"I think we've been looking at this the wrong way." You say after considering this for a while. "Our opponents are birds. The sky is their battlefield and it would make sense that they would strategize accordingly." Hien's face lights up. "Then they would see things from the air that we couldn't!" Hien exclaims. He looks up at the clear sky. "We'll have to jump from a higher point if we wish to get the greatest view.""To the cave's entrance then." You say. "It's the highest we'll get without climbing the stone walls themselves." The two of you make your way back up the grassy path that overlooked the city itself. Taking a deep breath, you center yourself and imagine yourself to lighter than air. There's a small burst of wind around you as leap as high as your legs and send you into the air. Hien rockets alongside you but his speed quickly dies down and he falls behind. You kick off again and again, each one propelling you onward as you defy the winds themselves. You feel the winds hit your face as you soak above the city and for a moment you wonder if this is how all birds feel. Perhaps they felt even more free. Even as you fly through the air, you can still feel the weight of your body as the earth attempts to pull you back down. You look down bellow and see Hien slowly coming to a stop and despite making an impressive height, it's still far beneath you. You feel yourself slowly coming to a halt as well, and you finally decide to look over the ruins before you. Even at this height, the city is a mess. You can see the bodies dotting the streets all over, and the remains of what used to be homes, and deep scorch marks scarring the city. Could the city ever be restored to it's former glory? Would you even want to live here, knowing what had occured and what was lost? You push aside your emotions for a moment to study the landscape farther, focusing on every detail. Slowly, things come into focus. The burns in the road, the way it scarred the city, even the large remains of pyres that dotted the streets. It was so simple from this view, and impossible to tell from ground level. The city itself was a circle, perfectly constructed to fit the crater atop the mount and perfectly constructed to serve as a ritual circle for anyone with the audacity to use it as such. You land back on the ground with a quiet 'Thump' and look at Hien. "What did you see?" He asks. "I'm afraid I couldn't get a great view of the city myself.""The city is the circle." You say quietly. "Every burn, every ruin. It as all used to work as a ritual circle..."Hien's face grows pale. "T-that...no...The amount of energy to power something like that. It's inconceiveable." He says. "No one sorcerer, not even two, could every manage to conjure up the chi to do something like that."
"Not unless they had volunteers." You say. "It's obvious the statues are used as some kind of key to this. The way it seems to drain everything from you. No doubt it's probably siphoning Chi. It's the only way this all makes sense.""They'd...good gods..." Hien whispers as he falls to his knees, wide eyed and in shock. "What cruel madness is this..." You say nothing. The only thing you knew to do was to go back down the path. "Where are you going?" Hien asks bleakly."I want to study the statues some more." You say."What good could come of that?" He replies. "Tai Lung, we're out of our depth here. I'm afraid there isn't anything we can do now and I don't think any good could come from messing with those monstrosities. It's time we simply leave. The rest of China needs us, needs you. I'm sorry but we can do nothing for these people right now. I agreed to look around some more in the hope we could find a solution but now I know we cannot find one. All we can do is hope they understand that we have a duty to those that still look to us.""No. I just need some time. I can try and sense them. Maybe I'll get some more information from this." You say, not turning to face Hien."What information?" Hien asks and you pause. "What exactly are you looking for?""I don't...know. Just some way to stop this." You snap back."What way? What do you think you can find?" Hien asks, his voice growing firmer. "You said those statues seemed to drain everything away. You said that must be how they gathered the energy from this. What else do you think you'll find if you try to push your spirit into that kind of device?""I'll know when I do this." You say curtly."How will you know?" Hien continues. "Why are you asking me this?" You snap. "I'm trying to save these people!""Are you?" Hien asks sharply. "I see it in your eyes. Like you're trying to make this go away. Like you're trying to undo all this. My friend, we cannot help them. Not right now. Not you and me. There are other people out there that do need us. People who have no idea what will be happening and if we do not move, then we may be too late to shelter them from what has occured here." The young lord stands and offers his hand to you. "Let us be off. To find your friends and to find a way to save our countrymen. For those we could not save. For those that may yet live.">What do you do?>Ignore Hien. He doesn't understand. He didn't live here with these people and get to know them. He can go off and be a hero if he wants. You won't rest until you fix this.>Ask Hien for just a bit more time. You're on to something. You know it. You just need some more time.>Leave with Hien. His speaks the truth. Regardless of what you might find, you'd have no real way to tell if it's relavent or if it can be used. >Write in.
>>5242414>Leave with Hien. His speaks the truth. Regardless of what you might find, you'd have no real way to tell if it's relavent or if it can be used.we aren't good enough to do this. I would only attempt this with reshu or someone else as qualified.
>>5242414>Leave with Hien>Try and explain ourselves, it is all of our fault. We let this happen over a broken leg. A business quarrel.
>>5242414>Leave with Hien. His speaks the truth. Regardless of what you might find, you'd have no real way to tell if it's relavent or if it can be used.
>>5242613Oh and>We should still keep the statues and all the evidence. The empire has proper exorcist that will know.>Normally I would try it anyway, just to know in case it helps in the future, but tye reason I wasn't able to help during the attack because I devides to risk myself to heal a boy's broken leg. We can't afford risking me going into another coma right now.
>>5242420>>5242577>>5242613Getting back into things. Writing.
"It's my fault." You say. "I could have stopped this if I was around. A small boy got caught up in a stupid quarrel I had with a buisness owner. Fell down in the caves and broke his legs and who knows what else. He didn't deserve that. I did the only thing I could do. I didn't know I was going to be unconcisous for so long. If only I was awake...I have to make up for this.""Tai Lung, everyone would tell you that no one could have seen this occuring. You did what you thought was best under the current circumstances." Hien consoles. "You're not to blame for this and if it weren't for you, things could have gone much worse.""I didn't do anything." You say."What about your friends?" Hien asks. "If it wasn't for you, then they wouldn't be here in more ways than one. You trained Ming, and even if she didn't fight, I'm sure her medical knowledge saved some lives. What about Xin Lan and Renshu? If it wasn't for you, they surely would have continued their lives in darkness. You taught them to use what people would consider evil talents for good and we both know they're worth at least a few batallions each. You know better than anyone that actions have consequences but sometimes it doesn't have to be directly because of your current actions." You remain silent for a while."I still want to try and take some evidence with us." You say after a while. Hien frowns."I'm not sure if it's safe to take any of the statues of with us. However, I can't deny that being able to bring evidence or something to be studied by those more knowledgeable than us would be a boon." He says. "But how would we transport it. There didn't seem to be any kind of container they used. It was all on their person. Undoubtly, the things didn't have any effect until activated. Making it only more horrific knowing that their owners had no idea what they were carrying. And if they did..." Hien shakes his head.>What do you do?>Put a statue in your bag. Perhaps it will have lesser effects if it's not in direct contact.>Somehow place it in a box or chest. A sturdier container might do the trick.>Hide as much of the evidence as you can. It's possible that people can come back here and try to hide what happened.>Write in.
>>5243065>Hide as much of the evidence as you can. It's possible that people can come back here and try to hide what happened.Is it finally time to use the false library red herring for something?>Take one or two statues with you, wrap them cloth, put inside one of those jar that Ming used for the light, and put them inside a box. Better to be safe than sorry.It might help whoever the empire sends if they can inspect or study it before come over.I hope they don't have a way to track the statues, like some sort of sense or connection it would make this pointless.
>>5243065>Place it in a box or chest, then string that between a chunk of wood.Like a hobo's bag or a peliquin.That way it's not near us, but we can carry it. Between us or otherwise.
>>5243130>>5243131Trying to carry a statue at a distance. Writing.
"Let's think about this." You say as you stroke your chin. "It's clear that the statues, don't affect us at a range. We've walked through the entire city and have never felt any effects of them. Not even when manipulating the bodies or fighting them. So it must be that we have to be in direct contact with them for the effect to get to us." You pace a bit. "So...it might be possible for us to carry these back if we can manage to do it without being in contact with them. Perhaps in a large box or if we can carry the bundle at a distance.""You mean like on a stick? Akin to some training weights? Or balanced on both ends like water buckets?" Hien asks."Exactly. If we can tie a box or bundle at the end of a stick we can carry it safely...at least thats the theory. However, I want to move more than just one. We need to hide a few of them.""You're worried that they might get stolen?""In a sense. There's nothing stopping from our opponents coming back and attempting to destroy any evidence of them being here and the methods they used to defile this place. We have to prevent them from trying to hide their methods if we'll be sending people back here to investigate. Preferably with an army." You say as you make you way down the path and to the fallen tree, snapping off one of the thicker branches and cleaning it up a bit with Renshu's knife. "There's a false version of the library some ways down the mountain. Apperantly it was used as a part of the test to see if people had the tenacity to continue or investigate. Our enemies are probably aware of this and we can use that to our advantage. If we hide things there, they will probably look over it knowing where the real city is." You explain. You feel a bit silly as you set down a small rag and then gingerly tap one of the statues onto it, careful to keep an eye out for any changes to you, then pull the rag up by the corners to tie to the stick. You hoist the stick over your shoulder and take a few test steps. Nothing seems to happen. "Well it seems to be ok." You say. "Looks a bit odd from a distance but I'd rather it be odd than have this effect us.""Perhaps we should avoid villages and the like as we travel. Lest a curious individual gets their hands on it or we accidentally have it hit someone." Hien notes as he follows suit and begins to collect a few more of the statues in a ruined shirt before grabbing his own branch. With a nice bundle gathered, the two of you make the precarious trek down the side of the mountain itself rather than taking the caves to get to the ruins of the false library. Without the snow clouding your vision, it was only a matter of endurance of which you had plenty of.
On an enormous outcrop stood what looked like the ruins of a small village, even smaller than the ones you had seen this far north. Worn away by time and weather, you could only just make out what the buildings where supposed to be with the biggest being the supposed library. Compared to the real thing, it was almost laughable to imagine anyone falling for this but given the secretive nature of the place, you couldn't fault anyone for thinking that the home of a recluse group of people being a simple building.You take Hien's larger bag of statues and bury them within the remains of the library's building taking extra steps to make sure it looked undisturbed even after you covered it all up again. With your task done, you and Hien make your way down the rest of the mountain. Once at the foot of the mountain, all you had to do was decide where your journey would take you.>What do you do?>Go find Ming. Traveling with a such a large group of people can't be that fast. Even after a month of travel, they had to be close by. Someone had to had seen them.>Try to find out the significance of the coin Xin left you. It must be a hint of some kind but this is no ordinary coin. Perhaps you can find information on someone who can help you with it.>Head to the capital. You need to tell the Empress of the war to come. You only hope that your reputation doesn't get you killed on sight.>Write in.
>>5243449>Head to the capital. You need to tell the Empress of the war to come. You only hope that your reputation doesn't get you killed on sight.Trust Hien's plan. Also if our presence does end up making a fuss, our friends wil hear about whereaboits anyway.
>>5243449>Head to the capital. You need to tell the Empress of the war to come. You only hope that your reputation doesn't get you killed on sight.
By the way, I archived last thread.I think this is the fourth or fifth time, did I accidentaly turn into the quest's unofficial archivist?
>>5243503You just might have. Welcome to the team?
>>5243449>Head to the capitalThey will have coin Smith's there, as well as the fastest couriers in the empire.
>>5243449>>Head to the capital. You need to tell the Empress of the war to come. You only hope that your reputation doesn't get you killed on sight.
>>5243449>Head to the capital. You need to tell the Empress of the war to come. You only hope that your reputation doesn't get you killed on sight.if we make a big enough stink they will find us... plu when we get out of here we may be able to reconnect to reshu.
>>5243489>>5243492>>5243689>>5243971>>5244048To the capital. Writing.
The capital. That was the priority and your friends would understand why you didn't immediately go looking for them. However, there was also the Feng family, China's greatest blacksmiths. If anyone could help you find the secrets behind the coin, it could be them. The journey south would be a long one, even for a group as fast as yours. You and Hien opt to make a quick stop at the town not to far away from the mountain to stock up on materials to resupply for a few more days rather than rely on the megre scarps you saved from the ruins. "It would be best if one of us stayed behind at camp to keep an eye on our...cargo." He says eyeing the small bundle of statues hanging from a stick. "It would be safer that we avoid taking them into populated areas as much as possible.""Well then which one of us is going into town?" You ask. Hien gives you a sheepish grin. "I'm afraid if I enter right now, I doubt I'll be allowed to leave." He admits, your roll your eyes and set your bags down. "Alright. But at least set up camp while I'm gone." You say. "I'll get food and we'll spend the night here to rest. After that, we'll travel as much as possible to get to the captial, your home." You say with a smirk. "It only now hits that I'm actually traveling with royalty. What will your family think knowing you've been spending time with criminals?"Hien tugs at his collar and blushes slightly. "It's not really like that. I'm only really royalty due to birth. It's not like I have a real position in the palace. If I was any other noble, I doubt I'd have as much command as I am given. It's only because of my father being the Emperor.""And now you've run away from home in search of adventure. Now I can see why the girls like you. You're basically right out of a fable." You chuckle. Leaving Hien to stew in his embarassment, you make your way into town. As you walk through the streets, you notice the quiet following you. Luckily you can see people making their way around town, albeit nervously. Others duck back into their homes or behind alleys as you make your way to the markets. An air of anxiousness hangs heavy through your walk until something catches your eye. On the wall of one of the stores was your reflection. A large wanted poster with your name. Wanted for Murder, Destruction, Terrorism, and Evading the Law:Tai LungIf seen, avoid at all costs and report to the nearest authority.As you read the finer details of the poster, you hear someone attempting to sneak up on you. With no unnatural silence to aid them, you easily discern their location and turn to face them. A weasel, armed to the teeth, is surprised to see you turn to face them but they quickly gain their composure. "Looks like my hunch was right. You're a tough man to find, Tai Lung."
The few villagers brave enough to peek out flinch at your name. "You're not the first one to say something to that effect." You reply but you refrain from mentioning that it didn't end well for them. "Let's not dance around the subject. How did you know I was here and what do I need to do to make you leave me alone. I have more important buisness than to play around with would be bounty hunters.""Straight to the point. I can respect that." The man says as he draws two blades. "All of China knows of your escape. It just so happens that I was the only one smart enough to track you down. Starting from the most obvious, I knew you'd go back to your home town for revenge. From there it was a simple matter of following the sightings of a snow leopard around. Frankly, even then it was difficult. For someone as large as you, you seem to be able to vanish without a trace. I must admit though, fate seems to be against you. I heard of a few idiots pretending to be you and your friends in this village. It was here where I asked around and wouldn't you know, asking around the villages I heard that you were looking for the Sacred Library. It would only be a matter of time you returned to resupply and this was the closest place to the mountains.""If you asked around, you know that I'm not the man the posters claim to be." You say. "As weak as it may sound, I have changed.""That doesn't change the fact that you're a wanted man. A wanted man that will make me a fortune once I turn you in." The weasel replies. "Now, we can do this the easy way or we can induldge your bloodlust a bit and I can take you down with force."You look around at the scared villagers. A fight here wouldn't do much good for your reputation and you couldn't risk being held up in jail in some city. You doubt that you'll be taken all the way to the capital. You're more suprised that you didn't expect news of your escape to finally reach the rest of the country after a two full years of your escape.>What do you do?>Ask to go get Hien. He's royalty and he could probably tell the man to stand down. Though that could make it worse if it's seen as kidnapping royalty.>Try and intimidate the man. You have a reputation. It's inccorect but it could be something you can use to your advantage. However, like everything it can have reprecussions.>Simply try and escape. If you won't fight, you can put your skills to other, nonlethal uses. >Quickly knock the man out. It'll give you more time to make some distance.>Write in.
>>5245664>For a man that got so much right, you also got much wrong. I have already been to the Sacred Library, my redemption has been accepted by Exarch Sangpo and I have learned the Dragon Style. I have come down to bring a message to the Empress and ghe five, who have let me go when I helped then in Zianghu.>But if you want a fight so much, I cam give you one. China is going to need soldiers soon, so consider this a conscription.Knock him out and kidnap him, once we get to camp Hien will explain things. This is porbably a dumb idea.
>>5245697Why would he care about the library. Let’s not just kidnap people.>Quickly knock the man out. It'll give you more time to make some distance.We're here to get supplies. We won't be here long.
>>5245664>I will be gone in a short while little weasel. You are nor my match and I am not bloodcrazed as I was two years ago. Let me be, and this will be the end of it.>When he refuses, take him down quick and as painlessly as possible.
>>5245852The library thing is more for the bystanders than him.And the kidnapping is retarded and I know it, but I'm keeping.
>>5245902Oh, for why I even thought of it in the first place, he clearly is a good tracker an good at following rumours, and as a bounty hunter he would know how to fight atleast a little bit, so he xould be useful. He clearly cares about money, so the chance to "work" for Hien could convince him.Basically, I wrote something to try and minimize the reputation hit of knocking him out, but then had that idea, said fuck it and stiched it in because I didn't want to throw away the other part.
>>5245664>>Write in.Let him arrest you. once he gets his bounty reward we break out.
>>5245935. . . No.Why would we delay ourselves that much? With THE SECURITY AND SAFETY OF CHINA! on our backs?
>>5245852>>5245875Looks like the basic knockout wins. Writing.
"I'll be gone in only a short while, little weasel. Like I said, I have something more important than to get into random fights with strangers. Something that even The Furious Five must know about. I am no longer the man that I used to be. Let me go, and this will be the end of it." You say as keep an eye out for any other surprises and for bystanders. You hear a nearby roof creak slightly as someone shifts their weight, the faint sounds of chain links clinking in a nearby alley and the strain of a bow string being slightly pulled back. "We both know you're no match for me." You say firmly."We both know it's not about who you are but what you're worth. I catch you and I'll practically be nobility. It's a bit of a shame I can't kill you. Make it much easier but we all have to deal with the hands we're dealt." The man says. The two of you stand there, tension in the air rising, both of you tensing up, getting ready to leap, and the people around you holding their breath as they wait for the one thing that would set it all off. Another creak and everything becomes to a blur.Your body moves on instinct, months of no longer needing to conciously take in all the information around you kicking in, and you grab a nearby barrel full of apples to hold out infront of you as a shield. The two blades sink into the wood as the weasel leaps to attack you. You wrench the barrel to the side, pulling the weapons out of the man's hands and sending fruit everywhere. You throw the barrel behind you, striking the bowman aiming at your back with it just before he lets go of the arrow. You twist your body around to grab the net that was thrown at you from the roof atop the weasel with on hand, trapping him, and the arrow with the other as you spin in place. The arrow is quickly sunk between two chain links and pinned to a nearby wall as it's owner stepped out and swung them at you. You take the chain in both hands and pull the hapless dog towards you, right in to a Chi strike to the chest. They crumple to the ground, paralyzed but unharmed. The weasel struggles with the net. "This isn't over! There's more of us you know! All of China will be wanting to catch you! You'll never outrun what you did!" He shouts in frustration. You move forward, towering over the smaller man and crouch next to him."I know. All I can hope is that I have enough time to make up for it." You say before quietly tapping his temple and knocking him out. The townsfolk all timidly look out from their hiding places and the sounds of running indicate that whoever was on the roof was trying to escape. There was no point in going after them. Even the guards seem reluctant to approach you.
"I just wanted food." You say quietly and taking advantage of the reluctance. "But I made a mess instead." You grab a few apples around you, a paltry meal but you've had worse, and leave a small bag of money on the floor to pay for it and any damages. With your goods secured you leap onto a roof and into the woods. You were thankful that you were far faster than the average person as the distance between where you left Hien and the town would take them a few hours to cross. You land and make your way towards the small crackling fire you companion had started. "I just managed to get the thing going." He says. "I thought you'd be out longer.">What do you say?>Tell Hien to pack his things. You need to leave now.>Take sometime to rest. You'll be pushing yourselves alot in the morning.>Send Hien to buy the rest of your supplies. Hopefully the townsfolk are more open to him.>Write in.
>>5246200>>Take sometime to rest. You'll be pushing yourselves alot in the morning.
>>5246200>Take some time to rest>"Bounty hunters, that's a nee experience for me."
