Something that you once felt, long ago. Something that you feel like you’ve lost, for what feels like an eternity. It feels, nostalgic. You don’t really understand it. It scares you a little, because of how unfamiliar it is, but… it’s also so very warm, so comforting. What could it… what could it be? You don’t know… no matter how much you try to think you can’t find a way to describe what it is that you’re experiencing right now. What is it…? What is it...
Ah. Could it be that?
That thing called ____.
No, that can’t be it. This is… different, from the ____ you remember. It’s something so similar, yet so different. What is it, what is it? You want to know. But is it something that one is able to learn for themselves, or is it something that must be taught? You don’t know that either. It all feels so confusing, so unfamiliar and strange. Is it ____, or is it something else entirely? Why is it that you can’t seem to recognize this great emotion swelling up within you…
You feel a squeeze on your hand, bringing you back into your surroundings. Your eyes focus again, and look on Kiyone’s face. She smiles as she gazes back.
“Come on,” she says, with another squeeze on your hands, “Let’s not keep her waiting.”
Silently, you nod, your fingers reluctantly letting go her hand as you take a step back. The woman hops off the table, running her hands through her hair, and tossing it back, letting the strands rain down beautifully onto her back. Turning her body, she moves toward the exit to the room. Seconds pass before you begin to follow after her as she reaches the door, moving out into the hallway.
“So they’re really going through with this Great Border thing,” the immortal says, peering out the open window, hands jammed in the pockets of her baggy red pants. “It doesn’t mean anything to me since I’m always on my own, but won’t this be bad for the village? There are youkai everywhere that aren’t going to like all the changes.”
“It’ll be fine,” Kiyone says confidently, running a finger across the surface of the wooden desk in front of her, moving across the tatami mats on the floor to join her friend and the window. “Even if the enforcers can’t get things under control, we’re here to protect the village, right?”
“I don’t have any obligation to do that,” the immortal says, scoffing.
“Sure you don’t.”
“It’s true,” she says stubbornly.
“Right, right,” Kiyone nods, almost as though she’s appeasing a child in tantrum.
Grumbling to herself, the immortal turns around and moves away from the window, carefully stepping around the knee-height tables set up around the room as she heads toward the exit of the classroom. She shoots you a look of suspicion as she approaches you, but says nothing and instead saunters past you toward the open doorway. Kiyone watches her leave, and then turns back to the window, resting her elbows on the windowsill as she gazes outside.
You kneel at one of the desks on the floor, reaching out to touch its surface. Your fingertips brush against the smooth, patterned desktop. This is the place. This is where kids will be able to gather, and talk together and laugh together… You feel your lips set into a small smile as you picture the classroom in daylight, with the children at their desks, with a bright and joyful look on their faces as they enjoy themselves. They will be happy, even if they don’t realize it. You’re sure…
You turn your head in the direction of the window, hearing Kiyone’s soft gasp. She leans further out the window, grim yet awestruck. You get up, unbending your legs, and walk over to join her, sticking your head out the window. A bright light illuminates the night sky, filling the world with its shining radiance. It’s a small one, just a little shimmer in the eastern skies. But it grows, and spreads, like a spider’s web, stretching out and enveloping the entire sky. The light reaches out across every direction, becoming so intense that it’s almost blinding to the eyes…
“It’s started,” Kiyone says, squinting through the light.
The light dims down in intensity, although it has not lost its splendor. A pattern now covers the sky, as far as you can look. Geometric patterns of every shape and size are drawn on the black curtain of night, becoming more numerous and complex with every passing moment. The patterns begin to move, rotating in place as though they were gears in the inside of a clock, twisting and turning and moving together in harmony with one another.
And then, it stops.
Everything stops. The light fades away, as quickly as it had come. The world is returned to its natural darkness, lit only by the light of the moon and the stars. The world is still. The world is silent. You can’t hear even the sound of your own breathing. Nothing has changed. Nothing has changed, that you can see. The sight of the world is the same as before, and the sound of the world is the same as before. But at the same time, everything has changed. Nothing is as it was before. It’s all changed. Everything has. Everything has changed and—
You hear a heartbeat.
Why am I here?
You hear another heartbeat. It’s coming from the inside of your head. You step away from the window, clutching the sides of your head, your eyes opened wide, not blinking at all. Another heartbeat, louder now. And another one. And another one. And another one. The pumping of blood fills your head with its deep, rhythmic sounds, blocking everything out. You can’t hear anything but the heartbeat. Bump, bump, bump, the heart screams and groans.
Why do I live?
What purpose… am I…
“Guhaa!” you scream out in pain, your fingers tightening around your own head, your vision blocked out by a scarlet color.
I AM I AM I AM I AM I AM
This is wrong. This is wrong! Something is—something is pulling at you, tugging at you, tearing at you, tearing you into pieces! You’re disappearing. You’re fading. Something is tearing you apart, splitting your head in half, something something something it hurts everything hurts what’s happening what is happening stop I’m scared please stop it stop why is this happening stop stop stop I won’t be me anymore stop tugging stop tearing at me I don’t want to disappear I don’t want to disappear I don’t want to disappear I can’t I can’t I can’t why am I here why why why why why why WHY!?
I don’t want to disappear i don’t want to disappear I don’t want to disappear!
I… why am I here. For what reason do I exist? What is the thing… keeping me in this world? I’m sure it was… I’m sure it was…!
You look straight ahead.
She is there. She is approaching you. She looks upon you with concern.
—stop no don’t come near not now not now not now get away from here STOP DON’T COME HERE—
My purpose is… my existence is to…
[ ] Kill her. [ ] kill her [ ] Kill her kill her Kill her kill her Kill her kill her Kill her kill her
[x] Kill her kill her Kill her kill her Kill her kill her Kill her kill her
I told you bros. I warned you about them Headgames. It keeps happening.
Well, Headgames' prophetic counterattack has come and Tayasumi will kill Kiyone regardless of his wishes. A real shame that, as he was just starting to become a better person and learn how to be human again. It would have been better if he had just stayed like he was before, unthinking and unloved. That way, he wouldn't feel anything when he slaughters her.
>>20093 Besides the incredibly slow pacing and endless cliches, that's my biggest complaint about this story. It feels like we've got no control over what happens, and when we do, the options are so vague that we might as well be voting blind.
>>20101 >>20102 The entire update heavily implys this is Tayasumi attacking Kiyone. I don't quite know how you guys missed that.
>>20095 There was that one time we walked into the darkness by write-in or something and it resulted in a bad. I have a feeling Tayasumi killing himself would also result in a bad end since, well, he would be killing himself.
I have to wonder if the people complaining of how "vague" these choices are, are simply stupid, or have the reading comprehension of a gnat. Lion never makes these things a complete crapshoot and they appear to be following the same general convention he has laid out for us this entire time.
Italics usually means Headgames, and standard text means Tayasumi. You should be able to figure out these terribly challenging set of options laid before us without feeling as if you are voting blindly.
>>20119 Except headgames and some of the main characters are slowly merging without us knowing?
Yes, I've known from the start that italics were headgames. Key word being 'were'. I'm not too sure now, to be honest. Whenever any of the characters have some sort of fit of quick insanity like this, its them and headgames talking at the same time, or some bullshit like that. I dont know, its just really screwing around with my sense of perception.
You scream, silently. Your mouth is wide opened as though its bellowing and incredibly savage roar. And yet, nothing comes out from your mouth. Not a single sound. Or maybe it’s just that you can’t hear it, because at that moment, the only thing you can hear is the pounding of blood in your ears. A powerful, rhythmic beat that drowns out everything else, rumbling and beating so hard against your ears that you feel as if your head is quaking along with every step.
But still, she steps forward. She reaches out to you, talks to you with soothing words. She showers you with kindness, with attention, with love. Even as you scream and thrash in agony, she does not stay away. She holds you by your shoulders. She looks into your eyes. She parts her lips to speak to you gently, with concern.
