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You are Tomoe(?), a wandering ronin.
>>
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It is the hot season. You are in a bar in HIMAWARI, another all-but-empty town in a countryside left derelict by a bloody civil war.

You throw back your fifteenth cup. It’s got the acrid taste of whatever countryside swill they dug from their cellar, but it’s good enough for you. Your face is hot with drunken vigor and your stomach is full of egg and rice and beef and noodles and whatever else they dug out from the back of the cellar to serve you.

“What the hell is the hold-up?!” You scowl, glaring the older waitress down–a frown is tugging at the corner of her lips as she hefts up a tray loaded high with all manner of fried fare. “Do we have a problem?”
“A-ah.. yes. Of course. My apologies, miss..” The waitress sighs as she approaches. You note the occasional glance of hers down to your hip.

“Oh, this? What? You scared of my sword?” You sneer, raising the scarlet blade and handling it with the grace of a half-blind toddler. “Relax, relax. I only use it to cut down bad guys, so you’ll be fine.. as long as you hurry it up. Heh.”
That seems to hurry her along.

“And, if you’re gonna refer to me, you say miss *Tomoe,* got it? Because that’s my name.” You remind her. “Show a little gratitude to the wandering ronin that saved your village, huh?”

>Reminiscence with her about how you saved Himawari. Remind her why she ought to be grateful.
>Ask why she’s taking so long now. You should be the only customer she has in this godforsaken town.
>Toss sake at her as punishment for taking so long.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5310893
>>Reminiscence with her about how you saved Himawari. Remind her why she ought to be grateful.
>>
>>5310893
>Reminiscence with her about how you saved Himawari. Remind her why she ought to be grateful.
Holy shit it's back.
>>
>>5310893
>Ask why she’s taking so long now. You should be the only customer she has in this godforsaken town.
>>
>>5310893
>Reminiscence with her about how you saved Himawari. Remind her why she ought to be grateful.
Hedge :)
>>
>>5310893
>>Ask why she’s taking so long now. You should be the only customer she has in this godforsaken town.
>>
>>5310893
>Reminiscence with her about how you saved Himawari. Remind her why she ought to be grateful.
Then
>Toss sake at her as punishment for taking so long.
Opps, spilled all over you top. Here, let me clean that up for you… *rip*
>>
Great, now I want to fuck an asian, eat sushi and shoot guns. That's going to cost me at least $130, thanks a lot. I'll send you the bill, OP.
>>
>>5310893
>>Toss sake at her as punishment for taking so long.
>>
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>>5310911
>>5310913
>>5310917
>>5310925
>>5310933
>>5310948
>>5310953

>Reminiscence with her about how you saved Himawari. Remind her why she ought to be grateful.

“Ah.. how long has it been now?” You ease into dreamy “reminiscence,” your sandals on the restaurant tabletop. “Y’know, since I swooped in and saved this backwater dump.”
“Just about four years now..” The waitress murmurs.
“Yeah–four years. That was it.” You snap your fingers. “Just another town in the sticks gettin’ squeezed by some no-good gang of bandits, and with all your boys sent back home in a box after the war, you didn't stand a chance. So, generous as I was, I had to step in and help out. I chopped up those fat, drunken thieves, loosed the warlord’s head from his shoulders, and freed you up to serve all the shitty drinks you like!”

You heft up your katana with pride. The waitress raises a brow.
“Uhm.. your sword, Lady Tomoe?” She frowns. “Don’t you mean your war fan? You used one back then to fend off the thieves. A tessen.”

“A-ah. Right. My war fan. Slipped my mind.” You sputter out, catching yourself. “It’s just been.. so long now, after all. Four years.”
A sudden crash from the front of the restaurant catches your attention. You narrow your eyes.
“Who is that? Are you actually serving some other poor hick dumb enough to eat here?” You glare at the waitress.
She bows her head low. “Ah, yes, that was.. he’s just a regular. Nothing to worry about. Please, forgive the noise–he’s just a bit tipsy..”

>Demand she kick the guy out. You’re the hero here, after all.
>Step out to confront the guy yourself.
>Ask who her regular is. Maybe flashing your sword will coax some info out of her.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5310963
>Demand she kick the guy out. You’re the hero here, after all.
>Ask who her regular is. Maybe flashing your sword will coax some info out of her.
>>
>>5310963
>Demand she kick the guy out. You’re the hero here, after all.
>>
>>5310963
>Demand she kick the guy out. You’re the hero here, after all.
>>
>>5310963
>Step out to confront the guy yourself.
>>
>>5310963
>Step out to confront the guy yourself.
>Ask who her regular is. Maybe flashing your sword will coax some info out of her.
>>
>>5310963
>Demand she kick the guy out. You’re the hero here, after all.
>>
>>5310963
>>Step out to confront the guy yourself.

WE'RE BACK
>>
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>>5311026
>>5311024
>>5311015
>>5311004
>>5310977
>>5310970
>>5310966

>Demand she kick the guy out. You’re the hero here, after all.
>Ask who her regular is. Maybe flashing your sword will coax some info out of her.

“..Ha? A regular? And what, is he more important than me?” You (needlessly) flash your katana to incite the waitress-she blanches at it. “If some yokel drinks himself red and makes a ruckus in your restaurant, you tend to throw him out, right? What is the issue here?”
“Oh, he’s no harm at all, my lady. No need to stir up a fight. You see–well, he was once a samurai, a war veteran..” The waitress attempts to ease your suspicions, a nervous smile on her face as she grasps for the right words. “His name is Juzou. He’s no more than an old man–really, he’ll be out once he’s had his fill.”

Her words are cut short as another loud crash from the restaurant’s front nearly shocks you out of the rather comfortable position you’ve dug yourself into. This is growing rather annoying.

>Step out to confront the guy yourself. Maybe a glimpse of the great Tomoe will scare him off.
>Insist that she kick him out herself. You’re marinating in drink and fried food here.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5311045
>>Insist that she kick him out herself. You’re marinating in drink and fried food here.
>>
>>5311045
>Step out to confront the guy yourself. Maybe a glimpse of the great Tomoe will scare him off.
>>
>>5311045
>Step out to confront the guy yourself. Maybe a glimpse of the great Tomoe will scare him off.
>>
>>5311045
>>Step out to confront the guy yourself. Maybe a glimpse of the great Tomoe will scare him off.
>>
>>5311045
>Step out to confront the guy yourself. Maybe a glimpse of the great Tomoe will scare him off.
>>
>>5311045
Why is she fat now
>>
>>5311045
>
>Insist that she kick him out herself. You’re marinating in drink and fried food here.

>>5311064
Food and sake
>>
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>>5311050
>>5311051
>>5311052
>>5311053
>>5311061
>>5311067

>Step out to confront the guy yourself. Maybe a glimpse of the great Tomoe will scare him off.

“Bah. You’re useless. I’ll just take care of it myself.” You scowl, standing from your (very comfortable) seat and knocking over a few ceramics.
“Please, my lady, really–” The waitress moves to stop you, but takes a step back as you flash your sword. You strut past her, out to the front–some town drunkard should prove no trouble at all to scare off with your impressive repute.

You find yourself face-to-face with the old drunk; he’s half-dancing, half-strutting along the length of an empty table. The drunkard’s face is a deep, plum red, his steps unsure as he totters about over empty sake bottles. Your nose crinkles at the tart scent of drink–so strong you feel your own face grow more hot.

“I won’t run from no red wind..” Juzou attempts what one might consider a godforsaken off-tune song. “Swim through voluntist blood, thick and thin..”
You clear your throat, your arms crossed.

The man glares back at you, his eyes tight, angry slats. “What is it? Got a problem?” He grunts, his voice still slurry and low. “And tuck your damn tits in. They’ll pop out with a strong breeze. Y’might poke someone’s eye out.”

>Threaten the man.
>Demand the man leave.
>Ask the man if he’s aware of your awesome folkhero status.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5311070
>Ask the man if he’s aware of your awesome folkhero status.
>>
>>5311070
>Pop tits out
>"Are you afraid of THIS?"
>>
>>5311070
>Ask the man if he’s aware of your awesome folkhero status.
>>
>>5311070
>Ask the man if he’s aware of your awesome folkhero status.
>>
>>5311070
>Ask the man if he’s aware of your awesome folkhero status.
>>
>>5311075
Supporting
>>
>>5311070
>write in
>don’t make those loud noises again
>>
>>5311075
+1
>>
>>5311075
Support
>Ask the man if he’s aware of your awesome folkhero status.
>>
>>5311070
>>5311075
+1 but also
>Ask the man if he’s aware of your awesome folkhero status.
>>
>>5311070
>Ask the man if he’s aware of your awesome folkhero status.
>>
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>>5311073
>>5311075
>>5311076
>>5311079
>>5311086
>>5311144
>>5311304
>>5311344
>>5311351
>>5311452
>>5311456

>Ask the man if he’s aware of your awesome folkhero status.

You aren’t the sort to pop your tits out for just any random countryside drunkard–at least, not without proper compensation first (50-60 yun to see, 100 yun to touch). You instead decide to boast of “your” impressive renown to scare the old bastard off.
“You’re being noisy.” You glare him down, a hand on the hilt of your blade. “You know who I am, old man?”
“Eh.. should I?” Juzou picks his nose.

“I’m the savior of this town, and plenty other countryside boondocks just like it. The Hero of the Battle of Tonbo, Shinkawa, and Kojima, Shiho’s Chosen, Champion of the Divine Moralists..” You puff out with pride. “Tomoe, the itinerant ronin, war hero, hedge warrior–”
“Tomoe? Tomoe, Tomoe.. ah! I guess it is you, huh...” The old drunk leans in with bemusement, a hand on his chin as he looks you up and down. “Been a while, huh? Heard the Moralcomp got you–guess not even the Abyss can keep you!”
“Uh-.. what?” You falter.

“Sorry I didn’t recognize ya. You’re lookin’ a little more.. plump, these days. But I can’t say I blame you. With these famines.. I ought to fatten myself up too.” He squints. “You got somethin’ you wanna say?”
You have no idea what he’s talking about, but it seems like Juzou actually knows Tomoe. This could be troublesome for you.

>Knock him out while he’s drunk.
>Order him to leave. You’re trying to relax.
>Ask the waitress to shove him out herself.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5311471
>>Ask the waitress to shove him out herself.
>>
>>5311471
>Ask the waitress to shove him out herself.
>>
>>5311471
>Tell him his drunk and disorderly behavior is harshing our mellow.
>>
>>5311471
>Order him to leave. You’re trying to relax.
>>
Another shitty basedjourner quest focused on titty drawings.
This dude has quit literally every quest he has run since his first oekaki quest. What a fag!
>>
>>5311592
>Oh no, the guy providing me free entertainment stops doing so every now and then!
The way readers regard QMs always fascinates me
>>
>>5311471
>Ask the waitress to shove him out herself.
>>5311592
This QM isn't Sojourner, he's the hikkikomori QM. He's finished the majority of his quests, the only one I remember not being finished is that one apocalypse fighter quest with the eggplant.
>>
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>>5311621
>>5311583
>>5311520
>>5311509
>>5311504

>Ask the waitress to shove him out herself.

“Oy. You.” You point out the hag. “Get this drunk out of here, would you? He’s being noisy.”

“Ha–.. what’d you call me? A drunk? Now who the hell do you think you’re calling–gahoh, woah there..” He attempts (and fails) to pull up his yukata as he shouts you down. He wears peach-pattern boxers. “What? Y’get a big head just ‘cause you’re a little popular? Y’think you’re too important for little old–damn it–”

“Now–hey! Hey..! What the hell happened to samurai solidarity? I didn’t fight a war to–..” You watch with smug satisfaction as she drags the plastered veteran out from the restaurant, yukata loose around his legs and his face red hot out of frustration, embarrassment, and booze. He curses you out the entire time.

“Your” name sure has some clout around here. You spend the rest of your day clearing out the restaurant’s pantry from the comfort of the back, fresh booze and food ready for you at a word.

[...]

It is sunset. The bar is awash in the warm light of the country’s red sun. You sit content in the restaurant’s back, stomach full of food and wallet full of coin. You’ll have to clear out of town soon–you had thought to stick around and get fat on the food for a little while, but that old drunk might cause problems. You’re sure there're plenty other backwood towns out there that owe a ronin’s debt.

“Uhm.. Lady Tomoe–about your payment..” The waitress approaches you, tray a great deal more light than early. “I know that we offered the food free of charge, but–you see, we’ve not got much money left to restock, and we’ve barely the yun to put food on our own table..”

>Let her know your debt is paid. You won’t give her a coin.
>Toss her a yun or two. She can use it to buy some chopsticks.
>Get up and leave. Spill some sake as you do. How dare they question a hero like yourself?
>Write-In.
>>
>>5311669
>Tell her she should be happy she has a business instead of a smoldering pile of cinders if we hadn't saved the town. Besides there are always ways to earn money if you put your pride aside.
>>
>>5311684
+1
>>
>>5311684
Based
+1
>>
>>5311669
>Toss her a yun or two. She can use it to buy some chopsticks.
>>
>>5311669
>>5311684
+1 Amazing.
>>
>>5311669
>Toss her a yun or two. She can use it to buy some chopsticks.
>>
>>5311684
+1 lel
>>
>>5311684
Supporting
>>
>>5311592
This ain't soj. He's still too salty to run a quest here again.

>>5311684
+1
>>
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>>5311684
>>5311692
>>5311738
>>5311768
>>5311775
>>5311793
>>5311800
>>5311850
>>5311856

>Tell her she should be happy she has a business instead of a smoldering pile of cinders if we hadn't saved the town. Besides there are always ways to earn money if you put your pride aside.

“You ought to be grateful you have a business instead of a heap of rubble. In fact–I’d say you owe me more for all that disgusting slop you just gave me.” You sneer, waving the speechless waitress off as you make for the door. “Besides, there’s always ways to earn some coin when you put your pride aside.”
You step out onto the tight streets of the town district, your gut still hot with drink. You can sleep off the hooch in town and make for another dump come sunrise before that drunkard samurai rouses any more trouble. Shit–this is so annoying. You just got here! You stew in that frustration as you make your way down the path’s stairs–at least, before a familiar man stands from a barrel off the stairs’ side.

“Oy, you. ‘Tomoe.’ I want to have a word with you.” You can still make out the sharp jut of the old man’s chin beneath a new straw hat.
“Go drink yourself dead.” You attempt to pass him with a dismissive wave, but he steps before you to cut your path off.
“I’m sober now, girlie.” Juzou snaps back. “Just had to go for walk–get a decent whiff of that summer air. And, clear in the head as I was, I began to think there was somethin’ a little off.”
“..Mmm? About what?” You don’t feed into his provocations.

“About you.” He points at you. “The Tomoe I knew was a decent young lady, a *samurai*. She weren’t some gluttonous, alcoholic idiot that’d flash her sword and tits so easy and treat decent people so cruel.”

>Feign ignorance. He’s just some crazy old drunk.
>Attempt to flee.
>Draw your sword. That should scare off the old man.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5311874
>>Attempt to flee.
>>
>>5311874
>Attempt to flee.
>>
>>5311874
>Attempt to flee.
>>
>>5311874
>>Attempt to flee.
>>
>>5311874
>Feign ignorance. He’s just some crazy old drunk.
I don’t know old fart, you think GETTING THROWN INTO THE ABYSS changes a woman?
>>
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>>5311902
>>5311892
>>5311882
>>5311879
>>5311877

>Attempt to flee.

You decide to do what you best. You move to turn on your sandals and flee from the scene, but a day spent in a marinade of hot food and drink makes for poor accompaniment. You are just an iota too slow, and in a breath the old samurai has the sword out from his bellyband and at your throat.
“Gah–!..” Your lips tighten at the feel of the sword’s tip against your neck.
“Not so fast.” The old man keeps the blade’s point light. “I think you can spare an ear for a poor old drunk’s story. I’ll try to keep it short.”

You glance down to the sword at your hip. You might’ve had a chance before, but with a blade at your throat, you’re far too slow to try for it now–at least, if you want to keep your head..

“Yeah, so–after gettin’ tossed out of my favorite izakaya, I got this.. itch. I thought all this seemed funny, so I called around. And I found out that for the last six months, a certain wanderin’ hedge warrior had been poppin’ into towns all over the countryside, eatin’ and drinkin’ people out of house and home as a show of “gratitude” for what she’d done back when she was clearin’ the countryside of war bandits.” He glowers. “There were a whole lot of poor, honest people emptyin’ their coffers for their hero.”
“..It was tough work.” You try to defend yourself, your face still pale with steel at your jugular.
“Oh–you’re still blabberin’ about that? Then I ought to finish my story.” Juzou continues. “So, kept callin’ ‘round. And I hear this.. story on the phone from YUKAKU, a town up north, a little more urban than us provincials. A real funny story from a friend who works a brothel there.”
Your face pales. He knows you know he knows.
“Right, so, my friend tells me–get this–about six months ago, some popular oiran made a big mess of things. She declared to the whole district that she was gonna make a name for herself, become a bigshot samurai hero. She made off with some samurai client’s sword and his coin. And she disappeared right after. Pretty funny story, right?” He levies a glare at you from beneath the straw hat. “So, what I’m asking is, Tomoe--what’s your real name?”

>What is your real name?
>>
>>5311975
>what is your real name
>Karasu
>>
>>5311975
>Tomoko
That explains the lack of a mole
>>
>>5311975
>Nunya....NUN OF YA BUSINESS
>>
>>5311975
>What is your real name?
>Ai
>>
>>5311975
>Tomoko Keisei
>>
>>5311975
>Uzume Ame
>>
>>5311975
>Tomoe
>It was a fortunate coincidence
>>
>>5311975
>Tomoko
>>
>>5311975
>Betty
>>
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>>5312160
>>5312109
>>5312101
>>5312083
>>5312016
>>5312010
>>5311999
>>5311992
>>5311990

>Tomoko

“..Tomoko.” You mutter.