>>5246200>Take sometime to rest. You'll be pushing yourselves alot in the morning.>There was a bounty hunter, we are going to need to supply in the next town that you haven't performed yet.
nice quest QM. been reading up for the past few months, I'm at where tai lung wakes after his 4mth nap. hope to join the real-time game soon! have a shitty drawing
>>5246243>>5246430>>5246613>>5246691Take a rest. We'll probably need it. Writing.>>5247011Thanks for giving the quest a chance! Glad you've been enjoying it and hope to see you voting when you catch up.
>>5247011ONE OF US! ONE OF US! ONE OF US!
>>5247011He attackHe proteccBut most importantly,He make Tai Lung spill spahgett
>>5247066Totally not spilling the pasta.
"There was a bounty hunter." You say as you sit down next to the fire and dropping the megre supplies you go. "We had a brief fight but it seems like news of my escape has finally reached all over China. Why didn't you tell me?" Hien gives you a look of shame and fiddles with instrument. "I had heard rumors and talks of people wanting to capture you but...well you're you and with your friends, I never expected anything to come of it. Then when we finally reunited...well what you told me about what happened to the library became a priority." He admits. "You'll have to be the one to buy supplies then. We can't get side tracked by a bunch of people trying to make a name for themselves off of my capture. So are there any towns you haven't preformed at? Last thing we need is a group of women forming their own group to capture you." You say trying to lighten the mood. Hien gives you a small smile."If the risk of people attempting to apprehend you will be an issue. Then I think it might be time for me to shed my disguise." Hien says."It might be a better idea if you don't. Last thing we need is people thinking I kidnapped you." You say. "Then we will need to plan out our journey in more detail if we wish to avoid attention." Hien replies and pulls out a map. "It might just be better to focus on larger cities than villages. With a higher population, it would be easier to avoid attention by hiding in crowds. Not to mention, many people will be used to more...outlandish figures in public. Not only that but we may hear information regarding the others. I highly doubt Ming, Xin, and Renshu will simply stay put without you. Plenty of people that need help and plenty of things that need doing."
"Villages might be faster however. All we need to do is have you go in and buy things then leave. We may spend no time investigating the others but we can arrive at our destination faster." You counter. "Once we're at the captial then we can start looking for the others.""The capital might come with it's own set of problems." Hien points out. "The truth is one thing, but so is your reputation. We will be battling against that with the nobility. Not to mention that once you're there, you won't be leaving for a while. I'm sorry but I cannot simply order the guards to ignore your forever. Eventually, someone in actual power will be forced to apprehend you. Due to public outcry or honor. If we intend to head to the Palace then I suggest you make sure you've settled everything you can...you may even have to come to terms with the fact that you will be going to prison again.">What do you say?>Tell Hien that you won't let that happen. You'll do your best to keep injuries to a minimum but you will fight to remain free if it means you can defend your homeland. Even if it means you have to fight the entire military and be on the run.>Say that going to prison is the least of your worries. If that happens, then so be it. You have faith that he will find the others and they will do the right thing.>Tell Hien that this means it is time for the two of you to part ways. He can carry the message while you go on the run. Perhaps you might be able to organize a regroup in the future but both of your goals cannot be compromised. >Write in.
>>5247155>I won't let that Happen Hien. Injuries will be kept to a minimum, but I shall not be restrained when the danger is so real.>Besides, I'm counting on the shock to travel far and wide. An indisputable sign that I am alive.We'll take him to the Capitol, cause a commotion and then withdraw to the valley, ming should be there swiftly.Or maybe not. . Maybe we should just follow Hien until we get news of the Buns, or we are near to the valley to wait for ming.>Show Hien the coin
>>5247155>Tell Hien that you won't let that happen. You'll do your best to keep injuries to a minimum but you will fight to remain free if it means you can defend your homeland. Even if it means you have to fight the entire military and be on the run.>I have already been imprisoned too many times, and every single time it happened, everything gotten worse while I had to wait and convince the jailers to let me finally solve the problem. And no, I won't accept a "this time it will be different, those past experiences mean nothing", like the mayor said it, a child got their bones broken and the library burned.
>>5247160Also what this anon said, starting a ruckus is part of the plan.Hien will just have to warn the Empress that every single soldier trying to capture an ally is one letting an enemy agent do as they please.
>>5247155>>Tell Hien that you won't let that happen. You'll do your best to keep injuries to a minimum but you will fight to remain free if it means you can defend your homeland. Even if it means you have to fight the entire military and be on the run.had free time today, finally caught up.design is freaking hard
>>5247164And maybe this is a loont to actually vocalise. Whenever we are restrained, shit goes down the drain. Enough is enough.>Are you saying you are above the law?I'm saying we have better things to do than let the world go to shit, so we ain't going back in anymore.
>>5247603Good job anon, it's nice to see we have someone to take on the drawfag mantle, specially since you are better at it than I was.
>>5247603Holy shit, thats awesome.>>5247160While it seems like the votes are to accompany Hien to the captial, I could use some clarification. If the plan is to take Hien to the capital and cause a commotion then withdraw to the valley then why even go to the captial to the first place? It would be much easier to simply split up and head to the valley with less risk of fighting the guard. Unless there's something more specific you wished to do in the capital? I love causing trouble and giving Ming more reasons to hit us but I feel like I'm missing some details here. More than likely I didn't read the write ins correctly.
>>5248097My plan is to go to the capital and help Hien, but refuse to back down. If we do end up causing a commotion and have to go to the valley, than it's a win. If we manage to stay there and Ming, the Five and maybe one of the bunnies than it's also a win.Not only that, but I want the rumours to be spoken through the enterity of China and that would spread quickly, so it could grab the attention of Xin, Renshu or any potential mongol agent that we could. Basically, the guards aren't a risk, it's part of the plan.
>>5248097As >>5248119 says. We want to go to the capital, and we do want the empress to heed us and her brother and so on. We WANT this to work out fine.But if they are insistent on our capture. If they cannot hold themselves back through one reason or another then we arent going to submit.The noise and shock that will create serves a purpose for us anyway, but it isnt our original desire.
>>5248135The official term is a Xanatos Gambet, where every possible outcome of the plan benefits you.
>>5248136The only reason it's technically not a complete Xanathos Gambit is that we don't win in the case we get killed.But if we get imprisoned instead, the empire has an excuse to have us work for them as Military penal service without losing face. Hien and Shifu would have to work their magic to convince the Empress, but I believe in them.
It's ok anons. This can become Ming quest, where so goes about learning dark magics and becoming supreme ruler of asia. Then it can revert to back to TL quest where he simply hug the evil out of her.
>>5248199I'm afraid we need to slap evil out of people first and foremost.The hugs come after making people realise how UTTERLY STUPID THEY ARE BEING!
>>5247160>>5247164>>5247366>>5247603>>5247708Telling Hien that we won't allow ourselves to go to jail. Who else will look after the buns? Do you think Xin Lan can cook for themselves? They'd starve.
>>5248405How *Did* they survive before us, and the advent of family cooked meals.To go back would be torture, I think.
Sorry, something pulled me away. Back to writing.
"I'm sorry, but I won't let that happened again. I'll do what I can to keep people unharmed but I must remain free and protect China. Even if it means that I remain a fugitive on the run. Moreso than now. I've tried to follow the law as I lived but it seems every time I allow myself to be restrianed terrible things happen. I've done things that I can probably never atone for and perhaps I do deserve to die in a cell but I know that I can do better out here than in some cave." You say as you toss a stick into the fire. "If only such deeds could erase your past. There are some in power that would want nothing more than for you to die. Either for their own promotion or out of patriotism. I...am I afraid that even if I could, I would not order your release. It goes against why we have a system of laws in place. Of course, I'd demand some alternate way of serving your sentence. There isn't a fiber of my being that doesn't agree with what you say. Truly you can be a force for good and desire to do so. To deny China someone of your caliber's help is not just foolishness, it's arrogance. All I can promise is that I will do everything I can to make them see that and if you choose to escape...then perhaps there may be someone there to help." Hien says with a smile."If I must fight my way out of the capital, then there will be no need. I don't want to drag you down with me." You say. "Though I appreciate the offer. For now, I think I'll focus more on convincing your sister that there is war on the horizon. We can cross the idea of escape when it arrives." You lay on your back. "Get some rest, we'll be traveling as hard and fast as we can afford to. We can't be delayed."Hien nods and adds another log to the flames. "Then let us hope that the winds grant us speed." He yawns as he prepares his own sleeping bag. ---"Ok, but at least try this." An eager voice says. You know this voice and yet for the life of you, you can't make out their features. Only what what in their hands. Hands that feel increadibly gentle and soft as you take what they offer, though it is done without your concious effort."Ming, I don't even know what that is." You say gingerly hold the glass of...whatever it was a safe distance from your face. The smell did not help endear you either."I know what it is. It's poison! I've seen it before. It's supposed to rot your intestines and make you bleed through your skin!" Another voice says, you look around to try and find the source and yet nothing comes to mind. It was as if they both existed and did not at the same time.
"It is not! Xin that's not even a real poison...It's a dietary drink, I'll have you know. It's good for you and helps you recover energy after a long work out. Speaking of which, you haven't worked out much since we got here have you? You need to keep up your training or your body won't keep it's muscle mass." The first voice says. "We need to devise a new regimen for you.""We don't need a new one." The second voice says authoritatively before taking on a smug and mischevious tone. "I'm sure Stripes can give the big guy the 'workout' he really wants. If he's not willing, I'm going to have to take the initative." The second voice adds as you feel a weight on your shoulders."I'll be fine." You say calmly, despite the fact you were looking around desperately trying to get a look at the two voices. "What I do is enough to maintain what I have. Classes, training you, and I'm even making sure what I eat is appropriate. I've done this for over 40 years, you know." You tease."I know...but still I can't help but we're forgetting something." The first voice says gently, thoughtfully. "Like...somethings wrong."The second voice takes a more serious tone. "Ming's right. Don't you feel it too big guy?..."---You open your eyes with a start but remain still. Everything in your body was screaming to not move and to listen. It was early twilight and the sun was just begining it's rise. The whole forest around you was dead silent save for one thing. Every so often, you'd hear it. A soft rustle here and there in the bushes and grass. Though it was brief, your keen senses detect a pattern almost immediately admist the ambience. They only occured when the winds shifted and the leaves on the trees rustled as if attempting to hide them. But the noises were too uneven and inconsistent to be movement caused by the breeze. Someone or some people were sneaking around.>What do you do?>Wake Hien up. Someone had tracked you down or stumbled upon your camp. It was time to confront them.>Go and find whatever is making the sound alone. Let Hien rest.>Wake Hien up and pretend nothing is wrong. Try and catch them off guard while you prepare for your morning.>Remain still. See if they come closer or if they are merely some villager that is wandering the woods. It could simply be a woodcutter or someone looking for firewood.>Write in.
>>5248624>>Wake Hien up. Someone had tracked you down or stumbled upon your camp. It was time to confront them.
>>5248624>Wake Hien up. Someone had tracked you down or stumbled upon your camp. It was time to confront them.>But try to do warn Hien in an indirect way, so both of you can confront them offguard.
>>5248624>Remain still. See if they come closer or if they are merely some villager that is wandering the woods. It could simply be a woodcutter or someone looking for firewood
>>5248624>>Wake Hien up and pretend nothing is wrong. Try and catch them off guard while you prepare for your morning.
>>5248624>Wake Hien and pretend nothing is wrongThanks dream Xin.
>>5248802Good job anon.But isn't Hien's fur suposed to be more white/grey, hence why people kept thinking he was our son? I may be wrong though, and I don't want to go archive hunting to check a nitpick.
>>5248957easily amended. (digital art really is a boon that way.) but I think it looks less interesting.
>>5249128No prob, Ming is a bit Lynx like and she is more brown, so it's not like you can't make one in the future.I also think that the idea that a prince being somewhat plain looking without all the clothes and decorim is cool. Also fitting with the whole false identity as a bard thing he has.
>>5248627>>5248646>>5248802>>5248878Pretending like nothing is wrong outwardly. Preping for an attack. Writing.
You stand up and stretch, careful to appear off guard should whoever was wandering around was keeping an eye on you, then you go and nudge Hien's shoulder. The young man makes a half awake noise and attempts to hide under their blankets. It was rather funny all things considered. You wonder if growing up in the palace made him more accustomed to waking up late or if he once woke up early, given what you knew about how much they studied growing up, only to break that habit when they realized that being a wanderer meant they could wake up and sleep whenever they chose. "Come on. Even Ming knew to wake up early to prepare for travel. It wouldn't do for someone like you to be seen being lazy." You chuckle as you shake Hien harder. Once you see him getting up and rubbing his eyes, you move over to restart the small campfire."Had I known otherwise, I might have confused you for one of my tutors." Hien says surprisingly goodnaturedly. He stands and begins to do a series of basic exercises. A wave of nostalgia comes over you as you take a moment to see him do a series of push ups. You remembered when you used to start your days doing the same. Another breeze blows through and you center yourself in the present before daydreaming. "It wasn't uncommon for one or two of them to give me a similar lecture despite me arriving earlier than them.""Well, you should prepare yourself for the greatest of all lectures once you arrive with me." You say as you attempt to warm up something for the two of you to eat. "Reminicing aside, we best get moving soon. The more distance we travel the better." You continue as you hand Hien a sharpened stick to try and warm up some of the dried foods you had. "I'm not even sure how we'll do on supplies. The bounty hunters might have been a one time thing but given the nature of it all. The reward might attract more fools than warriors.""One would think the target itself would dissuade them, rewards aside." Hien says."Greed is a powerful thing. Not to mention that outside of the valley people might think the tales to be exaggerations. Especially considering that it's been twenty years. The very people after me were more than likely children at the time." Hien gives a small scoff."You paint yourself as an old man. You're far from that." He says.
"So everyone seems to think so. Nonetheless, we should keep our eyes out. Opportunists might try and strike at any moment. If even half the tales are believed, then they may try and use a surprise attack to even the odds." You say, though as you do so you motion towards the direction of the walking by sweeping your tail in that direction, tip to the ground. "So keep your senses sharp. Listen for oddities in your locale. Things the ambience cannot hide. Look for anything sticking out, espcially in crowds. Different clothes or mannerisms."Hien raises a cup to their mouth to drink as they eye the bushes behind you. "It seems like the rabbits have taught you a thing or two." They say idly.You snort. "No. More than likely it's a certain bunny insisted on reminding me of practicing lessons I once set aside. Lest I find them invading my personal space and climbing on me.""You make it sound like a bad thing and yet your eyes speak of something different." Hien chuckles. The two of you continue to eat your meager meal and chatting. All the while, the sounds of sneaking slowly made it's way closer to the two of you. Who ever was behind it was very patient as they continued the pattern of using the breeze to muffle their movements though they had yet to show themselves. Part of you almost wished it was Xin Lan sneaking up on you, attempting to get atop your shoulders and tease you.>What do you do?>Write in.
>>5251605>physically catch the stalkerunrel: what are ming's, xin lan's, and renshu's eye colors?>>5249130>I also think that the idea that a prince being somewhat plain looking without all the clothes and decorim is cool.based, picrel
>>5251698Xin's eyes are scarlet, which I've been told is something only found in albino rabbits. Renshu and Ming have sky blue eyes. Given how Ming has been voted to be a big Chi user, it maybe that her eye color may change. Just like Kai's did and just like how Bao's did. Loving the art as well.
>>5251698That's sweet bruh.>>5251605>make eye contact with Hien, and gently flick our eyes to the spot of the hidden stalker. Try and make him understand to not react.
>>5251605> Confront the intruder.
>>5251997This first, and then>>5252212>>5251698This.Also good work drawfag.
>>5251698>>5251997>>5252212>>5252381Find the sneak, then confront them. Writing.
You continue to monitor the movements nearby, listening as they come closer and closer. Though you continously glance over to the direction of the movement, whatever is making the noise does not make an attempt to appear or attack. Perhaps they were waiting for you to look away or be at a bigger disadvantage? You didn't have time to play around with any would be bounty hunter or assassin. You stand up and begin to put out the fire, surreptitiously motion to Hien to get ready to move towards the stalker in the bushes. You pour water onto the fire dousing it with a loud hiss and using the tactics of whoever was following you, use the noise to mask your own movements as you and Hien dash towards the bushes. It seems like you and the sneak were of similar minds as the two of you leap at one another just at the same time. You and the weasel collide in mid air, becoming entagled as you find yourself wrestling for control of a three section staff. You can't help wonder how many weapons this man had and you were honestly surprised how persistent they were. Was it their greed? You didn't know but at the moment, you didn't have time to think about it. With a grunt, you snap the center section of the weapon in two before tossing the weasel aside. You hear a rattling sound as you see a chain whip arcing in your direction, only to be shattered with one swing of Hien's sword. "I take it this is the bounty hunter you spoke of?" He asks. "Yeah, didn't take him to be this persistent. Everyone else stays down after the first time." You say as you get up. The weasel stands up, drawing two metal spheres attached together with a long chain. A meteor hammer as it's called. "I can't just let my meal ticket get away." He says. "If I let you go, then my reputation will take a hit and I can't have the competition knowing I've gone soft.">What do you do?>Write in.
>>5252854>go for a feint. when he attacks dodge and grab the weapons chain. use our superior strength to pull him to us or force him to let go.
>>5252888>>5253080>>5253667Support- I mean writing.
The weasel swings both ends of the weapon around him at different angles. A common tactic mean to disorient and confuse opponents. Such a strange weapon seemingly had infinite angles to attack. Even a simple throw could be abruptly changed by extending a limb or the body into the chain and changing the angle as the chain wraps around. Even you didn't have much experience facing such a weapon despite your intimiate training with it. Practioners of the metero hammer were rare given that it was far simpler to master a sword or a spear which only gave credence to the bounty hunter's experience. Still, your last engagement with the man proved that you held the edge over him physically. Case in point, the bounty hunter loops the chain behind him and throws both ends of the weapon at you. As you dodge the first mace he quickly kicks at the chain of the second causing it to abruptly change in angle. You instinctively kicked the second away and leap backwards to create more distance and prepare your next attack. "Lay your weapons down. You're clearly out numbered and outmatched." Hien says as he moves to position himself in a flank. "Sorry kid. But I have a job I want done. My only target is the snow leopard. Take your chance and leave while you can. I don't have time for small fry." The weasel says while throwing a mace at Hien. You take the chance to step in to the gap and attack but the weasel twists around to change the angle of the attack once more towards your head. You duck and fake a swing at his head. Predictably the weasel ducks and spins to retaliate with his weapons but you grab both heads of the maces. Tearing the chain free from the bounty hunter's hands, you find yourself blinded when he leaps away and drops a flashbang. The ringing in your ears is quickly overlapped by a sharp pain in your gut and as you feel around, you find three needles embedded into your abdomen. You tear the needles out of your stomach but already you feel the muscles there stiffening. Gritting your teeth, you try and force your muscles to work. Slowly the sounds of fighting come back to you and the white blindness gives way to color and forms. You can make out the blurry shapes of Hien and the weasel attacking one another. It takes some concentration but you can barely make out what might be tonfas in the bounty hunter's hands. "You're clearly skilled. Why come after us?" Hien asks. "Have you not heard of a snow leopard helping the people around here? Saving towns from being razed? There are other criminals that you can go after. Those that refuse to change their ways."
"Others might take you up on that kid. But money is money and this is the biggest pay I'm going to get. Plus...I can't help it. I'm a sucker for a challenge." The man replies as he twists the handles around and uses one of the weapons to bat away Hiens blade. "Though I guess I am prone to underestimate my targets but I never make the same mistake twice.""Nonetheless, greed does not suit you. We don't wish to fight you and we mean no one any harm. Is there no way to stop this?" Hien asks as he dashes to one side and deflects something though your vision is still too blurry to see what it is. Whatever it was, smoke soon explodes and envelops the two of them. You take a step forward despite the feeling of stiffness slowly spreading through your limbs. >What do you do?>Tell Hien to run. You can handle this fight and you've faced these tricks before.>Leap into the smoke. Together you and Hien can take advantage of the blindness to surprise the bounty hunter.>Tell Hien to drop his disguises. Let the bounty hunter know he's facing the son of the emperor.>Write in.