And everything goes black—
A long time ago, I asked her what ‘love’ meant. I asked her what it meant to love people. She smiled, and grasped my hand, pulling me closer. She put my head to her bosom, and began to stroke the top of my head, running her long, slender fingers through my hair. She told me that to love someone was to want to help them in any way I could. So I told her that I loved her. She laughed, and held me tighter, and told me that she loved me as well. That made me happy. That made me want to be loved. To be loved by many different people. That’s why I wanted to love them. I wanted to be someone who loved people, and was loved by them as well.
But it was impossible for me.
You snap back to your surroundings, dazed. It feels like you’ve been dreaming. You don’t know what you were dreaming about, but you’re sure it was a good dream, a happy dream. But a dream must end eventually, and when it does, it’s forever gone, never to return. No matter how much you try to grasp at it, you can’t reach it, your fingertips groping only the air. That’s how dreams are, no matter how beautiful, no matter how wonderful. A dream is nothing. No matter how much it feels real, no matter how much you enjoy it, once it’s all over, it’s returned to being nothing.
This was all just a dream.
You look down at the collapsed form of the woman before you, a large bloody gash across her body, the deep red vital fluids pouring from her open wound quickly festering into a dark, black liquid. She is still, she is motionless, limp on the ground like a doll without its strings. Grasped tightly in your hand is your weapon, blood still dripping from the tip of the blade, the drops hitting and breaking against the tatami mat floor. It had been with you the entire time. You just hadn’t realized it. But now you have, and it is once again in your hand.
“This was a dream…” you whisper to yourself, “…everything was.”
“Hey, what’s with the screaming in here--!?”
You turn around, and see the immortal standing at the doorway out of the classroom, frozen in place. But she quickly understands, her eyes darting from the collapsed woman to you, and the bloody spear you hold in your hand. Her expression quickly turns from shock to anger, immense anger. Her teeth clenched together, her eyes opened wide and bloodshot, she rushes at you, letting out an incomprehensible scream as she draws back a fist.
You sidestep her punch, letting her swing wildly past you. You pull your arm in and swing it out, catching her hard across the abdomen. She goes flying across the room, crashing into the desks, buried underneath them, while you stand and watch her, without moving, without speaking. You feel nothing. You feel numb. You don’t know whether you’re happy, or sad, or shocked, or surprised, or scared. Nothing matters anymore. Nothing matters… no matter what happens, it doesn’t matter anymore, nothing nothing nothing. It’s all worthless. Everything…
“You!” the immortal screams in rage, hurtling away the desks piled on top of her, standing up.
With a yell, fire appears at her fists, engulfing them. Her skin begins to darken, burning and cracking from the heat of the flames, but she doesn’t care. She runs up, dashing at a speed at the absolute limit of a human body, and swings her burning fists toward you. She misses with the first punch, the flames leaving a fiery trail in the air, searing your skin even as her fist grazes you, but she immediately swings her other fist. It connects with your cheek, jerking your head around. The flesh melts off, leaving your cheekbone visible for just a second, but it quickly grows back.
You bring the blade at your knees up around and past them, slashing upward with the sharp edge. The bloody, rusty blade slices through both of the woman’s arms at the elbows, severing through flesh and bones. Her forearms fall to the ground, and immediately burn up in the fire of the hands, turning to nothing more than ash.
The immortal roars in rage, berserker tears streaming down her face. With that roar, fire streams out from the rest of her body, her shirt catching on fire. Despite the pain she’s causing to herself, she rushes forward, attempting to tackle you with her body. You stab out with your spear, and she pierces herself onto it, but she doesn’t care. She moves forward, turning her body to jerk the spear’s handle out from your hand before rushing forward at you. She knocks you down with her burning body, your flesh boiling and melting just from being in close contact with her.
With a shove that nearly burns off your entire hand, you push her off you, and as she rolls onto her back, you get to your feet, and grab the handle of your spear again, ripping it out through the side of her torso, spilling her guts onto the floor. She’s paralyzed by the pain, and you lift the tip up and hang it over her, bringing it down and piercing her heart. She stops moving, stops gasping for air, stops struggling, remaining as limp as the other woman on the floor, her body completely burnt up by the heat of her own flames.
You pull the blade out from her, turning to leave the room.
“You’re not getting away!”
You turn back around, and see the immortal on her feet, her flesh and arms completely restored. Her shirt has been burned away, but she doesn’t care. She rushes forward with renewed vitality, her fists covered in flames again. She flails her arm wildly at you, the fire in her hands dancing wildly along with her punches, embers flying off in every direction. You catch her by the wrist, even as the flames destroy both yours’ flesh, and throw her at the wall. She hits it with a pained scream, landing on her knees, but she quickly gets up, fiery wings erupting from her back, licking the wooden wall behind her. They catch on fire. The desks strewn around her catch on fire. The fire quickly spreads, from wall to wall, desk to desk. The ceiling supports creak and groan. The air wavers and dances in the heat of the fire, and becomes filled with thick smoke.
“You shithead,” the immortal shouts hatefully, her soot-covered face illuminated by the roaring red flames around her body. “I’ll kill you… I’ll kill you!”
She throws both palms forward, and the wings at her back fly forward, forming the shape of a fiery bird soaring toward you. You raise your arm, the flame hitting against it, your mind filled with the searing hot pain as the embers crash against your body, burning and incinerating it. But it’s healed. The flesh that has been melted away returns to normal within seconds.
You lean forward, and run. You run much faster than she can react. Before she can even let out a yelp, you catch her by the throat, leaving her hanging in the air for a split second before throwing her hard up against the other wall. She hits one of the support pillars, and it splinters and cracks under the force, while she falls down onto a pile of burning tables. She gets up on top of the pile, heedless of the flames licking at her feet, burning it to a crisp, tossing her head back and yelling, her body exploding into fire again, her flesh renewed, her burning wings spreading once more.
She leaps, and takes flight, soaring with those fiery wings of hers, swooping down with burning palms. She knocks you down on your back, climbing on top of you. She punches you in the face, and again, and again and again and again with those fiery hands and melts away every bit of flesh on your face but you reach up and stab her in the gut with your hands, pulling it apart and shoving her to the ground and stabbing her with your blade again and again—
A small little girl stands at the doorway to the burning room, peering inside, her small eyes wide open, her mouth agape in shock. She doesn’t see you, or what you’re doing, or even the state of the room at all. She sees only her mother, lying down amidst the burning desks in a pool of her own blood. She runs in, her eyes filled with tears, completely heedless of you and the immortal and the fires raging inside. She drops to her knees at her mother’s side, and reaches out with her small hands, shaking her shoulders.
“Mama!” she cries.
The immortal coughs and hacks, before violently shoving you off her and rolling away, getting to her feet. “Aww, crap, the kid!”
A loud creak.
The ceiling support you broke earlier begins to fall, the base weakened by the flames. The beam groans, beginning to fall toward the little girl—
“Hey, watch out!” the immortal yells, beginning to rush forward.
>Mokou fight scene Hooray! Was waiting for something like this since the defeat at the Tengu's hands. Good to see Tayasumi's martial skill hasn't declined, but why isn't he hardening his skin to stone as before? Is he simply regenerating too quickly for it to be an issue, or is he being careless and forgetting he can do so?
Or perhaps he can no longer do so since he went without practice for so long. Ah well, such is life: if you don't use it, you lose it.
>Personally, my issue isn't with the sometimes vague choices, it's that no mater what we do, things just keep getting worse. It's like MiG lite.
The ending was already spelt out for us, when Aya & Momizi told Mikio the story of the youkai killing god. It's how we get to that ending is what our choice affects. And our choice might have a residual effect on the ending, possibly based on the Headgames:Tayasumi ratio for our choices.
Your body moves forward on its own. Without a single thought, you rush past the immortal, much quicker than she to dive toward the child. The crumbling pillar descends, ever faster and faster, threatening to crush the child and her mother – but you put yourself in the way, pushing the child to the ground. You crouch over the little girl and her mother, the wooden beam crashing upon your back. You nearly buckle under the weight of the beam, but you push against the floor, keeping yourself from crumpling.