“Mmm.. pretty name. Is that real, or just a stage name?” Juzou adjusts his straw hat. “Well.. that don’t matter. You’re no wanderin’ blade with no master to answer to. You’re just some vagrant whore. You aren’t Tomoe.”
“Are you done with your lecture?” You narrow your eyes as he eases the blade from your throat. “Because, I’d better go, right? Get out of your hair. Leave you to your drinks.”
“Ah, ah, ah, Tomoko.” Juzou clicks his tongue. “I think you ought to pay these people back for what you’ve taken from them, don’t you?”
“What?” You pale. “You can’t be serious.”
“You’ve made a whole lot of trouble for this town and a whole lot others like it–people, might I add, still lickin’ their wounds and buryin’ their sons.” He glares. “I’m not about to let you get off scot-free.”

>Anything but actually facing these people and owning up to it.
>Offer to pay him off to keep quiet about your recent activities.
>You won’t do it. You can’t just embarrass yourself like that.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5312274
>Offer to pay him off to keep quiet about your recent activities.

He can tag along as our sidekick
>>
>>5312274
>SWING THE SWEET SWEET SAKE AT HIS HEAD
>>
>>5312274
>Anything but actually facing these people and owning up to it.
I knew there was something off, like where our robot friend is.
>>
>>5312274
>>You won’t do it. You can’t just embarrass yourself like that.
>>
>>5312274
>Anything but actually facing these people and owning up to it.
>You won’t do it. You can’t just embarrass yourself like that.
>>
>>5310892
I recognize your art style, cent.
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>>5312274
Throw the bottle at his head. Run way.
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>>5312274
>You won’t do it. You can’t just embarrass yourself like that.
Our days of debasing ourselves is over.
>>
>>5312274
>You won’t do it. You can’t just embarrass yourself like that.
Death before dishonor!
>Throw the bottle at his head. Run way.
>>
>>5312274
>Anything but actually facing these people and owning up to it.
>>
>>5312274
>>Offer to pay him off to keep quiet about your recent activities.
>>
>>5312274
>You won’t do it. You can’t just embarrass yourself like that.
>>
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>>5312702
>>5312669
>>5312642
>>5312607
>>5312598
>>5312588
>>5312382
>>5312378
>>5312350
>>5312307
>>5312296

>You won’t do it. You can’t just embarrass yourself like that.

“No.” Your voice is firm in spite of your fear. “You think I can just turn up on their doorstep, get on my knees, and say sorry? They would kill me.”

“You’re real gutsy, you know that?--turnin’ me down even with a knife at your throat. You’ve got grit, that’s good.” The drunk raises a brow. “But I’m not askin’. You turn me down and I’ll have to come forward about your little scam–some fraud ronin turnin’ up around towns, takin’ advantage of their favor. And I’m sure a whole lot of people would be far less charitable about your punishment than what I have in mind. No, they’d chop your head off.”
“So what, then?” You glare.
“I won’t be cuttin’ a finger off or nothin’. If I put every young thief I met to the sword, there’d be no future for the Thousand Lotus Isle. So I’ll put you to work.” He tilts his head right–between the alleys and cracks of the bars in the district, you see a grassy countryside that stretches out far beyond. “Now, far out east–maybe a few days out from Himawari–there’s a town called Jujiro.”
“So?” You try to inch your neck from his sword, but he keeps firm.

“Jujiro was a decent town. Had a yearly sword fighting tourney, a good bathhouse.. they were in good straits.” He clicks his tongue. “But nowadays, the countryside is in want of decent young swordsmen and a local bandit clan has taken control of it–the Tsujigiri Gang.”
You feel a nervous pit well up in your gut.

“Now, the Tsujigiri Gang were small-scale–flash a sword at ‘em and most’ll flee like a beaten dog. But they’ve got a new leader, some bastard warlord, and they’ve gotten real dangerous in turn.” He grimaces. “They’ve been sendin’ bandit scouts out all over–probin’ nearby towns, slinkin’ around our alleys. They want to expand their territory. And most’ve been seen near–”
“Himawari, right?” You cut him off.
“You’re quick to the chase–clever. That’s great.” He grins. “I got a simple arrangement for you, Tomoko–or, should I say Tomoe? Tomoe beat back the original Tsujigiri Gang a couple years back. So.. how about she pays them another visit? Scare ‘em a little. Tell ‘em Himawari is under Tomoe’s watch. Just flash your sword and it’ll send ‘em far west, out of our hair. Put that scam of yours to good use.”

>Ask what’s in it for you. It’ll be a long and dangerous trip.
>Inform him that you have no clue how to swing a sword. You’ll just get gutted by them.
>Ask what happens if you just leave.
>Agree to his request.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5312935
>Tell him we'll do it if he teaches us swordsmanship. What was said before wasn't spur of the moment ranting, we are trying to become a sword saint.
>>
>>5312935
>Inform him that you have no clue how to swing a sword. You’ll just get gutted by them.
>>
>>5312935
>Inform him that you have no clue how to swing a sword. You’ll just get gutted by them.
>>
>>5312935
>Ask what happens if you just leave.
>>
>>5312935
>Inform him that you have no clue how to swing a sword. You’ll just get gutted by them.
>Tell him we'll do it if he teaches us swordsmanship. What was said before wasn't spur of the moment ranting, we are trying to become a sword saint.
>>
>>5313057
+1
>>
>>5313057
+1
>>
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>>5313092
>>5313057
>>5312972
>>5312964
>>5312961
>>5312952
>>5313159

>Inform him that you have no clue how to swing a sword. You’ll just get gutted by them.
>Tell him we'll do it if he teaches us swordsmanship. What was said before wasn't spur of the moment ranting, we are trying to become a sword saint.

“And what, exactly, do you want me to do if they fight back? You expect me to cut them all down? I don’t know how to use a sword.” You demand in frustration, the red blade hot against your hip. “..How about you teach me some swordsmanship to defend myself with? You know–..help me become a real sword saint..?”
“You? Some fat, no-good conwoman bully? I don’t trust you with that jug, much less a sword.” Juzou snorts. “No. But you underestimate how much weight that face and name of yours carry ‘round here. You show your face and flash your sword at one, they’ll turn tail at the ronin who beat ‘em once before with all the rest of ‘em. You won’t even have to get too close.”
“And they’ll really think I’m real? If they find out, they’ll gut me.” You warn him.
“Bah!--she had a mole on her tit, but ‘sides that you’re her spittin’ image.” He waves off your concern. “And you managed to convince plenty a’ towns that you’re the real deal, didn’t you? Well, bandits are a skittish, cowardly lot, and a whole lot more stupid than the peasants you took advantage of. You’ll be fine.”

Juzou rummages through his yukata and pulls out a thick burlap flour sack. He tosses it by your feet. “Here. I won’t leave you out in the cold. Got you some food and supplies for the trip. Some beddin’, some food.. should last you the trip there and back. I got some business to attend to in town, so I can’t babysit you–but I’ll keep an eye on you over the phone, place a few calls and see if a certain ronin was seen in towns on the way. You just walk the skeleton footpath out east for a couple days, flash your sword and gnash your teeth, and you can keep your head on your shoulders. I’ll leave you be.”

>Fine. Begrudgingly begin your journey east with his aid.
>You don’t need his supplies. You’ll make it on your own.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5313232
>Fine. Begrudgingly begin your journey east with his aid.

he said here >>5311874
that the real Tomoe didn't flash her breasts so easy, but apparently she flashed them enough for him to know about that mole. senile old man
>>
>>5313232
>Fine. Begrudgingly begin your journey east with his aid.
>Eat all the supplies on the first night
>>
>>5313232
>Fine. Begrudgingly begin your journey east with his aid.
>Ask how he knows about her tit mole
We'll need some ink for the full effect it seems
>>
>>5313232
>Fine. Begrudgingly begin your journey east with his aid.
>>
>>5313232
>>5313477
+1
>>
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>>5313405
>>5313419
>>5313477
>>5313518
>>5313520

>Fine. Begrudgingly begin your journey east with his aid.
>Ask how he knows about her tit mole

“Fine. I’ll take care of your stupid bandit problem. You’d better keep your word.” You mutter, your head low in frustration. “..How do you know about her tit mole?”
“That’s between me, her, and some bathhouse staff.” He flusters, his face more red now than his ruddy drunken revelry from before. “Ah–one last thing..”

The old man sweeps the katana up from your neck and toward your head. The blade traces a graceful rivulet in the air, its point flowing over your fringe and making you flinch. You stumble back as a stray lock falls from your bangs.

“There. Got a good look at your face. You got some mean eyes, y’know–nothin’ but greed and gluttony. You ought to keep ‘em covered. Now, come along. I’ll see you off.” The drunkard adjusts his hat and begins to make for the town’s border. “You’re a proper hedge warrior now. Isn’t this what you wanted?”

You follow, your shoulders slumped and spirit destroyed. You hate this.
>>
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It is the hot season. You are on a journey along the skeleton footpath from HIMAWARI out to JUJIRO to take care of some stupid bandits. You still hate this.

The sun is hot, sweltering, your feet aching in your sandals. Your robe is plastered to your back with sweat, soaked through beneath the sunset’s death throes. You take another angry swig from your jug and wipe your face clean with your sleeve. You can’t believe that old drunk got the best of you.

You are no ronin. Your childish dream of making it as a samurai and becoming some heroic warrior never did pan out. You were slow and unwieldy and clumsy. You weren’t suited for a life like that and ended up at the same brothel you grew up in. On a whim one night, you stole a blade and some coin from some samurai and fled to the countryside. But a sword in your hands didn’t take you as far as you’d thought it’d would.

You didn’t want to starve, and you happened to find out you looked remarkably similar to some ronin who helped beat back bandit years back–a fortunate accident became a habit for you.

But you’re not about to throw yourself to some bandit dogs for some nowhere town–maybe you’ll just run back to the brothel, tail between your legs. They’d probably take you back. You were one of the most popular girls there, after all..
A sudden rustle in the field around you draws your attention from your daydream. You glance back over your shoulder. You don’t see anything, but..

>Investigate.
>Keep walking.
>Call out to see if anyone’s there.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5313541
>Investigate.
>>
>>5313541
>Call out to see if anyone’s there.
>>
>>5313541
>Call out to see if anyone’s there.
>Ready [SORD FLASH]
>>
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>>5313545
>>5313547
>>5313557

>Call out to see if anyone’s there.
>Ready [SORD FLASH]

You glance back to the waist-high tall grass that surrounds the skeleton foot trails–these country roads are uncharted, unguarded regions where beasts and yokai are wont to lurk. You’ve heard gruesome tales–stories of lone migrants, whose innards end strewn out across trees by the wild spirits that hunt here, or who disappear into the tall grass and never appear again. It would be pathetic to get torn apart by some wild beast when the town is in sight.

You draw your sword, hand shaky on the hilt as you scan the grass. You can just make out a little patch of movement unique from the wind that cuts these fields. You fumble your sword from its sheath and flash the steel for anyone around to see it. “Hello? Is anyone there?” You call out, your voice firm.

“..N-no.” A reedy girl’s voice responds from the patch.

>Keep walking.
>Investigate.
>Throw something at patch.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5313638
>>Throw something at patch.
>>
>>5313638
>Throw something at patch.
Kick a rock at the voice
>>
>>5313638
>Throw something at patch.
>>
>>5313638
>Throw something at patch.
>>
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>>5313682
>>5313665
>>5313645
>>5313639

>Throw something at patch.

You narrow your eyes at the voice, who falls silent in turn–so you pull your sandal back and kick a rock at it. Your aim holds true, and the pebble hurdles head on into the tallgrass.“Oh–!” The voice yelps in surprise at the ballistae and flinches out of the pasture.

You get your first glimpse of your hanger-on. It’s.. a brat. A short teenage girl, to be precise, in an orange yukata and a flowery rucksack hung down by her waist. “Ach–geez.” She smiles weakly as she rubs her head. “Your aim sure is something, Lady Tomoe. You sniffed me out just like that and even landed a hit on me...”

>Ask why this brat is following you. .
>Tell her to go away. You’re busy and don’t want to babysit.
>Keep walking. Pretend this did not just happen.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5313699
>Ask why this brat is following you.
>>
>>5313699
>Tell her to go away. You’re busy and don’t want to babysit.
>>
>>5313699
>>Ask why this brat is following you.
>>
>>5313699
>Ask why this brat is following you
>>
>>5313699
>Ask why this brat is following you.
>>
>>5313699
>>Tell her to go away. You’re busy and don’t want to babysit.
>>
>>5313699
>Ask why this brat is following you.
>>
>>5313699
>Tell her to go away. You’re busy and don’t want to babysit.
>>
>>5313699
>Tell her to go away. You’re busy and don’t want to babysit.
>>
>>5313699
>>Tell her to go away. You’re busy and don’t want to babysit.
>>
>>5313699
>Ask why this brat is following you.
>>
>>5313699
>Tell her to go away. You’re busy and don’t want to babysit
>>
>>5313699
>Ask why this brat is following you.
>>
>>5313699
>Tell her to go away. You’re busy and don’t want to babysit.
>>
>>5313699
>>Tell her to go away. You’re busy and don’t want to babysit.
>>
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>>5313960
>>5313920
>>5313908
>>5313871
>>5313851
>>5313850
>>5313840
>>5313757
>>5313747
>>5313743
>>5313734
>>5313712
>>5313709
>>5313702
>>5313700

>Tell her to go away. You’re busy and don’t want to babysit.
>Ask why this brat is following you.

“Go away.” You wave the brat off. “I’m busy. Not in the mood to babysit.”
“Oh, do you think I’ll get in your way Lady Tomoe? Well, don’t worry. I’ll keep my distance from you and stay quiet. You won’t even notice I’m here!” The loud, garishly orange girl shouts, drawing the notice of everyone in a half meter radius. “And I brought my own food, too, so–”
Why are you following me?” You cut into her rant. “Do you know where I’m going?”
“You’re gonna cut down those bandits in JUJIRO, aren’t you? I mean, this foot trail leads out east to ‘em, and everyone in HIMAWARI knows those bandits are comin’ after us next.” She tilts her head as if that were obvious. “And I want to see you lop those guys’ heads off, obviously. My big brother Kamekichi was a soldier at Tonbo, you know. He used to tell me all these super cool stories about you.”
“Well, I don’t want to get you hurt, so..” You attempt to ward her off again.
“I can handle myself. My brother even taught me how to use a sword.” The brat attempts to flex. She looks like a curtain draped over a twig. “The way you fought back then was super cool, Lady Tomoe. I can’t wait to see you in action again! And what happened to your straw hat, by the way? And your war fan? And your bandana? Oh, and, my name is–..”

>What is the annoying girl’s name?
>>
>>5314045
>Natsumi
Can't wait to break her heart once she finds out we're a fake
>>
>>5314045
Mitsuki
>>
>>5314045
Suzumi
>>
>>5314045
Sakiko
>>
>>5314045
>Bob
>>
>>5314045
>Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff Sr.
>>
>>5314045
Mei Waku
>>
>>5314045
Sally
>>
>>5314045
>Natsumi
>>
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>>5314182
>>5314169
>>5314166
>>5314141
>>5314138
>>5314132
>>5314129
>>5314073
>>5314062

>Natsumi

“Natsumi!” She clumsily curtsies before you. “It’s nice to meet you, Lady Tomoe!”

You wordlessly turn from the kid and continue your walk down the foot trail. She follows after in turn, wading through the grass and continuing her one-man show.

“You’re even cooler than what my brother told me about. You saw right through my tactical espionage action.” The brat continues. “Hey, Lady Tomoe. Did you know that the Gashadokuro make these foot trails ‘cause they’re following the paths they walked when they first pulled the country together? And the ropes they used to pull it sank into the ground and turned into rivers? And they don’t actually eat people! But they will step on you if you get in the way of them, so..”

[...]

You’ve been walking for–give or take–about an hour and a half now. Your drinks have caught up with you and each step hammers a nail deeper yet into your head. You’re not often one to travel when the sun is still up, but it’s not like you’ve not much choice here, either. And the brat has clung close to your back, mouthing off about nonsense the entire tip.

“--Is that an actual Chiburi Katana? Did you know that those swords aren’t actually made from demon blood? They use this red meteor material. They say they’re fragments that fell from Shiho.” Her voice has become a high whine in your ears, indiscriminate white noise. “Oh, hey..! That’s the River Sanguine.”

You draw your eyes up from the ground and ahead of you–as said, the tallgrass slips off into a steep slope, down to a low river that cuts between you and the path ahead. It stretches far into the horizon on both your left and right.

“Mmmmm.. no bridge around here, though. We’ll probably have to go looking for it..” Natsumi observes, using “we” for some reason. “The sun is getting pretty low. How about we set up camp here for the night, Lady Tomoe? We can rest on the banks and go find the bridge when the sun rises tomorrow.”

>Fine. You’ll rest here for the night. As long as she sleeps a meter or two away from you.
>No need. You’ll just ford it.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5314294
>>No need. You’ll just ford it.
>>
>>5314294
>No need. You’ll just ford it.
we're a big chonker, we won't get swept away. Natsumi on the other hand....
>>
>>5314294
>Fine. You’ll rest here for the night. As long as she sleeps a meter or two away from you.
Ford a river after walking for hours? In this economy? No thanks.
>>
>>5314294
>Fine. You’ll rest here for the night. As long as she sleeps a meter or two away from you.
>>
>>5314294
>No need. You’ll just ford it.
FOOOOOOOOORD
>>
>>5314294
>No need. You’ll just ford it.
We can't be felled by a simple RIVER
>>
>>5314294
> Fine. You’ll rest here for the night. As long as she sleeps a meter or two away from you.
I've played Oregon Trail, I know how this ends.
>>
>>5314294
>No need. You’ll just ford it.
>>
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>>5314450
>>5314436
>>5314430
>>5314425
>>5314407
>>5314309
>>5314300
>>5314624

>No need. You’ll just ford it.

