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Living in the Taisho era, the current people of the new generation continue lying ignorant of the looming threat currently ravaging the nation that resides in the darkness. The threat is known as Yōma otherwise called Demons. A special corps trained to fight these vile creatures for generations continues to serve as Japan’s last hope if not the entire world.

You are Byakuren Shimizu, second daughter of Kenki Shimizu and Sayuri Shimizu, prestige members of the Shimizu family. One of the great shamen families throughout all of Japan, keepers of the Suitengū shrine stationed in Kurume and its sister shrine in Tokyo. Walking down the path of Miko as your Grandmother Guren Shimizu desired, you secretly yearned for something more as you seek freedom and explore the world. Tragedy eventually struck, forever altering your path if not your entire being. Cursed by a man named Muzan Kibutsuji, you and your merged sibling Keimi transverse the land as a half-demon accompanying an abnormal demon. Driven by family bonds and the temptation of vengeance, you try forging a new destiny through the path of a Demon Slayer.

In two years, you underwent incredible amounts of hardships and training regiments from both your senior officer Kyojuro Rengoku the Flame Pillar, and cultivator Jingō Akizuki otherwise known as the Vermillion Tengu Empress. What can only be considered a training from hell not unlike what your grandma did to you in your toddler years, you underwent countless acts of physical and mental condition on your road to being an effective Demon Slayer. Also, you slowly come to terms with your new life as a Hanyō or half-demon. Through some unforeseen circumstances, you underwent some form of demonic puberty as you transition from a thirteen-year girl into a twenty year old young maiden. Not letting your sacrifice bring you down, you spent your time diligently training yourself and your sibling when you can for the challenges lying on the horizon.

Just one month before your fifteenth birthday, you set off alone to the final selection exam to become an official demon slayer.
>>
>>4093122

-----------------------------------------------

>You’ll be playing as half-demon Byakuren (and if you feel like it, the Demon sibling Keimi) as we tackle the world of Demon Slayer (3 Years Before the Main Canon Story).
>Seeing as this is AU there will be changes and/or expansions to the main story as well as the potential for divergences.
>Dice rules are primarily d20s with Bo5 (no time limits), crit rolls afterward is a sole exception but will be a case to case subject. Crits in any form take priority and can override rolls as well as cancel each other out. Current Crit Range is 19-20. (18 or matching rolls may net you a bonus, on a case to case basis)
>Open to feedback and suggestions

Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Demon%20Slayer
Future Updates & Shitposts: https://discord.gg/6Z4bzmt
Character Sheet (Updates as the story progresses): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VbdzZA8mEkYWXs9UJH17lobl5NxtQl7xKedhPuWrkN8/edit?usp=sharing
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>>4093123

After having a rather joyous celebratory feast and a long earned rest, you currently find yourself getting ready for the trip. In the year you spent with Jingo you knew that the stern hardass was a notorious drunk. Even if she rarely gets hangovers given her decades of building up her resistance through drinking you knew it’ll take a long time before she awakens. Rather than wait all day for a send-off, you decide to instead just to leave. It was hard enough working up the courage to leave your sibling sleeping. It’s been a year and they still haven’t responded. Just like your inner demon. It was only just yesterday that you finally manage contact. On the first chance, you were knocked out by the infuriating demon. For a whole week no less.

Then again, considering two times you obstructed the demon’s attempts at becoming fully conscious into the world, it’s too be expected. Actually, three times would be more accurate since you were going to try to beat it into submission like a bonified bully. Those demon arts and abilities won’t come to you through diligently hardworking and persevering now. That and there was the lingering thought on its identity. Was it your negative emotions given sentiency or something else entirely. Before you had the time to ponder you find yourself now in the presence of half-dressed Jingo. Compared to your white, arrow patterned jinbei-styled kimono and blue hakama pants, Jingo’s loose yukata was making quite an unnerving scene.

“Oh, you’re up? Didn’t need to force yourself to after a night of drinking and hot spring bathing. I’m heading out so if you have something to say it’ll have to-” Before you can finish speaking your reddish amber eyes lock eye contact with Jingo’s scarlet shade. A serious, stern gaze pierces through her eyes, silencing you in your tracks. She wasn’t taking no for an answer.

Straightening out her pink hair, her blind eye currently closed, Jingo gives a small sigh. “Byakuren, to tell you the truth. I had no intention of sending you to the final selection. The path you walk on is a dangerous path, filled with hardship and strifes. Often bearing immense tragedies after another. The training you underwent will be a cakewalk compared to the real deal. As a half-demon, you will more than see your share of adversities from both sides. I long since secluded myself from that world. An old washout like me has no purpose anymore...neither in protecting people or keeping my comrades from dying.” Jingo mutters, showing a more somber, bittersweet expression to your surprise.

“Master…” You uttered, clearly wanting to say more. At first, you originally thought that your cultivator hated you and was only putting up teaching you due to Aniki’s relationship with her. You didn’t exactly blame her given her injuries as a demon must have done such a thing. But still, your world view on the crabby drunkard was shattering as you see a more vulnerable sight.
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>>4093128

You didn’t need your sharp eyes to see the look of melancholy on the once stern, tough as nails cultivator. Jingo turns her head slightly, averting her remaining eye as she reflects. “I didn’t want to see another rambunctious youth to end up meeting the same fate as mine or worse due to their reckless ambition. And for sure I was certain a half-wit like yourself wouldn’t be able to complete my hellish training at all, much less an entire year, but...” Pausing for just a bit, Jingo curls her pronounced lips into a sad smile.

Quickly hugging you with her good arm, Jingo looks down to you as you feel her gentle compassion finally seeping out. “Well done, Byakuren Shimizu. You are no longer a halfwit. You are...a stubbornly amazing kid.”

“..I’m sorry...but you can’t exactly tell that given how I look now.” You smile, holding back tears upon embracing the hug.

“Make sure to never forget your lessons and come back alive from the Final Selection. You can’t afford to leave your sibling Keimi behind. Or to go back on your declaration. Both I, your sibling and one other person will be waiting for you upon your return. So come back.” Although it wasn’t noticeable at first glance, the sound in her tone broke ever so slightly. Something must have happened in her past to make Jingo like this. You who were so busy with your training and assuming the worst never actually ask Jingo about her past or what made her as the cold and detached hermit in the mountains.

“I will, Master Jingo.” You nod, feeling the need to be more polite now.

“Didn’t I tell you to call me Ringo-sama by now?” Jingo remarks.

“Right, I’m sorry, Ringo-sama.” You rectify, slowly moving from Jingo to see her already reaching over in her cleavage to pull something out. Distracting doesn’t begin to explain your confusion.

“One more thing Byakuren. A growing girl like you with a hearty appetite should get stronger the more she eats, as well grow bigger in size.” Jingo remarks, noticing how it was only a year ago that you barely came to her legs, but now only standing a few centimeters shorter than her.

Turning your head with a pout, you fold your arms and brush off Jingo’s comment. “I’m already a giant! I think I can cut back from any more growth spurts and unforeseen boons.”

“You’re not wrong about that. You did burn through six years of your life to reach your current form.” Jingo chuckles, finally reaching what she was looking for as she went back to making a serious expression.“ Nevertheless, demons operate on that philosophy too. Remember this. Basically, a demon is as strong as the number of humans they devour. You and Keimi are the abnormal exceptions but don’t hesitate or feel guilty about your miraculous defiance. “
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>>4093133

“Keep steady on the path and sharpen your resolve. Never forget demons are crafty and shrewd, especially the older they become. There are countless demons who gain power, become able to transform their bodies and harness strange arts akin to magic. With your keener sense of sight and sharpen senses, you’ll be able to tell from a glance how many humans a demon’s consumed.” As Jingo says this, she pulls out what appears to be a red mask. Judging from the design it clearly looks like an oni, but given that this was the tengu empress in front of you, you were inclined to believe it’s supposed to be a tengu and not a tenma otherwise called a heavenly demon.

“Okay.” You nod.

“Take this tengu mask. It’s made out of the same materials as the warding mask. I implanted special charms and spells from Onmyōdō on to it to help contain your demonic energy and build your resistance to your weaknesses. At the same time, you won’t be able to use your powers while fully wearing the mask. So choose carefully when to activate them.”

>How do you proceed?

>Try to comfort Jingo and show your gratitude before leaving
>Say your goodbyes and leave to focus on making it to the exams on time
>Acknowledge her concerns but wait until your long gone to try and communicate with your inner demon Shakuren
>Ask Jingo [write-in what you want to know]
>Other [write-in]
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>>4093137
>Try to comfort Jingo and show your gratitude before leaving
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>>4093137
>>Say your goodbyes and leave to focus on making it to the exams on time
>>
>>4093137
>>Say your goodbyes and leave to focus on making it to the exams on time
>>
>>4093137
>Say your goodbyes and leave to focus on making it to the exams on time
>>
>>4093187
>>4093195
>>4093589

Despite convincing yourself that it was a tenma, part of you still felt the instructive need to comment on the Tengu mask resembling that of an oni. Regardless, you kept the sentiments that your master Jingo trying to transmit through her “good-luck charm” close to heart upon accepting the mask. Perhaps a little too on the nose, you couldn’t deny the benefits it carries. Grandma Guren and her wuxia ways dictated that relying on a physical object to overcome adversity or to become strong was signs of half-baked resolve. If anything she’d be expecting you to eat wisteria flowers mixed with purified salt, and bath in direct sunlight to build your resistance in daily succession. No amount of mind over matter was going to help you from collapsing into a comatose state.

“I’ll make sure to treasure this mask and keep it safe.” You smile, quickly putting the mask around the side of your head.

“There’s one more thing I’m given to you. Actually, lending might be more accurate since I want you to return above all else.” As she watches you put the mask into place, Jingo reaches from her side and reveals to you the long tachi sword in its scabbard. The Black Blade Doujigiri, a weapon that you were more than familiar with by now. With a soft smile, Jingo pulls the tachi from its current spot before offering it to you. “Here, take it.”

“Master Jing- I mean Ringo-sama! Isn’t this your prized sword?! The Dōjigiri!“ You shudder, expressive sheer befuddlement at being handed such a valuable weapon even on a loan.

“The very same. Having you one of the runs of the mill red Nichirin Blade found in the armory won’t really suit you. With only a year’s worth of training, I can still tell you have much to learn when wielding a sword. Even now you try to use brute force and take advantage of your inhuman strength instead of going for more subtle methods through finesse. Any weapon can wear down and break if one continues to practice recklessness, not just forgoing maintenance.
And using the nodachi you have come accustomed to will not be any effective in slaying demons. You need a Nichirin Blade, and the practice swords are far too weak to handle your fighting style.” Jingo explains, pawning the sword on to you as you find yourself incapable of saying no. To be given such a tool was a sign of respect and expectations, and you were going to have to make her bet well placed.
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>>4094546

“That said, if I even see a single chip or nip on my partner I’ll restrain and dangle you from specialized made metal rope capable of handling Mount Osa’s volcanic heat and slowly cook you like a plump pig on a spit until your regeneration powers cave in and make you pass out.” Jingo casually threatens you all while keeping her cheerfully warm smile. Given the running on hot coal, grabbing chestnuts on an open fire, and many other means of imprinting every aspect of fire on to you, you know without hesitation she’d do such a thing. As if bathing in the hottest part of Mount Aso’s hot springs and breathing in the heat from above the surface wasn’t bad enough.

Having the visual image stuck in your mind, you start breaking into a cold sweat before taking the sword from Jingo. “...R-Right. I’ll try my best to be careful with this sword.”

After fashioning the Dōjigiri sword in place of the rental katana around your obi sash, you begin to make your way towards the exit of the shrine house. Reaching for the door you turn back to make a cheerful smile to Jingo. “With that, I’m off. I’ll see you again real soon, I promise.” You say, waving one hand back to Jingo and the other on the door, slowly opening it as the morning sunlight begins to seep in.

“Take care of yourself and try not to make a scene. I know you can’t help it especially given your full-figured body and halfwit personality but you should still try.” Jingo lectures, throwing a shade of light teasing upon taking a second to notice the double-layered Hiyoku robe. A clear attempt at trying to suppress your all but conspicuously ample physique.

Practically blushing at her words and nearly slamming the door back, lift your head up and close your eyes. “As if you can lecture me about that with your choice in clothing!” You argue, letting out a loud hmph alongside your puffed pouting. Nevertheless, you manage to leave on good terms as you set your way to the final selection.
>>
Traveling at a carefully fast yet courteous rate brought you to your destination without any real issue. Well, aside from feeling a little lonely from not having your fused sibling Keimi along with you. Traveling from place to place all by yourself was nothing new to you. However, after losing your father and arguably your eldest sister. Along with your mother passing on from sickness years ago, Keimi was the only tangible family member you have left. You’ve been training for nearly two years straight, keeping yourself distracted with your mission in mind to let your mind wander and think such thoughts. But that changed now that you were all by yourself. In any case, it took about just nearly three days to arrive exactly at Mt. Fujikasane. One of the rare mountains that were full of Wisteria blooming every season from the mountain's foot to its slope.

Seeing the scenery at first gaze met your eyes with quite the cool, mystical sight to behold. Like you were stepping into a nightly wonderland surrounded by shimmering lavender lights of beauty. Of course, you kept your distance from actually touching them. No longer to the point of burning your skin, you only broke out in hives and feel exhaustion so long you maintain physical contact with the wisteria. Being around such volumes made you respectfully anxious and unnerved as you walk through the gates. Up the stairs and through the path you find little to no trouble in reaching the rendezvous spot. And much like you, there were many different applicants currently huddling up together. Some kept to themselves while others chat and mingled, some even setting up reconnaissance on the competition itself.

Naturally, all eyes would soon fall upon you as you were given only a moment to decide on what to do.

>How do you proceed?

>Try to talk with one of the applicants and start a friendly conversation/try to establish a mutual partnership [write-out who]
>Put the mask on and look for somewhere to hide/blend into the background
>Ignore the other applicants and their gazing stares as you keep your distance
>Try to keep your mind off of the crowd by doing some reconnaissance
>Other [write-in]


>Here are your choices for people to talk with if you choose the first one. [Choose up to three]

>A short, pale-skinned girl with a fox mask and a flowery pattern red Yukata
>A tough no-nonsense light-skinned girl with black twintails currently held by butterfly hairpins
>A petite yet tall olive-skinned girl with a black mid ponytail
>A mysterious short-haired beauty with pale skin and large, purple eyes
>A pretty bishonen brunette boy with an extravagant kimono attire and two swords
>A silent dark-haired boy with a long, wild ponytail staring blankly at the sky.
>A robust, young man with black hair wearing his sword against his back and a black kimono
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>>4094551
>A tough no-nonsense light-skinned girl with black twintails currently held by butterfly hairpins

Butterfly estate could be an interesting social link.

If there is any leftover time, we could spend it meditating, practicing breathing, cheking that all our equipment is in order - doing the typical last minute preparations for the exam, really.
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>>4094551
>>A petite yet tall olive-skinned girl with a black mid ponytail
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>>4094551
>>A tough no-nonsense light-skinned girl with black twintails currently held by butterfly hairpins
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>>4094551
>A tough no-nonsense light-skinned girl with black twintails currently held by butterfly hairpins

With our white hair, we could probably look like an old granny at this point. And we are totally not self conscious about our current appearance.
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>>4094551
>A short, pale-skinned girl with a fox mask and a flowery pattern red Yukata
>>
>>4094551
>A short, pale-skinned girl with a fox mask and a flowery pattern red Yukata
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>>4094594
>>4094617
>>4094670
>>4094758
>>4095086
>>4095164


>Aoi Kanzaki [Resident and Helper of the Butterfly Estate]
>Makomo Urokodaki [Adoptive Daughter of Sakonji Urokodaki]
>Ozaki Yamamoto [Self-taught swordswoman of a noble samurai clan/ retooled canon Ozaki

Looks like we have our candidates, you'll learn the identities of the others later down the line. Unfortunately there's not many known guys who fit this timeline except for one but he's a special occasion and he'll also appear later down the line.

>>4094758

20 year old is basically a granny to the rambunctious youth. So don't be surprised if you get called hag as an insult.
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>>4095229
The downsides to actually occasionally being able to look like a responsible adult instead of looking like some kid.

If Byakuren does tell people that she is only 15 people would probably think that she is going to turn into an actual giant in a few years.
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>>4095240
On the other hand, it could open up paths that are blocked for younger people like age restrictions. Or if we're absolutely desperate, seduction.
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>>4095240

Essentially, aside from the excessive resources, such a high-maintenance body requires (a notorious downside for essentially rushing for power and refusing to take a year-long slumber for your body to stabilize itself and recalibrate your demonic energy) having to deal with your appearance's stigma will lead to many different scenarios and conversations, for better or worse.

>>4095242

Red Light District with Uzui is going to be a hell of a trip.
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>>4095254
>Red Light District with Uzui is going to be a hell of a trip.

Still not as pretty as Inosuke.

>a notorious downside for essentially rushing for power

And there is still a bunch of steps on that road; on one particularly desperate day we might try to imitate Genya.
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Saving myself some time putting up the visual refs for the interaction.

Starting off with Aoi.
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>>4095328


Followed by Makomo
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>>4095329

And finally Ozaki Admitally this was the hardest to find a suitable reference since the original shows up once, has a little bit of a fight overpowering tanjuro and inosuke who was also restraining themselves from actively attacking and then dying. So I went with the closest that could capture a tomboy beauty.

>>4095288

Nobody is prettier than Inosuke. The closest rival is Keimi but they're also demon so that's technically cheating.
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>>4095242
I'd love to see a crit fail for seduction.

>Byakuren thinks that the best way to seduce someone is with fun stuff from her youth rather than using her assets while the target has the look of utter confusion on their face
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>>4095955

Thankfully we're just talking with girls so far. I'd imagine some boys "our age" would be kind of intimidated by a weird 20-something year old talking to them.
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>>4095229

Considering you was one of the very few if not only adult looking individual out of the bundle it’s not really all that surprising their eyes would be on you. Thankfully you were self-aware enough to multi-stack layers upon layers of clothing to suppress your mature, womanly charms. Going as far as to strapped your ample chest against a thick sarashi aka cloth wrappings to further contain them. Now given that you know shapeshifting it’ll probably be easier to just morph yourself to a more fitting appearance for a fifteen-year-old. However, not only there was the wisteria around negatively impacting your concertation, but there was one other factor. While you know plenty of different otherworldly abilities from your demonic skills, you weren’t exactly great at them.

Shapeshifting especially took serious concertation not only to change your form but to maintain it as well. It didn’t help the process was no different than holding in your stomach and flexing. Great for practice but not much else. In your timeframe, you just didn’t have enough experience to pull it off reliably for long periods. So you went for the next best thing. Underneath the arm and leg portion of your attire is additional cloth wrappings, specifically the same wrappings used by combatants such as martial artists. Despite causing confusion, there was a lot of practicality in the wraps as it warms the muscle to prevents muscle strain, elevated wind resistance, relieve pain from muscle stiffness/soreness, reduce the time for muscle recovery, stabilize joints, shield the limbs from the kinetic force and softening the impact, preventing abrading and many more.

Practically matching your sarashi with the hand wraps, you started to resemble more of a traditional Oni in human’s clothing. The only thing setting you off was the horns, hulking brutish physique and demeanor, colored skin of oni fashion and the same wicked malice that they were said to carry in your grandma’s stories. The closest thing that came to mind was currently lying dormant inside of you, unresponsive due to obvious reasons. In any case, to the countless stares currently focusing upon you, you remain ever composed as you refuse to let it get you. Forcing yourself to smile you merely walk casually if not a bit awkward in an attempt to keep a low profile. To which seems to work in your favor as those stares lesson by the second. At worst, you look like a weird old lady trying to be young, and at your best a cool, regal beauty not unlike a wise hermit. A flip of the coin.
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>>4096126

Finding just the right spot to station yourself under you make your way towards a large rock from the outskirts of the field. Being as far as from the wisteria as possible naturally tempered your anxiety and kept your heart rate to normal standards. Normal for humans anyway. Despite the effort you put into your training, there was still some part of you still worried. Can you prove your skills in an environment like this? Last time you were focused simply on surviving Jingo’s boot camp from hell, and even then it was your bonds with your loved once that gave you strength. Right now you were fighting for yourself, carrying the wishes and expectations of those who carried you to this path. As you ponder upon this, your eyes caught the sight of someone else on the other side of the large boulder.

Sitting on the other side is a light-skinned teenage girl who seemly appears around your real age. At first glance, she stood at around a hundred and fifty-six centimeters, athletically built based on the standard for demon slayers, but on that note, she was rather modestly curvy. Deep blue eyes that paints her off as a cool beauty, only matched by her straight black hair. Wearing only but a simple if not plain white kimono top and teal blue hakuma pants, tabi socks, and a pair of zōri shoes. The most noticeable feature on this was the butterfly hairclips currently holding her hair in a twintails fashion. Straightforward and stern best describe the person in front of you. Seeing a seriously focus look on her face easily sold you on being a no-nonsense tough girl. Compared to everyone else so far, having someone like that in front of you was strangely uplifting as you make your way towards her.

“Is this spot taken?” You ask, giving off a prim and polite tone, to which mixes fluidly with your mature appearance.

Turning ever so slightly to glance at you, she turns her eyes back at the nightly scenery. “Not really. I don’t have any claim to any of the scenery here.”She mutters, having a firm yet clear tone.

Taking a moment to smile at her, you quickly plant yourself against the rock. Compared to your training, a boulder was no different than a fluffy pillow. “My name is Byakuren Shimizu, it’s nice to meet you.”
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>>4096127

“...Aoi Kanzaki.” The gruff girl spoke, keeping her distance but letting enough acknowledgment to retain a polite conversation.

“So mind I ask why exactly you’re out here by yourself?” You tilt your head in mild curiosity.

“No, but I get the feeling you’ll pride anyway until I give you an answer. “ Turning to look at you after letting out a sigh, Aoi shift her position to face you directly. “I came out here to gather my thoughts and maintain my resolve in deep meditation. “

“Ah! Meditation. I happen to be exceptionally good at the art. Though the methods used to push me towards that direction is not something I’d considered normal even for Miko standards.” You answer, lifting your index finger while keeping an earnest and wholesome smile.

“You? A Miko. Could’ve fooled me. No offense, but you look more like someone more likely to put oshiroi makeup and wear a fancy kimono like a Tomesode entertaining weary travelers.” Aoi remarks, staring at you with a look of skepticism and mild distrust.

“Oh like a Geisha! W-Well I am quite good at dancing, singing and performing the arts. So a Geisha would be more up my alley than continuing my family’s role of being shrine guardians.” You smile, clapping your hands against Aoi as you completely took her off-guard with your merry demeanor.

“..Sure let’s go with that.” Aoi twitches, almost leaning back from the cheerful eccentrics that was oozing off from you. Seems Kyojuro was rubbing off on you in some degree as your pupils practically morphed into stars. Such innocence couldn’t bring Aoi to correct your viewpoint by revealing that you look more fitting as an orian.

“Anyway, I like to get back to meditating so if you don’t mind. Go mingle with someone else..” Aoi bluntly points out, maintaining just enough tact to avoid coming off as excessively rude with her brash behavior.

“O-Oh, you’re right I’m sorry for disrupting your concentration. But...what if I asked to join you in meditating.” You stumble, rebounding quickly from her bluntness to once again try and continue exchanging pleasantries with Aoi.

Staring at you for a good moment, Aoi reductively sighs as she closes her else. “...Fine, but only if you keep quiet when you return.“

“Great~ Till then.” You smile, waving at Aoi to which slowly waves back as your part from the boulder.
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>>4096132

Just like that, you managed to have a relatively decent conversation with someone in your age group. Although short it seems that you were in the positive with the tough as nails lass. From your glance, you saw her brash and straightforward demeanor as the exterior, but the interior holds a more compassionate and tender in the subtle acknowledgment. She was no Jingo but you sense a similar tough but fair philosophy as she freely speaks her mind. More importantly, it seems that you didn’t lose your ability to speak with people. After your metamorphosis into a half-demon, secretly you always carry the lingering thought of being rejected and isolated if not downright hated by others. But here that didn’t happen, much to your relief. Yet was that only possible because of your current predicament? Your demonic traits being fully suppressed by the wisteria flowers, at the moment you were no different than anyone else.

Before you had the chance to be lost in your pending paranoia and overthinking all possibilities, something starts to draw your attention. Something was tugging at the backside, carefully avoiding pulling something that they shouldn’t. You couldn’t even feel their presence as they easily bypass your sphere of influence and reach your center point. Was this an application of a silent movement technique like the Hakusuki? Or something more mystical. Either way, you slowly turn to meet the mysterious person. To your surprise, you were standing a relatively short girl coming at about a hundred and forty-six centimeters. Compared to Aoi this black-haired girl was far slender and petite with only a somewhat sizable bust. She was wearing just a red yukata with a pink and white flower dot pattern under a dark-purple sleeveless haori, to which more look like a lolita dress given its western influence. Unlike Aoi, she chose to cover her face with a fox’s mask, but despite the mask, you could still see cyan colored eyes seeping through.

“Um, can I help you?” You ask, turning to kneel low enough to be within eye’s view with the fox masked girl.

Tilting her head only slightly “Hmm. Not particularly but there’s something about the distinct scent that you’re giving off that has me...rather curious about you.” The fox-mask girl spoke, giving off a rather abstract and dreamy way of speaking. Soft and quiet but quite intuitive.

Sweating a bit out of nervousness you briefly start checking yourself. “ That’s funny, I’m pretty sure to take a long, relaxing bath before arriving here. Maybe I overdid it with that last sprint.” You awkwardly laugh, scratching the back of your head feeling rather embarrassed. “I don’t normally smell bad honest.”
>>
>>4096154

“No, no you don’t stink, I can tell from a single whiff that you like to pamper yourself accordingly during bathing. But that’s not the scent I’m talking about. It’s a rather kind and sweet fragrance I’m picking up. But it’s mixed, like something sweet mixed with something spicy. A spice I feel all too familiar with. Maybe orange chicken mixed with a spicy Sichuan peppercorn. Perhaps sweet and spicy curry. Or Sakura mochi with a wasabi center.” The masked girl explains, trying her best to reassure you of your growing concerns. But the more she went on the more you picked off a sort of wonderland like vibe from her with her rambling.

Letting out a sigh of relief you instinctively touch your chest and continue eye contact. “Oh good. I’m glad the scent I’m giving is...unique to your sense of smell. Anyway, mind telling me who you are and showing your face. Not exactly easy for me to remember a stranger if I don’t know their name and/or face.”

Lightly nodding at you the mysterious girl starts to take off her mask to reveal a rather cute child-like face. “Sure, my name is Makomo Urokodaki, age fifteen years old. Though I might not look like it at first glance.” She lightly blushes, turning her eye away for just a second. When she returned her gaze she was met with a starstruck white-haired girl.

“Oho, you’re fifteen too? Another person within my age group. And she’s someone who doesn’t look the part just like me~” You glee happily almost to the point of squealing over the fact. Aoi you can only assume given the very similar build to what you’d normally be as a regular human. But to have confirmation right off the bat made you positively bursting with joy.

“..Excuse me, did I hear you say you’re the same age as me?” Makomo blinks, subtly breaking out of her mysterious demeanor to show a slightly shocked face.

“Um..yes.” You blink, staring at her with a straight face. Your smile only slightly slants at the concerns coming from the shorter teenager. “Why? Is that a problem?”

Quickly shaking her head, Makoto quickly makes a warm smile before patting your shoulders. “Wow, talk about one heck of a puberty growth. Now I’m even more curious about you...Byakuren Shimizu.” Upon saying that, Makoto starts leaning closer to you. Getting rather close into your personal space while looking deeply at your eyes.

“Erm, you’re getting quite close Ms. Urokodaki.” You shudder, pulling back rather slightly while keeping your hands pushed out to keep Makomo from advancing further.
>>
>>4096155

Looking at you rather curiously Makomo starts stroking her chin before adverting her deep teal eyes. “So I am.”Pulling herself back and reaching for her mask, Makomo gives a soft smile before concealing her face. “Anyway, I just came to check you out. I would like to talk more once the exam is over but right now I shouldn’t be distracting you from preparation.”

“Okay.” You nod, still flabbergasted by the unreadable actions of Makomo. Like a cloud just drifting in the deep blue sky.

“Till we meet again.” With a cheerful wave, Makomo suddenly disappears from your sight. Waiting for the moment for you to blink to once again hide her presence and move without a trace.

This was quite the mood whiplash compared to earlier. Between the tough and straightlaced Aoi and the gentle and whimsical Makomo, it feels like you were met with the two extremes. Not that you didn’t hate speaking with either of them. And in retrospect, it was rather nice having someone else who looks far different than what they are. In Makoto’s case, she looks like she was around twelve years old instead of the fifteen and a half-year-old girl you just recently chatted with. Surely having a fountain of youth sort of body will have its own appeal, especially in the cute factor. And while nonsensical, you felt tranquil and at peace when you were around Makomo. Another contract to Aoi’s sincere if not blunt vibes, which wasn’t inferior by comparison, just different. Certainly, you can deal with this as evidence with your sibling Keimi.

Nevertheless, you scout your eyes scanning around to see who else you should interact with before returning to Aoi. After what just happened you make a mental note to temper your excitement at meeting another person of your age groups. As well as on the safe side not to talk with any boys unless they come to you. Someone of your current stature would only be intimidating and make things awkward. To your luck, you would see another female in the group, perhaps the last one for now. Out of the girls, you met so far, this one was perhaps the tallest with her one hundred and seventy-five centimeters. Finally, someone who you didn’t have to kneel down to talk to. Compared to Aoi and Makomo, this person was almost as well-rounded as yourself. Wearing just a dark brown kimono top although more akin to a more male style with a fur collar, black hakama, matching black gloves and the same jika-tabi like Makomo brought out quite the tomboy demeanor out of her.
>>
>>4096193

Unlike Aoi who was using a traditional katana and Makomo who seemingly has a long nodachi, this girl, in particular, was wielding what appears to be Zanbatō. A massive sword almost as tall as she was. To wield such a weapon requires a great amount of physical strength and skill. Perhaps that’s why she was alone currently closing her eyes, focused on the mission. Nevertheless, you attempt to move towards speaking range with the mysterious girl, going as far as to even wave at them as you approach. However, an intense rumbling sound starts to echo across your field of hearing in response. Her body pulsating tremendously as she slowly grips her sword. Coupled with an intense look in her eye you felt yourself being pushed back by only what you can assume was an intense swordsman spirit coming from the brown-haired ponytail girl. You were nearly spooked by such intensely focused power.

>How do you proceed?

>Apologize for the rudeness and try to make a good impression
>Politely excuse yourself and head back to Aoi
>Show off your own swordswoman spirit to try and combat the mysterious girl’s spirit
>Keep your distance and quietly observe her to try and understand her
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4096197
>Keep your distance and quietly observe her to try and understand her
>>
>>4096197
>Keep your distance and quietly observe her to try and understand her
>>
>>4096197
>Keep your distance and quietly observe her to try and understand her
>>
>>4096768
So anyone come up with cool/edgy attacks?
>>
>>4096197
>>Keep your distance and quietly observe her to try and understand her

>>4096808
If we ever have our sword broken in two pieces, we could always use the grip-less blade as a second weapon to be dual wielded with whatever is left of our sword.

Maybe have our blood run down the length of the sword and have it be on fire, too!
>>
>>4096200
>>4096216
>>4096768
>>4097800

Instinctively you suddenly took to a defensive stance. While not to the point of grabbing your sword you did, however, manage to put a pretty strong guard in light of this perplexing predicament. Having been ambushed by Jingo made you adaptively reactive almost instantaneously. Even so, you commit yourself to keep your distance and staying silent for now. Whether it was your extrasensory perception acting upon instinct or woman’s intuition guiding you, you knew first hand that something was off from this strange girl. Like with Makomo it seems that there was something about this strange person that was letting her pick up on you. Even with the wisteria suppressing your demonic half, somehow there was still enough of a tell to discern some kind demonic element in your very presence.

Either way, you start to tense your muscles, reinforcing your defenses and readying for a showdown. At least, that’s what should have happened. Instead, the mysterious girl just stood there, still holding on to her sword giving off that same intimidating aura. You were almost sure that it was escalating the longer the staring contest between the two of you continue. Utilizing your sharp eyes, you begin to examine her every motion and body language. From the smallest of shifts of their muscles, joints, bones, expressions, etc along with the slightest of movements such as the eyes, you’re able to see virtually any signal as clear as day. Training vigorous has improved this already impressive talent to greater volumes, as you can now freely see the line of interval'—the slight pause in one’s motions that gives ways to openings.


With these eyes, your skills in observation and analyzation quickly brought forth the answers. Upon discovery, you immediately made a stunned expression, freezing up completely over the truth. Only now did you begin to understand what was happening. Mistaking her body’s constant trembling as a form of intimidation, the vibrations and rumbling sound coming off from her was relating to her racing heartbeat. The erratic heartbeat was now a clear sign of the escalating anxiety and general uneasiness buried deep inside. All that uneasy feelings of nervousness manifest itself as this overwhelming pressure that threatens to suffocate everyone with its denseness. The intimidating shōgun-like aura and visual manifestation were but a mere fabrication brought on by misunderstanding. Having seen through this act the rising anxiety inside quickly disappears without a trace. Instead, all you can feel towards the mysterious girl is sympathy.
>>
>>4097866

“Um, are you..bad at communicating with others?” You ask, breaking into a cold sweat while trying your best to break out of this queasiness.

Looking at you rather closely something begins to happen. A faint blush forms around the cheeks of her olive cream skin before quickly flushing. The rumbling sound cranks up exponentially in response to racing heartbeats, going as far as to soon break into a nervous sweat. You weren’t sure if you were hearing things or not but you thought that you were hearing a sudden series of laughing sounds to her sudden breakdown. To everyone else she just appeared more menacing and terrifying like a Kuchisake-onna as evident by her nervous smile. Adverting her hazel eyes from you, the mysterious girl tries desperately to speak. But not a single sound came out as her rumbling drowns her out. Making others think she was about to go berserk. Her left-hand moves to subtly scrap her finger against the tree in quick fashion.

Before you could say anything else the mysterious black ponytail girl starts to head off without batting an eye. Confusing the onlookers into believing that she must have put some sort of curse on you for your abrasive action. But only you so far was any the wiser to the truth. The only thing you managed to catch from her lack of conversation skills was a written message. A message that only says “My name is Ozaki Yamamoto, recently turned sixteen years old samurai in training. Please forget this ever happen and I’m sorry. Goodbye.” In such a short time she manages to write quite beautifully, another sign she must put her effort into writing for when her mouth would not move. Unfortunately, before you could ponder further two people soon made their presence known to the applicants.

It was a pair of two children, nearly the same height. Virtually identical to one another with one big difference, you document their appearance to memory. Lightly pale skin, large plum purple eyes that were downright creepy, blunt bob with a fridge to cover their eyebrows, red lipstick, and wearing a purple kimono with patterned flowers and a green obi. And a wisteria hair ornament to finish tying the attire The key difference between the two symmetrical children was their hair color. One of snow white and the other of ash black, oddly giving a sort of yin-yang sort of vibe as you think back to your siblings Emiko and Keiju. They couldn’t be any older than five years old. Yet the two of them carried a tranquil if not mature seniority that immediately commands respect and regalness.
>>
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>>4097867

“Hello, I am Kiriya Ubuyashiki.” The black-haired child spoke, further adding to the tranquility with their soft-spoken tone.

“And I am Kanata Ubuyashiki.” The white-haired child spoke, matching their sibling in the exact same tone as they immediately follow after their introduction.

“Everyone, we thank you for coming here tonight. To the Demon Slayer Corps’s Final Selection Exam.” The two children spoke simultaneously, giving a monotone like sound which while tranquil was also creepy.

“There are demons currently imprisoned here on Mt. Fujikasane, captured alive by the Demon Slaying swordsmen. Because of the wisteria here these demons are unable to leave, and thus are ravenous for sustenance.” They explain, Kiriya taking the lead.

“Their aggression has also been heightened because of the very same flower that they come to hate so much. Unlike in most places, the wisteria blooms year around from the bottom of the mountain to the halfway point. “ Kanata answer, now taking the lead as the other sibling follows.

“However, from this point on there won’t be any wisteria, and so demons abound. “ Both soon point at the upper outskirts of the mountain, revealing to everyone the savage forest that they’ll have to survive in. It was like its own cut off section similar to the Aokigahara’s sea of trees.

After lowering their hand together, the two children stare back at the dazed crowd. “For the next seven days, you’ll have to focus entirely on survival in order to pass the final selection. There will be no one coming to assist you nor will you be allowed to leave until the seven days are up. “

“How you do so doesn’t matter so long as you achieve the objective. However, there is one other rule.” They both smile in unison in given their full attention to the wisteria around them.

“You must not use the wisteria grown from this spot. We’ll be checking your gear and equipment to be sure of it before allowing passage. After we finish our check, you’ll have some time to make any last-second adjustments before we proceed with the exam. Each of you will be given a number. Once your number has been called you will proceed to enter either the left or the right path into the upper mountain. “ They explain.

“And with that, we bid you adieu and ask you to be on your way when called.” With a formal bow, the two children start directing everyone to their respective places.