>>5254145>use chi strikes on ourselves to relax the muscles to counteract the paralyzing toxin.>Leap into the smoke. Together you and Hien can take advantage of the blindness to surprise the bounty hunter.
>>5254159Support.We can convince him once he is down, cucking a man out of a challeging fight is against the Kung fu code
>>5254159Using our lifeforce to force our body to relax.That's. . Either going to work or it's going to paralysed us faster. It's funny though.
>>5254281honestly, if he doesn't get the clue to fuck off after this I say we break one of his legs and dump him off at the next village. it would make us a lot harder to track down if he can only go at half speed.
You jab your fingers into your stomach, hoping that you can be able to do something about the paralysis creeping through your body. You attempt to make your body more limber by doing what you would normally do to release those that you had paralyzed with Chi. You feel the effects of the poisons fade away or more accurately, your body loosens up and becomes more limber though now you feel the poisons spread throughout at a much faster pace, no longer being impeded by your body's instincts. You don't know how long you'll be able to move freely as you're certain that once the effect ends, you will feel the full potency of the poison. You only hope that by that time, you've managed to purge the toxin away. Pushing worry out of you mind, you leap into the fray and delve into the growing smoke cloud. Your opponent was laden with weapons and various other equipment, which meant it would all be clinking and clattering as he moved. A perfect way to keep track of him while blinded. You quickly move to flank the weasel as you work with where you remember seeing Hien last. There is no sound of fighting, though you can hear that of movement. It's doubtful that the young lord had any experience with fighting in these kinds of conditions so you quickly move to end the fight before he came to any real harm. You hear the clattering of items against the thick armor the man wore, the subtle sound of Hien's blade cutting through the air as you navigate the smoke cloud. You can hear the bounty hunter backing up and attempting to leave the cloud, only using it as a distraction as they attempt to gain a more advantageous position. Their retreat, however, only serves to your advantage as you dash out of the smoke with him and manage to catch him off guard. Once again, you strike him with Chi and paralyzing him. He falls to the ground, unmoving and defenseless. Moments later, Hien manages to escape the smoke cloud, coughing and trying to wave it away. "Is it done?" He asks as he looks around. You nod.
"It's over." You confirm as you look at the weasel. "He's persistent this one and we can't have him following us all over China.""Unfortunately, he legally has the authority to chase you. As irritating as that is. Should we do anything more to him, we'd only be adding more charges to your record. Not to mention, we would be proving everyone's perception of you right. Wouldn't look good if we attacked an defenseless man. What can we do?" Hien says looking between you and the bounty hunter. >What do you say?>Hang the man from a tree with his chains. It should take him a while to get free and by then, you'll really be long gone.>Tell Hien to take him back to town. The villagers like him and would probably believe a story about him attacking unprovoked. A few days in jail will help you get away.>Use the man to your advantage. He says he's only in it for the money and he's clearly skilled. Perhaps he can be paid to do something for you or to simply look away.>Simply leave. The less you interact with the man the better. >Have Hien order the bounty hunter to help you. He is technically your ruler.>Write in.
>>5254625party member get.>Ask Hien if it would be possible for him to hire the bounty hunter to escort us to the capital.>if not have hien travel to our next destination. while we cleanly break one of the weasels' legs (so it will heal fine) and dump him off at town.
>>5254625>Wrap him in his own chains>Well, now that you got your challenge, we can talk.>I'm going to the capital, to warn the Empress about the Mongols destroying the Sacred Library, and raising the corpses as nore soldiers. There is a war in the horizon, and we are going to need every skilled man, and you more than have proven yourself as both a tracker and fighter.>But if the idea of dooming China doesn't bother you, than I'm pretty sure tgere will be more than enough glory and riches for those that help save it.>And for proof? My friend here is Prince Hien, he travels the lands disguised as a bard to know the needs of the people. That's why I believe his sister would even hear what we have to say. And being part of his entourage would make you stand out, compared to just being a conscripted soldier when the inevitable invasion comes.My first autistic post of the thread.
>>5254906this but let's question the weasel before Hein reveals his identity to be safe.>>5254625Question weasel:>name>who is your competition? are they also hunting us? >how'd you get into bounty-hunting? is and was this your full time profession?>what's your opinion on ((political question that allows us to gauge how he regards the royal family))?
>>5255055All good ideas anon.Maybe we should get Hien to do the interrogation/questions? He is more charismatic after all
>>5255089yeah, that's better. the weasel would likely be more resistant talking to his prey, and Hien would be able to gauge patriotism better. Hien should conduct it "alone" (them not realizing we are there).
>>5254906>>5255055So just tie him up and question him then?
>>5255300Tie him, question him, and depending on the answers we can give him the pitch or dump him somewhere.So first part of these two posts>>5254841>>5254906Full on this one>>5255055And filing the second part of those ones for next update.Also asking Hien for help with the interrogation, aince he has a way with words.
>>5255315works for me. I'll get to writing.
You take the chains of the meteor hammer and begin to tie up the bounty hunter. "At the very least we can slow him down again." You mutter as you pull the chains around the trunk of a tree. Once you were done, you take the remains of the shattered staff and use them to pin the chains to the ground. A few Chi strikes later and the weasel is released from their paralyzed state. "There you got your challenge. Now let's talk." You say."We both know that not what I meant about a challenge. This won't end until you're caught." The man says. "Once you get a taste of a real challenge. The first in many years. You just can't let go. Don't tell me a man of your caliber hasn't yearned for a real fight. Something where you have to push yourself to the fullest to succeed?"On some point, the man had a point. There were times when you did wish for a real challenge. Something that made you push yourself to your limit where you felt the real thrill of possibly losing. But those wishes were gone in the past, along with the desire to prove to everyone you were the strongest. Now, your strength was a tool not something that defined who you were. "I'm afraid that you fail to provide that for me. As we've seen twice over. Maybe it's time you realize that you're no match for me." You reply pointedly. The weasel chuckles. "Just a bit of rust. A few years of slacking. I'll catch my stride, don't you worry. Or rather you should. If not, then I have no problem enjoying this little hunt on my own.""Like I told you, I don't have time for this. If you must know, we're on our way to the capital to deliver a message to the Empress. The mongol tribes of the north are forming an army and trying to war with China once more. What's more is that they're raising the corpses of the dead to do their dirty work for them. You're clearly skilled and we're going to need people such as you. Of course, if the thought of innocent people dying and lives being torn apart doesn't give you enough incentive, I'm sure you can find riches and glory by working for the Empire." You say with finality but the weasel burst out in laughter."I've been around the block quite a few times. Caught myself some of the worst of the worst and heard just about every excuse there is but this is honestly the best one yet. Do you honestly believe anyone would buy that? War? Dead bodies? The northerners haven't done anything in generations. Why would they now? I'll admit, I might have bought it with the help of a few drinks but the living dead? Nonesense. The stories never mentioned you had a sense of humor." He laughs. "This will be quite the hunt then." You scoff and walk off. Making a show to appear frustrated.
"You can handle him. I'm going for a walk." You say as you step into the bushes. Once out of sight, you quickly sneak around the camp and edge closer to listen in. You hope that Hien has the initative to try and speak to the man. For a while there's nothing. Just the sounds of chains rattling as the weseal experiments with them. Hien for his part has taken a seat and started to tune his instrument. You sit there for what feels like an hour with Hien idling around and tending to the campsite among other things. As you begin to wonder if you made a mistake, the weasel speaks up."I don't suppose you could let me go?" He asks. "You said so yourself, I haven't done anything illegal.""I'm afraid not." Hien replies as he pokes the fire. "However I must admit that you do seem to be far more jovial than I would assume a bounty hunter to be. Especially one chasing Tai Lung." The weasel studies Hien for a moment with a critical eye."You've never felt it have you?" He asks."The thrill of the hunt? No I don't suppose I have. Even going after someone, it was always a job. Nothing more." He says."No. The thrill of a passion long thought gone. That spark that everyone else seems to have. That thing that gives you a reason to wake in the morning." The bounty hunter says. "Ask the old man. He knows it. You can see it in his eyes. Dead. Hollow.""I'm afraid that you are mistaken. There is reason behind that look, however I only wish it was a missing drive behind it. Though, I must ask. How long have you been a bounty hunter? You speak of this as many veteran craftsmen talk about their trades.""I've been doing this all my life. Perhaps nearly a decade. A sort time I suppose but it very quickly became dull work. Soon criminals all began to blend together. They became predicable, their crimes all the same. After a while, it all became a chore. No one to match wits with. No one to match strength against. Can you imagine the money I've made from chasing those that hid from the empire? At first I was proud of course. I caught those that the guards and military couldn't. The clever, the strong, the vile. But once you learn how to do it...it all become repetative.""So what makes Tai Lung any different?" Hien asks but the weasel laughs again."Do you really need to ask? He's Tai Lung. Master of every martial art. The one who was going to be the Dragon Warrior before the whole mess in the Valley of Peace. You don't just get to be that if you were just simply strong. You need cunning. Guile. You have to be the best. And then I heard he escaped. Can you imagine that? I knew some people who were guards there. 1000 men. All beaten. Then the mad man chooses to return to the scene of the crime and deafeat not only the Five, but the Dragon Warrior himself! It was as if the Gods had blessed me the day I heard it. The more dangerous game in all of China. And for a very hefty price too if the rumors are true."
Hien stops idling around the fire and looks at the bounty hunter. "I've never heard of a price being put on his head. Certainly bounty hunters started stirring. One can only assume that the Empire would pay handsomely but nothing offical has been said.""Oh no. Why would they? You place a price on that man's head and all of China would turn inside out to hunt him. Why not a day goes by when some fool decides to pick up a pitchfork and torch to try their hand at bounty hunting...and then are never heard from again. Imagine if every half wit with an eye for a way to get rich quick turns their eye on the biggest murderer known to the public? How's the good Empress every going to write that off? But I got contacts...and word around the Palace says that the Empress herself placed the bounty. That's why they want him alive specifically. My bet is that she wants to be the one to bring down the axe herself.""That...that doesn't sound like the Empress." Hien says slightly take aback. "Nearly everyone says she's quite compassionate and kind." The weasel nods."True. True. I won't deny that but see...this one is personal." The weasel says in a voice so low that you had to strain to hear it from your distance."What do you mean?""Well...like all things. Rumors are abound. Some say that Tai Lung stole a precious treasure of the royal family. Some gift of the dragons. Others say he snuck into her chambers and stole her maidenhood. And the less optimistic simply think she's trying to save face for his escape.""But you don't believe it?" Hien guesses. The bounty hunter shakes his head."Nope. All too wild or mundane. Treasure can be replaced or lied about. If anyone was daft enough to enter the Empress's bedchamber, the entire army would be looking for him. As for saving face? An Empress has better things to do than chace the whims of peseants.""So what is it?""Her brother. It's quite tightly kept for now but word around the palace is that her youngest sibling has gone missing. He was rarely seen in anyway, something about being sickly but now he's completely dissappeared and that Tai Lung is behind it. My guess is she wants to find out where he is...or avenge him. The bounty is simply a way to get it done without alarming the nation. Well I don't evny the madman who would kidnap royalty but that's not my job.""You...are quite well connected." Hien says as he tries to maintain his composure. "Who exactly are you?""A no one in particular. Most poeple know me as Chaoxian.""Chaoxian? The man who captured Shunyuan Shan of the 30 Beasts Gang? Tao Ting the Mad Alchemist? Your stories are known all over China!" Hien says in surprise."All of them quite boring." Chaoxian says dismissively. "Although, I suppose you now know what I mean about rekindled passion if such tales are considered boring to me."
"But...why would someone like you even need to resort to bounty hunting now? Surely if you had asked the royal family directly, then they would have rendered more aid. I've heard even the great General would have liked you in his ranks." Hien asks. Chaoxian makes a dismissive gesture or you assume to be one given how bound he was."I'd much rather work independantly. Royal backing pays well but there's too much litigation and I don't want to get tied up in some noble's schemes for power." The weasel says. "I heard you had help though. Who were the others? Who else is trying to hunt us down?""Some no name kids trying to make a name for themselves. Once they realized they bit more then they could chew, they backed off. Less competition, less messy deaths. They were lucky I volunteered to be the one to go face to face with the man. But...most of the big players are interested for better or worse. There's the Xiang sisters. Zhaohui of course, Cheng Lei of the Iron Skin, and several others. Too numerous to name really. Some of us even think that the noble houses have hired their own people as well. Your buddy has a real nice target on their back. Rather lucky that I was the first you met and is willing to be open when being interrogated.""And yet you answered." Hien says."Why make it easy? The hunt is far more satisfying if you have some advantage too. Make of the information what you will.">What do you do?>Step out of the bushes. It's clear the farce is over.>Stay hidden. Maybe Hien will ask something else. (What do you ask?)>Sneak up on the man and knock him out again then leave.>Have Hien reveal his identity.>Write in.
>>5255488>Return from our walk.>Ask him about the poision he stuck us with. If he refuses to answer, just KO him and let's scoot.
>>5255488>>Stay hidden. Maybe Hien will ask something else. (What do you ask?)hey as long as we've got the make-words-come-out-of-NPC's-mouth power:>You're too late, Chaoxian. I've already captured Tai Lung. He's even coming with me willingly. Remember what he said about delivering a message to the Empress? He actually believes that. >Though, I wouldn't mind having some backup if he wakes up to the ruse. If you accompany us, I can split the bounty with you. (Start offer with 25%)
>>5255488>Stay hidden. Maybe Hien will ask something else. (What do you ask?)>Well, you are clearly skilled and resourseful, can't deny that. However, you missed a little problem, Tai Lung is absolutly horrible at subterfuge. What he just said about going to the capital? It's true, or atleast he fully believes it.>I have a bit of influence at the capital due to a few friends in high places. All I have to do is make sure is that he gets far enough so that a simple guard don't snag him out of my hands. Either he is speaking the truth or he delivers himself to the Empress, and either way I get something out of it.>But since you are so hellbent on following us, how about we simple share the rewards? Normally I wouldn't offer this, but one of his companions is the Butcher of Japan, and if pay attention, they are all missing. I need someone to keep and eye out, and I'm a bard, not a tracker.>But first things first, that poison you used on him, what is it? And do you have an antidote? I would rather not have to carry a man that karge all the way to the capital.I tried my best to not directly lie, so that when Hien reveals himself it's not a complete break of trust.
>>5255971(same anon as 9P1tToPe) it's not neccessary to have Hien reveal himself. If Hien wants to unmask himself we should be forthcoming about it instead of starting with a ruse.I'm hoping with my plan Chaoxian doesn't find out until we get to the point it doesn't matter.
>>5256142I too don't want Hien to reveal himself until we are in the forbidden city. Still, it's going to happen there, and I'm trying to minimize the possible grudge.My write-in is basically just yours, except I tried to be lie by omission instead of directly.Also a bit of 7y3a5E3r's too. I'm a hack, but I don't hide it.
>>5256149A lie's a lie. I'd rather keep the details given to the weasel to a minimum so there's less chance to mess them up. those lies, given little detail, even sound real, Hien having warned TL he would let them enact judgement there.
>>5256141i'll change this vote to instead support.>>5255759
>>5255759>>5256307>>5256149Alright, so what exactly are you guys offering the bounty hunter? Selling out husbun? Telling him that Hien already captured Tai Lung? Or just hiring him to come with us for a fake reward?Asking him for an antidote is clear and so is keeping Hien's identity hidden just a bit longer.
>>5257430Tell them that TL is already "captured", and to offer to hire him for part of the "reward".Hien can try to pay him for real when he gets to the capital though. I added the Renshu bit not as selling him out, but to explain why he would make the offer, but it seems other anons don't want that.
>>5257467>I added the Renshu bit not as selling him out, but to explain why he would make the offerI gottcha, I was just poking a bit of fun and making it sound more dramatic. Otherwise, we won't get hired for another season!
>>5257477Drama is meaningless on a hypersensationalised stage!This isnt the Ming X Xin soap opera, that's a channel over! Keep it classy!
>>5257621>Inb4 Ming and Xin are actually dating. I'm getting to writing.
>>5257628But you established in the 4th season that the baby was Hiens' evil twin brother Hein.
>>5257640Yeah but that's the subplot leading up to the TV spinoff which will be endlessly refrenced in season 7 of the main series. Then there will be the cross over movie and possibly an interprative dance play thing in broadway.
>>5257646Will it come out before or after the spin-off where the characters are the teenager children of the original cast, that flops and everyone pretends never existed?
>>5257668you have to wait ten more years for the nostalgia to kick in, then you make the characters younger to draw in new audiences. Trust me it works every time.
>>5257672That one is the sequel/reboot, that youtubers will make with hour long videos saying how it was the concept done right.Until the series gets milked again and people say that they never liked it in the first place.
>>5257689Don't forget the spin off where it takes place in a High School fantasy setting to try and attract the Young Adult audience and the series of YA novels that followed suit.
"Well, I suppose it's time to let you know that you're too late. I've already captured Tai Lung. He's coming with me willingly. That whole thing about the message to the Empress? A lie. One that he actually belives." Hien says. "With that, I need to ask, do you have an antidote for whatever you hit him with? Last I need is him dropping dead or me having to carry him all the way back to the captial."Chaoxian scoffs. "First off, as a professional, I of course have the antidote. A dead target is worth less than a living one and only an idiot deals with poisons and not have a way to deal with it if it's used against them. Secondly, I'm already being generous. Let's not play the subterfuge game while things are still friendly. It's clear you defer to Tai Lung for direction. I haven't made a living off of hunting criminals to not see where the head of an organization lies. There's nothing in the way you two interact that belies you simply playing the fool."Hien frowns. "Think of it how you will but I was willing to offer 25 percent of the reward to help me bring him to the capital. Not to mention he still has his companions to go after. One if I recall has a rather large reward off seas in Japan.""Right...and I suppose you know where these people are?" The bounty hunter asks and though his tone was unimpressed, you could see the glint of interest in his eyes. Hien shakes his head. "I'm afraid not. I'm guessing they caught wind of being tracked and split up. I've not been able to get anything of their location from Tai Lung. Though I had heard they convinced a girl to travel with them. I doubt she had any idea of who they really were.""Hmm...so I've heard. Some kind of healer from the rumors." Chaoxian says. "I'm guessing she was a front of sorts. A way for them to seem legitimate but if anyone might have clues to their whereabouts it would be her." Hien says. "If they were traveling then she would know of what their final destination would be.""So what? You want to track the others down and split the reward?" Chaoxin asks. "If what you say is true, you already took away one of the few reasons I'm here in the first place.">What do you say?>Say that the money is still good. Offer 25 percent for Tai Lung and the split the others evenly. It's only fair.>Say that money isn't the full reason you're doing this. You just want to put a criminal away. Offer to hire him to track down the others then rendezvous to team up.>Say that the others are just as skilled as Tai Lung, even more so when it comes to hiding. If he could find Tai Lung then the rabbits will be the true challenge of a life time.>Say nothing more and simply leave him there after taking the antidote.>Write in.
>>5257759>Say that the others are just as skilled as Tai Lung, even more so when it comes to hiding. If he could find Tai Lung then the rabbits will be the true challenge of a life time.>Well, I was originally worried about one of them finding me, can't exactly parry a blade while you sleep and by what he said, Tai Lung was the one holsing the rabbits backs. But perhaps finding them first has more merit.>So you have two options: Tag along, keep an eye out and help stop any other hunters from taking him and we can worry about the others later, or go hunting the pair right now and rendevous at the capital. I guess you can't also deny, I take your antidote and you just waste everyones time trying to bring a bounty to were it's already going.
>>5257759oh no we sold out husbun and Ming! and said that the message to the Empress was a lie.at least we fixed the "persistent" problem. but this isn't much betternow the challenge is to play the cards down right. Chaoxian is extremely intelligent, making it hard. goals: prevent him from hurting us, the bunnies, or developing negative views towards the royal family.Can't think of any likely way that would avoid all. If we say TL is bait for his friends, the weasel will follow us, hired or not, and if we say anything other than that, he'll hunt them down. I say leave it to the bunnies to defend themselves....>I can't track the others down while bringing Tai Lung in. >Good luck if you wish to hunt his companions.>Tai Lung returns from his "walk", demands antidote from Chaoxian, knocks him out and we go on our merry wayhow far's the capital, in minimum travel days?