“No need. The next town over is close, isn’t it? I’m not about to wake up covered in ticks.” You shrug off her concern. You ease your way down the bank and examine the river’s water, whereupon you breathe a sigh of relief–the water is like black glass, cool and dark beneath a still juvenile night sky, but the stream’s flow seems gentle enough to cross by foot. “I’ll ford it. Watch.”
You raise your geta, take a step forward, and your world goes black and cold. You see a maelstrom of millions of bubbles that swirl up and about your head like a sky full of stars, the riverbed jagged with knife-like rocks and muck that you just narrowly scrape over, the black tendrils of streambed growth that tangle up and grope your arms and legs, all gone by in an instant as you feel yourself flung a million meters downstream–

“Woah! L-lady Tomoe..! Are you alright?!” Your world grows material again as the brat narrowly tugs you up from the water by your yukata. You gasp liquid as you fall onto your back against the bank.

[...]

You allow the girl to towel your hair and back dry for the next half hour as you hack up what water, mucus, and muck you can from your lungs, your face still red from the shock. Your jug emptied out in the river and your sake joined the water’s journey south, so you can’t even ease your pain with some drink. “What the hell was that..?” You choke out, your throat still weak after the rinse cycle.
“I dunno. It looked like you took a step in and just got.. pulled under.” Natsumi frowns, running the towel through your hair. “If I had to guess, I’d say the river spirits are angry? That happens sometimes, and they won’t let anyone cross through the water when they’re mad. Maybe we could try to sleep it off? They should be nicer in the morning.”

>Fine. You’ll rest here for the night. As long as she sleeps a meter or two away from you.
>You’ll go looking for a bridge somewhere along the way.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5314631
>You’ll go looking for a bridge somewhere along the way.
>>
>>5314631
>Fine. You’ll rest here for the night. As long as she sleeps a meter or two away from you.

We are defeated
>>
>>5314631
>Fine. You’ll rest here for the night. As long as she sleeps a meter or two away from you.
A miracle our yukata wasn't washed away as well
>>
>>5314631
>Fine. You’ll rest here for the night. As long as she sleeps a meter or two away from you.
>>
>>5314631
>Fine. You’ll rest here for the night. As long as she sleeps a meter or two away from you.
>>
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>>5314727
>>5314692
>>5314680
>>5314674
>>5314780

>Fine. You’ll rest here for the night. As long as she sleeps a meter or two away from you.

“..Ugh. Fine. Whatever.” You concede defeat as you spit what water remains in your lungs. “We’ll set camp here.”

You set about fiddling with the bedding for another half hour, exhaustively setting up the blankets and futon you were given along the slope of the bank where you might rest (hopefully) safe for the night from the horrible evil monster river.

You find the futon itchy, hot, and pungent with the scent of some foul sake. You feel blades of grass and edges of rocks run through the cloth and bite at your back beneath you. You listen for the hum of bugs that lie in wait for you to fall asleep so they can devour you. Just yesterday night, you slept in the lap of luxury–in a warm countryside house next to towering plates of food and drink and perusing through stacks of manga to enjoy at your leisure. You feel like you’re about to cry.

“Good night, Lady Tomoe!” The girl calls out from a few meters down the river bank, flanked by a royal guard of stuffed animals and beneath a thick blanket. You turn away from her and roll onto your back, hands on your stomach–is this some kind of divine punishment for your crimes? Because this is way too much.

As you slip into a haze of dreams, your head groggy and eyes wet with tears, you find your eyes drawn to the red star above.

(PERK GAINED: SHIHO’S MESSAGE)
- The Red Star has sent you her word. She is angered by your false claims to glory and warns of a journey fraught with misfortune.
>>
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It is the cold season. You are in a brothel in YUKAKU, a popular red light district in the southern MORALIST PROVINCE–this apparent incongruence is held together by bribes and corruption among the samurai that partake in the fruits of their “ignorance.”

You lie on your back, blowing smoke rings through the air and enjoying the hot bite of your kiseru, a welcome relief from the snow outside. You’ve grown at home with the deep crimson light and the smell of rose oil and smoke that pervades the room. You glance to the mountain of a man who sits up on the futon next to you, panting for breath and catching what little breath he has left–a civil war vet samurai and part-time champion sumo-wrestler, his face is red with drink and relief.

“Ah.. that was great as always, Tomoko.” Yoji Yokozuna takes a thick swig from the hollow gourd seed next to him–more like a pumpkin, really, and the size of your head. “Seriously. You’re the best of the best.”
“..Yeah.” You take another puff off your kiseru. You open a manga you left bookmarked by the futon. “Are you gonna leave soon?”

“Listen. Tomoko.” Yokozuna looks back to you, his eyes dead serious. “I love you.”

>”I love you too.” Maybe he’ll tip more than usual.
>”Okay.”
>Laugh.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5314787
>>”I love you too.” Maybe he’ll tip more than usual.
>>
>>5314787
>”I love you too.” Maybe he’ll tip more than usual.
>Laugh.
He probably won't realize we're laughing *at* him.
>>
>>5311592
least homosexual /qst/ poster
>>
>>5314787
>>Laugh.
>>
>>5314804
+1

>>5314450
I've lost my wagons too many times... Too many times...
>>
>>5314787
>Laugh
>”I love you too.” Maybe he’ll tip more than usual.
>>
>>5314787
>”I love you too.” Maybe he’ll tip more than usual.
>>
>>5314787
>Laugh.
>"What you love is pussy, you don't even know anything about me other than what i feel like."
>>
>>5314787
>”Okay.”
>Pause
>Laugh.
>>
>>5314787
>Laugh.
big lmao
>>
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>>5314787
>Laugh.
Lmao
>>
>>5314787
>”I love you too.” Maybe he’ll tip more than usual.
>>
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>>5315100
>>5315073
>>5314895
>>5314871
>>5314869
>>5314852
>>5314851
>>5314829
>>5314824
>>5314804
>>5314796

>”I love you too.” Maybe he’ll tip more than usual.
>Laugh.

“Yeah?” You don’t bother stifling your snickering. He can’t be serious. “I love you too.”
“I’m not kidding, Tomoko.” Yokozuna insists, taking another swig off his gourd. “Now, the other girls here are pretty, sure but they suck up to me like leeches–they see a ride outta here. But you? You’re different from the rest of these girls. I don’t know what it is, but I’m serious about you.”
You roll your eyes. You can think of two reasons why he’s in love with you. “You’re drunk.” You wave off his slurring rambling with a shrug. “You’ll regret this come sunrise.”
“This ain’t just a confession, and not some spur of the moment thing. This is an [/i]offer.[/i]” The sumo champion folds his arms. “Now, keep quiet about this.. but I’m leaving the Thousand Lotus Isle. I got a fisherman ready to ferry me out to a western merchant freighter around midnight tomorrow–it’s all set up real professionally, and real pricy, but I’m kissing Thousand Lotus goodbye. And I want you to come with me as my wife. Leave this behind and come with me.”

That catches your attention.

>Why’s he leaving? Why should you? You’re both of decently high class here. Why uproot all that?
>Warn him that what he’s talking about is a pretty serious crime. He could get jailed for it.
>Ask him to name one thing he likes about you besides your body.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5315168
>Ask him to name one thing he likes about you besides your body.
>>
>>5315168
>Why’s he leaving? Why should you? You’re both of decently high class here. Why uproot all that?
>>
>>5315168
>Ask him to name one thing he likes about you besides your body.
>What do you plan to do once you get to there? Do you even have an idea where your going to end up? Or what your even gonna do for work?
>>
>>5315168
>>Why’s he leaving? Why should you? You’re both of decently high class here. Why uproot all that?
>>Ask him to name one thing he likes about you besides your body.
>>
>>5315168
>Why’s he leaving? Why should you? You’re both of decently high class here. Why uproot all that?
>>
>>5315168
>Why’s he leaving? Why should you? You’re both of decently high class here. Why uproot all that?
>Ask him to name one thing he likes about you besides your body.
>>
>>5315168
>Ask him to name one thing he likes about you besides your body.
>>
>>5315206
+1
>>
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>>5315273
>>5315244
>>5315240
>>5315209
>>5315206
>>5315170
>>5315169
>>5315349

>Why’s he leaving? Why should you? You’re both of decently high class here. Why uproot all that?
>Ask him to name one thing he likes about you besides your body.

“You want to marry me?” You echo, agape. “..Can you even name one thing you like about me? Besides the obvious.”
“Your mouth. Ah–wait–no–not like that.” He flusters at your expression. “I mean how you can talk back to people, Tomoko. You don’t care about status or wealth. You’ll call a bigshot samurai an ugly bastard if he’s an ugly bastard. You know, the girls here, they’ll talk you up, pretend to listen to your stories, and that’s nice to hear, but it’s all empty calories. But you? I can trust you to tell me how you really feel.”
“If you trust me to tell you how I really feel, you should know I think this is an awful idea.” You scoff. “Why should I leave? Why should you leave? You’ve got your status and money. I’ve got my status and your money. We’re both fine off here.”
“..There’s no future for the samurai. Not here.” His expression grows solemn. “You can’t go half-and-half on ‘open borders’. So long as the Amoralists down south keep their ports open, western influences will shape this country. You see it here already–western law and medicine have already begun to shape our practices. And those gats of steel and black powder that smugglers sneak over.. they’re fun little trinkets now, but someday soon they’ll change the course of war forever.”
“And you want to go west to escape the west?” You raise a brow.
“I don’t want to escape the western influence. I want to embrace it.” Yokozuna places a fist on his palm. “Why languish here and die a slow death in a country without need for us? I want to make a big change–go somewhere far, live as someone else. I’ve had enough of war. I thought I’d be cutting down swathes of invading barbarians from ships overseas. Not hacking apart my countrymen’s kids. Don’t you have a dream, Tomoko?”

>What’s your dream?
>>
>>5315355
>To have the power to shape my own fate, regardless of who would try to control me.
>>
>>5315355
>To be drunk enough to forget who and where I am, at all times.
>>
>>5315355
>To love as I have been loved
>>
>>5315355
>To be hella rich and live in luxury
>>
>>5315377
Seconding this
>>
>>5315355
>To find what or who I truly love
>>
>>5315355
Stifle the childhood dreams of becoming a wandering blade or samurai, and instead:
>>5315377
This.
>>
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>>5315486
>>5315474
>>5315449
>>5315416
>>5315401
>>5315393
>>5315377

>To have the power to shape my own fate, regardless of who would try to control me.

You suppress the urge to blurt out your childhood dreams of warriorhood and consider your actual wants. You are an orphan of war, just one of many born of the feudal clans’ skirmishes, and were left at this brothel by soldiers for the girls here to raise. You had to put away your childish dreams and grow up to support yourself–such is your fate, one who would bend their knee to the whims of powers beyond their control to survive. You would grow up here, work here, and die here.
“I guess.. I’d want power over my own fate.” You mutter, a bit self-conscious as the words spill from your mouth. “True freedom to go where I want and become who I want to be, no matter who or what tries to control me.”
“Oh? Well, the west is free from the strings of divine morality. You don’t need to worry about fate there.” He reassures you. “You take a ship out, you’ll have the freedom to choose who you want to be–a fresh slate, for both you and for me. I’m serious. I want to get you out of here. How about it?”

A low rumble cuts through your conversation. The samurai sighs as he pulls himself up with a heave. “Ah, shit. I gotta go to the bathroom.” Yokozuna glances back to you. “Think about it, Tomoko.”

As the samurai leaves, you sit up on the futon, your chest heavy. You take a shaky drag off your kiseru and let the smoke escape your lips. What do you do..? You almost do want to follow him out west–hitch a ride on a boat and carve a new life out for yourself somewhere else–but a deep kind of apprehension gnaws at your chest and chains your ankles in place. You feel an indescribable anxiety in your belly at the thought of it. Your eyes wander over the room.
Your eyes eventually fall to the samurai’s sword–a long, heavy red blade that lies by the futon, steel near the length of your torso. You wrap your hands around the hilt.
>>
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It is the hot season. You lie against the slope of a river bank in the countryside. It is early in the morning, the sun still pale and low in the sky.
You shake off the dream as you wake, a sour recollection of times before all this. And although your head pounds like a drum, the hangover now caught up with you, you’re alive. Your throat wasn’t slit in the middle of the night by bandits. You look the bank once over; its all the same, your rucksack still in place, the placid blue of the river still calm and the brat.. now next to you.
Natsumi lays splayed out across her mat, snoring loudly and drooling all over the ground–it seems she dragged her bed right next to yours overnight. Though, she seems pretty deep asleep. You might have a chance to lose her now.. as you begin to collect your bag and roll your bed up, a small chitter from behind draws your attention.

You swing back to see a kappa in wait. A small, green turtle-like yokai, with a shaggy tonsure about an open pool in its head. A flowery blue teapot sits atop it for some reason. The creature stares at you, its eyes wide like a calf.

>Continue quietly packing your things.
>Attempt to quietly shoo it away.
>Get close to examine it.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5315559
Let's not anger the yokai.
>Continue quietly packing your things.
>>
>>5315559
>Continue quietly packing your things.

Don't need to get fisted and have our soul pearl plucked from deep inside us today, no sir siree mr kappa
>>
>>5315559
>Continue quietly packing your things.
>>
>>5315559
>>Attempt to quietly shoo it away.
Fuck off frog
>>
>>5315559
>Continue quietly packing your things.
>>
>>5315559
>Write-In
do we have a pickle, let's give him a pickle, maybe like that I won't almost drown again.
>>
>>5315559
>Make a deep bow to the Kappa
>>
>>5315559
>Be polite and pour it some tea
>>
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>>5315563
>>5315572
>>5315574
>>5315577
>>5315592
>>5315601
>>5315614
>>5315619

>Continue quietly packing the things.

You slowly turn your attention back to your rucksack. You’re not altogether familiar with yokai–spirits tend toward the wilderness and countryside more than the provinces–but you know well enough that they can be dangerous. You figure it best to keep your head low, tend to your things, and leave before it gets curious.
You grow antsy beneath the kappa’s gaze–wet and dull, stuck like a statue on the bank behind you–as you pack your bed, but manage to avoid any trouble. You sling your rucksack back over your shoulder, knot up your sake jug around your fist, and reach to hang your sword–.. your sword. Where is your sword? You pat the ground around you. You just saw it..

You swing back around to see the kappa, still sat on the bank, the crimson sword hung limp in its claws. “H-hey! That’s mine!” You uselessly shout at the spirit. In response, it turns and begins to waddle up the bank.

>Follow after the kappa.
>Try to wrestle the sword out of its claws.
>Throw something at it.
>Wake Natsumi. Maybe she’ll know what to do.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5315643
>Wake Natsumi. Maybe she’ll know what to do
>>
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I don't know if this is allowed or not lol https://files.catbox.moe/54tw1h.png
>>
>>5315643
>Bow, and while its distracted, punch it in the dick
>>
>>5315643
>Wake Natsumi. Maybe she’ll know what to do.
>>5315677
I’ve never seen anyone get smacked for links, and /qst/ is on the lax side of things. Also, nice.
>>
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>>5315677
You love to see it folks.
>>
>>5315643
>Throw something at it.
>>
>>5315643
>Wake Natsumi. Maybe she’ll know what to do.
>>5315677
AWOOOGA
>>
>>5315643
>Try to wrestle the sword out of its claws.
>>
>>5315643
>>Wake Natsumi. Maybe she’ll know what to do.
>>
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>>5315787
>>5315778
>>5315744
>>5315709
>>5315692
>>5315646
>>5315872

>Wake Natsumi. Maybe she’ll know what to do

“A-ah.. shit.” You hiss, watching the kappa waddle north up stream with the crimson blade held high like a trophy. You begin shaking your tagalong’s shoulder. “Natsumi. Natsumi..!”
“Huh? Whuzzat?” Natsumi jolts, still drooling. “..Lady Tomoe? What’s wrong?”

“There’s a kappa here. It took my sword.” You stare daggers at the turtle-duck asshole. “You know how to deal with yokai right? What do I do?”
“Uh-ahh..” The girl tries to process your words, her eyelids heavy and dark. “..Umm, a kappa? Do you have a cucumber? Or, ah.. are you feeling gassy?”

“W-.. what? No.” You glare. “What are you talking about?”
“Mmm.. well, bowing doesn’t really work. That’s just a myth.” Her words are slow. “I guess you could try to wrestle it, but he could bring you into the water, and then you’d drown.. Or you could just see where he goes..”

>Follow the kappa.
>Try to wrestle with the kappa.
>Throw something at it.
>Write-In.
>>
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>>5315883
>Throw something at it.
>Throw Natsumi
>Gif related
>>
>>5315883
>Try to wrestle the kappa
>Smother it with our Humongous Bazonga dongas
>>
>>5315883
>>Follow the kappa.
>>
>>5315883
>Throw something at it.
too traumatized from the river to wrassle
>>
>>5315883
>Throw something at it.
Half tempted to go for the Natsumi toss
>>
>>5315883
>Throw something at it.
>>
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>>5315952
>>5315946
>>5315943
>>5315918
>>5315903
>>5315886

>Throw something at it.

You decide to wage a more impersonal form of warfare. You briefly consider flinging the kid at the kappa, but you’re not yet so cruel as to throw a child at a monster–instead, you push her aside, grabbing one of her stuffed animals. You wheel back, take aim, and fling the plush hippopotamus at the yokai.

“Ah–Mr. Stuffins..!” Natsumi cries out. Your aim holds true, and the poor hippo arcs like a ragdoll into the teapot atop the kappa’s head. You watch both careen off into the dirt, as the teapot shatters against the ground and the hippo grows damp with hot tea. That stops the kappa in his tracks, who drops the sword to gawk at the puddle. The kid looks like she’s about to cry.

As you sweep in to snatch the sword up from the yokai’s feet, a sudden yelp pulls your gaze up.

“Gaha–..! Just what have you done?!” A nasal voice gasps. You look up to see.. a bookish stranger, in a brown yukata of fine make and with a set of tailor-made specs stood at the bank’s side nearby. You look him up and down, from the draconic black pipe spewing smoke in his hand to the glossy khadrewood sandals stamping the grass in frustration. And.. he is flanked by an array of colorful yokai.