The child stares up at you with wide, traumatized eyes, unable to let out even a single sound from her mouth. What kind of look is she giving you, you wonder? Does she hate you? Of course she does… after what you did to her mother, there’s not a single doubt about it. She hates you. She fears you. She detests you with every fiber of her being. And yet, you saved her. You saved her from being crushed. Why? You don’t understand – it doesn’t make sense. Nothing makes sense. You don’t want to think about it.
“Damn it!” the immortal cries as she rushes to the child. She quickly scoops her up, holding her by the waist under her arm, before delicately slinging her mother’s body over her shoulder. She turns to leave – but before she does, she looks at you. Her eyes are unmistakably filled with hatred as well, but she won’t act on it. She can’t act on it, as things are now, and instead she curses you, “I’ll kill you someday, you bastard.”
The child and her mother secured, she carries them away from the flames, rushing through smoke and fire. The inferno inside the room continues to rage on. All around you, you can feel the flames licking your flesh and the smog choke and fill your lungs. The foundations creak, and splinter, and snap, and the ceiling shakes and threatens to fall. You gather your strength, pushing up against the wooden beam. Your body is moving on its own again, determined to survive. But why? What’s the point of it all? There’s nothing left, nothing left at all, so it doesn’t matter what the body does, what it does to survive…
The roof finally gives out, collapsing on top of you and crushing you beneath it.
You watch the fire from the edge of the settlement, watching the villagers scramble to put the fire out on what’s left of the building. You watch for a long time, in the dark, unnoticed by anyone. Finally, as the last embers are put out and smoke fills the air no more, you turn around. Your spear in your hand, you walk away from the village. Where you’re going, what you’re going to do now – none of that matters anymore. Whether you continue to eke out a miserable existence, driven only to survive… you don’t care.
A giant beast falls at your feet, head sunk low. An enormous wolf, with shimmering white fur that gleams in the moonlight, the tip of its tail split into two distinct ends. Black blood gushes out from one of its eyes, the same black blood dripping from your spear. The beast struggles to stand up, but his forelegs give out under him, and he falls to the grass, crying a tear of that black blood. His great pants push against you, his breath smelling of blood, of death and decay. Countless bodies of other wolves lie about the field, butchered and sliced apart at your hand.
“Why are you… in the way!?” the beast curls back his lips, baring his fangs, his mouth remaining agape as he speaks. “Damn you, you human! You’re trying to trap us to this land, and let our kind be dominated by yours! I’m going to tear that border down, even if I have to rip apart every single human with my jaws!”
You say nothing, only raise your weapon in response. The great wolf flinches, before attempting once more to get back onto its feet, its breathing ragged from the pain of his wounds. He manages to stand on all four feet once again, although he’s struggling to even stay that way. He’s no match for you like this. No, like this, he can’t even attempt to escape. You can finish him off with just a single strike.
You freeze, looking behind you. Humans. A group of youkai exterminators, coming this way, attracted by the sight of the great wolf. Slowly, you lower your spear. They’re always in the way. Always, always, always, always, always getting in the way. You turn yourself around fully. Why do they get in the way? Annoying, annoying, annoying. Behind you, the great wolf sees a chance, and leaps, bounding away as quickly as his injured legs can carry him.
“Look, there’s the blood-soaked youkai!” one of the humans screams, pointing at you.
…always, always, always in the way…
You raise your spear as they approach you.
You sit down, leaning back against the stump of a tree. Your spear rests against your shoulder, the tip of it covered in deeply-colored blood. The killing isn’t satisfying. It satisfies neither need nor want. But you do it anyway. You kill, you rip, you slaughter. But no matter what you do, no matter what you kill, no matter how many you kill – it’s all the same. All the same. All same. But you still do it. You still do it, and you can’t stop. If you stop, you’ll disappear. But you don’t want to disappear. But isn’t that alright? You don’t care about anything anymore, so why not just disappear?
Are you scared?
Are you actually scared to die?
Even though up to this point, your existence has been miserable, are you actually afraid for it all to come to an end?
But ever since that moment, something’s changed. You kill, and you kill, and you kill, and you never stop wanting to kill, but you derive nothing from it. Your body is compelled to kill for the sake of killing. You can’t explain it, you can’t describe it, but it’s become almost an unconscious action. You just kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill—
So that’s why you’ve been directing all of that toward the youkai assaulting the village. With the formation of the border, as everyone predicted, the lesser youkai began to revolt. So that’s why you would go to them, and kill them all. Something guides you to them. Something… something. It feels as though you’re being influenced by someone, but it doesn’t matter, as long as you can find them and kill them all. But you don’t understand. What made you this way?
“Go to the Hakurei shrine.”
You jolt to attention, looking up. There’s a woman standing in front of you, her back lit against the moonlight. It’s her. The woman who sought to change you. The woman who treated you with kindness and acceptance. But it can’t be her. You killed her, and she can’t be her because she’s dead. But even though she’s supposed to be dead, she continues to talk.
“Everything will become clear once you go there,” she says, cryptically.
You climb the last of the steps leading to the shrine, dragging your weapon with you. Stepping on the stone ground, you look forward. She is standing there, at the center of the shrine grounds, with her back turned toward you. Behind her, the shrine itself stands erect. The border that the lesser youkai resent and revolt against – it’s here. Without speaking a word, you walk forward to that person, and hearing your approaching footsteps, she begins to turn around…
…and her image distorts, blurring. When she has turned around, she has changed completely. Gone is the woman with silver hair, and in her place stands a tall, majestic woman in a purple dress with golden hair, a pink parasol held in her hand. She smirks at you as she turns around fully, although her eyes are narrowed and hostile, completely at odds with her smile.
“Not who you were expecting, am I,” she asks dryly.
With her free hand, she snaps her fingers. Immediately, borders erect around the perimeter of the shrine grounds, completely sealing it off from outside. Her smirk fades away, and she remains standing at her spot. “You know, I’ve been watching your actions for quite some time now,” she says, her expression cold and hardened, “When I first noticed you, my first thought was to kill you, and my next thought was to make you a shikigami. But I left you alone, instead. That ends now.”
She snaps her fingers again, and a second layer of barriers appear, overlapping with the first, securing the area even further.
“I thought you’d calmed down a bit thanks to the hakutaku, but, well, we both know how that turned out,” she says, shrugging her shoulders flippantly. “Honestly, you foolish boy, what do you hope to accomplish? Extinction of all youkai? The destruction of everything supernatural?”
You say nothing, remaining silent, watching her without moving a single muscle. She seems content to continue on by herself.
“I let you run amok at your own leisure because you were at least helpful in dispatching the riffraff who were raising a fuss over the border, but an attack dog isn’t very efficient if it’s rabid,” she says, wagging her finger in the air like she’s teaching a lesson. “And rabid dogs do need to be put down, after all. This world will belong to youkai now. Something like a ‘youkai-slaying god’ has no place in such a world. You’re an anomaly in this world. You’re something that shouldn’t exist.”
[ ] Chuck your spear at her. [ ] Let her keep talking.
Fuck this. Tayasumi isn't some rabid dog. He isn't some mindless beast who needs to be put down "for the greater good" or whatever. Even though he has a miserable existence, he is still a human being!
He's regressed a bit since he killed Kiyone, sure, but he's still himself. He doesn't even know why, but he still saved Keine. Nor has he attacked any Humans. He still cares about humanities continued prosperity. All he needs is a little more time, and maybe a miracle, but I have the utmost faith that he'll eventually come around. He can't disappear here.
You freeze, looking behind you. Humans. A group of youkai exterminators, coming this way, attracted by the sight of the great wolf. Slowly, you lower your spear. They’re always in the way. Always, always, always, always, always getting in the way. You turn yourself around fully. Why do they get in the way? Annoying, annoying, annoying. Behind you, the great wolf sees a chance, and leaps, bounding away as quickly as his injured legs can carry him.
