Stage 181: The Mother of Monsters and Keeper of Darkness.Yuuhi-chan finishes binding your wounds, and helps you finish getting dressed. Your injuries are still terrible, and you're strength is still low, though you can most certainly hide both. She'll probably smell the blood to be honest, especially if she is the youkai-child that Akari-niji-chan says that she is.Yui-niji-chan and Inau-kun both arrive, not too long apart; Yui-niji-chan looks serious, but not nervous, while Inau-kun looks understandable disturbed. They both hurry to your side, and Yui-niji-chan kneels bear you, while Inau-kun bows and then kneels. It's amusing to see that Yui-chan is tall enough to have her head petted even kneeling seiza before you as she is, and you stroke that wild bronze hair slowly.She takes this as permission to speak, and does so. “Hinata-hakase is here, and she is not being very forthcoming about her reasons, aniki. No one is sure why she would show up, except that you're terribly wounded and she might offer to help, or she wants the Tide Lowering Jewel you promised to get for her.” her eyes are closed and she relaxes further as you stroke her hair and caress those tiny, hard nubs that are her horns. They haven't grown much, but that's not really surprising. Sometimes they stay small – they aren't necessarily a measure of the oni's power, something many people don't realize.“She's here because of the nue-child I killed.” Inau-kun looks alarmed and starts to say something. “My call, my kill, even if the arrow wasn't mine. Even if Hinata-hakase tries to claim otherwise, it is my right as head of the household and warlord of this clan.” She looks a little upset by that, and Yui glances at her sidelong. “Do you have any issue with that?”“I don't want you getting into some kind of trouble or fight on my behalf, Ryukusa-sama,” she murmurs softly. Yui-niji-chan looks up at you, her expression breaking into a smile and her eyes filled with adoration. Yuuhi-chan looks bemused but doesn't say anything. Not your problem – mine. That's not how it works with Yakuza....unless I want an excuse to sacrifice you or the like. You realize that saying such a thing means I can ask for your pinky if I decide you've done wrong? Getting into trouble is what I do best. Getting out of it seems to have become the family affair. Do you remember what I said when I accept you into our family, Inau-kun?
Twitter: @XsQuestmistressPrevious Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2223001/Interlude: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/37879167/Kissing! http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/574453/Threads in Chronological Order, including writeups by XS : http://pastebin.com/Z53TyK0Nor search for tag: Ryukuza on SuptgMegaupload of the RTF document of Ryukusa Quest (links to archive included): https://mega.nz/#!d2xySaAJ!jUydCgDx6Q68PH6u4L_qFR03IhSGrAxak_m0PBorN5oBarrier Combat Guide: http://pastebin.com/rZLwzvGx>Ryukusa's TreasuresHer name: Ryuu Yorihokura Rie, the God's Eye Nekomata that protects your Family.Matagama-no-Shitoki, a necklace kami in its own right that protects Ryukusa from inimical magic.Ame-no-Omukade-no-Musume – Ryukusa's mukade possessed wakizashi; a kami. “Daughter of my Centipede of Rain.”Gendai-no-Muteki-no-Buki - Invincible Weapon of the Present Age, a secret kami-blade given to Ryukusa by Wakaba that appears to be made of some alloy of titanium.Seido-no-Shinpi-Tekina-Ken – a mysterious bronze sword given to Ryukusa by the mermaids of Japan; actually found to be the legendary blade Ame-no-Ohabari.Go-Yurei-no-Rensa, the Five-Ghost-Chain, used to summon or send messages to your (actual) older sister Ryuu Nabiki.Her Penthouse in the Secret Apartments of Tsathoggua in Shikoku prefecture, Tokyo.Shikoku Naya, her fashion teacher and seamstress.Hisaka Subaru, her weaver and dressmaking teacher.Ryukusa's Family.>Talismans:Akari – Black Jade Centipede (Mukade)Er Yin – Black Jade Scorpion (Sasori)Kiki – Black Jade Toad (Hikigaeru)Kiku – Black Jade Lizard (Tokage)Yui – Black Jade Snake (Hebi)Inau – Black Coral Ear Cuff (Amatsukami)
Ryuu Ryukusa is tall at 5' 8"; 6' in her true form. She is fully grown. Lesbian top.Matagama Kiku is 4' 1” for ever and ever. Lesbian submissive.Ryuu Akari is 5' 3" and has another few inches to grow. Sexuality is weird, switch, cosplayer.Ryuu Yui is 6' 3” and will only grow due to circumstances beyond her control. Dyke, switch.Ryuu Kiki is 5' 6" and is at full growth. Bisexual bottom.Er Yin Long is the tall at 5' 10" and is fully grown. Lesbian dominant.Ryuu Jinyuu is 5' 7" but persistently hovers an extra three inches. Straight.Hinata-hakase is 6' 3". Sexuality is terrifying.Hidesato is 5' 5". Straight.Kushinada is 5' 8". Straighter.Taisho Ryoga is 5' 9". Who knows.Hyun Chisato is 5' 4” and is fully grown. Lolicon with plausible deniability.Rie, just Rie, is 8” tall or 5' 5” and is fully cat. Her sexuality is cat.Hagyu Genso is 12' 5” standing upright. He is by and large gay.Mizumi Shoko is 7' 2” is fully grown. Bisexual top.Yuuhi is 4'11” and is fully grown. Yuuhi a cute.Tokei Isusangi, Inau-kun is 5' 3” and is much less confused.Reiha is 5' 5 1/2” and is milfy.Peta is 3' 2” Peta is \>.