“Do you know what you’ve done? I’ve been brewing that for hours! Those were Mehlwaa Maheyeltra leaves from the Southern Yhats! Imported from thousands of miles overseas!” He looks aghast. “I certainly hope you have the money to pay for this, though I know that you don’t.”

>Tell him his pet yokai stole your sword. It was a valuable trade.
>Ask him who the hell he thinks he is.
>Warn him that you’re an important ronin.
>Give Natsumi back her stuffed animal.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5315981
>Tell him his pet yokai stole your sword. It was a valuable trade.

If he wanted his tea brewed to completion he shouldn't have left it in the hands of a thief.
>>
>>5315981
>Tell him his pet yokai stole your sword. It was a valuable trade.
>Give Natsumi back her stuffed animal.
>>
>>5315981
>Warn him that you’re an important ronin
>>
>>5315981
>Tell him his pet yokai stole your sword. It was a valuable trade.
>>
>>5315981
>Tell him his pet yokai stole your sword. It was a valuable trade.
>>
>>5315981
>Tell him his pet yokai stole your sword. It was a valuable trade.
>Give Natsumi back her stuffed animal.
>>
>>5315981
>>Tell him his pet yokai stole your sword. It was a valuable trade.
>>Warn him that you’re an important ronin.
>>
>>5316016
>these
>>
>>5316016
+1
>>
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>>5316479
>>5316199
>>5316135
>>5316080
>>5316078
>>5316069
>>5316059
>>5316016
>>5316011

>Tell him his pet yokai stole your sword. It was a valuable trade.
>Give Natsumi back her stuffed animal.

“Uh.. sorry.” You pick up the stitched hippo from up off the ground and give it a few pats dry–he remains soaked through with tea, river water, and muck. You hand him off to the girl. “Here.”
“Uuooh.. Mr. Stuffins..” Natsumi snivels.

“And you.” You turn your attention back to glasses. “You ought to keep a better eye on your pet kappa. It got it’s grubby paws all over my sword–a chibarri katana, you know–very valuable. I’d say the damage done to it is worth a pot of hot leaf juice, wouldn’t you?

“That’s chiburi, not chibari–are you quite sure you’re the one who knows the value of that sword? And, if anything, my companion here’s hands are far more sanitary than yours. You reek of cheap alcohol and dirt.” The man waves dismissively at your getup. Your eyes can’t help but wander to the bodiless head by his feet, who has begun to lick up the ceramic shards of teapot and chew on them. “That ‘hot leaf juice’ you just spilt costs thousands of yun. Can you even wrap your head around that?”

“H-hey! That’s Lady Tomoe, you’re talking to!” Natsumi speaks up for you, biting back her tears over her fallen companion. “She was once a samurai! Show some respect!”

“A samurai? Hmph. Then, excuse me–I was mistaken. Because if that’s the case, you must have the money to pay me back for my tea.” He takes a huff off of his dragon pipe. “That would be four thousand and five hundred yun made out to Doctor Dhyutidhara Rakujochigusa, associate professor of Yokai Research at the Katsuobushi University in Morikogoro and exotic tea enthusiast. Or.. if you truly were a samurai, I’ll cut that payment down a quarter and you can simply work the debt off. I could use the aid in a troublesome matter here. It’s a short job, so you can get back to.. sleeping in dirt and throwing toys, I suppose.”

>Fine. You can do a little work.
>Attempt to charm him into overlooking your little debt.
>Warn him that you’re an important ronin too, in the service of the government. You probably outrank him.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5316616
>Attempt to charm him into overlooking your little debt.
Time to abuse our feminine wiles, flash our tits at him
>>
>>5316616
>You don't own him shit, it's his fault for not watching his kappa
>Try to leave
>>
>>5316616
>Fine. You can do a little work But you will have to give me a better deal first, your kappa tried to steal which is illegal and you shouldn't do something as stupid as using a kappa's head like a table. four eyes!
>>
>>5316616
>>Attempt to charm him into overlooking your little debt.
Titty work over real work
>>
>>5316616
>Attempt to charm him into overlooking your little debt.
>>
>>5316633
support.
>>
>>5316616
>Attempt to charm him into overlooking your little debt.
>>
>>5316616
>Attempt to charm him into overlooking your little debt.
>>
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>>5316796
>>5316692
>>5316665
>>5316664
>>5316656
>>5316633
>>5316627
>>5316620

>Attempt to charm him into overlooking your little debt.

You’ve had enough with glasses. You’re already stuck under that pisshead samurai, and now some bigshot city professor wants to jerk you around? You loosen your yukata. “Oh, but.. this really is troublesome. I don’t have any money on me at the moment.” You smile at the beanpole,a sleeve now down by your elbow. “But I’m sure we could work out another form of payment..? ”

An uneasy silence falls about the riverbank. You grow hot in the face.

“No.” Doctor Dhyutidhara stares at you, eyes narrow. “Give me back my tea.”
“Um–.. what are you doing, Lady Tomoe?” Natsumi smiles weakly. “That was kind of weird..”

“Whatever!” You pull your sleeve back up with a huff.

>Fine. You can do a little work.
>Attempt to flee.
>Warn him that you’re an important ronin too, in the service of the government. You probably outrank him.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5316947
>Point out something behind him
>Attempt to flee.
>>
>>5316947
>Warn him that you’re an important ronin too, in the service of the government. You probably outrank him.

oof, I guess we coasted on our body
>>
>>5316947
>>Warn him that you’re an important ronin too, in the service of the government. You probably outrank him.
>>
>>5316947
>Fine. You can do a little work.
>>
>>5316947
>>Warn him that you’re an important ronin too, in the service of the government. You probably outrank him.
>>
>>5316947
>Fine. You can do a little work.

Oh, hey, Haremvania QM!
>>
>>5316947
>Fine. You can do a little work.
>>
>>5316947
>Ask why he would put a pot of expensive tea on the head of a kappa, sounds like he wanted it to be destroyed.
>>
>>5317467
seconding this vital question
>>
>>5317467
Thirded.
>>
>>5317467
+1
>>
>>5317467
Maybe his kappa shouldn't be stealing swords with a fragile teapot on top of his head.
>>
>>5317467
This
>>
>>5317467
Supporting.
>>
>>5317467
Support
>>
>>5317467
+++
>>
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>>5317825
>>5317815
>>5317724
>>5317722
>>5317694
>>5317674
>>5317637
>>5317636
>>5317467
>>5317270
>>5317128
>>5317033
>>5317008
>>5317003
>>5317001
>>5316957

>Ask why he would put a pot of expensive tea on the head of a kappa, sounds like he wanted it to be destroyed.

“Can I at least ask why you would leave a pot of expensive tea on your pet kappa’s head?” You ask, now exasperated. “Because it sounds to me like you wanted it destroyed.”

“Feh. Well, I suppose you wouldn’t know. Observe.” Rakujochigusa snorts, kneeling down by the head yokai. He holds its nose a moment, and as the creature’s face grows red for air, it pries open its lips for a breath to reveal a fully repaired teapot atop its tongue. Rakujochigusa gently removes the fine china from its maw and places it back atop the kappa’s head. It looks good as new.

“That was.. kind of gross..” You murmur, an eye still on the teapot.
“Eugh.” Natsumi doesn’t hide her revulsion.

“My research concerns the application of yokai for use in everyday life. As you can see, tsurube otoshi can be used to make fragments whole again–broken ceramics, steel, glass or clay. And kappa, if you must know, can raise their natural bodily temperature so high as to brew tea to perfection. I sell my own blend back home. Of course, it’s not just to our benefit–tsurube otoshi enjoy the challenge of chewing up broken things and putting them back together, and the warmth of a boiling pot of tea is soothing to kappas. We can coexist with yokai, who, in turn, can play a valuable part in our everyday lives.” He takes another whiff of his pipe. “Unfortunately, tsurube otoshi can’t lick tea up from the ground and rebrew it or else we wouldn’t have the problem we have now. I’ll assume, for your benefit, that you didn’t want to sleep on a dirty river bank–you attempted to cross but were nearly drowned, no? You can help me solve that issue for the benefit of both of us.”

>Fine. You can do a little work.
>Attempt to flee.
>Warn him that you’re an important ronin. You’ll help him if he cuts down the debt.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5317875
>Fine. You can do a little work.
>>
>>5317875
>Fine. You can do a little work.
>>
>>5317875
>Warn him that you’re an important ronin. You’ll help him if he cuts down the debt.
>>
>>5317875
>Point out that there is no way for us to know how expensive that tea truly was, it could have easily just been some common tea. Even if he really were some academic VIP, that doesn't mean he wouldn't try to exploit someone's ignorance to pull a fast one.
>Do the favor if he can at least prove he is who he says he is, but after that the debt is cleared.
Smells like someone is trying to con the conwoman.
>>
>>5317875
>Point out that there is no way for us to know how expensive that tea truly was, it could have easily just been some common tea. Even if he really were some academic VIP, that doesn't mean he wouldn't try to exploit someone's ignorance to pull a fast one.
>Do the favor if he can at least prove he is who he says he is, but after that the debt is cleared.
>>
>>5317875
>>5317953
+1
>>
Is this quest based on Tsukikage Ran?
>>
>>5317875
>>Fine. You can do a little work.
>>
>>5317875
>Fine. You can do a little work.
but uh we're sick right now
and recovering from an injury
so no fighting
>>
>>5317875
>>Warn him that you’re an important ronin. You’ll help him if he cuts down the debt.
>>
>>5317875
>Fine. You can do a little work
>>
>>5317986
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Hedge%20Quest
No idea what that is but pretty sure not since we got to pick what type of hedge knight we got to be back when this first started.
>>
>>5317875
>Warn him that you’re an important ronin. You’ll help him if he cuts down the debt.
>>
>>5317875
>Fine. You can do a little work.
We’ve tried everything, and he refuses to budge
>>
>>5318076
That's an old anime with a drunk samurai girl ronin and her female sidekick
>>
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>>5317986

Can’t say I’ve heard of it, but I might actually watch it now lol

>>5318128
>>5318084
>>5318074
>>5318008
>>5318003
>>5317988
>>5317971
>>5317961
>>5317953
>>5317898
>>5317888
>>5317881

>Point out that there is no way for us to know how expensive that tea truly was, it could have easily just been some common tea. Even if he really were some academic VIP, that doesn't mean he wouldn't try to exploit someone's ignorance to pull a fast one.
>Do the favor if he can at least prove he is who he says he is, but after that the debt is cleared.
>Fine. You can do a little work.

“Yeah? And how do I know it was ‘Mailwa Mayelta’ leaves in that pot? It could’ve just as easily been some backwoods peasant-piss tea.” You shoot back against Rakujochigusa. Natsumi cheers you on from behind. “And how do I even know you’re some bigshot professor and not a conman with a big hat? Maybe you just want a samurai in your service.”
“Gah! That’s Mehlwaa Maheyeltra, for your information. And you think I’d drink subpar tea?! You ought to divorce that ridiculous notion from your head–even if I did plan to scam you, I wouldn’t dare sully my pot with sewer swill.” Rakujochigusa looks aghast at the proposal. “And you think me a conman? I should be the one suspicious of your ridiculous claims! I’ve never seen a ronin dress like that. But, fine–if it would quell your suspicion..”
He roots through his sleeve a moment before removing a scroll of rolled-up parchment. He unfurls it, flapping it before you haughtily. “Here! Take a look. The government sponsorship of my research trip–stamped and signed by the daimyo himself. Now, is that satisfactory enough for you?!”

“Uh.. yeah.” You squint, looking it up and down and pretending to recognize the markings. “Yeah. I see. Fine. I’ll do a little work for you, but after that the debt is done. And, uh.. I’m recovering from an injury. So no fighting right now.”
“A plump ronin too hurt to raise her blade and her teenage sidekick. My, I’ve certainly gotten my money’s worth.” The professor scoffs. “Very well. The work I had in mind was more menial than violent anyways. Come along.”
>>
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You follow the professor with the girl and your knapsack in tow, his parade of yokai a colorful watershed to orient yourself by. You can’t say you like this much–you’re already on duty for another old bastard–but you don’t think you have much choice in the matter if you want to avoid any annoying hitches along the way.
“Ah. Here we are. My research tent and the bridge.” Rakujochigusa stops in his tracks, waving you up from the bank and gesturing toward the blue channel ahead. You spot a well-worn green tent that faces the bank, hammered down with hemp rope and stakes and marked up by college symbols. And ahead of the tent lies the a wooden bridge–or, more aptly, the ruins of one, planks shredded into jagged edges on both ends like the fangs of some beast.
“The bridge, as you can see, has been destroyed–and unfortunately, that’s the only one around for another forty or fifty kilometers. The infrastructure in the countryside is simply dreadful. I’ll have to petition the daimyo to send workers here to improve it.” The professor observes, a hand on his hip. “The bridge’s destruction and the river’s rage is no coincidence–no, the spirits in the river destroyed it out of frustration.”

“Out of frustration?” Natsumi frowns, tilting her head. “Why? I’ve never heard of river spirits getting that mad–usually they just pull you under.”
“That’s exactly the problem. I don’t know why they’re mad. A few days ago I woke with a start in the night to a horrible crash and saw this mess before us.” Rakujochigusa grimaces. “I’ve hired you to aid me with my research into the matter in the tent.”

>Why can’t he just order the spirits to stop like with the kappa? They’re both river spirits.
>How are you supposed to aid him? He’s the professor. You're a ronin.
>Admit you can’t read big words.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5318239
>Why can’t he just order the spirits to stop like with the kappa? They’re both river spirits.
>>
>>5318239
>How are you supposed to aid him? He’s the professor. You're a ronin.
>>
>>5318239
>How are you supposed to aid him? He’s the professor. You're a ronin.
>>
>>5318239
>>Why can’t he just order the spirits to stop like with the kappa? They’re both river spirits.
>>How are you supposed to aid him? He’s the professor. You're a ronin.
>>
>>5318239
>Help Research? In your tent? Ara Ara.
>Why can’t he just order the spirits to stop like with the kappa? They’re both river spirits.
>How are you supposed to aid him? He’s the professor. You're a ronin.
>>
>>5318239
>How are you supposed to aid him? He’s the professor. You're a ronin.
>>
>>5318239
>How are you supposed to aid him? He’s the professor. You're a ronin.
>>
>>5318239
>How are you supposed to aid him? He’s the professor. You're a ronin.
>>
>>5318239
>Help Research? In your tent? Ara Ara.
Heh.
>Why can’t he just order the spirits to stop like with the kappa? They’re both river spirits.
>How are you supposed to aid him? He’s the professor. You're a ronin.
>>
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>>5318317
>>5318314
>>5318305
>>5318301
>>5318291
>>5318246
>>5318242
>>5318354
>>5318366

>Help Research? In your tent? Ara Ara.
>Why can’t he just order the spirits to stop like with the kappa? They’re both river spirits.
>How are you supposed to aid him? He’s the professor. You're a ronin.

"You want to conduct research in your tent? Ara, ara." You raise a brow. “But that’s not the kind of job you hire a ronin out for. You’re the college professor here. How do you expect me to help you?”
“Yes, well, as an associate professor, I’ve an abundance of literature on yokai studies to help solve this conundrum–both collected works and my own transcribed field notes, information on feeding habits, instruction on handling, standard behavior patterns.. but the sheer berth of that research is too great to peruse through on my own at a reasonable pace.” He sighs. “And the locals here, well.. let’s just say that written words elude them.”
“So you want us to help look for information on the spirit with you?” Natsumi cuts in.
“Exactly. I’ve already compiled all of the works in my collection on river spirits, and that topic alone has produced some stacks so high that they scrape my tent’s roof. If I’m to cross the river and reach the capitol before the dry season, I’ll need others to help interpret the research with me. But since I’m without my students, that topic falls on the vulgar ronin and her little sister here. I’m sure that, as a former samurai, you can read?”

“Of course!” Natsumi remarks with a smug shrug, hands on her hips. “My brother taught me how when I was kid–all sorts of big books on poetry and war and stuff. Just because we live in the country doesn’t make us illiterate bumpkins. And Lady Tomoe’s a strategic genius, so it figures–”
“Why can’t you just get the kappa to help you? He’s a river spirit, right? What separates him from the ones in the water now?” You cut in, your cheeks red with embarrassment. It’s not that you can’t read–you like manga and books with illustrations–but the heady sort of scholarly books a professor would have are tough to parse out. So, really, it’s not embarrassing at all.
“Yes, well, yokai can range from more physical, material spirits, with real world biologies and presences, to the far more powerful, deeper spiritual creatures that compose nature. My work largely concerns the physical yokai as the ones that can best benefit people.” He huffs from his pipe. “The spirits here are not mere kappa. They are old, powerful, and very angry lords of the river that would just as easily cut through stone as they would kill us.”

>Step into the tent with his professor. It might be cooler than the sweltering heat out there.
>Ask if you can sit this one out. Maybe you’ll just take a look through the river yourself.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5318374
>Ask if you can sit this one out. Maybe you’ll just take a look through the river yourself.
Lets just try and go the center of the problem and try to ask the spirits directly what made them so mad.
>>
>>5318374
>Ask if you can sit this one out. Maybe you’ll just take a look through the river yourself.
>>
>>5318374
>Ask if you can sit this one out. Maybe you’ll just take a look through the river yourself.
>>
>>5318374
>Ask if you can sit this one out. Maybe you’ll just take a look through the river yourself.

I bet they just want like a sacrifice or something. Find a goat.
>>
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>>5318460
>>5318457
>>5318389
>>5318383

>Ask if you can sit this one out. Maybe you’ll just take a look through the river yourself.

“You can go ahead and hit the books.” You dismiss them both with a nod. “I’ll investigate the river–see if I can find the spirits and talk to them myself.”

“..Um, are you sure you want to do this alone?” Natsumi frowns. “I mean, these spirits sound pretty dangerous..”
“In case you weren’t sure, you can’t cut water. Not even with that chiburi katana of yours.” Rakujochigusa raises a brow. “What exactly do you plan to do to a nature spirit?”