>How do you proceed?
>Take this time to yourself to take care of any last-second objective [write-out which]
>Try to continue conversing with one of the people you know so far [write-out who]
>Try to ask some questions from the two children [write-out]
>Take a nap until it’s your turn to enter the forest [skip to the forest]
>Other [write-out]
>>
>>4097868

For reference to Ozaki's Zanbato which is much bigger than your long nodachi blade.
>>
>>4097868
>Take a nap until it’s your turn to enter the forest [skip to the forest]
>>
>>4097868
>>Take a nap until it’s your turn to enter the forest [skip to the forest]
>>
>>4097868
>Take a nap until it’s your turn to enter the forest [skip to the forest]

Time to get started.
>>
>>4097908
>>4097923
>>4097965

Left to your own devices for the time being you take a quick walk to another secluded location from the wisteria. A walk that ends up taking you down the stairs and into a comfy flower field. To your luck, there was no wisteria in close proximity, allowing you some breathing room. Therefore, you quickly took inventory over what exactly you have just in case. A week-long worth of rations for you, to which for a normal person would be a month worth of food for a group of adventurers. Again you can only be accustomed to your development into such a high-maintenance due to your refusal to go into a deep slumber like your sibling throughout the two years. Thus your body began compensating through other ways, but it still needs a lot of resources to operate at the top physical condition. At least you never gain any weight or need to use the restroom.

Substance aside there were the usual survivor tools needed living in the land. A swiss army knife, matches, tinder, first aid kit, compass, watch, flashlight, paper & pen, a repair kit, and toilet articles. Each one of your tools was in perfect working order made for survival. Although your demon half carries enough benefits to survive harsh conditions, you decided on restraining yourself as much as possible. Surviving multiple boot camps and training regiments made you practically one with the wilderness. But if you have the chance to be smart and use more modern means then you would. Putting your gear back into its respective places in your backpack you set it aside somewhere safe before leaning next to it. With all the excitement you went through, you thought it best to take a little nap.

Practically slipping into a deep slumber on the dot, you lie on the floor with a content wide smile and bit of drool. To the outside party, you would look like a complete happy go lucky fool, but there are some who saw through your deception. Of course even as you sleep comfortably in the flower bed, you weren’t as helpless as you made yourself out to be. Having been through a living hell, your body has drastically developed its unconscious autonomous motion to nigh-perfection. Acting solely on impulses and stimulus to trigger actions are involuntary and automatic, you were more or less a highly capable combatant even during slumber. Currently, it was one of your answer to when you’re dealing with having to take power naps to regain stamina. Unfortunately, when recovering your demonic energy, you were only left solely relying on your non-demon capabilities to fight.
>>
>>4098138

You eventually wake up right on the dot upon being called. Ears perking up as you start rubbing your eyes. Followed by letting out a long yawn, you pull yourself up and make your way towards the checking camp. Eyes still half-closed you merely adopt a sleepwalking trance to squeeze in a little more slumber while acting accordingly to your surroundings. Putting their confusion aside they proceed to go through your stuff. Unsurprisingly they found nothing illegal or concerning in your survival bag. Once they put your stuff back into the neatly order you originally have it they hand it back to you. Taking it with a grateful smile, you reach over to take a number and walk back to your destinated spot and returning to slumber. Once your number was called only did you finally start to become noticeably more alert.

Feeling fully restore and at the top of your game, you march over towards the gate. Two directions to choose from. The steep and rugged path with no end in sight, or the smooth and quick path with a clear shortcut to the goal. Left or Right. The decision was now on your hand to decide as you make your first step towards danger.

>Which path do you choose

>Left
>Right
>Leave it up to your heart [Mystery choice]

>What do you do once inside the demon-hunting grounds?

>Find somewhere safe to camp and wait patiently for adversity to come
>Look towards finding a good hiding place and wait it out through the week
>Test your skills and actively search for the strongest demon
>Protect others by fighting as many demons as possible
>Find some allies to come together and make a survival plan [write-in who]
>Focus on keeping active and always moving to avoid being ambushed
> Other [write-in]
>>
>>4098140
>Find some allies to come together and make a survival plan [write-in: people we talked with]
> Plan - propose hunting demons and seeking out other humans by using group tactics and individual talents of your new comrades. Continue gathering people into one organized group as you go in order to minimize casualties amongst demon slayer candidates.

I am on board with just murdering a boatload of demons, but practice shows that demon slayers really excel when working together.

So, jolly cooperation demon slaying. Blobbing up into one demon slaying doomstack is not against the rules, I think.
>>
>>4098140
Oh, and

>Leave it up to your heart [Mystery choice]
>>
>>4098204
>>4098215
This
>>
>>4098204
>>4098215
>>4098237

If I don't get any other choices within the next couple of hours, just roll a d20 to see how well your leadership skills and charisma are.
>>
Rolled 17 (1d20)

>>4098277
>>
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>4098277
"Charisma!"
>>
Rolled 16 (1d20)

>>4098277
>>
>>4098277
This is me not rolling today, and therefore not bringing you all yet another nat 1.

You are all welcome.
>>
I hope we eventually have a more solid confrontation with our inner demon.

I feel that it can only be beaten when we realize that despite its appearance, it may very well be just our 13-year old self that succumbed to utter despair. And the only way to beat it is for Byakuran is to essentially kill her current 15-year old self, and mentally grow up to become the adult.
>>
>>4098277

Okay looks like we're going the full shonen hero route, I'm cool with that. You passed with the 17 easily. Writing now.
>>
>>4098901

Looking around your surroundings you seem to quickly pick up the mood in the air. Currently, you were the last of the applicants standing from the other side of the gate. The only other people around were the two children and the staff accompanying them known as the Kakushi. Hooded figures that completely obscure their physical appearance in black uniforms and masks, leaving only their eyes visible. Similar to the ninjas of old, you can tell these mysterious folks carry a wide assortment of different tasks and responsibilities. The supporting shadow of the demon slayer corps. Choosing to not reflect upon it further you made your way to the gate. Greeted by the two children from earlier, you remain ever diligent in your impending decision.

“You’re the last one Ms. Shimizu. Now then which path do you choose to take?” Kiriya and Kanata answer in unison, already you were getting used to it.

Finding yourself thinking back to the two towns riddle and the paradox liar, you spend a good while thinking real closely. Weighing just about the pros and cons of both sides. You ultimately decide to trust your heart and lead you down the right path. “I think I’ll choose this path.” You say, pointing to the left, showing the giant gate in front.

“Are you sure you want to take that path? The steep and rugged path said to be filled with danger and uncertainty to the point there isn’t an ending in sight. Do you want to walk down such?” Kanata asks, soon tilting her head ever so slightly in mild curiosity.

Nodding to the white-haired child, you slowly close your eyes. “Yeah, I’m sure. Besides, who exactly has the right to decide that this path is dangerous? In the beginning, nobody can tell which one is the rugged, dangerous path. I mean you never really know until someone starts walking down the path.”

“That is true, but can you really put aside basic logic? There’s no reason to force yourself down the dangerous path, especially if there’s no ending in sight. Nay, being surrounded by the unknown brings fear beyond imagination or even understanding. The path that you’re transitioning into will only bring tragedy upon tragedy as you trample over the corpses of your allies and those before you. When faced with such hardships and uncertainty, its only natural for one to choose the faster and safer option if given the choice. It’s human nature.” Kiriya questions, tilting their head as well but staring more intently at you.

“What are you talking about? What I want to know isn’t how to walk down the easy path or take a shortcut. Rather, I want to know how to navigate the rugged, unknown path.” You answer, opening your eyes to reveal a more serious, strong-willed person as you were now fully awake.
>>
>>4099128

“And what if both paths reach the same conclusion? Would you still choose to walk down the rugged path knowing that truth?” Both children ask in unison, once again never blinking and ever staring, like they were seeing deep into your very soul.

Taking a deep breath you remain ever headstrong in your answer, stubbornly refusing to bug a single inch. The memories of your family come to mind and the loss of your parents, the demonification of your siblings, and the uncertainty of your eldest sister’s fate circulate constantly in your mind. “Don’t make me repeat myself. You won’t know until you walked it. I may not be experienced enough to say this is the right but I know from personal experience that the person I want to be is someone who walks in front of everyone. Some who can bear and endure all the pain while ensuring they’ll never have to walk over the corpses of their fellow men in arms. “

“There’s no such thing as an easy path to life nor a shortcut to succession. And once you chose your path, there’s no turning back. No way out but to move forward.” Saying that with a smile on your face, you end up making both children blink in shock. Going as far as to break them out of their once iron-clad mask that made them completely unreadable. Both Kiriya and Kanata look at each other for a good bit before returning to looking at you.

“For the first time since doing this job. Not once have I heard someone talk with such...an unusual perspective. For that, I thank you for speaking from the bottom of your heart with earnest passion.” Kanata smiles, bowing to you as Kiriya did the same, much to your surprise.

“There’s one more thing to your speech you forgot to take into account. Those who walk ahead of others to avoid trampling on them in any way. Those who can truly lead and guide people will always have their support. No matter how much or often you falter and stumble, they’ll always be there to catch you and put you back onto your feet. That is also human nature, Byakuren Shimizu.” Kiriya smiles, giving some sage advice to you as a reward for answering truthfully.

The twins back away to reveal a third path, a straightforward path that connects throughout the entirety of the mountain. You weren’t sure if you answered correctly or not, but your words ended up opening a new path into the mountain. “Now go, with a resolve like yours, not even the darkest void will be able to snuff out your shining light.”
>>
“Right. Thank you!” You cry out to the two children before moving quickly down the straight, middle path. Once inside the doorway down the third path starts to disappear, returning to its hiding spot as the two children once again stood guard. Staring at each other for another couple of seconds, both Kiriya and Kanata turn their attention to the sky, specifically the full moon.

“Yes...Exactly like that of the moon.”

>Who do you search for first?

>Aoi Kanzaki
>Makomo Urokodaki
>Ozaki Yamamoto
>Surprise me

(Author's note: Still following the actions of >>4098204 but I want to know who you're searching for first before transitioning into this plan step by step accordingly for your seven days. )
>>
>>4099135
>Surprise me

Let's roll for it.
>>
Rolled 2 (1d3)

>>4099135
>>Surprise me
To the dice!
>>
>>4099135
>>Surprise me

>inb4 we run into a BOY
>>
Rolled 1 (1d3)

>>4099135
The will of the dice it is.
>>
>>4099135
>Makomo Urokodaki
That sniffer tho
>>
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>>4099151
>>4099170
>>4099262

>Kagura Ubuyashiki (Firstborn child of the Ubuyashiki family. Natural born prodigy )

If nothing else you surely know how to pick em. Writing now

PS: Made a slight hiccup on attire.
>>
>>4099535
Hopefully she is good with tracking. The sooner we find everyone else, the better.
>>
>>4099535

Stepping just past the gate you quickly sense the gate behind you starting to close. Keeping yourself consistent you didn’t feel the need to turn back and look at the disappearing gate. Once you set yourself down the path you take, you sprint forward without giving yourself the time to think of what-ifs or any remnants of regret. Stubborn was after all one of your strongest virtues and stubbornness was needed to keep your earnest passions steadfast and true. On that note, you think back to the three people you met so far. Aoi, Makomo and Ozaki. Each one of them in some way would be a highly valuable ally. Makomo especially considering how easily she managed to bypass your senses. But you couldn’t rule out Aoi and Ozaki into the equation as you continue pondering who should you look for first.

With your keen eyesight and sharp intuition, it’ll be simple for you to pick out and locate your targets. Time was still on your side since it only been roughly thirty minutes since the final selection has begun. So chances are the demons haven’t fully mobilized yet. Meaning that nobody should be in any immediate danger. Still, you refrain from letting yourself drop your guard and dull your blade. There were still things that you need to do in order to tackle the final selection properly. As the ideas start to pile up in your mind, you briefly think back to Kiriya’s words. If it was just by yourself there wasn’t any doubt in your mind that you can fight the demons and survive the seven days and nights. While not in any relation to demons, you got to taste battle experience that far excels the level of entry demons you assume surrounds the mountain.

Again that was only if you were on your own and kept only to your devices. How many people have taken this test and chose to isolate themselves? Choosing to willingly ignore others and focus solely on self-preservation. Or worse yet use others for their own nefarious intentions. Being surrounded by man-eating demons in a location completely unknown to them for seven days and night will naturally bring out the very worst in people. Fear is quite an effective motivator in throwing away any morals or beliefs, especially when facing the threat of death. Really you can only bring yourself to sympathize despite experiencing the rock bottom pit of despair first hand. Deep down you strongly desire to prevent others from experiencing such traumatic experiences. Therefore, to you, the only path in front of you was to round up your fellow applicants and work together to survive.
>>
>>4099644

But who exactly to choose from? There was at least has to be around twenty to thirty applicants to look after last time you checked. And each one could have spread out through the entirety of the secluded portion of the mountains. Without risking your secret of being a half-demon, could you still manage to find everyone? A brief moment of concern almost made you doubt yourself for just a split second. In that split second, you took a calming breath, instinctively remembering your breathing training and the Kyūkyūden Jōkohō. Stabilizing your body and tranquilizing your mind, your spirit further its resolve as it no longer became a do or don’t kind of situation. On that note, you found yourself suddenly running into a mysterious figure on the crossroad. From what you can tell they were surrounded by a bundle of demons.

At first, you wanted to scream at the mysterious person, alerting them of the danger while reassuring them that help was coming. However, due to your training, you came to realize the element of surprise was the most valuable tool any combatant worth their salt cherish deeply. With that in mind, you merely grab your master’s tachi sword Dōjigiri by the hilt and ready yourself. Taking a small, precise breath, you begin to set your body ablaze in order to begin the necessary transition to the breath of flames style. Judging from the two demons, there was no need to switch to the azure flames dubbed Onibi as conserving stamina was ideal. In spite of your preparation for the Breath of Flame’s First style - Shiranui, your eyes suddenly widen at the impending sight.

In just a quick flash you see a series of slashes coming from what appears to be a Sakabatō or reverse blade katana. On the top of your head, you must have counted roughly eight or nine slashes. However, upon closer inspection, there was in fact twelve simultaneous slashes on the demons. Creating a sort of cage that delivers heavy blunt force, paralyzing the demons as they were rendered helpless like children. Flipping the blade immediately, a singular circular stroke beheads every one of the demons in a smooth fashion. Such fluidity and finesse were simply unreal as the moon basks on the figure.
>>
>>4099662

It appears to be a slender androgynous figure, with raven black hair styled in a bob cut similar to the two children. Unlike them, the lower ends of the bob cut were more jagged and sharp than the smooth out straight line the ends displayed themselves as. Pale fair-skinned with dull, black iris around the eyes, completely obscuring the pupils seemingly. A regal cool beauty stands before you, glimmering in the moon’s light as you take note at their well-rounded physique, though the hips area is more profound. Wearing nothing but a black and white checkered kimono of modest, worn cloth with a matching umanori hakama pants, zori, and white tabi. The only off you saw was the person’s face halfway covered, wearing a brown farmer's hat. Revealing a youthful, feminine visage judging from the pronounced lips. The upper face was covered by a tilting fox mask. Rather of it being a standard kitsune mask, you compared it more to an Inugami or dog spirit mask by the subtle features.

Stopping yourself from lunging forward mid-step, you nearly came close to tripping as you realign yourself. You really weren’t expecting to see such fine swordsmanship in a place like this. Then again, this could very well be just the standard for those who are serious about slaying demons. You weren’t really sure. Nevertheless, the mysterious person turns to greet you, tilting their mask back to fully cover their face.

“Oh? What’s this? Someone else has managed to solve the riddle of the two gates? How peculiar. To be honest, from the look of everyone I thought for sure there only be either gungho crusaders, relentless avenger, ambitious activists, duty-bound rōnin or some other form of mavericks who be willing to fight against the demons. Mostly the types who either overthink everything and miss the big picture or blind themselves accordingly through their surface-level emotions and/or narrow thinking. “ The masked swordsmen spoke, giving off a softspoken and polite feminine tone. Furthering the cool, regal beauty that you percieved. Safe to say you were left rather speechless by the mysterious swordsmen.

“Not that I can say I dislike such people. Only that on this beautiful stary night, I tend to usually be all by my lonesome.” The mysterious swordsmen mention somberly, flicking the blade across the ground to clean the blood off of it properly before putting the weapon back into its scabbard.
Turning to meet you with a tranquil and composed glance, the mysterious swordsmen walks forward to exchange pleasantries. “Oh look at that, I ended up rambling a bit. My apologies. My name is Kagura Ubuyashiki and you are?“
>>
>>4099693

“Byakuren Shimizu. Last applicant to make it through to the final selection.” You reply, finally moving the nerve to speak. “Listen, I know this is quite sudden but do you want to form a team with me. I want to round up as much as the applicants around so we can work together and survive this encounter.”

“Hm? You want to recruit me. And not only that you want to unite everyone under one roof and fight together to survive the final selection? My how unusually innovative you are Ms. Shimizu. But do you think it’ll go smoothly like that? I for one haven’t really heard a compelling argument to sway me to accept this alliance and work together. But I am rather perplexed on the kind of person you are. So tell me, what’s your reason for being a demon slayer?”

>How do you respond?

> “I want to help people and put an end to the bloodshed.”
> “I fight to only enact divine retribution against the one who killed my father and stole my family’s future.”
> “I seek to test my abilities and rise above down the path of vengeance and strength. “
> “Who’s to say what my goals are, does one really need a reason to do anything?”
>” Whatever goals I have doesn’t matter, none of that is important. I just want to work together with others and survive for now.”
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4099702
>> “I seek to test my abilities and rise above down the path of vengeance and strength. “
>>
>>4099702
>” Whatever goals I have doesn’t matter, none of that is important. I just want to work together with others and survive for now.”
>>
>>4099702
>” Whatever goals I have doesn’t matter, none of that is important. I just want to work together with others and survive for now.”
>>
>>4099702
> “I want to help people and put an end to the bloodshed.”

Well, we also kind of want to murder Muzan long-term, but that does not factor in right now.
>>
>>4100101
Actually, nevermind. Based on the typical number of players, splintering the vote results in nothingburgers, and lukewarm “just trying to survive” just does not sit right with me after we purposefully went in the demonic forest and did a “I wanna no easy path” speech to the twins.

>> “I seek to test my abilities and rise above down the path of vengeance and strength. “
>>
>>4099702
>> “I seek to test my abilities and rise above down the path of vengeance and strength. “

I mean, this can also change later on.
>>
>>4100335

Eh, I interpreted it more as "It doesn't matter. I just want to keep people safe right now"
>>
>>4099764
>>4099813
>>4099880
>>4100101
>>4100335
>>4100337

The color on your face slowly went pale out of shock at the sudden question. Being put on the spot to give the right answer was never one of your strongest points. And as we speak you haven’t fully finalized your reasons for being a demon slayer. The only real concrete and consistent reasons are to find your elder sister Sakura and to turn your twin siblings Keimi back to a human. These were the things that currently drive you as time after time again it’s your strong, unbreakable bonds of family that gave you strength. Allow you to keep moving forward and to get back up no matter how dire or hopeless the situation is. Heck, you wouldn’t even be here as a half-demon if it wasn’t for those bonds tethered to your humanity. And even now you want to believe with all your heart that Sakura was still alive...waiting for you to find her. However, there was one more reason that you often try to keep yourself from thinking about it.

Deep down you still have the desire to avenge your family and murder Muzan Kibutsuji. To say it was for good intentions like preventing the cycle of malice from causing any more tragedies was expected for a cinnamon roll like yourself. However, the desire often says from righteous justice to malicious vengeance and vice versa. He was after all the one that stole your happiness and peace of mind from you. Forcing you to come to terms with the darker emotions lying deep inside of your pure, kindhearted soul. A black spot on an otherwise clear, pure white snow. Even now you feel that unrelenting hatred towards Muzan coursing deep from the very depths of your soul. Yet again you despise this feeling, this infuriating wraith lingering inside of you. Regardless of personal feelings, you couldn’t bring yourself to let yourself lose focus and think about such things. The question in front of you had all but one answer. If not the only answer that should be given, especially during a time like this.

“This isn’t the time for that! “ You scream, throwing your arm back in defiance towards Kagura’s question. Kagura remains ever silent with a calm and composed expression, not giving off a single emotion while maintaining this sense of tranquility.

” Whatever goals I have doesn’t matter, none of that is important. I just want to work together to keep people safe right now. That’s the only that should be on anyone’s mind!” You explain, focusing intently on Kagura with serious, straightforward eyes. Brimming with resolve and empathy.
>>
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>>4100442

After looking at him for just a moment, you tilt your head down and place a hand on your heart. Thinking back to the tragedy revolving around your family. “...I don’t want people to die. Especially if I have the chance to help them. That’s why I fight even now, to make sure that doesn’t happen.” As you speak, you start to tighten your hands into a fist, gritting your molars together and almost exposing your elongated canines. Taking another short, calming breath and tilting your head back, you stare at Kagura with kind, gentle eyes, filled with resolve. “Even after saying that, I’m just one person and I don’t currently have the strength to make such a possibility possible. So I’m not conceited enough to believe I can do it all by myself. That’s why I need to round up as many people as I can. So we can make all of us surviving this exam a reality.”

Staring at you with curious, insightful eyes, Kagura starts to walk even closer to the determined white-haired Miko turned swordsman. Moving in silent motion in tandem through a varying cadence of steps, you start seeing multiple afterimages trailing over the masked swordsman. The afterimage technique Zanzōgi immediately came to mine as you follow those fluid, elegant movements. Before you even had the chance to blink however, Kagura suddenly disappears. Did he use the Zanzōgi or something similar to hide inside one of the afterimages, serving as a decoy long enough to transverse elsewhere? As your eyes begin to dart around looking for Kagura, a wet sensation soon pressed itself on your cheek. A smooth yet detailed lick against your white skin in moderate fashion. Your amber eyes only had enough time to catch the act. To your utter surprise, it was Kagura doing the act thoroughly and swiftly as the licking sensation soon came to a stop.

Placing their hand against their chin, Kagura was left deep in thought as the mask covers only the upper half of their face. “Hmm, you certainly do not taste like that of a liar. It’s a rather sweet, enriching flavor while carrying a particular kick to it. A sour spice that’s known as danger. “ A sly smile starts to form upon their lips, leaving you all the more discombobulated.
>>
>>4100444

Taking about a short while you went from a cool, passionate individual to a stumbling basketcase in a blink of an eye. A shade of warm, red hue creeps itself against your rosy, round cheeks before soon lighting up like a beacon light. Quickly reduce to a flustering state you quickly jump back out of instinct. Despite being noteworthy taller than Kagura due to obvious reasons, somehow you manage to lose your guard and ended in such an embarrassing situation. Trying your best to say something only a series of incoherent words came out of your mouth as you continue flustering over having your personal space invaded like this. First Makomo and now Kagura? Was this how the other sense uses identify others? If so you’re pretty damn glad that your special senses were around your eyes.

“Well, in any case, I do support your desire towards cooperation to help our fellow man. Needless bloodshed is something I strongly oppose in any way or form. I think I’m getting a small grasp to the kind of person you really are Ms. Shimizu.” Kagura spoke, putting the mask back on completely, obscuring their face completely before turning their back to you.

“Can you help locate some people for me?” You say, finally mustering the strength to speak. But there was a hint of frustration in your tone as you rub your cheeks and pouts. Once you get yourself back together you were going to tell Kagura who you want to look for first.

“Makomo Urokodaki, Aoi Kanzaki, and Ozaki Yamamoto first correct?” Kagura answers, hitting the mark with dangerous accuracy. Leaving you flabbergasted at how they managed to figure you out in such a short amount of time.

“Y-Yeah but how did you know about that?” You ask, stumbling your words into a stutter over the realization.

“Just a hunch. Anyway, I agree with first fortifying people to which who can better help achieve our current objective.” Kagura says, lightly shrugging in an earnest way.

“Well, whatever. We should go find Makoto, her sense of smell should be a top priority.” You say. Regain as much as your composure as you can in a short time, you lightly keep your distance from Kagura. Preparing to run off towards Kagura’s intuition would lead them.

“I shouldn’t bring this up. But there’s one more flavor to your taste.” Kagura pauses, taking the lead as they seemingly start tasting the air to find a lead on Makoto. “...Two actually but I’m putting the second taste aside to talk about the first one. As I said before, I don’t believe you’re a liar. But there is one more feeling you’re not being true to yourself towards.”

“...I’ve just met you and already I’m thinking you’re quite the shrewd person Ms. Ubuyashiki.” You smile, forming an anger cross blood vessel around your left palm.
>>
>>4100448

“But you’re right. I do have one more reason. It’s relating to the previous one. As much as I want to protect people and work with others… I also have a much stronger desire. I want to test my strength above all else. See how far I come in the two years of training and surviving adversity. I can’t protect people and make sure nobody dies if I don’t have a sufficient amount of strength needed. But I won’t be satisfied with only just that. I want absolute strength. A power that’s so strong that no matter what I’ll always be able to save and protect others. Strength to render the most learned techniques outmoded. Strength absolute.” You answer truthfully, gripping your hands to the point blood starts spilling. Once again that uncomfortable feeling boils deep inside you, but unlike before you start willingly letting it seep out.

“And...there’s a certain someone that I want to kill. Muzan Kibutsuji. For that purpose, I’ll walk down any rugged path and endure any hardship to make that goal a reality. So that’s why I’ve strived for that absolute strength.” After saying that, you took Abet subtly your amber eyes were now a shade of crimson, sharp-looking and darkening around the rims of the iris, pupils now vertical almond shape. While not at the slitting level that signified your berserk, primal rage, there was a strong radiance of the burning hatred coming from your eyes. But as you look through your demon eyes, you see something abnormal about the masked swordsman. Their composition...it’s nearly the same as yours.

>How do you proceed?

>Follow Kagura’s lead towards finding Makoto for now.
>Use your extrasensory perception to try and locate the strongest demon on the mountain just in case
>Press Kagura forward with some questions, preparing to duel them if things go south [write-in any questions you want to ask]
>Try to communicate with Shakuren and establish a pact
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4100341

You are right about that. It wasn't intended to be lukewarm in the "surviving for yourself" kind of way. More you just don't want to see people, no matter how close they are dying. Sorry if I didn't capture the lingering PTSD moment overseeing death first hand well enough in that instance.

Anyway, with the last second change in the vote, I tried adjusting what I have originally into a more fluid transition to fit with the current vote. If there's still some inconsistency, let me know.
>>
>>4100461
>>Follow Kagura’s lead towards finding Makoto for now.
>>
>>4100461
>>Follow Kagura’s lead towards finding Makoto for now.
>>
>>4100461
>Follow Kagura’s lead towards finding Makoto for now
>>4100468
Nah, you did a pretty good of getting it across.

Also at the rate we're going Byakuren's going to suffer the embarrassment of someone describing how she feels before this is over.
>>
>>4100489

Not counting yourself the Five Senses team +1 is within your generation. You met two of them so far, [technically 4 but you don't know what Aoi or Ozaki has] and only two more to go. It'll be a miracle if Byakuren can even face people after the seven days if this continues.
>>
>>4100461
>Follow Kagura’s lead towards finding Makoto for now.

>>4100528
At least we didn't lose our FIRST KISS.
>>
>>4100528
Well, we just dealt with taste, so,
Hearing: Something about our heart being full of rage
Touch: Boob grab, obviously.
Smell: I think was done, but we definitely have demon stink.
And Sight: Possibly an overlap of Shakuren over our body.
>>
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>>4100528
a Handsome Skeleton appears to sell your travelers some new wears. He looks sketchy but invites you to his special 'auction'
>>
>>4100636
>>4100528

Yeah, if we continue at this rate, we'll be forever known as the old granny that's a kissless virgin.
>>
>>4100652
>Kissless virgin Christmas Cake
People are gonna wonder why this didn't get dicked down right away until she opens her mouth.
>>
>>4100481
>>4100488
>>4100489
>>4100636

Hearing the words Muzan Kibutsuji triggers a sudden pause in Kagura’s tempo. Although the mask obscured his expression, the calm and composed young swordsman found himself now stunned in shock. Frozen still with no words coming to mind, Kagura remains ever silently. Keeping their eyes closely on you while noticing the subtle changes in your demeanor. The wisteria wasn’t around to keep holding your demonic side back. And as before, your negative emotions, especially that of anger was prime fuel for inticing the demonic influence. Before long, Kagura shifts their long, intensely focused gaze from you and on to the road ahead. Seemingly returning to their composed demeanor, Kagura silently moves forward.

You on the other hand also chose to opt for the silent treatment. At this stage, there was no need for any other words. Both you and Kagura were in agreement and that was enough. Still, there was something about the mysterious swordsman that you couldn’t put your finger on. The physical conditioning wasn’t all that surprising since only someone who went through hellish training can produce. And yet you couldn’t help but feel unsettled after seeing such an athletic constitution underneath the kimono lines. Either way, you turn your attention back to the road and begin following Kagura’s movements. Keeping yourself just far enough to be within range but having enough space to act on your own accords.

As the two of you start sprinting through the rocky path, it wasn’t long before you begin to cover more ground by jumping through the trees. Moving at a fast pace the two of you settle on using Battojutsu techniques and/or any other ichigeki hissatsu one-hit certain kill moves in your current arsenal. As a result, the low-level demons you encounter during your travels towards Makomo soon found themselves disassembled and beheaded without being aware of what happened until it was too late. Proof that the training that you underwent was not for nothing as you draw on your own strength and eliminate demon after demon that came your way. More importantly, you weren’t even using 10% of your true half-demon strength. All that time training in broad daylight certainly did a number on your innate abilities even without the demonic equation.
>>
>>4100688

In the end, you and Kagura both made quick work on the demons, getting ever closer to your destination. Though your skills were top-notch, there was something about watching Kagura fight that was honestly breathtaking. Less of a form of swordplay and more like a kagura dance, nearly a pun on their namesake. To which they previously told you it meant a form of Sakura or cherry blossoms. Well much like the namesake they managed to dance and glide around the surroundings without any resistance. Freely moving around without giving off a presence, a flowing stream of water. But there was something more to it than that. You weren’t sure, but you did document their movements and motions every chance you got.

Before you knew it you and Kagura would finally run into where Makoto was located. Currently, she was doing battle with a rather large, mutated demon. Towering over eight feet and stature it left quite the imposing impression upon you. To say the hulking demon in front of you is ripped was an understatement. From its extremely muscular arms, back, and bulky thighs, rock hard abs, and other well-defined muscularity gave way for a strong, powerful figure to fit its towering height. Having turned every part of itself into a seemingly impenetrable suit of armor from its thickly dense musculature, you begin to question if you can even cut through such thick hide. Not to mention it’s razor-sharp claws and talons, serving as its only natural weapon outside of brute strength. While its top half was fully exposed, its lower half was thankfully still clothed in a torn Samue attire. Around the head was a raging inferno currently obscuring its blacken face as it burns constantly. It starts to make perfect sense why the demon’s skin tone was charcoal black. Judging from its description, it seems to be based off on a Kazenbō or burning monk.

In any case, you watch Makoto smoothly flip and turn her body to avoid the direct blow from the burning Kazenbo demon. Creating a rather large crack onto the ground in brutal fashion. The embers of its orange red hot flames manifest around its limbs. Compare to those demons who must have only eaten one or two humans, this one seems to have eaten over a dozen or two given how the sickening aura you saw was coming off as. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be long until it notices you and Kagura so a plan of action against this bara inspired demon is highly recommended.

>How do you proceed?

>Hide in the shadows and watch Makomo fight, only assist when need it otherwise observe its fighting style
>Tag out Makomo and fight the Kazenbo one on one in a battle of strength
>Try to cooperate with Makomo and coordinate your moves alongside Kagura
>Try to lure it away to a better battlefield in your favor
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4100689
>>Try to cooperate with Makomo and coordinate your moves alongside Kagura
>>
>>4100658
Probably.

Nobody would risk being labelled as a guy taking advantage of a smoking hot woman that mentally behaves like someone 10 years younger.

>>4100689
>Try to lure it away to a better battlefield in your favor
>>
>>4100689

Also if someone wants to know the current tally.

Kagura - 7 Demons since tagging along with you [12 total]

Byakuren - 5 Demons overall.

Makomo - ????
>>
>>4100643

Well, I didn't mention it cause I was covering other stuff. But Makoto did manage to sniff your hair without you noticing to confirm her senses.
>>
>>4100689
>Try to cooperate with Makomo and coordinate your moves alongside Kagura

>>4100700
Byakuren really will be examined like a piece of meat by the end of this exam, won't she?
>>
>>4100709

In their defense Byakuren is a complete abnormality. She doesn't fully set off their demon senses but deep down they know she's not like regular people. Thus the peaking curiosity to the mystery.

But yes ti seems like personal space is a myth
>>
>>4100689
>>Try to cooperate with Makomo and coordinate your moves alongside Kagura

Get it done fast so we could continue gathering people. It struggles with one demon hunter, three should do it.
>>
>>4100709
>>4100765
>>4100695

Alright, give me a d20 roll for this.
>>
Rolled 15 (1d20)

>>4100775
>>
Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>4100775
>>
Rolled 20 (1d20)

>>4100775
>>
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>>4100851
Looks like Byakuren really is a team player. Be it protecting her siblings or engaging in cooperative demon slaying.
>>
>>4100851

>Empathy Boost Bonus

>When fighting for the sake of your bonds and/or working together with others your true strength comes to you naturally as you bring out the very best in not just you but through those who follow your side through harmonization/synchronization.

Congratulations, you get the Spirit
Power Gauge or SP for short. In short, it's a resource system that'll alter dice results from when used. From rerolling a bad roll, boosting your next roll for x amount of post, adding another die roll to better your chances or even buying a nat 20 result with a nat 1 consequence afterward. It's all up to the amount of SP you use and depending on the situation itself. You start with 6/6 but it'll change depending on your interactions in the future. The system will refill over time, but how you act will influence additional gains.

[TDLR - I been thinking of an add on to the system I have so far to best reflect your character interaction/growth and shonen aspect of friendship, effort, and victory. And this is what I came up with so far, which is perfect thanks to the timing. Not original but it might add that extra spice and more incentive to interact or better involve yourself with the story. For better or worse. Either way, at the moment it's easier to gain SP points or net better results when acting upon the reason above. I may alter the system as we go along so bear with me.]
>>
>>4100914
>>4100957
That or this is one of the rare times her mindset manages to match up with her adult body.
>>
>>4100775

“Kagura!” You cry, already reaching for your sword as you set your sights on battling the Kazenbo.

Meeting your gaze for a second before closing their eyes, their dominant hand already resting against the hilt in anticipation. “I already have a sneaking suspicion of what you want to do in response to this situation.”

“Right, I’m counting on you Kagura.” You say, nodding to his words in approval.

Upon reaffirming yourself on your impending action, your body prepares itself to leap forward while transitioning into an attack stance. Following the motions of the Kazenbo demon, you quickly close the gap between the two of you, outmaneuvering his impending target Gripping your blade tightly and adjusting the sword’s trajectory, you smoothly twists your sword to parry the impending punch towards Makomo. Firmly planting your feet against the ground, you stand rooted to the surface, utilizing your toned leg muscles to give you enough strength to redirect the kinetic energy and concussion force of the attack. In conjunction with your parrying counter, you begin to exert your inhuman strength to force the Kanzenbo demon off their balance and into a staggering slowdown. With this move, this left an opening for Kagura to make a follow-up move to capitalize.

Without a hint of hesitation, Kagura times themselves towards running up the large oak tree. Not losing any shred of speed or balance as they sprint up to the precise angle needed. Once in range, Kagura firmly stomps their feet against the oak’s bark. Putting as much leg strength as needed, Kagura springs off against the bar and lungs towards the Kazenbo demon. Just in time as they see you disrupting the hulking brute’s tempo by forcing their striking arm away, exposing his burly chest and torso. Taking a simple battojutsu stance, Kagura quickdraws the Sakabatō, using the curved blade’s structure to further accelerate their quickdraw and add more power into the tempo and friction. With a strong vertical slash against the chest and upper torso, Kagura’s strike holds exceptional power to soon end up causing the Kazenbo demon to stagger as it stumbles back.

Flipping themselves off from the demon for extra force, Kagura lands right in the left towards your current location. Makomo, on the other hand, watched carefully at your sudden interference, choosing to stand on your right side. Leaving you in the middle as the three of you watch the demon wither in pain from the strike. As you thought the Kazenbo demon’s hide was strong like a large boulder. So it ended up absorbing a portion of the blow, just enough to avoid being split in two by Kagura’s strike. Without saying a single word, Makomo immediately takes a stance, synchronizing herself to match both you and Kagura’s tempo. Smiling at this, you quickly pull your sword back and return to fighting form. Kagura too ends up taking another stance, this time having their sword drawn out for kenjutsu.
>>
>>4101207

Looking at each other closely before nodding, both Kagura and Makomo jump forward after taking a single breath. From what you can tell, their breathing patterns were practically identical as droplets of water began to form. Moving in perfect synch with one another, Kagura and Makoto invade the Kazenbo demon’s sphere of influence. Silently but swiftly the two made their way towards the demon from different paths. In response to this, the hulking brute tries to clobber Kagura and Makomo with each of his twin arms. The flickers of flames on its arms start to ignite to serve both as an offensive and defensive tool. But in the end, it matters not as Kagura and Makomo were too quick in anticipating the meathead’s method of attacks. Purposely dodging by a hair, both demon slayers began to use the hulk’s momentum against him. The scenery of water starts to cycle around him as the two make their moves.