“Look, there’s the blood-soaked youkai!” one of the humans screams, pointing at you.
…always, always, always in the way…
You raise your spear as they approach you.
You sit down, leaning back against the stump of a tree. Your spear rests against your shoulder, the tip of it covered in deeply-colored blood. The killing isn’t satisfying.
>Fuck this. Tayasumi isn't some rabid dog. He isn't some mindless beast who needs to be put down "for the greater good" or whatever.
I strongly disagree. Once he is done killing all the youkai he will surely go gainst humans and everything else living. A monster without control and purpose is the most threatening. Just too dangerous to be left alone.
>>20235 >You just kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill— >So that’s why you’ve been directing all of that toward the youkai assaulting the village.
I don't think so Tim. While it is quite suggestive that he did harm those humans, this clearly contradicts it. I remain convinced that he is still following his original path.
>>20236 Baseless assumptions, and what's worse, is that you are wrong. Tayasumi does have a purpose, and he is always in control of his actions. His goal is to kill all youkai, and that's exactly what he is doing. There is nothing mindless about it, nor does it lessen his right to existence.
>>20237 >There is nothing mindless about it, nor does it lessen his right to existence. It is pretty mindless and does not lessen the need for him to disappear too. Quite the opposite. It's like running around with a nuclear bomb and hoping it does not go off by mistake one day.
>>20239 Mindless does not equal single-minded. Please endeavor to learn the difference between the two. Tayasumi can still make distinctions between things he wishes to kill, and things he does not. He can still make decisions over his own actions. He still agonizes over the possibility of his own death. He still holds lingering affection towards that woman.
None of these things are something that a "rabid dog" would do. It's utterly disgusting that so many people would say he needs to die, simply for trying to create a world free of man-eating monsters.
>>20237 I like >>20238's metaphor. He does try to put his bloodlust to good use, to be fair, but if anyone tries to get in his way, human or not, he's taking it out on them as well.
Why do you think Yukari suddenly chose now to attack? She left him alone because, as she said, he was defending the village. Why would she attack him now unless she saw something that counteracted that?
Granted, she is being kind of an asshole about it, but that's a different matter.
>>20242 I suspect she's attacking now for the same reason she chose that exact moment to attack Mikio. Perhaps it was because of Ran's nagging. Perhaps she was feeling particularly energetic today. Perhaps she woke up on the right side of the bed. Who the hell knows; it's Yukari.
She isn't going to lift a finger to stop Tayasumi from attacking humans, if he is at all. You'd be laughably naive to believe she is that altruistic. Remember, "this world belongs to youkai now." Tayasumi attacking humans could only work to her favor.
However, her motivation matters not at all. She's here to end Tayasumi, and that must not be allowed.
For one, Tasayumi is going to have his borders removed one way or the other, so we might as well take the non-Headgames-y choice.
For two, the more Yukari talks, the more we know about her thought process, and the more we know about her thought process, the more likely it is that Mikio will be able to pick up that she's viewing him as the "youkai-killing god" she tried to erase a while ago. Understanding that people are looking at who he's made of - and in doing so, reach terrible conclusions about him - is the first step for Mikio to make towards understanding that he isn't those two schleps, and towards really confirming his own identity.
He'll probably be dumped in the newly defined Outside, along with any other undesirables, and Yukari promulgates that has was killed. In the outside he withers away with neither any faith nor purpose to sustain his body. His spirit lies dormant for one hundred years, until it finds some vestige of the old beliefs to leech off of.
>>20276 Still doesn't change the fact that Tayasumi would have nothing to gain from it. All that'd result is us potentially missing a motive rant/info dump that might be useful for Mikio and Tayasumi having to pull a spear out of his gut.
>>20278 She is a youkai. She dies. That is what Tayasumi gains. He doesn't know the attack is going to fail, either. I'm sure he's gotten this sort of shit from youkai in the past. Though, I bet none of them impersonated Kiyone. That's new.
And Mikio almost certainly already knows all this. Remember this from thread 14? >It’s going. It’s going going going going going going going. The last of the chains holding you back. The last of the shackles binding your arms and your legs. You’re free. Freer than ever. No more chains. No more imprisonment. Everything has been unlocked. That sort of stuff, combined with his(our) actions (sorry Sanae), is just a bit suspect, don't you think?
I'm not saying you can't pick the "let her infodump" option. It's perfectly fine to. But these justifications suck.
>>20279 Meh, I'm looking at this from a meta-perspective, which is pretty much telling me "that shit'll never work". By "useful for Mikio", I meant that we might learn something that we might be able to use to help Mikio (or at least understand what the fuck's going on with him/Tayasumi/Hoshuu).
From an in-story perspective, yeah, those can't even be called justifications, since Tayasumi has no reason to assume/know any of that.
>>20280 Why would Lion base whether he gives us plot-critical information on something so arbitrary? He can have Yukari stop the attack and keep talking. He can have her make it so the only thing Tayasumi can sense is her voice. Changing stuff like this to accomodate votes is easy.
This choice seems to be about acceptance vs defiance more than anything else. Or maybe killing youkai vs not killing youkai. Not infodump vs no infodump.
You remain silent, unmoving, unthinking. Nothing this woman says to you draws any attention or reaction from you, and yet she continues to talk. She flicks her wrist, and a folded fan drops out of her wide sleeve, catching it by the base with her hand. Snapping it open, she holds it up to her mouth, concealing it behind it as she begins to pace about.
“I’ve been wondering exactly what you were for some time,” she begins, not even looking at you as she speaks, talking as though she’s addressing no one but herself, “Certainly not a human, no. You’re more similar to a youkai than a human, but at the same time, you’re completely different, separate from us. Which leaves one more possibility, but I’m not a specialist there.”
“And that’s why you brought him here.”
You turn your head, and a woman standing in front of the shrine, garbed like a traditional shrine maiden, with a light-colored robe over a long dark skirt. A gohei rod is held in her hand, the paper tassels swaying in the air as she steps toward you and the youkai. The shrine maiden wears a dark expression as she looks at you, stopping at the youkai’s side.
“I wish you wouldn’t have involved me in this,” she says, though it’s clear that she’s addressing the youkai next to her, even as her gaze never leaves from you.
“Consider this the first extermination of our new world,” the youkai says, “Of course, we can’t allow any news of this to leave this place. That’s the second reason why I sealed this entire area off. Wouldn’t want any tengu spying on this.”
“And if the shrine gets destroyed?”
“Natural disasters,” she replies with a prepared answer, “We’ll say the gods were angered by the erection of the border and caused a great typhoon to destroy the offending shrine.”
“You really do plan everything out, don’t you?”
“You overestimate me,” she says, scoffing. “What I’m good at is improvisation.”
“The people at the village have been rallying in full support of the border,” the shrine maiden says, finally breaking away from you to address the woman next to her, “They say because it’s causing youkai to fight against one another, it’s keeping them from attacking the village. Was that your doing as well?”
“Youkai fighting one another,” she says slowly, smirking, “…Yes, I suppose it would look like that to them, wouldn’t it? The dissident youkai have been put down, and the humans are now standing behind our cause. With this, there will be no problems.”
“You really are a demon.”
“Someone has to be,” she says dismissively. “So, have you found out who our guest is?”
“I’m not sure exactly what’s happening here either,” the shrine maiden replies, shaking her head. “But that body of his – it’s become a sort of vessel for faith. No, more accurately, it’s a vessel of fear, like a youkai’s, but different in that it garners the fear of youkai rather than humans.”
“I see. That would certainly make sense,” the youkai says, fanning herself. “A hunter of those who hunt. And all the more reason why we can’t allow him to continue to eke out an existence here. So, have you thought of a way to appropriately deal with him?”
“Why don’t you just dump him outside?”
“He’d force his way back inside.”
“In that case, give me some time,” the shrine maiden says, frowning deeply. “I need him immobile for a bit.”
“Time you shall have,” she replies, smirking. She folds up her fan with a snap, and points it toward me, and with a flourish of her arm, she tears open the empty space next to her. “All we need is to bring in someone who can overpower him.”