</ aka Her Most Imperial Highness Patanjali Piri Yokuhime Kuronogitsune PaDetective-san aka Mugon Chujo is fully grown at 5'11” and straight.Kenji Soomi is 5' 4” and gothic lolita.Musumi Kanako is 5' 6.5” and is pretty straight.Hebiki Naoto is 5' 9” and belligerently omnivorous, sexually. You hope only sexually.Kodachi Umetsume is 5' 4” and fully grown. Practicing asexual.Melinda Blitzenberg is scattered to the winds and blessed in death.Toshida Ginka is 5” 3” and fully grown. Turtles have a reputation.Ryuu Wakaba is a head shorter and also deceased.Margaret Steinhausen is gratefully dead.Ryuu Sakumo is dead and spread far and wide.Ryuu Nabiki is 5' 3” and fully transformed. Embarrassingly straight.Ryuu Shinju is 4' 11” and fully grown. She is coy, maybe a dodomeki-child.Ryuu Himeyuri is 5' 5” and is supposedly straight.Ryuu Fuuta is 5' 6” and slightly less soft.Kaga Kei is 5' 4” and fully grown. Might be experimental.Kyubi-san is 6' 3” and fully grown. Hard to say.Hisaka Subaru is 5' tall and 9' tall, and peculiar as all get out.Shikoku Naya is 5' 4" (not including heels) and is fully grown. Entirely flexible.Shinkai Yamada is 5' 7” and is straight.Shinkai Mikurabe is 5' 2” (without heels) and is probably less straight than you thought."Shinkai" Hiei is a possible curse in the Theater."Shinkai" Serious Onii-san is 5' 6" and is asexual."Shinkai" Yoshihano is 6' 1" and may be a little gay.Tachibana is 5” 7” and mostly asexual.Natto is a wisp of black smoke in the wind.Hebiki Rishi is 4' 10” and has a number of inches to grow. Questionable sexuality.Hideyama Kenako is 6' 1” and is fully grown. Sexuality is probably cat.
>>2257078> Not your problem – mine.> Getting into trouble is what I do best. Getting out of it seems to have become the family affair.> Do you remember what I said when I accept you into our family, Inau-kun?
>>2257078> That's not how it works with Yakuza....unless I want an excuse to sacrifice you or the like.> You realize that saying such a thing means I can ask for your pinky if I decide you've done wrong?
>>2257078> Do you remember what I said when I accept you into our family, Inau-kun?I don't exactly remember, but I assume it's relatively positive> You realize that saying such a thing means I can ask for your pinky if I decide you've done wrong?Morbid teasing/chiding is good, but we should reassure her we like her fingers where they are.> Getting into trouble is what I do best. Getting out of it seems to have become the family affair.And this seems to be saying that while we're primarily taking responsibility, we're also open to suggestions as to how to resolve this.
>>2257078Ryukusa time!>[x] Do you remember what I said when I accept you into our family, Inau-kun?>[x] You realize that saying such a thing means I can ask for your pinky if I decide you've done wrong?
>>2257078> Getting into trouble is what I do best. Getting out of it seems to have become the family affair.> Do you remember what I said when I accept you into our family, Inau-kun?
>>2257078> Do you remember what I said when I accept you into our family, Inau-kun?>I'm not doing this on your behalf. I'm doing this on *our* behalf. Just as you protected me during this fight.
[XX] You realize that saying such a thing means I can ask for your pinky if I decide you've done wrong?[XXX] Do you remember what I said when I accept you into our family, Inau-kun?[X] Getting into trouble is what I do best. Getting out of it seems to have become the family affair.[+] This is for our benefit, not just yours – we're in this together.Putting on a surprised look, you give your best deadpan voice. “While I appreciate the offer, Inau-kun, I'm pretty sure Shoko-chan would be really put out with me if I decided to take your pinky for some imagined failure or another on your part.” The Ainu demigod looks startled and Yui grins, lowering her head as you ruffle her hair affectionately, realizing your joking. Yuuhi slides a small knife from the side of her nodachi's scabbard and offers it to you with a nonplussed expression.….You're pretty sure she isn't joking.You hold up your hand, refusing the knife, and Yuuhi puts it away in the same straightforward manner. “Still, I do appreciate the offer. But I think you forgot what I told you when I first welcomed you into this family, before I became what I am now. Even without the power of Horobi, or his legacy.” She looks confused, and Yui turns her head to the side, waiting to see if Inau-kun remembers.When Inau-kun shakes her head, not recalling – which is understandable, it was a very turmoil ridden time – Yui speaks up softly. “The same thing she promised each of us. To protect us all, in her own name, as Ryuu Ryukusa.” Inau-kun's eyes get very wide. “Aniki won't let anything bad happen to us if she can help it. If it does she'll fix it. That's what Ryukusa is.”You glance at the oni-chick. “Don't you mean, 'does'?”Yui looks up at you, her smile fading and her glowing eyes fixed on yours. “No.”Not quite sure how to take that, you press forward. “In any case, I have no doubt that she's here to discuss the death of Natto-san and probably the abomination he birthed. Something like that doesn't pass without some kind of trace, I think.” You sigh and adjust your robes. They're fairly nice, but you feel woefully underarmed for dealing with Hinata-hakase. On the other hand, it's your home, so you should feel the need to be armed. “Well, I'm sure my family will help get me out of whatever messes I get myself into; I'm pretty good at that, and they're pretty good at their half. So just keep calm, and follow my lead. You can expect her to try and trick you into admitting guilt or something; anything she can use to get a hold over me is something she may feel compelled to try. But make no mistake – we will get through this together, and you and I will be fine.”