>>5257759>The buns are as skilled as Tai lung, moreover in stealth.I dont see how this backfires honestly. He either succeeds and we get them back. Or he finds them and we get the info.Or he fails and he isnt our problem
>>5257759>Say that money isn't the full reason you're doing this. You just want to put a criminal away. Offer to hire him to track down the others then rendezvous to team up.>Say that the others are just as skilled as Tai Lung, even more so when it comes to hiding. If he could find Tai Lung then the rabbits will be the true challenge of a life time.
If we mention the rabbits are a challenge...>Plus...I can't help it. I'm a sucker for a challenge.Should we encourage him to chase them?
>>5257806Captial is about 3 months away with how fast you're running and pushing yourselves. From the captial, it's roughly 4 months. Assuming you're traveling with Hien. If you're going at it alone, then 2. So the gist seems to send then bounty hunter to search for the bunnies only and to get back to you with information? PLay on his boredem and looking for a challenge to do it as well.
>>5260117That's the idea.Super-stealthy mega assassins are amazing sport.
>>5260156That or you've just sent them something to hunt. Writing.
>>5260199then it's a win-win. either he finds the bunnies or he gets hurt and is out of our hair.
"I can't track the others while I'm taking Tai lung in." Hien says. "However, if you want a challenge then you severely underestimated the rabbits he traveled with. They are masters of stealth. Far more than Tai Lung could ever be. Go back and ask about them where you found out about Tai Lung. The two could vanish in plain sight never to be found again. I've seen it done right infront of my eyes. If you want a challenge like no other then that's your greatest challenge. What's more threatening to a hunter that two other hunters? You find the location of those two and we can regroup to take them down. Easiest way to do that is to get them to believe you'll take them to Tai Lung. Direct them to the Valley of Peace. There we can have support of The Five. They'll be more hardpressed to do their duty as heroes than to ask for the bounty. Easiest trap to set. All you have to do is find them and convince them you mean no harm.""You make this sound like some kind of sale. Trying to sweeten the deal." Chaoxian says. "Isn't anything involving money a buisness?" Hien replies. "I'll loosen the chains for you. All I need is the antidote and we can move forward. Just pretend you're still bound until we're out of earshot and leave. Tai Lung will still think you're no longer a threat and you'll be free to presue the others. Since you're doing most of the work, you can keep majority of the bounty seeing as you're doing most of the looking.""And if I refuse?" The bounty hunter asks."Then you'll stay stuck here until you figure out how to get out and Tai Lung will probably want to personally search you for the antidote you have. Odds are, given how angry he can get, you'll be far worse off than simply agreeing with me." Hien replies nonchalantly. "Now hurry up and tell me, before he decides to come back." You hear the chains clatter slightly as the bounty hunter tries to test them, either to try and escape or simply to test the bonds and Hien's deal. "Fine." The hunter says somewhat grumpily. "Back pocket." He grunts."I hope so." Hien says as he moves behind the bounty hunter. "I don't need to tell you what will happen if this isn't an antidote. I've heard that years of torture in prison unlocked some kind of healing power in Tai Lung. I don't know if it's true but it he finds out you just gave him more poison and he lives. I'm not sure even I can stop him.""Here's to both our sakes then." Chaoxian says. Hien takes the bottle and pockets it before sitting down. You give it a few more moments before appearing once more from the bushes. Hien tosses you a small bottle. "Antidote. I searched him while you were gone. It's about the only thing he gave up unfortunately." He says. "What are you going to do with him? We can't leave him here."
"Guess not." You say as you move to tower over him. You tear the chains free and slap the man in the side of the face, hitting him with a chi strike and knocking him out."Was that really necessary?" Hien asks, dropping the act."No but you did send him out after my bunnies. I didn't want to make it too easy for him." You grunt."Unfortunately, it was the only way to keep him busy while we return to the capital. I'm sure they'll understand or more likely never be found." Hien says. "But they might infer we're looking for them." You don't say anything."I'll...simply leave him a few details to help his search." Hien adds sheepishly as he quickly scrawls a note. With nothing else going on he awkwardly asks, "Shall we be going on then?">How do you travel? How often do you stop at places to resupply and listen to news?>Write in.
>>5260306we are going to need some information.like where are we now? where is the capital? How far away is it? Are there any major stops or barriers we have to go through? what would the fastest way to travel be?
>>5260312Hey what is this? Make an informed decision quest? Give me a bit and I will answer those questions.
>>5260306>>How do you travel? How often do you stop at places to resupply and listen to news?>as quickly as possible, stop every week or as neededPicrel is crazy, and probably expensive, but should be fast. We can go by water for the rest, great cities are always built on the coast or riverbank.Or basically we need a map to plan course.
>>5260322You forgot your snow princess! Drawing a quick map. something I didn't really do to keep things vague and not really have to worry about the details. Also to cover the fact I know absolutely nothing about China. Guess it's biting me in the ass now. However, I will say that traveling at fast as you can will not take long. Beijing is far more north than I remember in geography class. So. The Valley of peace is in southern China. To get to the capital (Beijing), it's probably 2 months of travel as for major stops or barriers? Nothing much other than the ussual and now bounty hunters. There's no form of blockades or the like on the main roads. Other than perhaps some patrols of military making their rounds or perhaps moving to the next location, China is in a state of peace so there's no real reason for them to be on any kind of alert...other than for you but compared to the war you want to prevent that's not much. Fastest way would be simply to go by foot...or fly I guess if you want to try that anon's idea though you'd have to convince a bunch of birds to do it for you and given your wonderful reputation that will be an adventure on it's own.From the Capital to the Valley of peace however, is a much longer trip and that one can be taken many ways. You can return via the ocean as you did before and circumvent majority of the continent that way, or try and leverage your speed and take the striaght route there. Boat is slower in comparision but it beats having to deal with an entire country of people and only a handful of crewmates. You're still in the northern most part of China, right at the village at the base of the mountain where villages there are small even compared to those in central china. Basically the only thing between the wilds of mongolia and the fledgling villages of northern China is the mountain range there...and the great wall. Apologies in advance to all the geography buffs I killed via my own stupid mapping of the country.
>>5260348would it be faster to use the dirt roads between villages/cities or to brave the wilds?
>>5260348>Boat is slower in comparisionwhat, how?one of the mostly useless things I learnt in school was that during the gold rush, people from the east coast tried to get to california. going by land with wagons on a mostly straight path took the same time as going by sea when sailing around the tip of south america. unless both currents and wind hate us there's no way going by land is faster
>>5260359your forgetting kung fu running.
>>5260362can't run constantly, while a ship sails while we are asleep. and can Hien kung fu run?
>>5260359Because I'm very very bad with maps and have never really been charting stuff for this very reason. Basically was following the old adage of shortest path between two points is striaght through.Here's a rough map I made. If we take the boat route we took in reverse. We do cut through a lot of travel but we go at the speed of boat not magic kung fu naruto run. In my brain, magic running is faster simply because somehow Tai Lung got to the valley of peace in such a short amount of time from a mountain range. Movie made it seem like it was a few days. So following that logic, I just thought it would be faster to go on land. Hien can do Kung Fu run. He can do most Kung Fu things in the genre save for the fact that he's much much slower than you. In fact, he's slowing you down as is. Plus I didn't take into consideration you'd bring him to the valley of peace. If that's the case, then yeah boat is faster. Your son needs to rest more often than you. Tl;dr, QM is shit at maps and never used them for that reason. Increase in travel priority is causing me to regret dozing off in highschool.
>>5260400huh, never noticed beijing was in the "neck" of the chicken.looked some stuff up and there's a river that passes through beijing muncipality. so plan:fly to riversail down river (with birds), get off near beijingfly to beijingunless for some reason magic kung fu run is faster, then we do that way.
unironic could we have paraglided from the sacred library?
>>5260400looking at your map the closest place of importance would be Xilinhot and if we travelled by road (assuming major roads from china modern-day exist now because I'm too lazy to look up ancient Chinese roads) the quickest route (by major highways) would lead to Zhangjiakou and then Beijing which would be a 7hr drive. behold my autism. a 541 km (336.16 miles) 123 hr (5.13 days) walking path. (thank you google satellite maps)travel south from Xilinhot heading to Wuritusumu, then Sanggendalaizhen. then Zhenglan Banner, follow the Shandian river until you cross near Da Beiyingziand travel south to Yushugou. then follow the road to (and cross the river again) Daxiyingcun and then Shandianhecun. cross the river for the third time and head to Sirenwacun from there you can head to Guyuan County (to stock up on supplies) and go through the mountains following Baihe River until you hit Ximenwai.continue following the river until Jiuzhancun and the Yunzhou Reservoir. cross the river again to Yunzhoucun then hit Guanmenkou or Qiangou. then you can go to Datugou for resupply. follow the river again to Chicheng County. cross then follow the river at Yangtianxiang. hit Shangmashancun and leave the river heading southwest for a while before hitting Shangjiabao Village. travel south until you hit the river again crossing at Taizidi. travel east until you hit the beginning of a mountain pass and follow it until you hit Dongjiagoucun. go through the mountains again until you get to Jiuxianzhen. from there you hit the Badaling Great Wall Toll Gate. go through the gate and the mountain and you have arrived in northern Beijing.
>>5260306Let's go full run at the capitol, the route I leave to other anons.But actually stopping to listen for rumours and shit, give it a day over every week
>>5260306Just strap Hien on our back and run like the wind, making pit stops at smaller towns, avoiding cities or villages, and let Hien be the one getting the supplies when we stop.>>5260400You forgot one of the biggest part of why boats are rge kinfs of transportation: Rivers.Almost every major city in the world is either on the shore or at the bank of a sailable river. China for example has the Yellow and the Yantzhe rivers, two of biggest sailable rivers in the word. But in this case we would take a smaller one from Bao Hai gulf to lead to Beijing.But this is without magic kung fu running, of course.
>>5260754unfortunately, if you want to get to Beijing by river our only reasonable choice would be to walk to Xilinhot and then walk to Zhangjiakou. from there you can ride the Yanghe river until it meets the Sanggan river. follow those rivers east until you arrive at the bottom of the Guanting Reservoir. from there ride the Yongding which will lead you to the western edge of Beijing.
>>5260754note that we should be sailing down the river(s) instead of up. it would be more direct (we are at the base of a mountain after all) as well as faster (current).
So I think it's running that's the plan? suggestion on using river boats as well. That's something that slipped my mind.
>>5261348Whichever is quickest. We are barely stopping for rumours or supplies as it is.
>>5261348if were using boats i would recommend the path I talked about here >>5260912
"We travel quick and we travel light..."Travel was quiet and quick paced. Although you followed the main roads, you oft noticed how empty they were. No merchants, no wanderers, not even the odd guard here and there. Perhaps the sense of solitude was excacerbated by the fact you and Hien slept as far as the main roads as you could to avoid anyone attempting to cash in on your bounty. Or perhaps it was the weather. The nights were chilly though not so much as the nights up in the Sacred Library. Still, it was the cold breezes and icy dew in the mornings that reminded you of autumn's arrival and even though the trees were still sporting a healthy shade of green, the fact that they would soon turn shades of gold and brown only seemed to hammer in the feelings of solitude the season evoked. Night especially seemed to plague you. Each time you dozed off, memories of your friends would fill your dreams. They were simple recollections. Small, unimportant events that you would have left aging in the farthest recesses of your mind had they not borne life in your sleep. Things such as teaching Ming a new stance or workout, taking Xin Lan for a walk and trying to avoid them knocking you into the lake. None seem to bear the prophetic nature of the first time you dreamt of them but rather than providing comfort for the times to come, they gnawed at you and left you yearning. As if a hole was left in you that did not seem to heal or fill. Worst yet was the fact that despite weeks of travel, none ever bore the face, mention, or even tangential connection to Renshu. As though he had never existed, your beloved never once graced your dreams.Before, you'd have been relieved at such a notion but now such a revelation only brought worry to you. Could it be a sign that he was no more? You certainly hadn't felt his presence in your mind since you awoke. Nor could you feel any of the spirits that hung around him. Wouldn't he order one to stay with you? To keep an eye on you?Mercifully, none of this affected your ability to be well rested. After every dream, you always awoke well rested though this never stopped you from quietly sneaking a long look at the medallion you were gifted. Despite all these things plauging your mind, none of them ever took precedent to the matters of the living. You still needed food and water and you still needed to be informed about the world around you. Very rarely you would send Hien into a village or town to listen to the local gossip while purchasing supplies. Every time, however, he would return with nothing of note. Either some rumors of Tai Lung buring a town that was still standing and robbing them, stories of bounty hunters looking for Tai Lung or some local gossip of the town itself such was so and so secretly having an affair with a certain renegade snow leopard. As far as the rest of China was concerned Tai Lung was the only thing important to them and thankfully it seemed that some people were on your side.
Words of your deeds had also spread around the nation and there were some, albeit few, people that seemed to believe in your redemption or at the very least more keen on giving you some space and allowing you to live as you pleased so long as you did not bother them. In truth, even the more wild of rumors were good news in your ears. It mean that there were no more raids or mass destruction. For now it seemed that the Mongolians had ceased their activities in China. You did feel bad about one thing, however, and that was Hien. The two of you spoke rarely and only to ever plan out a route or discuss some course to take. You could see it in his eyes that he wished to speak beyond the unfortunate and current affairs but you simply couldn't make yourself do it. Although he was your friend, and thankful as you were to travel alongside him, you simply could not open up to him about your worries as you could the others. It just didn't feel right and he didn't seem to want to press the issue. Eventually he did finally break down and speak up a few weeks into your travels. "So you're planning on heading into Mongolia with the others?" He asks attempting to bridge your lack of communication with your current goals. "Yes." You say simply and then judging this to not be an adequate response add, "Although if I had a choice I would leave Ming behind. She shouldn't see war up front.""But she won't allow you." Hien surmises. "No. She'd either make us take her, follow us, or simply travel there on her own and try to find us. In the end, it'd simply be much safer to have her come along with us." "It sounds like the others have managed to inherit your stubborness." Hien jokes."I suppose so. Maybe they do it to get back at me for mine." You muse. "Or maybe that just to do it because it's the only way they can survive."---Your travels soon become more cautious as you approach the captial. More and more often you see people coming down the road. Traders coming and going towards the big city or travelers heading to other towns. The heart of China was more interconnected than even the Valley of Peace of which always had plenty of visitors and traders. You begin traveling off of the mains roads entirely to avoid patrols and travelers but even so you needed to stop for supplies. During one of these stops, Hien returns rather short of breath and far too early for him to have finish his purchases. Excitement seems to shine in his eyes as he returns.
"People are talking about a girl." He begins before you can even begin to ask. "They say she's able to heal almost any injury she encounters. Everyone was paying her for her services but even so she never seemed to sleep in any inn. She just appeared in the morning to offer her services and vanished in the night. A few people have said she's done this before in a few towns away. She simply vanished in to the forest and wasn't heard from until the next appearance. All accounts however, always mentioned a worried look on her face and her always looking over her shoulder as if waiting for something. Think it could be Ming? Should we check it out?" He asks.>What do you say?>Say that it's too risky for you to walk into a town so close to the capital. You'd be recognized immediately. Send Hien to spend a few days there alone.>Say that it's too much of a coincidence. Ming said she was heading to the Valley of Peace. Why would she be near the capital, especially if she's trying to hide an entire city of refugees.>Say that this may be the one chance you get to find her and you won't lose the opportunity. Try and find a way to disguise yourself and head in to search.>Write in.
>>5261750>Disguise ourselves and enter in the morning after.A large cloak would do us well, and though I doubt this is Ming it is good enough of a chance.
>>5261750>Say that it's too risky for you to walk into a town so close to the capital. You'd be recognized immediately. Send Hien to spend a few days there alone.>Disguise Hien just in case.
>>5261758>>5262016>>5262103Going incognito. Our disguise shall be as Tigress's brother...No wait!
You sigh. This was too good to be true. A healer with the same description as Ming's talents? Clearly it must be some impostor like before or perhaps some kind of trap. Your story was well known by now and someone attempting to capture you would clearly try and pose as your friends. Still, you could not shake the feeling of something bad happening if you didn't look into it. "Alright, but we'll need a disguise. I already stand out quite a bit as is.""Don't worry. I think I have just the disguise for you." Hien says confidently.---"I don't think I've ever seen a tail this long. It's making it rather difficult to hide." Hien says as you swish your tail out of the way of his hands."I don't know. It's always been long-" You say and immediately stop. Out of habit you look around for Xin Lan, waiting for them to make a pass about you in bed or your endowment. Hien looks at you rather confused."Nothing. It helps me keep balance." You say shaking your head and changinge the subject. "This isn't really what I had in mind when you mentioned a disguise." You say as you look around you. You were covered head to toe in the various clothing the two of you picked up on your journey. Very little of you was exposed and you felt rather like a fragile object being prepared for a long journey rather than looking like someone else. In some ways, you felt like you were more conspicuous than simply walking in in regular clothing."My apologies but...well your spots and fur color make it rather obvious that you're a snow leopard and it doesn't take much for people to assume that it's you. Correct or otherwise, it would be sure to cause a panic. We can use this to our advantage and simply say you're ill and looking for this miracle healer. At least with the clothes we can say you're a tiger or something similar. They tend to be...almost your height." He explains. "Now please...hide your tail."You grunt and grab your tail before stuffing it up your shirt and wrapping it around your chest. "Excellent. We can also use that as an excuse to say why you can't speak." Hien adds."I don't think many people know what I sound like." You say. "You're having fun with this aren't you?""Where I can have it, yes." Hien admits. "Now. I think we're good to go. Maybe hunch over a bit and pretend you're in pain."If your face wasn't covered in a large scarf, you'd be frowning at the young man but as it was also covered with a straw hat, the only thing that could be seen was your eyes. With some reluctance, you hunch over and follow Hien towards the village.
---Village was a bit of a misleading name as the settlement was jam packed with carts, people, homes and buisnesses. Just shy of a city itself Changshaoyingxiang stood proud as part of the Chinese empire. The sounds of market owners calling out their wears, carts rolling around and people chatting from every single angle assault you and you soon find yourself back at a home setting. "I don't think the girl has been seen today but I think we should start looking around." Hien says. "I thought you would have asked that already." You says."I may have gotten a bit excited to tell you." Hien admits.>What do you do?>Go and ask around the market. It's the best place for idle gossip.>Hit the bars and taverns. Your reliable source for information.>Try and find a temple. If someone is a miracle healer then perhaps they would reside there.>Write in.
>>5262330>Try and find a temple. If someone is a miracle healer then perhaps they would reside there.
>>5262330>Hit the bars and tavernswe can also spread our own affliction around to draw them out.
>>5262361>Try and find a temple. If someone is a miracle healer then perhaps they would reside there.
>>5262361>>5262393Looking for a temple. Writing.
Incidentally, snow leopards really do have long tails. Just look how long it is on our fluffy boy.
It doesn't take you too long to find a temple in the settlement and many people, though wary, were not hesitant to give you the location of the place. Like many temples, it was not dedicated to a single diety with many smaller shrines scattered throughout it's grounds to compensate thus matching the theme of the village being a traveller's hotspot. You and Hien make your way, albeit slowly, towards one of the the people who were working around the temple. They weren't dressed as priest or acolytes but they seemed to care enough about the place that you think they could give you some help."Excuse me sir, but my friend and I had heard about a healer going around the villages. We heard she was here and were hoping she could help us." Hien says motioning vaguely towards you. "But we don't know where she resides. Could you help us find her? We thought she might have practiced here. We had heard she worked miracles."The elderly man wipes his brow and straightens up slightly to focus on you two. "Ah, you're not the only one asking about the girl. I'm afraid I have to tell you what I've been telling everyone all day. We've not seen her all day. Normally she makes her rounds from here to various other parts of the village. Mostly the market place and a few parts at the edge of the village. Then she simply wanders off. No one really knows where she goes but it's mostly up to her when she arrives and leaves.""Does she treat everyone? Are the tales true? Can she really heal any injury?" Hien asks."Well I've never heard her say no to anyone. Not that she speaks much to begin with." The old man says. "But from what I've been told, everyone she treats is healed of their ailements. Aches, pains, even cuts and bruises are mended. I've seen it myself, it's like she places her hands on them and soon their ailments are gone. It's a miracle.""So she can help my friend. What's her name? How can we find her?" "I'm afraid I don't know. She rarely talks and never about herself. As I've said, she comes and goes on her own terms. Hopefully she shows up today." The old man continues. "What exactly is wrong with your friend? Maybe I can find another healer to help you."You frown, this still seemed to be too good to be true. Granted you were able to do something similar but this involved hurting yourself. You've never heard of anyone being able to simply heal people with no reprecussions and you doubt that Ming could do anything like that. Perhaps if she had advanced in her training but you're unsure how much she got done in a few months. Maybe she had a breakthrough. Even so, you were looking for your friends not miracle workers.