“I’ll be fine. I’ve dealt with yokai like this before.” You bluff. “You go and help the professor. I’ll catch up with you later.”
“Uhm-.. alright, Lady Tomoe.” Natsumi smiles. She waves you off as she follows the professor into his research tent.

You turn your gaze back to the river. You have no idea what to do about this. The river spirits are powerful enough to bring down a bridge, can pull humans in to drown them with the slightest touch, and may not even be able to understand your language. Maybe you could build a catapult to vault yourself over..? No, wait. That’s stupid.

>Try to speak to spirit.
>Sacrifice some food from your rucksack. Toss it into the river.
>Examine ruins of bridge.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5318478
throw some rocks at the river and tell the spirits to stop acting so gay
>>
>>5318478
>Examine ruins of bridge
>>
>>5318478
>Examine ruins of bridge.
>>
>>5318478
>Try to speak to spirit.
>Sacrifice some food from your rucksack. Toss it into the river.
>Examine ruins of bridge.
>>
>>5318478
>Sacrifice some food from your rucksack. Toss it into the river.
>Try to speak to spirit.
>>
>>5318478
>Examine ruins of bridge.
>>
>>5318478
>Sacrifice some food from your rucksack. Toss it into the river.
>>
>>5318478
>Examine ruins of bridge
>Examine the water of the river itself. Is it more gross than usual? If you were a water spirit, your water would probably be pretty important to you.
>>
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>>5318551
>>5318531
>>5318530
>>5318504
>>5318502
>>5318495
>>5318488
>>5318486

>Examine ruins of bridge.
>Examine the water of the river itself. Is it more gross than usual? If you were a water spirit, your water would probably be pretty important to you.

You decide to examine the bridge first–or what remains of it, at least. You find at the river’s mouth a heap of splintered planks, a wooden maw of rotted tines that crumble into the water below. You take a hesitant step onto the bridge’s corpse and it creaks below your weight–though, the remains hang more above the bank than they do the water, so you don’t have to worry about any unfortunate accidents while you stand here.

You take advantage of your position to gaze over the bridge’s edge into the water–unlike the cold, opaque black of yesterday night, the water now is a pale blue. But you still can’t make out much beneath the surface, the froth of the river’s gentle tide still too thick to see the bed proper. As you hang a hesitant foot over the bridge’s edge, you feel a sharp pinprick along your foot’s side.

“Ach–! Shit.” You curse, pulling your sandal back–it was just a little sting, but still annoying.. a splinter? You take a closer look at the bridge’s ruin to you see a small, rusty kunai half-stuck from the planks, blending in perfectly among the splintering wood. It’s at an awkward angle in the bridge that may necessitate some effort to pull out.

>Attempt to tear out the knife.
>Try to speak to spirit.
>Sacrifice some food from your rucksack. Toss it into the river.
>Write-In.
>>
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Also, full charm pic
>>
>>5318596
>Try to speak to spirit.
>Sacrifice some food from your rucksack. Toss it into the river.
>Try to charm the spirit
Maybe the spirit has a better libido than the professor.
>>
>>5318596
>Sacrifice some food from your rucksack. Toss it into the river.

then

>Attempt to tear out the knife.
>>
>>5318596
>Sacrifice some food from your rucksack. Toss it into the river.
>Attempt to tear out the knife.
>>
>>5318596
Get it nice and buttered up a la >>5318619
Then pull out the knife, if that's what it wants.
>Charm, feed, speak, remove knife
>>
>>5318596
>Attempt to tear out the knife.
>>
>>5318596
>Attempt to tear out the knife.
Its either some kind of cursed knife or related somehow to the spirits anger.
>Try to speak to spirit.
Yeah, just look into the water and start speaking, and if that don't work, put our whole head into the water and start speaking underwater.
>>
>>5318596
>>Attempt to tear out the knife.
>>
>>5318596
>Attempt to tear out the knife.
>Use said knife to sacrifice some blood to the spirits. I'm sure this won't in any way end poorly. Nope. Not at all
>>
>>5319055
+1
>>
>>5318596
>>Try to speak to spirit.
>>Sacrifice some food from your rucksack. Toss it into the river.
>>Try to charm the spirit
>>
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>>5319083
>>5319055
>>5319038
>>5318963
>>5318841
>>5318651
>>5318622
>>5318620
>>5318619
>>5319133

>Sacrifice some food from your rucksack. Toss it into the river.
>Attempt to tear out the knife.

You decide to first negotiate with the spirit–you tend to get angry when hungry, too. You root through your rucksack, pulling aside black peppered rice balls and millet dumplings before settling on a jar of pickled plums. You hate these, so the river spirit can have ‘em. You unscrew the lid and toss a sour plum into the water with a kasplunk.

"You guys like that?" You peer over the bridge. The plum has sunk out of sight beneath the water. The spirits don't answer.

You turn your attention back to the kunai rooted into the bridge’s ruined frame. It’s at an awkward angle nearly beneath the structure, and you have to contort yourself into some awkward angles to get at the blade–with some effort (and without much help from your dough-like grip) you manage to wrench the blade free from the ruins without too much hassle. It seems it was a smart choice to feed them first–the river spirits didn’t bother you despite the noise.

You turn the kunai over in your palms. It’s a rough and heavy knife, chipped at the edges and eaten away at by the river water. It doesn’t really feel cursed, but you really don’t know what curses are meant to feel like either.

>Bring the knife back to the research tent. You're not the expert here.
>Sacrifice some of your blood for the spirits. Maybe it’ll appease them.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5319154
>>Bring the knife back to the research tent. You're not the expert here.
DO NOT use our blood on unknown rituals!
>>
>>5319154
>Sacrifice some of your blood for the spirits. Maybe it’ll appease them.
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD POND
>>
>>5319154
>>Bring the knife back to the research tent. You're not the expert here.
>>
>>5319154
>Bring the knife back to the research tent. You're not the expert here.
>>
>>5319154
>Bring the knife back to the research tent. You're not the expert here.
>Thank the spirits for not killing us
>>
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>>5319206
>>5319190
>>5319168
>>5319164
>>5319157

>Bring the knife back to the research tent. You're not the expert here.

You suppose it best to bring the kunai back to the research tent–you’re not the expert on yokai matters here and you’d rather not make the affair worse with any strange blood sacrifices. And cuts make you squeamish. You turn back from the bridge and over to the research tent with a quiet prayer of gratitude for the spirits not dragging you into the river and dashing you against the rocks.
You pull aside the cloth cover of the tent and make your way under, careful not to step on one of the countless ceramic inkwells or books that litter the mat flooring. The tent is walled high with carved wooden shelves filled to burst with books and journals and illustrations, jars of ground tea leaves and pots of rice and water. The tent is pungent with the scent of tea and pipe fumes, so acrid that it stings your nose.
The two sit on opposite sides of the tent–Doctor Dhyutidhara sits in a velvet chair by a stepladder piled high with books and Natsumi lies flat on the ground with a book over her head. “Ah! Lady Tomoe! You’re back..!” She exclaims upon your arrival, tossing the book off. “Did you find out anything from the river spirits?”

“Yeah. I found this in the bridge–” You move to raise the rusty kunai only for the doctor to snatch it from your hands. “Hey–!”

“Hmm.” Dhyutidhara observes the knife a long moment, turning it over in his hands, bringing it close to his glasses, and even running his tongue along one edge. He then sighs, satisfied, and hands it back to you. “Here. You can have it back. It's not cursed.”

>Propose that the knife may be involved with the river’s rage.
>Observe the stepladder.
>Offer to help with the study efforts.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5319291
>Observe the stepladder.
>>
>>5319291
>Propose that the knife may be involved with the river’s rage.
We did find it in the ruins of the bridge
>>
>>5319291
>Propose we do blood ritual to appease the spirits.
Sacrifice Natsumi to the spirits!
>>
>>5319291
>>Propose that the knife may be involved with the river’s rage.
>>
>>5319291
>Propose that the knife may be involved with the river’s rage.
Pretty straightforward.
>>
>>5319331
+1
>>
>>5319331
Supporting
>>
>>5319291
>Propose that the knife may be involved with the river’s rage.
>>
>>5319291
>Propose that the knife may have peeved the poltergeists
>>
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>>5319486
>>5319446
>>5319369
>>5319331
>>5319320
>>5319300
>>5319564
>>5319561
>>5319572

>Propose we do blood ritual to appease the spirits.
>Propose that the knife may be involved with the river’s rage.

“Well, I was thinking that maybe the kunai was making the river spirits angry.” You run a finger along the blade’s dull edge. “Y’know.. aren’t these weapons supposed to have, like.. evil.. energy..? And maybe to appease it, we can do a blood sacrifice! But not my blood.”

“No. Not possible. Not that kunai.” Dhyutidhara scoffs, dismissing your theory with a wave of his hand. “While weapons can enrage nature spirits like these, they’d have to be substantial–big, bloody blades, naginata, axes and tetsubo. But a kunai? They’re as paltry as a flea on a tiger. Now, if you think a curse may have tainted the kunai’s ‘energy’, as you so put it, I just went over the blade myself–it demonstrates none of the characteristics endemic of such black magic, so I doubt ‘evil energy’ is relevant here. And where did you say you found this? In the ruins of the bridge? A river spirit like this would only grow angry if the weapon was in the water–else, that bridge would come crashing down for every passing samurai. And don’t even get me started on that ridiculous blood sacrifice idea. That would only provoke the spirits further. We’d ruin this river for every poor peasant around.”

“I–..well..” You feel like you’re about to cry out of embarrassment. You point out the brat. “You! You go check if I fixed the river.”
“Uh–okay, Lady Tomoe! I’m on it!” Natsumi salutes. She stumbles out of the research tent, spilling over a few inkwells as she does. You wait a beat before she returns, looking apologetic. “Uhm.. sorry, Lady Tomoe, but..”

“If you’ve sated your curiosity, why not lend us a hand? Your sister here has proved an adequate assistant.” Dhyutidhara sips from the pale cup at his side. “She may have a place at Katsuobushi University in another few years.”

>Meditate (nap). They can take care of all the nerd stuff.
>Fine. You’ll help them out with some of the book stuff.
>Observe the stepladder.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5319584
>>Meditate (nap). They can take care of all the nerd stuff.
>>
>>5319584
>Meditate (nap)
Let's not embarass ourselves further.
>>
>>5319584
>Accuse him of being a virgin


pussy nerd
>>
>>5319584
>Fine. You’ll help them out with some of the book stuff.
I refuse to be shown up by little girl and a nerd with a stupid hat
>>
>>5319584
>Fine. You’ll help them out with some of the book stuff.
>>
>>5319584
>Fine. You’ll help them out with some of the book stuff.

we tried
time to learn to read
>>
>>5319584
>Observe the stepladder.
>Accuse him of being a virgin
>>
>>5319584
>>Fine. You’ll help them out with some of the book stuff
>>
>>5319584
>Accuse him of being a virgin
>>
>>5319584
>Observe the stepladder
>Then "meditate"
>>
>>5319584
>Fine. You’ll help them out with some of the book stuff.
>Also note she isn't our sister.
>>
>>5319584
>Meditate (nap). They can take care of all the nerd stuff.
>>
>>5319584
>Accuse him of being a virgin
>Meditate (nap). They can take care of all the nerd stuff.
>>
>>5319584
>>Observe the stepladder
>>Then "meditate"
This quest makes me long for a proper L5R campaign. We haven't had one in a while.
>>
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>>5320389
>>5320230
>>5320155
>>5320124
>>5319998
>>5319805
>>5319772
>>5319702
>>5319655
>>5319653
>>5319639
>>5319624
>>5319597
>>5319588

>Accuse him of being a virgin
>Observe the stepladder
>Meditate (nap). They can take care of all the nerd stuff.

“Whatever, virgin.” You bark back at his reasonable deductions.
“Bah–a wha–? How is that relevant?” Dhyutidhara goes red in the face. “I am married first and foremost to my work. I don’t care a fig for such vulgarity. If ought, I think your virginity, or probable lack thereof is the big–”

“Oh, Lady Tomoe..! You’re wondering about his ladder?” Natsumi catches your wandering eye, ever eager to mediate. “Isn’t it crazy that the professor has so many books he needs to climb a ladder to reach his top shelves? But even then, he’s got so many that he has to stack them on the steps–so it’s not really that useful, huh..”

“That’s actually a stepladder.” You correct her.
“So? What's the difference?” She tilts her head. “You shouldn’t judge things based on narrow-minded cultural assumptions, Lady Tomoe!”

“R-right. Sorry.” You decide not to argue. This girl is out there. “Then I’ll leave you two to it. Gonna meditate in the meantime. Think things through.”

You find a comfortable spot between two shelves, the cool shade of the research tent a welcome reprieve from the summer outside. You lean your back up against a shelf’s wooden spine. The gentle, tingling warmth of the tent, the scent of burning incense and parchment, and the turning of vellum pages lull you into an easy sleep. You hug the cold kunai to your chest.
>>
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You raise your now damp head. You stand in shallow water that laps up to your ankles, surrounded on all sides by aqua sea and clouds for miles and miles around. You feel strange, your head heavy, the water beneath cool and the air dry and warm–what a strange dream. You've still got the kunai in your hands.

“My, my. If it isn’t the Hagetaka.” A layered, snarly voice speaks from the water all around you. “For what business have you come?”

>Ask the voice to show itself. You ought to be able to see who you're talking to.
>Ask the voice about the spirits’ rage in the river. Seems like that you're speaking to a yokai.
>Ask the voice if it’s the one forcing you to stay with the insufferable professor and girl. No way you deserve this.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5320457
>Ask the voice to show itself. You ought to be able to see who you're talking to.
>Ask the voice about the spirits’ rage in the river. Seems like that you're speaking to a yokai.
>>
>>5320457
>Ask the voice to show itself. You ought to be able to see who you're talking to.
Ask the voice about the spirits’ rage in the river. Seems like that you're speaking to a yokai.
>>
>>5320457
>>Ask the voice if it’s the one forcing you to stay with the insufferable professor and girl. No way you deserve this.
>>
>>5320457
>Ask the voice about the spirits’ rage in the river. Seems like that you're speaking to a yokai.
>>
>>5320457
>Ask the voice if it’s the one forcing you to stay with the insufferable professor and girl. No way you deserve this.
>>
>>5320457
>>Ask the voice about the spirits’ rage in the river. Seems like that you're speaking to a yokai.
>>
>>5320457
>Ask the voice if it’s the one forcing you to stay with the insufferable professor and girl. No way you deserve this.
>>
>>5320457
>Ask the voice about the spirits’ rage in the river. Seems like that you're speaking to a yokai.
>>
>>5320457
>Ask the voice to show itself. You ought to be able to see who you're talking to.
>Ask the voice about the spirits’ rage in the river. Seems like that you're speaking to a yokai.
>>
>>5320457
>Ask the voice if it’s the one forcing you to stay with the insufferable professor and girl. No way you deserve this.
>>
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>>5320706
>>5320701
>>5320699
>>5320694
>>5320680
>>5320534
>>5320506
>>5320491
>>5320469
>>5320465

>Ask the voice to show itself. You ought to be able to see who you're talking to.
>Ask the voice about the spirits’ rage in the river. Seems like that you're speaking to a yokai.

“M..might I at least have the chance to see who I’m speaking to?” You try to steel your quavering voice. “If you’re the lord of this river, I’d like a word.”

At that, the water before you begins to whirl, the sea breaking, waves whorling about a vortex of black and foaming up into form. You take a few shaky steps back into the sea as the seafoam hews itself a whole–sea forming a translucent, shimmering serpent, curling up before you.

“Ahaha. How lucky is this old spirit?” The rippling dragon’s voice is dripping with such thick sarcasm that you feel ready to drown it. “To meet the famed warrior Tomoe. I might just ask for your autograph.”
“I’m here to ask about the river’s rage.” Your voice breaks in fear at the sight of the dragon–so immense its body seems the breadth of the channel of the river itself. You clutch the kunai close. “Why will you not let anyone pass?”

“Before that, I have my own questions, Hagetaka.” The lord eyes you like a cat toying with a mouse. “I wonder.. do you feel any guilt for what you do? Even an iota of shame to claim another’s name as your own and grow corpulent on her face? Or does it wash over you like the waves?”

>You feel it gnaw at your insides.
>You feel it only sometimes, late nights when you struggle to fall asleep.
>You don’t feel it. You do what you do to survive.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5320726
>You don’t feel it. You do what you do to survive
>If you had shame you wouldn't be a whore in the first place
>>
>>5320729
+1
>>
>>5320729
+1 its easy to judge when your a fucking river spirit and all your job is live inside a river. Humans must do what we need to survive, we don't have their comfort.
>>
>>5320726
>You feel it only sometimes, late nights when you struggle to fall asleep.
>>
>>5320726
>>5320729
+1
>>
>>5320729
This
We're just paying back the world for all it has given us.
>>
>>5320726
>You don’t feel it. You do what you do to survive
>If you had shame you wouldn't be a whore in the first place
>Perhaps, if you had the great privilege to be born a river spirit, you could be a noble NEET like him
>>
>>5320729
1+
>>
>>5320726
Supporting >>5320729
>>
>>5320726
>You don’t feel it. You do what you do to survive.
>Tell the dragon to stop calling you a vulture
We can find a positive aspect of our being later.
>>
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>>5320776
>>5320772
>>5320771
>>5320763
>>5320747
>>5320740
>>5320737
>>5320730
>>5320729
>>5320819

>You don’t feel it. You do what you do to survive
>If you had shame you wouldn't be a whore in the first place

“No. Not an ounce. I wouldn’t be much good at my job if I felt shame.” You respond, resentment fomenting in your gut now. “I do what I do to survive.”
“Haha. I see. Is that how you justify it? What a useful lie. Even you believe it.” He purrs, slithering through the water around you. “Then, I suppose I ought to grant you what you came here for. Your ilk has sullied my river with war–tossed in all manner of weapons, armor, records, and ruins of their battles. Such vile memories. I am not fond of those years.”
“What? They threw in weapons?” Your brow furrows. “Why?”
“Your kings brought the war at the front to an end so that they might wage it from home instead. Now they exchange spies and politics in a cold war that taints the farthest tips of the continent.” He snarls. “Your daimyo has grown mad with paranoia and ordered all knowledge related to the war to be discarded, lest they fall into the hands of the spies that litter the borderlands. And now they’ve made my river a bed of blood again.”
“So, this kunai is..?” You raise the blade.