>>2257162Inau-kun relaxes and bows her head to you, looking much revealed and a bit more confident. You really don't need much more than that to feel good about this. Of course, that could just be the medicines.While Hinata-hakase is fair, you remember quite vividly that she was willing to make deals in your favor to make you at least feel indebted. The fact that you sent your cousin and his people – as well as others – to her for healing and succor was an imposition, and she may not have appreciated it. Still, she is a priestess, so the debt is one that can be....well, not ignored, but at least put off. On the other hand, if she's here about the nue, you're not really sure what is going on.“What would you like us to do, Ryukusa-sama?” asks Inau-kun, while Yuuhi and Yui merely wait for your orders. It's a good question, actually. Kiki-hime undoubtedly has snacks and tea being prepared by someone, and has made Hinata-hakase comfortable. Everyone in the household is awake and aware, and probably nervous. That is the real problem; nothing can cause trouble faster than a batch of nervous Yaks. Wait for a few minutes and let things settle down a little – if they can. Have Yui-niji-chan precede you, and Inau and Yuuhi follow. Going all out formality might be the way here – have Yui-niji-chan go and ask her business, and then return while you wait. It might be easiest to treat this as casually as possible, which may relieve everyone. A touch of dignity and grace might do you some good here; a reminder that this is your home, perhaps.
>>2257166> Have Yui-niji-chan precede you, and Inau and Yuuhi follow.> A touch of dignity and grace might do you some good here; a reminder that this is your home, perhaps.
>>2257166>[x] Wait for a few minutes and let things settle down a little – if they can.>[x] It might be easiest to treat this as casually as possible, which may relieve everyone.Just a casual visit between acquaintances!
>>2257166> Wait for a few minutes and let things settle down a little – if they can.> A touch of dignity and grace might do you some good here; a reminder that this is your home, perhaps.
>>2257166> Wait for a few minutes and let things settle down a little – if they can.>Treat this like a non-formal business meeting between acquaintances
>>2257166> Going all out formality might be the way here – have Yui-niji-chan go and ask her business, and then return while you wait.
>>2257166> A touch of dignity and grace might do you some good here; a reminder that this is your home, perhaps.> Have Yui-niji-chan precede you, and Inau and Yuuhi follow.
>>2257166>[x] A touch of dignity and grace might do you some good here; a reminder that this is your home, perhaps.>[x] Have Yui-niji-chan precede you, and Inau and Yuuhi follow.
[XX] A touch of dignity and grace might do you some good here; a reminder that this is your home, perhaps.[X] Wait for a few minutes and let things settle down a little – if they can.[X] Have Yui-niji-chan precede you, and Inau and Yuuhi follow.You look around the temple; shrouded in candlelight, the air smoky and rich with freshly burned incense, the silence of the place, the cleansing basins near the door shimmering faintly. It is peaceful here, and undoubtedly why it is considered the safest place for any of you to recover; closing your eyes, you open your Void Eyes, looking at the flow of Chi, the faint shimmer of Shen permeating the air and flowing through the incense offered by your priestess. You inhale deeply and a little more enters your body, strengthening you that tiny bit more.You close your Void eyes and open your eyes, looking down at an attentive Yui-niji-chan. “You'll be first as my Herald, of course; Inau-kun my retainer, will be on my right following me, and my samurai on my left, protecting me.” Taking a moment more to calm yourself and prepare for....well, to be honest you're usually prepared for most anything. So you forget that and realize something. “Yuupi?”“Yes aniki?”“Why don't you wear a wakizashi?”“Huh?”You turn around and study her. The Ainu style clothing she wears isn't exactly designed for carrying such weapons, but she is usually holding onto her nodachi. Pulling Ame-no-Omukade-no-Musume from Nowhere – and noting that the stickiness of it is increased yet again – you walk over to her and present the weapon to her. “Until we find a match for your precious blade, carry mine. You shouldn't be without your daisho. Have Kiki-hime make you a yumi as well. You are my samurai – you need to be seen as such.”The nogitsune-child stares at you, her eyes shimmering and bright. “Yes, aniki.” She takes the short sword and tucks it into her sash. Omukade-san seems content with this duty, and you feel better.Turning to Inau-kun, you consider your next choice carefully. But, if you're going to do this, you're not going to do it by halves. Besides, Inau-kun isn't really a warrior. She's a hunter, and butchering game is part of her duty. So, you pull Ame-no-Ohabari out of Nowhere. The sacred blade slips free of the darkness with disturbing ease, and the feel of the weapon in your hand is heavy and potent. Not powerful potent, but literally potential. “Please carry this until we replace your sword. Be gentle with her, and bear in mind she is a tool, more than a weapon.” Inau-kun doesn't look like she quite understands but you don't blame her. “Her name is Ame-no-Ohabari.”Yui chokes, and Yuuhi stares at you like you've gone insane. Inau-kun does recognize that name. “Aniki! I can't-”