>What do you do?>Leave. This was a waste of time and you have more important things to do.>Stay quiet. Let Hien answer that question. It's his disguise after all.>Ask the old man about the girl. Hien had mentioned she constantly looked on edge. Perhaps something is wrong.>Ask if the girl is accompanied by someone else. It seems strange for a single girl to be wandering around China alone. >Ask about the others who have been asking for the girl. Is that normal knowing that she has a schedule?>Go somewhere else to look for the girl. Maybe she's decided to go somewhere else in town.>Write in.
>>5262900>>Stay quiet. Let Hien answer that question. It's his disguise after all.
>>5262898>Stay quiet. Let Hien answer that question. It's his disguise after all.
>>5262900>Stay quiet. Let Hien answer that question. It's his disguise after all.>Meditate or pray. You need to try and regain your peace, and it helps your cover.
>>5263140did we lose our peace I just thought we couldn't see shen long because the library was fucked. We literally had to go to hell to lose it the first time. I would say it was bullshit if we did.
>>5263380I don't think we lost our inner peace, but there is something weird going on, since we can't sense any spirits, Renshu or other things.Not being able to go Eureka because of Shenlong is understandable, so I want to check if we couldn't see any spirits because of the ritual at the library. Either all the spirits withdrew from the world and everything is going to go to shit soon, or we are blocked.
>>5262898>>5262900>Ask if she is a tiger, or a cat. [Prompt hien to do this. Somehow.]
>>5262903>>5262985>>5263140Writing. >>5263380You didn't loose your inner peace. You just haven't been able to sense anything at the Library nor your friends. Though the latter is more of the case that they aren't near you as your sensing range has a limit though it is greater now. You could sense the entire mountain last you tried. You did sense spirits and sprites when you tried it off the mountain though they seemed fewer and more listless though they still went on about their duties.
All three of you remain awkwardly silent as you don't say anything. It might have been that Hien was expecting you to say something but given that it was his idea to simply wrap you up in clothing and stuff your tail up your shirt, and the fact he was having so much fun, you decide to let him answer. It was his disguise after all. Hien for his part waits patiently until you look down at him and he realizes you weren't going to speak. "OH! OH! I'm sorry, but my friend doesn't speak much. Loss of his...voice because of the fire you see. He's lost all his fur and is covered in horrible burns. The scars still itch him and his joints pain him." He says a bit too hastily. "We were hoping perhaps this healer could relieve him of his pain if not let his fur return to him."The old man studies you for a moment, unsure of what to make of you two before giving you a rather confused nod. "Well...if it's pains you need help with. I know of an acupuncturist who can do something about that.""I- uhh...am afraid my friend is deathly afraid of needles! Yes, that. See, he was set on fire by some bandits while traveling. Sharp objects tend to scare him so, often leaves him unconsolable." Hien blurts out. "Perhaps if there is some medicine you could suggest? Something to ease the pain and help him sleep?" You glare at Hien."Well...there's a nice herbal shop in this little alley I like to go to. They tend to stock up on things normal shops don't really deal with. Maybe they can help. It's on the the corner of the marketplace in the alley behind the glassware and clothing shops." The old man says."Thank you." Hien replies and quetly nudges you to move. "We'll be going now and hopefully the healer will be here tomorrow." He says. The two of you quickly make your way away from the temple."Burns? Bandits?" You whisper incredulously. "I think you're story telling needs some work.""I think it was sufficient. You're a poor soul with all your pains. Just...don't let anyone see your fur." Hien mumbles. "I'm starting to regret this more and more. Come on. Let's get moving." You say."We should at least ask around a bit more. Seems like the temple wasn't the only place she visted. We can't just give up now." He insists."Fine. We can give it some more time." You say.>What do you do?>Settle it once and for all. See if you can sense the girl. If you can then you'll know if it's Ming or not.>Go to one of the other places to ask. They might have different information.>Leave. The more you hear about this girl, the less you think it's Ming.>Write in.
>>5263901>>Go to one of the other places to ask. They might have different information.
>>5263901>See if we can sense her>try the bars.We need to see what kind of animal she is.
>>5264222Btw my bet is still master Tigress.Our last confrontation was certainly enough for her to discover inner peace
>>5263901>Settle it once and for all. See if you can sense the girl. If you can then you'll know if it's Ming or not.>Go to one of the other places to ask. They might have different information.Tavern
>>5263901>Go to one of the other places to ask. They might have different information. The market, maybe she will need to by supplies soon.
>>5264046>>5264222>>5264322>>5264419Looks like we got a tie. We can do both. Writing.
The quickest way to get this done was to simply head to the major places of gathering for information. Though the girl might not worked there, the people would congregate and talk making it easier to hear some news. Though you go to various places, the news is mostly all the same. "She can cure anything! I had this bad leg, ached during the rainy seasons, now I can walk on it again like normal.""She didn't speak much. Mostly only to ask what was wrong with folk. She seemed kind enough though. Wish I could have given her more. Cured my little girl. Always had trouble breathing.""I never see her eat or sleep. I don't think she even visits the markets for food or drink. She's gotta take care of her own health too...or maybe she can cure the hunger away.""She's always covered in tons of clothing. It's not that cold outside. Maybe she's trying to stay unassuming. Doesn't really help much when she's going around helping people like that.""I think she's a runaway. Always had a shifty look on her. Can't trust her. It ain't right to be able to do these kinds of things and playing god. It'll bring trouble, mark my words. Of course all cats are like that.""She's clearly some kind of fraud. There's no way those powers are real. I bet she uses some kind of trick or drug.""I hear she sleeps in the woods. Dunno why, tons of people would offer her some kind of room here."---"Seems like everyone has an opinion, one way or another." Hien says as the two of you idle around the market area. "Though everyone seems to be in some kind of agreement that the girl tends to keep to herself and generally tries to stay out of sight. Doesn't sound like Ming at all.""No. It seems that we're just wasting our time then." You say. "We should get going.""Maybe but...doesn't it sound like she's in some kind of trouble?" Hien asks. "Most people wouldn't hide in the woods or do all this unless they were trying to stay hidden.""If she's trying to hide then why come out at all. Perhaps she just wants to be mysterious." You say. "In anycase, this doesn't concern us.""You were never one to turn away at trouble." Hien says. "Why stop now? It could really be Ming."You sigh but don't say anything for a moment. "...Fine. Let's just end this once and for all." You say as you feel out with your senses. If this was Ming, you'd have sensed her earlier but it could be that you're our of practice. You calm your mind and reach out for...whatever it was that you felt out. As the sounds of the market slowly fade away, you're quickly shocked back into reality. There were two things you sensed. Neither of them seemed to be your friends nor spirits and yet there they were on the precipice of your mind. Somehow you could sense things that you didn't know. Everyone else in the city was unknown to you as it always ways but these two presences were strangers to you. One seemed to be wandering around the city and the other seemed to be far off in the woods.
You don't have much time contemplate this when you hear some commotion in the distance. A group of thugs brazenly walk into the market place, shoving people aside and attempting to draw attention to themsleves. "I hear there's a pretty good healer in town. Anyone mind telling me where she is?" The leader asks though his tone clearly indicated that the question wasn't one he would allow to go unanswered.>What do you do?>Go search for the person you sensed in town.>Search the woods for the person you sensed there.>Confront the men and let them know their place.>Write in.
>>5264899>Search the woods for the person you sensed there.they said that she sleeps in the woods. and w are to close to our objective to cause trouble.next chance we get we should try and talk to boa
>>5264899>Stay and watch the men. If they cause trouble, deal with it. If they dont, seek the one in the forest.Too close or not. We can't close our eyes to trouble.
>>5264899>Search the woods for the person you sensed there.>Ask Hien to keep an eye on these trouble-makers.
>>5264899>stalk the menthey'll lead us to her
>>5264911>>5264985I think going to the woods won?
>>5266104So it did.To the woods we go, and I hope they don't cause any trouble.
>>5266132We'll have Hien keep an eye on them. He's a good diplomat.
>>5266157He's also good enough to duel all of them and win.He isn't us, but 5 people is nothing to him. Especially since he can fight mostly blind.
You stand up straighter and begin to leave. "Where are you going?" Hien asks in confusion."To the forest." You reply. "I sensed something there. Keep an eye on these fools. I'll be back." Hien makes some motions of protest but stops when he realizes that you weren't heeding them. Failing to stop you, he simply waits in a street corner and watches the men as they began to flaunt around. Everyone else seems to be doing the same as no one in the market place notices you leaving. You can't do much until you're well into the forest or risk being seen breaking your disguise. Once the tree line obscured you, you quickly remove all the excess clothing that was strapped on to you save for Renshu's cloak of which you've gotten into the habit of wearing. Tail finally free from it's confines, you soon pick up the pace and begin to delve deeper into the forest. Following your extra senses, your travels slowly lead you along the river that ran besides the village as well. Not surprsing given that a camp near fresh water would be the best place to live. Still, you were a bit surprsied at how deep in the woods this presence was if it really was the girl. Not many people were acustomed to traveling off the main roads and much less used to living in the wilds. Relying on your training of being unconciously aware of everything around you, you lose yourself in the ambience of the wilds. It was slightly amusing to you that such a technique could be used to daydream while still being on task and you wonder how much it would ruin Xin Lan's plans to try and mess with you when it appeared you were distracted. Soon enough, the smell of burning wood hits your nose and the sounds of splashing hit your ears over the normal sounds of moving water. You slow your pace and begin to sneak your way towards the camp. Part of you felt rather uneasy about all this. It was as if you were trying to do something untoward to someone you expected to be a young woman but you didn't want to risk her being frightened and running away.You shift your path to be more in the forest than the slightly open river and push past the trees. It's only a few more moments when the last of the trees blocking your vision part and you see a small, but crude, camp set up. More importantly, in the river was the bare back of a young woman facing you as she bathed herself. You quickly hide behind a tree, face on fire from seeing the nude woman. Realizing what you've done due to your new abilities, you now have a perfect image of the girl permenantly burned into your memory. As you desperately try to settle your embarassment and fuitely try to delete this mental image, you note that you saw numerous scars riddled across the girls body. From burn, to cuts, to tears, it seems like the girl had suffered every kind of wound imaginable. >What do you do?>Write in.
>>5266274well, does she look like Ming?
>>5266341It's not. This is a grey cat. Ming is brown. Thought I put that down. My bad.
>>5266274>Leave the woods, pretend we were never there>Get back to Hien and wait for her in the villageI still want to talk to her. How does she heal so well? And if it's the same method we use, how'd she learn to use it?
>>5266274>Retreat about 100 Paces, then start heading back towards her camp, singing on top note and not bothering to hide our tread.>We want to know why we sense what we doTL, get yourself together. You are gay for fuck sake, you only saw her back.STOP THINKING ABOUT IT!
>>5266442>support>>5266546he's not gay he's Bi.
>>5266442>>5266592Heading back. Gonna need to apologize to everyone that you memorized such a lewd act. Writing.
You cover your face and quickly hurry away, lest you see anything else. Fortuntely, your skills simply allow you to follow the exact same path in reverse without needing to see. At the least you can confirm that the woman is not Ming. Once you were a sufficient distance away from the camp you quickly and sheepishly put your other clothing back on. You spend a few moment longer trying to settle down although your perfect memory makes it rather difficult to do so until you force yourself to not think about it. Turning your focus on the situation you left Hien with, you quickly make your way back into town. Hopefully the men only restorted to being loud to try and get what they wanted. As you head back into the market place, you realize your hopes were misplaced. There are several smashed stalls and the stains of what look like the remains of produce all over the street. Several townsfolk were already cleaning up and moving broken planks of wood to be thrown away or recycled. You find Hien in the same street corner looking around somewhat anxiously but there is no sign of the thugs which you assume were behind this. Walking up to your friend you ask, "Trouble?"Hien looks up at you with a small look of relief. "Unfrotunate but not unexpected." He says. "Luckily they were able to be subdued quickly and there was minimal damage. Let us leave this place to discuss what to do next." He says hastily before attempting to leave."What of the men? Did you already have them taken to the guards?" You ask slightly confused and moving to follow. You take a few steps when you hear something approaching you, far too quiet to be someone walking normally. You turn around, ready to face whoever was sneaking up on you. "No. I took them personally." Tigress says, eyes glaring at you. "Though it's unfortunate that you're skill hasn't dulled one bit." You turn to face Hien who was wincing slightly. "Sadly, I was not I who took down the men but Master Tigress who did." He explains."And it seems your corrupting influence has not waned either." She adds. "One would think that whatever last shred you could call humanity would at least tell you to leave someone of th ruling family alone."You stand stunned for a moment. Was this the other presence you felt? If so...why? Taking a few seconds longer that you wanted you manage to speak. "How did you find us?" You ask."I didn't. Not unless fate deemed it so." Tigress replies. "Then why are you here of all places." You ask. Tigress's face takes a rather odd shape. If you were anyone else, you'd had thought it had darkened in malice but to you, it looked like a child who didn't want to share a secret. Perhaps it was your recent upset in the forest clouding your judgement but it was rather cute in a dangerous sort of way."She's-" Hien starts but Tigress cuts him off.
"I was told to go to the captial to discuss something that would threaten China itself with the Empress. I was also told that The Five would be there as well. Not to mention you though I had hoped to post pone our meeting longer. Frankly, I found it dubious at best that any of this was real given that your wife told me but now that I've confirmed this information with Lord Hien I've no intention to stop now. Hopefully, your punishment follows swiftly. If the danger comes to pass China has no need of you running around adding to it's misery. Nor the people you consider family." She explains. Hien takes on a pleading look. "Right now, I have someone I need to find.""Master Tigress please...Tai Lung is a valuable warrior and his friends are too. We must all band together to face this threat." He says but neither you not Tigress pay him and mind. You were far too busy clinging to a single word. Wife.>What do you say?>Ask, no, beg Tigress to tell you where Xin Lan is. If this were any other situation, you'd have found it very funny that she fell for the oldest claim in their book but now, you're despreate to hear anything about them. >Say that whatever the Empress decides, you'll do what you have to do. If you'll be a criminal for life then you'll break the law to save lives.>Say only one thing. The one thing she'll listen to. "I think you're family.">Write in.
>Tai Lung sees a naked person and spills his pastaIn a dark shadowy corner somewhere in China, a certain bun suddenly feels the urge to tease and embarass the big guy to see him blush but realizes that they can't and aren't worthy of his attention or affection and that makes them sad.
>>5266794>Ask, no, beg Tigress to tell you where Xin Lan is. If this were any other situation, you'd have found it very funny that she fell for the oldest claim in their book but now, you're despreate to hear anything about them.because to be honest far as I remember they barley interacted before Tai lung was sent to prison.
>>5266794>Ask, no, beg them to tell us where they were.Shes not quite family. At best she is an adoptive sister who hates us.No, if this was any other situation, I'd vote to ask her about her chi skills.
>>5266794>Ask, no, beg Tigress to tell you where Xin Lan is. If this were any other situation, you'd have found it very funny that she fell for the oldest claim in their book but now, you're despreate to hear anything about them.Forgot to vote last time.
>>5266794>>Ask, no, beg Tigress to tell you where Xin Lan is.>Who are you looking for?
>>5266794>Say that whatever the Empress decides, you'll do what you have to do. If you'll be a criminal for life then you'll break the law to save lives.
>>5266846>>5266876>>5267103>>5267236We gotta know where our sneaky bun is. Hopefully they haven't gone full red hood on us and are murdering for justice. Writing.
>>5270139You know the red hood is the shittiest comicbook line!Tigres is going to use this to hurt us, I know it. She's a good person, but we are the one black cloud that has always hung over her, and we have just presented a dagger in our side for her to twist and yank as she desires.
"Xin? You've seen Xin? Where are they? Are they ok? Was their brother with them? What about Ming?" You ask, unable to help yourself. "Tigress, please...I need to find them." Tigress's eyes widen slightly, taken aback, before they return to they're usual glare and full of doubt and suspicion. "And why should I-" She begins before Hien cuts her off."Because I told you to." He says, his face hard. "If you can't find the compassion you claim Tai Lung should have then as your ruler I order you to tell him. Those three mean more to him than his own life. They're the only ones in his life that decided to give him a geniune chance at attempting to be a better person and making amends for his past. They push him to atone and he pushes them to be better than they are. His family's history may be stained in blood but I've seen what those two rabbits have done and it's not unlike what you and your friends do. Perhaps even better because of what they are. Who better to judge then those who have been judged themselves? They know what it's like to be in a dark place in their lives and they know what it means to be offered another lease in life. So, either you do it because you know it's the right thing to do or I'm ordering you to tell him."Tigress's eyes widen again, confusion evident behind them slowly giving away to anger. Still, she doesn't defy Hien and speaks. "I didn't find them." She says, ears flattened as she looks away. "They approached me, arrogant as ever in Zhengyi while I was there buying supplies. Like I said, they warned me of war coming to China. It a stupid outrageous lie so of course I didn't believe it at first.""Then why-" You start before Tigress glares at you."Because they said if I didn't come I'd be worse than you. A murderer for letting thousands of innocent people die becuase I failed to do anything." She grunts. "That you'd at lease die swinging than stand around and let someone get hurt because you stood around doing nothing. That and they threatened to kill The Five. 'If you value the life of your friends then you'll go otherwise you'll never see them again. They'll be waiting for you in the captial.'""They didn't mean that." You say. They couldn't have. "But it shows you how serious the situation is. If Xin is willing to make you think that to make you come to the capital it means they're taking the situation seriously. If anything they're heading to the Valley of Peace to warn the others as well. The double meaning behind their words is obvious. Either you come to the capital or you risk losing everyone should they die in battle. Deaths that perhaps you might be able to prevent if you're with them. Ignoring the threat to China is tantamount to sending them to their deaths...Was Xin ok at least?""I don't know. You seem to be able to read the rabbit better than anyone else can." Tigress says, though her eyes show that she's hiding something.
>What do you do?>Ask Hien to make her speak. What she may be hiding could help you find Xin.>Talk to Tigress. Try to make her understand. If you have Hien keep ordering her around she'll only continue to resent you. Maybe seeing you this worried can make her open up. (What do you say?)>Try not to push Tigress. Change the subject. It seems like she's trying to process some conflicting emotions.>Leave. You know where Xin Lan might be going or at least where they were. You might find clues there. Go after them>Head to the capital. At least you know Xin is alive. Maybe they might show up there as well.>Write in.
>>5270272>Try to make her understand. "The great Library is destroyed Tigress, A great bear of mongolia named Aleskar burned it to the ground and the ground was then desecrated, The head librarian died to them, and now my family has scattered to the winds doing what they do best.They don't know that I'm alive, because of my failure the city has burned, my beloved is dragons knows where and I've no idea where either sister of mine is at current.You owe me nothing and you hate me for reasons I can't ever take back or make right no matter how much I try, I've ruined my second chance. But I hope and pray, Beg and plead that you aren't like me.Please, was there something else? Anything else?! Anything at all about them at all? I can't. . I can't risk losing them forever."Fully throwing ourselves on her mercy, with an edge of the hysterical.If she says no again, then accept it. Maybe we are seeing things. Maybe the guilt will blossom. But no matter what is said; thank her. Profusely.Pride and ego can burn in a ditch if it means ever getting our family back.