The demon stows away her fan in her sleeve before snapping her fingers. At her call, the gap in the air swirls and glows with radiant flashes of light, before something small and dark falls out of it, plummeting straight to the ground. A small girl with two large horns falls headfirst to the stone tiles below, landing on her horns before falling onto her back. She holds a large gourd in her hand, and a bit of saliva trickling down the corner of her mouth. Flushed with inebriation, the girl looks up at the woman standing next to her body.
“Eh?” she says with a slur, confusedly, “ ‘kari? Heeeey there, long time no sssee. Whatcha doin’ here? ‘Thought you surface folks weren’t allowed undergrou…”
She suddenly looks up at the sky, seeing the stars and the moon.
“Oh? Hey, ain’t this the surface?”
The shrine maiden seems shocked, taking a step back, away from the girl. “Hey, Yukari, is she an oni—”
“That’s right,” the gap demon says, answering both questions with a single reply.
“Ain’t this against the agreement? Me bein’ here and all.”
“The agreement was that no youkai from the surface would enter the underground. There was no agreement that forbade underground youkai from coming up to the surface.”
“Gahaha! I shoulda known you had something on your mind when you acted as mediator,” the little girl laughs, hopping up to her feet. With one eye closed, she looks at the tall woman next to her, “I really hate that about you, y’know that?”
“More importantly, I’ve got something for you to do,” she says, drawing her fan once again and pointing the tip at you. “I need you to pummel him around.”
“Eh? That scrawny looking fella?” the horned girl says, attempting to lean forward to get a closer look, only to narrowly avoid falling on her front, swaying back and forth unsteadily. With a somewhat disapproving frown, she looks back to the gap demon. “Doesn’t look like much. You better not be wastin’ my time here, Yukari.”
“Oh, he’s so strong that my weak, dainty self couldn’t possibly hope to hold him back,” she replies, unfolding her fan and covering her mouth with it, her eyebrows knit in mock fret, “You’re the only one who I can possibly trust to help me.”
“Well, alright, but you’re gonna owe me a favor, alright?” the little girl says, shrugging. She hangs the ground from her waist, rubbing her shoulder with one arm while spinning around the other, cracking her joints in preparation as she steps forward. “Is it alright if I kill him?”
“By all means, try your hardest.”
Finally, you move.
You point the tip of your blade to the ground, and stand with your legs spread apart. Black marks begin to crawl around on your skin, slithering and writhing across the surface of your flesh, a hot burning sensation covering your entire body. Your teeth are clenched together in a vicious, animal-like snarl, and your eyes are sharp and focused, the red irises growing dark, slit pupils. Your shock white mane, long and untamed, is slowly colored in a dark shade of red, the same color as blood.
“What’s with this guy?” the oni says, pounding her fist into a palm, “Givin’ me the creeps.”
“Careful,” the shrine maiden says, narrowing her eyes, needles at the ready in between her fingers. “He’s coming.”
You’ll kill them all. All of them. Kill them, klll them, kill them, kill them, kill them. Only then will you be free. Only then will you be relieved. You don’t know why, but it feels that way. Kill them, kill them all, and then you’ll be free from these murderous desires. Kill her, and kill her, and then kill her. Everyone. Everything. Everyone, everything, everyone, everything. Kill them all, smash them all, devour them all, until nothing is left. That’s the way it should all end. That’s the only way, so kill first the—
This is the opponent who we're supposed to face after all. And plus, Yukari would just use her hax if we attacked her, and Tayasumi's against (kinda) attacking humans, so that rules the shrine maiden out. That leaves Suika. Also, I wonder how this shrine maiden is related to Reimu. Because it's definitely not her.
Gahaha. I suppose he won't need to ask Yukari if she fears him at the end of this fight. It's readily apparent that she is scared shitless of him, otherwise she wouldn't have set up such an elaborate staging area, with two of her strongest allies. No matter. Tayasumi will kill them all.
>>20296 >Cool how it's alright for humans to fear youkai into existence and then get killed by them, but it's not alright for youkai to fear Tayasumi into existence and then get killed by him.
The necessity for defending themselves and the familiarity with these supernatural beings is why humans in modern Gensokyo still have magical powers. I don't know if Yukari has adopted such an enlightened philosophy (yet), or maybe it's entirely on account of the Hakurei (who drafted spell-card rules), but eventually conflict between humans and youkai becomes chiefly ceremonial, just highly segregated culturally.
Of course, beings like Tayasumi were bound to recur in Gensokyo, just by nature of a youkai's faith being much more potent than a human's (which is how the Moriya gods are sustained). On top of that, she's concentrating these beings, so they can reify each other's fears, such as the case in the tengu's passed-down 'youkai-killing god' story.
Even if Headgames doesn't escape to the Outside, there the definite chance of a similar being incarnating de novo.
Your blood-shot eyes gleam red in the dark, a low growl like a beast’s escaping your lips, crouching with your upper-body low and your legs coiled, ready to spring on a target – just like a stalking predatory animal, ready to pounce. The oni lowers her form, facing you with her legs wide apart and braced against the ground, her gourd hanging by its string from her waist, her hands on her knees, as though she were preparing for a wrestling match.
With a raspy scream, you leap forward – you kick at the ground underneath you, crashing the bottom of your foot against it, cracking the paved stone and kicking up an immense cloud of dust. Your spear is held in your hand, the blade-tip cutting through the air, a thick black substance flowing out from the end of it, leaving a trail of muck as it travels across empty space. You bring the blade back within striking distance of the girl, and swing it, a sharp whistle of wind ringing forth as the blade cuts through the air. She sways back – it almost seems like it was an accident, her movements seem dulled and unsteady from her inebriation – and the blade meets nothing.
She whirls her body around, ducking in under your arm, and draws back a fist. Your skin hardens, gaining the texture of stone. She punches you squarely in the middle of the torso. Crack. That single punch sends cracks throughout your hardened chest. The little oni pulls her hand back, her knuckles bruised red, and grins, showing her fangs.
“I guess you’re worth my time after all!” she yells.
You growl, and grab for her with your hand. She sways back, again with those unsteady steps, just barely pulling her head out of the way as your hand gropes the air. Ducking low, she thrusts up with an uppercut, her fist moving in a blur – much faster than her punch from before. It connects with your jaw, throwing back your head with so much force it threatens to sever your neck from your shoulders. With a roar as you move forward, you swing your spear to decapitate the girl, but she catches it by the shaft, just below the blade. With a forceful grip, she shatters the rod, breaking the spear apart. You kick – it connects with her face, sending her flying to the side, rolling in the air before hitting the ground, the impact so powerful it creates a small crater in the stone ground beneath her.
You discard the broken spear, tossing it aside, leaping. The oni gets up, wiping blood from her mouth with the back of her hand. Her eyes widen at your speed as you fly toward her, and before she can react, you grab her by one of her horns. You lift her up, and throw her to the ground, slamming her back against it. Reaching down, you grab her by the face, and drag her against the ground as you speed toward the shrine, leaving a trail behind you in the broken stone pavement. With a savage cry, you throw the oni at the building with great strength – she crashes through the wooden walls and one of the foundations, causing a portion of the roof to crash in on her.
You hear a distressed voice nearby, “My shrine!”
You breath is ragged – primal. You watch the hole in the shrine’s walls, the dust around it settling down. She’s not dead yet, not dead yet; you have to kill her, kill her kill her kill her kill her kill her! A figure crashes through the hole in the wall, making it bigger, moving so fast your eyes can’t follow. Suddenly, you see the oni’s face in front of you, bleeding from her head and busted lips, with a vengeful look in her eyes. This time, you don’t even see her punch, only knowing she did. Her fist connects with your forehead and—
Your head explodes into a mist of blood, and your body parts sent flying everywhere.
“Ahh, dammit, I hit him too hard.”