>>2257284“Be unarmed in front of guests who might mean to cause us harm. You are still expected to protect Kiki-hime, as well as Shoko-chan, and while you might be the best archer I have ever seen, you need something to carry. Remember, this is a meeting with a powerful individual. Even if you do not wish to wear it in public, keep her until you have your own sword again.” You bow over the ancient blade, and she bites her lip. You smile, recognizing that special sort of hesitation, that hesitation of wanting something really, really badly and not daring to take it. “Please protect our clan with all your skill, Inau-kun.”She takes the blade with equal reverence and you pull several length of woven cord, a long bely. It suits her outfit, and you carefully wrap it about her waist, enjoying her blush as you move so close to her. Running the last length through the clasp of the scabbard, you step back, and it really does look good on her. She place her hand on the hilt, and it seems to instill her with confidence.You walk back over to Yui and lean close. “I don't have a weapon for you, my darling,” you murmur softly, reaching past her head. She looks down and then straightens in surprise as you caress her neck, just past her ear, tracing the black jade of the snake pendant she traded with Akari. “But you are my family, and you do not need any weapon save that,” you whisper as you lay a kiss on her opposite ear, making her blush hot and bright. When you rise she look terribly flustered and beautiful. “Please lead the way, Yui-niji-chan.”Yui rises, as do the others, and you slip your arms into the sleeves of your shimmering black silk robe. You glance down, noting how the blue serpents and dragons along the sleeves and hem shimmer in the candlelight. Presentable, at least. You leave your hair free, and wash up one last time, making sure your power is strong and you aren't oozing blood anywhere. Because that would be so embarrassing.The living room is not that far of course, especially if you take the short route. Just about everyone is there, and you note that the place has expanded a bit since you were last conscious in the living room. A bonus from the landlord, no doubt, and you appreciate her time and effort for the sake of your family. Hinata-hakase is sitting in the easy chair across the table from you – planned, undoubtedly, by your Kiki-hime – while the others are scattered about the room. You note that most of the kitchen counter is taken up by the newest members of your clan: Kaga Kei, Hebiki Rishi, and Fuuta-chan (wearing very pretty satin robes in blue, lavender, and white, and distinctly making sure her hem covers everything). To your surprise Chisato is there as well. Shoko-chan is serving them tea there, as they watch, nervous and fascinated.
>>2257286Across from her on the couch are Kiki-hime and Akari-niji-chan, the latter sitting on the floor and hugging one leg while looking demure and adorable, which doesn't fool Hinata-hakase one bit, though she politely does not notice. Er Yin sits at the end of the couch, with Kiku-jinshu-chan sitting seiza just past the edge of the couch, her head lowered and her eyes downcast. She practically seethes with barely controlled temper, and it is hard to say exactly what has her so upset. Peta-chan and Reiha are rolling a ball back and forth across the rug off to one side, and you have every confidence that if anyone has Hinata-hakase fooled, it will be Her Imperial Highness. Yui walks to the couch and bows to Hinata-hakase, who rises slowly and returns the bow, before bowing to you. Yui kneels there, framing the couch with Kiku-chan, while Inau-kun steps behind the couch and bows as well, while Yuuhi-chan follows you to sit seiza next to you, framing you and Kiki-hime with Akari. Finally you bow, respectably but not terribly deeply, before you take your seat next to Kiki-hime, who place sher hand on yours when you slip them from sleeves to thighs. Tea has already been served, and Akari sits up to poor you some. Jinyuu-onee-sama walks out of the kitchen and places a large much of medicinals on the tray as well, which prompts a smile from Hinata and Er Yin alike. You resist the grimace.You can say with some confidence that if Hinata-hakase came wanting to start a fight, it would not end well for her. Start with polite chitchat of course. To business, after perfunctory greetings. Apologize for your slowness, you've had a hard night. Greet her politely, but somewhat formally, just to set the tone. Play up the confused and surprised recipient of her attentions; she's not omniscient after all.
>>2257288>[x] Start with polite chitchat of course.>[x] Apologize for your slowness, you've had a hard night.She's the one who apparently has business here, let her bring it up.
>>2257288> Greet her politely, but somewhat formally, just to set the tone.> Play up the confused and surprised recipient of her attentions; she's not omniscient after all.
>>2257288> Apologize for your slowness, you've had a hard night.>Although the No performance was magnificent, and worth every instants.
>>2257288> Start with polite chitchat of course.Also it's nice to see that Ryukusa clearly isn't just paying lip service to letting her family protect her, given that she's loaning out her swords.
>>2257288> Start with polite chitchat of course.> Apologize for your slowness, you've had a hard night.
>>2257288> Apologize for your slowness, you've had a hard night.
>>2257288> Start with polite chitchat of course.> Play up the confused and surprised recipient of her attentions; she's not omniscient after all.She seems smart so if fighting is a bad idea she probably isnt here to fight at least
>>2257327True. I think she wants to wrangle some form of obligation out of us, something we don't really want to do, but won't outright refuse.Then again, she herself could be under some form of obligation to do something against her own better judgment.
>>2257368Yeah, we definitely shouldn't let our guard down!Trying to cash in on favors in ways Ryukusa isn't a fan of seems a very likely possibility here.
I'm not sure how she would be in position to ask compensation anything related to the killing of the Nue-child. But it's possible the Nue contacted/threatened her, or is causing some kind of trouble, and she wants us to deal with it.
>>2257380Maybe Ryukusa is the non-omnicient one and it's not about the Nue after all!
>>2257389While Ryukusa isn't outright omniscient, she did gain minor precognition.
