't look smashed at all. You must'must be some kind of a drinking mooooonster.."
No sooner than after she's said that, however, she shrugs her shoulders with a ?Meh," and lies down next to her daughter, who's fallen asleep on the floor, curled up by the table. She fondly wraps one arm around the girl, snuggling up to her back, and shuts her eyes, her breathing calm and steady.
You're about to ask her about the location of your weapon when a knock comes on the door. At first, you pay it no heed, but it soon returns, much more impatient this time. You wait for Kamishirasawa to answer, but she merely lets out a groan and points toward the door. "Hey, go answer that, would you?" she slurs out.
[ ] it's not your responsibility.
[ ] Do as she says.
You wordlessly stand from the table, walking over to the door. You hestitate for a moment as your hand touches the wooden door handle. Why are you doing this for that woman? This isn't your home. You shouldn't even still be here right now. You have things to do. Things to kill. And this woman is getting in the way. Getting in the way, getting in the way, always always getting in the way. What a troublesome creature she is. How irresponsible and stupid and?
"Oi, open up already, it's freezing out here!" a rough woman's voice calls from outside the door. So, it's an acquaintance of Kamishirasawa, is it? Then there should be no reason to worry about a youkai trap waiting beyond the door, then.
You tug at the handle, but you meet resistance. Oh. You neglected to unlock the door. At once, you rectify that error, and allow the door to swing open, letting in the cold night's breeze into the house. A girl of somewhat short stature stands waiting outside, with her hands shoved into the pockets of a baggy pair of pants covered in paper charms. Her light-colored hair is long, reaching down to her ankles.
At first, she doesn't notice you, lowering her head and attempting to walk in when she finally sees you blocking the doorway. She looks up, and her young face carries an expression of shock, which turns to confusion, and finally to anger.
"You?!" she says, gritting her teeth and baring her fangs?not nearly as prominent as those of a youkai, but still sharp compared to most humans?like a beast.
Without further delay, she winds back, and throws a punch at you. Before it can connect with your jaw, however, you snatch her arm by the wrist. The girl winces in pain as you forcibly lower her arm. This is? the immortal phoenix, isn't it? Yes, you've met her before, in that bamboo forest, along with those other youkai hunters?
"I told you not to show yourself in front of me ever again," the immortal girl spits out with immense dislike, tearing her wrist away out of your grip.
You give no reply as you stand there stoically in complete silence, save for your breathing. Yes, what happened then was regrettable, but necessary, and if she chooses to hold your actions against you, you have no objections.
If this girl associates herself with that Kamishirasawa woman, then does that mean she is also a member of that group of youkai exterminators? Or, are they affiliated in another way? If that's the case, then it might be worth something to stay for a bit. After all, it would be beneficial to receive information about the more powerful youkai?
"What are you doing here, anyway?" she asks, not looking directly at you. ??Oh forget it, you're not going to even answer me anyway. I'll ask Kamishirasawa myself. Move out of the way."
She roughly shoves past you, stepping further inside, and you follow her, shutting the door behind you. At the dining room, the immortal girl briskly strides over to the sleeping form of Kamishirasawa, nudging her awake using her foot.
"Hey, hey, wake up already," she says impatiently.
"Huuhhn?" Kamishirasawa responds sluggishly, groping around with her arm until she has a grip on the other girl's pant leg. ??oh, hey Fujiwara."
"Careful, don't wake the brat."
"-yeah whatever," she lets out a big yawn, covering her mouth with the back of her hand as she sits up without disturbing her daughter. "What d?you want?"
"Well, I'd like an explanation as to why he's here, for one," the immortal girl says, pointing at you. ??And secondly, did you do anything to piss off the tengu recently?"
"The tengu?" Kamishirasawa raises an eyebrow, intrigued by the question despite her reddened face. ??No, why do you ask?"
"I spyed a couple of long-nosed crows watching this place while I was out there."
That's all you need to hear.
They must be after you. You need to leave this place now, before the tengu associate you with these people. Trying not to attract the two's attention, you silently make your way toward the door. The door gives a creak as it opens however.
"Wha? hey! Where're you going?!?" Kamishirasawa's voice calls from inside the house as you step out.
Looking back, you see the woman rising to her feet, but the immortal girl grabs hold of her waist, pulling her back.
"Just leave him! If he's got something to do with those tengu, it's not our problem!"