“It’s my turn to ask a question.” The dragon muses. “Do you truly love yourself? And I mean you, Tomoko. The drunken oiran. Not the warrior ronin Tomoe.”

>You’re just fine with yourself.
>You’ve had enough of these ridiculous questions.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5320823
>You want to be better, but because you love yourself enough to know that you can be, and deserve to be
>>
>>5320834
+1
>>
>>5320834
This
>>
>>5320823
>Why do you care so much about me ? Don't you have anything better to occupy yourself with ?
>>
>>5320834
Support.
>>
>>5320834
supporting
>>
>>5320823
>Why would you ask such a hurtful question
>>
>>5320834
>>5321223
Supporting both.
>>
>>5320823
>>5320834
+1
>>
>>5320823
Supporting >>5320834
>>
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>>5321548
>>5321511
>>5321339
>>5321223
>>5321023
>>5320917
>>5320887
>>5320875
>>5320842
>>5320834

>You want to be better, but because you love yourself enough to know that you can be, and deserve to be
>Why would you ask such a hurtful question

“I.. want to be better. But that’s because I love myself to know that I can be. I deserve to be.” Your voice is low. “What’s with these questions?!”

“Hmmm.. a virtuous answer. I suppose only time will tell if those words bear any weight.” It traces lazy ripples in the water. “You might call it curiosity on my part–to learn more about the one who drew the umbrage of the Ascended Shiho. That’s a seldom heard of feat nowadays. You must be especially obnoxious.”
“What? Shiho?” You echo, but the dragon continues.
“That knife has put several men to rest. And even more of its kin lie below the bridge.” The lord glowers. “I vaulted the blades from my waters myself, but they brought down the bridge as they did–now, arms lie scattered about the riverbed, stuck below the splintered wood where they tarnish my water with their blood.”
“..So we’ll remove them.” You proffer. “As long as you don’t bring us under to drown us. Will you let us pass?”
“Hmph. Then it's an agreeable deal for both of us.” The dragon observes. “Very well. I will let you step into my river to clean my waters–but I will only let you cross when they’re all gone. You take so much as one step onto the other side and it will be the last time your feet ever meet dry ground.”
“Yeah, I get it.” What an asshole.

“You may go. But.. if you might humor the whims of an old man. I have one last question. You don’t have to answer–leave if you’d like.” The spirit's maw is pulled back into a look of bemused curiosity. “Do you truly think yourself a good person at heart? Or is what I see before me all there is?”

>You think you’re a good person.
>You don’t believe so.
>Leave.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5321716
>>You don’t believe so.
>>
>>5321716
>>You think you’re a good person.
>>
>>5321716
>You don’t believe so.
>>
>>5321716
>You don’t believe so, but you'd like to be.
>>
>>5321716
>You don't think there's such a thing, but you're no worse than anyone else.
>>
>>5321716
Support >>5321788
>>
>>5321773
Supporting
>>
>>5321773
+1
>>
>>5321773

Support
>>
>>5321716
>What if we miss a weapon by mistake? It's dark at the bottom of the river.
>>
>>5321716
>>5321773
+1
>>
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Having some PC problems today, so updates will come either later or tomorrow if I don't fix things!
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>>5321716
>>You don’t believe so.

>>5321958
No problem!
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>>5321945
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>>5321797
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>>5321744
>>5321720

>You don’t believe so, but you'd like to be.

“I don’t think I am.” You won’t feign ignorance. “But I’d like to be.”
“Mmmm.. that’s welcome news. Those that pretend toward virtue wear me thin quick. You have eyes, plain enough, as well you may try to keep them hidden. You may just prove a half-decent distraction.” The dragon purrs as he inches toward you, his maw a snare of bone white. “I’ll keep an eye on your journey from afar. I can see why Shiho has taken to you, Hagetaka. You can ease my boredom for a while.”
“Great.” Your voice drips with sarcasm. You’ve begun to tire of your first hanger-on, and you’re not eager for another. “What if we miss a weapon by mistake? It's dark at the bottom of the river.”
“You’ll see the water clear when you extricate the last blade, whereupon you’ll be able to make out the breadth of riverbed beneath you–after all, I only reach up to your thighs at my deepest.” He laughs, a strange, chittery bellow. “Now.. you ought to return to dry ground, shouldn’t you? You have a duty to attend to, ronin.”

With that, the serpent’s mouth smacks open to an expanse of black, churning waves, carving a spiral along his belly like a whirlpool. His head hurtles toward you and your world becomes cold, black and wet again.
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You awake with a start, banging your head against the wooden bookshelf before you. You look the tent once over–you’re still sitting, nestling down between two bookshelves with a thin blanket now thrown over you. You can see through cracks in the tent’s cloth a fiery orange sun of dusk. And the girl and the professor still sit, turning vellum pages and jotting down notes on parchment.

>Bring up your dream calmly so that the others can understand.
>Bring up your dream and rub it in the professor’s face that you were right.
>Write-In.
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>>5322463
>Bring up your dream and rub it in the professor’s face that you were right.
>Allege that the only dreams he has are wet dreams (possibly about us?!!!!)
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>>5322463
>Bring up the dream excitedly, not only because it proves the professor wrong and you right, but because it proves you're special after all
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>>5322479
+1
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>>5322463
>Bring up your dream calmly so that the others can understand.
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>>5322463
>>Bring up your dream and rub it in the professor’s face that you were right.
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>>5322463
>Bring up your dream and rub it in the professor’s face that you were right.
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>>5322463
>>5322479
+1, also remember to stick our chest out in pride
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>>5322479
+1

>>5322603
Also +1
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>>5322479
Supporting.
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>>5322463
>Bring up your dream calmly so that the others can understand.
>Stick our chest out in pride
>Gloss over the personal questions bit, we’re Tomoe, remember?
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>>5322463
>>5322479
+1
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>>5322463
Agreed with >>5322631 about:
>Gloss over the personal questions bit, we’re Tomoe, remember?

Adding that to my earlier phone-vote at >>5322479

Let's not flash them with our puffed-up chest, eh?
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>>5322463
>>Bring up your dream and rub it in the professor’s face that you were right.
>>Allege that the only dreams he has are wet dreams (possibly about us?!!!!)
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>>5322463
>>5322479
+1 We are very speshul.
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>>5322965
>>5322948
>>5322756
>>5322633
>>5322631
>>5322610
>>5322604
>>5322603
>>5322590
>>5322562
>>5322544
>>5322538
>>5322479
>>5322476

>Bring up the dream excitedly, not only because it proves the professor wrong and you right, but because it proves you're special after all
>Gloss over the personal questions bit, we’re Tomoe, remember?

“Waha! I knew I was right!” You stand, kicking over a stack of books and sending papers fluttering out across the tent. The professor and girl jolt at your sudden arisal.
“What has gotten into you?!” Dhyutidhara starts, nearly spilling tea all over his yukata. “Are you quite alright in the head!? Because I’m not the kind of doctor that can fix that.”

“Are alright in the head? Because you were wrong.” You decide to savor the moment–glossing over the personal questions, of course, and talking up your bravery in the face of the spirit–as you tell them the story of your dream of the draconic river spirit, of the kunai, and of the endless sea. You stick a finger into the doctor’s face. “Shows what you know, glasses!”

“Aha! I knew you were right, Lady Tomoe!” Natsumi decides to join in on dogpiling the professor, sticking her finger in his face, too. “Shows what you know, glasses!”
“Hmph. Yes, well, if you’d put those things away..” He waves your fingers aside. “That must’ve been the Spirit Sanguine. We’ll have to work overnight to pluck those weapons from the waters. We can work in shifts.”

>Relish in your victory just a little more. Get him to admit he was wrong.
>Be the adult here and get to work.
>Write-In.
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>>5323019
>Relish in your victory just a little more. Get him to admit he was wrong.
NEEEEERD!
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>>5323019
>Be the adult here and get to work.
Ok while I do want to dunk on the nerd, we did tell the spirit that we'd like to be better so going with this.
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>>5323019
>Be the adult here and get to work
>Then realize you have to go to fetch rusted, bloody weapons from dirty water, hope you don't get an even nasty wound.
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>>5323019
>Be the adult here and get to work
>Then realize you have to go to fetch rusted, bloody weapons from dirty water, hope you don't get an even nasty wound.
Dangit.
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>>5323019
>>Relish in your victory just a little more. Get him to admit he was wrong.
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>>5323019
>Be the adult here and get to work.
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>>5323019
>Relish in your victory just a little more. Get him to admit he was wrong.
>CALL HIM A VIRGIN!!!

Fuc dat guy
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>>5323019
>Be the adult here and get to work.
Willing to believe that dream conversation left us a little more mature than normal
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>>5323156
>>5323135
>>5323101
>>5323052
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>>5323290
>>5323293
>>5323316

>Be the adult here and get to work.
>Then realize you have to go to fetch rusted, bloody weapons from dirty water, hope you don't get an even nasty wound.

You decide to act your age–even if you were more perceptive than the virgin egghead professor with his big silly hat. “Ah-.. wait.. wait. You said you want us to work in shifts?” You echo, mouth agape. “You expect us to haul rusty old weapons from a dirty river all night? You’re a man, aren’t you?”
“You were a samurai, weren’t you?” Dhyutidhara throws it back at you with a look of skepticism. “Now, I’m sure you have urgent affairs to attend to, all the same as I. If we all get to work now–my yokai can pitch in as well–we should be able to cross the river come sunrise. We’ll sleep in shifts and work in pairs–you and the girl and me and my yokai. Now, come along.”
Natsumi seems to catch the look of despair on your face. “Ah, don’t worry about me, Lady Tomoe! I can drag some bloody old swords out of a river. That’s nothing.” She pats you on the back.
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You sit along the knoll of the bank, a jug of hot water in your hands and a towel around your bottom. The pale, cold blues and oranges of the sunrise break over the grassy fields ahead, light catching the dull rust of the swords that sprout around you like blades of grass. Natsumi snores loudly next to you. You just spent the last nine hours dragging rusty weapons from the riverbed and laying them out to dry. But your work was not fruitless–the waters run clear like glass.
Your back and legs scream for mercy. And in spite of the season, the freezing river water and passing gales have got you shivering. You take another swig of hot water from the jug set to boil atop the professor’s hotplate. It’s only a short spark of warmth–unlike the lasting fire of sake–but it’s enough to keep your muscles from freezing up.
“You’re supposed to pour that over leaves. You’ve missed a crucial step in the process.” Doctor Rakujochigusa speaks up from behind you. You swing around to catch sight of the man, the pipe smoking like a chimney in his mouth and a steaming cup of tea in his hands. “You care for some tea? Nothing like it after a night of hard work.”

>Accept the tea.
>Deny it.
>Write-In.
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>>5323322
>Accept the tea.
we'll see if his tea is really worth the big deal he made of it
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>>5323322
>Accept the tea.
This better be some gourmet shit
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>>5323322
>Accept the tea.
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>>5323322
>Accept the tea.
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>>5323322
>Accept the tea.
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>>5323322
>>Accept the tea
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>>5323322
>>Accept the tea
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>>5323322
>Accept the tea
It's what I'd do
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>>5323322
Jesus Christ I want to motorboat those tits so bad.
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>>5323322
>Accept, and critque, the tea
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>>5323444
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>>5323326
>>5323486
>>5323489
>>5323490
>>5323497

>Accept the tea.

“..Sure. Whatever. Pour me a cup.” You aren’t about to turn down free drink, even if you’d prefer one with more bite. “What kind?”
Mehlwaa Maheyeltra. At least, what leaves I could scrounge up–though your labor may be in service of a debt, it would be boorish to not treat you for your hard work.” He gently picks the kettle up from atop his kappa’s head. “And you’d better keep your throat wet. The road to the next stop is a long and hot one, known to eat travelers that take it lightly alive. You ought to keep an eye on your sister.”
“She’s not my sister.” You clarify. “She just follows me around.”
“Hmmm..? Really?” He pours a pale green liquid into the ceramic cup. “Well, forgive the assumption. She’d spoken at such lengths with such intimacy about you–about how you could sleep so incredibly heavily and snore so loud for so long, or how you could quaff a gallon of drink in a matter of moments. She truly thinks highly of you.”
“Mmhmm..” You mutter beneath your breath as you take the cup from him. You’ve gone to a lot of trouble for this stuff. You raise it to your lips and swallow, whereupon you blanche. The taste is.. indescribable. Like the tallow of a half-dead goat churned with strained ocean water and infused with the mental image of a melon.

“So?” The professor stares at you expectantly.

>Try to be nice.
>Be honest.
>Write-In.
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>>5323520
>>Be honest.
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>>5323520
>Be honest.
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>>5323520
>Be honest.
Honesty is the best policy.
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>>5323520
>Be honest.
>Is this how you suppress your sexual desires?
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>>5323520
>Be honest
>Put a dollop of breast milk in it to enrich the flavor.
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>>5323520
>>5323525
+1
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>>5323520
>>5323525
+1
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>>5323520
>Be honest.
He should pay people to drink this stuff
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>>5323521
>>5323523
>>5323524
>>5323525
>>5323526
>>5323525
>>5323543
>>5323555

>Be honest.

“It’s–it’s, uh..” You struggle for the right words. “It’s like you strained ramen fat through a sieve, mixed it with a melon rind, and sprinkled fish scrapes on top. It’s awful. Is this how you suppress your libido?”
“It does taste bad, doesn’t it?” Dhyutidhara observes as he sips from his own cup. “In fact, you downed it a lot better than I first did. I threw up. But I wanted to appreciate it–wanted to truly enjoy it just as so many other enthusiasts did, to see for myself what so many people valued. And I drank it every day for years. And I tricked myself–got myself to believe that I liked it. It still tastes bad, of course, but for some reason, I like it.”
“What? Is this a lecture now?” You decide not to empty the cup into the river–as awful as it tastes, it might at least warm your hands.
“No. Just a talk about tea.” Dhyutidhara folds his arms. “You’re set to go soon enough, aren’t you? I’d recommend you do it sooner rather than later–get a headstart on the sun, before it becomes intolerable later on. You’ve got to keep your energy up if you’re to face down a bandit gang.”
“How do you know about that?” You notice the tea’s odor for the first time–like the brothel on a hot night.
“The girl told me–went on and on about how you were gonna save her town.” He takes another hot puff off his pipe. “It’s sad to see now, the country.. rivers and grass, yokai and people, receded and tainted by the touch of war. And those bandits are the last remnants of it. I want for nothing more than both people and yokai to live here in harmony again. And as for those bandits.. I wish for a hasty resolution, no matter who it might come from–ronin or oiran.”

“What?” You stare down the professor.
“You’d better go soon, right? The river’s clear.” The professor waves off to the clear water, at its deepest only up to your thighs. “I wish you luck.”

>Get up and go. You ought to make good time before sunrise.
>Thank the professor for the tea before you go. Even if it tasted like toilet water.
>Write-In.
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>>5323586
>>Get up and go. You ought to make good time before sunrise.
>Tell him to get better taste in tea.
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>>5323586
>Thank the professor for the tea before you go. Even if it tasted like toilet water.
He knows, doesn't he?
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>>5323586
>Get up and go. You ought to make good time before sunrise.
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>>5323586
>Thank the professor for the tea before you go. Even if it tasted like toilet water.
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>>5323586
>Thank the professor for the tea before you go. Even if it tasted like toilet water.
>If you ever want to lose your virginity you can have a freebie next time we meet.
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>>5323586
>Get up and go. You ought to make good time before sunrise.
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>>5323586
>>5323596
+1
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>>5323586
>Thank the professor for the tea before you go. Even if it tasted like toilet water.
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>>5323586
>Thank the professor for the tea before you go. Even if it tasted like toilet water.
>Recommend him a better tea (or one we've enjoyed in the past, albeit probably a more pedestrian one)
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>>5323753
+1
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>>5323753
>>5323734
>>5323712
>>5323623
>>5323606
>>5323603
>>5323601
>>5323600
>>5323596
>>5323762

>Thank the professor for the tea before you go. Even if it tasted like toilet water.
>Recommend him a better tea (or one we've enjoyed in the past, albeit probably a more pedestrian one)

“Well.. I don’t really get it, but thanks for the tea. Even if it did taste like toilet water. Maybe stick with green tea next time.” You heft yourself up, the rucksack on your back at jug at your front. Your hard work runs before you like a blanket of blue glass, and after it stretches an endless expanse of dry grass and weeds into the far off horizon. “We’ll be off, then. See ya.”
“Yes, of course. Please try to refrain from smashing any more poor teapots in the future.” He takes a long huff off his pipe as you gently kick the snoozing brat awake. She starts with a snort, madly grabbing for her own things as you pass her for the river. “And let the girl know I’ll owe her a letter of recommendation in another year or two!”
You make your way across the river rapids–this time, you’re not beholden to the magic of any strange river lords that threaten to drag you under. The water is smooth and peaceful as it runs over your yukata’s cloth. But you can’t help but let your eyes wander to the passing foam that bubbles up along jutting rocks. The white froth arcs and crescents into strange shapes, almost like countless white grins that mug back at you in the water.
You take your first step out onto the other side of the river–onto fresh dry land–the grass beneath your sandals wholly foreign. Your journey finally continues. And as you make your way up the opposite side of the bank, the brat close in tow behind you, you can’t help but glance back over to the other side.
You see the professor opposite you, still sat down on the bank with his tea and pipe, and beside him an amassment of colorful yokai that wave you off as you leave.
But, below the bank in the river water stands another figure. You struggle to comprehend the sight–a broad, towering woman in a white and red yukata, somehow translucent yet material, a crimson oni’s mask concealing her features and immense spear hanging in her hands. She stares you down coldly.