[XX] Start with polite chitchat of course.[XX] Apologize for your slowness, you've had a hard night.[X] Play up the confused and surprised recipient of her attentions; she's not omniscient after all.Hinata-hakase looks very much the same as when you last saw her; without the shawl she invariably caries when not under a roof, however, she looses a little of her air of mystery. Unfortunately, it's replaced by an air of dangerous superiority. Like Natto-san, she is self assured in her capabilities, but far less overt about them than he was. Her aura of competence is more subtle, yet pervasive, and it affects all those who see her.Despite that, you really aren't intimidated by her any more than you were the first time. Yes, she's a powerful priestess, a spirit-child of unknown provenance, and an old creature, but she's still bound by her duties and still careful with that perceived threat of hers. She is also being very polite, though you're certain she's as well armed as Kiku-chan, and more dangerous than many of your family. Her horned headdress is still tied with mystic knot-work, and she still bears the oni-mask at her hip that is clearly some kind of tool or maybe even a weapon of some sort; the prayer beads – far more than is usually needed – wrap about her neck and shoulders, while the matagama she wears shines with a light it did not possess last time you saw her.“I must apologize for being so slow to greet you, Hinata-hakase. The noh play was very well done, and it was an exhausting evening, after a very pleasant and long day.” Kiku-chan barely keeps her hair in place while Er Yin-sensei smiles. You sister sits near Chisato, and pulls out her fan, before helping herself to tea, clearly embarrassed by the suggestive way you speak without showing it overtly. “If I had been thinking, I would have arranged tickets for you; it was the sort of play you would enjoy.”“So, Ryuu Ryukusa still,” she comments mildly, smiling as she picks up her teacup in powerful hands with their thick nails. Talons, you thought before, rather than claws. “I had expected another in your place. I am both gratified and awed to greet you once more.” You incline your head to the 'compliment'. “I will undoubtedly have the opportunity to see the play on television; your wife's most excellent publicity group will ensure it.” Kiki-hime, despite her tension, smiles prettily.“I would be pleased to hear what you think of the play, Hinata-hakase. Your experience in matters of theater and stage concerning noh and bunraku are legendary,” Kiki-hime replies, surprising you. You knew about the books and manga, but not about her knowledge of theater.
>>2257484“So, it is a kindness to be remembered as such, Kumatori-sama, and will take pleasure in reviewing your work.” She inclines her head and Kiki-hime actually beams at her, flattered. You add 'cunning' and 'charming' to your list of Hinata's capabilities. “You recovered well from the last wounds that you received, and I see that you have managed to....overcome other great difficulties as well, Ryukusa-sama.” Hinata's eyes narrow and her smile is wide, much more so than humanly possible. The glimpse of fangs that she gives you is not intentional, you're certain, but that doesn't make it any less unsettling – nothing should have that many teeth. “I hope that in some small way I was able to help.”“Your assistance has been most helpful on several occasions, Hinata-hakase, and I am comfortable in saying that you are trusted and valued person to me.” She blinks and her smile vanishes, taken aback by your honest appreciation. It's a little deeper than the chit-chat you intended, but she escalated things awfully quickly. “I would not trust my cousin and his family to anyone save you; your skills and knowledge are among the very highest, in my opinion.” You can feel the odd looks you're getting from your family and Kiki-hime has her eyes lowered, and her hand is very lightly squeezing yours.“However, I have to admit....this visit is unusual. I was under the impression you did not like to leave your temple for long, if at all.” It is all but impossible for you to pretend deeply, but fortunately you don't really have to. “I hope I have not caused any issues or problems for the Temple of forgotten Stones and Flowers; it would be unfortunate if I inadvertently caused someone as valued and rusted as yourself turmoil in my blundering about.” Now you're really getting a lot of strange looks.Hinata-hakase lowers her head and sips her tea, before she sets it down and looks at you directly. “I am afraid that there are certain duties I must perform in certain situations. These duties are not typical of most priests, but they are a part of the oaths and vows I took upon ascending to my current stature.” Turning her hands she opens her hands to you. “So, I believe you have been given a request that you must fulfill by a person you have relieved of the burden of earthly existence.”….that was a very strange way to put that.Rie – as a cat – walks out of the hallway and settles next to the lit fireplace, her twin tails waving slowly as she relaxes, her blue eyes bright and sharp. You are talking about the nue-child Natto, right? Please enlighten me, Hinata-hakase. ….what do you mean by that, exactly, priestess? I have been tasked with such a thing....what do you know of it? Hinata-hakase, you would happen to be alone, would you not?
>>2257468She arguably always had it. More importantly, Ryukusa is Clever.
>>2257488> You are talking about the nue-child Natto, right?
>>2257488>[x] You are talking about the nue-child Natto, right?>[x] Please enlighten me, Hinata-hakase.So far so interesting.
>>2257488> I have been tasked with such a thing....what do you know of it?
>>2257488> Please enlighten me, Hinata-hakase.with such a thing....what do you know of it?> Hinata-hakase, you would happen to be alone, would you not?QM, is it a request that Ryukusa *must* fulfill? Because nothing about it implied obligation. If Ryukusa does not know, or if she thinks there is no obligation, I vote to add> "I was been given a request. I do not know that fulfilling it is a 'must', however."
>>2257488> Please enlighten me, Hinata-hakase.
>>2257508Please ignore the sentence in black between the first two greentexts. Sorry if it's not clear
>>2257488> Please enlighten me, Hinata-hakase.> I have been tasked with such a thing....what do you know of it?
>>2257488> Hinata-hakase, you would happen to be alone, would you not?actually adding this as well, since I'm not sure why Ryukusa would think otherwise.