“Breath of Water’s Third Form: Ryūryū Mai” Makoto shouts.

“Breath of Water’s Sixth Form: Nejire Uzu” Kagura shouts.

In tandem with each other’s movements, the two different swinging animations utilize the momentum of the Kazenbo demon and body’s strength to twist and flow into one another to create a powerful vortex of different currents. Using the movement of waves alongside the rough currents to generate the same effect as running rampant whitewater while maintaining the suction and gravitational pull as a whirlpool. The two duel forces manage to create an excruciating cage of water to trap the beast and rob it of its oxygen to use fire-like attacks accordingly. Seeing this made you change your plan as you further your breathing and rhythm to follow their movements. Seeing the eye of the whirlpool, you start to sprint forward. Rather than fight the current, you instead follow its flow, moving without limit through the watery terrain.

Adapting to the orientation change in the current while minimizing the landing time and area in between every step. You find yourself unknowingly leaving a long trail of splashing puddles with each step you take. In your mind, you were applying the basic footwork Jingo taught you in order to improve your skills in pulling off the Shinsoku without having to rely solely on your leg strength. Making sure to maintain your current breathing style, you smoothly and fluidly made your way through the eye of the whirlpool and directly towards the best. The line of interval suddenly appears in your sights. With one simple swing, you decapitate the demon’s head as you bypass its thick hide through the use of momentum and assisting concussive force. Leaving yourself to land behind the demon as you lightly twist to realign yourself accordingly.

“That’s the Breath of Water’s Ninth Form. Suiryū Shibuki!” Makomo spoke, showing genuine curiosity at you performing the technique out of the blue.
>>
>>4101211

You stare at Makoto with reasonable amounts of confusion at you pulling off a technique you never saw before. “Wait, what? That was an actual technique? I was just carefully timing my movements to harmonize with the water’s currents and guide me through smoothly without any resistance.” You answer truthfully, much to the shock of both Makoto and Kagura as you awkward try to laugh it off.

“Well, to be honest, Breath of the Water isn’t actually my genuine style. I have a different Breath Style more suited to my method of fighting. But since we were entering a fight at the same time without knowing anything about one another, I’d thought it’ll be easier to implement and replicate the most common style in the demon slayer corps to bounce off on for combo attacks. Had I used my true style, I’m afraid it’ll be rather hard for cooperation into combination attacks. Especially on the first try unlike this.” Kagura explains, putting their sword back into the scabbard while keeping a close eye on you in between taking to Makomo. It honestly made you curious as to what kind of style Kagura truly uses since the only other time you saw them fight was so quick you barely could register it at all.

Makoto turns to Kagura, smiling at the raven-haired swordsman as she puts the first kodachi sword back into the nodachi sheath. “Impressive insight. Unlike you, I was first taught the Breath of Water style by my master before ultimately develop my own Breath Style derived from my knowledge of the necessary basics between two different styles. It’s mainly self-taught so in the heat of battle its rather hard walking people through the necessary steps to properly synchronize with on the first go. So I opped with the freeform style of the Water Breathing Art.”

“Eheheh….I can’t say that I put as nearly insight as both of you did. To be honest, I was preparing to use the Breath of Flames into my attack and strike with the First Style Shiranui. But I ended up following your movements, imitate your breathing and mess what I know from footwork technique and balancing to create that attack.” You awkwardly laugh, scratching your head at the embarrassment of acting solely on instinct and intuition while letting your eyes do the rest.

“It’s once said that masters of their craft will always find their way to the same place. Even if the times have changed, even if they have taken different paths to that point, they will always go to the same place.” Kagura explains, folding their arms and stroking their chin at your talent. Unable to figure out if you were a genuine natural-born prodigy or a lucky dimwit.
>>
>>4101213

“So in that case, whether if it was through your sharp foresight, your innate ability to harmonize and flow with others, or some form of instinct through your life experiences, in the end, it doesn’t matter the method. What matters is you reached the same place through your own merits.” Makomo chips in, throwing her two cents at your achievement. Even if it was the easiest breath style out of the five main breath styles taught to demon slayer recruits outside of the uniquely specific breathing style developed by using one or more of those breaths as the base.

“You’re a remarkable girl, Ms. Shimizu.” Kagura and Makomo say in unison, having been won over by your quick thinking and earnest attempt at cooperating as a team.

“Thank you. But I’m only remarkable because I had the two of you to guide the path with your motions.” You smile at them, raising their spirit as you refused to take the whole credit for your swift victory. “Anyway, I’d like for you to join us, Makoto. We can really use your help in finding the other applicants and group up so we can all survive the exam together. “

“Well, it’s not exactly against the rules. And you did manage to help me conserve my stamina from having to deal with a troublesome demon without wearing it down or using a stronger form of the water breathing. So as thanks I’ll accompany you and teach you the water breathing style to you. As Kagura said, we don’t have the luxury to synchronize our signature breathing styles to reach the same level of finesse and teamwork we demonstrated right now. So it’ll be better for the three of us if you learn all ten water breath techniques on the way.” You say, agreeing to Makomo's suggestion.

"Well, I guess it can't hurt. I have a really good knack at picking up on people's actions thanks to these eyes mine. So it's no different than playing copycat."

>How do you proceed?

>Go look for Aoi next
>Go look for Ozuki next
>Split up the team by letting them find the others while you practice Breath of Water solo
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4101213

>Water Breathing Learned
>Mimicry/Copycat Skill unlocked.
>Friendship/Bonds with Makomo and Kagura fully established.
>>
>>4101224
>>Go look for Ozuki next

I guess we really are a one of a kind anomaly even for the world of Demon Slayer...
>>
>>4101019

I'd say both honestly in retrospect. If she keeps this up people will probably look past the fact a Christmas cake is trying to be a 15-year-old girl.
>>
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>>4101229

It's more accurate to say you got some really good teachers AND your coordination skills in addition to your sharp eyesight essentially let you perform the same combination feats as several of the pillars, Giyu and Obanai/Sanemi especially. But putting all that together does make you abnormal. You DID manage to survive Muzan's demonification without becoming a full demon or a pile of mushy flesh.
>>
>>4101241

Also before I forget. Any move you can feasibly use through careful observation and study unless you put the hard work in fully intergrading it into your core and properly learn it through practice. It'll always be an inferior version. You can only do so much through observation alone.
>>
>>4101224
>Go look for Ozuki next

Don't split the party
>>
>>4101231
Technically, our body is still in our early 20s. So we have around 4-5 years until we reach cake status.
>>
>>4101253
Always can properly swap techniques; not like we have nothing to give in exchange.

>Go look for Ozuki next

Once we get Ozuki, there might be some sense in temporary splitting into two subgroups to cover more ground and increase chance of survival for the rest of the slayer candidates.

Then once all seven candidates are together, we just have happy fun demon slaying fun time.
>>
>>4101319
Actually wait

Ozuki is not very good with groups of people as we know, but her combat stats are pretty damn high apparently. She can manage without help for awhile.

Aoi meanwhile is not exactly a total combat monster and so is under greater risk of death.

>Go look for Aoi next
>>
>>4101224
>>Go look for Aoi next
>>
>>4101224
>Go look for Ozuki next
Man, if they think Byakuren's a prodigy what would they think of her older sister?
>>
>>4101351
Switching to
>Go look for Ozuki next
>>
>>4101224
Switching: >>4101229
to
Aoi
>>
>>4101364
Fuck I meant Aoi
>>
>>4101325
>>4101338
>>4101371
>>4101892

Alright going to save the medic instead of the tank first. I can accept such sound logic.

>>4101351

Compare her to mavericks like Mui and Himejima for the closest to Yoruichi.
>>
I forgot if it was ever established what kind of BOYS Byakuren was interested in, if any, before her life got flipped upside down.

Does she like strong ones, kind ones, funny ones, etc.?
>>
>>4102552
She likes the kind that are cute girls.
>>
>>4102552

Well if she is interested, she better avoid the ones her current fifteen year old mind would find attractive unless she wants to get weird looks from everyone.
>>
>>4102556
So...Princely type girls, or boys that can pass as girls?

>>4102580
I don't think we're going to jail if young teen boys are intimidated by our current appearance.
>>
>>4102133

Quickly the three of you start to discuss your next course of action. Keeping with the main objective of finding the remaining applicants and working together, you came to a crossroads between finding Aoi or Ozaki next. From what you can tell through observation of their physique and auras that Aoi wasn’t much of the standard fighter, seemingly more of a crafty specialist that priorities swift, straight forward thrust and piercing attacks such as the Hirazuki or fencing, utilizing momentum and the environment. In comparison, Ozaki was more in line with the traditional samurai fighting method. Judging from her Zanbato she must use strong, powerful strikes while keeping a steadfast sturdiness no difference from that of sumos, withstanding and taking blows under the Fudōshin or immovable mind and heart. Going after the less combat monster, you direct the gang to find Aoi.

In between your travels, Makomo keeps to her word and teaches as she seemingly adjusts her methods to better fit your current style. Through Makomo’s careful guidance you manage to learn and accumulate the knowledge of all ten sword techniques of the Breath of Water style alongside the Water breathing method. Although you did exceptionally well for the first time, Makomo noticed several of your shortcomings in performing the technique through observation. One glance was enough to tell the fox masked girl that your technique was only a mere fraction of what it was truly capable of. Therefore, Makomo carefully yet thoroughly point out your defects. From correcting any unnecessary movements and bad habits to demonstrating better technique and skill into your motion, Makomo firmly polishes your swordsmanship.

Respectfully Makomo ends up asking about how you could choose to fight so rigidly and clumsy. To which you can only reply that you had only two years to learn swordsmanship in addition to a lot of other important things. Makomo respectfully didn’t ask further, accepting your answer and instead choosing to do what she can to instruct you in between traveling. Depending on the art people generally use a certain percentage between raw power and technique. Much like might and finesse, hard and soft style, external and internal power and many other philosophical concepts and theories. Whatever the form, most people use around seventy percent skill and thirty percent strength due to limitations on the physical body. You, on the other hand, was the complete opposite thanks to your unique composition and harsh conditioning.
>>
>>4102648

Uncommonly some manage a complete one to one ratio balance between the two elements, and even rarer was those who brought out the full extent of both forces. The same goes for people who achieve one hundred percent of only one area between strength and skill. However, you seem to have met two people who have achieved just that. Makomo who was a technical fighter and Kagura was an all-rounder. Had you not obtained your half-demon powers and focused strictly on the human arts, would you have ended up at the same level of skill instead of the multi-purpose jack of all trades, master of none you are currently. But even so, neither Makomo nor Kagura seems bothered by your choice. They did not tell you your way was wrong and only offered their assistance, nothing more.

Deducing that about at twenty to thirty percent efficiency is what your coveted ability is currently able to achieve, Makomo quickly refers to the talent as monkey see, monkey does, or a mirror’s reflection on a watery surface. A feat that someone with good kinetic senses and refined adaptability/flexibility can pull off. Upon that Makomo thinks back to a certain ponytail man with an aloof and dull expression like a quiet pool of water. Even so, Makomo didn’t brush off your talent and took to great lengths to use that skill towards the team’s advantage. Using that innate talent born from years of mimicking others and reading their rhythm, you find yourself grasping the full ten forms of the breath of water’s sword techniques. However, it was only in theory, whether you fully obtained it remains to be seen.

Nevertheless, to achieve what you are in such a short time in between traveling only further highlights Makomo’s perception and guidance. Such keen insight made you think back to your elder sister Sakura and Aniki. Two people who also really good at teaching and guiding others. Being around a person like Makoto made you feel at ease, even if her abstract, dreamy way of speech and whimsical actions made her very strange. Then there’s Kagura with their astute wisdom and sharp intuition. Being around them made you think back to your father Kenki. If you were to team up with these two even after the exam, then you wouldn’t be bothered by it. Even so, could you really bring yourself to trust them? To tell them your secret and accept you and your sibling Keimi afterward?
>>
>>4102650

Before you had time to really ponder about it you find yourself finally locating Aoi’s location. Through Makomo’s keen nose and Kagura’s sharp intuition, you were in direct view of Aoi currently fumbling in a dodging motion. Nearly avoiding a rush of what appears to be droplets of a liquid substance. They resemble that of a Nenju or Buddhist prayer beads, which funny enough the one hundred and eight pearl shape beads were around the demonic entity currently chasing Aoi. Wearing nothing but a purple Samue and donning an orangish-brown scarf with tiger stripe, you’re able to identify the demon to be based on a Kosamebō. Though not as overly beefy like the last one, this strapping demon was notoriously athletic as it dances violently while throwing more of its Nenju-like droplets at poor Aoi.

How do you proceed?

>Try for a pincer movement, leaving the third one to observe and defend Aoi
>Try for a three-pronged attack while the demon is distracted
>Stand in a defensive four-directional movement, rotate in between to defend and counter at any chance
>Grab Aoi and retreat for now as you defend any attacks thrown your way
>Scatter around the battlefield ant attack at different points
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4102552

It wasn't so filled free discussing it. It's good characterization establishing the kind of boys Byakuren likes.
>>
>>4102652
>Try for a pincer movement, leaving the third one to observe and defend Aoi
We can defend
>>
>>4102652
>Try for a three-pronged attack while the demon is distracted

>>4102661
Then might as well throw this one out:

Maybe she likes someone exotic like someone from Europe or the Americas due to her old ambitions to get away from the shrine, and explore?
>>
>>4102652
>>Try for a pincer movement, leaving the third one to observe and defend Aoi

I'd argue the best way to beat an agile opponent is to outmaneuver them, or find a way to pin them down.
>>
>>4102556
>>4102580
>>4102602
>>4102664

All fairy good suggestions so far that currently fit with Byakuren's Disney princess vibe with her original ambition, so the exotic/foreign bishonen could easily work. Keep suggesting or throwing other things to help further build her character.
>>
>>4102685
>>4102664
I guess it doesn't necessarily have to be someone from out of Japan, but someone that's different from the average person.

Besides I'm not sure how her parents would've thought if they found out she was interested in Foreigners.
>>
>>4102693
>>4102685
>inb4 handsome/cute western guy from a Monster Hunter group arrives to investigate the situation, and act as a diplomat.
>>
The only acceptable interests are traps and reverse traps
>>
>>4102693

To give insight I believe Kenki would just wish for his daughter to be happy and always smiling. When Sayuri was alive he'd be more cautious and try a little bit harder to gauge the kind of man she brings home. But the current Kenki is much wiser and fully understands the fleeting existence of life and wouldn't want to push you away by rejecting genuine love.

Sayuri would be accepting towards the choice providing that he makes Byakuren happy. Cause nothing is scarier than a woman who rarely gets angry. Might even poke fun having a usual taste in men like herself

Guren would be the one who's more stern and hardass about it. Like a traditionalist parent that only wants the best for her descendants and to keep the family duty intact for future generation. If anyone would be more approving of arraigned marriages it'll be her.
>>
>>4102666

I'll add that to the suggestion when a decisive vote has been given.
>>
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>>4102699
Reverse Traps, and Traps you say?
>>
>>4102663
>>4102666

Alright, make a 2d20 roll. This will be for defending/observation at discovering their fighting rhythm, and one for pinning with the pincer movement.
>>
Rolled 13, 12 = 25 (2d20)

>>4102736
>>
>>4102709
>>4102693

Good to know how they'd feel about her possibly going out with a non-Japanese person.

Now the real question is how her ideal dream boy changed after becoming half demon.
>>
Rolled 13, 15 = 28 (2d20)

>>4102736
>>
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Rolled 18, 9 = 27 (2d20)

>>4102736

>>4102728
Indeed
>>
>>4102709
If she decides to go with a Western guy, I'd feel that language and cultural barrier would be kind of a large hurdle to overcome that would ruin her romantic ideals. Might be easier if she paired up with someone from a similar background as her.
>>
>>4102696
>Monster Hunter group

You saying that the Vatican, or some foreign government are going to send someone to purge the land?
>>
>>4102685
How about her wanting to visit another country? She probably only read poorly translated descriptions of places like New York City, Paris, London, or Egypt. Or at least seen a few black and white pictures of those places.

So all in all, she's projecting an idealized version of those places despite it all being built upon things that were lost in translation, or with not enough context.
>>
>>4103699

Hit the nail with her naive fantasizing at those places she managed to see through picture books when delivered from ships by the US and/or Europe.

Probably spent time practicing English in secret whenever the sailor looking to trade goods had time to teach a certain nitwit
>>
>>4103777
>>4103699
If we really want to go the Disney Princess route, she'd probably like a young charming princely gentleman to take her to all sorts of different places, and go on adventures.
>>
>>4102736

“Makomo, Kagura! I’m going ahead. You two handle pinning it down and stopping it from attacking further.” You cry, seeing the impending event from far away with your sharp eyes.

“Then we’ll leave the rescue in your hands.” Kagura smiles.

“If it’s Byakuren then I have no doubt towards you keeping them safe. “ Makomo nods.

Kneeling down ever so slightly, you took a short, precise breath as it circulates through your body. Conversing around your legs and cultivating the leg muscles as they start to tense up, you close your eyes for better focus. With a single jump, you shot forward towards Aoi at blinding speed, thanks to movement skill Shinsoku. Previously you could only perform the technique through mostly relying on raw leg strength. And even then it was only through sheer instinct and luck. After coming from Jingo’s training this was a non-factor as you use your honed skills to accelerate, maneuver, and strike at speeds most eyes are unable to properly follow. Still, it was far from perfected much like Jingo and Aniki’s usage. Nevertheless, your current level in the ancient footwork was sufficient enough to quickly close the distance between Aoi and the Konosamebo demon’s impending attack instantaneously.

Just short of a hair’s breadth you stood directly at the pathway of the volley of beads. Dejavu briefly brushes your mind as you think back to taking a gunshot wound at the chest from a certain man. Just feeling the throbbing pain in your chest was enough to narrow your eyes and let out a low growl, eyes glowing scarlet from the loathing feelings deep inside. Still, it wasn’t enough to make you lose your cool and concertation. Rather you start to apply the mechanics of water breathing into your motions. Tempering your emotions and flowing like water, you timed your counterstrike to the motion of the projectiles. Horizontal and vertical acceleration, gravity, drag, air resistance, and velocity. Seeing all of this gave you the insight to pick up on its trajectory and where exactly it was going to hit. Curving your tachi sword, you carefully deflect and redirect the bullet-like beads in singular fashion.
>>
>>4104083

Once again you had to give your master thanks for experiencing her hellish training. As your kinetic vision was leaps higher than it normally would be had you remain ever ignorant of your true skills and stayed stagnant in your isolated shrine. Compared to the training, the Konosamebo demon was moving in slow motion. Hardly comparable to getting actual bullets shot at you, much less from someone of Jingo’s Calibur. After thinking back to that moment, you quickly twist your sword, taking a stance while guarding Aoi. Despite deflecting and neutralizing the large volley of beads, the Konosamebo demon was charging forward by extending its arms forward, circulating several of the beads in preparation to strengthen its physical capabilities. Seeing his attack pattern through the slight twitches and shift in body languages, you ready your blade to make a single countermove.

“Tsubame Gaeshi!” You cry, drawing out your sword as you switch from the three consecutive strike variant into the single stroke counterstrike motion.

Timing your movements accordingly, you meet the impending punch with a parrying downward slash, blocking the attack and meeting the impending force with your own. Shielding Aoi’s body from the concussion force and kinetic energy, you manage to hold your ground enduring the brunt of the punch. Feet now sinking deep into the ground, you stare at the slippery demon as he widely sticks his tongue at you. Neither one of you backs down as you both prepare for the second verse in your attack. Shifting his punch slightly, the Konosamebo demon goes to try and aim at your left side, still using his right hand to block and push the impending slash back. However, before he came close to touching your sides, you merely excite your muscles ever so slightly as you continue down performing the reversal. Putting more of your inhuman strength into the strike, you begin to overpower the Konosamebo demon. Easily you took the demon by surprise by cutting through its reinforced hide and disarming both arms in a curved upward slash. Using the force appropriately you knock the demon back as it screams in pain.
>>
>>4104084

Quickly shifting his legs back, the Konosamebo demon catches himself mid-fall. Angerly exerting a lout of its strength to quickly facture some new hands made out of the Buddhist beads around him. Seeing it first hand you start to document just how instantaneous a demon’s regenerative power can be, but in this case, it was noticeably slower thanks to the nichirin blade. Taking full advantage of that opening, Kagura starts to move, sliding underneath you in a smooth fashion and then past the demon. Pulling themselves up without losing momentum, Kagura takes action with a flanking attack. Twisting their Sakabatō on to the other side, Kagura prepares their horizontal spinning slash in quick fashion. Utilizing some quick, fancy footwork to spin on the heel of their tabi-sandals, Kagura barely remains visible to your eyes as they blur out of existence for everyone else.

“Breath of Water’s Second Style Modified Yoko Mizugurumal” Kagura cries, manifesting a swirling current of water against their Sakabato blade.

Cutting the leg tendons with careful precision and fluid skill, Kagura smoothly takes away the Kosamebō demon’s mobility in a flash. Although the crafted swordswoman could’ve easily cut straight through the bone and dismember the Konsamebo demon’s legs in one single stroke. To them, it was more important to greatly hamper its acrobatics through more effective means. By striking at different points and slicing the key supports, it brought forth the crushing weight of the Konosamebo athletically built body into focus. Using its large mass against it, calamity begins to strike upon the Konosamebo demon as it collapses upon itself. Snapping the bone with a loud crack and piercing the skin, the Konosamebo demon lets out a howling scream.

Using the distraction towards the best of her ability, Makomo starts to spin vibrantly in multiple rotations. Building up her momentum and cultivating it further, Makomo’s Nodachi splits to reveal two Kodachi swords in her hand. Although with her flowing movements motioning into such a swift transition, it was expected one wouldn’t notice such subtle details as even you were having slight trouble following them. In any case, you see Makomo combining the flowing motion of the Third Style with the fierce suction strength and rotation of the sixth to produce something new entirely.

“Breath of Water’s Sixth Style Combined Nejireuzu - Ryūryū” Makomo whispers, suddenly stopping her motion after passing the Konosamebo demon, her double kodachi having seemingly been put back into her blue nodachi scabbard.
>>
>>4104085

Without any sign of doing anything, the Konosamebo demon simply stares in confusion at the small black haired girl with a long nodachi in hand. It wasn’t long before rage begins to take hold as it tries to pull itself back up from the ground. Seemingly exerting its regeneration powers to repair the devastating damages done to its leg, removing crippling injury that took its legs. Aoi meanwhile can only look at horror at the sight in front of her. Fear continues to freeze her in place even as you stand in front of her. She wanted to say something to warn Makoto as the demon was attempting to get back up to attack her from behind. But the words just couldn’t come out of her mouth as tears start to pour out. A sight that Makomo did not miss to spot and read the mood rather quickly.

“Don’t worry. It’s already over.” Closing her eyes while turning to Aoi, Makomo makes a warm and comforting smile. Just before the Konosamebo demon could lift its arm to throw a volley of its beads at Makomo, several deep lacerations and scars suddenly manifest around the demon. Without understanding how or why the Konosamebo demon starts to crumble like a house of playing cards. Neatly cut into a series of different cubes, the Konosamebo demon was rendered harmless as it swiftly dies.

Kagura silently smiles at the sight while you could only lift your arm to clap hands with Makomo for a job well done. Aoi, on the other hand, was left frozen still, currently processing what just happened. Her mind knew better but fear was keeping her from acknowledging the truth as she believed those multiple slashes done to the Konosamebo demon were far too shallow. She wasn’t sure since the flashes of light after the first hit blinded her eyes from seeing the truth. You, on the other hand, found yourself only able to keep up to the thirteenth slash before being caught off guard by the remaining three. Sixteen consecutive slashes in perfect motion, all while having enough time to resheath her weapon. What Makomo lacks in raw physical strength, she most certainly made up with agility and finesse. Combined with Kagura’s insight and adaptability, the two of them made for quite a remarkable team.
>>
>>4104092

Quickly dropping to her knees, Aoi soon made contact with the ground as she gives a look of fear mixed with regret and shame. The once tough as nails girl was previously reduced to a panicking mess. Not only was she unable to defeat the demon by her lonesome, but she needed assistance from three clearly talented people to do so. How unsightly. Cursing at her own weakness and shame, Aoi silently ridicules herself in her own head. Seeing her emotions directly out in the opening you begin formulating her next move. Chances are she’ll try to run away or keep her distance to try and retain some semblance of pride left on her shattered ego.


>How do you proceed?

>Try to comfort Aoi and reassure her out of her self-loathing over her cowardness
>Open up to Aoi by revealing your own shortcomings and how others help you
>Play to her ego by provoking her to become stronger and fight against her mental roadblocks
>Silently give Aoi a huge and give her some space to get herself together
>Give the speaking role to someone else [write-out who]
>Ligtly bonk Aoi on the head before lecturing her and reminding her that she can redeem herself
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4104096
>>Open up to Aoi by revealing your own shortcomings and how others help you
>>
>>4104096
>Try to comfort Aoi and reassure her out of her self-loathing over her cowardness

I mean, we used to be in a similar funk a year or so ago.
>>
>>4104096
>Open up to Aoi by revealing your own shortcomings and how others help you
>>
>>4104259
Actually, wait no, it is going to be hard to convince her about our shortcomings right after we chopped that demon into pieces.

>Try to comfort Aoi and reassure her out of her self-loathing over her cowardness
>>
>>4104261

It was actually Makomo who chopped the demon to pieces. You merely pushed it back and disarmed it, literally.
>>
>>4104263
>just chopped off its hands and won in a contest of raw strength
Byakuren: do not worry Aoi, I am still a talentless hack who barely can wield a sword and only by aping her betters!
Aoi: Really helping my self-confidence there, ogre-woman.
>>
>>4104200
>>4104261
>>4104194

Carefully you kept yourself from making any slight movements. Out of not wanting to startle or push Aoi to do something she shouldn’t, you just focus looking at her. She wasn’t moving as the guilt and self-loathing were weighting her down like iron shackles with a giant black metal ball on the end. Looking at her aura and body language made it easy to pick up on the mood and atmosphere around her. Without saying a single word you can already piece together the root of her problem. Lack of self-confidence, and a deep self-loathing that’s rising to the surface. Signs of her crippling fear remain but her sorrows were starting to make Aoi as cold as ice and hard as stone. Surely there was something that you can do for the poor girl.

Thinking about it closely you begin to relay several different scenarios in your mind. The most common being skepticism and rejection. While you’re nowhere near being considered nothing short of perfection for demon slayers to come, there was still the giant elephant in the room. More specifically a Kishin shaped elephant as evident with your half-demon physiology. Trying to point out your shortcomings carelessly would only amount to having a negative effect instead of the positive reassurance that you want to give. Hard to justify your inexperience and flaws to others when they can only see the walking embodiment of pure, raw power in front of them.

There will always be a time to such a talk later down the line. Right now, you needed to be tactful while still getting the message across. Turning your eyes to your current companions, you already see Makomo and Kagura already deducing their method of tackling the problem. And you can already gather that Aoi was going to consider herself a burden. In battle, those who cannot amount to anything are often discarded for the good of others. But that was simply unacceptable for you. You made a commitment to survive this exam with everyone and you were going to keep it. With a silent wave of the hand, you alert the two that you’ll be making the first move as you walk to Aoi.

Making sure to keep your distance, you attempt to break the ice by calling out to Aoi. “Hey. It’ll be alright. You were only a little shaken up and caught by surprise. This is the first time we fought a demon. So it’s only natural that you end up slipping up a bit. Nothing to really beat yourself over with.” You awkwardly smile, attempting to reassure Aoi as best as possible. Given your appearance, you didn’t want to sound like a condescending adult to a traumatized teenager. Worst case scenario she’d lash out and reject your words.
>>
>>4104379

“When you’re really scared….when your life is really on the line...that’s when your true colors come into the light. “Aoi mutters, finally breaking out of her seep silence. A somber tone broke way as she starts to curl up into a ball, gripping her legs in frustration.

“Aoi I-” You say, trying to reach Aoi before you were suddenly caught off by Aoi’s incoming outburst.

“Shut up! Just shut up! Don’t make any excuses for my incompetence!” Aoi screams, holding back the tears in her eyes. Her self-loathing fully coming into view as the air around her becomes that much heavier and colder.

“..The fact that I froze up and couldn’t bring myself to move is a clear sign of my true self. I’m a coward through and through. I thought after all this time….after all this time...I thought I’d finally move past this crippling fear!” Tears begin to pour out of Aoi’s eye. Her tough-girl demeanor crumbling like glass as she couldn’t contain the cracks any further.

“I’m so freaking hopeless. Why did I even think that I can be a demon slayer! I couldn’t even jump into the fray when someone needed help. All I did was run away like the coward I am, deceiving myself that I’m just being the decoy.” Aoi says berating herself upon her performance while giving you some much-needed context as to how she ended up in this situation.

Your eyes pick up the slight twitches on the body and detecting her heat signatures and heartrate. Even the listening of her skin was a clear sign of her lying. But it wasn’t in the sense that she was lying about how she ended up like this. Rather, Aoi was lying to herself about her true intention. Locking eyes with her in the brief moment she turned to look at you, you saw sorrowful eyes filled with shame and regret. Hitting rather close to home considering your personal experiences after the death of your father and the fates that fell upon your siblings. Proving the phrase eyes are the window to the soul, you got a firm grasp of understanding a little more about Aoi and her problems.

“You say you been living with this fear for the longest time. How long exactly was it?” Kagura asks calmly.
>>
>>4104382

“..Yes. I have been living with this fear since I was only six years old. I’m the last survivor of a family of four. The middle child and only female out of the group. My family was slaughter by a demon. Even now, I’ll never forget it’s silhouette as it haunts my nightmares. I can’t even look at my own shadow without thinking of that thing. It’s been ten long years since then, I was taken into by the butterfly estate. I learned everything I can from my mentors Shinobu and Kanae Kocho. But I wasn’t talented enough to fully incorporate either breathing styles. And my own self-made Breathing Style utilizing those elements is still too fragile and incomplete to use at the moment. Leaving me with just one other style to use….a style that I personally hate.” Aoi reflects, sinking her face against her knees moping.

Tilting her head in curiosity, Makomo starts to walk forward towards you and Aoi. “...Mind telling me what that style is? Breathing techniques are based on the concept of adaptability and flexibility. Each breath is stylized after the individual, allowing them to put their own spin to it while best suiting them. All breath styles can be learned theoretically but only if they’re compatible. Still, that doesn’t mean it isn’t good to brush up on those other styles. Even if the prime source can’t be used, the foundation it carries can be molded and altered to create a new breath altogether. Filling in any holes or imperfections to transform itself into a viable combat style. So to me, I can’t help but wonder if you really despise that secondary breath style in addition to the one you’re trying to make. “Although speaking in her usual abstract and dreamy tone, you picked up a more stern, straightforward approach coming from Makomo.

“Aoikoori or Blue Ice. That’s the mantle given to me after seeing that art. But to me, it only serves as a cold reminder of the day my family died.” Aoi mutters, only willing to go as far as to mention just what she said. Anything else would have to take more time to crack her cold self-defeating demeanor and snap her back into place.

“How can you guys do it? Just through yourself into danger like that! Don’t you ever feel fear or doubt?! Why is it only me….what exactly do you have that I don’t!” Aoi tearfully asks, gripping her legs tightly as she intently glares at the ground in between her biding frustration.

“Of course I feel fear. I mean who doesn’t?” You say sincerely, much to Aoi’s surprise.
>>
>>4104385

“It’s true. I’m also in the same boat. I’m merely good at masking my feelings.” Makomo remarks, lightly tugging at her fox mask for a bit of light humor.

“Anyone who isn’t afraid of almost certain death is just a huge idiot or reckless fool who can’t admit those true feelings deep inside are real. “ Kagura remarks, folding their arms while shifting their eyes up to the moon.

“Then it’s true. I’m the one to blame then. My resolve is weak...along with my heart...” Aoi pause, sinking her head deeper against her knees.

Seeing yourself unable to continue standing to stay far away from Aoi any further, you briefly disappear before reappearing right in front of her. “That’s not true at all. You just haven’t experienced it. Something scarier than death itself.”

Nearly falling back from your sudden reappearance, Aoi quickly snaps back with an angry stare. “If that’s the cause, then what’s scarier then death for you.”

Meeting her gaze with your own, you give a bittersweet smile as you start consoling Aoi with the truth. “..For me, it’s seeing the final expression of the faces of those in their final moments. The ones that I let down by hesitating and freezing up from the fear. With my memory, I’ll never forget them no matter how hard I try. That and the torment of failing to save them, it’s those elements that I struggle with every day that pushes me into the fray. So I don’t ever relieve such an experience.”

Hearing that first hand made Aoi shift her eyes out of shame, finding herself unable to say any refute or jaded cynicism. In response you begin to kneel to Aoi, placing your hands against her in a sympathetic fashion. In contrast to her cold temperature, you instinctively counteract it with your warm glow.

“It’s not about having confidence or not knowing fear. Just...I don’t want to live a life of regrets. I know first hand the bitter feelings of what-ifs after undergoing a tragedy. Had I been more active and tried getting home sooner. Had I chose to confront that man and asks him why for all of this. Had I not put my desires and wishes over my family. Or even had I just listen to what my grandma wanted and go into the shrine branch in Tokyo to be the best Miko I could’ve been. Maybe then Sakura...she’d be here instead of me. “ You lament, sharing just another of your inner turmoil to pay for learning more about Aoi and get her to trust you more.
>>
>>4104389

“ I can go on until the sun rises about all the guilt and lingering regrets I have piled up in my life. Always thinking about what should have been done or how things could have changed from my actions. But just no different than keeping myself isolated. Waiting for the moment my entire sense of self shatters from the guilt or pushes me to the point of forming a delusional fantasy. It’ll just be fooling myself. It won’t change what happened. All I be doing is just running away from reality. So, no matter what hardship I’ll go through, no matter what tragedies I’d face, I’ll keep moving forward. Cause to me...the pain of staying still and living a life filled with regret is far more painful than any physical or mental pain that comes my way.” You close your eyes, smiling at Aoi despite coming to terms with your own pain. It wasn’t enough to make you cry, your stubbornness was instead keeping your focus on helping Aoi.

“That’s why, whenever I make a decision, from within my very heart itself, I move entirely on that will. Because once that decision is made, never go back on it, don’t hesitate, be willing to put your everything into it. Even stake your own life over it. When you do that, no matter what the outcome is, you’ll never live a life a regret. “ You say.

“...You really are stubborn to the point of being stupid..” Aoi remarks, tilting her head towards you.

“What can I say, I’m tenacious to a fault. It’s just how I am.” You chuckle a bit, opening your eyes as they fully return to their amber shade.

“Ms. Kanzaki, I’m sure you have something inside you that can push you forward. It doesn’t have to be today, or even right this very second. But someday, I’m sure you’ll find it. “

“How..how can you be sure of that?! You don’t know anything about me nor do you have any proof that I won’t betray your trust. So how can you-” Before Aoi can finish her rant, you merely cut her off with a simple shake and an earnest smile.

“Because I have faith in you.”
>>
>>4104393

>How do you proceed?

>[write-in]

Also to cover the next transition for finding Ozaki

>What is your team setup

>Stick together as the four of us
>Split up into twos [write-out the team pairs]
>Spread out singularly and cover more ground

[I have a bit more for covering the peanut gallery's opinion on the matter but I think I have enough so far to cut it here and let you influence this crucial moment.]
>>
>>4104394
I guess we should probably check what everyone's status is so far in terms of whether or not they're hungry, or something first.


>>Split up into twos [write-out the team pairs]
Let's stick with Aoi while the other two pair up.
>>
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>>4104277

See I was tempted on doing that for comedy but that would just be too jarring for this serious moment. And probably sour your pending friendship with her.

Slight detour to what I originally had planned but not enough to disrupt my general directional goals for Aoi as a character and arching story. Inspiration in the spoiler.
>>
>>4104395
Yeah, this.

>Split up into twos [write-out the team pairs]
Let's stick with Aoi while the other two pair up.

Water breath users are already good at working with each other, and Byakuren is specifically good at adapting to her partner's combat style.

>>4104399
There is some pretty good boke and tsukkomi comedic duo potential between Aoi and Byakuren, if we do establish the friendship. Byakuren makes a good funny man to Aoi's straight man.
>>
>>4104399
If we do split the team, is there any chance to find the slayer candidates we didn't talk with?
>>
>>4104411

Very strong chance. I'm not gonna have you be doing recruitment for randoms/stormtroopers. So you got 3 so far and 4 more to go.
>>
>>4104411

Actually that's a pretty good idea.

You can vote for who the other team goes to look for alongside Ozaki.

>A pretty bishonen brunette boy with an extravagant kimono attire and two swords
>A silent dark-haired boy with a long, wild ponytail staring blankly at the sky.
>A robust, young man with black hair wearing his sword against his back and a black kimono
>>
>>4104394
Pair up with Aoi, and split the party.

>>4104413
>A pretty bishonen brunette boy with an extravagant kimono attire and two swords

Time to appeal to Byakuren's inner teenage girl.
>>
>>4104415
Unfortunately, said teenage fantasy may involve her dream boy carrying her like a princess which may break his back.
>>
>>4104412
How many actual "basically useless" randoms are there, actually? Hopefully, we do save at least some of them while prancing around. Even though they are useless, saving people is good fluff.