“Umm.. Lady Tomoe?” Natsumi pulls you out of it. “Something wrong?”
“Huh?” You glance briefly to the girl and then back to the river. The figure is gone. “Ah–uh.. nothing. Had some funny tea..”
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It is the hot season. You are on a journey along the skeleton footpath from HIMAWARI out to JUJIRO to take care of some stupid bandits.

It’s been about two hours since you set off. It is hot. So hot that each breath you draw burns your throat on the way down. Your yukata is soaked through and bangs slopped against your face. The professor was right–this hot season is among the hottest you’ve ever felt, especially out in the countryside without shade to break from it with. You take another swig of cool water from your jug–you should still have enough for the next rest stop, but still-...
“Ahhh. It’s soooo hoooooooooooooootttttttttt.” Natsumi complains from behind you, her own sheepskin of river water hung tight around her right hand. She’s kept up irksomely well with your pace. “Lady Tomoe.. I think I might melt. Just scoop me up in your jug if I do..”
Your glance back down to her again. You noticed it about half an hour ago, but you’re sure of it now–she’s got something hidden in her dress. It occasionally up and along through her sleeves, a small, writhing jut. “..Hey.” You glare her down. “Have you got something hidden in your yukata?”

“N.. no.” Natsumi lies badly.

>Demand she show it to you.
>Let it be.
>Write-In.
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>>5323797
>Demand she show it to you.
SHEho
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>>5323797
>Demand she show you
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>>5323797
>Demand she show it to you.
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>>5323797
>Demand she show it to you
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>>5323797
>Let it be.
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>>5323797
>Demand she show it to you.
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>>5323797
>Demand she show it to you.
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>>5324316
>>5324311
>>5324191
>>5324103
>>5323928
>>5323828
>>5323809

>Demand she show it to you.

“Empty your sleeves. Now.” You’re short on patience and not one for surprises.
“Ach–geez..” Natsumi grumbles with a nervous smile. “You got me again, Lady Tomoe. Here..”

The girl raises her sleeve and gives it a few shakes–and from the shade of the fabric, a small, scaly creature writhes out and up along her hand. It looks almost like a snake, but not quite. It’s far too short and stubby, fat along the body with a tiny tail at that hangs from the back. It finds purchase along her fingertips and gently curls up in her palm.

“See? He’s just a little tsuchinoko! I got him from outside the professor’s tent. Isn’t he cute? Can’t we keep him?” Natsumi pleads with you. “If you let me keep him, I’ll let you name him whatever you want!”
You somehow get the feeling she’ll keep it no matter what you say on the matter.

>Name him whatever you want.
>Name him Natsumi #2.
>Name him Solid.
>Write-In.
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>>5324372
>Name him Takeda
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>>5324372
>Swallow the snake whole before the kid can react.
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>>5324372
>name him Chōgata
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>>5324372
>Name him Natsumi #2.
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>>5324372
>>Name him Natsumi #2.
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>>5324372
Jesus Christ, how horrifying

>Name him Solid.
This is the only way he'll get a scar over his eye before our journey ends.
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>>5324372

I'll support "Solid" over "Natsumi #2", if ti comes to it.

Already saw that gag done in another quest on the board right now, and this quest is too good to rehash it.
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>>5324372
>Name him dumpling
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>>5324372
>Name him Solid.
She’ll owe us a solid after steal a yokai from 4 eyes
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>>5324372
>Name him Solid.
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>>5324372
>Name him Solid.
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>>5324542
>>5324537
>>5324535
>>5324532
>>5324520
>>5324516
>>5324495
>>5324463
>>5324437
>>5324435
>>5324377

>Name him Solid.

“Fine. Whatever. Call it Solid.” You settle on the first name that pops into your mind. You push past her, eager to get ahead and back on the trail–as short and fat as it might be, you aren’t one for snakes. “And keep it in your sleeve.”
“He should stay hidden, shouldn’t he..? It’s so hot out he might get burnt up. Alright, then. Solid!” She holds the fat snake up by both hands. “Your name is Solid. You finally have a name! Kept you waiting, huh?”

You continue along the footpath, the endless, meandering trail of flat grass and dust left behind by the giant skeletons that wander the countryside each night guiding you forward. Your back is burning, blistering beneath the sun, your hair sopping wet with sweat.. you already miss the bone-soaking chill of the river water. And just as you begin wondering if you might catch fire, a strange new figure cuts its way over the wobbling horizon.

You see his head first over the grass, a very broad straw hat stooped low over his face. And then his blue kamishimo, and his legs, and his legs, and more legs.. he’s tall, moreso than near any other man you’ve ever seen. He jogs with a strange, exaggerated swanker, the very large, strange sword at his side near the length of several katanas atop each other.

“Ho, there! Hello, fellow travelers!” He greets you cheerily as he jogs up to you. He continues to jog in place as he speaks. “Would you mind doing your fellow countryman a favor? See, some very vigorous old chaps are nipping at my heels at the moment. I don’t mean to involve you in it, of course, but would you mind telling them I kept off thataway down the trail? I’ll hide in the grass over here. ”

“Huh–? Wha–..” You barely have time to process what he said before he jaunts to the tallgrass off the trail and squats down. The top of his straw hat is still very visible.

>Fine. You can help him.
>Tell him you can’t really help out.
>Demand to know who he is. You won’t aid and abet a criminal.
>Write-In.
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>>5324583
>Demand to know who he is. You won’t aid and abet a criminal.
(at least not until we know the crime, and not for FREE)
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>>5324583
>Fine. You can help him.
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>>5324583
>Fine. You can help him. For a price
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>>5324583
>>Demand to know who he is. You won’t aid and abet a criminal.
>>
>>5324583
>Write-In
>Take Solid and by surprise, press his fangs into the traveler.
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>>5324583
>Demand to know who he is. You won’t aid and abet a criminal.
and also that his hat is in sight
>>
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>>5324597
>>5324599
>>5324637
>>5324699
>>5324837
>>5324891

>Demand to know who he is. You won’t aid and abet a criminal.

“I don’t trust this guy, Lady Tomoe..” Natsumi nudges you.
“Yeah. This all seems pretty fishy.” You fold your arms–you’re not eager to complicate your already complex situation. “How about you tell us who you are first? I’m not about to aid and abet a criminal.”

“Ah! Please, forgive the discourtesy–to not introduce myself to such fair maidens like yourself.. it’s inexcusable!” He stands again, having seemingly forgotten about the men after him, and takes a deep bow–far too deep for a casual introduction, but you can forgive that. “My name is Miyamoto Nobunaga Masamune Yoshitsune Hideyoshi. And I.. am a samurai.”

“Moya–Nobumasatsune..” Natsumi stumbles over his name. “What? How is that your name?”
You decide not to comment on the utterly bizarre title. The samurai seems to suddenly realize again how stand out he is among the grass and ducks back into it, his straw hat still stuck out from the field like a sore thumb.

“I do apologize for all the trouble, of course.” The grass rustles as he speaks. “I assure you that I can reward you handsomely for the help here!”
You see a few more men in blue over the hilltop. It seems his chasers are right on top of you now.

>Fine. You can help him.
>You won’t help him, but you won’t tell them where he hides either.
>Just tell his chasers where he is.
>Write-In.
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>>5324947
>Fine. You can help him.
Reward? Money???
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>>5324947
>>Fine. You can help him
Reward, now we're ta.
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>>5324947
>Fine. You can help him.
Unless his pursuers look like genuine officials. In that case tell them where he is.
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>>5324947
>Fiiiine. We'll help. For the reward.
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>>5324947
>>Just tell his chasers where he is.
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>>5325274
>>5325091
>>5325041
>>5324980
>>5324962

>Fine. You can help him.

“..Fine.” You settle with a huff–you certainly won’t turn down a reward, either. “And I can still see your hat.”
“Oop!” The hat shuffles down back into the grass just as his pursuants come around, a cavalcade of blue kimono and white headbands. You can hear the clink of chainmail beneath their robes with each step.

The man at the front of the company approaches you, his sword held high and stiff in his hands. He’s got a monster of a chin..
“You, girls. I’m Officer Nasu Agebitashi, with the Gunto Shinsengumi.” He motions for you. “A dangerous criminal should’ve passed you along the trail–very tall, low hat, strange sword. You see which way he went?”

>Ask what he did to be labeled a dangerous criminal.
>Nope. Didn’t see him.
>He’s in the grass over there.
>He kept going down the road past you.
>Write-In.
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>>5325365
>Ask what he did to be labeled a dangerous criminal.
>He’s in the grass over there.
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>>5325365
>Ask what he did to be labeled a dangerous criminal.
>He kept going down the road past you.
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>>5325365
>Ask what he did to be labeled a dangerous criminal.
>>
>>5325365
>Ask what he did to be labeled a dangerous criminal.
Gotta'know before we decide whether to side with him.
>>
>>5325365
>Ask what he did to be labeled a dangerous criminal.
>>
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>>5325528
>>5325502
>>5325409
>>5325390
>>5325384

>Ask what he did to be labeled a dangerous criminal.

"Did you say a dangerous criminal?" You echo. "Oh, that sounds so scary..! But what did he do?”
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but I’m afraid I can’t tell you that–let’s just say it’s a matter of international importance.” The officer’s eyes begin to wander down from your eyes as he speaks. “..But if it’ll stir your cockles, I can at least tell you we’re on direct orders from the daimyo himself to catch this criminal and haul him off to the capitol. That should tell you all you need to know. ”
“The daimyo ordered his capture?” Natsumi squints. “That dangerous, huh?”
“Yessir. In fact–there’s been a reward set out to bring him in.” The policeman continues. That prickles your ears. “Any citizens that can provide reputable tips that lead to his capture can earn a sum of up to 5000 yun. So–let me ask you again–did you see him pass by here, young ladies?”
“I’ll double the payment!” The samurai whispers loudly from the grass next to you. “No, wait, triple..!”

“Huh? What was that?” The Shinsegumi’s head whips over to the grass.

>Nope. That was nothing. He’s hearing things.
>Tell him that the samurai is in there.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5325549
>Tell Shinsegumi that he's hearing things.
>>
>>5325549
>Nope. That was nothing. He’s hearing things.
>>
>>5325549
>Nope. That was nothing. He’s hearing things.
>>
>>5325549
>Nope. That was nothing. He’s hearing things.
>>
>>5325549
>Tell him that the samurai is in there.

Think about it this way. Who's more trustworthy? A random criminal who probably have never seen 5000 yun in his life or the Daimyo.
>>
>>5325634
The criminal, for sure. Keep in mind that we, too, are playing a criminal.
>>
>>5325549
>Nope. That was nothing. He’s hearing things.
>>
>>5325549
>>Nope. That was nothing. He’s hearing things.
>>
>>5325549
>Nope. That was nothing. He’s hearing things.
>>
>>5325549
>>Tell him that the samurai is in there.
>>
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>>5325738
>>5325730
>>5325634
>>5325618
>>5325616
>>5325596
>>5325585
>>5325764

>Nope. That was nothing. He’s hearing things.

“Huh? Did you hear something? It’s pretty hot out here.. think it might be heatstroke?” You tilt your head and raise your voice. “And actually, sir, we did see someone like that pass by–he went running straight down the trail past us.”
“Uh–yup..!” Natsumi stutters to back you up, her words far more stiff than yours. “We sure did, sir! He was very criminal! And you definitely look like you’ve got heatstroke, yeah.”
“Hmmmm..” Nasu eyes you both up and down, chewing on his chin before he turns back to his little band in blue. “Alright! He’s still on the foot trail! And remember to wet your throat, else your brain’ll melt out your ears!”
The company of officers continue marching down the trail, steel jangling at their sides and beneath their robes. You watch them slowly disappear over the trail and into the horizon before you turn your attention back to the patch of grass.

“Oy. Criminal. Get up.” You fold your arms. “Don’t you have a reward to give us?”

“Ahaha! Yes, what a wonderful performance! Especially the fine young lady with the jug–what a great actor you are! You might just have the chops to make a living off of it.” The “samurai” stays hidden in the grass for some reason. “And, speaking of acting.. you’re traveling down this trail, aren’t you? You wouldn’t happen to be on your way to GUNTO, would you?”
“GUNTO? Nah. We’re going to JUJIRO.” Natsumi boasts before you can shut her up.
“Ah! JUJIRO! Yes, yes. They’ve got some great swordfighters there. Been down there once myself. However, there’s one stop on the way–charming little town called GUNTO. I’m staying there for the summer.” You feel like you’re talking to a rustling patch of grass right now. “They’ve got this wonderful theater district with some great performances right now–manzai, noh, kabuki.. I’m a big fan of rakugo. How about I travel down with you? I can pay you there--maybe even treat you to a performance!"

>No need to travel with him. You’ll meet him there.
>Fine. He can come along.
>How about he tells you why they call him a criminal?
>Write-In.
>>
>>5325781
>Fine. He can come along.
>How about he tells you why they call him a criminal?
>>
>>5325781
>How about he tells you why they call him a criminal?
>>
>>5325781
>Fine. He can come along.
>How about he tells you why they call him a criminal?
>>
>>5325781
>How about he tells you why they call him a criminal?

Dang I woulda voted to tell the police
already he's welching on the payment
nothing to stop him from murdering us in our sleep
>>
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>>5325817
>>5325820
>>5325830
>>5325913

>How about he tells you why they call him a criminal?

“Hey, are you trying to worm your way out of paying us?” The girl points at him, a look of suspicion on her face. “Well, you can’t outworm Lady Tomoe!”
“Yeah, you can’t outworm Lady Tomo–.. hold on, what?” You shake whatever nonsense that was out of your head. “Anyways, why don’t you tell us why they call you a ‘dangerous criminal’ first?”

“Ahaha. Please, ladies–I assure you that I plan to worm no one.” He raises his palm. “And I am no criminal–stolen nothing, killed no one. This is all just a big misunderstanding!”
“A misunderstanding? About what?” You raise a brow.

“Aha-.. well..” He smiles, breaking out in a nervous sweat. “Unfortunately, I can’t quite expound on that without revealing some intimate details, you see. All very hush-hush politics–terribly boring for you, I’m sure.”

>Fine, you can overlook that. Continue along down the road with him.
>No need to travel with him. You’ll just meet him somewhere there.
>Go for his hat.
>Attempt to charm him using your charming prowess, charmingly.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5325954
>Fine, you can overlook that. Continue along down the road with him.
>But you're taki g his hat as collateral.
>>
>>5325954
>Tell him we're not travelling with a known fugitive who won't even tell us what he's accused of, and we can always run after the Shinsegumi.
>>
>>5325954
>Go for his hat
I am sure this man is not from nippon but a filthy gaijin.
>>
>>5325954
>Fine, you can overlook that. Continue along down the road with him.
>Go for his hat
>>
>>5325954
>Attempt to charm him using your charming prowess, charmingly.
FEMININE CHARM, ACTIVATE!!!
>>
>>5325954
>Attempt to charm him using your charming prowess, charmingly.
We've been using our feminine wiles for most of our life, no sense not to use it now
>>
>>5325954
>>Fine, you can overlook that. Continue along down the road with him.
>>
>>5325954
>Go for his hat.
HAT.
>>
>>5325954
>Attempt to charm him using your charming prowess, charmingly.

Suck his dick
>>
>>5325954
>>Attempt to charm him using your charming prowess, charmingly.
>>
>>5325954
>Go for his hat.
>Attempt to charm him using your charming prowess, charmingly.
>>
>>5325781
>How about he tells you why they call him a criminal?
>Go for his hat.
>>
>>5325954
>Attempt to charm him using your charming prowess, charmingly.
>Go for his hat.
Distract him, then snatch the hat
>>
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>>5326599
>>5326435
>>5326310
>>5326151
>>5326115
>>5325987
>>5325984
>>5325980
>>5325968
>>5325959
>>5326739
>>5326742
>>5326749

>Attempt to charm him using your charming prowess, charmingly.
>Go for his hat.

“Did you say intimate details?” You attempt to slip past his iron-wall defense, slipping down your robe and affording the towering samurai a generous look down your yukata. “Well, I promise not to tell if you won’t.”
An uneasy silence falls over the foot trail. You feel a red-hot sense of deja vu.
“Uh.. are you sure you’re not the one with heat stroke, Lady Tomoe?” The girl at your side begins to laugh awkwardly as you shuffle your robe back up.
“Hm? Are you feeling hot, or..-- ah! I see.” He begins to laugh, only entrenching the staggering sense of humiliation you feel. “Haha! I see, I see. No, no, I don’t mean to laugh, really–I’m flattered–but you see, I’ve the most wonderful wife back home and I wouldn’t dare break her heart! She’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met, with such a unique laugh–”
He begins to ramble on and on about his wife. You take advantage of his distraction to knock the straw hat off from his head.
>>
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“Ah!” The samurai’s hands fly for his head, his straw hat gone and in its place a mane of red hair. Your eyes widen.

“Ah–you–.. you’re a foreigner?” You gawp as he bends down to grasp for his hat. “What–how did you..?”
“A–a.. foreigner? How did you even get in..?” Natsumi grasps for the right question.

“Ahaha! Yes, yes.. you saw right through me. You’re a clever pair.” He laughs nervously as he affixes his hat back to his head. “Miyamoto Nobunaga Masamune Yoshitsune Hideyoshi is but a useful local sobriquet–my name is Aleister Greymond and I hail from New Caudlin, a great sovereignty out west. You might say that I’m on a holiday trip to Thousand Lotus for the summer.”

>If he keeps the hat on, you’ll come with him out to Gunto.
>A foreigner in the Moralist North is a pretty serious crime. You might just have to report him to authorities.
>Ask how he even got into the country. The borders are shut tight here in the north.
>Ask why he came here. The east is pretty dull next to what you hear of the west.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5326858
>How did he get here?
>WHY is he here?
>Quick, put that hat back on before somebody sees! Let's just hurry up and get to Gunto.
>>
>>5326863
These. Our crew just gets weirder
>>
Damn it, we failed to seduce again. One of these days that technique has gotta work eventually.
>>
>>5326858
>Ask why he came here. The east is pretty dull next to what you hear of the west.
>If he keeps the hat on, you’ll come with him out to Gunto.
>>
>>5326863
Seconded
Also:
>Point out that sword of his isn't very conspicuous.
>>
>>5326858
Natsumi is the most powerful censor

>>5326863
Supporting
>>
>>5326857
>Ask why he came here. The east is pretty dull next to what you hear of the west.