>>5270272>Try not to push Tigress. Change the subject. It seems like she's trying to process some conflicting emotions.>invite her to travel with us to the capital.>Head to the capital. At least you know Xin is alive. Maybe they might show up there as well.
Not voting here because I'm not erudite enough to put what i want into words at the moment.I can't help but get the feeling that we're going to meet a certain Bat again sometime soon, as part of this war. His arrogance would never allow HIS china to be conquered by Mongols, so I think it'd be entirely possible that he ends up freed one way or another. By himself, or by others seeking additional aid against the invading force with their backs against the wall. I could see Xin going for it if they thought tai lung wasn't going to come back in time, if I'm being honest. It's a pragmatic approach when lacking one of the greatest fighters of all time, especially when He Ling only gets stronger with each opponent he takes down with his techniques, which is pretty fuckin' good against an army.Either way, one day we'll see the bat again. Mark my words. He's a valuable pawn to anyone that knows about his abilities, even the empress could reasonably consider it with the right...assurances. Maybe even trying to keep him in line using less than savory methods, like offering an antidote to a poison given to him.Speculation complete
>>5270387He's too dangerious to be let loose, and if he is permitted to feast on the Chi of the mongolian armies, plus any poor bastards he finds on the way, he will become nigh unstoppable.The Empress will know that.
>>5270416That's why you would employ assurances, anon. The equivalent of a ticking timebomb inside someone on a deadman's switch, but less literal. He'd be a great last resort if he could be controlled. Is that a dangerous line of thinking? Absolutely. But the temptation is there, the 'logic' is sound to those who might not know the FULL extent of what Chi can accomplish.After all, he's mighty, but he's made of flesh and blood. He's not invincible, he was taken out before. These are little things that can be used to justify using him to win a war if one's back was against the wall.It all depends on just how desperate the situation devolves into, I suppose.
>>5270272>Talk to Tigress. Try to make her understand. If you have Hien keep ordering her around she'll only continue to resent you. Maybe seeing you this worried can make her open up. (What do you say?)>Tigress, the reason why we are all separated, why I'm here running with the prince, is because the Sacred Library has been destroyed. The exarch, a friend of Shenlong has been killed, sealing Eureka due to Dragon's great grief, and the whole town has been desacrated so an army of the dead marches on top of it. Not only that, but it was the mongolians that did it, and the library certantly had a copy of the scroll that we stopped the other army from gaining.>It burned, and I barely know what happened, because I was in deep meditation after using chi healing to heal the wounds of a child, one that was hurt because of my own failure and hubris.>I beg of you, accompany us to the capital. Should it be only me and Hien that approach, they will believe that I kidnapped him, and there will be only more unescessary conflict. But with you, there will be doubt.>I know you so not trust me, and if I weren't one of the only ones that know what happened, I would ask of you to be Hien's companion to the capital.
>>5270304>>5270336>>5270468>>5270628Talking. We're not allowed to punch girls with no shields. Writing.
"Tigress, the reason we're all seperated is not by choice. The Sacred Library is gone. Burned to the ground and defiled by a mongolian army. They are the ones threatening China and I think the library was just a sign of things to come. The others don't even know I'm alive and I barely know what happened. The city burned around me while I was busy recovering from healing a young child who was hurt because of a stupid dispute between me and his mother. You don't owe me anything and you hate me for reasons I can never take back or make right. I know I've ruined whatever chances I have but I hope and pray that you aren't like me. Please...was there anything else? Anything!? I can't lose them. I just can't..." You say falling to your knees and gripping your head. Passersby briefly stop to look at your group but you pay them no mind. They didn't, nothing mattered when it came to protecting your loved ones. "They're the only family I have. I just...want to know if they're ok..."Tigress clenches her fists and grits her teeth. "Thats it? Years of pain and suffering you pushed on people. A punishment you gladly avoided so you didn't have to make things right. For what? So you can remind everyone that you abandoned you first family? So that you can pretend you have any right to talk about worry or compassion. You don't deserve happiness. You never will. I can hope for many things. That you simply die right here. That every night you sleep, you're constantly reminded that everything you think is going well for you is a lie. Just some way, some how you can feel one ounce of misery your existence places upon me and the people around you. But no, it seems your corrupting influence manages to convince everyone otherwise. From the honorless criminals of China to even the son of the Emperor himself. I hate you Tai Lung. From the moment I was adopted and I learned about you, I hated you." Tigress says, her voice cracking and attempting not to break. Even in your tormented state, you can make out the body's reflexive hiccuping as one tries to hold back sobbing. She turns to leave but stops. "The rabbit tried to hide it but there was no mistaking the fear in their eyes. Of what I don't know but it was enough to keep them from sleeping. No amount of bluster could hide the bags under their eyes. Assuming what you said is true, I'd say they've been running in fear with little sleep. From what I cannot say but you should know better than anyone they wouldn't give up any information as to where they were going. They had no bags or travel gear so it's clear they probably weren't eating much either. That or they had been living in the city. Given the fact they tracked me down, I highly doubt it. As for the others, I didn't see them so I have no idea." With that, she begins to leave.
"Wait!" Hien shouts. "Will you not come with us?" He asks. "Together we can present a better case. At the very least, we won't be stopped by every guard should we bring Tai Lung in. I'll not ask for his sake that you help us, your greivences with him seem to extend far beyond what I can do to make any attempts are remedying the situation. However, if this is how you wish to see it, we can use him to convince the noblity the seriousness of the situation. If both a member of the Five and China's greatest criminal both agree that there is something at stake here even they cannot deny something must be done. Even so, some kind of judgement will have to be passed onto Tai Lung. He cannot simply walk in and expect to leave with his crimes unspoken for. Of this, I'll give you no orders to do anything. I simply wish to do what's best for our country."Tigress pauses for a moment. "No." She says simply."No?""I will head to the capital but on my own time. I'm no longer one of the Five and I do things my own way. As I've said before. I have buisness here. Do what you want. It doesn't seem like anyone but me cares anymore." She says and begins to walk away once more.>What do you do?>Try and talk to Tigress some more. (About what?)>Leave. You have to head to the capital.>Go and try to find Xin. Where would they go if they were afraid? To hide? Or to complete whatever task they had in mind?>Show Tigress the coin Xin left you. Perhaps in her travels she heard of it.>Write in.
Spoilers but writing someone who's having their worldview shattered and desperately trying to cling to it is hard without them coming off as a cold heartless asshole. Or maybe it's better they do come off like that.
>>5271933>Show Tigress the coin Xin left you. Perhaps in her travels she heard of it.after that.>Leave. You have to head to the capital.> Tell Hien that after we make our case to the empress I have to find Xin.
>>5271933>Dont show them anything. Just let them leave.Oh no, Xin is feeling guilt.
>>5271933>You're no longer one of the five? What happened?
>>5272306we already know she left after we beat her ass using our inner peace. I forget what her replacements name was but I know she was a cat, maybe a linxs
>>5271933>Show Tigress the coin Xin left you. Perhaps in her travels she heard of it.>Your hatred of me is justified Tigress, but never let it control you. I know what it will lead to. And I'm not using me as an example, but other martial artists. I know you will achieve inner peace someday, just be sure it's the right one. Father deserves to have atleast one clean child.I just hope that the mongols didn't ressurect another ghost from Xin's old order.That would suck.
>>5271935She should. It's not fair what she has had to put up with, and I'm glad she is on her own spiritual journey.If only it was under better circumstances.
>>5271960>>5272252>>5272863Showing Tigress the coin. Writing.
"I-I found this coin." You say hastily as you dig into your makeshift bag to pull out the old jade coin Xin Lan had left you. "Or at least Xin left it along with a few notes. Nothing was mentioned about it in them and I think they left it more as an afterthought. Maybe they changed their mind about something, I don't know. Hien and I can't really find any meaning behind it but maybe you heard of something in your travels?" You say holding it out. Tigress glances over her shoulder to look at it clearly contemplating something heavily, enough that an ackward silence begins to fall. Eventually Tigress looks away once more."It's ancient. So clearly it's not meant to be traded in the conventional sense. Perhaps it's a form of identifier. The kind only shown to the right people or at the right time. Plenty of criminal organizations use them. The question is what kind of organization did your rabbit belong to and why would they lead you to it?" She asks."Whatever organization they belonged to is long dead. They saw to it and their brother is a testament to it." You say. "I doubt Xin would want us to find them even if they did.""Perhaps not directly. But maybe an offshoot?" Hien thinks outloud. "Often times criminal organizations are too big to self regulate or move without drawing unwanted attention. Perhaps the medallion is meant to lead us to something that worked with their old group but was not a part of it.""It's obvious your rabbit wants to be found. That coin might be meant for someone with the information to do so or at least the means." Tigress says."An information broker?" Hien asks. "Yes, it would make sense that a group like that would have at least on in their employment. But where to find them...""Your brother is the General of China's military. He'd be the one to ask in regard to criminal activity." Tigress says. "If that's all...">What do you say?>Say that you can still try the Feng Family Patriarch. As loyal as he is to the royal family, trying to ask Hien's brother might force him to take actual action against you where as the blacksmith family is only obligated to do so out of their sense of honor. They might be more easily convinced to look away.>Go seek Hien's elder brother. Tigress is right, the general of China would have a vested interest in the security of China and thus have informants and information networks all throughout the nation.>Let Tigress know of your plan. Perhaps she might be able to help you decide on your next course of action...maybe. Hopefully she can help you decide which man to ask.>Write in.
>>5273097>Write in.Do nothing.
>>5273097> let her go.is Hien's brother in the capital if so.> Tell Hien we'll be visiting his brother first. if we're lucky he will back us up when we make our case to the empress.
>>5273097>Thank tigress and let her leave>Tell Hien we wish to ask the Smith's first.They might know.
>>5273097Say that you can still try the Feng Family Patriarch. As loyal as he is to the royal family, trying to ask Hien's brother might force him to take actual action against you where as the blacksmith family is only obligated to do so out of their sense of honor. They might be more easily convinced to look away.>Thank Tigress and let her leave. Also they her that If the person she is looking for has an aura of energy, there is a grey cat sleeping in rhe forest.
>>5273304>>5273518Sure, I'll add mine to yours.Help tigress out, she's given us enough.But not eating, barely sleeping, alone? Xin is probably either worried sick about us/their brother and mind, about how we will react to their killing again and the Guilt of killing someone without the peace that they had.
I'll add >>5273518 to my vote >>5273241
>>5273097>>Thank Tigress and let her leave. Also they her that If the person she is looking for has an aura of energy, there is a grey cat sleeping in rhe forest.>Go seek Hien's elder brother. Tigress is right, the general of China would have a vested interest in the security of China and thus have informants and information networks all throughout the nation.
>>5273899You are missing the point, Hiens brother is slow, very important and not really someone we can punch and get away with it.The Feng family are rowdy, rambunctious and loyal, like we are, but their patriarch is claimed to be of the Triads. He himself probably has a few or more direct contacts and awareness, for quicker returns.Or we can satifsy ourselves that he isn't actually former triad.And if he turns up nothing, his brother's the next up.
>>5273951Even of he isn't triad, his family business means he should have more contact with things all over China, so higher chances of knowing about a information broker.
>>5273955We dknt really want to spread this coin around in untrustworthy circles.Its dangerious
>>5273974It's not to give the coin away, but ask the fanily patriarch.I'm saying that since he has so much contact, there is a higher chance he knows what it is, or someone that would.
We are tied for either the General or the Smith. But we can let tigress know the girl is in the woods.
>>5273992My plan is to hit the smith first. If he tells us nothing, hit the general.It's easier to escape from the smith than it I'd the GENERAL OF CHINA.Though it gives me great joy to imagine the guards fanning out, wondering where the super criminal would hide. and then they get the report that we decided to fuck around inside the forbidden palace.
alright, changing my vote to smith
Smith it is. Writing.
"Thank you." You say as you do your best to put in as much feeling into it. You really were thankful but you were worried that her animosity towards you would cloud her judgement. "If the person you're looking for is the healer girl, you'll find her in the forest. Just follow the river against it. She has a small camp built there so I don't think she's going anywhere for a bit. More importantly if you wish to remain unlike me then please, let your anger go. It doesn't mean you have to forgive me but if you continue to hold on, it'll fester and soon you'll learn to wear it. Once you do, it'll become comfortable like a worn glove and you'll soon forget that it is even anger. After that you'll look for other ways to remain angry, and it'll pull those around you as fodder. If you don't abandon that then you will be following my footsteps and we will end up being one and the same. It's said that the fool learns from their own mistakes but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others and you're no fool Tigress." You put your coin away and begin to leave. "Oh and one more thing? Learn to voice your emotions, especially the small annoyances. At least with your father and Po. Its a major weight off your shoulders."As you expected, Tigress says nothing but simply continues on her way. There wasn't much you could do or say to change her mind and knowing from experience, that was a journey and decision a person had to make on their own especially if they traveled alone. "Let's go find this smith." You say. "He was our first choice after all.""He's not just a smith. He's [/i]the[/i] smith." Hien says as the two of you leave town. "In terms of skill, he'd be the equivalent of you in the blacksmithing world. The man all smiths only dream of beating or becoming. Very few even get to work for him, and only a handful with him. The rest are simply there to take up the bulk of the work and even then he demands perfection of them. He does own the largest black smithing forge in China.""That should be expected if he was your father's personal smith and now your sister's. Although...perhaps you might be a bit biased." You say lightly. Hien gives you a confused look."I've seen the treasures he's created single handedly. Even saw the blade he made for Grandfather when he first proposed his challenges to him. It was as if gemstone was turned to liquid then frozen solid once more. The blade itself was as if made from brushstrokes being so fine and pure. His talent is no exaggeration." Hien insists."And yet, did you not mention he had a daughter? You're best friend as I recall...Perhaps you have a reason to laud the man's talents?" You joke. Hien's face drains of color as you chuckle.
"I'm afraid you must be mistaken." Hien stammers. "Yan Feng...is a rather determinded woman. Much like her father, she allows nothing to stand in her way of her goals and gives no quarter to those who would stand in her way. I'm afraid she requires no honeyed words for what you're implying and would only threaten me should I attempt to give them without sincerity. No, if she had her way then we both would be wed and living in the captial. Although she'd be running her own forge as she topples her father's empire hammer strike by hammer strike." He shivers. "Ah, so you two are betrothed already." You muse."W-well...in her eyes we shall. In her eyes, there are none more suited to be the wife of the Emperor's son than her. Anyone else who wishes to try will have to best her." Hien admits. "It's...a rather intimidating combination of having both her mother's political cunning, her father's force of will and work ethic to accomplish her goals, and the loyalty to the royal family that only the Feng Family has.""So the perfect wife then. The sharpness of the blade to cut where your diplomatic methods fail. Perhaps she is right after all." You say. "Does she know what you've been up to recently? You said you visited her to repair your sword right?""I...suppose given the fact we are going to their home...I cannot hide it anymore." Hien says with a sigh. "Truthfully, my health may be in danger. You see, I may have broken a promise to her and escaped her clutches.""Now this I need to hear." "If I must make a long story short. Yan was quite upset that I brought to her a ruined blade when I neglected to use the one she had gifted me for my birthday. More importantly, once word had reached my sister that I had returned home. She had given the Feng Family orders to keep me safe and wait for the royal guard to come and take me home. As you can imagine, Yan took this request personally and well...once I heard of that I had not choice but to escape or I would never be able to travel again. Not once I was back home in the palace. So...I may have promised Yan that I would remain at her home and not to run off then once the cover of night dropped I picked the lock to the window and fled." Hien explains rather sheepishly. "I truly wanted to see the country. To learn about my people. It's one thing to hear about their plights and delegate but to truly understand what my countrymen need I need to experience it first hand. Sunsun and Da Fai didn't have that luxury. They were groomed from birth for their roles as Empress and General. To have them simply leave for some kind of jaunt through the country would leave China in disarray. That's why only I can do it. I'm not as important as they are."
"Any yet it seems like they all share a great concern for your safety." You say. "Is it really fair to them for you to disregard that?""It's not that I disregard nor hate it...I just simply wish to help them in my own way. If it means breaking into bandit camps and freeing prisoners or cross blades with criminals then so be it. Perhaps I'm not destinted to live in a palace." Hien admits.>What do you say?>Say that learning about the population first hand and taking advantage of a lack of duties is good but what's the point if it's not put into use? Perhaps Hien is running away from his problems as you once did.>Say that Hien's fate is his own and not his family's. He is free to do as he wishes though it does sound that his friend would be more concerned about his safety than she would let on. You've met more than enough people to know when someone is hiding their real feelings behind boldness.>Suggest that Hien has taken some time to explore that he should now take some time to live in the palace and speak with his family about his place in the world. He is the son of the emperor and blessed by the Great Dragon of Fire. Surely there must be something he can do.>Write in
>>5274328>Say that learning about the population first hand and taking advantage of a lack of duties is good but what's the point if it's not put into use? Perhaps Hien is running away from his problems as you once did.
>>5274328>>Suggest that Hien has taken some time to explore that he should now take some time to live in the palace and speak with his family about his place in the world. He is the son of the emperor and blessed by the Great Dragon of Fire. Surely there must be something he can do.
>>5274328>Say that Hien's fate is his own and not his family's. He is free to do as he wishes though it does sound that his friend would be more concerned about his safety than she would let on. You've met more than enough people to know when someone is hiding their real feelings behind boldness.
>>5274328>His fate is his own, as it always has been.>But consider, Hien, that if the empress and The general dont truly understand their peoples situation, then they might appreciate someone who does.
>>5274328>Say that Hien's fate is his own and not his family's. He is free to do as he wishes though it does sound that his friend would be more concerned about his safety than she would let on. You've met more than enough people to know when someone is hiding their real feelings behind boldness.>Still, family is family, and it's clear he loves them, and they love him back. Perhaps he should try to find a way to help his siblings? As kind as he said his sister was before taking the crown, she must not what the common people think first hand, and his brother would only know the opinion of soldiers, and officers who would always be referencial to him. So perhaps he cpuld be an adivisor or viceroy/vizier/prime-minister/whatever the chinese name that position? Or he could take on the role of a spymaster, how easily the mongols are finding secret and operating under the noses of China shows one is sorely needed.
>>5274794It's chancellor or grand chancellor, depending on which system they are using. Although being a spymaster might be better, since it's not an official position with a workload and daily duties, it would allow him to come and go, and do his job at the same time.And it would allow him to adivise his siblings as both brother and his position.
>>5274801Spymaster isnt a place for Hien.It's much too vile for his soul
"You're fate is your own to decide." You say. "No one can tell you what your place in life is. However, it seems like your friend is worried about your well being more than she lets on. Your family more so. It wouldn't be such a bad idea to speak with them about your intentions. They might not be able to tell you what your fate is but they might be able to give you some guidance. You provide a unique persepective they cannot afford to have. They would no doubt appreciate it. Something you should consider doing before things become too hectic if worst comes to worst.""I fear that if I try then they will never let me go." Hien replies."Then you'll just add another escape to your resume. What better story then a wayward prince escaping their family's palace in search of adventure and justice." You joke. "Or maybe you can settle down as a chancellor of sorts and start a family. You already said you have someone willing to marry you.""Please, if the idea of starting a family wasn't already in her mind, Yan setting her mind on having one would spell my end.""From what you spoke of her, I'm sure she already has it all planned out." You laugh. "And they'll all be ready to ascend to the throne once they're of age.""And you want us to walk in to her home? Perhaps this maybe a mission to dangerous for even you." Hien says."They would never harm you once they know who you are." You say. "We may require some diplomacy but at least we shall be able to escape. Doing the same from the palace would be much more difficult.""It is true, perhaps we should plan ahead rather than go by instinct as we ussually do. The Feng Family home is close enough to the palace but still a ways away. While they prefer their privacy, they wish to remain close enough to intervene should they sense anything amiss. Unfortunately, that places both near the center of the capital. Our entrance will be the first hurdle. The walls are guarded nonstop and are quite high.""Not high enough I would think." You say as you think. You had a few ways in mind but this was really the expertise of the rabbits.