Hmph. She's saved you some trouble, whether that was her intention or not. You shut the door behind you, and step outside into the open air. As you take a few steps forward, your eyes dart about. Three? no, six? that's not right either. In total, there are about fifteen enemies surrounding you.
You put some distance between yourself and the shabby home, not wanting to destroy it in the upcoming battle. It would have been better if you could leave this village before things start, but you know they wouldn't allow you to.
Finally, a couple of them show themselves, black blurs darting into place in order to bar the path in front of you. Crow tengus, wearing that same mask the one you killed had in possession.With a sense of urgency, they whisper to one another.
"-be careful," you hear one of them say.
"-don't lose your head?"
"-he can transform his body into stone?"
You stand there, fixatedly staring at them. If they've come to assassinate you, then they have only come to die. As if you'll allow them to end your undertaking for the sake of their own vengeance. Looking over them all, you put on an eerie smile to psyche them out. Raising one leg, you pantomime crushing something underneath your foot.
That gets to them. That gets to them a lot.
"You bastard?!" one of them shouts out as he rushes forward.
"No, you idiot, don't!"
The one who took the bait flies toward you, his wings outstretched as he draws several knives from his sash, holding them between the knuckles of his hands. You jump up as he takes two swipes at you, slashing only the air. He kicks off of the ground, flying up after you. An idiotic move. You calmly draw a fist back and slam it into his head, sending him crashing to the ground and kicking up a lot of dirt. Not quite enough force to kill him, but it's rendered him unconscious and bleeding.
You gently float back down to the ground, staring at the remainder of the tengu. If they were sent to kill you, then there's no way that there would only be crows. Where are the wolves hiding? And where is their commander?
Your attention snaps back to the home behind you when you hear the door swinging open. Kamishirasawa stands there quite sobered up and shocked at the scene she sees in front of her. Following behind her is the immortal, redfaced and rubbing a bump on her forehead. There, now that woman won't want anything to do with you. You won't need to worry about that annoyance anymore.
You're sent flying off your feet by a sudden force striking against your body. Twisting in midair, you manage to flip yourself over as you hit the ground on your hands and feet, skidding back. Recovering from the pain of the unexpected blast, you straighten yourself up in order to look at your assailant.
Walking toward you, accompanied by several armed wolf tengu, is a short, gruff-looking old man, holding a three-ringed staff twice his height. The old man has an unusually long nose, and light hair and beard. He looks about at the crow tengu already present, his eyes lingering on the fallen one next to your feet, and assumes a look of disgust.
"I told that idiot not to rush ahead of everyone else," he says distastefully. "Honestly, you punks. You're all over a thousand years old, so start actin? your age, why don't you."
The other tengu apologetically bow to this old man, though he pays them no mind. His attention is fixated on you, and he calmly strokes his short beard with his thumb and forefinger.
"-so you're the youkai-slaying god," he mutters, his expression grim. "Didn't think that the killing of one of our clansmen would incur our wrath? "No, of course you knew. You just didn't care." He laughs darkly as he says that. ??boy, vengeance begets only more vengeance. I know that, and you know that."
"So if you understand that, then leave him alone!" Kamishirasawa yells from the doorway, glaring at the elderly tengu.
"Sacred Beast," he begins to respond gravely. ??you would ask me to neglect cold-blooded murder? There's no reason to shelter this man, and you've given us enough damned trouble by rescuing him from us when he was at his weakest. Don't cross us again. Do not forget that it is partly thanks to the tengu's influence that this village remains safe."
Kamishirasawa opens her mouth to reply, but the tengu cuts her off.
"Don't be a fool, Kamishirasawa!" he warns, slamming the end of his staff on the ground for emphasis. "You won't interfere in this?"
He points two fingers toward the house and raises them up as Kamishirasawa attempts to step out. Immediately, the ground at her feet shakes, and with a startling bang, a solid wall of stone rises up, blocking off the entrance to the house?no one can get in, no one can get out.
"Let's get this over with," the elderly tengu says, now turning his attention back to you. He looks about at the rest of the tengu. ??You all, get away from here. You'll all just die otherwise, so scram."
"But Master Ogata!"
The other tengu reluctantly fall back, leaving only the elderly tengu standing there. He shifts the staff to his other hand and cracks his neck, rubbing his shoulders. ??haven't done this in a looooong time," he mutters to himself.
And then, he stands there, focusing his strength. He grits his crooked, darkened teeth as his body shakes and trembles.