But the mist does not spread – it gathers together, and turns into a murky black. So too, do the separated limbs and pieces. Each of them breaks down into a black, fog-like substance. They gather together, into a thick shadowy cloud. The oni girl watches with morbid curiosity, keeping her eyes fixed to the cloud, even as she spits out a glob of blood.
You burst out from the mist, whole again. Your fist rock-hard, you thrust it at her. She doesn’t even attempt to dodge this time, letting it strike against her chin – but she stands her ground, her feet digging in. She grabs your arm, and lifts you off your feet. She leaps in the air, and swings you about above her head before throwing you – you’re thrown so hard, so fast, that you can’t even begin to attempt fly. You smash through the shrine, through the walls, through the pillars, and you’re still flying even as you exit the building.
“Oh, I’ll have it rebuilt, so be quiet.”
You finally come to a stop as you slam hard against the border that the gap demon created, blood spurting from your mouth. With a savage, enraged growl, you kick off against it, shooting off like an arrow back toward the middle of the shrine grounds – but something appears above you. You look, and the oni smashes her elbow down. It connects your head, and your incredible speed of flight turns into an incredible speed of descent, and you crash into the ground.
The oni lands gently a few paces away, grinning widely as she takes a drink from her gourd, wincing as her busted lips are doused in alcohol, but continuing to drink anyway. She wipes her mouth, looking down at you and saying, “Ya ain’t bad, but I’m better.”
Slowly, you get up. Your muscles are twitching, blood running down your arm and dripping from your fingertips. Your bones are shattered, cracked, broken from the force of the crash, and yet you remain standing, lifting your head to cast a dark gaze at the oni, her hands folded back behind her head as she watches you, a confident grin on her bloodied face. A heavy breath escapes your mouth. Your fingers tremble, and shake. You feel hot. A warmth is spreading throughout your body, filling it with heat. It feels hot, too hot. You feel uncomfortable, your head feels clouded, and your body is unresponsive. It’s driving you insane, this feeling. Blood pounds against your head. Mercilessly, it strikes deafening blows again and again, filling your ears with nothing but the sounds of your own heartbeat. Bump, bump, bump bump bump bump bump bump bump bump bump.
Your body twists – something threatens to come out of your body, squirming around inside it. A pained gasp is let out from your mouth, and a coiling thing crawls from under your skin, distorting and warping your feature as it tries to escape from beneath your skin. With a raspy snarl, you reach up and grasp your shoulder. With another heartbeat, it tries to escape again, threatening to tear about your flesh. It’s maddening—!
The let me out option screams of giving Headgames more points. At lewast, that's what I'm seeing.
Also, boo on the spear being broken already. If it had lasted long enough for Mikio to break it instead, it would've made a hell of an up-yours to everyone insisting that he's just Youkai Killer 2: Electric Boogaloo.
>With a savage cry, you throw the oni at the building with great strength – she crashes through the wooden walls and one of the foundations, causing a portion of the roof to crash in on her. >You hear a distressed voice nearby, “My shrine!” >You smash through the shrine, through the walls, through the pillars, and you’re still flying even as you exit the building. >“My shriiiiine!” Even in a grim and dark past, the Hakurei Shrine is destroyed on a regular basis.
I don't think letting out headgames/whatever's inside is a very good idea, especially given his current state of mind. Tayasumi would probably the tiny amount of rationality he has left. ...Then again, it's hard to tell if it will actually make things worse or help Tayasumi.
>>20371 >>20372 I was just starting to wonder about this. Is he trying not to lose his sanity, or trying not to lose what is giving him life?
If he does die here, depending on how, what would this mean for Hoshuu and Mikio? Would Tayasumi's memories be his own, a separate person from the other two (memories that are being shown by headgames and possibly even twisted), or a reincarnation whose memories are truly a part of theirs?
I have a theory. It's out there. Basically, Headgames is not some sort of foreign part of some evil beings soul, but our own really. For whatever reason, each time he gets reincarnated/gets a new body (whichever term really doesnt matter much) he decides 'okay lets make a new personality so i can fuck around with its life and get some fun out of it'.
Okay, I didnt really explain it well, but I just have this gut feeling that headgames is us.
>>20384 You seem to be forgetting theres more to a story then start to end. It's what in-between that counts, and knowing Lion either all the choices are exactly the same or extremely different and will have an impact.
Besides, Tayasumi dies. It's really how he dies that matters.
Your shoulder jerks again as the sound of blood pounding continues – a chunk of your flesh warps, twisting up almost as though something underneath it was trying desperate to get out.
let me out
Another beat. Your stomach turns and disfigures itself, that slithering something attempting to get out from there.
let me out
let me out
let me out
Let me out.
Let me out, let me out, let me out, let me out, let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out—
But it’s all so late.
There’s nothing left now. Nothing. Who I was, and who I am – that doesn’t matter anymore. Nothing matters. There is no purpose in anything anymore; there is nothing to be done. There is nothing I love, and there is nothing I cherish. Gone, it’s all gone. There is only one thing that I desire: an end to it all. I want it all to end. I want this pain to end. This pain known as “living.” I want to die. I want to disappear. If living is so painful, so sad, so full of hate, then it would have been better if I had never been born.
Yes, that was the greatest mistake of my life.
…but at the same time, I’m scared. I’m scared. I was scared then, and I’m scared now. I don’t want to die. I don’t want my life to end this way, not here, not now. I don’t want to die like this. I don’t want to be killed. I don’t want my life to be stolen away while I curse my existence. I don’t want such an ending. I don’t want such a conclusion. It isn’t fair. It isn’t… it isn’t fair at all. I don’t want to die here. I don’t want to be killed here. I don’t want it—I don’t want it I don’t want it I don’t want it…!
So that’s why…
so that’s why I’ll kill them all SO THAT’S WHY I’LL KILL THEM ALL
You clutch your head, writhing about as though you’re in pain. Your body continues to warp and mutate, growing more and more erratic with every second. Your body feels so warm, so hot, so unbearably painful, that you just want to scream. But something prevents you from screaming, something keeps you from letting out even a single gasp. Your vision isn’t just covered with a red filter anymore – red has become your vision. You see nothing, nothing but that deep red color of blood. That is all that fills your vision, all that you can see.
“Kill…” you hear yourself muttering, even though you don’t recall willing yourself to, “Kill them, kill them, I’ll kill them all…!”
The small red figure standing across you moves – you can’t even recall who it is, only that you want to kill them. You must kill them. Breathing savagely, you let go of your head, allowing your arms to hang limply in front of you. The figure approaches, and you move. With a scream, you lash out with your arm. Something rips out of your shoulder – something long, thick, with a smooth surface, shooting out with incredible speed and force. The thing flies forward, dragging itself out from your flesh, seemingly infinite in length. It strikes at the figure’s feet – it clamps down on their leg, and lifts them up into the air.
“Die, die, DIE!” you scream.
You lift the caught figure up into the air, before bring them back down and slamming them into the ground. With a roar, you lift them up again, swinging them around by their ankle as they fly about in the air, their limbs as limp as a marionette’s. With another roar, you slam them into the ground again, hearing cracks and a pained squeal.
The thing that came out from your body lets go of the figure, retreating back into you, but you don’t let up on the attack – as the red figure lies on their back, you stamp on the ground with a foot. Instantly, something large and thick sprouts up out of the ground, right beneath the lying figure, launching them up into the air – it’s a tree, with brown, decaying leaves and rotten branches and trunk.
The red figure is flying high in the skies – you coil your knees, and leap up after them. Your hand gains the texture of stone… no, more than that, it becomes stone, just as hard, just as heavy. Catching up with the soaring figure, you bring your fist down, striking them in the face as hard as you can manage, smashing them toward the ground. The figure falls down, and crashes – meanwhile, you feel warm blood on your face, and on your front, but you don’t care. You swoop back down to the ground.