>What do you say?>Suggest the two of you leap over the walls. Perferably during night but nothing can compare to your escape from prison. These walls should pose no threat, although given that this is the captial the guard will be on it's highest alert to protect their empress.>Enter the city by day. There should be hundreds of people by then, it would be easiest to blend into the crowd with a disguise but should you be caught, the results could be catastrophic.>Attempt to disguise yourselves as guards. You'll be on a short timer but from a distance, no one would question a guard if they were meant to be there. Once the real guards begin to notice that two guards are not reporting in, then there's no telling what will happend.>Have Hien go in alone and try to set up a meeting. Perhaps if there is some guarentee from him that you won't cause trouble, they might let you in to talk to the Feng Family. It does leave you alone and whoever is going to meet you time to set up a trap.>Write in.
>>5277385>Have Hien go in by himself, while we leap over the walls by night.Assuming the gates are open during the night
>>5277385>Have Hien go in alone and try to set up a meeting. Perhaps if there is some guarentee from him that you won't cause trouble, they might let you in to talk to the Feng Family. It does leave you alone and whoever is going to meet you time to set up a trap.
>>5277657>Have Hien go in alone and try to set up a meeting. Perhaps if there is some guarentee from him that you won't cause trouble, they might let you in to talk to the Feng Family. It does leave you alone and whoever is going to meet you time to set up a trap.
>>5277385>Enter the city by day. There should be hundreds of people by then, it would be easiest to blend into the crowd with a disguise but should you be caught, the results could be catastrophic.
My internet is back! Jesus that was a complete mess. From going to being accused of not paying my bills to being accused of not paying them completely because of some savings bundle I was on compared to the actual fees. I'm looking for a new ISP. And these guys were supposed to be the best choice in the area.
"Hien, I think you should head in alone. It would be best if you attempt to negotiate some kind of...negotiations." You say. "It's better that they know ahead of time that I'll be coming rather than attempting to sneak into the most secure location in China. We don't need to cause a panic by alerting the guard or even being seen in public.""Are you sure? If I walk in there, there's no gaurentee I'll be allowed to leave." Hien says. "Furthermore, there's no telling how they'll react when they hear Tai Lung wishes to talk to them. Even if I can bring up the topic without causing panic among the nobles, there's no way I can communicate with you while I'm in there.""Let's worry about the nobles later. We'll focus on the blacksmith family. If they're as loyal as you say, then they'll be the ones who will give you a fair shot to explain yourself. Anyone else might be liable to try and turn the situation to their benefit. What's more prestigeous than saving you? Other than saving the Empress herself. If things go awry then we can atleast say we tried. It'll only make things worse if we attempt to circumvent the law at this point and right now, we're going to need all the support we can get."Hien gives you a look and seems to think about it for a moment as the two of you continue to walk. "Well, if it's the only option we have at the moment. Letters are too slow and would probably cause an increase in security..."You place your hand on Hien's shoulder. "You'll do fine. You've escaped once before and I'm sure you can do it again if you prove stubborn enough. Perhaps this might be a good time to talk to your loved ones as well. Take advantage of the time.""But what will you do? I could be days in there. Negotiations do tend to take a long while espeically with those who don't want to see otherwise." Hien asks."Do you really think it'll take that long?" You ask."No...well not with the Feng Family but unfortunately, letting you in is something that's obvisouly going to be brought up with the Empress and then of course there will be debates and security measures... You might just end up waiting out side the city for a while.">What do you say?>Write in.
>>5280088>I'm sure I can find something to do while I wait... would you happen to know if there's any shrines dedicated to shen long in the area?
>>5280088>I trust you. I will just keep practicing my martial arts.>>5280101We have a map of those.
>>5280193in that case i'll change my vote >>5280101 to>>I'm sure I can find something to do while I wait. maybe I'll find a shrine and visit Shen Long and Bao or try and find the masters.you know we could probably get some more info out of the old monkey if we talk to him.
>>5280101>>5280193>>5280238I'll support this, l have a feeling we won't be able to enter Eureka still, but it doesn't hurt to try. We can then meditate by doing combat forms after it fails.
>>5280500we can, don't worry about it. The issue is in avoiding our friends grief.
>>5280556That's what I meant, we been getting in but immediatly overwhelmed due to real sad dragon hours.I think Luo is only going to allow us to stay into Eureka after we meet Xin and Ming agin, and possibly even Renshu, because otherwise we could just ask them or the masters for advice and ruin the mystery
>>5280613Probably not that long but as dragons can wait a long time, so can they grieve. >>5280101>>5280193>>5280238>>5280594We have ways of keeping busy. Writing.
>>5281391Yeah but time is different in the spirit world. He has a lot longer to grieve.
"I'll find something to do." You assure Hien. "I think there are a few shrines nearby. Bao marked them on my map as a new years gift. Although I wish I was using it under better circumstances. I'll be sure to return to whatever camp we make outside of the city at night so we can rendezvous should anything come up.""Part of me worries about leaving you alone." Hien admits. "Though the other part of me worries about those who decide to interrupt your solitude.""I'm starting to see that as a running theme amongst my friends." You reply.---Even at a distance, the majesty of the China's captial could not only be seen but you could almost feel it. Despite the hundreds of people going in and out of the great city there was an ancient feeling to it. Old and heavy, you didn't even need to feel out to sense the Great Dragon of Fire's influence in the city. Much like the symbol of life the Dragon of Fire represented, so too did Beijing. As the captial, the center of trade and commerce, and the home of the royal family blessed by the Dragon, Beijing was the life blood of China. It was it's heart and soul and many families even as far as the Valley of Peace could often say that their roots began here or at least claim it. Even so, it was not without a fearsome exterior. Walls that could almost double as mountains protected and encased the home of the royal family and dozens of guards could be seen patroling it's walls, their routes intercecting and overlapping each other. A long line had formed at the gates as well as the various travelers were being stopped and inspected at various checkpoints. Even the land seemed to aid it's defense as the geography of the captial was a long flatland which gave archers a perfect view of anyone attempting to approach. You can faintly recall dreams of wanting to come here and prove yourself to the royal family that you were the best in the land or to be awarded some great prize for your talents. Oddly enough, even among your fantasies you never thought of working for them in any capacity. Never did you imagine yourself as general or guard. Simply as someone worthy of their attention and admiration. It was this combined with the high walls that blocked your view made you yearn to sneak in and see the city for yourself. "So this is your home." You say. "It's a far cry from something like the Valley of Peace. Even from here you can hear the noise coming from within."
"Yes..." Hien says absentmindedly. "Though I could call this less of a home than the palace itself. Even a children when we snuck out we would never stray too far from the palace. Always staying close to the more luxurious parts of the city. As you no doubt guessed, the Palace is in the center with the various noble families' homes surrounding it. The Feng Family home is one of the closer ones, though it is sqeuestered to be in the back of the palace. A decision I am told, was partly made by my ancestors. The royal family blacksmith should never be seen beyond their creations as the soot and grime of the forge should never stain the royal hands. A foolish notion though I must say one the Feng family seems to enjoy. Much like Xin to you, they prefer to be the royal family's shadow. A guard in the dark I suppose. I've asked father many times as to why that is but he claims to be sworn to secrecy. Only he, grandfather, and the Feng patriarch know and I assume they will take it to their graves. No even Yan knows. If her mother does then she too will not reveal why, although part of me suspects she admire's her husband's devotion and does not pry.""They are starting to sound more like assassins or spies." You comment."That would fit the stereotype, along with the rumor of them coming from a triad background. It wouldn't surprise me I suppose but I've never seen or heard anything that would serve as confirmation of that.""Then they are good at their job." You say and look around. "There isn't much in the way of cover. If we must set up camp then we will have to here at a distance. A small light in the dark is better than risking them seeing us approach. More than likely we will be seen as yet another group of travelers making camp for the night. You had better go on ahead and get in line." Hien chuckles."My friend, I am home. The guards work for us now. Entering will be no effort and I suspect getting an audience with the Feng family will be faster if I present myself as who I really am." He says as he adjusts his clothing. "I will take the back gates. They are somewhat closer to our goal. For now, we part ways." You unsling your backpack as you see Hien dash off and make his way back home, leaving you feeling quite alone once again. Ignoring the feeling, you pull the map out still surprised it managed to survive everything that happened to the city. It was a bit crumpled and torn at the edges but at least the blood hadn't seeped onto it. You unfurl it and search for the locations of the shrines. Unsurprisingly, there is one within the capital although you do wonder the implications of this. Would Shenlong even be allowed to have a shrine within his brother's domain? Or was that simply up to mortals to decide? Would it be rude to visit it soley for him and not the dragon who's domain it was? In anycase, that was out of the question as you'd be wandering in treacherous territory.
Looking again, you note that none of the other shrines nearby are in a village. In fact, very few of them are and those that are are far away from here. Did Bao specifically mark shrines that were not in populated areas? Perhaps these were the ones that had the strongest connection to Shenlong. You sit down and cross your legs to study the map closer. Judging from the map, you can see one shrine not to far from here back in the forest and near a lake. Another lay even further beyond it in what looked to be a hilly area. The furthest and one that caught your attention, was on a mountain. Said mountain also had the Great Wall itself running through it. What caught your attention was how ornate the mark was and looking over the country, you can see that there were only a handful of these kinds of marks on it. Around 5 or so.>Where do you go?>Go to the one near the lake. It's the closest and you might find other kinds of sprites there.>Head to the one on the hill. Temples are ussually built there and some monks might be able to assist you.>Go to the one near the great wall. It's the farthest and it might take you a day or so just to get there even at full speed. It's clearly a shrine of great importance but you've never heard of a temple being built there.>Write in.
>>5281505>One near the great wallWe have the time to kill.
>>5281505>Go to the one near the lake. It's the closest and you might find other kinds of sprites there.I like lakes
>>5281505>Head to the one on the hill. Temples are ussually built there and some monks might be able to assist you.
>>5281505>>Go to the one near the great wall. It's the farthest and it might take you a day or so just to get there even at full speed. It's clearly a shrine of great importance but you've never heard of a temple being built there.
>>5281505>Go to the one near the lake. It's the closest and you might find other kinds of sprites there.
Lakes or mountain shrine? What do you do?
>>5281505>Go to the one near the great wall. It's the farthest and it might take you a day or so just to get there even at full speed. It's clearly a shrine of great importance but you've never heard of a temple being built there.
>>5282110Looks like 3 in favour of the wall
>>5282123Wall it is. Writing.
You stare at the map for a while longer. Although the other shrines were much closer to you, something about the one near the great wall was calling to you. Not in the supernatural sense but you couldn't shake off the feeling that there was something important about the shrine there. The issue lay with how far it was from here. It would take you at least a day to get there meaning you'd miss out on two meetings with Hien but if it meant that you could recconnect with Shenlong and the other side, it was something you were willing to risk. Putting your things back into your bag, you set off in your own direction towards the Great Wall of China. ---Rivaling the walls of Beijing itself, the Great Wall towers over you as you hug them to avoid being seen by the guards that patrol them. Unlike the city itself, the guards here are more sparse and seperated which was a testament to how far the wall itself stretched across the country. It wasn't difficult to get to this point. Even with your speed, you arrived within a day but you had to wait until night fall to approach it. With Hien at the captial making negotiations, it was more important than ever to not be caught. It was less about your freedom and more about Hien. Should he promise to deliver you and you not be there, it would only show him as incompetent and sully whatever reputation and sway he has over the nobles. Furthermore, it would place the country on high alert after you have seemingly betrayed the trust of the royal family. With that in mind, you quickly follow the route that you memorized before the sun set. You didn't want to risk torchlight catching the attention of the guards.
The moon's light provides enough illumination to allow you to see clearly as you manuver over rocks and outcroppings. It gave everything an eerie and dream like look which was only exacerbated once you arrived at a cave. You feel a shiver run down your spine as feelings of foreboding fill your heart. With no other option, you push in as far as you can before the light comepletely fades and you're forced to light a torch. Unlike the caves under the Sacred Library which split off into many different paths and tunnels, this one only remained as a single tunnel, unnervingly so. The walls were too smooth, too perfect to be something that was made by nature or even by hand. You press onwards, going deeper underground and yet you can still feel the wind in the air like a breeze that wasn't there or the memory of a windy day. Eventually your trail leads you to a large opening flush with flora and plantlife. The underground grove was flourishing despite the lack of light and water with various kinds of plants and flowers found all over China. In the very center lay a pool with a large worn statue of a dragon looming over it. You approach it, half expecting lights to appear out of nowhere and illuminating everything but no such thing occurs. At the base of the statue, you see the remnants of what you think might have been candles but it's impossible to tell how old they were.>You have arrived at your destination. What do you do?>Meditate. See if you can go to the spirit realm.>Call out to Bao. It's always worked before and doesn't require you to trance.>Try and preform some kind of ritual. This does seem like the kind of place to do something like this but you're not sure what.>Write in.
>>5282372>>Call out to Bao. It's always worked before and doesn't require you to trance.
>>5282372>Meditate. See if you can go to the spirit realm.
>>5282372>set the torch in the ground for light>Call out to BaoI think we need to talk to our friend now
>>5282372>Light the candles>Call out to Bao, Shenlong or even our little Fan>Meditate
>>5282400>>5282707>>5282871Gonna try to call Bao. Writing.
You look around at the cavern you're in, unsure of how to feel. The presence of wind was increadibly powerful here and yet you could not help feel a wave of anxiousness wash over you once more. A strange feeling given that on almost any other occasion the wind always seemed to sooth your nerves. Steadying your nerves you try and find a nice place to set your torch which was somewhat difficult given that there was plant life everywhere. You clap your hands and try to get over the strangeness that if calling someone who isn't there. Part of you wasn't even sure she'd answer but you had come all this way so there was nothing left but to try. "Bao?" You call out as casually as you could. "Bao, I need to talk to you. I know...thing must be overwhelming given what happened recently but I really need your help. We all do. War is coming and...I'm not sure what I can do to find the people I need the most to help me get through this. No to mention, I...feel like I'm responsible for Sangpo's death. If I hadn't..." You sigh. "People say that it's not my fault but I could have done something. I know I could have. I could have waited a bit before healing the boy or I could have just let him heal on his own. Something more selfish and it could have saved more lives. Maybe even could have spared the library from evacuating. I just...I need someone to talk to."You stand around, feeling somewhat foolish and most of all vulnerable. Even when you were alone, opening up still felt slightly foreign to you. You look around, hoping to catch a glimpse of something that would indicate that Bao or Shenlong had arrived but you see nothing. Desperation tugs at your heart. "Bao, please. I need you. I know the spirit realm is hurting but the mortal one is in danger as well. Please, I just want to talk."You feel the wind whip up around you, sending debris around and scratching you where your body was uncovered. It was hot and uncomfortable, reminding you of the hot summer winds that seem to sap the strength from a person's body and threaten to kill plants with drought. You see movement in the corner of your eye and turn to face Bao. Her clothing was seemed worn and threadbare, frayed at the hems of her sleeves and dress. Her hair was disheveled and unkempt, blue eyes still glowing with long dark streaks running under them, tears clinging to the fur in her cheeks. "What do you want?" She asks, her voice cracking like dried twigs and no longer soothing and silky. Even what little fur she showed seemed to be thinner in the dim light.>What do you say?>Write in.
>>5283759>Immediate concern. "Bao, who's done that to you?! What happened? Was it. . "And if we can get some answers on if it was shenlongs grief or the ritual of the crows, we can proceed.>"I. . . Need your help, understanding what happened. And how to fix it."
>>5283810And give that girl a hug. She looks like she needs one.Though I am willing to back down on this proposition.
>>5283814I'm not, hugs helps with grieving.>>5283810>>5283814Support
>>5283810>>5283814>>5283865>>5283948Hugs. Need to forget about your evil nemesis who stole your loved ones. Writing.
>>5284433. . . I once promised to my friends and allies that I was a changed man. A man who isnt held by mortal grudges, who isnt driven by vengence, focused on justice and farity.But this, I cannot forgive.BROWN BUN! ILL REND YOUR BLOODLIJE TO THE 7TH GENERATION!
You rush over to hug the cat and hold her tight. "Bao, what's happened? Who's done this to you?!" You ask as you immediately step forward. "Another attack in the spirit realm? Do you need help?" You ask as you hold her back to get a better look at her. Bao remains unmoved and breaks free from your hug. It takes a few moments for you to register how effortlessly she breaks through your grip despite how tightly you were holding her. "What do you want?" She asks again. You stare at her. There was no irritation or depression in her tone. Nothing to indicate she was upset with you. Infact despite her change in look and her voice, she seemed quite...detached. It was almost as if she wasn't really there. Almost like a statue herself."Is it Shenlong?" You guess. Boa gives you a slow nod. You frown. "I've tried to go see him but I can't. Something won't let me.""You are not prepared." She says simply. "And you mind cannot comprehend what you attempt to put it through.""Is that why you're like...this?" You ask motioning to her. Again, Bao nods. Unsure of what to do, you simply continue."I...need your help. I need to know what happened. And how to fix it." You ask. "At the city. They made the dead rise again. Like in the library we first saw. Hien and I couldn't figure it out. We have to help them." Bao says nothing for a moment and walks towards the statue in the middle of the pond. The plant life around her feet seem to shudder between wild overgrowth and dying out only to revert back to their healthy selves once she passes by. Bao treads quietly over the surface of the pond and gently lights the ancient candles. The whole cave takes on an unnaturally bright glow, far more than what mere candles could provide. Bao brushes her dress underneathe her as she sits down to face you. The only gesture of personality so far. "The heretics who attacked the Library have desecrated the mountain and the lands surrounding it. They have completely bled the Chi from lands and made it a void to the spirits. Any elemental that journies there dies, never to return and never to come back to the lands. Their essence and being turned to fuel for their foul ritual. The loss of life that day went far beyond just the mortal ones." Bao says as the candle lights flicker and seem to die slightly. You sit there horrified. "I doubt those behind it were even aware of the extent of the damage and if they were then perhaps the Great Judges will be finding their methods inadequate for the punishment that those behind it deserve." You visibly shiver as a cold sweat drips down your back."But how do we stop it? Can we set all of that free?" You ask.
"No mortal could ever hope to undo the damage. Releasing that kind of power back into the world would prove catastrophic. Like punching a hole into sealed bottle of boiling water." Bao replies."Is there no way to slowly let it out?" You ask. "I can't just leave those people to suffer like this.""It would take several life times. Years of nonstop toiling to slowly and safely release that energy. All the while surviving and fending off the dead. Who and their family would you task to doing that?" Bao asks."I...don't know. Myself?" You say. "If that's what it takes.""And your friends? You know they would not leave you to live alone. Would you have them live like that as well?" You don't say anything. "But that is not why you called me. How can I help you?" She asks, her voice becoming tired and her face dropping slightly.>What do you ask?>Write in.
>>5284630> do you know where they have gone.
>>5284630>Do you know where they have gone?And yeah, we would. Because it has to be done and they are willing.
>>5284988Though we are asking where our friends went, we should also include the heretics under that.And it occurs to me, dont they have a few devoted monks somewhere? Setting up a monk order in the area around the mountain to repair the land wouldnt be the worst idea.
>>5284996That's a good idea.Use the fake destroyed library as a base to buils a monastery on top, train some dude in kung fu and chi to fight the undead and heal the place.>>5284630>Do you know where they gone? The army that attacked, the heretic that defiled the place, my friends and the survivors?>Bao, did the mortal souls escape the fate of the spirits? I don't know enough about how different the Chi works.>How are the masters in Eureka faring? Are they able to withstand all of the Dragon's grief?Shit, if all elementals died, it means all four of the Great Dragons are in mourning, no wonder we can't enter Eureka now I'm worried about Oogway and the others.
>>5284728>>5284988>>5285567This is the part where Bao tells you that Ren is living in a small village in eastern China and can no longer hear spirits after the events of the library. Plot twist, he has amnesia and is living happily with his fiance running her parent's bakery. Writing.