And suddenly, he explodes in size. His muscles swell up, his crooked back becomes straight and he grows in height, going from a dwarf who was barely about as tall up to your chest to a heavily muscled, hulking giant with long white hair and beard who now stands at at least twice your height and four times the bulk. He reaches for the top end of his staff, and grips it, revealing it to be concealing a blade proportional to his own size as he draws the length of the metal from the rest of the staff.
"You are? the tengu king," you say, recognizing him. "Sojobo."
"Not anymore," he replies in a booming voice, snorting. ??Just a mere teacher."
He tosses away the sheath of the blade, and holds his sword with both hands, pointing the very tip of it at you. He narrows his eyes, and then draws back his enormous sword, now raised to the sky.
And then, despite his massive size and bulk, he manages to vanish into thin air and out of your sight without a sound.
Dodge a thing faster than your eyesight? Brillant.
Wait for a counter, for all of his speed, he has to either throw a spell, giving away his location, or close in to attack, leaving him open for a counter. I'm guessing it'll be the latter.
In sumo wrestling, hassou-tobi (????, eight ship jump) is jumping over an opponent who's coming in low. The allusion is to the legendary warrior Yoshitsune whose ship was boarded by the enemy and who escaped by jumping to another ship that was eight ship-lengths away.
Yoshitsune can be summoned in Persona 4, where Hassou-tobi is the name of an attack that slashes all enemies eight times from different angles. This is the strongest multi-target multi-hit physical attack in the game.
Hassou can also mean "style of sword fighting" and tobi can mean "black kite" (the bird), but these seem to be less common meanings. I don't speak Japanese, though, so who knows.
Your eyes can't follow his movements, but if he's closing in to attack with his sword, then you know that you've got to get moving.
Lifting one foot off of the ground, you kick off the dirt with your heel; and not a moment too soon, as not even a whole second later, the giant tengu emerges where you stood, his long blade flashing through the open air in front of you.
Letting out a sharp whistle as it parts the air, the tip of the sword misses you by mere inches. Dangerously close. That attack was extremely fast. So fast that you almost can't keep up with it. Definitely not a normal tengu.
Feet hitting the dirt, you jerk back, stumbling. Blood splatters down your front, dripping to the ground. You look at yourself, and your eyes widen as you see your body covered in numerous gashes.
One across from your left shoulder to the elbow of that same arm, another one on the right shoulder positioned symmetrically to the other gash, three small cuts on your left leg, and two on your right. Seven slashes in total. Seven slashes that you hadn't even seen, much less noticed until after they had been inflicted.
You look back to the tengu, who calmly gives his decorated sword a flick through the air, flinging a small bit of blood on it to the dirt, the three rings on the end of the hilt letting out a small ringing as he does so.
"Damn," he mutters under his breath, scowling. "Meant to take your limbs off in a single go. I'm getting old?"
But formidable nonetheless.
"-I'll kill you," you say in response.
"Hmph," he snorts, looking at you disdainfully. ??it's about hightime that you learn humility as well. I'll break that arrogance of yours."
So be it, then. But you won't be caught off-guard this time.
The tengu crouches down, readying his sword by raising it to the air again. Like before, he vanishes from sight. Remaining still this time, your eyes dart around, searching for the tengu.
The tell-tale sound of the three-rings jingling at the end of the tengu's sword.
Your arm shoots out behind you, a solid armor of rock coating it.
A dull clang resounds as a blade of metal clashes against it.
Several more hollow rings sound out. Your arms, your legs, your throat, all covered in that stone armor a moment before the tengu can cut through your flesh.
The stone armor around your hand crumbles away, and it rushes forth in an attempt to grab the tengu. Your fingers only brush past his clothes, however, and he escapes from arm's length, leaping back.
Narrowing your eyes, you glare at the tengu, who has an equally grim expression on his face as he looks down at his sword, now chipped in several places.
"-The hell are you made of!?" he spits out. "For youkai-forged steel to break against your body?"
You give no answer. There's no need for banter in the middle of combat.
You run along the ground, rapidly approaching the tengu king. Launching yourself toward him with a jump to gain boost, you cock back a fist and punch at him. Teeth grit, the tengu points two fingers at you?like earlier?and raises them to the air.
You're suddenly launched up into the air, a stone pillar having launched itself from the ground to strike you from below.
Pinned against the rising pillar driving itself into your stomach, it gives a sudden turn in the middle of the air, so that your back faces the ground as you begin to drop. You crash back down into the earth painfully, the pillar on top of you driving into you further still, grinding you against the dirt.