>A pretty bishonen brunette boy with an extravagant kimono attire and two swords

Haha, why not.
>>
>>4104417
True, at the very best, these nameless mob npcs can live to retire, or choose a support role.
>>
>>4104417

20 people enter the exam, so out of you 8, there's 12 average run of the mill regular folks. With half of them being somewhat subpar.
>>
Maybe we are into flashy boys that stand out from the crowd considering our love of the exotic/different?
>>
>>4104420
Saving at least more than half would be good. Sabito managed everyone but himself IIRC, so we should aim for at least decent result.
>>
Might as well reveal the boys

Einosuke Kazama [Grandson to the Great Shinobi of the west, Hanzo Kazama.]
>>
Kaigaku [Lone survivor of a Buddhist orphanage and self-proclaimed successor of the Thunder School]
>>
and lastly Muichiro Tokito [Former Twin and self-made prodigy from the mountains]

Einosuke and Kaigaku are 16
Muichiro is 12
>>
>>4104395
>>4104409
>>4104413
>>4104415
>>4104417

Alright seem like this will be a quick update to the next chain, so writing. Going to assume you guys want to go to Einosuke first, so the others will handle Ozaki.
>>
>>4104731

“It’s because people have their sense of fear that anyone tries to get stronger. Demons who are virtually immortal otherwise have lost this important sense. It’s why they can be as reckless as possible with no concerns. And there are those who are naturally incapable of feeling fear. Although it’s seen as reckless, many people still yearn for such strength. But to me, that’s just foolish thinking. Fear is what alerts us of the dangers ahead. It tells us our weaknesses, our flaws and pushes us to greater lengths to try and ensure our survival. So don’t beat yourself up for feeling fear or being weak. It’s only when you choose to remain weak that’s the problem.” Makomo explains, walking over to you and Aoi after seeing signs of Aoi slowly opening up after hearing you having faith in her despite her attempts at trying to shake your unwavering faith.

Upon reaching Aoi, Makomo places her hands behind her back and soon smiles warmly at her. “Like Ms. Shimizu, I too have faith that you’ll find the courage to fight. Not to overcome your fear, but to fight with it. Those who can do that are in my eyes, the very strongest people out there. After all, fear isn’t a weakness nor a sin. Under the right tool, it can be a valuable skill.”

Putting their hand on Aoi’s shoulders, Kagura gives a reassuring smile to the troubled teenager. “There you have it, Ms. Kanzaki. We’re only strong because we choose to move forward, carrying something important in us. Be it chivalry, the burdens we carry in the darkness, the wishes of others be it from our past or present, or even just the simple desire to live another day. In the end, only you can decide what motivates you. And even then, you don’t have to do things you’re not confident in performing. Focus on the things that you can do. And when you reach that level, then cover for what others cannot as they’ll do the same for you. No man is ever an island.”

“But I think that’s enough for a pep talk. I feel if we lay it too thick it’ll just regurgitate instead of sinking in smoothly.” Kagura lightly coughs, subtly addressing at how your back to back speeches must be overwhelming and almost grading to Aoi. Hearing three people talk with insight no different than full-fledged adults would naturally ruffle anyone’s feathers. But on the other hand, such wisdom only came forth through experiencing tragedy. A tragedy that ultimately forces one to quickly mature to survive, sacrificing their childhood in the process. You especially was a strong, clear representation of that unfortunate phenomena. “We still have people to meet up and work together to survive this exam don’t we?”
>>
>>4104830

“Very much so. Unlike demons, we humans constantly know our weakness, but it’s in that weakness that both potential and opportunity come into fruition. And one of those times just so happens to be strength in numbers.” Makomo nods, turning her attention to the forest. “For whatever reason, demons don’t unite and instead only think about themselves. Them turning on each other and cannibalizing one another is far more likely.”

“And that’s why we’ll win in the end. So come on now. We’ll show those demons the power of humanity.” You smile, rising to your feet getting rather pumped while simultaneously motivating others. Although it might come a bit hypocritical since you’re only half-human, it didn’t change the impact of your words. It may very well because of the strength of your humanity that you ended up avoiding transitioning into a full-fledged demon and instead of being this hybrid between humans and demon. As you say these words, Aoi, Kagura, and Makomo each turn their head, holding back the urge to laugh as you look at them rather confused.

“When you put it like that you make it sound so much cornier than it needs to be,” Aoi mutters, almost cracking as she breaks into a smile.

“I dunno, I find it rather sweet. “ Makomo remarks, curling into a smile of her own despite still adverting her face from you.

“Yes, a straightforward and earnest answer is Byakuren’s style after all. Even if she ends up only speaking from the heart on impulse, unaware of the consequences till after the fact” Kagura remarks, the only one still able to retain their poker face. Either way, this ends up serving as the final nail to your coffin as you come fully aware of how you presented your attempt at rallying up your comrades and pushing for cooperation.

Quickly flustering out of embarrassment you start to stumble a bit trying to bounce back at your comrade’s ripping. “Come on! At a time like this, someone has to say uplifting words like that. I can’t help it if it sounds a little corny. That’s how raising moral works...right?” You blurred out, still freaking over as everyone starts to laugh. Compare to your actual appearance, it was the kind of thing that a sweet, innocent girl would say. Not the voluptuous adult currently scrambling in front of them. If only they knew the truth.
>>
>>4104841

After that touching scene, the four of you start to communicate and plan out your next course of action. In between the planning stage, you also made sure to check up on your team’s everyone status and condition. Although Makomo and Kagura didn’t show it they did happen to use two advanced sword techniques back to back and nearly achieved perfect in-synch motion on both occasions. Achieving such motions would naturally leave one feeling rather fatigued and strained. And with your borderline ludicrous idea of wanting to protect everyone and ensure their survival through the exam, you needed to think smarter rather than fight harder. Even if you could power through fatigue or rarely felt it when not using demonic energy, it didn’t change the fact that the rest of your team was fully human. And humans have their limits.

Therefore you came to suggest a quick hour to two-hour break in order to rest and replenish their stamina. You didn’t have any resistance from the others. If anything they were more surprised at your self-awareness to not recklessly keep going trying to save everyone back to back with no care for your wellbeing. You weren’t sure if you should be a little upset at their current viewpoint on you. Nevertheless, you who were the least tired out of the group decided to take watch while the others focus on recovery. From performing recovery breathing techniques to taking direct nourishment, Kagura and the gang did what they can to recover. In addition, they also took direct attention to their tools.

With Aoi’s help, all three of you manage to quickly yet thoroughly clean and perform maintenance on your weapons. You were left speechless at how quickly Aoi was able to tend to your stuff with smooth precision without any loss in her efficiency. To which Aoi explains even as a toddler she was taught many things from her family and neighbors. Thus she was able to build a wide repertoire of skills and other talents. From the most mundane chores to the most vital of support skills, Aoi was a natural at them. You couldn’t help but compare the same level of resourcefulness and talent to your mother, making you think that Aoi would be a great mother if she was to ever tie the knot with someone. In any case, you kept the most valuable asset, her medical knowledge as Aoi was simply remarkable in her extensive knowledge in multiple fields.
>>
>>4104875

For instance, Aoi made a specialized version of military rations pills and performance-boosting drugs through different herbs and various healthy ingredients. With her pills you find yourself recovering from the fatigue and regain loss stamina far quicker thanks to the powerful stimulants and nutrients packed inside. Even managing to retain their taste without sacrificing quality. Of course, she made different versions depending on the situation so she only gave the weakest but fastest-acting variant. Cutting what would normally take a four-hour break to achieve into just forty-five minutes was no simple feat. The only thing that seems to hold her back was combat experience but that was mainly rooted in her self-confidence rather than a physical one.

In any case, once fully rested and ready to fight the two of you quickly split up into teams of two in order to cover more ground and gather more allies. Based on current performances and talents, you ultimately chose to pair up with Aoi and leave Kagura and Makomo a team of themselves. Seeing them both pull off combo moves easily with the Breath of Water style made perfect sense as they got good tempo and can easily pick up on the other’s rhythm without saying a single word. You who were good at aping and adapting to other’s patterns as well as their motions of rhythm, it was only natural you get partnered with Aoi. At worst you can directly take charge and fight while simultaneously protecting her if it came down to it.

Either way, you left finding Ozaki to Makomo and Kagura while your team goes off to find another ally. After setting up a meeting point and taking the necessary steps to memorize each other’s presence/develop a means of tracking each other. The four of you perform one final act of teamwork by stacking hands against another’s. Making a promise to survive and ultimately meet back up before the night is over, the four of you soon split up into two different directions, seemingly branching in opposite sides. Given that you know Ozaki wasn’t really a people person you know those two would be able to breach the awkward barrier and convince her to join the cause. Thus just leaving you and Aoi to begin searching for another recruit.
>>
>>4104882

Luckily for both you and Aoi, you didn’t have to search long before you finally ran into someone. From the outskirts of your vision, it was a teenage man resembling a rather extravagant if not flamboyant charm from his flashy charm. From his lavender colored silky hair as it extends down to his upper back, round almond purple eyes, smooth fair skin glistening in the moonlight, a confident smile, dashing good looks you’d found a rugged bishonen, an athletically built physique contained in stylish black and white short-sleeve happi that functions as a jacket top and red Shitagi shirt underneath, his rock hard abs and well-defined pecks in full view. Below that was his dark blue hakama cut off at shorts-length, resembling loose-fitting Bermuda shorts. Black fingerless gloves on the hands and matching Jika-tabi boots for the legs, wrapped around a special cloth akin to your hand and leg wraps.

The only other unusual sight was a sword no different than a slightly longer katana in his hand. On closer inspection, the lengthened katana was actually two reinforced parallel blades, set a small distance apart from each other. Giving it the impression of an elephant’s tusk, this unique sword type is called a Renbatō, but this one was especially flamboyant given the black chains on the end of the hilt, signifying that it has more tricks and combination lying in the shadow. Slicking his hair back, the mysterious lavender haired teen starts to find himself in deep thought. You on the other hand only found yourself swiftly hiding against one of the trees, much to Aoi’s confusion. You weren’t sure why but just seeing that heartthrob made your heart race if not overclocking from the romantic feelings. Just a single glance of the unusually exotic individual was enough to trigger rosy cheeks as you start patting your face.

“...seriously?” Aoi blinks, starting closely as she was able to pick up immediately at what you were feeling with her sharp ears. She almost came close to covering her ears by how rampant and loud your heartbeat came to her. “Do we really have time for this?!” Aoi argues, keeping herself from screaming in irritation and mild embarrassment.

>How do you proceed?

>Try to approach the mysterious man with cool, smooth confidence and attempt to persuade him to join your team
>Go for a more direct, if not assertive approach to sway him over and push him to join your team
>Try to be talkative and start a conversation, hiding the fact you’re into him as you fish for information about him [optional but write-in any question you have]
>Coward in embarrassment against the tree and let Aoi handle talking to him
>Take a deep breath and try to get your act together and think of a proper way to greet them
>Come out in the open and speak from your heart
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4104883
>Coward in embarrassment against the tree and let Aoi handle talking to him

While speaking from the heart may be our thing.... I'm not sure how he'd feel about some weird adult professing their love to them.
>>
>>4104883
I am awfully tempted by hiding behind the tree approach. It is hilarious, and Aoi needs something to do anyway. Let her leverage her normal person social talents.

But the right thing to do it to attempt to get our act together. Man, I am torn.
>>
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>>4104883

I just remembered to put this up.
>>
>>4104895
Pretty much. Plus, I have a thing for EDGY rivals.
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>>4104883
>Take a deep breath and try to get your act together and think of a proper way to greet them
>>
>>4104883
>>Take a deep breath and try to get your act together and think of a proper way to greet them
No time.
>>
>>4104889
>>Coward in embarrassment against the tree and let Aoi handle talking to him
>>
>>4104889
>>4104895
>>4104920
>>4104947
>>4104950

Looks like I'm doing both here. So give me a d20 roll [it's for something else]
>>
Rolled 4 (1d20)

>>4104989
>[it's for something else]
How drenched Byaku's panties are?
>>
Rolled 4 (1d20)

>>4104989
Time to see if we're dropping spaghetti after our big speech with Aoi
>>
Rolled 18 (1d20)

>>4104989
Time to 4 apparently
>>
>>4105009
you are credit to team.
>>
>>4104901
But is he Edgy enough to have a cool catchphrase, pose, and overall demeanor?
>>
>>4104989

As Aoi tries to talk to you it seemingly only goes in one ear and out the other. You were far too distracted to be aware of your surroundings. Suddenly bounding pulses begin to gradually accelerate just moments after coming out of nowhere. Your breathing starts to become more erratic and unfocused. Uncontrollable trembling and stress sweating in correlation to your rising body temperature. Amber eyes widening over confusion as you try desperately to examine yourself. Your ample chest was getting heavier as your breath becomes more shallow. Causing you to grip your chest in light of the suffocating feeling and growing tightness. To make matters worse you were feeling light-headed, cheeks flustering a bright shade of red on your rosy cheeks.

Just a moment ago you were completely fine but now look at you. Currently hiding behind a tree as you try your best to avoid being spotted. It was simply baffling at the sudden shift in tone just from looking at the mysterious swordsman. Yes, staring deeply at his nice, well-toned body and chiseled abs in full display. Just thinking about it practically made your mouth water, nearly to the point of drooling. Just a short moment of fantasizing was all that you gave yourself before snapping back to your senses. Realizing what you were thinking about only furthers your embarrassment, pushing you to deeply desire to shrink to the size of a mere rodent and bury yourself deep into the ground or scurry away to the nearest hollowed tree.

Again, you couldn’t but question what exactly was wrong with you. The more you thought about it the more your body reacts in abounded vigor. Racing heart, shortness of breath, tightness in your chest, dizziness, sweating, trembling, an upset stomach and a feeling like you might die. These were normal signs of anxiety, especially when cranking to the level they’re currently are. However, there wasn’t any cause of you being startled or put uneased by his sudden appearance. If it was just that then you wouldn’t be feeling like this. The fear you experience wasn’t anything close to this. No, what you were currently feeling was something you haven’t experienced in a tremendously long time. That feeling being, of course, was love.
>>
>>4105691

Well, actually it was more accurate to say you were forming a sudden but intense crush on the mysterious person. Your eyes start to flutter open, sparkling brightly with a glimmer as you take another peek at the figure. Holding back your impure thoughts, you manage to get a better look at him. From top to bottom this stranger seemed to embody exactly what you’re looking for in a person...exoticness. Being kept up in your little shrine for most of your life made you deeply appreciate the unique and abnormal. No matter how small, if it was different and/or stand out it often brought some form of excitement and admiration for you. So naturally, it ended up influencing your taste in men. To meet someone like that was nothing short of a fairy tale.

For you, it was more accurate the living embodiment of adventure was the kind of romance that easily swept you off your feet like a princess. That said, you were still a teenage girl at heart. But with your hormones running rampant, you were left with quite a problem. In your current condition, you couldn’t find the words to talk to him. At the moment all you could do was silently observe him. Finding him suddenly arching his arms out and remaining motionless for some untold reason. Judging from the twitching of his skin, he was keeping himself alert through his sense of touch. Like that of a spider, he was using his entire body to pick up the faintest of vibrations and semblance of a presence throughout the forest.

Knowing this you start to try and keep yourself from giving off any signs. Easier said than done as your body heat and blood pressure continue escalating in conjunction with your beating heart. With your constant sweating, it starts to trigger steam, easily evaporating the build-up and making for an amusing visual gag. Still, you needed to do something before the mysterious swordsman starts picking up your location. At the moment you didn’t want to confront him until you got these feelings under control. And thus you begin to slowly shift your eyes back to another. The same very girl who just stares at you with sheer annoyance.
>>
>>4105698

Looking at Aoi with shameful eyes, you silently beg the tough medic to go out there and handle the talking. Only responding with a deadpan stare, you feel yourself instinctively kneeling into a proper sitting position and lowering your head in apology to Aoi. She wasn’t showing it but you could simply see just how steaming Aoi is with her silent treatment. With a silent sigh, Aoi starts to leave from the hideout spot. Next, Aoi scurries softly and sneakily to another location to avoid giving off your location. In just less than ten minutes Aoi manages to set herself into a proper opening spot. Stepping out from the leaves, Aoi goes to talk with the mysterious swordsman.

Watching them closely like a hawk, you bear witness to a rather...flamboyant conversation. Oozing with boundless charm and confidence, the mysterious swordsman was notoriously eccentric and bold. There was no trace of malice or ill-intent towards Aoi, merely talking to her like a ladies man mixed with a princely type of vibe. His flamboyance painted him as someone who likes to stand out and always does things in a cool, straightforward if not bombastic manner. This only made him that much charming to you as your legs start to wobble and your hips buckle from the escalating excitement.

For you, this was notoriously problematic. If you have still been in your true fifteen year old body, originally this wouldn’t be nearly problematic as is now. Girls having crushes on bishonen men especially of this level of flamboyance was nothing special. But again, you were nearly fifteen years old in the mind and spirit. Physically you were a woman in your early twenties, a rather well-developed bishoujo turn mature woman. It dawns upon you that in addition to your unusually snow-white hair, you gave off quite the intimidating presence around the boys. To them, you must appear like some sort of apex predator looking for her next toy. That or at least some old hag trying to pretend she’s in the springtime of her youth.

Being seen as a harlot or a delusional adult was completely unacceptable for you. But what can you do? You were smitten by the lavender heartthrob. As someone who generally spoke from the heart, this made talking exceptionally difficult. But talk you must as prince charming or not there were important things that needed to be done. People’s lives were at stake. There was no time to let your inner fangirl crush get in the way of your duties and commitment. Also, you currently feel immense guilt at pushing poor Aoi to handle talking and convincing the bishonen swordsman to come along with you. The least you can do is act like the woman she respects you as.
>>
>>4105702
Really should let her know that we are fifteen.
>>
>>4105702

Thus you begin to take a series of deep, calming breaths. Combating the heart palpitations from within, you focus your mind on your teachings and took a meditative stance. Breathing slowly and deeply while retaining silence, you begin to quell your escalating feelings and temper the body of its ailments. Actually you were almost certain that your heart was still currently skipping beats with each passing second. But the rest of the symptoms of your crush began to fade slowly and calmly. Between thinking about the gravity of your situation, the responsibilities of essentially being the leader of the group, and a selfish desire to charm your crush with your prim polite helped set yourself straight and keep your everything in check.

With one final deep relaxing breath, you manage to contain your feelings and impulses completely. Visualizing yourself as the cool beauty who’s dependable and smooth was enough to tap into a pseudo tranquil presence and serene state of mind. Thus the ideas start to form on how you should talk to the swordsman. Don’t act like your painstakingly interested, play hard to get and be a few steps ahead. Counteract his flamboyance with your prim and proper elegance. With this now set into motion, you rise up swiftly and soundly. Taking just a bit extra time on your appearance to fit with your visualization. You confidently stride forward preparing to let your words do the talking and win him over.

“Hey wait! Don’t go that way Kazama-” Aoi seemingly tries to call to the flamboyant swordsman, watching him storming off in her opposite direction.

“Forget it! Nobody got time to be holding ourselves back waiting for your friend to get her act together. If you truly want to make an everlasting impression on someone, then do it flamboyantly-” Einosuke boldly shouts, marching over to where his heightened sense of touch was picking your presence. Turning his head just enough to snap back at Aoi who the two were having quite the heated conversation. Unfortunately, this was right on time with you leaving your hiding spot. Resulting in the one hundred and seventy centimeters swordman to abruptly smack himself face-first into your chest, hands suddenly gripping away out of instinct.

>How do you proceed

>Let go of your restraints and leave it to instincts to take care of this
>Keep your cool and only internally scream before politely and gently return to having a civil conversation
>Politely push Einosuke aside, apologize and go off elsewhere to vent
>Stick to your gameplan and verbally taunt and lecture Einosuke like a cool adult
>Act like your mentor Jingo and silently give him a pissed off expression to intimidate him into submission
>Turn the other side and run away
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4105710
>Act like your mentor Jingo and silently give him a pissed off expression to intimidate him into submission
Jingo will be her final form
>>
>>4105710
>Politely push the boy away, propose to never talk about this again, proceed to steam in silence and work out your anger and embarrassment on the next demon the group encounters.

Not feeling like acting as a tsundere,
>>
>>4105722
Other options are kind of funny, but running off to vent or in general feels like a bad idea in murderdeath forest, internal screaming is probably a difficult roll, same for lecturing.
>>
>>4105725

Nah, I'm gonna still keep the 18 since half of the reason was to see how well you can control your autonomous motion and not break his bones out of self-defense. So do what comes naturally.
>>
>>4105710
>Act like your mentor Jingo and silently give him a pissed off expression to intimidate him into submission
>>
>>4105704
We will, but we have to find the proper time and place for it. Besides, once this test is over, it might take a while for us to meet up again.

>>4105710
>>Act like your mentor Jingo and silently give him a pissed off expression to intimidate him into submission
>>
>>4105710
>Keep your cool and only internally scream before politely and gently return to having a civil conversation

Don't make us use our sizable "womanly charm and charisma".
>>
I swear our naiive curiosity of the new and different is gonna be our weakness.

I bet it'll be Aoi that has to intervene if we ever have to explore a red light district, and misinterpret someone's intentions.
>>
>>4105905
Honestly, I'm waiting to see the other girls' reactions when they see our full figure if we ever get an onsen scene.
>>
>>4105942
>some stare daggers at her in jealousy
>some wonder if that's where all the calories she eats goes
>others just say that Byakuren is going to become an old lady sooner than everyone else
>>
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>>4105716
>>4105722
>>4105751
>>4105824
>>4105860

I have an idea on how to proceed now, writing.
>>
>>4106265

Just like that another portion of your innocence soon starts to fade away. Without anyone’s intentions, you now found yourself currently getting a “puff-puff” special. Stuck in between your ample chests, Einosuke body completely froze as you simultaneously did the same. Hands cushioning themselves against each breast, firmly pressing and gripping out of habit with a strong pinpointed pressure, hitting at your sensitivity and weak spots with dangerous precision and accuracy. Even without looking at him you felt no perversion or naughtiness in his action as he was genuinely shocked and rightfully confused. In fact, his body starts to break into a cold sweat upon slowly realizing where exactly he was just now.

It didn’t help that Einosuke was now loudly screaming into your round mounds out of flustering anger. Boy clearly has some serious lung power given how powerful the vibrations and kinetic force was. Practically bouncing and vibrating violently to the beath, your body trembles in perfect rhythm as series of jolts crawl up your spinal corn, spreading itself throughout your entire body. Hair standing on ends, skin repetitively shivering, face furiously blushing and body heat rising like an active volcano. When you wanted to impress and charm your newfound crush, this was the last thing you desired on how you do so. In fact, it wasn’t even put into consideration as evidence by your sheer naivety. A dangerous combination with your mature, nice body.

Heartbeat skyrocketing into lightning-fast pulses as the rumbling becomes louder and more fierce. Like banging war drums they signal an impending wave of calamity that was to come to their enemies. Deep down you knew that this wasn’t anyone’s fault. It was an unfortunate case of happenstance that nobody could’ve predicted. That still didn’t change the fact it came to your expense. But it also got you thinking. Had you been at your intended fifteen-year-old form and bumped into Einosuke, where would you have connected? The broad forehead? On the nose? Or even perhaps on your plump lips? Just thinking about the possible places made your face as red as a tomato as you come to terms with your naivety over such matters.

Nevertheless, you soon snap out of it after feeling another squeeze. A reaffirmation from both that what was happening was not a dream or a case brought forth by delusion. Staring at your eyes at Aoi, you see her covering her ears. Showing a strong case of embarrassment and sympathy towards you with a hint of fear. If you were in your normal state, you could pick up on those small signs and put together that she has a very acute sense of hearing. No, even now you could pick up on those signs abet faintly, making you come to terms exactly why Aoi was so distant to the point of being aloof towards you. She could read your every action and feelings through the clusters of sounds coming from the human body by the smallest frequency.
>>
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>>4106358

Judging from who you ran into so far, you note that there was a pattern. A pattern of running into mavericks just like yourself who have an astute sense on the verge of supernatural levels if not already. Put yourself aside you know Makomo has her sharp nose, Kagura with their tongue, Aoi with her hearing, so that just left sight and...touch. Speaking of touch, you were being mapped out by Einosuke as his hands examine carefully what he was against for a last act of confirmation. Given how your mind was desperately trying to factor all of this, it was only natural you finally realize this fact by the time he finished double-checking

Again you didn’t sense any perverted nature, it was morbid curiosity as evident at him scanning past your ample assets and focusing more on your robust physique. Even so, it was still enough to manifest your escalating embarrassment and shame into something else….rage. Blood vessels start to become more profound as they suddenly spread across your face. Following on the rest of the body, they took the shape of a cross, symbolizing your impending rage. Reaching the zenith of your stressful embarrassment causes the rumbling to accelerate drastically. Now feeling an intense pressure exerting itself from your body, both Aoi and Einosuke remain frozen still from the overwhelming intimidation in front,

Practically giving a visual illusion to that of an angry ogre morphing into a fierce red-skinned Kongōrikishi, its face twists into an aggressive scowl, exposing tusk-like teeth and kishin like-features, your infuriating rage gave way to a powerful mental image. Becoming more like Shakuren, you glare deeply down at Einosuke, focusing those daggers down upon him and only him. Still refraining from lifting a single finger, you choose to emulate your master, Jingo. Making the same disgusted look onto your first impressions, you retain your semblance of control and politeness. Had it been for more, perverse reasons...you honestly doubt you could hold yourself back from your escalating rage.

Politely you push the flamboyant swordsman off of you in a gentle fashion. All while keeping a close yet firm grip against his shoulders, weighing him down with an immense pressure that almost cause him to drop to one knee. “...I’m going to pretend this didn’t happen and for your sake, I recommend you do the same. And you can help me do that by also never bring this up again. Can you do that for me?” You smile, forming another anger mark on the side of your face. Keeping those demonic features was leaking out was a real chore, further adding onto the raging wildfire of anger festering inside.
>>
>>4106363

“...Yes, ma’am.” Einosuke answers, feeling himself starting with the incarnation of wraith itself upon looking at your cold, still eyes. Hiding the raging inferno through those dim iris and shrinking pupils.”Strong...very strong.” Einosuke mutters, twitching his hands upon his discovery.

Once confirmation has been achieved you gently remove your hands from his shoulders. Slowly walking past Einosuke and Aoi, you take a deep breath. On the outside, you were immovable and unfeeling, almost achieving Fudōshin through a serene state of mind. In reality that was far from the case as your external display of tranquil fury was really a mask to hide your true, inner feelings. On the inside, you were screaming internally and rather loudly to boot. Containing the abundant display of your true feelings results in you having to steam silently while the others merely look at you with concern and rightfully displaying signs of fear. For now, you temper yourself to keep containing it, using the next demon you’d spot as a venting tool.

“So we got off on to a wrong start...My name is Byakuren Shimizu, and you are.” You ask, keeping yourself from letting out any wrathful feelings, merely being empty with your politeness. Going as far as to offer your left hand in a handshake to Einosuke.

“...Einosuke Kazama, self-proclaimed number one shinobi of Osaka. And soon to be the top graduate of the final exam.” Einosuke remark, hiding signs of being intimidating and resuming his flamboyance. Of course, it was more like a rambunctious child on his best behavior in front of his terrifying mother. Slowly reaching for your hand, Einosuke shakes it, applying enough force to make for a rather tight iron grip. Judging from his statement earlier, it’s clear that Einosuke was particularly interested in your strength, seemingly putting aside his charming and gregarious demeanor for a hubristic if not competitive side to himself.

“Aoi Kanzaki, we already met,” Aoi mutters, letting out a sigh as she removes her hands from her ears.
>>
>>4106387

“She already told me the details about you wanting to team up and save everyone in the exam. Quite the flamboyant display if I don’t say so myself. At first, I thought you were one of those dainty pacifists that don’t know what a true battle is a life. But from underneath all that plumpness lies a shapely yet sturdy powerhouse, befitting a true warrior like the Onna-bugeisha. Something only those who relentlessly train themselves at the edge could sculpture. Still, you’re shining a little too brightly. And that’s rather troublesome.” Einsouke remarks, too distracted by your strength to realize the lack of tact he put into those words. Aoi could only stare with shock at essentially hearing you be compared to an ogre rather than a beautiful, mature maiden which wasn’t inaccurate.


>How do you proceed?

>Impress Einosuke with your strength by invoking a contest of strength to show off
>Continue to be polite as you try to convince Inosuke while subtly putting him at a standstill
>Change the subject by asking Einosuke some questions [optional write-in]
>Downplay your strengths and let yourself lose in order to appeal to Einosuke ego and butter him up to join you
>Return to intimidating Einosuke for his crude remark about not seeing you as a woman
> Let Aoi handle the persuasion while you continue keeping your emotions in check
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4105986

Thankfully Aoi is basically a mini-Shinobu including how she's built, so no flattie breast envy trope. But jealousy over never gaining a pound despite how much your high-maintenance body requires is a different beast altogether.

Ozaki will be too bashful and probably look with worrying concerns about ending up like Byakuren when she grows older. as if being Mitsuru's Tsuguko didn't give her enough body image worries.

Makomo would be the closest to saying the third line but out of scientific observation. Bringing her netting some editable treats to help combat your lost youth as well as stationing her curiosity.

>>4105704

The bombshell that shocking reveal will lead will be atomic.

>>4105824

Provided you don't try and recruit them to acompanying you on your journey.
>>
>>4106389
>>Aoi could only stare
Aoi: Ah. I understand. This is heaven's punishement for my cowardice - my life has became a bad romcom.

>>Impress Einosuke with your strength by invoking a contest of strength to show off

We'd probably have at least some trouble if we fought the demons solo. If he is overall weaker or only as strong as Byakuren, he really should just join the damn party, he is underleveled to safely solo this dungeon. If we win or at least do not lose badly, we should be in position to impress that fact on him.

And besides, Demon Slaying is all about jolly cooperation. We had been slaying demons like a goddamn lawnmower thanks to the party formation.
>>
>>4106389
>Impress Einosuke with your strength by invoking a contest of strength to show off

I don't think our perceived idea of womanly charm is going to erase what he felt.
>>
>>4106419

And you just described Aoi's torment with her acute sense of hearing. She can accurately and in great detail describe the bad romcom in vivid imagination. Practically reading their thoughts and inner monologue like a psychic.

>>4100643

Two for one experience for touch and hearing. Sight is the only one left. Outside of the sixth sense Extrasensory Perception
>>
>>4106442
Speaking of senses, I have to wonder what our other party members are talking about while we're currently split up.

Probably talking about how weird our presence is compared to regular humans. That, or our mental/physical state.
>>
>>4106449

While they know you're a genuinely kind-hearted and sincere girl, it doesn't change the fact they're suspicious of you. You act far differently than someone of your appearance should be. Your presence is abnormal, and there's the feeling of something else buried deep inside. A more terrifying and concerning element previously dormant. It'd be more unusual if they weren't chatting about how unusual you are.

Perhaps it wasn't a good idea to leave the smartest/perceptive members of your team by themselves.
>>
>>4106456
Perhaps, but I like the chemistry between us and Aoi.
>>
>>4106490
Nah, suspicious people going to be suspicious regardless, and this pick is reasonably good for getting people to accept our demonic nature in future - Aoi with her basically telepathy hearing will be able to speak in defense of our character if we stick around her for awhile.
>>
>>4106419
>>4106431

Alright, so we're going for flamboyance bromance. Give me a d20 for this contest of strength.
>>
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>4106518
Time to FLEX
>>
Rolled 12 (1d20)

>>4106518
>>
Rolled 9 (1d20)

>>4106518
Glad to know my knowledge of tropes has come in handy.
>>
>>4106518

Also for the Record of what you have to use for dice rolls.

>1 Reroll token currently saved
> 6/6 SP Gauge

1 spent grants you a free reroll [this counts for everyone and not just the next roll]
2 spent grants you a +2 to your roll for the next 3-6 rolls [still working on this]
3 spent adds a bonus effect outside of the roll
4 spent adds another die to the roll for the remainder of the encounter/overarching scene
5 spent drops the difficulty check/raises your chance for a reversal of fate
and lastly, 6 spent nats you a nat 20 roll

[still working on this so suggestions for boons for what you spent is appreciated.]
>>
>>4106548

In the story for 3 is known as "Shakuren's interference" or "Plot convenience"
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>4106518
Tiny flex
>>
Sorry for the delay, was working out making a sheet and compiling all the setup established so far for rulings and systems for future record. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xg2kKAqR8zo5cBtSdmlje8b7lbCkW5dQw-xF4stkLt4/edit?usp=sharing
>>
>>4106518

You turn to look at Einosuke, seemingly having a perplexed expression as the lavender haired swordsman approach you in order to get a better impression of you. Although he refrains from actually touching you, Einosuke was rather dangerously close in your dangerous pace. Again you saw through body movement there were no lustful motivations unless the lust for strength and to prove his abilities through combat counts. In this prince charming lies a bruiser with his belligerent temperament. Better yet was his sense of touch. Despite neither one wanting to reflect on how it happened, it doesn’t change the fact that Einosuke did manage to see through your exquisite, prim and proper self-image. Hence why he ended up describing what he was currently feeling. How much he discovered was the real question of the hour.

“Whatever brought this up?” You ask, closing your eyes and giving a rather convincing fake smile.

“Don’t play dumb Shimizu, I, the great Eniosuke know for a fact you’re hiding something. This prim and proper stick won’t fool the great Einosuke Kazama. My perception and intuition are three-no five times ahead of the common man. So as a man of action, I the great Einosuke trusts my gut before anything else. And to this day my gut has never let me down.” Einosuke reply, slamming his fist against his chest in boisterous fashion.

Pointing his fingers at you, Einosuke intensely stares at you with rising passion. “A meek girl like you with a well-built physique and warrior spirit just doesn’t add up. So come out and show me the real Byakuren Shimizu already!”

“Jeez, can you be any ruder! You don’t go making wild assumptions like that and then boastfully demand that they rise up to your shrewd perception of them.” Aoi yells, steaming in the background as she stepped in before you could say a word.

“Huh!? Don’t talk to me about the perception you background character! The feeble aura I’m picking up from you barely makes you higher than those no named extras that I, the great Einosuke ended up saving with my superior Niten Ichiryu Nitojutsu and Nippo Kempo. Those demons were so disappointed that I, the great Einosuke Kazama didn’t even need to show them my invincible Breathing Style. “ Einosuke snaps back, turning his eyes back to Aoi while towering over the shortstack beauty.

“Breathing style? Oooh~ What is it?! Tell me, tell me.” You exclaim, showing genuine interest in knowing what kind of style he uses.
>>
>>4107143

“As expected you’re interested in my self-made breathing style. It shouldn’t come off as no surprise since I, the great Einosuke Kazama am a genius. One who does not follow the archaic traditions of yesteryear to prove my brilliance. I, the great Einosuke transcends all, even the heavens bow down to my flamboyant superiority. Seeing that you’re no doubt a fan after hearing about the brief description.” Closing his eyes and laughing rather menacingly, Eiosuke starts to stand up before taking a more confident pose. Nothing short of a Kabuki thematics, Eiosuke starts posing dramatically, twisting his head wildly with a cocky smile. “ Very well. I shall tell you the style that’s going to be known as the number one breath style in the world. Its name is--”

“He called it Breath of the Storm. From his longwinded description its a deprivation of the Thunder and Water breath styles. It’s a fast pace flowing style that combines the lightning-fast reflexes and quickdraw of the Thunder Style with the freeform adaptivity and flowmotion of the Water Style to produce a literal storm of chaos and disarray on the battlefield.” Aoi coldly explains, cutting Einosuke off from his dramatic announcement, freezing him solid like a rampant snowstorm.

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU SAYING YOU IMBECILE! I WAS GOING TO TELL HER THAT WHEN I WAS GOOD AS READY. DON’T YOU HAVE ANY APPRECIATION FOR GOOD STORYTELLING AND SUBTLE BUILD UP!” Einosuke screams, snapping him out of his stunned pose with righteous fury.

Forming an intimidating look much like yours previously, Aoi turns to Einosuke with a pissed-off expression. “If we left it to you you’d spend all night describing your oh so-called amazing style to her!”

“Kaah! I’m surrounded by narrowminded fools who don’t get the flamboyant passions like Aniki.” Einosuke turns, pouting in annoyance as his body still trembles from the aftereffects of your exceptional intimidation.

“..The hell that’s supposed to mean. “ Aoi asks, getting colder by the second.

“Exactly what it meant Yaoi Miyazaki.” Einosuke retort, turning back to give Aoi a piercing glare.

“That’s not even my god damn name you impulsive twat!” Aoi screams.

“It just goes to show how little of an impact you have with my heart. Didn’t even feel a shred of the radiance coming from you. No sign of a throbbing pulse or rumbling in my bones.” Einsouke answers, sticking his tongue out as Aoi grabs the nearest tree and starts to break its bark in frustration.
>>
>>4107147

This was certainly an unforeseen chain of vents. Here you are currently watching Einosuke and Aoi arguing over trivial stuff. Of course, if Einosuke heard anyone called out having his style of flashy theatrics being trivial it’ll be an instant trip to his shitlist. Still, there was something rather fascinating if not downright amusing seeing someone passionately put his all into every performance like an actor. Such unusual over the topic antics only further appeal to your love of the new and different as Einsouke was pretty cool despite being a total dork. Still, a man like him was thinking quite far into the future despite his actions clearly showing him living in the moment like...well a storm. Thinking on that you briefly look down upon yourself, feeling rather self-conscious about your current appearance.