The figure in the crater twitches, slowly getting up as you dive at them. They raise their hands in a fighting stance. You swing – they dodge it, ducking under the punch. They strike back. Their fist goes through your torso, punching a clean hole through it without difficulty, but you don’t feel it at all. You grab the figure’s wrist. They try to pull it back, but you allow them to drag you with it, not losing a grip on their wrist at all. At the same time, two things burst out from your back, one for each side. They reach up – past your shoulders, and strike the figure with their immense speed and force. They strike – again, and again, and again, and again, mauling, savaging the figure with quick, rapid, painful attacks, like the bites of snakes—
Something stabs into your back. It’s sharp. It’s painful. Much more painful than when you were impaled on this figure’s fist. Pain. It hurts, it hurts so much. You let go of the figure, whose arm is still sticking out of your body, and turn around – the figure’s arm slips out of you as they crumple to the ground, probably unconscious, possibly dead. Behind you stands another figure – all red, of course, with no other details that can be made out. What you can see, however, is the sharp needles held in their hand. You reach back, and pull out what’s embedded there – needles, just like the one that figure is holding. It hurts. They hurt. That one is dangerous.
[ ] Kill this one first. [ ] Kill that one quickly.
Suika's obviously not going to die, Neither is Yukari. I'm torn between options really. If we choose to kill the current Miko, Yukari might gaphax us and that would be an extremely unfitting end. Yet if we keep attempting to kill Suika, well, that's not going to happen either way as she's alive in current times (iirc).
[x] Kill this one first.
Worst come to worst, we can always do a Suicide Fatal Knock-Out by falling off a cliff that wasnt there before. SPEAKING OF FATAL HERP DERP FATAL ERROR
I guess Tayasumi is classified as a youkai, in so much as The Hakurei's spiritual power is concerned. There can be no other reason that the Hakurei's needles would damage him so extensively.
However, even if she is obviously the greatest threat, I will never vote for him to harm a human. Tayasumi's lived a long life, suffering endlessly to usher in a new era for humanity. It seems he's lost, but as long as he upholds his morals till the very end, it can be considered a victory of sorts. Even if it's just a personal one.
You toss the needles to the ground, turning away from the figure that threw them. You focus your attention on the one that’s lying on the ground at your feet, their breath broken up by a fit of harsh coughing.
Kill her. Kill her. End her life. Crush her body. Split her into pieces.
Those thoughts continue to run through your mind. The beats of your own heart still pound in your ears, but you can’t hear them anymore. All you can hear in your head is a soft, whispering voice. The damning voice that tells you to kill. Your own voice. A voice, desperate to survive, desperate to continue to exist. That’s what’s driving you to continue to exist – it’s what’s driving you to kill and kill to preserve your own existence. It’s pathetic. It’s hollow. It’s all so meaningless. You know that. You know all of that.
And yet you can’t seem to resist it at all.
I want to laugh. It all seems so funny. What was the point of it all? I want to laugh, but my body doesn’t respond to me. I can’t tell it to do anything at all. Or maybe that’s just an excuse. Maybe what I’ve been devoting myself to, all this time, everything I’ve done up until now – maybe it was nothing more than the destructive whims of a child in tantrum. A child, clinging to old hatreds, old fears, dodging responsibility by blaming something, anything, as long as they wouldn’t have to take responsibility for it.
…If that’s true…
If that’s true… then, all of this, I… everything was all so—
You scream. It’s a scream of anger, of loss, of frustration, of everything that you wish to voice but can’t, coming out from your being like a torrent of water free of a dam, flooding and destroying everything in its path. You cry in anguish, in sorrow, and it echoes throughout the closed off space, bouncing off the sealing walls and reverberating so much that the entire ground appears to shake. With a snarl, you turn back to the figure lying on the ground, raising your hand – to kill her, to finish her off, to erode her away. It moves like a flash of lightning, to strike down at the figure and impale—
Not because you willed yourself to, but simply because you can’t follow through with your strike. Your arm has stopped. Your wrist is burning with pain. You can’t move it. You look down at your arm, and see something wrapped around your wrist, small, thin like paper, and rectangular in shape. It’s connected by the edge to another piece of paper, just like it. And that’s connected to another identical tag. And that’s connected to another, and another one, and another one, like links in a chain. You see the dangerous figure at the end of the chain, holding it in a hand.
You try to move your arm, to break free of her, but you can’t put any strength into it at all. The figure holding the chain pulls on it, and you feel yourself being forced back, away from the lying figure, dragged along by the chain of tags wrapped around your wrist, like a bound prisoner. You gasp as you feel more burning pain, agonizing needles burying into your back again, and in the back of your knees, your arms. It hurts. It all hurts so much—so much so much it hurts it hurts it hurts it hurts.
“He’s become nothing more than the representation of certain beliefs and faith, just like a youkai or a god,” the figure speaks, in words that you do not understand. You may have understood them once, but they mean nothing to you now. “A vessel that once belonged to a human, before something foreign invaded it.”
You collapse to your knees, breathing harshly, in small gasps of suffering. You try to summon your strength, but it’s useless. It all hurts so much.
“The ego that once inhabited that body is almost gone, swallowed up by its other self, their memories, their wishes, used as fuel to sustain the body’s continued existence. The second ego’s hold on the body is too strong, too deeply rooted to its existence to separate from the vessel, so what we have to do is weaken it by…”
“Oh, I see,” another voice speaks, though you do not understand. “Yes, that won’t be a problem for me. That much, I can do to him.”
No. No no no no no no no no no—!
With a reservoir of power you didn’t even realize you had, you tear your hand away, breaking apart the chain of tags, ripping away at your own flesh to get it off you. You stand up on your feet, tearing away all the needles stabbing through your body. With mad eyes, you step toward the figure – the figure that’s trying to kill you. You’ll kill them. You’ll kill them. You’ll definitely kill them, you’ll—
A chain flies from behind, wrapping around your shoulders, around your arm, around your entire torso, coiling around your body, stopping you in your place. You turn your head around, and see the figure that had been lying on the ground, now on their feet, holding onto the chain wrapped around you. They swing their arm, and a second chain wraps around your legs, binding them together as well. They tug, and you fall to your knees again. At the same time, you feel your body pierced by dozens of hot, burning points. Everywhere. Everywhere. The pain is everywhere.
“O~kay, I’ll hold him here!”
“…Good. I’ll begin the sealing process. Yukari, make sure he’s…”
“Yes, of course.”
You can’t see anything anymore. But even so, you know. You’re surrounded by red. Red red red red red red red. The dark color of blood. Blood is everywhere. Why is everything red? Why is everything bleeding? You don’t know. You don’t care. Maybe someone painted the whole world red with blood.
You can’t move. Why is that? You can’t see anything. There’s something holding back your arm. Something fiercely wrapped around your body. Something something something just stops you from moving. You want to move. You want to break free. Break apart these chains holding you.
Pain. It’s different from the kind of pain you know. It isn’t the pain of a blade cutting your flesh or bludgeoning your head. It’s a pain more akin to hunger. You wish it would go away. But the pain just becomes stronger. It hurts. It hurts. Somebody stop it. Someone please stop the hurting.
You can’t hear anyone. There’s no one around. No one to help you. No one to free you. No one to stop your pain. Alone. Completely alone. No. That wasn’t right. You weren’t alone. The pain. The agony. They were your only companions. They were the only ones who were around. You can’t trust anything else. Nothing else has been as constant as they.
Your body. A thousand needles penetrate it. It hurts, but it doesn’t. Something like this means nothing. Absolutely nothing. But. Your companions are leaving you. Stop it. Don’t go. Don’t leave. Stay. Stay with me. Your pleas do nothing. They’re gone.
You can see again. But you can’t see yourself. Just the red, red world. There’s only one thing that isn’t red. Smiling, you wonder why the night sky looks so gorgeous amidst all the blood. Ah, the full moon is smiling at you. The beautiful, pale shine of moonlight.
What else can you do, when such a beautiful thing shines down on you? Even though the rest of your body is still, frozen, breathless; even though you can’t feel the pain of the hundreds of needles stabbed into your body, you can still feel the corners of your mouth move. Or maybe you’re just imagining it, and you’re not smiling at all, but what does it matter? You smile. You smile. You can’t smile very wide, but still, you smile, your head craned back, looking up at the sky.