With a yell, you grab the pillar with your arms, hugging it. It cracks under the strain of your grasp, and shatters into pieces, raining down on you as you stand up, almost completely unphased by the attack.
But the tengu is nowhere to be seen.
Until a geta-clad foot connects with the back of your head, sending you back down to the ground facefirst.
A hop and a stomp and a leap away.
This tengu is making a fool out of you.
Once again, you stand back up from the ground, dusting your face off. The giant turns back around, not leaving his back vulnerable for more than a second.
How many battles has he fought to gain skills such as these? it's unfathomable that you'd be losing this badly, but you simply can't keep up with his speed, and if you can't do that, you won't be able to break open his guard, let alone outstrip his power and magic.
If only you had your original strength, this battle could be ended in an instant.
Growling savagely in frustration, you leap toward him. He stands still now, not dodging or countering your movement with magic. Fist drawn back, you throw another punch with all your strength, and he reaches out with his own'the fist of his offhand.
Punch meets punch in midair with a deafening bang.
Digging your feet deep in the ground, you punch at him with your other hand but?even with his sword still gripped in his hand?he meets your remaining fist with his own. You push against him, and his enormous feet drag against the dirt as you beat him back.
And then he takes a deep breath.
Then he softly blows into your face.
A small movement of air that becomes a miniature typhoon, sending you flying off your feet and hurtling back like you'd been hit with a rampaging bull.
You fly through the air, unable to stop yourself. Above, the tengu reappears before your vision, and with a chop, he smashes you into the ground, and you come to a skidding stop far from where you stood before.
You can hear cheers of their king from a few tengu, and jeers and insults directed at you from the others.
Doggedly, you get up from the ground, dragging your tired body up. Your wounds aren't healing as fast as they should be, and your limbs aren't responsive enough to move as quickly as you want to?as you need to, against a foe like this.
A snap of the fingers.
A whirlwind tosses you back up into the air, the razor-like wind circling around you and cutting up your flesh all over your body.
Limply, you fall back down to the earth again, but this time, you manage to stay standing. This is nothing. You can still keep going. Somewhere in the distance, you hear the sound of wood breaking and splintering.
"I'll finish you now?!" the giant tengu roars, raising his sword once more toward the sky as he vanishes.
You brace yourself. You'll simply block the attack again, and?
blood blood blood black blood is coming out this body is this body is this body is falling apart and falling apart and that cant be you cant fall apart you idiot not after all this dont dont dont dont leave me all alone again i
The tengu's blade gleams in the moonlight and stop stop stop STOP STOP STOP STOP IT YOU CANT KILL THIS BODY YOU CANT?
The blade stops.
Kamishirasawa stands in front of you, arms outstretched out wide. The giant tengu stands in front of her, his sword?which was already in motion?stopped just an instant before it could cut through the woman's body. There's a mixture of an expression of shock and anger on the elderly tengu's face, staring at Kamishirasawa in disbelief.
"Are you insane, Sacred Beast!?" he demands an answer indignantly, lowering his blade.
Your eyes seek out Kamishirasawa's home. Next to the impenetrable stone barrier that the tengu conjured is a giant, man-sized hole in the wooden wall of the abode, from which the immortal girl hesitantly peeks out.
"I won't let there be any killing between youkai and humans in this village," Kamishirasawa says with a determined look on her face. "No matter the reason."
"Be reasonable, you idiotic fool," the tengu argues. "Have you not also heard tales of that man's doings?"
Blather, blather, blather. This is all useless blathering.
Something tells me if we decide to attack, we'll go right through Keine's mom to attack him. Also, our healing factor seems to have slowed down pretty noticeably. We regenerated on the spot from Yuuka's attacks, yet for some reason Sojobo Ogata is able to wear us out easily.
I really doubt we would be able to do any real harm to Ogata at this state. Better take the chance to recuperate a little and observe the battlefield for any usable advantage than to rush ahead for a pointless scratch.
No, it wouldn't be good to make a sudden move right now. And you might end up dragging that Kamishirasawa woman always always always getting in the way and the entire village into this conflict if you act rashly. You need to focus on recuperating before you do anything drastic, if it comes down to that, though you don't expect the tengu to back down easily.
"Out of the way, Kamishirasawa," the once-king of the tengu speaks out through grit teeth, towering over the woman, menacingly brandishing the shining sword in his hand. "You don't know what you're doing."