To get through Einosuke it seems womanly charms wouldn’t be the right way to do so. Considering his flamboyant mannerism and boisterous personality made him prime material for being a ladykiller. His rugged bishonen looks were enough to make the majority, especially yourself was head over heels and fascinated with him. Even Aoi seemingly at first found herself blushing from being around such a heartthrob, that is until she conversed with the showboat and grew to distance herself from his excessively eccentric persona in disdain. So being around many females must have made him grow disinterest and numb to the typical schoolgirl type of charming. Although, he did seem to be genuinely caught off-guard by your full-figure. But it may have been more a case of sheer excitement for him after finding out what was underneath.

Crush or not, the only way you seem to deem fit to winning Einosuke over to joining your crusade was to appeal to his interests. And what better way to convince him than through a bout of strength. Such a display of hot-blooded passion would be more than enough to set Einosuke’s flamboyant heart ablaze. Not only winning him over but giving you a leg up on the other females. Clinching your fist and making a cute yet determined look on your face, you reaffirm your decision and rise forward.

“If that’s the case then I understand you completely Mr. Kazama. And there is only one way I can think of to get you to come to our side. A showdown. The contest of strength that only the manliest of men strive for.“ You smile, lowering your eyes in excitement.

Whistling fondly at the sound of that, Einosuke makes for a maddening grin. “Oho, now we’re talking Byakuren Shimizu~ That’s exactly the kind of flamboyance I’m looking for. However, as the boss, I need to show you that I’m the strongest.” Einosuke says, pointing his thumb against his chest while walking up to you, face to face.

“Very well. But a word of warning, I’m pretty strong. So if you take me too lightly...you’ll be in a world of hurt.” You call back, looking down at him as you lean forward to meet him face to face.
>>
>>4107155

“No need to worry. Even though you’re actually a woman, the great Einosuke sees you no different than a true man. So as true warriors, it’ll be disrespectable to not give your all in a serious, fated duel between men. “ With that it was clear he was staring deeply into your eyes, ignoring the vivid explay of your chest completely, proving himself a real man’s man.

Being the only voice of reason in this escalating display of nonsense, Aoi suddenly objects to the ordeal. “Hold on a second! The two of you can’t be serious now. We can’t be wasting time having you do something stupid like arm wrestling or heavy lifting.”

“Your right. The great Einosuke wouldn’t lose in showing off his physical prowess but it’ll be a hassle trying to find boulders to lift or rest our arms against to pull off feats like arm wrestling. So the only thing we can do is have a bare-bones, knuckle-busting brawl.” Einosuke nods, stroking his chin while thinking real hard on his option.

“Can’t be helped.” You shrug before cracking your knuckles.

“While I’m glad you have the sense to be self-aware to NOT actually use your weapons on one another, I still have to decline with your suggestion. Survival is the name of the game here for this exam, and the last thing we need is the two of you knocking each other out in demon’s territory!” Aoi screams, gripping her hands tightly in growing frustration.

“Why must you criticize everything I say?” Einosuke snaps.

“Do you want me to summarize why or follow the kabuki style and monologue until the sun comes out as to why your actions and ideas are utterly retarded,” Aoi says snarkily, folding her arms in disgust.

Seeing the two bicker back and forth made you think back to your siblings Emiko and Keiju who shared similar abet more tamed relationship between the two people you’re currently associated with. And soon it hits you on exactly what you need to do to come to a fitting compromise.

“How about this? We do sumo.” You interject.

“Sumo?” Both say in unison as they were rightfully confused.
>>
>>4107160

“Yeah, it’s origins are deeply rooted in Shintoism. They were ancient Shinto rituals to ensure a bountiful harvest and honor the spirits known as kami. From the attire being similar to shamen priests/hermits to throwing enriching salt around the ring before a standard bout, it still strongly carries the Shinto influences to this day. And women sumo was also involved in Shinto rituals alongside amateur sumos becoming a common occurrence along with other variants such as Teoshi Sumo. “ You explain, reaffirming to everyone that despite not looking it you were a gratified official Miko. The lowest rank mind you but still a Miko.

“Anyway, we can easily make the circle ring, and the contest of strength can be retained in full power without causing any strenuous injuries or long-lasting fatigue. So it’s a win-win for everyone.” You smile, clapping your hands together at your idea.

“Hmm, well sumos are quite flamboyant and a national pastime. The great Einosuke has no problem with this suggestion.”Einosuke smiles, giving you a thumbs up in approval.

“Well, it’s not like you’re going to cause deep lacerations or break bones. And a single bout will probably won’t take nearly as long as actually duking it out in a brawl. Whatever just hurry up and get it done.” Aoi sigh, having tilted her head and thinking about it before ultimately giving up at trying to find any holes to pick into that logic.

And with that, the three of you got to work making the necessary preparation for your battle. In a short amount of time, this ended up being quite a productive and efficient solution. While there were probably better methods for testing one strength out there, there were two factors to consider. Timing and drawing attention. Already you were seen as an abnormality even with your demonic half currently being suppressed. Therefore, it was recommended to continue avoiding conspicuous in any way, well as much you can avoid anyway. Eventually, you find yourself standing on the other side of a large ring, having taken off your top clothing to give yourself more flowmotion. Covered by your sarashi wrappings, your sturdy well-developed figure was on full display.
>>
>>4107162

In response to this, Einosuke took off his own top in manly flamboyant fashion. You know first hand that from the subtle lines that Einosuke carries an extremely toned and muscular build for his age. However, seeing those bare, large defined muscles, most notably over his stomach and arms hit you like a rampant storm. It was taking will power alone to avoid springing a leak of blood from your nose. A nice contrast to his bishonen charm, especially around his smooth, softly petite face and fair-skinned made him devilishly attractive despite oozing with eccentric manliness. Nevertheless, you firmly set yourself in sumo fashion as Einosuke did the same. Aoi meanwhile serving as the officiator could only look with further disdain. Blankly staring upon the scene, Aoi internally begins to question where she went wrong in her life to be put on the spot like this.

“...without further ado...let’s get this match started,” Aoi mutters, deadpan and motionless as she lifts her arms up and makes the signal.

Swiftly the two of you suddenly clash against one another without any sign of motion. Truthfully you reinforce your leg muscles to greatly leap across the field in order to tackle Einosuke and knock him out. To which it seems he had the same idea as he too slams himself deep against your body. Practically connecting chest to chest, the two of you somehow manage to cancel the other’s force and motion while remaining stationary. Unpushed by the impending concussion force and air pressure, you and Einosuke simultaneously grab each other’s hands.

Locking them in place you avoid falling into any well-timed palm strikes and/or grapples. But you weren’t out of the woods yet as the looming threat of sweep kicks and headbutts still hover above you. In spite of this, you try to exert your strength by flexing your muscles, awakening the dormant power inside of you. Feeling the rise of your strength excites the body as right off the bat you were in top physical condition, well for a half-demon pretending to be freakishly strong human anyway. Unfortunately, even with your inhuman strength, you find yourself in an equal standoff with Einosuke. Exerting just as much pressure as you he found himself currently stuck in place as he tries to force you back. Neither one of you was giving an inch as the battle escalates.

“Very good Shimizu! As expected you’re notoriously strong. Far more than what your deceptive beauty gives off. But as I, the great Einosuke said before, I am always five steps ahead. My rigorous conditioned body in true ninja fashion won’t lose to whatever hellish Miko training you have undergone. Prepare yourself to submit as Einosuke will kick this warm-up to the next level.” Einosuke grins, pushing himself further as he begins slowly overpowering you through additional effort. Slowly beginning to rev up as his strength escalates.
>>
>>4107163

>How do you proceed?

> Match Einosuke strength for strength and try to overpower him
> Switch to finesse and try to sweep kick his legs, disrupting his balance.
>Try to grapple Einosuke and force him down in a takedown tackle
>Use your strength to your advantage and try to lift Einosuke up and toss him out
>Resort to stunning him with a good place headbutt
>Keep yourself firm and steady, observe his movements and stay on the defensive
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4107165
>Keep yourself firm and steady, observe his movements and stay on the defensive.

Proper Footwork!!!
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>>4107169
Also, I guess we really are a good match for him. We're both generally good looking, but the moment we open our mouths....
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>>4107176

Birds of a feather come to mind. But there's a sense of endearment despite the lack of common sense or child-like innocence/naivety.
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>>4107165
>Keep yourself firm and steady, observe his movements and stay on the defensive
>>
>>4107187
Still, there's always the bombshell when we finally reveal our true age that'll explain everything.

The problem is that I see everyone else not asking because it would be rude to ask a woman's age.
>>
>>4107227

As >>4095955
>>4095962
>>4095240
>>4095962
>>4100652
>>4100658

pointed out Byakuren has that intimidating factor as a mature, cool beauty that just makes people nervous and more considerate to avoid flat out asking common sense questions. At best they'll just accept you're a weirdo or an airhead granny, There are exceptions are to the rule. But at the rate this is going, one of your friends will probably man up and ask the big questions. Money's on Aoi personally.
>>
>>4107165
>>Use your strength to your advantage and try to lift Einosuke up and toss him out.

Just throw him in the sky.
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>>4107245
Aoi: This is stupid. You are stupid. Sumo? What are you, twelve?
Byakuren: ...Fifteen, actually.
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>>4107169
>>4107209

You know the drill, d20 roll time.
>>
Rolled 16 (1d20)

>>4107786
>>
Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>4107786
oh lord
>>
Rolled 11 (1d20)

>>4107786
>>
>>4107786

>DC 13 passed

“Not going to happen. Besides, I thought you were someone who appreciates building up the suspension for the main event” You coy smile, tightening your grip and applying counterpressure to keep him still.

In terms of training, you were proudly confident that you underwent the best conditioning imaginable. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here currently holding your own against a top-notch shinobi like his equal. Grandma Guren’s hellish training was simply indescribable as the closest thing was Jingo’s. But in her defense, she was REALLY trying to keep you from graduating early. Guren’s excuse was only making the best Byakuren Shimizu she can make at the time. Whether her methods to achieve that end goal was truly effective or not was highly questionable as you still have the comical trauma over her ludicrous methods. In any case, even without the demonic influence running strong, you were clearly no slouch with your awakened strength.

On that note, you start cultivating and directing that awakened strength, specifically around the lower body. Further exciting your leg muscles through well-timed flesh you begin strengthening their defenses and power output. Sinking your feet deep into the ground, Einosuke soon found himself having a notoriously harder time pushing you across the ring. Already he managed just about a few inches during his little opening act, and while he was still powering up you took the initiative to shut down his ascent before it got to the danger zone. Good for you since you begin to start feeling the pressure from Einosuke’s vice grip. His upper body exerts a noteworthy amount of force and stopping power, making you strongly believe you weren’t fighting a teenager but a human-sized Coconut crab.

“Not going to lie, you got a really impressive grip. You’re making my hands practically numb trying to restrain you.” You remark, feeling your hands shanking from the intense tightness.
“Whahaha! I see you’re impressed by my grapple power. Tremble in fear at just one of the many talents of Einosuke Kazama. “ Einosuke shouts proudly, laughing in amusement at your sudden look of shock.
>>
>>4108257

Even so, Einsouke didn’t drop his guard as his hands deeply clamp themselves against yours. The tightness of his grip was simply unreal, entrapping your fingers like a Chinese finger trap. The more you struggle against it the harder it constricts and locks your fingers. With this, he managed to take out your hands out of the equation. But this also worked in your favor as his means of attacks were quite limited. Still, you tempered yourself accordingly, remaining ever patient as you resort to observing Einosuke and analyzing every action before formulating a proper plan. Thus you kept up the image of fighting back by pushing more force against Einosuke whenever he forces more of his strength upon you. Much to his surprise and growing agitation, he found himself incapable of overpowering you, much less push you further.

Turning this game into a battle of wills and endurance you steadily held your ground. Only thanks to your extensive knowledge of sumo, one of the primary keys in developing a sturdy and steadfast foundation that you’re capable of anchoring yourself accordingly and weather through the storm. Because of the emphasis on strength, explosive power, and balance, one who follows sumo trains themselves extensively in defensive aspects such as flexibility, stamina, and endurance. A single match can last from a couple of seconds to a few minutes. Hence why there’s so much focus on developing the lower body and shifting one’s weight to withstand and endure as long as possible with little to no movement. Ensuring there’s no wasted motion resort them to refining their ability to tank blows and simultaneously bulldoze the opposition through powerful movements.

Going even as far as to turn their own fat into a strong outer layer of thick armor, deceptively hiding an otherwise astoundingly muscular physique. Although it’s only a countermeasure on the recently modern take of the once burly and violent fashion of ancient sumo. Most may have forgotten its brutal combat origins but it was still a vicious martial art as even kicking back then was allowed. Its sheer influence gave birth to the modern Japanese martial arts, specifically Judo and its ancestor jujutsu. Especially the Okinawan sumo variant. Nevertheless, with your current knowledge and training, you have a distinct advantage. Your stance and form prevented any disruption or risk of losing balance and with your turtling strategy, you were no different than an immovable object as Einosuke feverishly continue his attempts of breaking through your defenses. With that in mind, you merely brace yourself and adapted in accordance.
>>
>>4108280

Futile as it was you couldn’t help but be impressed by his sheer tenacity. From trying to lift you up from the ground to shoving with profound force, Einosuke continues to relentlessly bring you down. Although only choosing the most flamboyant and explosive means as evident by avoiding kicking your legs. If nothing else he was proving true to his calling of being a real man. Still, in this standoff game of endurance, it seems inevitable that you’ll come out at the top. Already you were beginning to understand Einosuke’s rhythm and commit his fighting habits to memory. But soon you were to be caught off-guard by Einsouke spontaneous act of brilliance. By performing the Shiko, he was preparing for a simple leg stomp. However, you saw his leg muscles bursting with sudden strength as he prepares for this next attack.

Only having nanoseconds to respond, you instinctively dig your feet deep into the ground. Clenching your toes deep against the smooth surface, you firmly anchor yourself against the ground. Just a few seconds afterward was you met with a loud, booming shockwave. Coming from a single sumo stomp, Einosuke manages to cause the area around you to tremble like a thunderstorm. Had you not seen the faintest hints of his muscle coiling and body twitches, chances are you wouldn’t have seen the attack coming. Unfortunately, it was only the first step as Einosuke quickly switches to his other leg. Raising just a bit higher than the last attempt, Einsouke brings forth another powerful quaking stomp, sending powerful shockwaves throughout the surface area.

Raddling your bones straight to the core your body could only tense up its muscularity to cushion the concussive blow and withstand the kinetic force. Strangely enough, he wasn’t performing any of this through any enhancements like Full Focused Breathing. No, the breath that he took earlier was merely a relaxing one and a deceptive move. Hiding his true objective as through sheer muscle control, he was tapping into more of his body’s muscle power. Just seeing it only once, you were convinced that Einosuke was able to freely control his body and unlock his natural inhibitors to draw forth more power. Hence the warm-up.

Flexing his muscles, specifically around the biceps, Einosuke begins to appear more menacing with a gorilla-like appearance. “I told you that I’ll make you tremble. But this little standoff game is getting a bit too dull. So I’m ready to ascend to the next level.” With an excited cry, Einosuke starts suddenly exerting more force, coming to suddenly lifting you upwards as you finally notice the second reason why he was continuously stomping on the ground.
>>
>>4108285

>How do you proceed?

>Try to use Einosuke momentum against him and attempt to throw him out instead upon securing your footing
>Replant your feet into the ground deeper and anchor yourself to continue the standoff
>Pump more strength into your arms and use your legs to start bulldozing Einsouke out of the ring
>Start using headbutts to disrupt his incoming attack
>Try to aim a sweep kick and disrupt his balance before letting gravity do the work
>Forcibly break through his vice grip and counter with a grapple of your own
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4108296
>>Replant your feet into the ground deeper and anchor yourself to continue the standoff

Stubborn, we are.
>>
>>4108296
>>Replant your feet into the ground deeper and anchor yourself to continue the standoff
>>
>>4108296
>Pump more strength into your arms and use your legs to start bulldozing Einsouke out of the ring
>>
>>4108302
>>4108308
>>4108331

First one takes priority but got something in mind to make the second fit. So give me 2d20
>>
Rolled 15, 8 = 23 (2d20)

>>4108545
>>
Rolled 18, 11 = 29 (2d20)

>>4108545
>>
Rolled 1, 2 = 3 (2d20)

>>4108545
tinier flex
>>
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>>4108609
...Yet another nat 1 from yours truly. Why do I even bother rolling.

Please reroll this.
>>
>>4108610

You can always save your SP point and/or reroll token by saving the nat 1. Do that and I'll take the highest remaining roll or future roll. We have a new system for a reason.
>>
>>4108617
Alright, I guess let's do that. 18-11 is a decent enough roll, why the fuck I even tried to mess with things that already work.
>>
>>4108619

Because a roll 20 can always come and ranking 20s is a legit strategy worth gambling. But I'm going to do you a solid and tell you the DC. 14/14 for both actions.

So the 11 won't make it.
>>
>>4108620
Well, we still have two more rolls out of Bo5, I guess. Massrolling by a single anon is a bit gauche, so here is hoping we'll get more people participating.
>>
>>4108621

Yeah, either way, it'll have to be a group effort of at least two people before I even consider the usage of any of the SP gauge effects.
>>
>>4108624

PS: Saving Nat 1 rolls also grant you additional SP gauge points, thinking about 1 or 2 point worth. Still debating on the exact amount.
>>
Rolled 9, 9 = 18 (2d20)

>>4108545
>>
Rolled 11, 2 = 13 (2d20)

>>4108545
>>
Rolled 16, 13 = 29 (2d20)

>>4108545
>>
>>4108545

“Wahaha, the tides are on this man, Einosuke’s side. ” Einosuke cheerfully laughs, continuing to lift you up from the ground like a freshly picked turnip. After all your effort in anchoring yourself, Einosuke was rendering your efforts moot as he eagerly prepares for the toss. “My victory is now assured!”

“Not going to happen!” You yell at Einosuke, gripping your hand tighter for better support. Timing your movement to the bulking shinobi you swing your body upwards in a mid arc. Riding the momentum upwards was enough to noticeably catch Einosuke off guard, further surprising Aoi as to how much of a madwoman you really are.

As you almost reach the point of completely dangling above Einosuke, thus reaching the danger zone of being tossed, you swing your body downwards in a quick, fluid fashion. Your sudden act of acrobatics and dexterity kept Einsouke disrupted long enough for you to drop back onto the ground. Utilizing the added force of the momentum further broke the surface area, allowing you to further sink your bare feet into the ground. Compared to walking on hot coal and jagged rocks, your toughened feet easily withstood the force and pressure of the high impact without a single scratch or fracture. With a single move, you advertently took back control of the bout and firmly reaffirm your footing back into place. If not further cementing yourself as an immovable object capable of withstanding any opposition without wavering.

“Kaaa! Stubborn woman! Accept your defeat graciously!” Einosuke screams, finding himself suddenly back at square one with your cheeky antics.

“Sorry about that but stubbornness and determination are basically my mantras. And I’ve never been one to back down and fall no matter what.” You grin, sticking your tongue out while resuming the power struggle between you and Einosuke.
>>
>>4108673

Even with your half-demon physiology in mind, you currently were having a notoriously troubling time with Einosuke. You almost felt the need to consider Einosuke your equal in terms of raw power and physical prowess. Had you been a regular human, you’d argue if you could even come close to the monstrosity of this inhuman shinobi. But then you weren’t completely human now were you. Once again Einosuke tried to use the Shiko step but this time you took countermeasures to the shockwaves. Utilizing the dense bedrock underneath mixed with the soft soil, your ankles were firmly surrounded by a multi-layered barrier of stone. As a result, it cushioned the impact and vibrations while making it notoriously hard to pull you out.

“Grrr! What the heck are you?! Some sort of reincarnated oni fighting sumo champion?! Ya dang Yamauba Onnazumo!” Einosuke barks, growing more frustrated that despite all of his escalating strength he couldn’t make a single woman budge. A mix of technique and finesse through taking full advantage of your weight granted a much heavier center of gravity as Einosuke came to understand.

“The hells the matter with you! You don’t call a woman, especially one like Shimizu a mountain ogress!” Aoi shouts, pointing her finger at Einosuke who was fuming at his inability to lift one simple, abet thickly well-figured woman from the ground and take his rightful victory.

“Shut up you chibi weasel! The match has only just begun. One war or another I’ll topple this mountainous tanuki and rise to the top as the boss!” Einosuke argues, yelling directly into Aoi’s ear, almost causing the poor girl a heart attack.

Pulling herself back from stumbling, Aoi only snaps back towards Einosuke before doing the same thing to him. “Who the hell you calling a chibi weasel! I hope Byakuren squash you like the obnoxious baboon you are!”

“Huh?!?! WHO THE HELL ARE YOU CALLING A BABOON!” Einosuke screams louder.

“YOU! YOU FRICKING DUMBASS!!” Aoi screams back.
>>
>>4108677

It was getting rather hard to not laugh from this amusing banter between Einosuke and Aoi. Out of all the things he could have called you, a mountain ogress wasn’t the worst thing compared to jealous hag-like Ubagabi, Aonyōbō, or an Onibaba. Wasn’t like you could just tell them the truth that you’re actually a fifteen year old girl with the body of a full-fledged adult. Even someone like Ozaki who looks mature can only pass off being only eighteen at best. Putting that aside, you focus your attention back at the fight. Trying to mimic what Einosuke was currently doing you try and flex your muscles and draw out more of your untapped muscle strength. Instinctively keeping your demonic strength from rising, you excite only your human half to bypass your natural inhibitors.

However, you begin to find such an act to be notoriously harder than you once considered as your first attempts only neet you with a feeble output. Even while distracted by the constant bickering with Aoi he still held the advantage in this power struggle. You, on the other hand, only kept up the unrelenting standoff between the unstoppable force and the unmovable object.

>How do you proceed?

>Continue wearing down Einosuke stamina and patience until he finally gives up
>Use the slight strength boost to break your hands out of his vice grip
>Try again to mimic Einosuke and tap into greater unreleased strength and bulldoze Einosuke out
>Start using headbutts to disrupt his motion and stagnate him
>Pull Einosuke close and try to do a grapple
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4108628

Current tally

SP: 6/6
ESP: 3/2
SR (Stored Roll): 1 Reroll, 1 Nat 1
>>
>>4108678
>>Continue wearing down Einosuke stamina and patience until he finally gives up
>>
>>4108678
>Use the slight strength boost to break your hands out of his vice grip

Time to finish this.
>>
>>4108678
>>Use the slight strength boost to break your hands out of his vice grip
>>
>>4108678
>Use the slight strength boost to break your hands out of his vice grip

Let's try not breaking his hands or fingers. We still have people to save!

I wonder if there's a swordsman with a reverse-blade katana wandering about.
>>
>>4108708

You literally just met them an hour ago. It's Kagura

>>4108685
>>4108686
>>4108708

Anyway, it looks like we're going for comback. So give me a d20 roll.
>>
Rolled 10 (1d20)

>>4108710
>>
Rolled 9 (1d20)

>>4108710
Heres for more FLEXING
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>4108710
>>
Rolled 9 (1d20)

>>4108710
tiniest flex
>>
>>4108710

Thanks to your sudden stroke of genius you manage to return the game into a crawling standstill. All while retaining as much of your stamina as possible. Although you still hold the advantage in this game of attrition, that didn’t mean you were out of danger. As you start to understand Einosuke was highly unpredictable yet equally cunning when he wants to be. So without any offensive options, he can easily use this predicament of yours to recover his lost stamina before adopting again. With your legs buried deep into the ground, your options were even more limited than before. Sure it kept you from falling into the pitfall of losing your balance or being thrown out. However, it came at the cost of losing all manner of acceptable kicking options in this sumo bout. If you could just free your hands then at least your options wouldn’t be so severely limited.

Utilizing your slight increased strength you begin to forcibly pry open those fingers with careful finesse and precision. Einosuke was hella strong but at the end of the day, he’s still a human being, although at top peak condition especially at his age. If you were careless then you can end up dislocating or even breaking a finger, and that was the best-case scenario. Tearing off someone’s fingers was the last thing on the things to do to win over someone’s trust. Therefore, your body instinctively further suppressed your demonic strength, filtering out any outside force as it was all human power. Bit by bit you start to gradually overpower Einosuke’s vice grip, weakening it as best you can. Just barely gathering enough strength and control for the act you steadily push Einosuke’s fingers back. To which he tries to clamp them back upon discovering what you're trying to do. But even it was too late as you reached your goal.

“Now!” You scream, exerting a slight jump in force as you forcibly push your fingers against Einosuke finger joints. A combination of spreading the fingers and hitting at the joints at the right time caused a sudden break in Einosuke’s tight, iron vice grip. Thankfully it wasn’t enough to cause any sprain to his fingers, but it was however exactly what you need as they froze up for a split second. Allowing you to reel your fingers back, finally breaking out of the vice-grip.

“What the hell?!” Einosuke blinks, finding his impressive hold after lasting so long finally broken by a split second release.
>>
>>4108795

With your hands-free, you suddenly flick Einosuke’s arms back, pushing him away as you disrupt his motion. Archiving your arms back you flick your fingers rapidly, recovering your strength and dexterity in readiness over your next attack. Quickly you dispell the numbing effect you endured under such a long power struggle. But in that time you notice that there was an opening in Einosuke’s defenses. Having his hand knocked back left Einsouke stunned as he slowly staggers back to avoid your striking range. If any time was important to make a swift decisive decision, now was that time.

>How do you proceed

>Thrust your hands into a powerful open palm twin strike and push Einosuke out
>Try to reach for Einosuke’s arms and throw him with the added momentum
>Crouch down and aim for a grappling move and seal the match of attrition
>Use your arms as a feint to trick Einosuke before striking with a strong headbutt
>Pull yourself back and continue playing defensively
>Trick Einosuke by creating an opening, withstand his blow and send him flying with a counter
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4108796
>>Thrust your hands into a powerful open palm twin strike and push Einosuke out

Finish him.
>>
>>4108796
>Thrust your hands into a powerful open palm twin strike and push Einosuke out
>>
I just hope our other search party aren't fighting for their lives while we're mucking about in a friendly sumo match.
>>
>>4108796
>>Thrust your hands into a powerful open palm twin strike and push Einosuke out
>>
>>4109107
I am going to presume they are dealing with their own token asshole teammate.
>>
>>4108796
>>Thrust your hands into a powerful open palm twin strike and push Einosuke out
>>
>>4108873
>>4109034
>>4109186
>>4109358

Alright, going to need you to give me 2d20s. The second die roll will be privy after the rolls.

>>4109190

They're stuck with Kaigaku. So much worse than the famboyant dofus Einosuke.
>>
Rolled 8, 20 = 28 (2d20)

>>4109401
Dice!
>>
Rolled 16, 14 = 30 (2d20)

>>4109401
>>
Rolled 14, 18 = 32 (2d20)

>>4109401
>>
>>4109406

Do note you have the option of saving a nat 20 for something later. I'll let you make another roll or choose to trust your fellow anons if you so choose to do so.
>>
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>4109424
Let's rock.
>>
>>4109428

To recap

Current tally

SP: 6/6
ESP: 3/2
SR : 1 Reroll, 1 Nat 1, 1 Nat 20

Maxed out so far so keep in mind how you want to use your resources in the future. But there's no time limit so there's that.
>>
>>4109401

Seeing the opening you created you charge forward to take full advantage of it. Although you could’ve just equally won if you continue just turtling you feel like it wouldn’t be a win capable of getting the flamboyant shinobi on your side. That and the fact you’re stubborn, anything less than a decisive victory wouldn’t be satisfying for you. Arching your arms back for the windup, you lean forward to put yourself into striking range. However, a small grin starts to form on Einosuke’s face. Seeing the slight movements from this range alerted you first hand what Einsouke was going to do. His opening was a mere act of deception as he flung his arms too quickly rebalancing himself while distancing himself from your range. Now on the other side of the ring, Einosuke flexes his muscles, preparing for a swift counter-attack.

Stomping forward, he starts cultivating his immense leg strength as he dashes quickly. Not giving you any chance to pull back and defend, Einosuke instantly closes the distance with his arms getting ready for the next attack. Harite, otherwise called “open hand slap” is a standard technique of sumo wrestling. Since closed fist aka punching is not allowed, open-hand techniques such as a slap or palm thrust were highly implemented into the arsenal for this ancient martial art. But event he Harite has limits on the application as a wide-arc 90 degrees slap, for instance, was highly frowned upon. Still, the Harite was often considered to be a highly flexible tool as many different techniques derivate from this basic move. And from the look of Einosuke’s impending technique, it was no different.

“Sōryū Toppashō (Twin Dragon’s Open Palm)” Einosuke screams.

Through a rather most distinct difference lays in execution, Einosuke delivers a powerful concussive force against your chest. Firing out the rotational energy and kinetic buildup in a dual-palm strike instead of a traditional straight punch. Yet this force of application cultivated the rotational force of one's motion until it spiral into two different whirlpools to maximize the damage and contain the explosive power. Although you could probably see that the technique was originally meant to harmonize and strengthen the two forces in a constant singular loop for inflicting weaker but continuous damage. Worse yet was the fact that Einosuke was targeting your respiratory system to disrupt your breathing and weaken your overall flow and control. Again chalk it to him to develop an unorthodox yet highly effective means of disruption.
>>
>>4109744

In spite of this, you merely weather through the storm of his attack, enduring the full brunt of the assault while simultaneously cushioning concussion force threshold and raw pressure. The kinetic energy, however, was much harder to soften the blow as it spread out in a series of ripples, magnifying the damage and impact. It was enough to cause you to cough up blood in between your strike. Gritting your teeth molars to the point of crackling, you stomp your dominant foot forward, pushing forward against Einosuke. Utilizing the moment of both yourself and Einosuke’s to the zenith degree, your palms start to cultivate, wrap and then transfer the momentum into a singular fierce motion, yielding incredible amounts of force and raw power. Almost in the exact same way, you struck against Einosuke, hitting his shoulders to paralyze his arms while pushing him away.

“Hakka Soudoushō (Eight Trigrams Double Pulsating Palms)” You cry out defiantly.

The two collective atmospheric forces clash fiercely against one another, generally a powerful knockback throughout the entirety of the arena. Naturally, Aoi found herself being pushed back from the updraft of the highly compressed airforce. Your body on the other hand forcibly withstood the brunt force, relying on the fact your legs were buried deep into the ground to support you through the raging storm. But the one who had it the most was Einosuke as unlike you didn’t have any foundation. Seem almost ironic that his charging sprint would ultimately backfire on the self-proclaimed shinobi. In the end, Einosuke’s body would fling itself out of the ring, stumbling across the ground like it was following ragdoll physics until he finally hits a tree. Causing Einosuke to cough violently before slumping down onto the ground.

With Einosuke now out of the ring you were left to kneel down to the ground clenching your chest. Now reduce to coughing up a storm your breathing was thrown out of whack from the impending attack. Receiving it first hand gave you a strong indication that Einosuke knew full well how tough your thick hide was. Hence why he aimed for an attack that can bypass such hardness and strike with the full explosive power internally rather than externally. Only able to make deep wheezing sounds, you refrain from straining yourself further by trying to speak. Choosing to instead treat the rampant chest pains and intense throbbing with your breathing, you struggle for a good while before ultimately beginning to recover from the attack.
>>
>>4109745

Twitching in annoyance to being knocked back by both attacks, Aoi momentarily stares at the ground with a burning irritation. It didn’t take her long to bounce back in comparison to the two of you who managed to do a serious number on each other. Dusting her attire in frustration Aoi turns to look between you who was kneeling down and Einosuke was seemingly unconscious from the attack. Judging from where he currently stood it was obvious who the victor was. Nevertheless, Aoi took a moment to wait for you to stabilize your breathing before lifting your left arm up into the air in traditional fashion.

“Since Einosuke has been thrown out the ring and suffered a knockout, the winner of this sparing round is Byakuren Shimizu.” Aoi decree, causing you to nearly giggle in joy before winching deeply from the pain. Luckily neither of you were badly hurt but that attack surely knocked the wind out of you for quite some time.

Seeing Einosuke suddenly spring back to life through the twitching of his body made Aoi lower her eyes, predicting the worst-case scenario. “Don’t tell me you still haven’t had enough yet?”

“No, this is my loss. I’ve been bested in this contest of strength. Tsc, it’s frustrating but for now, I have to admit that Byakuren Shimizu is stronger than me. She’s a true man. “ Einosuke pauses, folding his arms after looking at the wheezing white-haired woman before staring deeply at himself in the reflection. The feeling of frustration and disappointment in himself ran high but like a stroke of lightning, Einsouke quickly bounces back with a vengeance. “ But next time I swear the great Einosuke Kazama will beat you, Byakuren Shimizu, so don’t let this victory go to your head!” Einosuke dramatically points, once again oozing with confidence and vigor.

“Oh come on! You lose and now you want to go at it again. Just how bullheaded can one person be!” Aoi shouts, helping you up to your feet while narrowing her eyes at Einosuke.
>>
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2.23 MB
2.23 MB PNG
>>4109751

“ Hmph, there’s no point in doing another round in sumo. We’re still in a survival course where anything can happen. If you’re really serious about wanting to save everyone then you’re going to need every second you can get. A true man always keeps their word.” Einosuke remarks, folding his arm before walking towards you. “Besides, if I’m going to fight Byakuren, and believe me I will, I want it to be a true battle where we can go all out without interference or handicaps.”

Once he was in range did he suddenly drop to meet you eye to eye. “Next time, this man, the great Einosuke will teach you to look down at me and not use your full strength,” Einosuke says, staring intensely as you find yourself caught off guard at Einsouke’s perception. Then again, knowing your muscularity and conditioning inside out, it wasn’t that unusual for someone like Einosuke to figure out that you were still hiding something.

“Wow, that’s...actually very mature of you. I’m shocked.” Aoi blinks, finding herself rather impressed at how mature Einosuke was being as he helps you out of the ground. You dug yourself rather deep and in your current state, it’ll be unfortunate if you hastily try to pull yourself out only to snap your ankle.

“Bite me nameless extra. I just happen to respect those who shine brightly. And Byakuren is shining like the full moon above us. Thus I acknowledge her as my rival and co-boss. ” Einosuke says, not turning his attention to Aoi, much to her growing annoyance.

“Co-boss?! You’re the one who lost to her. If anything you should fully acknowledge that you’re her subordinate.” Aoi bickers, pointing at Einosuke who only cleans out his ear in annoyance.

“It’s feeble ambitions like that is why you’re weak Futaoi Nanazaki! The strong should always pick fights with those stronger than them and stripe the hierarchy between the two. I found such a person and therefore became aware that this man, Eniosuke Kazama can get much, much stronger. ” Upon hearing Einosuke saying that you find yourself finally freed from the ground and back to breathing to a somewhat stable condition. Now having completed

“Oh for the love of! It’s Aoi Kanzaki! A-O-I K-A-N-Z-A-K-I. Get it fucking memorized you brainless buffoon!” Aoi fumes, reaching her breaking point with Einosuke.

“Not now Tsuzuraoizaka. We need to save those nameless nobodies called extras. Now follow me!” Einosuke laughs, moving ahead to lead the group to the next encounter.

Closing her eyes and smiling, Aoi simply grips her hand as a multitude of anger marks forms throughout her body. “...I’m going to kill him….I’m actually going to kill him. Mark my words, even if it’s the last thing I do...I’ll kill that insufferable bastard.“

>How do you proceed?
>>
>>4109752

>Go to the Rendezvous point and meet up with Kagura and Makomo
>Continue searching for demons with Einosuke and Aoi for now
>Try to find another comrade with your team's combined senses
>Try to temper both Einosuke and Aoi as you exchange conversation
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4109753
>Try to find another comrade with your team's combined senses
>>Try to temper both Einosuke and Aoi as you exchange conversation

Do not think this is incompatible.
>>
>>4109753
>>Go to the Rendezvous point and meet up with Kagura and Makomo
>>
>>4109753
Support for: >>4109786
>>
When it's our turn to be annoying, how about we drone on about all the places outside of Japan that we wanna go to?
>>
>>4110603
Alternatively, food and/or boys.
>>
>>4110866
Aoi would probably prefer fighting than listening to us talk about what we like.
>>
>>4110916
Aoi will soon realize that her life has essentially turned into a comedy once she starts traveling with Byakuren and co.
>>
>>4109786
>>4109959

Forcing yourself into an awkward yet strained chuckle you go back towards grabbing your stuff and putting back on your upper body clothing. Afterward, you try to catch up with the others, still grabbing Einosuke’s clothing and having him wear it for everyone’s sake, yours especially. With the amount of time spent mucking around having a sumo match was actually much shorter than anyone considered. It was roughly only ten minutes but even then one would have to worry about the looming threat lurking on the horizon. But you still justify it out of having Einosuke on your team, no matter how much Aoi would strongly disagree. From your bout with the flamboyant shinobi gave a strong indication of his strengths. Making him all the more valuable.