>>2257529Because Rie showed up physically Also, guys, please note that:"I believe you have been given a request that you must fulfill by a person you have relieved of the burden of earthly existence.”might just be a flowery way to say "killed", but it can also be someone like Rie that we've helped make into a spirit again
>>2257508The wish of a dying man you have killed is often considered an obligation in the warrior culture because failure to fulfill it would anger the spirit of the person who made it. That usually results in hunting, angry ghosts, or at the very worst, curses. Appeasing the spirit of the dead through ritual and honors is meant to prevent such things, and Ryukusa has a priestess for specifically that purpose (because face it, when you're the God of Destruction, there's a whole lot of dead people you have to deal with). So while it is technically an obligation, it is one she can bypass or avoid, unless Natto's spirit made her very much aware that it was not a request (possible, but Ryukusa doesn't know how likely that would be).
>>2257534But doing so would have at least some complications of its own, huh. Isn't that just inconvenient!
>>2257533That is true, but I'm not sure why Rie would use Hinata as an intermediary.
Gotta sleep hope things go well thoughThanks for running
>>2257603Oh and Im >>2257525 with a shitty router
>>2257603No worries. there will be more to read.
>>2257534Thanks.You can consider my write-in dropped, then
>>2257657Nonsense. I included it.
[XXX] Please enlighten me, Hinata-hakase.[XX] I have been tasked with such a thing....what do you know of it?[X] You are talking about the nue-child Natto, right?[X] Hinata-hakase, you would happen to be alone, would you not?[+] I'm not so sure about 'must fulfill'....You slide your tail around Kiki-hime's waist, half to reassure her and half to be able to keep her from doing anything sudden or unexpected. That also allows you to use your tail-tip to brush the kanji for 'fireplace' across Akari's shoulder. She doesn't 'look', of course, but she curls her fingers into her palms as they rest on her thigh, her thumb along the outside – a cat's paw. No one has made any overt notice; Er Yin would know, of course, and likely Kiku-chan as well, but the rest you simply can't be sure of.“You mean Natto-san, I think. Yes, he did have a message to be delivered, but it is the sort of thing a person like myself must deal with on occasion. It was an unusual situation.” To her credit, Inau-kun keeps her composure, though you notice Shoko-chan taking her a cup of tea as well and laying one heavily gloved hand on the slender hunter's shoulder. It is also interesting that there was no doubt in Hinata's mind that you were responsible for his death, regardless of how it might have occurred. “However, I really can't say that I consider it an obligation that must be fulfilled – hunting down a nue and trying to speak with it without being killed might be a little troublesome to say the very least.”Your dismissive claim causes nervous laughter about the room and the tension noticeably spikes, rather than easing. Hinata-hakase smiles grimly, and that wide, unnaturally endowed mouth of hers looks rather unsettling.“You have to understand, Hinata-hakase, that I am a killer. To put it bluntly, a thug. Refinement and etiquette I can pretend pretty well, but honestly, I'm just a blade in the dark that ends the lives of those threatening my family. You know this – you've seen it first hand.” That gets a lot of attention from the newer members of your family, who might not have heard about Jinyuu's rescue. “So when a last request puts me in more danger than that of the person I've just dealt with, you can understand my hesitance. Kiku-jinshu-chan's duty is to help me cope with such things. However,” you add, as Hinata's lips part, showing those too-white teeth ever so slightly, “if you would not mind enlightening me, I am certainly going to listen to everything you have to say.”
>>2257775It takes her a few seconds to compose herself. She picks up her tea and sips it; you sigh and drink the bitter medicinals your sister has provided to torture you with. You cover your mouth and make a face; this is probably the worst yet, and it's hard to keep it down. Yui looks up at you absolutely zero sympathy. You flip her the bird and she grins, showing four cute little fangs that are much nicer than Hinata's. There is more laughter, much less nervous now. Hinata ignores the going-ons, of course, still composing herself. You glance at Er Yin and Kiku-chan, who are stoic and clam, though you notice Kiku's hands are tucked in those voluminous and talisman-loaded sleeves.“The nue are not creatures of form and substance, for the most part. They have such ephemeral forms they rarely take shape in the world.” You finish the medicine and set the cup down, pretending that you have no tremor in your hand while doing so. Really potent, that batch. “For one to have sired a child is almost certainly the result of a curse or a bargain made by someone to bear their child, rather than any congress.” Yui's eyes widen and Akari glances over at her with a curious smile; she shakes her head and motions with both hands that it doesn't matter.“So your saying that Natto was born more like a curse or a reincarnation?” You frown mildly. If that were the case, whatever Toshio Ryoga did to make Hiei must have involved even more convoluted methods than you suspected.“Yes. But that does not mean he was without a father, and that father would be most interested in the power of one who could slay something like his son.” You look up at Hinata-hakase, feeling Inau-kun's heart start to race and the flush in her cheeks. A simple gesture distracts the increasingly nervous Kiki-hime as well as Inau-kun; and they focus on you again. The tension in the very quiet room is slowly increasing, and the most relaxed people are the ones who are the most dangerous here. “So if you have been given a request, it is entirely possible that you might be in danger from his father should you seek it out.”