"No," she replies simply, looking up at the tengu with a hardened expression, her jaw set and her frigid eyes coldly staring up at the giant before her. Defiantly, she spreads her arms, not moving from the spot, much to the irritated chagrin of the elderly man.
"I'm not going to ask again," he says, his eyes narrowing as he lowers his voice to a dark mutter. The moonlight appears to cast a shadow on his face, so that his small, glowing red eyes are the only discernible features of him. "Move from there."
"You'll have to go through me."
"You've chosen your words all too foolishly?!" the tengu king yells, swiftly raising his blade for a strike.
Your eyes widen, and you rush forward as the tengu brings the blade down toward the woman, a loud crack ringing out as the blade travels fast enough to cut through the sound barrier itself.
You won't be able to save her.
The tengu king stops the blade himself, its sharp edge only centimeters away from cutting through the woman's face, who remains standing there, fixatedly staring up at him without flinching. A few small cuts open up on her cheek, sliced open by the force of the air displaced by the blade. Blood begins seeping out from the open wounds, and still she doesn't falter from the spot.
"-You're serious," utters Sojobo, who, though sounding disgusted, now looks at the woman in front of him with a sense of respect.
Kamishirasawa gives no reply, though she slowly lowers her arms, using the back of one hand to wipe away the blood from her face.
"Why would you defend such a? such a thing?" he asks her, his glance moving to you for a moment as he speaks.
"-it's my duty to protect everyone in this village," she says, biting her lip. "As long as he's staying under my roof, I won't let harm come to him."
"Sentimental rubbish," the tengu says, shaking his head.
He lets out a sigh, and turns away, turning his sword around so that the tip points to the ground. He searches around for something, and having located it, he points a hand to it and makes a beckoning gesture. A metal rod shoots from the ground toward him, and he catches it in his hand, sheathing his blade into it.
"-You'll regret this," he says without looking at the woman, twirling his shakujo staff around and planting it on the ground to use as a walking stick. "Alright, you idiots. Let's get back."
A wave of confusion spreads among the rank-and-file tengu, which their leader dispels with a wave of his arm, silencing them.
"Shut up," says he, his voice gruff and to the point. "We're heading back. I'm going to take this to the daitengu council, and they can decide what to do next ?cuz I already had my shot at this. Goddamn, I'm getting too old for this?"
Reluctantly?almost sulkingly so for some of them?the tengu leave, with one carrying the unconscious body of the crow tengu you knocked out earlier over his shoulder, following after their leader, who crouches down and gives a leap, flying off into the night sky above. Soon, the tengu are all out of sight, leaving only you and Kamishirasawa standing out in the pale moonlight.
"-Whew," the woman lets out a bated breath, turning around. Her shoulders sink, and immediately all of her earlier defiance seems to deflate from her as she rubs the shallow cuts on her face, yelping exaggeratedly as she does so. "Ow, ow, ow, that stiiiiings! Damn it, he just had to go and show off? I thought he was really going to take off my head for a moment there?"
"Anyway, you're alright, right?" she asks you, approaching. "Didn't get beat up too bad?"
"-I'm fine," you answer, laconic as always.
"That's good, then," she says, smiling. "C'mon, c'mon, it's getting pretty cold out here. Let's get back inside."
She grabs you by the wrist, dragging you along with her as she heads back toward the house. The earth barrier that blocked the doorway is now gone, having crumbled to pieces the moment the tengu that conjured it left the area, but she skips over it and leads you to the mess of a hole in the wall instead, where the immortal girl waits.
"-That was stupid of you," she says with a frown, glaring at the irresponsible woman.
"Ahahaha," she merely laughs it off, rubbing the back of her head sheepishly.
Shaking her head, the immortal girl heads back inside the house through the human-shaped hole, and Kamishirasawa follows in after you, still holding onto your wrist. You duck your head as you step inside with her. So she must have crashed her entire body through the wall in order to get outside. What a reckless move.
"-I'm not going to ask why you've gotten on the tengu's bad side," Kamishirasawa says in a grave as the two of you step further inside, averting her gaze from you. "So you don't need to be so tense. I'm not going to sell you out or anything. But we do need to talk, Mr. Youkai-Slaying God."
Moments later, the three of you are sitting at the table, with Kamishirasawa's daughter having been put to bed in another room before the gathering. Kamishirasawa clears her throat exaggeratedly before opening her mouth to speak.
"This is Fujiwara Mokou," she says, gesturing toward the immortal girl sitting cross-leggedly to the side. ??Though you seem to know her already."