From Aoi’s vast amounts of medical knowledge and pharmaceutical fields including chemistry to Einosuke extensive ninja expertise and acrobatics/performance arts including knowing how to completely control body for feats such as contortion. It gave way to a rather diverse team setup. Not unlike to Makomo and Kagura, your current setup covered a wide array of support based and supplementary skills. In laments terms, you were stuck with a healer and a damager. Compared to Kagura’s all-rounder and Makomo’s Area/Crowd Controller, you find yourself feeling more the backbone of the combat field rather than just a supplementary tool enhancing the effects.

Judging from their clashing opinions, you feel less inclined to think you could pull off team combo as smoothly and quickly like Kagura and Makomo. One was a flamboyant showoff and the other was a no-nonsense craven. Both practically the other’s anthesis as evidence by their clashing personalities and verbal ticks. Again, you were put out of your comfort zone having to work with such potentially dangerous elements. But like your Grandma Guren once said: “adversity brings forth opportunity”. There was a good team in this combo and it was up to you, the jack of all trades to bring that out.
“Umm, so let’s try talking about something else. How about breathing styles?” You mention, keeping up a softspoken and soothing voice to try and temper the tension between Einosuke and Aoi.

“And why should we do that?” Aoi asks, giving a rather skeptical look instead of snapping at you like you predicted and braced yourself for. “I don’t know about you but I think I can do without another repeat of this man, Einosuke Kazama’s self-proclaimed Breath Style.”

“Huh?!” Einosuke cries, getting himself ready to drop another aggressive rant until you abruptly cut him off.

“Well, it’s only fair to share since Einosuke told us his unique breathing style, Breath of the Storm.” You respond, putting your index finger together. Both Aoi and Einosuke look at you closely before silently accepting your suggestion.
>>
>>4112038

“I’ll start us off. I use Breath of the Flames for my breathing style. However, due to my...complications, I ended up developing my own application of it using my family’s specific breathing techniques. Azure Flames instead of the normal orange flames. On its own, it’s much cooler and doesn’t produce much heat if giving off any at all. But the blue flames often escalate rather quickly and potently burn much hotter than regular flames when exposed to a greater volume of fuel or last for prologue experiences. “You explain, eyes lighting up an enthusiastic manner, not unlike your Aniki Kyojuro Rengoku.

“My master Jingo ended up comparing it to my slow nature since it takes a while for me to rev myself up to my full potential. My senior pupil and Aniki Kyojuro once compared it to a blowtorch with how compressed and highly concentrated it is. But he also seems to imply there’s something different about these Azure Flames, dubbing them the flames of the afterlife. I haven’t put much thought into it, but I have noticed it has some sort of siphoning effect.” You smile awkwardly, scratching the back of your head. Aoi lightly looks at you, rather surprised at who you were talking about. Einosuke, on the other hand, kept silent, giving a usually serious expression.

“Breath of Flames that turn a bluish-white hue but operate and survive in very low temperatures. If not flourishing under such conditions as evidence by what your description gave. You just continue being full of surprises.“ Aoi ponders, stroking her chin as she starts breaking down the art. The cool fire phenomena were rather uncommon but have been used on numerous occasions throughout history. Although it is a more recent practice in terms of science rather than folklore rumors.

“Flames of the afterlife eh? Unsurprisingly that a Miko like you would have purifying flames in your arsenal. It doesn’t hold a candle to my Storm style but I can feel a strong shred of flamboyance in managing to burn brightly in low temperatures. This man, Einosuke approves your unorthodox style.” Einosuke smiles, giving a thumbs up to you while Aoi only rolls her eyes.


“That just leaves you, Ms. Kanzaki. You previously told me you were developing a unique breathing style. Mind telling me more about it?” You ask, again trying to temper the different emotions between your party members.
>>
>>4112059

“It’s called Breath of Medicine. It’s a style meant to take elements from the water, flower, and insect breath to mold together a unique style that focuses on medical applications on the human body. It utilizes momentum along with quick, single motion attacks be it thrusts and jabs like the insect breath and fluid slashes and cuts like the flower breath. The adaptability and fluid motions of the water breathing is how I’m able to combine the two principles together into a tangible and effective way of fighting. It’s still in the experimental stages but its potential is quite high. “ Aoi explains, keeping her distance from you who was sparkling with strong fixation at the art.

“Oooh! That sounds amazing. I can’t wait to see it once you complete the breathing style. I’ sure you can do it.” You smile enthusiastically, raising Aoi’s moral with your reassuring attitude.

Turning away from you to hide her blush, Aoi merely folds her arms. “Of course I can. It’s not a matter of if, only when. But once I do I’ll make sure you’re the first one to see it.”

Choosing to interrupt this otherwise touching moment, Einosuke lets out a disappointed sigh. “Bah, no wonder why you’re such a klutz. Trying to combine three different styles even if two of them are variations of the Water Breathing style is far too difficult for someone like you.”

“And what makes you say that!” Aoi yells, losing her warm feeling of confidence with a frozen glare now in its place.

“Because you’re a coward! I can practically feel your hesitation and doubt like a gloomy winter breeze. Such weak willpower and resolve will never let that style manifest properly. You’re better off using something else than a half-assed breathing style.” Einosuke points out, surprising you at his dexterity and hand gestures despite the three of you been running during this conversation.

“Einosuke you don’t need to say something like that. Everyone feels fear, especially when dealing with a new, unknown environment. “ You mention, turning to calm Aoi down while lightly lecturing Einosuke. “You can’t tell me you never once doubted yourself or hesitated when dealing with such uncertainties.”

“That’s right, I never doubt myself or my abilities. In the world of the ninja, one must never let themselves hesitate and fall into despair. The slightest sign is usually enough to decide the course the battle will take in the end. We ninja train ourselves to control our emotions and pick up on the slightest of tells. If we allow ourselves to become dull and weak for even a second, then our enemies will bring upon us a swift death.” Einosuke exclaims.
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>>4112079

Making a more serious expression, Einosuke thinks back to his experiences and the comrades he lost in the field of being a shinobi. “Living every moment like it can be your last is apart of the ninja creed. That’s why I don’t bother thinking about such trivial. The moment you doubt yourself is the moment where you lost. In the heat of battle, to lose and to die are often one and the same. That’s why until I’ve died, and only when I, myself the great Einosuke have truly accepted it, that’s when I’ll say that I’ve lost. Until then I’ll never give up nor accept defeat. I’ll never waver or let myself allow my actions to become a lie.”

“That’s the difference between the real deal and just a pretender. A lesson that the sound pillar, my Aniki Tengen Uzui taught me. “ Einosuke said, closing his eye and jumping forward as he adopts silence. Leaving Aoi gripping her hands in frustration. She couldn’t refute his words, although brash and downright rude there was serious truth in his words.

“Einosuke…” You mutter softly. You were on a similar boat as you learned that lesson first hand. Part of you wanted to still comfort Aoi, but another part was willing to give the cold shoulder to jumpstart Aoi’s progression. Thus you were left at a standoff between emotions.


Before either of you got the chance to comment you are interrupted by a sudden sound. A loud, ringing noise that pulsates throughout the upper pathway. Lightly shaking from the pulse, you instinctively clinches your sword. Einosuke obviously was rather happy given his gleeful grin at the brush with the powerful vibration oscillation. Aoi, on the other hand, was more reluctant as she took a more defensive stance, trembling out of her growing anxiety. Just your luck that you’d end up running into a potential demon attack. Without the safety net of Kagura and Makomo around, you start to wonder if you can do this. At worst you’ll end up having to fight by yourself for obvious reasons. Having Einosuke working with you instead of going off his own would be an ideal situation. But then so would having Aoi work alongside you and Einosuke.

Whatever happens, you decided to act fast at the chance of helping out someone in danger and making up for the lost time. With closed eyes and some concentration, you try to focus your kinetic vision to a more straight line, telescopic vision. Operating akin to a scope, it sacrifices the stereotypical arc of kinetic vision for a greater linear view. Although you kept yourself careful with using such a vision in order to avoid putting extensive strain for prolonged periods. Slowly opening your eyes your vision quickly extends forward to catch a glimpse of what’s ahead. Passing through the trees and rocks your eyes make out two individuals.
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>>4112089

Focusing on the smaller target first it appears to be a short, young boy of light complexion with long, straight hair of a black color that faded to pale turquoise as it approached his waist. Appearing no younger than eleven years old, the mysterious boy stared blankly with his large, empty-looking, mint-green eyes. Currently wearing a black yukata with white trims alongside a matching umanori hakama, zori, and white tabi. His teal-colored obi sash was the only other color different from the black hue which matches his Hadajuban undershirt. Welding just a plain green katana, the mysterious boy stood his ground with his blank, empty expression. Strangely you couldn’t feel any shred of fighting spirit or presence. Even his emotions were hazy and empty, becoming almost unreadable.

In comparison to the small boy was a towering one-eyed giant with deep blue skin. Wearing the exact same clothing as the previous demons you can start to assume that the demons you currently running into are related to Buddhist monks and hermits. Talk about irony given your background and current status as a half-demon. Nevermind that, the giant currently stands at three hundred and sixty-six centimeters with a giant head having to at least be one fourth its total height. Having long, powerful limbs, thick skins, and large hands and feet along with skull-like necklaces in place of the Buddhist beads gave way for a terrifying powerhouse. From this description, you recalled a creature as Aobōzu among the many yokai told by your mother during storytime.

Upon closer inspection, it appears that the Aobozu was disarmed by a swift slash, resulting in it having to regenerate its arm by consuming its own detached arm. Seemingly getting around the fact the loaned swords were capable of halting a demon’s regeneration much like the actual nichirin blades. With its newly regenerated arm, the Aobozu glares deeply at the mysterious boy, keeping its distance while still hunching back. Either way, you were going to end up getting involved in yet another battle.

>How do you respond

>Head out on your own and use a swift battojutsu attack
>Cordenate with Einosuke and Aoi and go for a trinity attack
>Try for a two-pronged attack with Einosuke while the demon is distracted
>Stand in a defensive four-directional movement, rotate in between to defend and counter at any chance
>Grab the boy and retreat for now as you defend any attacks thrown your way
>Scatter around the battlefield ant attack at different points
>Other [write-in]
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>>4112093
>Try for a two-pronged attack with Einosuke while the demon is distracted

Let's also ignore the fact we did something as lewd as holding hands with a crush.
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>>4112093
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>>4112093
>>Coordinate with Einosuke and Aoi and go for a trinity attack

Two weakening attacks, finisher. Worked well before.
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>>4112093
>>Cordenate with Einosuke and Aoi and go for a trinity attack

>>4112101
We better not realize it, otherwise we'll be a blushing mess.
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>>4112163
>>4112395

Alright, make your rolls. 2d20, one for actual execution and second is getting Aoi to woman up and help.
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Rolled 10, 2 = 12 (2d20)

>>4112615
>>
Rolled 19, 13 = 32 (2d20)

>>4112615
>>
Rolled 18, 17 = 35 (2d20)

>>4112615
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>>4112640

Okay if you have any inspiring speech/dialogue for Aoi. Well, post them now.
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>>4112746
Nothing besides generic “you can do this” and “for normal people who are not fearless crazies it is about how you overcome the fear you feel, not about somehow not feeling it” I got nothing.
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>>4112746

Yeah, really got nothing since we're rather stupidly stubborn.
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>>4112758
>>4112774

Fair enough. Stubborn refusal to let your friends keep putting themselves down/act shamefully is a pro-Byaku move.

Also, who is doing what for formation. I can probably assume what you're going for but I like to know before hand.
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>>4112789
I'm pretty much game for anything so far.
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>>4112789
As long as Aoi gets to show off that 17 courage roll, it is all good. Whoever lands the killing blow and whoever works to incapacitate does not matter, although I think that Aoi would prefer to go in the first wave of attackers after all this which leaves either Byakuren, Einosuke or even Muichirou for the finisher.
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>>4112615
>>4112789

“Are you seeing what I’m hearing right now?” Aoi asks, showing reasonable concerns as her ears twitch a bit.

“If it’s a giant blue-skinned demon hunching around like a camel then yes we’re on the same wavelength.”You blink lightly, trying to confirm that your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you while lightly jabbing at the situation.

“...I was afraid you’d say that.” Aoi laments with a worrisome expression.

“Finally something of value shows up. This man, Einosuke Kazama has been growing rather tired of fighting small fry during the time before meeting the two of you.” Einosuke gleefully cheers, feeling all the more motivated.

“..You would find excitement fighting a literal giant,” Aoi whispers, tilting her head away in annoyance.

“Alright here’s the plan. Einosuke and I will go in, exchanging powerful swift attacks to distract and paralyze the Aoubozu. When it’s weakened and unable to dodge, that’s when you Aoi will decapitate the demon with a strong attack. “ You explain, distracting the two from otherwise butting heads once again.

Staring at you with genuine confusion, Einosuke loudly objects. “Huh?! You want to leave the finishing touches in slaying the demon to the cowardly extra? Well not like it matters since this man, Einosuke Kazama will tear it down asunder. Between the two of us Byakuren, I’d doubt that she’ll even get the chance.”

“..As much as I hate letting that side, I’d have to agree with the loudmouth. The mysterious boy is more of a valuable teammate than I. I can hear something present in him...Strength unrealized, but the current amount of innate aptitude balances it to unrivaled status. Accompanying that is a clear and empty mind, tranquil and still. I can’t get a read of his intent or kenki (offensive aura). It’s like he’s completely deprived of emotions. ...But there’s something else. Something buried deep in a seemingly endless fog. ..Rage.” Aoi explains, closing her eyes to listen closely to the beats she was picking up.
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>>4114642

“Rage?” You ask, tilting your head in mild confusion. He didn’t appear angry at all.

“...Yes. A rage that’s so strong that it feels like it’s the source of the endless mist. Honestly, I don’t know which is more terrifying. The giant demon ahead or the small boy carrying such omnipresent rage. It’s the loudest sound I’ve ever heard. Even with it being damper and dull, I can still hear it clear as day. Only one other sound I heard today comes close to it…” Aoi pauses, really feeling herself out of place with all these mavericks and abnormals.

“Bah! Who cares if he’s full of unyielding rage or serene as the night sky. None of that matters. It should be common sense. Everyone who came to the final selection all has their experiences with demons and thus formed grudges with them. In spite of that, what matters now is if we’re going to go as scheduled or let the little twerp handle this demon.” Einosuke barks, pointing deeply at the scene before turning back to you.

Shaking your head in response, you shift your eyes back to Einosuke. “No. we’re going to continue as planned. No matter how strong or talented he is, we’re all going to need to work together to survive. So having him on our team in top condition is ideal.”

“Sounds good!” Einosuke smiles. As this conversation concludes your eyes shift towards Aoi, noticing the subtle trembling coming from her. But more importantly, you pick up the first hand the self-defeatest attitude that you once had in the past. Practically hitting home to you, you make your way to try and console the frightened, normal girl.

“Aoi, I know you must be feeling defeated being around such strong people. So much in fact that you can’t even convince yourself that you’ll make any lick of difference. But you mustn’t think like that. Remember what Makomo and Kagura’s words. “ You remind Aoi with a warm smile, kneeling to look at her face to face.
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>>4114656

Slowly you place your hands upon Aoi’s shoulders, you then temper her fears with some sage advice from your Aniki Kyojuro. “The weakest people are the ones with the greatest potential. Being weak allows you to be aware of your circumstances and how to overcome them. But in this contest between us and the demon, there’s another factor. An enemy can only be aware of so many enemies at once. When facing so many enemies, they’ll have to make a choice to allocate that.”

Taking a brief moment to think about it, Aoi’s eyes briefly widen as your smile widens ever so slightly. She didn’t respond but you can tell that she was thinking exactly what you wanted her too with your speech.

“Yes, usually they’ll prioritize the strong ones. Those who are weak won’t have much if any the enemy’s attention and focus. Thus the weak can take advantage of the enemy dropping their guard and do something unexpected to turn the tides. In a battle, the slightest shift in the currents can drastically change the outcome of a fight. In an instant the tides can turn, opening up the path of victory without hesitation. So never think you can make a difference or will just get in the way. Every bit counts especially in these battles for survival.”

Removing one of your hands from her shoulder, you soon point to your chest before pointing to Aoi’s. A subtle sign of the bonds between you as you feel fist-bumping would take the importance of this impending moment away. “I believe in you, Aoi. For normal people who aren’t fearless crazies, it’s how you overcome the fear and anxiety you feel, not about somehow not feeling it. That’s why I know you can do it.” With that, you slowly rise back to your feet and begin to head out. Leaving Aoi to look down at the ground with a conflicted expression as you meet up with Einosuke.

“I think you’re putting too much faith in her. She’ll end up being spoiled if you keep babying her like that.” Eniosuke remarks, turning to briefly look at Aoi before turning away with a sigh.

“Maybe so, but I think you’re giving her too little credit. Your attempts to motivate her won’t go down and stick if the medicine is too bitter.” You lightly chuckle, nitpicking on Einosuke’s attitude while keeping a smile.
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>>4114677

Exchanging words between one another you feel yourself becoming rather close to Einosuke. Just a moment ago you were blushing behind a tree finding yourself unable to talk to him. Yet here you are, currently conversing about Aoi. While he was still your teenage crush there was a growing sense of camaraderie between the two of you. Having communicated through an honorable duel and fighting together more than made up for the short amount of time it took to start forming this relationship. Of course, you wanted to talk more, do stuff together and experience a whole bunch of things with Einosuke. But it wasn’t just him. Kagura, Makomo, Aoi, everyone you established a bond with you wanted to spend time with. The only way for you to do that was to survive this trial. And survive you were going to make sure happen for everyone.

Getting yourself into position both you and Einosuke start taking a sword stance as both you reach into striking range but still far enough to avoid notice. The mysterious boy was dodging effortlessly against the Aoubozu, like a leaf dancing motionless against the wind. The blue giant’s movements were sluggish and heavy, focused solely on raw power and size. Thus he was having a notoriously hard time-fighting something so small and agile. Seeing his nimble and graceful movements painted a vivid picture in your mind as to his skill level. To the mysterious swordsman, it was more of a game given his seemingly airheaded demeanor. In any case, this distraction was perfect for you to memorize the Aouzobu’s motions and time yourself with Einosuke.

Thinking real hard about what you and the others have said, Aoi stares deeply at her light blue Chokutō or straight sword. In her mind was the memory of her family as one by one they came into the light. From her old family of her mother, father and many siblings of different ages, Aoi could only look at herself with bittersweet emotions as the middle child. As they disappear one by one, the silhouette of another set of people came to replace them. It was the memory of her new family, the ones currently back in butterfly estate. Seeing them waiting patiently for her return only to be then greeted with the imagery of Kagura, Makomo and even Einosuke. Briefly reflectin upon this, the image of yourself soon plant your right hand on her shoulders, giving Aoi a reassuring smile
>>
>>4114680


Returning to reality, Aoi just starts to take a series of deep breaths. Closing her eyes to meditate as she focuses on drowning out her fears and focus on a single sound. Stabilizing her heartrate and quelling the tension and terror buried deep inside of her. Slowly but surely something begins to take form as she dives into the zone. Her muscles began to relax, body motions becoming fluid instead of ridged, a facial expression showing a calm, tranquil state. Her body was brimming with signs of transitioning into a serene state of mind. Her temperature starts to drop, signaling her breathing simulating the same sensation of a frosted breath. Cold air mixed with moister exerts from her mouth as Aoi shifts her temperature and affects the humidity. Before long she starts to take a stance in between breathing another cold breath.

“Musōdō (Nil-Thought Motion)...” Aoi mutters, slowly opening her eyes to reveal a rather blank, empty like stare. Not unlike that of the mysterious boy currently countering the Aouzobu’s every moves with his well-timed finesse and graceful footwork.

Seeing the change first hand after feeling a chilling presence, you kept your mouth shut throughout her attempts of meditation and self-hypnotism. Using her medical talents to tackle her insecurities through such means only proved yourself correct to have faith in the cowardly swordswoman. Unorthodox as it was it brought forth quite a change in character as you feel Aoi’s presence skyrocketing as the air gets colder. With no lingering thoughts, the three of you smoothly quickly time your motion and rhythm. On the next drop of the hat, the three of you spring forward in multiple directional points. Leading the charge surprisingly enough was Aoi as she continues to calmly travel at smooth, fluid motion.

“Breath of Frost...First Style... Shōkanpa (Piercing Cold Wave)” Aoi mutters.

“Breath of Storm’s First Style Shippū Jinrai (Hurricane Thunderclap)” Einosuke roars.

“Breath of Flames’s First Style Modified Shiranui Gekkōteru (Unknown Fire of Sunlight)” You shout

“Breath of Mist’s First Style Tōgasumi (Hanging Sky, Distant Mist)” The mysterious boy whispers.
>>
>>4114682


What came next was nothing short of a breathtaking sight of beautiful swordsmanship. Four consecutive attacks came at the Aoubozu at different tempos, throwing the giant off guard as it finds itself incapable of responding to the rapid mixed of fast and slow movements. Starting off the charge was Aoi as she passes through in careful and smooth motions. Rendering the Aoubozu’s impending strikes ineffective as Aoi dodges the blows, using the force to her advantage. With a short series of swings, Aoi manages to cut the Aoubozu’s tendons and damage the ligaments, leaving a bone-chilling presence as the low temperature and vacuum-like effect through the added momentum of her accelerated strikes manifests the icy effects that spread across the demon.

Next came Einosuke once Aoi vanished from the demon’s sight. Using the slipstream to work with his motion rather than fighting against it, Einosuke transition into a swift Battojutsu strike much like the Breath of Thunder’s first sword technique. However, unlike the parental technique, the storm’s style puts greater empathize on its explosive speed. Through supercharged footwork, Einosuke delivers a multitude of quick, single draw slashes in rapid fashion. Moving at incredible levels of dexterity Einosuke slashes the demon and utilizes the momentum to snap back his sword into his sheath only to repeat the process in a soft, continuous loop. Through precise timing, the multitude of slashes and deep cuts chain themselves together triggering an explosive hurricane around the Aouzobu, bringing its defenses down and stunning it.
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>>4114686

Lastly, that left you as somehow you and the mysterious boy seemingly reach the same strategy. Two straightforward sword thrusts against the demon didn’t exactly seem much in comparison to the spectacle your comrades made. However, these two attacks alone were highly sufficient to be dubbed Ichigeki Hissatsu or one-hit certain kill. Finding yourself being outpaced by the mysterious boy, you watch carefully at him shooting at the giant demon in a large, concentrated arc. What made it astonishing was the fact the boy seemingly act like that of a phantom, passing through the giant with selective transparency. Like that of pure mist as its vision was obscured. Not that it matters given the massive hole now pulsating around the chest cavity, further condemning the giant demon to its impending fate.

Twisting your body to build up further momentum and greater friction, you take full accustomed to the taichi sword loaned by your master Jingo. Making up for the lack of range and friction that your nodachi sword normally gives, you generate a highly concentrated burst of kinetic energy and fully temper the blade in a familiar bluish-white hue. In a quick, blinding flash you swing your spinning sword through the hole that the mysterious boy made. Nothing short of a blender wheel you grind your tachi sword immensely into the beast’s abdomen. Combing the force of the strike with the friction of the battojutsu brought forth an erupting sea of azure flames. Incinerating it from both within and without, the concentrated beams of compressed azure flames further amplifying the shredding effect as the demon burns to a crisp.

The victory was assured as the Aoubozu demon was no more. Thus leaving you to once again feel immense pride at pulling off another well-timed collaboration of different sword techniques. You weren’t sure how but there must be some sort of karmic force looking out for you. Or the fact you’re the only one who actually appears like a full-grown adult is what lets you lead this raged tagged group of teenagers so efficiently. Either way, you snap back onto reality upon smacking face-first into a tree. All that extra momentum made it a real pain to slow your decent if not stop it entirely.

>How do you proceed?

>Focus on the mysterious boy and try to be friendly while persuading him to join your team
>Turn your attention to Aoi and check up on her mental state
>Share a celebratory moment with Einosuke while telling him you told him so about Aoi
>Scout out ahead and leave the chatting to the others
>Other [write-in]
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>>4114694
>Turn your attention to Aoi and check up on her mental state

So where do you think Byakuren would like to travel if she ever got the chance? My money is on Britain, or maybe Italy.
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>>4114694
>>Turn your attention to Aoi and check up on her mental state
>>
>>4114694
>>Focus on the mysterious boy and try to be friendly while persuading him to join your team
>>
>>4114711

China or the UK would be the first that comes to mind. But within the UK Britan and Italy are high tier choices.
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>>4114711
>>4115397

I don't see these two being incompatible. So voting for both
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>>4114711
>>4114810
>>4115397
>>4116070

Hitting the tree with such tremendous force causes the large oak to wobble violently, leaving you to awkwardly twitch from the throbbing pain. If it wasn’t for the fact that you were a half-demon, hell if you weren’t conditioned all your life by highly competent if not questionably deranged, the swift collision to the large oak tree would’ve been enough to walk away with a broken nose and a strong concussion. Instead, the worse you were currently feeling was akin to getting a hard punch to the face. And if you discovered anything throughout your experiences, you can take all but the utmost of blows and bounce right back up like it was nothing.

Stubbornness was hotwired into your very being, right down to the core as you pull off impossible odds through sheer tenacity and force of will. Not unlike the very concept of mind over the body as multiple times during training you willed yourself when it was physically impossible to move, let alone continue. But such a thing is only possible when motivated by stubbornness at its zenith. Might not be how one would see such a concept coming into fruition but you weren’t one to reach the goal through traditional, straightforward means. Between this and manually learning how to control and refine your autopilot motion gave you the necessary tools to power through your crippling weakness. At least in theory.

Pulling yourself from the tree, wiggling your body to help dislodged your face, you suddenly spring back to life in a small tumble. Causing your onlookers to look at you with growing confusion. In light of this, you merely brush the debris off your clothing with one hand. Putting your weapon back into its sheath with the main threat no longer around. Once that was out of the way, you went to touch your nose. It was somewhat dislocated as blood was seeping out from your nose. Before it could get serious you merely resort to putting pressure on your nose to snap it back into place. With a loud snap, you recorrect the appendage in a rather impressive manner to the onlookers.

Looking around your surroundings you caught glimpse of the Aoubozu demon’s remains dissolving into nothingness. Yet another threatening demon has been taken down through your combined efforts. The three demons you fought so far carried the aura of eating at least a baker’s dozen of humans. Had you fought them upon your own victory may still be possible but at what cost? As you briefly ponder this you focus your attention back to your current comrades. Einosuke was being his typical self as he takes solace over his efforts leading to victory. The mysterious boy was staring blankly, looking rather odd with those empty dull eyes. As for Aoi, she was remaining in combat form, seemingly motionless and waiting for the slightest hint of danger.
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>>4116533

In the heat of battle, one develops countless skills and techniques to adapt to various situations and endeavors to further the chance of survival alongside succession. One of these was known as Issenreiki or battle aura. Every living creature gives off some sort of presence, a collection of different signs from their chi or lifeforce. Such as body language, verbal cues, their breathing, countless tellings that give the impression of their intent. Cultivating all of this, this surge of ki takes the form of Tōshi or fighting spirit. One usually sees it as the metaphoric if not sometimes the physical manifestation of one’s emotion, will and intent. Being adaptive to one’s nature it often shapes in a wide array of usage, the two most common is Issenreiki and the other being Sakki or Killing Intent.

Understanding this gave the basis for your unconscious motion and forcibly controlling your body regardless of the current state. So you know that Aoi was achieving something similar. That being a style rooted in science than mystic wisdom. Using her battle aura, it seems Aoi managed to achieve Autohypnosis. By self-hypnotizing herself the limitations on her body, Aoi can reach her true potential without being hampered by her fear and anxiety. But achieving such means left one stuck on stimuli and impulses govern by instincts. Instincts can only do so much and require extensive pre-programmed actions.

“Aoi” you softly spoke now having reached the motionless swordswoman. Carefully entering her territory without intent allowed you passage without retaliation. “Aoi, it’s okay. The demon is gone.”

Continuing your trudge forward you start to arch your arms, further showing the autopilot Aoi that you mean no harm. Bit by bit you made your way to her, feeling the cold air around her. Enduring through it you brace yourself to the best of your ability. Before anyone knew otherwise, you slowly move your arms around Aoi upon arriving. Putting her in a comforting hug, you begin to coddle and reassure Aoi. Upon making contact you can tell immediately that the short teenager was notoriously cold, causing your skin to shiver upon the touch. Still, you continue to keep your deep hug despite the bone-chilling cold.
>>
>>4116537

“That was a splendid performance. I never have seen such a breath style that’s so beautiful like a clear, winter night. It really made me feel like I was back home.” You smile, petting Aoi’s head who ends up hugging you tightly. “So thank you.”

Aoi merely cries in response, abet only shedding a few tears in her sleep. You could see there was a lot of baggage that Aoi clearly needs to work through. And just defeating the demon in front of her wasn’t going to wash away all that trauma. But deep down you know that she took the first step in fighting fear. The first step is often the most important step. Feeling an immense proudness from Aoi you softly smile to her, letting her cry it all out.

>How do you proceed?

>Take a break and check up on the other’s condition
>Continue moving forward as you carry Aoi through the way
>Set out to scout for anyone else around the current area
>>Focus on the mysterious boy and try to be friendly while persuading him to join your team
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4116548
>>>Focus on the mysterious boy and try to be friendly while persuading him to join your team

Talk with the guy of course. Then we can continue seeking out more people.

Although all that remains are nameless randos, saving people is good, and people attract more demons our doomstack could murderblend.
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>>4116548
>Focus on the mysterious boy and try to be friendly while persuading him to join your team
>>
>>4116548
>>>Focus on the mysterious boy and try to be friendly while persuading him to join your team
>>
>>4116593
>>4116798
>>4117200

It wasn’t long until Aoi’s body temperature went back to the stable standard along with the humidity returning to normal. As beautiful as that style was, it came with a buttload of dangers. Controlling one’s temperature and drop it to generate enough coldness for the Breath of Frost style’s requirement is noticeably difficult. The slightest mistake could end up doing some serious harm onto the body. All the more reason why one must be careful and never be rash when using it. All the more proof that Aoi has a lot of potential and talent to pull off such complex mechanics abet self-hypnotized so well. Of course, you never doubted Aoi for a second. Making you feel immensely proud of both your intuition and Aoi in general.

Turning your gaze from Aoi you turn your attention towards the mysterious boy. That same boy who you interfered in his fight to assist him. Just from a blink of an eye, this young swordsman managed to not only adapt to the situation by utilizing a perfect technique to capitalize, but he also managed to adjust his tempo to be in perfect sync with the rest of you. And to do it so easily too. While not at the all-rounder that Kagura is, this mysterious swordsman was certainly a swiftly mobile glass cannon. You couldn’t help but wonder if your assistance was truly necessary. Even so, you strongly didn’t doubt that what you did wasn’t the right thing to do. With that idea in mind, you shift your eyes to a softly serious expression.

“Um...what’s that term for the moon...hmm…” The mysterious boy ponders, looking closely at the moon after seemingly putting his sword back into the sheath.

Setting Aoi softly on the ground, letting her rest gently and using your haori as a blanket, you make your way towards the young boy. “It’s the full moon. And it’s a rather pretty sight tonight.”

“Oh...is that so?” The young swordsman blinks, lightly tilting his head in mild curiosity as he looks up your tall statue.

Spotting this you quickly kneel to meet him face to face, soon offering your hand to shake. “My name is Byakuren Shimizu. It’s nice to meet you. Sorry if we interrupted your fight like that.”

“Muichiro Tokito. You interfering like that doesn’t really bother me. Even with the intervene by the others, that one-eyed giant was more or less done for by my next attack. You just saved me time wearing it down.”Muichiro comments, seemingly not aware of your western attempt at trying to show gratitude and general friendliness with a handshake.
>>
>>4118031


Quietly explaining to him and taking his hand to shake it, you form a soft smile. Einosuke’s ears meanwhile twitch in annoyance at being considered a mere extra. But you quickly shot him a look telling him to calm down while keeping your smile. “Oh, well I’m glad that we managed to do just that. Anyway, you’re pretty strong. Especially for someone your age, you look no different than my twin siblings Keiju and Emiko. So I was hoping that you’ll come to join me and my comrades.”

“Why? You guys don’t seem weak enough that you need to be protected by me.” Muichiro asks, showing genuine signs of confusion.

“Well, it’s mainly that we need strong people to round up as many applicants as possible with the least amount of trouble. See I want to unite everyone taking the exam into one close-knit group like the famed Shinsengumi. I figured if we’re all bundled up together we can work together to cover any weaknesses or openings and survive the seven days and nights. If we all pull our strength together then nobody has to die.” You explain, showing genuine earnest sincerity and warmth.

Staring at you in between shaking your hand, Muichiro soon closes his eye and firmly holds your hand. Immediately you were met with quite the absurd paradox. Such a small and lean frame was housing exceptional amounts of physical strength. He was matching you if not overpowering you with his grip strength, though you were trying to hold back out of being deceived by his frame.“..Well you guys aren’t weak. You manage to be sufficient enough to achieve a nigh-perfect combo with one another and saved me some time slaying this demon. So I’m fine either way with teaming up with you. Not like I’ll remember the experience either way.”

“Really?! You will?! Thank you for accepting my request out of nowhere.” You gave out the biggest, warm smile you can as you practically hug the young swordsman. He was completely unfazed despite being buried underneath your full-figure in the hug.

“Again, I’m fine either way...since I’ll forget about it anyway. But if I have to give my opinion, I’d say its a pretty pointless waste of effort.” Muichiro bluntly states, giving off a rather cold tone despite his airheaded demeanor.
>>
>>4118034


“...What makes you say that?” You blink in concern as you soon pulls away to look at Muichiro.

“This exam from what I can tell is to measure our competency levels and overall skills. Those who aren’t talented or just plain weak will only be a burden. The idea of wanting to save people is admirable I guess and something worth fighting for. However, your level of the concept is also laced with sheer naivety that only a child would come up with. Aren’t you suppose to be a wise adult?”Muchiro explains, once again giving a sharp tongue which contrasts with his appearance. There was no malice or any sense of superiority coming from Muichiro. All you can understand that he wasn’t unaware of just how tackless he was being. But you were still sweating slightly at his adult comment, awkwardly unsure if you should tell him the truth.

“I can at least relate to the revenge obsessed folks since their reason is self-gratification. Self-preservation is also an equally acceptable viewpoint. Far easier to understand than this superman complex I’m seeing. “ Muichiro says, turning to look at Einosuke who was still angrily fuming at him and the sleeping Aoi.

“...Is there any reason why you’re bringing this up? I thought you agreed to join us.” You say, slowly dropping your smile and giving off a concerning stare.

Turning back towards you, Muichiro pauses for a brief moment. “No reason in particular. Just...for some weird reason, I feel like questioning your resolve. It’s not natural, it’s not what regular, normal people would do. “As Muichiro says this you notice that there was a seriousness underneath his wandering expression.
>>
>>4118036

“Putting the act of saving people over your own sake, teaming up with the weak, depending on their strength to force an outcome where nobody dies. All of that compassion is useless to humans. No amount of good you do for them will do you any good. People die, that’s just how it is. Those who can’t protect themselves shouldn’t be here. And to protect such people and give them a free ride into the demon-slaying corps is just cowardness disguised as kindness. ” Muichiro coldly remarks, making this all the more unsettling given that someone so young can talk with an arguably heartless tone despite being merely pragmatic. Hearing those words make you think back to the moment where you found your father and siblings in cold blood, your skin starting to turn pale.

“You shouldn’t burden yourself like that. You’re not very strong so saving everyone is next to impossible.”

>How do you respond?

>Calm yourself down through your breathing and speak from your heart
>Acknowledge Muichiru’s words while stubbornly refusing to back down on the matter as you embrace your emotions
>Challenege Muichiro to prove him wrong in his assessment of your character/skills
>Keep quiet on the matter and remind Muichiro that he promised to help you out
>Try to persuade him and win him over the matter with your charm
>Other [write-in]
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>>4118042
>>4118042
>Calm yourself down through your breathing and speak from your heart.

IDK Muichirou, I'd thought that survivor's guilt would be pretty familiar to you. I'd say Byakuren is pretty burdened as is. Not acting probably burns harder than anything else.

The polite answer probably would be that the purpose of Slayer Corps is saving people first, killing demons second. A more practical addendum would that rando slayers are useful against rando demons, and that allows Hashira's time to be used effectively on slaying powerful demons instead of chasing every single trash-tier cockroach across countryside every time.
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>>4118169
>that allows Hashira's time to be used effectively on slaying powerful demons instead of chasing every single trash-tier cockroach across countryside every time.

Really, there is enough material to go onto a small rant about how passing the exam is essentially roll of the dice for everyone but the most skilled. Perfectly servicible and even sometimes remarkable slayer candidates die before realizing their potential because they had the shit luck of encounter Hands Demon or his ilk. That is not good, and something worth rallying against.
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>>4118169

He's still very recent with his amnesia hence why Aoi can hear his overwhelming anger brimming from him despite being chill as fuck on the surface. But I won't lie and say Byakuren didn't inadvertently touch a nerve with her choice of words thanks to survivor's guilt.
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>>4118042
>Calm yourself down through your breathing and speak from your heart
>>
>>4118042
>>Try to persuade him and win him over the matter with your charm

>>4118178
Maybe someone will send a Slayer to another country to find out how their paranormal/supernatural/demonic slayers do things?
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>>4118042
>>Calm yourself down through your breathing and speak from your heart
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>>4118969
Supporting
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>>4118169
>>4118457
>>4118969
>>4118981
>>4119380

Diplomacy mixed with sweet innocence. Show me the d20 rolling magic.
>>
Rolled 10 (1d20)

>>4119386
Time for our cute girlish (womanly) charm points!
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Rolled 19 (1d20)

>>4119386

Hopefully we don't go all bulma on this
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Rolled 17 (1d20)

>>4119386
>>
>>4119388
>>4119390
>>4119392

Looks like our girly charm worked on them. I just hope they don't take this the wrong way like some of the others.
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>>4119457

Well, you don't know the art of seducing since you're a fifteen-year girl who skipped the lesson about the birds and the bees due to your father being unfortunately killed. It doesn't help that you were isolated most of your life to such activity in your wholesome small city and wilderness.