>>2257780You close your eyes, and concentrate, preparing to open Water Eyes. You can feel Hinata tensing, her blood changing ever so slightly, the poisons that serve as her power and flesh moving, shifting, preparing to counter your Water Eyes in addition to the Fire Eyes of Kiku-chan. But when you open your eyes, you open Void Eyes, and see, for the briefest of instants, the potency in the mask she caries, the strange, lustrous darkness that shifts around it. Her expression of shock is priceless.You close Void Eyes and speak very slowly and softly. “Hinata-hakase.” All her fearsome attention is upon you instantly. “You did come here alone, didn't you?”The entire room is filled with tension so thick you couldn't cut it with a Masamune blade.Hinata manages to somehow look coy and disarming, despite being one of the more dangerous things in this room. “So, I did come unaccompanied....but I cannot say that I came here alone.” She very carefully folds her hands over her lap and smiles. You really can't call it a beatific smile, because those teeth are more like a sharks than any land animal, and she looks like she could bite one of Shoko's hands off without issue. Clearly you're not stupid enough to start a fight, so what are you doing here really. How curious about death are you to do something that stupid?! All right; you have about a minute before I unleash my clan on you, priestess, so speak quickly! You realize I am very much not responsible for you putting my family in danger, yes? All right, so you brought Natto's father....I presume with our safety in mind.
>>2257787> Clearly you're not stupid enough to start a fight, so what are you doing here really.
>>2257787> How curious about death are you to do something that stupid?!> You realize I am very much not responsible for you putting my family in danger, yes?
>>2257787> All right, so you brought Natto's father....I presume with our safety in mind.> Clearly you're not stupid enough to start a fight, so what are you doing here really.>While I can appreciate the obligations that come with your position, this is still a distressing development.Also what does "remember me to my father" even mean in this context? Like we don't really know anything about that guy.
>>2257834Like I don't know, I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt that she's doing the best she can with what she's given, but I feel like it's still worth noting that this, y'know, sucks. Though that might be a bit too petulant for this situation.
>>2257834Typically it's a way for a son to say "tell dad I dun good/goofed"; Ryukusa presumes it's a method of trying to get her killed or run around chasing nue.It worked?
>>2257787>"Hinata-hakase, you have been lenient in your payment when you helped me and mine, in the past. And I would honestly hate to be ungrateful. So, could you please tell the story of what lead you to create this situation? I am willing to listen...">"You thought I was no longer Ryu Ryukusa when you came here with that mask. Yet you still did. Why would you take such a risk? Or did you think whatever being you were going to met was going to be reasonable?">>2257834Probably reminding the nue he had a kid. Literally. Don't think Natto thought his father remembered him.
>>2257899Sorry for being so late. Hope it's not *too* late.
>Hinata's the mother
>>2257977Natto would have been a full spirit, then
[X] Clearly you're not stupid enough to start a fight, so what are you doing here really.[+] You know, I understand obligations, but seriously, this is dangerous lady.[+] I appreciate how lenient you have been in charging me for your services before....so I am willing to see how this unfolds for a moment more, in the interest of not seeming ungrateful.[+] I'm not certain how reasonable you expected Horobi might be compared to me....you were expecting him weren't you?Slowly raise one hand and immediately Hinata-hakase looks at Yuuhi-chan, who simply places one hand on the hilt of Falling Star. To her credit Hinata doesn't stop smiling nor does she tense at all. Akari merely tilts her head, studying Hinata-hakase, while Yui's taiko sticks appear in her hands without more than a slight movement, and beneath the table, which you really ought to get in an opaque version instead of smoked glass. Yuuhi has all of Hinata's attention though.“When I came to your temple to fight Hidesato and Kushinada, you were more than generous with your healing and skills. I am not ungrateful, and I would not wish to seem ungrateful, but you have placed me in an extraordinary situation.” She smiles a little more widely, and you actually see those amazing teeth shift and move into place, more being added. She remains still and calm otherwise. “I am willing to wait a moment more for an explanation. But I am not certain how reasonable you expected me to be when you discovered someone other than myself. I don't think you expected me to be possessed....so I can only surmise you expected to deal with Ame-no-Horobi-no-Mikado.”Her lips close and she inclines her head, acknowledging your guess. She doesn't move otherwise, which is a very good thing. She's still smiling though.“I am the last person to blame someone for fulfilling obligations, Hinata-hakase, but surely you are taking this a bit far?” you ask mildly.“As expected of Hinata-hakase,” Kiki-hime pipes up, her voice disdainful. That wipes the smile off of Hinata's face instantly. “She thinks of her own amusements first, and the consequences for others not at all. Even in the face of death she smiles.”“But not in the face of the truth,” you add. Hinata's catlike eyes fix on you and narrow dangerously. “My wife doesn't like you very much. Despite that I am still willing to hear your explanation, presuming there is one that will make any sense to a small lizard such as myself.”
>>2258091“So, you do yourself a disservice,” Hinata-hakase comments mildly. “I have brought the nue that was father to the being you call Natto here, yes. But it is bound and controlled, present only as a visage to be spoken with and nothing more. Stripped of presence, it is still a nue, and cannot be considered anything other than dangerous. So, I have brought it here, and seen that your people are of a capability equal to the threat of even a nue.” She rises, and Akari-niji-chan and Yui-niji-chan rise as one, matching her movement perfectly. Yui's taiko sticks are held at her sides, and of course Akari is Akari.“And you're willing to court a summary execution for the sake of a monster who birthed other monsters? That really is dedication,” you say, your hand still raised. Yuuhi remains still, her eyes staring, her grip on the hilt of Falling Star not even shifting to relive strain. “All right. So you have brought it here. I imagine I have to listen to it?”“You must speak to it, Ryukusa-Oh,” Hinata-hakase says seriously, all trace of playful danger or annoyance gone. “You have no choice.” She's wrong, of course, but you're willing to listen a little longer. “The nue that birthed the creature Natto has been under the care of the Temple of Forgotten Flowers and Stones forever.” She doesn't mean forever literally of course, but it's a long enough time that it's nothing you want to contemplate too deeply. “I will bring it forth, and then after you have spoken, I will take it away.”You consider for a moment, and then call out the experts. “Kiku-jinshu-chan, Er Yin-sensei, Kei-san. If I wished to remove this threat, how would I best do so?” Hinata's eyes harden, and her lips compress to a tight line.“Destroy the vessel; it is merely a focus for the creature's attention,” Kei says softly; she sounds certain, but she's scared, very scared.“The creature's Chi is imbued in the vessel, so destroying it will ruin the link,” agrees Kiku-chan calmly. “Kei-san is correct. There would be no real repercussions, aside from angering the nue and Hinata-hakase.” Which is it's own issue, of course.