It’s so beautiful, so beautiful.
Not because the moonlight is beautiful
but because of what it means.
It’s beautiful, just as the happiness of that woman was.
It’s beautiful, just as the happiness of that boy was.
It’s beautiful, just as my own happiness was.
Yes, they were all so beautiful, all so marvelous, and all so wonderful, and yet… and yet I destroyed it all. All of it is my own responsibility to bear, as the one who ended their happiness, and shattered their lives to pieces, into millions of fragments that could never be put together again. Yes. Everything was my fault, everything was my doing, everything, everything, everything. It’s always because of me. It’s always because I am what I am, that this cycle of misery continues ever onward. That’s why, this is… this is alright. This is what should be done.
And that’s why, as the gap demon steps up to your body, and raises her hand, you look her in the eyes and laugh; a haunting, broken laugh that fills the empty air, spreading throughout the broken shrine grounds, drowning the silenced atmosphere in its echoes.
This is alright, this is alright…
…I keep telling that to myself.
if that’s true
then why is it that I’m so scared—?
under the moon
b r e a k s
i don’t want to disappear
I think that much, at least, is true.
I can’t really be sure of anything else. I don’t know where I am. I can move my arms, my legs, but I can’t touch anything, and when my feet move through the grass, the blades don’t move, as though my feet weren’t there. I can’t feel anything, and everything I can see looks a little hazy, and any sounds I can hear is muted, muffled. Is this real? Or is this something that I’m just dreaming up? I can’t be sure of anything, I…
I look around myself, trying to get a bearing. I stand on grass, on mostly flat ground. I look to my right, and see big, enormous mountains. To the other, I see a large body of water. Feeling almost drawn to it, I move closer. It’s a river, and as I move down to the bank, I look beyond it, but the thick fog obscures my vision. I can’t see the other side. The river is so vast, and the fog is so thick. I stop, standing still. I look to the sky. I can’t see that, either. This fog is everywhere.
…but, why was I here?
Where is this?
I don’t understand.
I… the rain, the birthday cake, the lights—
What was that?
I felt something, I
Something inside me is calling out to it, it’s
I turn around and look behind me.
The head of a gigantic serpent returns my gaze.
Its scales are white and smooth, and its eyes bleed with a deep crimson color.
You wake up to a numb pain, inside a dimly lit room, lying on soft bedding. Weakly, you try to get up, but the most you can accomplish is twitch your fingers a bit. You exhale, slowly, gently, as you try to move your head, rolling it to the side. This is… the tengu infirmary. You roll your head again, looking back up at the dark ceiling. You wait a few minutes, before attempting to rise again. You’re more successful this time, picking yourself up halfway before collapsing back d own again.
As you do, you catch a glimpse of your body. There are bandages wrapped around your torso, with deep, large spots of red blood staining through the gray cloth. Your wounds are having trouble healing, even though before, they were healing almost instantly, Breathing heavily, you struggle to rise again, using your wobbling arms as support as you push yourself up out of the bed. A dizziness spell comes over you as you sit up, and you bring a hand to your head, wincing.
You look up, and see a pair of hands pushing you back, trying to get you to lie back down. It’s Miss Momizi, her face lit by the light of the lamp hanging from the ceiling.
“Don’t get up,” she says, sternly, “You need rest.”
You murmur several times before anything resembling protest escapes from your mouth, “No. No, I’m fine, I… what about, what about Rouga? Is he alright—”
“He’s fine,” she says, still trying to get you to lie down again, “His pride was more hurt than anything. He went back to his den a while ago.”
“He’s okay, too,” she says impatiently. “That demon wasn’t lying when she said he’d be fine. But Mikio, you’re the one who’s worst off, so you should worry more about…”
“It’s fine,” you interrupt her, smiling, “It’s fine. It doesn’t matter what happens to me, so—”
She slaps you. You stare at her, feeling your cheek reddening as it grows warm with pain. Her teeth are grit, and her canines are showing. She’s absolutely furious with you.
“Do you think you’re being selfless by saying that?” she asks, keeping her voice down to a snarl, “No, far from it. You’re doing the complete opposite. You’re being selfish. Do you think that as long as everyone else are all fine except you, that it’s okay like that?”
You give no reply, staring down at the ground.
“I really am fortunate,” you say, barely above a whisper. You look up to Miss Momizi, slipping on a smile as naturally as breathing is, “Hey, you know, Miss Momizi. I really… I really hate the rain.”
“It’s true,” you say, nodding slightly. “I… really hate the rain. I hate it.”
“Mikio…” she says, her voice tinged with the beginnings of suspicion. She looks at you, not saying a word, staring into your eyes, like she’s trying to get a glimpse of what’s going on inside your head. “…Mikio, you should lie back down again. You need rest. You lost a lot of blood. You’re not thinking clearly right now.”
Finally you allow her to gently push you down onto the bed. She reaches behind your head and readjusts your pillow, before pulling your blanket back up. It’s almost as if you were a child again, being treated like this. You have… so many happy memories, of things like this, back when everything seemed so bright and radiant…
“Good night, Mikio.”
Standing up, she gives you one final glance as you nod, before turning away, and exiting the infirmary. You lie there for a few minutes, just staring up at the ceiling. There’s no doubt about it. The time you have spent here, every moment of your life here – some sad, others painful – you don’t regret them. Yes, that’s the conclusion you’ve arrived at. It wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t a mistake for you to exist. It wasn’t a mistake at all. After all, you were – you were so happy…
You get up, and push the blanket aside. You reach for your mask, sitting to the side of your bedding, and quietly slip it on.
When you exit the hallway, you hear hushed voices. Turning in that direction, you see Miss Momizi, speaking to someone in a whisper. Twisting your head, you see that someone to be Miss Aya; the moment you notice her is the moment she notices you, and she quickly breaks away from her conversation with Miss Momiji, hurrying over in your direction.
“MikI!” she says, half-surprised, half-angry, “What are you doing up!? You should be in bed!”
“There’s somewhere I have to go,” you reply, mechanically, “something that I have to do now.”
It fits. In the path the voters chose, the 'Mikio' personality eventually subsumed the Hoshuu personality completely, and here Hoshuu is symbolically consumed by the Mishaguji's snake. It's why every time he talked to Hina, she goes from content with her job to the End Times.
But those memories aren't just something he can box up and put in storage, either. Nuances slip through the cracked mask he chose to retain.
Like deciding that he hates the rain, for example.
Or deciding there needs be a settling of accounts, between himself, and at least one divine being. Something that he just can't let lie.
For fear of him (Mishaguji/Mikio) gaining form, they murdered a boy in the Outside world. Then they later ran away from that world, anyway.
But surprise! He's there too, and given form by their actions!
Yes, he did consume the dying boy, but he retained most of his memories and some of his personality.
The end result is a young man, reticent & soft of speech, but amicable & reliable. He has friends, with no desire for power (aside that which was forced upon him) nor aims subjugate any civilizations.
When given the complete circumstances, they'll realize that, in comparison to their extreme judgments and actions, he seems downright reasonable.
One of the newer things I've noticed about the 'Mikio is a Mishaguji' is that it makes the entire blame thing going on make sense - in that, the Mishaguji facing Hoshuu after he first almost killed Sanae said 'Don't blame us for this', and Mikio repeatedly going 'It's not my fault!' or 'It's not your fault' to the little Mishaguji above the lake.
Besides the constant use of the phrase/idea, note how Hoshuu died - from what looks like to be bad luck. To an outside observer, if they knew there was a Mishaguji inside of Hoshuu at the time, they'd likely blame the curse god.
>>20494 >Oi don't pretend to be me. See, this poster said someone was pretending to be him, so someone replied with >*Sheepishly puts away riding crop and schoolgirl outfit.* as a joke. Then someone posted >wtf are you doing? (this is the meme fragment)
I hope this post clarified the conversation for you! Now let us all wait patiently for the next update. Without irrelevant discussion.