Mokou makes no reply other than pointedly ignoring you.
"And my name is Kiyone," the woman continues, gesturing to herself now. "Kamishirasawa Kiyone. Do you think you can remember that?"
"So?" she says, touching the surface of the table and anxiously drumming a finger on it. ??How about you, then? Aren't you going to introduce yourself?"
"Forget it," Mokou suddenly speaks up loudly. "he's not gonna tell you anything."
"Kindly shut up for a minute, Mokou dearest," Kiyone interrupts her with a harsh rebuke. She adopts a gentle smile on her face once again before continuing. ??So, do you have a name?"
>>15112 I'm not so sure it's about beating Headgames. So far, Tayasumi/Nameless has been going about a sort of a meld between what Tayasumi wants and what Headgames wants, but at this point, Tayasumi's already given up on living and wants to die as seen in >>14685, and it looks more like Headgames is already in domination right now and Tayasumi's influence extends only far enough to keep humans safe.
>>15174 Not sure if that's quite true or not at this point, since while they both want revenge on Youkai, headgames has his own plan in mind, one that basically involves becoming just as bad if not worse than the monsters he's fighting.
Headgames has also in his plan killing gods; this comes into play with Hoshuu and Sanae, a girl of divine descent. Perhaps what goes on in this series of scenes might not affect much, but in the present; Headgames is a very obvious problem for Mikio, perhaps because without the being that Headgames is, there wouldn't be much left that could be called Mikio.
For this reason I don't see letting Headgames have his way all the time leading to anything good, even if it seems like a non-important choice.
It may be we just saved Keine's life, since to 'strike while the iron is hot' could very well have meant punching through her to grab at Ogata, or simply pushing her into his blade, even if was only to be a distraction to go and get the spear. Though the fight was doomed from the start since LOL TIME PARADOX.
In all honesty I'm surprised she's survived, regardless of the choices. Now she's referred to as a 'sacred beast' so she's at least a hakutaku, maybe a full one rather than a were-hakutaku. I'm wondering how the 'youkai slaying god' might feel about that, since it was definitely mentioned. Then again he apparently had reservations about killing the 'phoenix' so he might not be hunting all non-humans categorically.
Anyway I wondering how he self-identifies, if at all. The destruction of ego would only serve here to drag him down to the level of a completely thoughtless monster.
I've often been thinking of a villian for a personal story, where he wanted a world without gods or youkai, only humans, with this as his reason:
"Youkai are abominations, while gods are parasites, created from a combination of magic, and mans fears from the very depths of their minds since the dawn of man to help explain the unexplainable. Those things have been explained, yet you continue your mockary of existance? Scum like you should be erased, banished back to the darkness of the collective human subconsiousness, never to return to blight reality again."
And of course, a slight alteratiuon to a Bioshock saying:
>>15188 that's the main concern in this story is that all 3 leads don't lose 'themselves' to Headgames. This is very important to Hoshuu and Mikio, both young men who have befriended more than human people.
A trite inquiry, as though you ever cared about what you went by. You have no name. You are nameless. You've been called a youkai-slaying god?a red demon, it doesn't really matter what anyone calls you. You don't care about names, or titles. A name is useless to you, completely and utterly.
Giving them a name would mean forming a connection with them.
Never again, never again. You won't lose anything ever again. And if you don't have anything to lose in the first place, then you will lose nothing. Therefore, a connection should not be made. Bonds created only to be shattered serve to weaken you, and that would be detrimental to your goal.
That is why you will never give your name to anyone.
"Hello? Anyone in there?"
Kiyone's voice brings you back to reality, though you remain still, staring straight ahead without budging even a single part of your body, your eyes unblinking and your lips stubbornly closed. The immortal girl shrugs her shoulders, giving an aside glance at Kiyone as if to declare you a lost cause to her.
"Come on, you have a name, don't you?"
How annoying. Why is she always asking you to do things? You don't need to do anything she asks of you. You have no obligation, no reason to follow her commands. it's stupid and irritating and meddlesome. She's stupid and irritating and meddlesome.
Why is it that she acts so friendly to you?
She must know what you are. If she knows you by what youkai call you, then she knows what you do. The only thing that you do. She must have even figured out that you are not human, and yet she went out of her way to protect you from the tengu. That's stupid too. Why would a human defend something like you? it's nonsensical. Everything she does is nonsensical. The immortal had the right idea, abandoning you to your plight like any sane individual would do.