>>2258094Fuuta-chan pipes up. “The matagama protects the mask; the mask is the vessel.” Hinata's eyes flash a hellish fiery color, and she tsks softly. Rishi slides off the stool and steps in front of Fuuta-chan, to the oni-child's surprise, and Shoko steps around the counter, unbuckling her gloves, and looming protectively over the youngest of your warriors. Peta stands up and Reiha rolls to her feet rather gracefully and picks the tiny nogitsune-born up.Er Yin-sensei speaks finally. “I see that you have changed little, Hinata. You are still addicted to those things you can never truly have.” Her informal speech startles several people, but your niji-chan and Yuuhi aren't among them. Nor, interestingly, are Peta-chan or Reiha. “your warriors and \priestess are correct, Ryukusa-sama. Destroy the mask, and the threat of the nue is ended for the moment; destroy the matagama and the mask and you will deal her a serious blow to her power, and possibly place her in danger from those beings she serves as caretaker of.”You lean back, and lower your hand, prompting Yuuhi-chan to lower hers from the hilt of her sword....which is meaningless, but Hinata-hakase doesn't know that. Akari and Yui remain where they are and Kiki-hime smiles, a tight-lipped, unhappy smile that outdoes that of the priestess. “Let us go over this in slightly more detail, shall we, Hinata-hakase?” you murmur softly, and gesture to the couch.>To Be Continued....
Thank you for reading and playing, and i hope you enjoyed despite my walls of text.
>>2258109Thanks for running XS
>>2258109Thanks for running, man Hinata is a bit less levelheaded than I thought she was.
>>2258094>“The nue that birthed the creature Natto has been under the care of the Temple of Forgotten Flowers and Stones forever.” So wait, since it doesn't really seem Natto was immortal, that means that he was born under Hinata's watch, which feels like it's not what she's supposed to be doing.
>>2258109Thanks for running!Why "despite"? The text is amazing.I hope things get better for you as soon as possible, XS. Sorry for not doing this sooner.Here's a picture I thought you might like.Concerning the quest, I do have one question: would it be fair to say Hinata kinds of get her jollies off by having control, however limited, over more powerful beings? Be it through her job as Priestess, her I-eat-dragon-children's-pearls bargains, or her wanting the tide-controlling jewel?Well, I suppose this is why she granted sanctuary to Kiku.Guess that
>>2258163In theory, the Temple of Forgotten Stones and Flowers supports and preserves certain youkai and kami from being forgotten and thus passing into nonexistence. Nue are a rarity so they do fall under the temple's auspices....but beyond that are many unknowns.
>>2258172Work better if I post the picture
>>2258172>Hinata kinds of get her jollies off by having control, however limited, over more powerful beingsThat sums it up very nicely.
>>2258178That is a lovely picture, thank you.
>>2258179Man, she must have felt as if it was Christmas, when we told Kushinada to stay at the temple *and* agreed to ask our dragon dad about the jewel.>>2258182You're welcome! Thank you for this lovely quest.
My memory is terrible and lengthy Japanese names make my eyes glaze over, can I be reenlightened on our history with the two swords we gifted?
>>2258977Omukade-sama is a wakizashi into which was placed the spirit of a centipede spirit that we were forced to fight and kill. It was possessed by one of the demigods who kidnapped Jinyuu early on in the quest, and since it was dying and Ryukusa disapproved of their actions, she imbued it into her sword. At first this just made the sword extremely venemous, but after her 200+ year sojourn in hell it became a kami in it's own right. She and the anti-magic necklace Kiku gave to Ryukusa are friends. when Kiki and Ryukusa were swimming in the beach episode, the mother of all mermaids came by and offered the niongyo princess as a sacrifice. An ancient bronze blade was given to ryukusa to kill the princess, which would have created a huge number of mermaid spawn. instead, Ryukusa kept the sword and used her left hand talons to cut the princess, leaving her alive and still spawning little mermaids everywhere. The mysterious sword is older than even the Grass cuttign blade....and turns out to be the blade that Izanagi - the firstman - used to carve up his son after his son killed another god. Numerous lesser kami were born from that act of butchery, and so Ame-no-Ohabari is a tool of godslaying and creation alike.Neither weapon is anything to be sneezed at.
XS, thank you for running this still! Couldn't make it due to busy nights at work, but i love to see that you're still writing, and the worlds you've made.Seriously, the worldbuilding / attention to detail with japanese and chinese mythos stuff for your modern urban fantasy style setting is top-fucking-notch.I'd buy books you wrote, no lie.
>>2264595Now if I could only keep a plotline in my head without help....but I appreciate the compliments.