"Do you know where they are?" You ask while trying to keep the desperation out of your voice. "I need to find them." Words could not describe the level of dismay you felt, nor could all your training keep the shock from appearing on your face, when Bao shakes her head. "What?! But...you're...you're you. You can see everything.""I'm afriad my sight is somewhat limited given current events and the fact that certain things in the realm of the spirits is holding most of my attention." Bao says flatly. "However, when I was last able to check your little no-longer-a-void rabbit was somewhere along the eastern shores of China.""What about Ming?" You ask. "She's not that good at hiding compared to the rest of us and she has a whole city with her. She said she was going to the valley of peace. She'd be the easiest to find right?""She vanished." Bao replies. "Along with everyone she was with.""What? W-what do you mean?" You ask. "You were looking for their Chi right? You can't just get rid of that or you'll leave a void like Xin. You told me this. You can find them like that right?""Her Chi simply ceased to exist. There is no void. It's as she never existed." Bao explained. "Along with anyone else who was with her.""Were their souls take when the city was taken? I don't understand. I thought they all survived." You say."Their souls are or were unharmed last I remember them." Bao says. "I suspect something else might be at play. Otherwise, the only explanation is that they were found and killed.""No!" You shout. "No. They're still alive. They have to be. What about Renshu? When did you last see him?""He was still on the mountains when I last saw him. The fact that he is not with you means he must have moved from there." Bao explains. "So then at least he's alive. But you say you're focusing on other things. What of the masters? How do they fare in the wake of all this?" "Many of them are gone. Prefering to move on to be able to see their ancestors than risk annihilation. Only a scant few remain in hopes of attempting to help my Lord and the others though their actions are small in comparision to what is going on." You remain quiet. All you were getting were half answers and still not many clues as to what was going on. If someone like Bao could be forced to ignore the events of the mortal world, how bad could things be in the spirit realm? What kind of chaos was unleashed by the attack on the library? You can't help but shudder once more when pondering if such an event was planned.>What do you say?>Write in.
>>5286925> when do you think I should visit Shen long.> Thank you, I won't keep you from your duties any longer. If you ever need something form me don't be afraid to ask.
>>5286925>I wont keep you from your duties anymore Bao. Thank you for your help, and if I can help, in any way, then never hesitate to ask.The plot thickens.Let's get back to Hien. We should arrive by nightfall, nap permitting
>>5286925>Thank you Bao. Once this is all over, and the Great Dragons' sorrow is reduced, will visit both of you again.Ming did some funky magic, didn't she?
>>5287289>>5287267>>5286999Leaving. We have to go get yelled at by nobles. Writing. >>5287289She's a Sorcerer Supreme: Master of the Mystic Arts. Xin claims she once cut a chocolate bar and it ended up with an extra square.
>>5288700That is unfair, and cheating and can I please have some Ming?
>>5288722Well you did say please...
"Thank you Bao. Once this is all over, I'll visit you and Shenlong once more." You say as you get up. "I'll leave you to your duties. We'll fix this. I promise." You turn to leave, knowing that if you turned back to look Bao would be gone. The trek back to the surface left you alone in with your thoughts, something you didn't really want but with no one to talk all you could do was try and not think of the implications of what you were just told. Still, it felt like you were no more closer to finding your friends than you were before. At the very least you know they survived the attack and that was enough to help ease you doubts. Your thoughts turn to delivering the news of war to the Empress. Even during your time in the Jade Palace, the most you got close to nobility were rich merchants who came to ask you and your father to settle a dispute or perhaps locate some stolen merchandise. None of them could compare to the power and influence the Empress herself had. A more childish part of you gave a tingling of worry that your apperance was not suitable but that was quickly squashed down by the logic of your visit. The news you were delivering was far more important than maintaing social graces and by all accounts Hien gave you, the Empress would care more about what you were saying than how you looked like while saying it. That very same logic slowly turned around to deliver even worse thoughts however. What if she ordered your execution? She had every right to do so and even worse, the same politicking that you hated might force her to do so. She could not appear weak infront of her people and at such a crucial moment, she would need all the support she could get to support a war after so many years of peace. The obvious answer would be to flee, you were already planning on leaving the country to bring the fight to the Mongols but the finer details were the most important. By ordering your death and by you escaping, that meant that the whole country would be on the look out and anyone attempting to help you would be treason. Xin Lan and Renshu would undoubtly not care and nor would Ming but the two rabbits were already used to being on the wrong side of the law and by all accounts they didn't exist. But Ming was a citizen of China and invariably she would try and help. You could never condemn her like that. She had an actual life to live. She had family who cared about her and even had a future to look forward to. You didn't want her wasting it and forcing her to live on the run forever.Hien would obviously come to your aid but even as the Empress's younger brother you don't know how much he could do for your behalf. Maybe she could be convinced to see reason and you could serve your time as a soldier. Work your sentence off by fighting against the enemies of China. Whatever would come, nothing would stop you from seeing your friends once more and keeping your homeland safe.
---Your journey back to came was an uneventful as it was leaving it. It took you another day but by nightfall, you arrive back where you agreed to meet Hien. A quick search of what was supposed to be your camp grounds shows now sign of him returning or leaving a hint of some kind. A good sign but also a worrying one. It had been two days since you left, could Hien not convince the Feng family of his plan? Or was he immediately brought home to be kept safe from the outside once more?>What do you do?>Wait here and see if Hien turns up.>Try and sneak into the city to look for the Feng family home.>Go into the city and see if you can find someone else to tell you about the coin Xin left you.>Attempt to sneak into the palace and tell the Empress yourself.>Write in
>>5288772>Wait for Hien to turn up.>Use the time productively, find a good place for a camp to keep us occupied
>>5288786>Wait for Hien to turn up.>Use the time productively, do some kung-fu training we haven't done any since before our coma.
>>5288772>Attempt to sneak into the palace and tell the Empress yourself.
>>5288772>Wait here and see if Hien turns up.>Prepare in case there is an ambush, a escape route could help.>And maybe give in to the worries and try to make yourself atleast a bit nore presentableIf we got the time, why not?
>>5288871A few Kata and exercises probably wouldnt do us any harm. Keep the bad thoughts out.
>>5288786>>5288871>>5288985Just waiting on Hien. Writing.
The best option would be to wait a here. Attempting to cause trouble or move away might compromise whatever Hien had going on. For now it would be better to use your time to prepare or at the very least to keep your mind off of things. Having spent so time without practice, you quickly devolve back to hold habits and begin practicing your forms as you've done hundreds of thousands of times before. Your limbs move seemlessly from one to the next like water. To the passersby in the distance, it would almost seem like you were made of the selfsame liquid as you move around your camp. You could do this for hours on end without tiring or even noticing the time passing but you know this is no more productive than simply sitting down. At this point in your life, doing forms as practice was akin to simply sitting down and rereading a book. You gained nothing from this other than simple comfort and thought it helped put your mind at ease, it would be best to put it to some other exercise. You slowly come to a stop and sit down to think about upcoming events. It would be best if you thought of someway to escape should your arrest or execution would come to pass. Without any real plans on buildings or the like, not to mention a lack of exeprience in breaking and entering, your planning would be limited but at the very least you could plan out in broader terms. The most common approach would be to surround you. Numbers are the easest way to gain and advantage in battle and all it would take is a stray edge to end your life. Even with all your skill and power, if you planned on minimizing harm, you only had so many limbs to do so. Thus, your best approach would be to turn the tables and make their numbers into a disadvantage. Perhaps by putting your back to a wall and forcing them to clamber over each other to get to you? But that would leave no room to escape unless you planned on adding more property damage to your list of crimes. You could put your back to a window, easily broken and it would allow you a means of escape. Even a well maintained militia would be hardpressed to catch up to you or organize in a street that was previously deemed far away.Once on the streets, it would be a simple matter to leap from roof to roof before cleaing the walls. Although arrows would be a problem in the interm. Perhaps grabbing something as a shield would be the best option. Or maybe disarming a guard for theirs before fleeing. It wasn't the escape that really bothered you but rather where to go. The city was your only real clue to finding the others and without this you'd be lost once more. You make a mental note to hold Xin Lan by their feet and making them promise to you they wouldn't hide from you again.
Unfrotunately, that's about the extent you can plan with. Most of the things you can do will happen out of instinct and all you can do is adjust how you want to do things. As always, you expect things to go south like they always do. For now, it was back to just waiting. ---Nothing happens for the rest of the day other than watching people come and go from the city. You set up a small campfire once the sun goes down and resume waiting. You resist the urge to pull out the various object you collected from around the city and look at them and instead force yourself to go to sleep. Reluctantly, your body heeds your orders and you drift off into an uneasy sleep. It was the sound of clanking that woke you up the next morning and it's source easily available at a distance. Approaching your small camp was a full platoon of soldiers, marching in formation, with weapons at the ready. In the center of it all was Hien dressed in clothing far finer than you had ever seen in your life and his wild hair somehow wrestled into compliance, now dangling in a long pony tail. His face neutral, the group of soldiers seemed to be following his pace.>What do you do?>Write in.
>>5290614>Give Hien a little wave. Get up and gather our stuff/pack up camp. then wait for him and the soldiers to approach.
>>5290614>Pack up our gear, if it's out, and sit by the fire to wait.Hands on our knees or behind our head doing sit ups should keep the guards somewhat calm for now.
>>5290614>Pack up our camp, position ourselves according to the plan and call out to Hien.>Use his false bard name though.
>>5290617>>5290707>>5290979>>5291233waving to Hien and waiting for him to come to us. No reason to spook the guards. Writing.
You take some time to pack up camp while making sure that you don't make any moves that seem threatening. Once you were done, you simply sit and wait but take the time to wave politely to Hien. "I take it the talks went well?" You ask cheerfully as the large group comes into earshot. Unsurprisingly, one of the nearest guards brandishes his weapon at you."Watch your tongue, scum. That's your lord you're speaking to." He snarls. Hien raises a hand and pushes the weapon down."And that is Tai Lung which you're already aware of who he is. Thus, you know antagonizing him is the one thing you that will certainly be the last you'll do." He says coolly as the group parts to allow him to step forward. Chastised, the guard awkwardly steps back and avoids eye contact with everyone else. No one else reacts to the exchange beyond remaining at attention and moving to adjust their formation. You stare a bit in awe. You knew Hien was important but nothing seemed to solidify that fact by this. You had never seen him exert any kind of air of authority or presence beyond that of a kind hearted and sympathetic young man and yet here he was commanding a small army as easily as walking. Even so, you couldn't help but feel like there was something forced about all this. Hien's face was serious and straight faced, devoid of any emotion that could give something away and yet it seemed artificial, forced. Maybe it was all the time you spent with what was the real Hien yet none of the guards could detect that something was up.Your thoughts are interrupted when Hien speaks. "Tai Lung, as son of the Emperor, brother to the current Empress, I charge you with crimes against China. Ones far too numerous and others far to vile to speak of. I hereby place you under arrest. Come quietly and the Gods may have mercy on your sentence. Resist and we will have to cut you down. You're outnumbered and even you know that you cannot win this fight."You tilt your head, partly out of confusion and more out of showmanship. The absurdity of all this almost prevented you from taking this seriously and even so, you couldn't help but having a bit of fun. You slowly stand up, towering above the young man and approach him. The guards immediately take formation around you and Hien but with all their training they could not hide the slight nervousness they had. Your legend was too great for them to not hold some superstition. Hien needs to crane his next to look at your face but his eyes do not show fear nor emotion. "Under arrest?" You ask, choosing your words slowly and drawing out the tension. "There is no prison that can hold me."
Without missing a beat, Hien replies, "There is no prison I would put you in. You're a danger to everyone around you and even criminals do not deserve to be jailed next to a monster like you. Fortunately, there are people fearless and loyal enough to risk their lives to contain you." Hien motions to the guards to form around the two of you. One approaches with a pair of handcuffs to which the young prince waves him away."Do you honestly expect those to work?" He asks. "If anything, you'll be giving him another weapon to use. This is the moment you've all trained for. If he resists prepare to strike without mercy." The guards, perhaps out of instinct or training, immediately salute before readying their weapons. You roll your eyes at such a useless gesture and begin to walk along with the group.---Crowds part as you and the soldiers walk towards the city gates. People watch in awe, stare in anger, or shout at you as you're basically paraded down the road. "Move aside! Make room for your lord!" The guards bark and roughly push aside anyone who was too slow to get out of the way. All the while, despite the shouting and jeering, Hien maintains his stone faced look."Open the gates! Open the gates! He's here! This is not a drill! I repeat this is not a drill!" A guardsman at the front gates shout. The sounds of movement ring out all around you as you note the number of guards moving to their stations and the large city walls opening up to receive you. Even with all the commotion around you, you're struck in awe as you see the interior of China's capital. The city streets were densely packed with people of all species and sizes. Every few blocks seemed to be their own miniature city, each with dozens of buildings of varying sizes. Even the wares you see in windows seemed to be of the highest quality and craftsman's ship. You see art of all kinds, vases with the finest details and clothing you thought only the rich and noble would wear. Everything in this city pointed to the pride and glory of your nation. It's heart and soul. All the while, people gawked and stared at you. In fear, awe, surprise, or disgust. The guards clear the streets before you and your procession."He's been caught! Tai Lung's been caught!" Someone screams and it seems like the whole city bursts into shouts. Cheering, crying, joy. All of the emotions, you expected to be comforted by now seemed ugly and horrible. These people were deriving joy from your misery. They were glad that you were going to supposedly be punished, maybe even killed. You feel disgusted and conflicted. These were the people you wanted to save. These were the people you were willing to get hurt and die for. And yet, you know you deserve all this. These people lived in fear because of you, perhaps lost loved ones because of you so far away from their families. All you can do is continue to walk, bile rising in your throat but if it's out of anger or misery you could not say.
---You walk for what seems like another hour or so. The guards made all the effort in the world to keep you as far away from the palace as possible but it was impossible to not see it. The size of palace had every right to be named "The Forbidden City". The sheer scope of the place was the size of a city all of it's own. This was Hien's home? He had an entire city to run around and play in as a child. Even the size of the Valley of Peace and the Jade Palace, of which you had free reign to wander around did not compare to the vastness of the palace. Part of you wanted to speak to Hien and comment about it but nothing came out. You suddenly felt so very distant from him as if a large chasm had opened up between the two of you. You, despite being a great master of fighting, were still nothing more than a mere orphaned peasant. A snow leopard, a novelty that had a tantrum when he didn't get a mere title and Hien was a child that was could be destined to run an entire nation. One who dedicated is childhood to learning a position he knew he may never obtain. The two of you were nothing alike and you were embarrassed to admit that the realization suddenly made you feel very small despite all the two of you had been through.Even so, the group continued onward beyond the palace and behind it. Tucked away in a corner of the City and nestled near the walls was a large compound. It's gates were guarded by soldiers as well however, it was hard to not notice that these guards wore weapons and armor of far higher quality than those around you although nothing about them seemed to indicate and higher status than the ones around you. The guards immediately move aside and open the smaller gates to let your group in. "Halt." Hien commands and everyone around you stops. He spends a few moments coordinating the groups around you, splitting them off to guard various areas and only leaving a small contingent of 10 with the two of you before you all enter. As you travel, you can see various workers going about the grounds to maintain it watering plants, polishing statues, raking leaves. The compound reminded you of magistrate's home where you fought the triads. Even so, you see various kids peeking out from buildings before being being roughly pulled back by concerned mothers. You approach the main building and once again, Hien motions for more guards to guard the surrounding area, leaving only 2 of them flanking you.
As you approach the entrance, a middle aged woman greets you. She wore the finest dress and silks you could imagine and though she wore them with the refinement you expected of nobility, her eyes showed she was anything but a pampered rich person. The woman's eyes were sharp and piercing, taking in every little detail about you and the surroundings. In short, there was guile behind them of the most dangerous kind. This was a woman who took nothing for granted and everything to her advantage. As Hien approaches she bows deeply. "My Lord, we do not deserve the honor you have bestowed upon us to watch over your prey. If I may be so bold and step beyond my place, shall I summon Yan Feng to keep you company while we take charge of your prisoner? Last you visited, the two of you split on less than pleasant terms. A stain on my family's service to yours and something I will not allow her to leave without attempting to make amends.""That will not be necessary Madam Feng. Yan may be hot headed but her heart is in the right place. If anything she was honoring your family's service by trying to keep me safe by any means necessary. A quality my father mentioned with high esteem that he found in your husband. I'll visit her on my own time and speak to her." Hien says. "For now, we wish to speak with your husband regarding the current situation."Madam Feng bows once more. "My apologies for my assumptions, my lord. My husband is in his office awaiting you as ordered." She says motioning down the hall before showing you the way. Had it been anyone else, you would have expected this exchange to be nothing more than political banter between one of high rank and one wishing to seek approval. Instead, everything the woman said was completely genuine. There was no false flattery or groveling. It was rather unnerving in a way. The woman leads you to a pair of large wooden doors before bowing one last time and leaving. Hien motions for the last two guards to stand besides the doors to watch them before entering them with you in tow.The office was the size of a small home and completely lined with hundreds of books and scrolls. A large ornate desk lay in the center with an equally large chair behind it. Sitting in said chair, was a muscular fox in rather simple business wear. Even so, it was of the finest quality. The master of the house looks up as the two of approach. "My Lord." He says standing up. He too studies you with eyes you only familiar with in the mirror. They were eyes devoid of fear and uncertainty. The eyes of man who knows what he wanted and with the ambition and fearlessness to do what it takes to get it. "If I may be so bold as to say, in all my years serving the royal family we have never failed in our tasks. Not until you changed that. Your sister tasked us to keep you here and safe only for you to escape. Yan was rather hurt. She was the one who took responsibility for our failure."
Hien's face falters, he was not made of stone after all. "My apologies but there was something important I had to do." He says."'To get to know your people. To understand what they truly want' Yes, my daughter told me what you told her." The elder Feng says. "Compassion was always something you were known for.""Do you think me foolish? A hopeless idealist?" Hien asks curiously. "No. What I think is that you no longer a child." He replies. "I may be no philosopher but I always knew that a true man was one that did whatever it took to realize their ambitions. Something you and your family embody perfectly well. The Yan dynasty is always known for never letting anything get in their way. Where others saw walls, you saw something to climb over. Obstacles became goals, problems mere trivialities. That is the definition of power.""My family doesn't use people like that." Hien says. "No. That is precisely why my family's loyalty lies with you and why I allow such a monster to reside in my home unshackled." He says staring right at you, undaunted. "Did your father ever tell you why I decided to devote my talents to your family rather than keeping them to myself?""No...""Fools would tell you that it was for money. The excuse of men and women who lacked the talent to best me. If I wanted money, I could create my business empire by my own two hands. I follow your family because I saw how you wielded your power. The strength to rule, the ambition to do it. Ambition as hard as the iron I work with only it was tempered, made sharper, by the very compassion others think would make you weak. A tyrant rules through power and fear. Making others obey. Your father and your sister rule because others want them to. Because they trust them. It's the same quality I see in you. More so than your siblings. They don't have the luxury that you do. Which is why I trust you. You're not a child and not some fool. You're a leader and you're beginning to act like one. So I assume there's a reason why you chose me instead of your brother to house this man." The patriarch finally turns to face you properly. "What do you want?" The two of you look at each other. You know that no amount of flattery or colorful words will work here. No appeals to emotion or sympathy.>What do you say?>Write in
>>5292765> I was told you might know something about this. show him the amulet/symbol. A friend of mine left it for me before they went into hiding. I intend to find them and make sure their alright.
>>5292765>My friend left me this coin, what can you tell me about it? After that is answered, my buissness is for the Empress.
>>5292765>I come here to bear a message to the Empress, about a great danger to China. But from you specifically? I got separated from my companions, but they left this coin to find them. I have heard how resourceful you and your family are, so I hoped you would know about it.>I know they are part of a now dead organization, being the last members, so this would be a marking to some kind of third party that worked with them.
>>5293232this is better than mine here >>5293102Because he could be asking in many senses "what do we want"
>>5292765Thanks for runnng.
>>5296403Luo sometimes disappear for a while but he always come back, no need to bury him yet.
>>5296418Although we do need to bury this thread, it'sthird to last in the catalog.I'm going to archive it.
It's done.Remember to vote!
>>5296426Thanks for sticking around. Weekends tends to be when I get stuff down around the house and ita sort of become my get away from the computer time as well. I try to post at least once on those days but time gets away from me. New thread will be up tonight! Thanks for archiving as well.