So all the implications and hilarity ensudes
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>>4112101

Late to address this but I'm actually going to bring that up now that the adrenaline is gone. Byakuren is as pure as DB Mai. So this will be amusing.
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>>4119494
>>4119498
Yes, we are truly a pure teenage shrine maiden who is unfortunately trapped in a super lewd body.
>>
>>4119457
>>4119494

“I thank you for being concerned with me...however. If I’m being completely honest, the burden I carry makes this as light as a cloud in comparison. Besides...I can’t exactly harden my heart and let people die y“know.” You said, closing your eyes out and making a bittersweet smile. Muichiro lightly pauses, noticing the resonating ambivalence between melancholy and scrupulous optimism. This wasn’t someone who wasn’t scrupulous enough to not know the gravity of her words or the pros and cons of wanting to save everyone.

Showing serious case of sanguine in spite of your nostalgic trip back down memory lane, you feel your post-traumatic stress disorder slowly lessen as you somberly look at the ground. “It might sound childish and unrealistic to priorities saving others especially everyone over my own sake. But so what? Is it wrong to not want to help others? Especially when they need it most. I’m sure nobody here wants to live with the burden of survivor’s guilt. I already have experienced it once, and I don’t want to do it ever again. Not when I have a chance to make sure that won’t happen.”

“In that case, why do you need to find others to assist you and create this team? Wouldn’t it be better for you to do it by yourself? It’ll be much easier than having to coordinate yourself with complete strangers.” Muichiro questions.

Closing your eyes and putting your hand against your chest, you softly smile, slowly emulating your mother’s serene mental state as she was nicknamed Ms. Peace of mind. “Because I’m not so delusional in my superman complex to not see the value of teamwork and cooperation. Let’s say I do manage to save everyone from seven days straight and eliminate all the demons, That’ll cost my entire life in the process for working so hard without rest. There’s a difference between being selfless and being downright stupid. I was taught first hand by my master to thoroughly know the difference. That’s why I want to work with others. “

“I still don’t see your reason. Even if teamwork is effective in this instance, wouldn’t you take higher priority in finding skillful people? You talk as if you want to team up with anyone regardless of their innate aptitude. Do you know how tedious and time-wasting that is? And for what? Putting ourselves at risk to save people with no talent or skill is just illogical and bare no merit. Not to mention the number of people we’ll have to continue protecting.” Muichiro blankly stares, still showing his airheadedness despite being somewhat more serious.

“Why is that? “ You blink, tilting your head ever so slightly.

“Huh?” Muichiro briefly studders in confusion.
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>>4119768

“I’ve been thinking about this for a while. This test is to examine our skills and resourcefulness in the heat of battle. But if that’s really the case then why group us together in the same area for so long? If the test really focused on finding the very best of the best, then they wouldn’t be doing such an arbitrary means of weeding it out. I think there’s a bigger reason where all here fighting with the only rules being that we survive until the exam is over. “ You ponder, lightly scratching your head in response as Muichiro finds himself speechless.

Turning your eyes back to Muchiro, you gave a more serious glance as you suddenly place your hands on his shoulders. “Also why you think something like abandoning others for your own sake is right? Or that saving others have no value or deeper meaning? Nobody knows what the future has in store. For all you know, perfectly serviceable and even sometimes remarkable slayer candidates die before realizing their potential because they had terrible luck encountering demons too strong for them or some unknown factor not taking into account by the proctors. Taking that into account only makes this exam appear less like an honorable test to prune out the weak and polish the talented into an arbitrary roll of the dice for everyone but the most skilled. That’s not good, and something worth rallying against.”

“...” Muichiro pauses, finding himself struggling with refuting your argument. Mostly out of it being too troublesome but even the airhead acknowledges the inconsistencies and arbitraries that this exam carries.

“The only thing we can decide is our own fate. So don’t talk like you’ve already accepted the worst-case scenario. Things will work out in the end. Don’t give up.” You boldly state, moving one hand to ball up into a thumbs up to try and further entice the airhead into coming to terms with looking at the silver lining and join your cause.

“There’s no point in telling me that. Besides, everyone around here is weaker than me. If I can’t do it then how can I expect others to achieve the same result? That’s just begging for a mental error to manifest from overestimating those people’s capabilities.” Muichiro says, turning back to look at your friends before briefly looking back at you. He was starting to show signs of uncertainty in his belief. Like they weren’t something that he himself truly believes and more like some sort of coping mechanism as you notice his verbal ticks and body languages.
>>
>>4119780

Lightly shaking your head, you resume to reassuring Muichiro with a warm, caring smile. “You can only do so much when you’re alone. That’s why people have to work together and support each other. That’s why I believe this is the best method for completing our test and succeeding.“

“You’re confusing. You’re saying that I have to depend on someone else in the end? How is that not the worst-case scenario?” Muichiro argues, tilting his eyes away as a brief glimpse of anger starts to rise to the surface.

Countering this you merely stick your tongue out and lightly bunk your head, switching to a more cutesy rendition to put out his growing uncertainty and frustration. To which Muichiro found himself almost laughing at your goofy antics. “I’m an idiot, unlike my sister the answers don’t come easy to me, no matter how hard I think about things, but I know the answer is out there. I’m sure if we work together we can reach the correct conclusion. It doesn’t have to be what I said. We can find a completely different answer altogether that’ll lead us down the same end goal. We just need to work together. Such a common factor of our humanity surely cannot be a worst-case scenario. It’s how we lived for so long, and it’s how we’ll continue living.”

“Helping other people also ends up being beneficial for you. And people...are living creatures who can draw out unbelievable amounts of strength for someone else’s sake. It’s one truth that I know from the bottom of my heart, and to this day I continue to see it come into fruition. Numerous times.”

“...What did you say?” Muichirou pause, his eyes widening at hearing your words. “Just now...like right now.”

Blinking a bit in confusion, you quickly resume having a smile on your face, putting your hand against his head. “I said helping people in general also ends up beneficial for you at the end of the day. You may not notice it on the first hand, but when you offer your hand to others, they become apart of you. A bond is formed between you, connecting the two of you as a pillar of strength and support. Even if its minuscule, that bond never truly leaves you as you slowly cultivate it through your life. One day that connection will grow into something truly bountiful and bring good fortune to you, one way or another.” You spoke, thinking back to all those who you met that was currently serving as your strength. "Besides, you don't really need a reason to help others ."

“....Why does that sound...so familiar?” Muichiro whispers, looking down at the ground as he grips his hands in frustration over the confusion.
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>>4119820

“Keeping all of this mind I can’t help but think the purpose of the Slayer Corps is saving people first, killing demons second. But at the end of the day, everyone has their strength and weakness. So wouldn’t the most practical addendum would have us use rando slayers against rando demons. Thus, allowing the more effective and talented people like Hashira to utilize their time more effectively like slaying powerful demons instead of chasing every single cockroach across the countryside every time?” You ask, hitting Muichiro's heart with a swift wave of realization. Breaking it down in a way that'll make even the most realist of people begin to see the errors in their judgment.

In addition to the rampant confusion, Muichiro starts to see visions beginning to plague his mind, forcing him into a cold sweat. “...I-I..” Muichiro studders, quickly placing his hand against his head. A ringing voice echoes across his head as inaudible words plague his mind. They were fuzzy and hard to read but the meaning in those words resonate deeply in his heart.

Seeing him struggling in pain you did the only sensible thing to you and suddenly embrace the confused young boy. Putting him close in between your chest you begin stroking the back of his head. Essentially doing all the things that your mother did to you whenever you were hit was mental anguish, you start putting your best effort into soothing Muichirou’s soul. Sensing this immense warmth sensation surrounding him, Muichiro unknowingly begins to sob. A memory from long ago begins to hit the boy, alerting you first hand that the aloof and airheaded swordsman was actually suffering deeply from amnesia. Something terrible must have happened to him to cause such a change.

Sensing this you feel yourself all the more compelled to comfort Muichiro and hold him tightly. Doing this manages to begin brightening up a heart that was covered in a deep fog as it teeters from descending into an endless void of darkness. The fog was deeply layered with many thickly dense sheets of misty clouds. So it wasn’t as if the full extent of the beckoning fog was erased flat out. Even so, a light begins to shine through, serving as the first step for Muichiro’s road to recovery. In that light, Muichiro begins to see your face. Not just your current face but seemingly your true, original appearance overlapping. Right beside you was an image of a sweet, motherly woman with long silky black hair and teal colored eyes.
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>>4119849

Seeing the two in questions Muichiro briefly passes out, muttering his last words “Mother..” before drifting into slumber. Leaving you to continue comforting Muichiro by putting him in between your lap like how your mother used to do, like a pillow. Einosuke found himself blushing immensely before turning his back to avoid looking at the sight any further. Aoi meanwhile found herself awakening mid-conversation having heard everything even in her slumber. With the worst timing, imaginable Aoi would see you smothering the young swordsman with cutely coddling although more accurately womanly charm as it left for a rather ...inappropriate train of thought.

Blushing furiously at the implications in front of her, Aoi rises to her feet and begins marching forward to you. “What the hell are you doing?!”

>How do you proceed?

>Tell her the truth while trying to calm Aoi down to the best of your abilities
>Calmly quietly Aoi while continuing to console Muichiro and coddle him out of his own trauma
>Ask Eniosuke to help assist you in appeasing Aoi as you focus back on dealing with Muichiro
>Read the atmosphere and ask Aoi what does it look like to her
>Other [write-in]

(Author's Notes: I had more to include like the realization of holding hands with Einosuke, but I'm going to save that for my next post. Anyway, you won over Muichiro and then some. opening up another route for shipping if you care about that stuff. )
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>>4119864
>Calmly quietly Aoi while continuing to console Muichiro and coddle him out of his own trauma
>>
>>4119864
>Calmly quietly Aoi while continuing to console Muichiro and coddle him out of his own trauma

I mean, doting onee-san route is always a thing. But let's keep options open for a bit.
>>
>>4119899

Equally doable. Just keeping the options open to pursue. Except Yuri, hard no there. Traps and effeminate boys are acceptable. Especially given this is still the period where they dress sickly boys as girls until 13 to protect them from curses/demons/calamity following both real-world history and folklore.
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>>4119932
Excellent.

Just hoping after all the insane stuff we've been doing, it takes a little bit of handholding to break us. The reactions of our comrades would be amazing.
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>>4119899
Doting onee-san sounds good to me. The age gap is not particularly extreme, but the timeline is such that Muichirou is still going to be a lil kid while Byakuren is going to mature into an adult for real. Not much space for romance.

>Calmly quietly Aoi while continuing to console Muichiro and coddle him out of his own trauma

-What- are you thinking, Aoi? Get your mind out of the gutter, you dirty girl.

Half-seriously though, traumatized child passed out in front of us, what we were supposed to do?
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>>4119945

You blowing kisses with someone is enough to make you shut down. I fear for Byakuren when she gets to the starting bat, much less first base.

>>4120020

Truthfully it's a three-year gap between the two of you like your siblings but then again your sibling needs will probably take higher priority. Not to mention the /ss/ attention given everyone assumes you're 20-25. So doting onee-chan works. Probably can even pull off the legendary "ara ara".
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>>4120086
I bet that our inner hollow is probably some sort of a deviant too. All rough, coarse and nonchalant as long as it is about /d/ sort of stuff, and total K-kyah! Sort of demonic schoolgirl when somebody actually tried sappy romantic stuff and actual mental intimacy.


>Probably can even pull off the legendary "ara ara".
>Pillar of Ara Ara
>Breath of the Onee-Sama
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>>4119878
>>4119899
>>4120020

Will get to writing relatively soon. Optional but not necessary, you can roll a d20 to flex your charisma onto Aoi.
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Rolled 9 (1d20)

>>4120216
>>
Rolled 10 (1d20)

>>4120216
>>
Rolled 15 (1d20)

>>4120216
>>
>>4120159
>>4120086

Probably one of the few times when our demeanor matches with our appearance.
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>>4120216

You gently look up to Aoi, coyly smiling at her as you see her fuming towards you for some reason. “What do you mean? Muichiro passed out so I’m letting him rest while everyone else recovers.”

She smiles sluggishly, “Of course. Leave the questioning and Gabriel to me.” She takes the adult chef by his hand.

Aoi stares coldly, eyes brimming with skepticism. “I can see that. What I’m asking is why exactly you have him resting against your lap like a pillow?!”

“Shhh, please be quiet Aoi. Muichiro finally got some sleep and from the looks of it really need it. So could you try to talk with your inside voice.” You remark, putting your index finger against your plush lips.

“I’ll be quiet once you explain yourself. I may have been unconscious but I can still hear everything. From the inner thoughts and feelings of others to downright accurately hearing conversations even in my sleep. All manner of sound and vibrations, no matter how small will escape my notice. So I know when someone is lying to me or not. In my slumber, I’ve been hearing...a rampant bouncing sound. So don’t think your bubbly buoyancy act will deceive me. You already were flustering over that self-absorbed primadonna, and now you’re getting rather chummy with a child.” Aoi points, nearly getting in your face as her finger touches your nose.

“He appears twelve from what I can tell, just like my siblings.” You point out, looking down at Muichiro.

“That’s still doesn’t make it acceptable! Now listen here, you may be a kind-hearted and great person but you’re suspicious. Everything you do is one confusing abnormality over the other. I just can’t understand you no matter how hard I try. You switch between acting like a complete child to the mature, cool beauty that you appear in a flash. Are you bipolar or something?! “ Aoi argues, her voice only getting louder as you cover Muichiru’s ears.
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>>4121852

“Ms. Kanzaki. I know you must be confused and still in shock from what happened. But I’m going to need you to calm down and trust me. Muichiro is carrying a lot of untreated stress and trauma in him. I don’t know what happened to him but I do know he needs my help. So please don’t interfere.” You ask, giving a more serious stare as your sibling protective instincts start to kick in. Giving a much heavy presence as Aoi finds herself staring at an intimidating yet consoling mountain bear.

“...” Aoi stares deeply for a moment, slowly tilting her head and letting out a long sigh. “Well you’re aren’t lying. And I don’t sense any nefarious reasons….even if I still think you’re an oddball.”

Closing her eyes and folding her arms Aoi commits herself to accept your reason. “Okay, whatever! I’ll let you continue nursing Muichiro and ignore what I thought I saw. Just don’t get any weird ideas you here. You already had a touching session with that blockhead over there, I won’t permit any more lecherous acts, especially from a grown woman like yourself.”

“Thank you, Aoi.” You smile.


Unintentionally, you suddenly think back to the sumo competition with Einosuke. Both of you were bare from the waist up, pressing against one another in fierce combat, tightly holding each other hands in a power struggle to push the other into submission. Countless scenes fester in your mind in constant looping, pilling up more and more as time goes on. What stood out the most was the fact that you were holding hands with Einosuke. Adrenaline alongside your competitive fighting spirit kept you from realizing just how close you’ve gotten to Einosuke. But neither of them was around as you begin to realize the folly of your actions.

In response to this realization, your rosy cheeks begin to furiously blush a deep shade of red, threatening to spread across your entire face. Curling up your lips into a frown and following up by your widening eyes, you start to shiver in embarrassment. Uncontrollable sweating followed by the rampant throbbing of your heart, you gave off a loud cluster of sounds that Aoi, unfortunately, was able to pick up on. Even your breathing was off as you take shallow, quick breathes while your muscles tense up from the implication. Now looking redder than a ripe tomato you make a w shape smile, trying your best to keep your cool.
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>>4121853

At this point you find your body becoming stiff and ridged, no different than a statue as you were now petrified. Steam starts to seep out from your ears, alerting others at your rising body temperature. Muichiro thankfully went on unable to notice your sudden changes. As for Einosuke, he was currently taking watch, so while he caught notice of your look it went right through his head at connecting the thoughts. So to him, he merely thought you were having some sort of fever from touching the ice queen herself. Again it seems like Aoi was the only one to realize the truth. The cool, mature beauty in front of her was as innocent as a child.

Realizing her own folly, Aoi claps her hands in front of you before covering her ears. “Alright, alright I get it! I’m sorry for bringing it up! Just calm down and stop fluttering before you have a heart attack!”

You start to relax your body and cease your breathing and, with every second attempt to lower your escalating body temperatures. Easier said than done given how this was the first time you ever made physical contact with a male outside of your family. Even the kids you played with didn’t do any sort of lewd things such as hand-holding or hugging to this exist. Thus you begin to start muttering loudly over holding hands and hugging Einosuke. Hearing it run on repeat constantly agitated Aoi, reminding her just how out of touch with romance and the mature things out there. Practically painting yourself as an innocent cinnamon bun. Eventually, you would finally come back to your senses,

Almost on time Muichiro opens his eyes, staring at two massive, round mounds as he thought back to the mountain where he lived with his family as woodcutters. Regardless, Muichiro slowly rises, brushing against your chest, alerting you of his presence.

“Oh, you’re awake~ You really brought us quite a scare passing out like that.” You say, managing to return to your softspoken and prim proper self. Looking down at him with a warm smile, you start resting your hands against his hair. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah...must have dozed off like that.” Muichirou awkwardly nutters, tilting his head upon using your chest as a pillow before briefly closing his eyes. “Sorry about that. So unlike me.”
>>
>>4121854

You shake your head, keeping your smile as you continue coddling Muichiro. “Nonsense, it’s my fault for forgetting that you’re still a victim. You also ended up talking in your sleep.”

“...Oh, I see… Well, then I guess you want to know about my story. Sorry to say that I don’t remember most of it on my own. The last thing I recall was being saved after a demon attack, being the only survivor.” Muichiro frowns, looking his eyes away in shame over not recalling such important events.

“Don’t trouble yourself trying to force yourself to remember. Just focus on a living day by day. The memories will come to you in time. So no need to rush it.” You smile, helping up getting into a much comfier sitting position while remaining on your lap.

“...You know someone else said the exact same thing. Master Oyakata carried a much soother, tranquil voice, easily putting those at ease.” Muichiro muses, leaning closely against you upon sinking deeper into your cleavage. “But what I’m feeling from you...isn’t bad at all.

Thinking back to Emiko and Keiju especially, you find yourself smiling a bit more as you close your eyes.“Good grief. How cute. You really do remind me of my twin younger siblings.”

Muichirou blinks deeply, resonating with those words as the fog once again lessens by just a tad. “...Originally I thought you were some sort of old hag who was pretending to be a teenager. But now, I can’t help but think of my own mother when looking at you. You’re both so driven to help others and soothe them of any doubt or worries. It’s comforting...” He smiles, closing his eyes, sinking further against the warming embrace.

“My, my, I don’t think I’m old enough to be considered a mother.” You resume your smile, brushing aside the old hag comment as given your current appearance it’ll be easy for one to assume your snow-white hair was a sign of you being incredibly old rather than naturally white. “How about calling me Big sis Byakuren instead?”

Muichirou quietly nods, resuming to letting himself remain buried in the comforting, serene state that was washing over him. “Let me stay like this for a while.”

“Sure, by all means, go ahead.” You softly answer, stroking his hair as you continue to comfort Muichiro. “I’ll even be willing to accompanying you until you recover your memories.”

“..I’m fine either-” Muichiro pauses, thinking back to his mother before making a sincere smile. “No, I’d like that.”

>How do you proceed?

>Head back at the rendezvous point and meet up with Kagura and Makomo.
>Continue searching for demons and protecting nearby swordsmen as you lead them to the meeting spot
>Scout out ahead for any noteworthy signals or individuals around by yourself
>Stay where you are and rest some more to regain your strength
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4121857

Current relationships are all high positives. From most to least.

>Aoi
>Muichiro
>Eniosuke/Kagura
>Makomo
>Ozaki

Also, Ara Ara mode achieved.
>>
>>4121854
>Continue searching for demons and protecting nearby swordsmen as you lead them to the meeting spot

Time to kill some demons and save randos.
>>
>>4121857
>Head back at the rendezvous point and meet up with Kagura and Makomo.
Time to see what they've been up to.
>>
>>4122079
TBF we are going to the meeting spot either way for the first two options. It is a question if we are going to do anything else on the way there.
>>
>>4121857
>>Continue searching for demons and protecting nearby swordsmen as you lead them to the meeting spot

I just hope nobody got eaten the moment we started.
>>
>>4122070
>>4122702

Seems like search and rescue takes priority than just heading to the meeting spot. Cool, now give me a d20 to see how well you do.
>>
Rolled 7 (1d20)

>>4123335
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>4123335
>>
>>4123412
Next anon clearly gotta roll 21.
>>
Rolled 11 (1d20)

>>4123335
>>
Rolled 12 (1d20)

>>4123335
>>
>>4123335

After resting for just a while longer did you and the rest of your party finally set out to leave the area. Resting in a single spot for too long was never a good idea especially when demons running amuck from who knows where. Still, it was rather foolish to keep going at full force without a break in between. Less you want your body to suddenly collapse from the unwanting stress with the worst-case scenario being a dislocation or fracture. As a half-demon, it wasn’t nearly as bad given your accelerated recovery and restoration abilities. However, you were pretending to be a human, albeit weird one so any showing of demon powers was a serious no-no.

The main goal was to head back to the rendezvous point and finally check up on Kagura and Makomo. Surely at this point, they must have succeeded in their mission to find Ozaki and come to her aid if needed. Heck with how long since the two of you been separated they may have found someone else along the way just like you as well. Though the more you think about it the more you set yourself out to actively seeking out any more people in the area. The mountain region is quite massive and the last thing you wanted was to mistakenly miss anyone in your trek back to the rendezvous point.

Thus you begin your journey of traveling through the current area looking for any stragglers and intercepting any demon along the way. Between the four of you, you committed to a standard travel strategy for traveling. Einosuke was at the front leading the party with his keen sense of touch and echolocation. You were right behind him alongside Aoi, serving the multi-range attacks from the side, leaving Muichirou covering your flank. All in all a solid formation as you didn’t run into any trouble while traveling from place to place. As well as it played swimmingly to each of your fighting styles accordingly, allowing for the best course of action for any scenario.

Throughout your travels you found yourself encountering demon after demon as they were drawn to the pack formation. Much to your expectations, you and your team routinely counteracted the demons with quick, single stroke slashes after switching from defensive measures. By doing this you were able to lessen the amount of stamina loss each of your team attacks gave while simultaneously creating an opening for a sure-fire one-hit certain kill. Each attempt at team performance further improves through repetition. Slowly becoming more faithful, fluid and flexible in overall performance.
>>
>>4123839

At the same time, this setup also leads to defensive procedures upon running into the other applicants much to your growing joy. With you, Enisouke and Muichiro playing offense and Aoi tending to the wounded among providing defense, your rescue attempts and demon extermination became a resounding success. More importantly, your bonds between your team further develop as you came to notice the growing teamwork between your friends. Although the demons were mainly foot soldiers and the occasional powerhouses, you and your team manage to eliminate them without too much trouble. What really mattered was your growing leadership skills as you rally up the saved demon slayer applicants.

Thankfully unlike with Eniosuke and Muichiro, these demon slayers didn’t put up too much fuss and more than willingly decide to join you. Part of it was your growing charm as for some reason all the demon slayers saw you as “Big Sis Byakuren”. Not that you were really complaining as you continue with your search and rescue tactics. Compared to your team they were far more average as a run of the mill swordsmen. Making more sense why they would struggle with entry-level demons rather than the more seasoned newcomers as you come to expect. Nevertheless, you put your all in managing to save and lead roughly ten out of the twenty applicants to the rendezvous point.

Eventually, you find yourself making your way at the rendezvous point. Having spent what was considered most of the night searching for the applicants and slaying demon, it was getting close to the devil’s hour aka three in the morning. It was a clear sign that the demons would start to get especially restless with how close it’ll get to sunrise. All the more fortunate that you made it in time to greet your companions. Speaking of companions, it seems that they currently have the same idea as you upon noticing the remaining applicants having station themselves in the safe haven. One, in particular, stood out as he was sitting on top of a large rock currently having a sour puss expression. A male with short black hair wearing a yukata style kimono, exposing his ripped abs to the moonlight.

>How do you proceed?

>Approach the mysterious male and try to cheer him up
>Look for Kagura & Makomo and share your experience
>Actively seek out Ozaki and try again to make a good impression on her
>Stay close with your current team and make camp
>Look around the area for anything out of the ordinary
>Take a nap and rest up
>Other [write-in]
>>
>>4123843
>>Look around the area for anything out of the ordinary
>>
>>4123843
>>Look for Kagura & Makomo and share your experience

So they could share theirs, too.
>>
>>4123843
>Actively seek out Ozaki and try again to make a good impression on her
>>
>>4123843
>>Look for Kagura & Makomo and share your experience
>>
>>4124200

Supporting
>>
>>4124049
>>4124200
>>4124539
>>4124796

Doing them both, but optional you can roll for the Ozaki bet in terms of presentation/charisma.
>>
Rolled 15 (1d20)

>>4124904

Come on....
>>
Rolled 10 (1d20)

>>4124904
>>
Rolled 1 (1d20)

>>4124904
>>
>>4124963

Well fuck
>>
>>4124965
>>4124963
I'm guessing someone's going to use their enhanced senses on us if they haven't done so already.
>>
>>4125050

A possibility but there are other concerns. Either way, i assume you guys are sticking with this roll so extra points given.
>>
>>4125052
I mean, at least all of the embarrassing sensory examinations are done, right?

I don't think any sense could be as bad as that touch, or taste.
>>
>>4125082

There's still sight.
>>
>>4125099
That seems a bit more straightforward compared to the others.
>>
>>4125112

True but not something should be overlooked. course there's also extrasensory senses aka sixth sense and you already met a jack of all trades.
>>
>>4125112
>inb4 they pull off our clothes to get a better look at us.
>>
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>>4124904

At first instincts, you felt the compelling impulse to go up to that brooding raven-haired swordsman and try to cleanse him of his rising tension. You practically feel sympathetic towards him as you can only imagine what sort of hardship he went through to put him so much on the edge. However, you got a strange feeling that you shouldn’t approach him. You weren’t sure of the reason but you sense something rough and jagged about him. A sharp presence that crackles against the atmosphere, one spark away from exploding into a surging current of electrical energy. Now when you set your mind onto something there was virtually no chance of swaying you or forcing you back away. This time would be the exception as you wanted to find your previous companions Kagura and Makomo.

So with one final look at the lone wolf, you advert your eyes and set your sights on finding your companions. Unknowingly your actions catch notice from the distant swordsman, staring at you sharply with his turquoise eyes. Brushing his index finger against his tongue, his eyes start to light up like a flash of lightning. Meanwhile, in your travels, you scout your surroundings to the best of your ability. Thanks to your keen sense of sight you scan across the entire scenery, you find yourself not having to wait long before mapping out the entire area. Casually looking through the countless trees, boulders, hills, and other potential natural defenses, you document that this area provided a solid ring defense for a camp from all sides. But more importantly to your delight, you saw Makomo and Kagura currently together sharing small talk.

“Ms.Urokodaki! Ms. Ubuyashiki!” You cry, waving your arms towards them to alert them of your presence.

“Ms. Shimizu,” Kagura and Makomo said in unison, showing a reasonable amount of surprise at your sudden appearance.

Seeing them both acknowledge your call, you casually stroll your way towards their current meeting spot under the large tree. It has only been a few hours but to you, it felt like forever since you last saw either of the duos. Passing through your surroundings with grace you safely arrive to meet them properly. Much to your luck, you weren’t interrupting anything by your sudden outcry as you begin conversing with the two. After exchanging pleasantries did you start off revealing your endeavors and achievements with Aoi. From meeting the eccentrically flamboyant Einosuke to working together with the airheaded Muichiro, you left no detail left unmentioned in your long discussion. Earning a light chuckle from your friends as they point out how unorthodox it was having a sumo competition in the middle of the exam. To which you ended up bashfully laugh, defending your decision to your best ability.
>>
>>4126356

Nevertheless when it came to listening from their side manages to blow your socks off. Unsurprisingly the two of them found Ozaki having already torn through a rather large demon single-handedly. Throughout the entire ordeal, she was fighting tooth and nail against a small platoon of demons before fighting the large one. Like the ones, you face they all seem to have a sort of monkish and priest theme. More impressively was the fact that despite being outnumbered Ozaki was able to hold her own easily as she essentially tanked through their blows. From what Makomo can tell it was due to a special medical condition that makes her body constitution, especially that of her muscles and organs a dozen times denser and more flexible than normal with the drawback of having an extremely high metabolism. Somehow this quickly hits home with you due to your own previous actions in the past two years.

In any case, Ozaki managed to whether through the ordeal without getting scratched, impressive but befitting her samurai background. Like you try previously Ozaki completely froze after defeating the demons when Kagura and Makomo confronted her. It seems like when she’s in combat she has an easier time functioning as it seems her strict teachings focused on making her an effective Onna-bugeisha and threw out unnecessary things such as social skills. Hence her poor communication skills and ease into anxiety. In spite of this, Makomo and Kagura bounce off on each other, managing to bridge the gap between them and Ozaki. Kagura especially gave a rather soothing voice that eased Ozaki and let her communicate accordingly through sign languages and written notes when provided. Convincing her to join the group was far easier than your struggle with Einosuke.

With the three of them working together, they were able to round up the remaining applicants from their side and lead them to the meeting spot. To your luck, it seems that your actions served as a big enough distraction to disorganized the demons, giving the average demon slayers the opening needed to either escape or secure the kill. Thus nobody has died or suffered any serious injuries as the worst was a few scrapes and bruises. Granted this was only the first night but you weren’t one to overlook good fortune when you see it. Thanking both Kagura and Makomo for their efforts you got the bright idea to gather up your friends and discuss things through with the seven of you. But before that, you wanted to try another go at Ozaki now that you know her situation.
>>
>>4126358

Quickly you head off, leaving both Kagura and Makomo stumped at them not getting the chance to mention the eight-person they found. Their concerns were left on deaf ears as the only thing you vaguely here was the name Kaigaku Inazuma. But you didn’t really register it at the moment as you make your way to Ozaki. Being the second tallest girl in the entire group made her easy for you to spot. Currently, she was leaning against a tree, once again having her arms folded and continuing to keep her distance. Since she was all by her lonesome this was going to be quite easy for you in having a private conversation. Steadily you approach Ozaki, making it rather clear to her that you have no intention of causing her harm, only that you want to talk. As you continue to approach her a hand starts to press against your shoulder, gripping it rather tightly.

“Hey! Look at me right this second.” A voice suddenly echoes across your ears stopping you in mid-track from meeting with Ozaki. It was deep and rough while oozing with brashness, like someone who lived a life filled with hardship as you mistakenly took the voice as a young adult.

Closing your eyes and silently sighing you brace yourself for the confrontation. Slowly turning around as asked you remain to have a calm and polite vibe despite the rudeness of his tone. “Yes, can I help you-” Before you could complete your sentence you were met with an unforeseen outcome.

Two hands quickly grabbed at your face, pulling you down to the mysterious man’s height. Followed by a rather daringly bold and sudden kiss on the lips. Opening your eyes in complete shock you now found yourself unusually embracing your first kiss. To make matters worse, it was a french kiss as you feel the movement of another’s tongue moving inside your mouth. Staring at the person in question you notice first hand it was the same raven-haired pretty-boy. Although now you got a clear look at his face as you see the blue Magatamas tied around his neck. Despite receiving the kiss rather forcefully, you find yourself unable to lift a finger in the act. Your face turns beet red in embarrassment while steam starts to form.

Only after what seems like an eternity did you find your pronounced lips finally stop making contact with the rude swordsman. Pulling from you roughly with a forceful shove, not caring in the slightest where he touches you, you find yourself knocked down on your butt. Just like that, you found yourself losing your first kiss. Something that you were saving for someone truly special. Yet here you are already deprived of your virgin lips in a rough and intense experience that was as passionate as it was fierce. Looking upwards as you cover your mouth you start to stare into the swordsman’s eyes. In your view, you caught a glimpse of slit pupils around his iris, giving him the impression of a berserk beast. But there was something more to it than that.
>>
>>4126378

“...As I thought. You taste almost like that of a demon.” The mysterious swordsman spoke, making a seriously stern and sharp look at you. His expression gave the impression that his intuition has hit the bullseye as your face starts to break out in a sweat.

“I don’t know how you managed to obtain it, but regardless if you’re a maverick like me who tasted the flesh of demons and fully attuned to it, an unfortunate offspring to unholy mating wedlock between human and demon, or just a recently turned victim resisting against being turned matters not. The fact of the matter is, you’re tainted with demon essence. Simple as that. I can practically taste the air around you. It’s a feeling I’ll never forget…” The swordsman spoke, folding his arms as he was now interrogating you. That familiar presence now shrouding around you as you felt closer to the brash and abrasive troublemaker.

“...Hold on. This taste is far more elaborate than what I described.” The swordsman mutters, stroking his chin while turning his gaze from you for just a moment. It didn’t take him long to start putting the pieces together as his eyes start to widen. “So...this is what I, Kaigaku Inazuma ended up running into. This exam might be more exciting than I originally gave credit.” Kaigaku laughs, placing his hand against his right eye as he felt the scala turning black. A wide grin starts to appear as you seel his battle aura coming into light. Black sparks begin to form.

"Now then, since I know your secret...how do you want to do this?" Kaigaku asks, slowly holding his sword with his free hand.

>How do you proceed
>>
>>4126392

Take up arms, and be more upset that they took the first kiss of a young maiden such as ourselves.
>>
>>4126392


Sorry for the summarization between your conversation with Kagura and Makomo, with the nat 1 I knew exactly what I wanted to do to transition to the next important act of the story. Of course, my original plan of doing so wasn't quite this...forceful but given the suspicion of your aura and being around someone who personally "experienced" a demon's blood first hand, it's far easier for Kaigaku to figure it out before the others.
To clarify >>4125099 you actually already met sight before. But we've been dancing around this sensory examination game at this point.

So without further ado here are the senses for our special children.

Byakuren Shimizu - Jack of Trades (Sight preference)
Makomo Urokodaki - Smell
Aoi Kanzaki - Hearing
Einosuke Kazama - Touch
Muichiro Tokito - Sight
Ozaki Yamamoto - Proprioception (Orientation) / Extrasensory Perception (Instinct)
Kaigaku Inazuma - Taste
Kagura Ubuyashiki - Jack of Trades (Taste preference) / Extrasensory Perception (Foresight)

I'll get to Muichirou and Ozaki's examination after the plot
>>
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>>4126392

Ended up forgetting the pic. I am not having a good day. Anyway, leaving it to you guys to decide what you guys do next given how important this confrontation is. The eight and final special member out of this crop of talented kids is upon us.
>>
>>4126408

Slightly fumbled Kagura and Kaigaku, he's the JoT with the taste preference. I think it doesn't need to be said but just in case, the Jack of Trades aspect is only for those who carry a demon's composition to inherent the possibility of fine-tuning one's senses to the utmost degree so freely for any of them.

You got yours as a half-demon, and Kaigaku got his through demon cannibalism. Though since he's still human, can it really be called cannibalism?
>>
>>4126401
Well, how does he wants to do this?

I'd rather prefer to punch him in the face a couple of times. If we could get away the confrontation away from lethal weapons to a normal less lethal face punching, that would be grand.

...I'd say, I'd be happy to spend some SP to get a 20 on punching Kaigaku in the face.
>>
>>4126451
>>4126401
I'm cool with whatever so long as we don't escalate the situation too much.
>>
>>4126401
>>4126451

Has my support but let's try and learn about Kaigaku's bag of tricks. From what i can tell just a french kiss was enough to partially turn him demon. So we know how potent we are for those kinds of people. What we don't know is how it works and if we can emulate it in some way. Its no Tamayo but any chance to better our connection to our demon powers the better. Oh and fixing our relationship with Shakuren too.
>>
>>4126392
Slap him, and tell him that if this is a sorry attempt to blackmail us, then they're sorely mistaken.
>>
>>4126401
>>4126451
>>4126454
>>4126469
>>4126550

Looks like we got a mix of approaching him via slapping/punching, trying to learn and copy how Kaigaku's demon transformation and skills, and keeping things under control while still standing your ground. Refusing to be blackmailed. Alrighty then.

Give me 2d20, one for fisticuffs and one for aping.
>>
Rolled 8, 14 = 22 (2d20)

>>4127328
>>
Rolled 4, 11 = 15 (2d20)

>>4127328

Wish me luck
>>
>>4126451

I'll wait to see the rest of the rolls later but I will keep this in mind if everyone is an agreement in paying SP to get a nat 20 for punching Kaigaku.
>>
Rolled 16, 18 = 34 (2d20)

>>4127328
>>
>>4127361

Speaking of which. Do you wish to keep your roll or spend SP ?
>>
>>4127375
Still for spending it. We got a small stockpile IIRC, it is fine. Punching Kaigaku is clearly the most important roll we had so far, too. To lay him off with one affronted angry punch would please me immensively.
>>
>>4127395
>>4109435

Alright then, with that, you now have this for your current SP stash.