What is your name?
what is my name
what is your name
What is my name?
Who am I?
who are you
who am i
Who are you?
My name is
your name is
What? I can't remember. What is my name? What was my name? Who am I? Who are you?
Everything is so
Was that my name? Is that my name? Is that who I was before I became this? Or did that name become useless a long time ago? Who did that name belong to, I wonder? Why is it that I can remember that name?
Is that the only name that I can remember?
I was called by another name before.
What was it?
My name is?
my name is
You mumble sleepily, startled into a stir. In a daze, you look around yourself, and find that you're located at your usual post at the printing room. Held in your hands is the latest volume of Awakened Tengu Spirit: Mr. Karate!!, part of an intense battle manga series authored by one of the yamabushi tengu working here.
"Honestly, you shouldn't be spacing out in the middle of work like that!" a bossy voice scolds you. "That's totally unprofessional."
Shaking your head to clear your thoughts, you turn to look at the person addressing you impatiently. Ah, it's that person. Thought you recognized that voice.
"Miss Himekaidou," you say, snapping the manga in your hands shut and stowing it away inside your robes. "What can I help you with?"
The twin-tailed girl shoves a small pile of papers onto the desk in front of you, before standing back and dusting her hands off. "I need about thirty copies of this."
You glance down at the foremost page, carrying a big, bold header that reads Kakashi Spirit News. You doubt it's anything really urgent, though. This girl? is a bit infamous for only ever reporting news that's already been covered by someone else.
"Alright, please return tomorrow. We'll have it ready for you then," you say, taking the pages to be copied in your hands.
"What? Tomorrow? That's slow, too slow!" she says, pointing her strangely-shaped camera at you while tapping her foot on the floor. "A tengu should be fast even when he's working the printing press."
"I'm sorry, but we've got a lot on queue right now," you say with an apologetic smile. "Most of the printers are hard at work copying manga pages right now, and we're a bit short on manpower."
"Hmph," she huffs poutily. "I don't see why those things are so popular. they're like, so childish!"
"Well, it's a trend. I'm sure it'll die down within half a year or so."
She's still here, watching you intensely.
[ ] Ignore her.
[ ] ??Can I help you with anything else??
Curious. I wonder if ol' Otaga knew that the kid Aya and Momiji brought home that fateful day was the same youkai killer and decided to give him his old name. Either that or headgames is starting to mistake Mikio's memories for its and we're going to start seeing a blend of events in Tayasumi's past and Mikio's.
Perhaps headgames is the only real one and all the others are just a front.
>>15219 That's the worrying thing. The struggle of Mikio to remain him in the face of 'his true self' I think is the key struggle in this story. And how we handle it determine whether he has a happy ending with Shizuha or an attempted genocide of all non-humans as Headgames takes control.
it's a bit unsettling to be stared at like this, so you decide to inquire as to why she's still here. ??Um, yes, can I help you with anything else?"
"Suspicious," she says under her breath, narrowing her eyes as she leans in closer, scrutinizing you under a watchful gaze. She doesn't even seem to be aware that you can hear her, and it doesn't seem like she heard you when you spoke up, either.
"-are you talking about me?" you say, blinking your eyes in puzzlement. What's so suspicious about you? Is this about your mask again? Well, no, it's not like it isn't common knowledge among the tengu, anyway.
"-Ah," she jumps back, apparently only now having noticed that you're looking at her. Sweeping one of her twin tails back, she clears her throat before speaking again in that bossy tone. "A-anyway, tomorrow is way too late! Can't you like, make an exception for me or something? I mean, all you're printing right now is manga, what's the big deal?"
"Even so, we really can't go around the procedures like that?" you say, shrinking back a little. "I'm sorry, but you're just going to have to wait."
Empowered by your retreat, she strides forward, slamming one hand forcefully on the desk in front of you as she hardens her expression. "Listen, this is cutting edge technology!" she says with a sense of pride as she thrusts the camera to you, giving you a closer look at it.
It sort of reminds you of that strange device you found once at a festival, belonging to one of Miss Yukari's shikigami. What was it called? a cell phone, right?
"Um? is that right?" you ask, confused. What's so high-tech about it, other than its appearance?
Miss Himekaidou grins haughtily as she folds her arms across her chest, standing tall as she waves the cell phone-like camera around. "See, this is a camera specifically designed for spirit photography."
"That's right," she says with a nod. Holding the camera up to her face-level, she keeps her eyes fixed on the screen on top as she walks around the desk, standing next to you as she continues to speak. "Here, I'll show you how it works."