Current tally

SP: 6/6
ESP: 0/2 (You had a grand total of 4 before the spending)
SR : 1 Reroll, 1 Nat 1, 1 Nat 20

On the plus side, you can now start getting extra SP again.
>>
>>4127328

Just like that, you find yourself in quite an unfortunate situation. From out of nowhere you were essentially sucker-punched metaphorically by the self-serving Kaigaku. Granted even you had to admit that your very presence attracted all but the most unconventional mavericks and other oddities. Not that you were anyone capable of judging given your unorthodox actions and the overall fact you’re a fifteen year old girl in a full-figured adult body in her mid-twenties. It only recently dawns upon you that as a hanyou you were carrying a distingue set of vibes and tellings that separated you from actual run of the mill humans. Even when keeping your demonic essence in check it still gave off a lingering trace. Drawing those unusual people towards your side. Each one’s examination escalating worse with each sense.

Compared to those previous experiences, however, they all fall short of what is happening in front of you. The shock alone was enough to drive you into a serious case of paralysis. Giving Kaigaku the chance to briefly monologue about his first impressions on you. In fact, you were starting to drift between reality and painful delusions, becoming slowly detached in the process. Your amber eyes start to dull, becoming lifeless and deprived of any spark of happiness. In your mind, your innocent fantasy of having a wholesome romance was fading away. The person in question was always a one-off mystery bishonen but just recently it began to resembled your crush Einosuke. Thus it only hurts more seeing the image of your first kiss burning away in front of you.

After seeing your envision disappearing the ground that you stood began to collapse. Causing you to soon fall into a bottomless pit of despair and misery. What came next was the imagery of being forced into a marriage with Kaigaku. Bit by bit you find yourself losing your happily ever after, only for it to be replaced with a cruel reality of being in a lifeless marriage with Kaigaku and falling into darkness. Exaggeration sure but a life filled with regret often leads one to walk down a dark path and committing an atrocity as they pilled up and up. Finally, the imagery of your family looking down at you with disappointment and shame only further your sorrow.

Meanwhile, Kaigaku was too busy preparing himself for a fight. Beliving you to not take too kindly being discovered like that, he only saw it as a chance to switch positions. Currently, he was the wild horse and you were the newly pointed king due to being the driving force of the applicants. Thus Kaigaku now has a chance to change that, but he didn’t really care about leading a bunch of weaklings and nobodies. To him, the only thing he wanted was power and with that power the recognition that he long since desire. Quite the ambitious man, even if you only can see him for being a rude barbarian.
>>
>>4127911

Smiling to himself Kaigaku finally removes his hand from his face, his black hair seemingly covering his transformed eye as he got into battle position. “With exchanges out of the way, I think it’s safe to say we should stop beating around the bush and get to business. I don’t have time to waist on idle chitchat and buddying up with lackluster and half-assed swordsmen.”

“...” You paused, choosing to be unresponsive as your mind continues to raddle itself over having your precious first kiss being stolen, much less acknowledging the potential blackmail that Kaigaku has over you.

“Hey! Don’t tell me you gotten stage fright now that I figured out what is it that’s been bugging me about you since I first laid eyes on you. That frail-looking know it all praised you quite well during our skirmish. When I told Kagura that she and I are the truly strong ones out of these bunch of amateurs she was quick to interject and reject such thinking. Believing that everyone has their value and nobody is truly useless. She even went to say you were even stronger than her.” Kaigaku remarks, turning his attention back to Kagura. Followed by giving a sharp, narrow glare, there was serious animosity between Kaigaku and Kagura. But once again you didn’t notice as you were still in shock over your traumatizing experience.

Keeping his eyes close on who he deems his rival, Kaigaku remains ever-steady for a fight. There was no opening in his stance as he was completely on guard. “Though honestly, all I see is a promiscuous woman judging by your composition. Not this awe-inspiring leader that she made you out to be. “ Kaigaku sighs, showing disappointment as he continues to hold on to his hilt. “So I’ll be disappointed if you don’t live up to her expectation. Otherwise, I won’t be able to focus on fighting them and proving between the two of us that I’m the better swordsman. “

As he says this you continue to ignore Kaigaku, unregistering his trash talk in the slightest. Still and motionless as the very trees around you, you don’t even blink which only further adds to the unsettling vibe you gave off. This starts to make the collective and bossy Kaigaku grow agitated at your behavior. Being the only “adult” in the group Kaigaku clearly didn’t have much for expectations in regards to your innate capabilities. But even he imagined that you’d at least would be able to put a fight, not currently muttering herself over something as inconsequential as a kiss. The very act was starting to get on his nerves as a blood vessel forms on the side of his face.

“Hey! Are you listening to me or are you just deaf like that airhead?!” Kaigaku screams, quickly grabbing you by the kimono, specifically grabbing at your chest, pulling you up to look at him directly in the eye. “I said fight me you washed up Oiran!”
>>
>>4127912

Seeing no response Kaigaku starts to smack you against your cheek in rapid fashion in an attempt to snap you out of your delusion. Truthfully your mind had shut down to fully register what was happening. But that didn’t mean you were truly out of it as evident by the glimmer in your eye. In addition to mapping out Kaigaku’s physique and physical conditioning, something else was starting taking hold of you. Festering inside of you was an omnipresent sensation of infuriating anger that you kept locked in the bottom of your heart. Ever since the day, you met Muzan that constant surge of anger was burning fiercely like wildfire. Relentless and neverending, this type of anger has been something you been surprised at every waking moment.

But just for today, a bit of that indomitable rage manages to seep out from the cracks in your psyche. The final trigger was being slapped repetitively by Kaigaku along with being called a yūjo or prostitute. Actually, your mind was thinking of all sorts of insults such as the mountain ogress Yamauba or the hag trinity of Ubagabi, Aonyōbō, and Onibaba. Really you weren’t all that in there at the moment. Nevertheless, your body begins to twitch and convulse uncontrollably in rhythm to the slapping. Blood vessels start to manifest, shaping them into a series of cross shape anger marks and stress symbols. Grinding your molars loudly the next thing that came was a swift flash.

Balling your hands into a tightly gripped fist, you sock Kaigaku straight in the jaw in a swift, singular motion. Hitting the lower jag with tremendous force, a loud dislocating crack echo through in eerie fashion. The technique performs was essentially an improvised cross counter in time with Kaigaku’s incoming hook punch after getting impatiently fed up with slapping you constantly. But you didn’t stop there, after delivering the first punch you use the force to reel your arm back before snapping it into place. Upon performing that act you delivered a grand total of three additional punches against Kaigaku’s face before finishing off with a side upper cup toss. In your blinding rage, you sent Kaigaku flying to the left side of the forest.

Digging deep into the ground, you quickly leap forward with tremendous force following after where you sent Kaigaku. Moving at phantom speeds akin to Shinsoku through raw leg power, you easily catch up to the stunned Kaigaku. Appearing directly in front of him as he tries to register exactly what happened, you savagely deliver a series of super slaps in machine-gun fashion. The slaps moved at a rapidly fast rate, increasing in tempo as the friction escalates to the point of your fist catching on fire. But you didn’t care as you wail into him in rampant fashion, a slap for each and every slap you endure registering Kaigaku and trying to read onto how his body works and what tricks he used.
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>>4127914

Before you knew it you find yourself a large distance away from the meeting spot as you and Kaigaku were now in a barren wasteland. Hopping off of Kaigaku you take a moment to pose like a diving swallow in the moonlight as you descend down in backflip fashion. Leaving Kaigaku to brute force himself back to life just seconds upon making contact with a large stone wall. Making a large crater as the dust starts to form upon the loud crash. Landing on your feet, you crackle your fist, feeling the burning sensation as it pales in comparison with your unrelenting fury. Thankfully your training made your body resilient enough to fully withstand running at such speeds with no lasting damage or being burnt by the friction.

Staring at the large dust cloud forming, you narrow your now scarlet eyes and clench your fists tighter. “You inconsiderate bastard! What in the hell were you thinking with that move?! No wait don’t tell me. You already gave me the answer through your explaination..”

“If this is some sort of action to try and blackmail me and control me you got another thing coming. Frankly, I don’t even care that you know my secret. That I’m not a full-grown woman nor fully human. Compare to what I am feeling right now, those concerns are chump chains to the debt you racked up by your insensitive action!” As you say this your hands grip tightly against your palm to the point of tearing into your flesh, showing first hand your growing frustration.

Moving your left hand to point at him, you intensely howl at Kaigaku as you nearly cry in comical and scornful fashion evidently by your red tears. “How dare you steal my first kiss! When a maiden gives up her first kiss it’s to someone that she loves! They’re not supposed to be given out willy-nilly! Yet you did the unforgivable act of kissing my virgin lips! And with the tongue!”

“I don’t know what your game is and to be honest I don’t really care. Right now, all I’m focused on is beating you to a pulp for ruining my happily ever after with my prince charming!” You shout, arching your arm back to openly show your defiance before pulling your arm back to form another fist. “So get up and fight me in hand to hand! I know for a fact since you ate a demon you’re far more resilient and tenacious than a regular human. Therefore I don’t have to hold back.”

“...Well, you are right about that. It took me about three whole seconds to relocate my jaw and fix the damage instantly. What really was a pain was the fact you disrupted my equilibrium and nearly knock me out.” Kaigaku utters, hacking out some blood and spitting out a tooth as the missing hole grows to reveal demonic tooth in its place. His entire left face was more savage and demon-like as it nerely set goosebumps down your body. Like looking at a twisted mirror.
>>
>>4127920

Slowly picking himself out of the large crater, Kaigaku starts to bend and crackle his joints back into place, seemingly enjoying himself at finding a worthy adversary. “I take it back, you’re not an orian. You’re a true Kishin (War/Demon God). Hiding your fangs and claws like that with your prim proper act might full everyone else but not me. Not when I got to taste your essence first hand. I didn’t think I’d live to actually see a genuine half-breed in my life. Today is full of surprises.” Kaigaku muses, feeling genuine excitement for the first time since he stepped into this exam.

“Those eyes of yours must have gotten a real look at my composition and deduce how a regular human like myself can temporally gain the powers of a demon.” Kaigaku deduces in between cracking his neck back into place.

Narrowing your eyes you take a gander at Kaigaku’s robustly fit body. “...Yeah, I know exactly how it works. You need to consume the DNA of the demon in order to do it. I notice it when you tried to bite my tongue and drink my blood. But you could only get my saliva which is why you only partially transformed. Of course, eating just one demon ends up changing your physiology in some way. I see that you ate more than a dozen.”

“Don’t flatter those low lives. I did what I need to survive and get a better understanding of my power before undergoing proper swordsmanship. I have been fighting demons since I was a child. As an orphan, I make for a rather good meal for any wandering demon looking to get sustenance. So I merely did what they were going to do me. And as a result, I was able to survive and continue pressing through the dirt doing what I can to become strong.” Kaigaku shrugged, coming into direct range towards you as he continues the stare down.

Arriving just inches from you, Kaigaku keeps a confident smirk as he points at you. “Compared to those weak demons, you got an abundant amount of pure demon blood in you. The purest I’d ever seen honestly. Yet you still managed to retain your humanity and achieve this hybrid form. Even without you having Marechi blood, your natural resistance to demonification is worthy to be praised. You know, your only redeeming quality. Everything else you gained through aping others with those eyes of yours. So again, I’m not seeing why someone like Kagura put you on such a high pedestal. Without others, you’re nothing special.” Kaigaku taunts, coming close to if not reaching your exact height as he stood in front of you.
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>>4127928

>How do you proceed

>Openly give your blood to Kaigaku in order to fight him at his best to truly defeat him while countering his argument
>Ignore his provocation and focus on reading his moves and memorizing his rhythm as you dodge his impending attacks
>Stay on the offensive and charge in to pummel Kaigaku with aggressive, powerful strikes
>Shift to the defensive and tire him out while punishing his attacks through your resilence
>Regain your senses and temper your anger as you try to get Kaigaku to apologize before letting yourself fall into fighting Kaigaku
>Other [write-in]
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>>4127395

For visual for the devastating punch you delivered. Even with the knowledge of knowing he's sturdy than most, you still refrained from punching a hole through his face. But you did still manage to make burn a lot of his partial demon transformation energy regenerating from the full force to get away with just a fractured jaw before additional repairs can be done.
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>>4127933
>Regain your senses and temper your anger as you try to get Kaigaku to apologize before letting yourself fall into fighting Kaigaku
>>
>>4127933
>Apologise to others; we caused some ruckus already and about to cause some more. Somebody probably should keep watch and make sure we are not ambushed while everyone is distracted by this impromptu duel.
>Openly give your blood to Kaigaku in order to fight him at his best to truly defeat him while countering his argument.

Punch him in the face some more. Or hit him with a sword, but punching feels more intimate and emotional.

I do not hate Kaigaku desu. Genya was a total asshole at the start and look how he turned out in the end - Kaigaku at this particular point is not that much worse. But Genya needed some some character development, comrades and a couple of hard knocks to get there, so Mister X Byakuren gotta give it to him until he straightens up.

So more shounen brawling I guess.
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>>4127983

Has my full support. But we should also think of a plan for an attack unless we're going for a brawling slugfest. In which we'll be betting on our toughness
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>>4128027
Well, I got no special snowflake tactic that could defeat him in one move, but in a fight were our demonic advantages are equilized, our potential trump cards are our mental and physical resilience, our breathing and our love for our siblings.

First is pretty simple and requires no explanation. Second is, well, our fancy breathing is incredibly fancy. Previously in a fight with Rengoku, we achieved some sort of a super-mode with it; we could try tapping into that power again. Circumstances are suitable, Byakuren is pretty fired up.

And finally, we could try to bait Kaigaku into blabbling shit about Byakuren's siblings. When people talk shit about her siblings in her presense, she gives her 110% to violently shut them up. Kaigaku seems to be the type to run his mouth in a fight, so it might be possible.
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>>4128079

I actually don't think we should rush in and try to defeat him with one blow. At least not until we know we have an opportunity to fully capitalize on it. We should conserve ourselves but i do agree in using our fancy breathing to recreate that super mode and use Kaigaku's ego against him. But what about our demon powers. Should we still keep them under wraps or try triggering some additional power like our combat mode.
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>>4128100
I think that using advanced demonic powers runs against the point that we are trying to make by feeding him blood - that we are not a pushover coasting by on our inborn advantages, and absolutely can kick his arrogant ass even if he is boosted on demonic blood.
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>>4128123

That's fair. So fighting like a human. Sounds good. Just wanted to be sure since we can do some really crazy stuff with just the basic. At some point we're going to need to reconnect to our literal inner demon and come to an understanding since bullying doesn't work and only soured our relationship.
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>>4128129
We really do, but at this point, I think that Byakuren needs a mental breakthrough to start approaching the situation differently. Some sort of a dramatic confrontation where Byakuren gets some profound insight into her own mind and Shakuren's would be an obvious way; getting advice on how other slayers utilizing demonic powers make peace with their own demonic impulses would be the other. Less dramatic, but pretty in line with how people do things in KnY.

Yes, that second option does mean Genya or Kaigaku. We can punch some sense into him, he can give us pointers on how to pull our devil trigger. It is a win-win situation.
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>>4128154

Agreed so all the more reason to win over Kaigaku. Or at least be able to be neutral. I know we're going to get traveling companions by the end of this exam. But for standard i was thinking Aoi and Makomo or Muichiro. Not really picky so long as Aoi comes with us in the end. But depending how things go we may have to babysit Kaigaku to keep him from being a dick like canon
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>>4127933

Let's roll with >>4127983

I'm betting Aoi just heard that.
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>>4128746

Not just Aoi but I bet the rest of the sense gang probably figured it out. Aoi has it the easiest with her ears. Unless Muichiro can read lips.
>>
>ogre woman survives trial but says she lost something more important
Punished Byakuren is gonna make them give back the pride she lost.
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>>4128854
I'm just hoping that she's the first one to decide to rock the boat since she's the most level-headed of our group.

Wonder if any of the girls here are up for a celebratory "Thank God We're All Alive" onsen trip?
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>>4130374
Provided we all make it out alive, and take a little longer to reunite with our sibling?

I don't see why not. Just be prepared for some skinship, or some of them staring at our developed assets.
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>>4127983
>>4128027
>>4128746

Standing on opposite ends with Kaigaku you merely narrow your eyes upon his statement about your presence in the exam only attributed by others. Downplaying your efforts and hard work in a rather rude and belittling manner as he speaks. It was almost enough to rattle your bones in anger. Not because of being put down, that was something you could easily bounce back from. No, what was so off-putting at you was the disrespect he gave to your friends, your teachers and all those who helped you. You knew the compilation of your experiences and achievements was the real deal, and you were just as thankful for others helping you out as you were proud of your hard work. To you, they were one of the same, and it clear that Kaigaku didn’t think that.

“And what’s wrong with that? I never claim myself to be anything beyond being human. It’s only fitting as humans that we conjoint our hard work and efforts together to continue moving forward. I didn’t get here by riding the coattails of others like you’re implying. But I didn’t shut myself off from learning from them, working with them and finding ways to improve myself as I walk forward. The very concept of martial arts, no, the very fact as a species has our origins tied from observation and intimidation. We only get as far as we can thanks to the assistance of others, both the past and the present. To ignore such a simple fact is foolish.” You answer, closing your eyes before turning from Kaigaku.

“That’s why I called you anything special. You just admitted it yourself.” Kaigaku says, musing to himself at being proven right.

Letting out a small sigh you turn your head back to Kaigaku. “It seems you’re missing the point, so I’ll leave you with this.“ You spoke coldly, retaining your politeness despite being understandably pissed with Kaigaku. “Aniki and my master Jingou taught me something important that I hold in my heart to this day. Learn from your history lest you want to repeat the same mistakes. That’s something you should take to heart if you want to make it anywhere in this world. “
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>>4130899

Staring at you rather grumpily Kaigaku refrains from speaking any further at the moment. Instead, he merely focuses on getting back into fighting form and keeping his distance. Leaving you time to think to yourself about your current situation. Even after getting a firm understanding of Kaigaku’s biology, there were some key elements still missing. Unlike Kaigaku, you have trouble drawing out the full extent of your demonic influence. You’ve once concluded that your terrible relationship with Shakuren was the reason, but looking at Kaigaku you began to wonder if it was something else. But more to it then that you caught glimpses of Kaigaku’s temporally demonic essence beginning to fade. Seeing this first hand, you grabbed your hair, pulling upwards and exposing your bare neck to Kaigaku.

“Take my blood.” You softly demand, keeping yourself exposed as Kaigaku stares at you with skepticism and confusion.

“Excuse me? Do you think I was born yesterday, why exactly should I take your blood? A straightforward trap like that won’t do you any good. But if you’re doing this out of the good of your heart then save it. I don’t need your sympathy or pity.” Kaigaku rejects, silently growling at the implied act of being looked down upon by you of all people.

Letting out another sigh you close your eyes and continue to keep your politeness. “Oh nothing of the sort, this is neither pity or an act of deceiving you. I don’t care if you still think I’m scheming something, nor if you ridicule me for being naive by playing fair. I assume you want us to fight at our full strength. Well, you can’t do that right now considering that you just spent a large portion of your resources recovering. I also know for a fact that utilizing your recovery burns the demonic energy inside of you. So I’m giving you as much as blood as you need to reach your best demonic conditioning. Like you, I also want this fight at our best, no half-assed attempts or anything less than your all. No holding back. “

“Although if you want to use the excuse of you losing to someone like me because you didn’t have enough demon blood, or some other hair-brained excuse then, by all means, go ahead.” You say, turning your scarlet eyes to Kagaku, playing to his ego as you metaphorically sucker punch him through your provocation.
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>>4130903

Almost immediately Kaigaku goes to through a fast-paced punch towards your face. Hearing the crackling sounds of black lightning sparking from his fist, you merely flick your hand to deflect and redirect his impending punch. Watching his punch passing across your palm, Kaigaku switches to elbowing you, resulting in you reeling back to avoid the blow. Following up with a series of punches and kicks, the two of you begin a brief exchange of blows. Blocking and countering his blows first hand reaffirms your suspicion that right now Kaigaku was far stronger than any average demon despite only being partially transformed. In any case, after sweep kicking Kaigaku’s ankles, Kaigaku uses the gravity to pin you down to the ground, achieving a firm stalemate in this brief exchange upon throwing a few more blows.

Staring intensely at you while currently mounted on top of you, Kaigaku changes from an aggressive scowl to a cocky smile. “Alright then, bring it on! I’ll accept your blood and fight you to the full extent of my prowess. Let’s have ourselves a fight only those who frequently walked between life and death can muster.”

Narrowing your eyes, you keep your cool while looking at him disgustedly. “A fight to the death huh? Fine then, you can fight like that if you want. And I won’t hold back against such murderous intent. But unlike you, I won’t kill you, nor will I let you kill me. If one person dies from this exam then that’s just as bad as losing everyone. So I won’t permit such a thing to happen.”

“...Fighting to protect everyone and ensure that nobody dies. As I thought, you’re so naive. It’s no wonder why you taste so sweet. It’s downright sickening. Keep at it and you’ll make your demon blood cry.“ Kaigaku scows.

“Don’t you have anyone you have to go back to? Someone that you want to protect, someone that keeps you going? Or are you really just someone who doesn’t care about anyone but yourself.” You frown, asking him at what he was fighting for with a concerning stare.

“Unlike you, I don’t have anyone. I wasn’t lucky to only have my siblings survive the demon’s onslaught. And to be frank who cares. Things like bonds and camaraderie are meaningless! If people could survive and win off such things then demons wouldn’t exist in this world! Listen here, you pacifist. In this world, you can only depend on yourself to survive. Anything less then that is mere nonsense meant to blind yourself to the truth. When it comes down to it we’re all two-faced, wearing masks to hide our true selves and appeal to our peers. But deep down when it truly matters or when one’s life is on the line, your true colors show. Countless times I’ve been proven right about people disregard anything in order to save themselves. “ Kaigaku rants, getting rather angry at looking at those judging eyes of yours.
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>>4130904

“So I have no intention of buddying up with these half-assed swordsmen. Nor put my trust into anyone! So things like morality or keeping one’s face mean nothing to me. I’ll do whatever it takes to survive and live another day. That’s how I lived since the day and that’s how I’ll continue living. “Kaigaku says.

“...So it’s that’s why you eat demons. To willingly risk throwing away your humanity just for power!” You shout, butting heads with Kaigaku as your demonic features start to become more prominent in response to your growing frustration. As a result, you begin to push Kaigaku off of you through brute strength, resulting in him catching himself midfall. “I didn’t think I’d meet someone out there in my life who would willingly become a demon!”

“Damn straight it is! What matters in this world is strength absolute, not how you obtain it. This world already follows the laws of Survival of the Fittest and for the longest time humans stood up the top of the food chain. That all changed entirely when demons came into existence. We have gotten to compliance with our status and grew soft and dull. That’s why demons see us as nothing but cattle and continue to take everything unchallenged. But not me! I’m not a lamb waiting to be slaughtered. I’m the lightning wolf of legends, the Raijū! “Kaigaku barks, resuming butting heads with you. It is at this point it transitions into a harsh headbutt. Blood begins to drip from both foreheads as the two fo you glare at each other.

“Therefore, I won’t acknowledge nor accept weaklings and goodie two shoes! Your taste especially gave you away as someone who lived a comfortable life surrounded by family. What are you even doing here? Revenge? A symbol of duty or responsibility? Or perhaps it’s due to the suicidal desire to protect people and be accepted despite no longer being a normal human being!” Kaigaku screams, pointing out first hand how at the moment you look no different than a demon. “Whatever your reason it’s pointless! If you’re not strong to back up your belief then they’re garbage! And you’re the spitting image of my thesis. “

“And like you’re any better! What’s the point of strength if you got nothing to go back to at the end! Do you really think people will acknowledge you if you give up your humanity!” You scream, pushing Kaigaku back as you instinctively close your right eye due to the blood spill.
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>>4130905

Brushing against his forehead, the wound quickly disappears as Kaigaku’s eyes were now fully demonized. “Take a look at yourself. You’re only barely human enough to pass through society unnoticed. Yet you keep holding back the gift that fate has bestowed upon you by your foolishly naive ideals. You couldn’t save your family, you chose to hide like a coward instead of avenging them against the demon, and you continue to flounder around like a fool, getting by only on other’s efforts. You’re no real swordswoman, just a child pretending to be an adult. A half-baked nitwit like you doesn’t have any right being here, much less being our leader.”

“Honestly if you kept to yourself isolated in the wilderness with your demon siblings nobody would ever know you exist as you live freely without worries. Neither of you needs to eat, need to sleep, you don’t even need to use the toilet! All you do is laze around getting stronger and replenishing your demon energy without a care in the world. Sounds pretty fortunate if you ask me. So I’d honestly don’t understand why you even want to be a demon slayer, much less try to return you and your sibling back to normal. Not many people can freely say they have an immortal body, capable of self-sustenance and brimming with boundless power. ”

“....!” You paused, griding your elongated canines tightly in rage as your mind briefly flashes back to the fate of your family. Your scarlet eyes lighting up with intense fury.

“As I said, compared to me you’re quite fortunate. Yet here you are wasting those gifts with such trivial stuff. To anyone else, they’ll be relishing over these boons. As someone who tasted what it’s like to be a demon temporally, it’s a pretty great experience wouldn’t you say? “

“Unlike the rest of these sniveling cowards, I don’t have any quorum following someone who I don’t acknowledge and respect, especially if they’re weaker than me! Someone who lived an easy life surrounded by others can never hope to become a true demon slayer. Just like that useless shrimp always clinging to me……” Kaigaku replies, turning his head upwards as he reflects about his life on the slums, surviving feverously day by day without anyone helping him. His eyes twitch a bit as he thinks further to looking at a giant Buddhist monk and several children behind him, causing some hesitation in his motions.
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>>4130907

“....I, who don’t have anything holding me down, will be the strongest out of all the demon slayers. By defeating you will prove my point that you can only become strong by yourself. And I’m going to prove that to you, to everyone here, especially that bastard Kagura. “ Kaigaku grips his hands, blood vessel forming on the side of his face as he glares at you. “And someone who couldn’t protect those bonds doesn’t have any right to act all haughty and mighty in front of me!”

Slowly wiping the blood from your face, you tilt your head to Kaigaku, snow-white hair covering your upper face afterward. “Sounds good. I’ll beat some respect into you and force you to acknowledge me the only way you’ll understand. You made a grave error taking a maiden’s kiss. But worse then that..you opened some serious wounds and have the golly to mock my sibling’s condition and spouting idiotic shit like we’re blessed for being like this. Just how much of a power-craving lunatic are you to be unable to not see the costs of being like this!” You ask, gritting your teeth as multiple anger marks began to appear.

“Don’t you dare say that my siblings Keimi would prefer being a demon! What the hell do you know! Not being able to enjoy eating, sleep or do any of the luxuries of being human! Not being able to walk at the sunlight or even think and express themselves like regular humans! Yet it still sounds great to you! Sounds perfect?! Bullshit! You don’t know anything about the hell that my siblings go through every waking moment!” You scream at Kaigaku, letting out a booming voice at how pissed off you were at just how insensitive Kaigaku was being. Even he ended up staring blankly with sweat forming to the side from the uneasiness from your impending rage.

“There’s a mountain of problems with being a demon. Worse yet is being that man, Muzan Kibutsuji’s plaything! It’s no different than being a mindless puppet. So don’t go acting like this lifestyle is better than being human! You insensitive prick!” Before you could continue with your angry rant you start to see subtle vibrations in the air. Multiple scents start to envelop the area as you begin to notice the presence of another.

“Before I give you my blood, hold on a second. Take the time to lick your wounds and rethink your life choices so I don’t have to beat the stupid out of you.” You sigh.
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>>4130909


Leaving on that sick burn you make your way towards the appending crowd. Despite sending the brash swordsman through an extraordinary distance from the camp, it seems several if not all the applicants made their way to your current location n group fashion. Standing at the front of the pack was Aoi of all people. The look of distraught on her face gave it a clear indication that she must have heard your entire conversation so far. By her side Kagura and Makomo stood, looking at you with similar concerns. Even Einosuke who merely folded his arms looks at you with a stern, serious look. Muichiro and Ozaki were also behind Einosuke, watching closely while having conflicted feelings over the matter.

>How do you proceed?

>Tell your friends the truth/confirm their suspicions and apologize for deceiving them
>Focus on your fight but promise to talk to them later.
>Ask them to bare with your selfishness and focus on keeping the rest safe
>Avoid making eye contact and brace yourself for their judgment
>Decieve them for their own good by playing the role of the Ogre Barbarian to get them away from the battlefield
>Other [write-in]

Going to cover the rest of >>4127983 in the next post, hence why I'm not adding apologizing for causing a ruckus and asking for someone to keep watch while making sure the rest don't get ambushed. Figured this was a perfect spot for an intermission.
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>>4130915
>Focus on your fight but promise to talk to them later.

Although concealing demonic status is deception, IDK. Expecting Byakuren to just blab about it to everyone is not particularly reasonable too, especially to people who are not quite trusted comrades yet.
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>>4130915
>Focus on your fight but promise to talk to them later.

That's all they need to know about Ogre Onee-san so far.
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>>4130915
>>Focus on your fight but promise to talk to them later.
>>
>>4130915
>>Focus on your fight but promise to talk to them later.

Just don't expect all of them to like the truth.
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>>4131178
>>4131327
>>4131827
>>4132011

Considering their body language and expression you knew that what they have to say is serious. Perhaps the most serious they’ve ever been in a short time since you first met them. Obviously you could only think about one reason why for all those stern looks. It was something that you didn’t want to have to address if you didn’t need to. At least not until the exam was over and you had the time to trust them with the secret. Although as you thought about it, such things were a form of deception and that made your stomach churn. It was rather hard to look them at the face after how you spent your time diligently speaking from the heart and acting like your typical self. But the fact of the matter is, your naivety at dancing with the truth has now come back to bite you.

From what you knew about demon slayers who eat demons to temporally gain their power, they weren’t exactly treated well. Despite acknowledging their sacrifices and considering them still comrades in arms, there was still some animosity and hostility over the act. Demons are quite the taboo factor alone given how much harm and suffering they caused throughout the thousand years. So using their powers against although practically effective and reasonable, it was still seen as an act of trampling on the pride of the demon slayer’s corps. Then there are the dangers that came with eating demons as one becomes more aggressive and vicious when under the influence. It takes a serious amount of mental fortitude and willpower to keep one in control and not losing to the demonic essence.

They are considered to be a dangerous element that can be a double-edged sword depending on the individual, hence the abrasion between the two subgroups. Thus how would they take to someone who was one step further and is permanently between the threshold of humans and demons? You put these thoughts down into the depths of your mind but somewhere in your subconscious, you continued thinking about such concerns. Worse yet was your sibling Keimi. Although they never ate a human nor you believe they ever will, at the end of the day they’re still a demon. So it wasn’t like you weren’t wrong for being reluctant in sharing such important secrets out in the open. Then why do you feel so distressed?

Covering your face and sliding it down, you momentarily return to your normal, relaxed expression. Followed by closing your eyes, you gave a weak, somber smile towards the group. “I’m sorry for causing a lot of trouble with that little stunt. I make no excuses for how I acted and did what was sensible to me at the time. But I don’t regret what I did just now, as a fair maiden losing my first kiss like that is just unforgivable. Also…” You trailed off, thinking back to Kaigaku and what you knew of him so far. Despite being an abrasive prick you still found yourself at least being sympathetic at the melancholy aura lingering in his prideful demeanor.
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>>4132548

“So forgive me but I’m going to be causing some more trouble and indulging in Mr. Inazuma’s request. Therefore, I’d appreciate it if you guys….wait until after this is over before talking about what you have on your mind.” You place your hand together, forming a triangle as you attempt to appeal them. “I promise...I’ll explain everything just for now...please.”

Trembling in response to your attempt to appealing the gang, Aoi finally snaps as she stomps her foot on this ground. “What is this? You have the bright idea to pull that absurd display of strength, come out in the middle of nowhere from the camp and now asking us to hold our questions and concerns. You’re being unbelievably selfish! “ Aoi screams.

“Telling us to hold back our feelings like that while you go out picking another fight with a bishonen beauty! You’re just despicable! Not to mention the fact that I got a ton of questions about the conversation the two of you been having. Less you forget I can hear you guys! ” Aoi points out, much to your dismay as it furthers the fluctuation of butterflies in your stomach.

You break into a cold sweat as you squint your eyes while keeping your smile. “Ms. Kanzaki, please. I know you’re rightfully upset but-”

“Save it! You have been such a confusing mess since the beginning and I’m getting tired of trying to figure you out. So start spilling-” Before Aoi could say anything further Kagura abruptly places their arm in front of Aoi, subtly telling her to hold her tongue.

“Kagura…” You mutter softly.

“I don’t know what exactly you’re trying to hide. Or rather, I think I have a good idea but it’s only a hypothesis. But right now that doesn’t hold any merit to your situation. So focus on fighting Kaigaku and nothing else.” Kagura softly states, staring closely at you as they notice your subtle cues and growing anxiety.

“Couldn’t have said it better myself.” Makomo chimes, walking over to stand to the right side of Kagura.

“Makomo you agree with Kagura?! You were the one who first came to us about this” Aoi argues, looking at how Makomo was taking this nonchalantly.
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>>4132555

Placing her index finger on her chin, Makomo starts upwards in avoidance of Aoi’s stern glare. “Yes, I did. While I too have some serious questions that I want to ask Ms. Shimizu, I don’t think it’s wise to disrupt her concertation and weaken her resolve. In a fight, you can’t let yourself hesitate and doubt yourself for even a nanosecond. Try to understand where she’s coming from.”

Feeling herself growing in frustration, Aoi turns her attention to the others. “Muichiro, Ozaki what about you?! Surely you’re seeing things from the reasonable perspective.”

“I’m fine either way since I’ll forget about it anyway. That said, if you want to stop them then do it yourself. This is a matter between the two of them, outsiders don’t have any say.” Muichiro bluntly answers, keeping his airheaded expression before closing his eyes. “Or do you really think that she’ll lose here?”

Swaying back in forth in a mildly panicking shriek, Ozaki reaches in between her vast cleavage to pull out a notepad and a pen before writing down a series of words. Upon completion, she gives it to Makomo for her to read it to Aoi. “...She must have her reasons. I know that doesn’t come much from me since we’ve never really talked. But….I can’t explain it but her motions aren’t contradictory to one another. And I feel like we can trust her. So please Ms. Kanzaki, ease up on her.”

“This man, Einosuke Kazama will pardon Byakuren, for now, to let herself focus on her fight. The only thing that matters is victory or defeat, and this man, Einosuke Kazama will not tolerate an unsightly battle. So you better fight at full strength and win. This flamboyant one will not forgive you if you lose to a punk like him.” Einosuke exclaims, posing extravagantly much to Aoi’s growing frustration.

“Ugh, you’re all hopeless! “ Aoi lets out an agitated sigh before folding her arms. “Fine! But if you get yourself injured, I’m going to be more pissed at you than I’m already am.”

“..Thank you. All of you.” You mutter, turning your attention back to Kaigaku. You could tell they Kagura and Makomo had already taken precaution in making sure nobody was getting ambushed and caught off guard, leaving Eniosuke and Ozaki as the vanguards. Once you made your way back to Kaigaku, you resume exposing your neck to him. Upon seeing this Kaigaku silently bites down against your flesh, sinking his fangs deep before drawing your blood. It took all of your strength to avoid screaming as you hold back tears but blushing immensely with a pout.
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>>4132559

>How do you start the fight?

>Go all in for a brawling style as you keep the pressure on Kaigaku and keep him on the defenses
>Try to deceive him with a series of feints and afterimages as you forcibly open an opening interval
>Stick to the foundation of sumo and turtle yourself to conserve stamina while reading his rhythm/motions
>Focus on getting in close, dodging and countering with a grappling pin
>Other [write-in]
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>>4132560
>Focus on getting in close, dodging and countering with a grappling pin
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>>4132560
>Focus on getting in close, dodging and countering with a grappling pin

Kaigaku is going to be as strong as a demon, and more importantly, regenerate as a demon. Without anti-demonic blades, a grapple is probably the only way to put him down in a reasonable amount of time without killing him.
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>>4132830
Additionally, if grapple attempt goes bad, well.

We are the one with fire breathing. Make fire to make him disengage if needed.
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>>4132560
>Focus on getting in close, dodging and countering with a grappling pin
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>>4132562
>>4132830
>>4133065

You know the drill, give me a roll.
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Rolled 20 (1d20)

>>4133205
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>>4133238
Jesus, what did I do?
https://youtu.be/ypot3CYECwE
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66 KB JPG
>>4133238

made my mistake of not adding the +1 since you ended up reaching the condition of getting a bonus when your family and/or loved ones are involved in some way. But that nat 20 counts either way and seals the deal.
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>>4133248
If we throw Kaigaku into the air and then perform a ridiculous blue fire burning aerial piledriver, does that still counts as grappling?

I think it does.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PhXkjc3_gM
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Rolled 1 (1d20)

>>4133205


>>4133388
I'm also down for a suplex, body slam, or choke slam.
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