Intrigued, you stand closer to her, leaning over her shoulder to look at the screen. it's definitely unlike any camera you've ever seen before; instead of having a single button for taking a picture, there's a bunch of them, all grouped closely together on the bottom of the camera. The screen on top shows a small, blinking cursor.
"See, first I input some keywords," she continues to explain, tapping on a few of the keys with her thumb. The blinking cursor on top begins moving, leaving behind kanji characters.
"-My name?" you say, leaning your head in closer over the girl's shoulder to get a better look at the screen.
"Ahhh!" She suddenly lets out a yelp and moves away hurriedly, shuddering. As you give her a confused look, she stammers with a hand placed on her chest, "H-hey, don't get so close all of a sudden?"
"Oh, I'm sorry."
She relaxes her guard a bit, and you approach her again, taking care not to get too close this time as she continues her explanation. ??Anyway, so I input your name as a key word? and voila, it lists pictures taken that contain you."
You widen your eyes in surprise as the screen suddenly switches to a catalog of photographs. Miss Himekaidou presses some more keys on the bottom of the camera, and one of the pictures listed on the top screen suddenly expands to cover the entirety of the screen.
?Wait a minute, this one is a picture of?
"-Huh? This isn't you, is it?" Miss Himekaidou says, raising an eyebrow at the picture displayed on the screen of the camera. "This is a girl. That's weird. Are you in the background somewhere, or? huh, maybe this thing isn't perfect??"
it's probably best not to say anything.
"Can I see that for a bit?" you ask, reaching for the camera.
"Huh? Oh yeah, sure," she says without hesitation, placing it in your hand. As she does so, however, she adopts a stern look. "Be careful with it, though."
You nod. "Of course."
As you take it into your hand, Miss Himekaidou points to a few of the keys, explaining their use eagerly. It seems she really does place a lot of pride in this thing, enough that she doesn't seem to mind instructing you in its use if it means she gets to show it off. Getting a pretty good grasp of how it works, you decide to flip through the rest of the search results.
You feel a boyish grin creep onto your face as you look through the photographs. Ah, there's one from that festival not too long ago, and it looks like someone took a picture of one of your danmaku battles with Sanae as well, and? a picture of you sleeping? That's a bit disturbing.
"Hey, hey, try searching for something!" Miss Himekaidou excitedly urges you, prodding you hard in the side.
I don't have time to check now, but has he ever remembered any names or details from his past life "dreams" we could use? Did Sanae ever mention Hoshuu's name? Are there any other phrases that would reveal something?
That being said, I do miss her too.
[x] Shizuha Aki
>>15280 The real reason is because certain boards are slow and they're overshadowed by more popular characters. It's more slow boards than popularity in Sanae's case. Do you really want to do the same thing to Shizuha?
Fate has to keep nagging at Mikio to come to terms with his shadow. No successful protagonist finishes his journey without confrontation. The alternative would be him going insane/hostile takeover by mindgames/death/etc. If Mikio wants to be with Shizuha happily until he dies, then he has to deal with mindgames first.
>>15319 He rests enough in the time between updates. Keep in mind that there seems to be a timeskip everytime we go back to him.
So, as usually happens, updates should mostly focus on plot-relevant things, like this one.
Well, now that the thread suddenly went into autosage due to the tidal wave of votes, it's probably a good idea to do a little vote count. Be aware that this does not exclude possible multi-votes, and only count up to >>15347 because that's where I started.
Anyway, the calculated results are as follow:
Seems like Shizuha won out by a count of almost double of the runner up, and almost over the combined vote of the other three. Even if there are multi-votes, the overall results seems unlikely to change with this gap between entries.
>>13516 >??Huh? Umm?" She pauses to ponder a bit about what to do next. Looking around, her eyes linger on a photo sticker booth standing outside a nearby store. Smiling energetically, she points at it and looks back to you. "Ah, let's do that!" she says cheerfully. "I still don't have a single photo of you."
As for physical objects though, there's still the miniature metallic windchimes. I also noted while checking on the windchimes angle he also seemed to recognize the name 'Kamishirasawa' in >>9295
On a completely unrelated thing, I note that when Sanae went nuts in the training, she likely was not just mad at Hoshuu, but mad at herself as well - since by leaving the outside world, it would mean that Hoshuu not only didn't come back, he couldn't ever come back.
Also, I need to better grounding in Japanese mythology than Google searches.