>Notice how well endowed in the chest-lump 'he' appears to be
>>
>>5326858
>Ask how he even got into the country. The borders are shut tight here in the north.
>Ask why he came here. The east is pretty dull next to what you hear of the west.
>Start to feel self conscious about our looks, did we get popular in Yukakuout of pity or something?
>>
>>5326974
+1
Grab our tits questioningly.
>>
>>5326974
>>5327035
No way. We were just dealing with a snob and now a weird, married foreign man (or woman?). Shinsegumi was ogling us plenty.
>>
>>5326858
>>5326863
+1
>>
>>5326863
>>5326867
>>5326876
>>5326881
>>5326955
>>5326962
>>5326974

>How did he get here?
>WHY is he here?
>Quick, put that hat back on before somebody sees! Let's just hurry up and get to Gunto.

“How..–why are you here?” You watch the foreigner lid his hair with the straw bascinet. “Why Thousand Lotus Isle? We’re just endless fields of rice and weeds..”
“You needn’t be humble, my fair lady; Thousand Lotus Isle is beautiful!” Aleister waves proudly to the endless fields of rice and weeds around him. “Now, I’ve always been a believer in the power of travel. It broadens the mind and strengthens the body. But I must admit that I wouldn’t mind one day packing my things into a steamer and shipping out here for the rest of my life."
“What, exactly, is so exciting here?” You gawp. “Especially next to the west?”
“I’ve explored snowy mountainside mines crawling with flaming coal salamanders, crossed vast white deserts with obelisks of corrugated glass like ice, and even sailed to farflung tropical paradises with flies that eat the eyes out of your head. But out of anywhere I’ve been, Thousand Lotus has culture, identity, and tradition unlike any other.” He extolls your country’s virtues. “I haven’t been back in a few years–the war, of course–and I’ve dearly missed my summer holidays here.”
“So how did you get here..?” Natsumi frowns. “The north has shut their borders. And people don’t really cross the wall down south..”
“Aha–.. well.. let’s just say I have my ways. I’m of minor noble title back home–got quite a bit of money to put into my voyages. And quite a few passing merchant ships are willing to drop off a stowaway near the isles along their routes.” He winks. “That’s where the trouble arises. The country’s always had closed borders, of course, but never enforced to this extent. I was usually able to get away with things so long as I kept low-key. And now they’ve labeled me a criminal!”

“Yeah, well.. the daimyo’s gotten real uptight about that sort of thing. Kind of a culture war he’s waging on the south.” You mutter. “Just keep your hat on. We’ll come to GUNTO with you.”
>>
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The journey slips by quickly–perhaps because the foreigner spends most of it singing some bizarre “traditional” song from the isle you’ve never heard of. But his off-tune singing distracts you well enough from the scorching sun above, and before long the sea of weeds around you becomes paper walls and wooden structs.

GUNTO is a bit more lively than the quiet streets of HIMAWARI, with a number of colorful passersby milling about streets carts loaded with smoking food or passing in and out of towns in the ward.
“Hm.. lots of people around.” You observe–you’ve been in and out of all sorts of towns in the countryside for half a year and you’ve never seen one as lively as the town is now. “Is something happening?”

“How astute of you. There’s a host of popular entertainers performing in town right now, and local vendors are taking advantage of the tourists by taking their shops outside–you might call it an unofficial festival of sorts.” Aleister towers above the rest of the crowd like a sore thumb. “Now, I could take you to my residence for your reward, of course–but how about I treat you first? A free, hot cooked breakfast, or one of the wonderful shows? You must be tired of packed food!”

You are hungry, and sick of the pickled plums and broiled fish and rice, but still, he is a wanted criminal right now.

>Just take you to his residence. You’d like your reward now.
>You can pop in for a quick meal. Been a while since you’ve eaten all you can eat.
>You wouldn’t mind some entertainment besides Natsumi’s blathering.
>Point out that sword of his isn't very conspicuous.
>Ask Natsumi if you’re ugly. Your usual charm isn’t working.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5327044
>“I’ve explored snowy mountainside mines crawling with flaming coal salamanders, crossed vast white deserts with obelisks of corrugated glass like ice, and even sailed to farflung tropical paradises with flies that eat the eyes out of your head. But out of anywhere I’ve been, Thousand Lotus has culture, identity, and tradition unlike any other.” He extolls your country’s virtues. “I haven’t been back in a few years–the war, of course–and I’ve dearly missed my summer holidays here.”
Oh for fuck's sake, it's a goddamn weeb.

>>5327045
>Just take you to his residence. You’d like your reward now.
>Ask Natsumi to go gather information, we'll meet up back there once we've gotten the reward.
>>
>>5327049
Oh and I forgot that:
>Point out that sword of his isn't very conspicuous.
>Ask why he doesn't switch to a more "classic" style of blade if he's tired of gathering attention
>>
>>5327045
>Ask Natsumi if you’re ugly. Your usual charm isn’t working
>>
>>5327045
>Ask Natsumi if you’re ugly. Your usual charm isn’t working.
>You can pop in for a quick meal. Been a while since you’ve eaten all you can eat.
>>
>>5327045
>You can pop in for a quick meal. Been a while since you’ve eaten all you can eat.
>Point out that sword of his isn't very conspicuous.
>>
>>5327045
>You can pop in for a quick meal. Been a while since you’ve eaten all you can eat.
>You wouldn’t mind some entertainment besides Natsumi’s blathering.
>Point out that sword of his isn't very conspicuous.
>>
>>5327045
>Point out that sword of his isn't very conspicuous.
>You can pop in for a quick meal. Been a while since you’ve eaten all you can eat.
>>
>>5327045
>You can pop in for a quick meal. Been a while since you’ve eaten all you can eat.
Cant turn down free food.
>>
>>5327045
>>You wouldn’t mind some entertainment besides Natsumi’s blathering.
>>Point out that sword of his isn't very conspicuous.
>>Ask Natsumi if you’re ugly. Your usual charm isn’t working.
>>
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>>5327159
>>5327111
>>5327087
>>5327063
>>5327059
>>5327053
>>5327051
>>5327049
>>5327205

>You can pop in for a quick meal. Been a while since you’ve eaten all you can eat.
>Point out that sword of his isn't very conspicuous.

“...Fine. We can pop in for a quick meal or two.” You settle on his offer in spite of the danger–you yearn for deep-fried cutlets, boiled prawns, cold sake, and hot salt ramen, not the vinegar-drenched rice you’ve tided yourself over on. “But it has to be quick, alright? No drinks. And we’ll get it to go.”

[...]

Your little band sits at an outdoors seating arrangement by a local izakaya, a pint of fresh sake in your gut and a menu set out before you. Although your face is warm with drink and summer heat, the canopy’s shade keeps you cool. You thought it best to grab a seat if you’re to eat–that’s only proper, after all. And maybe just a few drinks to ease your nerves. Just a few.
“..That sword of yours isn’t very conspicuous. I’ve never seen a samurai wield anything like that. Why’s it so big?” You point out, a little less grumpy now that your throat is wet. “Why dont’cha just get a katana or something? That thing’s too big to be called a sword. Too big, too thick, too heavy, too rough.. it looks lika’ slab of iron.”
“Ah, this? Yes, I know–’tis a shame! I would love nothing more than to wield a katana.” Aleister sighs, his head low. “This piddly thing is a kind of sword from out west, a broadsword. I keep it for self-defense–you know, beating back bandits and fighting monsters and the like. I tried to wield a katana, but I’m not fit to make use of their form.. tend to break them. I’m afraid western sword fighting is rough, heavy, not at all elegant like eastern sword fighting.”

“Ah! Speaking of samurai, Lady Tomoe–” Natsumi begins, but you cut her off quick.
“How about our orders?” You examine the menu. “How about–..”

>Order lots. You’re someone of high stature and you deserve this.
>Order light. You need to be quick.
>Get more drinks.
>Drunkenly ask Natsumi if you’re ugly. Your usual charm isn’t working.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5327223
>Order lots. You’re someone of high stature and you deserve this.
>>
>>5327223
>>5327228

Oh, and:
>Drunkenly make passes at other guys there, to prove we've still got it
>>
>>5327223
>Order light. You need to be quick.
>Drunkenly ask Natsumi if you’re ugly. Your usual charm isn’t working
>>
>>5327228
>>5327229
+1 lol
>>
>>5327223
>Order lots. You’re someone of high stature and you deserve this.
>>
>>5327223
>Order lots. You’re someone of high stature and you deserve this.
>Get more drinks.
>Drunkenly ask Natsumi if you’re ugly. Your usual charm isn’t working.
>>
>>5327223
>Drunkenly ask Natsumi if you’re ugly. Your usual charm isn’t working.

Flash our tits at her and ask if they’re saggy
>>
>>5327413
Please no
>>
>>5327361
+1
>>
>>5327361
Seconding
>>
>>5327223
>>5327361
+1
>>
>>5327361
This
>>
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>>5327228
>>5327229
>>5327237
>>5327242
>>5327315
>>5327361
>>5327413
>>5327422
>>5327427
>>5327440
>>5327516

>Order lots. You’re someone of high stature and you deserve this.
>Get more drinks.
>Drunkenly ask Natsumi if you’re ugly. Your usual charm isn’t working.

“I’ll have the tempura with the cod drippings, and the curry udon, and the horse sashimi, and the deep fried takoyaki..” You list off from the menu. You’ve been hard at work and you deserve this. “..And more sake, and some chūhai, and the awamori. And tea for the kid.”

[...]

Your head droops low about the table, tracing sluggish circles above the table. An hour just slipped you by in a haze of fried cutlets and boiled rice. You took to the feast with gusto, cleaning your plate and marinating in drink, much to the amusement of those around you.
“H-hey. Natsumi.” You flush, your voice low and a little slurry. You lower your head. “Am I.. ugly? You know. Do you just follow me around for fun? And be honest.”
“No way, Lady Tomoe! You’re probably the second prettiest woman I’ve ever seen! Actually, well, maybe third.. But still!” Natsume salutes you, her tsuchinoko on the table now. “I don’t think people just appreciate you for your face, Lady Tomoe. There’s lots to like about you. Why would your looks matter?”
“Because they’re all I have.” Your shoulders sink.

You’re drawn out from your stew of self-consciousness to a table nearby. An old man with a cane has pulled aside one of the waitresses, pointing out your table and whispering about something.

>Get up. Time to go.
>Confront old man.
>Stay at the table.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5327849
>Place your hand upon Aleister's 'manly' chest in your slight drunkenness.
>Get up. Time to go.
>>
>>5327849
>Get up. Time to go.
>>
>>5327853
+1
>>
>>5327853
These.
>>
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Also, will resume posting tomorrow! You can post some drawing requests in the meantime if you want.
>>
>>5327909
Tomoe and Tomoko stand-off. With their titties pressed against each other while they glare.
>>
>>5327849
>Get up. Time to go.
>>
>>5327909
Tomoe and Natsume in modern attire.
>>
>>5327909
A crossover between any of your works, this one included! I wanna see them shenanigans.
>>
>>5327909
Tomoe playing minecraft.
>>
>>5327909
Tomoe tossing the plushie to the kappa while natsumi cries.
>>
>>5327849
>>Place your hand upon Aleister's 'manly' chest in your slight drunkenness.

>>5327909
Tomoko as a harem queen
>>
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>>5327929
A random office lady bears a resemblance to a famous idol, takes advantage of that to get free food.
>>
>>5327976
Natsume is entirely too smug, I love it.
What would their respective job be in this case?
>>
>>5327849
>drunkenly tell Natsumi to never rely on her looks alone in life.
>Confront old man.
If we can't count on our body to get what we want we might as well lean into being a samurai.

>>5327909
BL as Tomoko, Victoria as Natsumi, Casper as the professor, and Scruffy as Aleister
>>
>>5327909
Drawing requests? Well, may as well give a full scenario that totally isn't a spoiler for something else.

Tomoko as a old timey pilot who just so happens to look like a new recruit from the colonies that had an...accident after a long bar chat and who's place they took to evade law enforcement.
>>
>>5327853
Supporting
>>
>>5327909
Tomorrow and Tomoko having a semi-lewd to lewd confrontation.

Also, Tomoe finally finding and teaching a gaggle of Princesses her GLORIOUS sand SUPERIOR EASTERN CULTURE!
>>
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>>5327919
face-off

>>5328020
natsumi is a student, tomoko is a dead-eyed OL

>>5328043
what lol
>>
>>5328213
Tomoe's robot friend was remembered!
>>
>>5328213
Duel of the fats
>>
>>5327909
Alternate reality Tomoko where her family didn't die and she was able to dedicate her life to mastering kenjutsu.
>>
Is this QM the same guy who does those suffering blind girl comics?
>>
>>5328383
Yeah Sojourner made those too. He gets around huh
>>
>>5328393
The washed out color pallet and outlines are just a little too similar.
>>
>>5328405
It's true, they're definitely by the same artist
>>
>>5328213
There is a certain quest involving magnificent men and women in their flying machines. With this in mind, I think you can get why I say spoiler for something else.
>>
>>5328383
>>5328393
Haremvania has been Soj this whole time??
>>
>>5328436
Sojourner rage quit /qst/ awhile ago, this is the Hikikomori QM
>>
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>>5328463
Telling the truth is banned here. This is liar country. Lies only
>>
>>5328463
I THOUGHT the style was noticeably different. Also: the quests finished and the QM never threw a weird salty shitfit.
>>
>>5328465
Are we ever going to get back to Raphaels perspective or was that just going to be a one off thing?
>>
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>>5328476
Wow that was ages ago, thanks for reminding me
I'll have to see how much free time I have after this semester, but if it's wanted I could see what the horned fella and his elf are up to. Got a lot of stuff to get back to round these parts. Might finish up Tomboy GF before that
>>
>>5328476
>Raphaels perspective
That was the one with the horny Detective that had Disco Elysium schizophrenia right? I enjoyed that one a lot kek
>>
>>5328476
What about MEAT quest?
>>
>>5328491
Patrician's taste
>>
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>>5327853
>>5327877
>>5327892
>>5327894
>>5327921
>>5327966
>>5328022
>>5328107

>Place your hand upon Aleister's 'manly' chest in your slight drunkenness.
>Get up. Time to go.

You stand with a start from your seat. You know when it’s best to bow out, after all. But still stuck in a murk of drunken revelry, you trip as you rise, toppling over a few plates and stumbling over your own leftovers. You nearly face plant into a bowl of cold noodles before your hand finds purchase on the foreign man’s yukata and you tug yourself back upward. And beneath the cloth, you feel.. hard, cold steel. A chestplate.
“Woah, there, my lady. Is something the matter..?” Aleister scans the restaurant before his eyes widen. “Ah! Him. I see. Yes, well, we’d better leave, should we not? Not to worry! I’ve the perfect place to hide, let things cool down a little.”
The foreign man throws a pouch full of coin onto the table–the bag more fat with coin than you think necessary–and breaks from the restaurant with haste. You might feel the urge to protest, that he ought to just pay you your due reward and let you continue your journey east, but you’ve not the wherewithal to actually say it right now. Your face is still hot and your feet still uneven. Instead, you just follow after the noble down into the city streets, the girl close at your side.

[...]

You sit in a dim theater, the seat beneath you stiff on your butt and the air dry in your mouth. The gaijin thought it best to hide at the performance of some manzai comedy duo, a duo of old men spouting off rapidfire jokes for a snoring audience. You glance to your companions. Natsumi looks half-awake, her eyes half-lidded and drooling. Aleister appears rapt with attention.
“Ah.. Thousand Lotus comedy is so nuanced..” He murmurs, a hand on his chin.

>Talk to Natsumi.
>Talk to Aleister.
>Watch the performance.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5328846
>Watch the performance.
>>
>>5328846

>Watch the performance.
>>
>>5328846
>Wander off in search of snacks and alcohol.
>>
>>5328846
>Talk to Aleister.
is weeaboo a term yet? because he is one
>>
>>5328846
>keep an eye out for suspicious people and activity.
>Suggest we get a bath once we are done, to avoid anyone who might be following us.
>>
>>5328947
The timeframe and exact nature of the world seem to differ from real life history, even aside from the yokai.
>>
>>5328846
>>Watch the performance.
>>
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>>5328882
>>5328901
>>5328925
>>5328947
>>5328967
>>5329074

>Watch the performance.

Your eyes wander to the onstage performance, where the duo–brothers, apparently–exchange tedious rapidfire banter.

“How are we doing today? Just beautiful day outside, huh?” The shorter, stouter one greets the near-dead audience. He turns to the one in green. “Right, so, we should introduce ourselves?”
“Right! My name’s Ryuji.. and we’re the Morio Bros!” The taller one bows his head. “I’m Ryuji. Looks like we’ve got a full tonight, huh? While we were on our way here–”
“Not so fast, idiot, I’ve still got to introduce myself.” The fatter one slaps his brother’s arm before he turns back to the audience. “I’m Morio.”

You have to turn your head away from it. You feel like your eyes are about to fall out of your head. This is awful.

>Strike up conversation with Natsumi.
>Speak to Aleister.
>Get up. Look for the concessions stand for snacks.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5329118
>Get up. Look for the concessions stand for snacks.
I want to buy the overly expensive hot dog.
>>
>>5329118
>>5329118
>Get up. Look for the concessions stand for snacks.
Tea will settle our stomach and help invigorate us so we don't fall asleep.
>>
>>5329118
>Speak to Aleister.
>>
>>5329118
>Speak to Aleister.
>>
>>5329118
>Speak to Aleister.

Mama-mia!
>>
>>5329118
>Speak to Aleister.
>>
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>>5329270
>>5329256
>>5329163
>>5329133
>>5329128
>>5329125

>Speak to Aleister.

You glance to the nobleman, who sits upright and attentive in his seat. He follows the duo’s act with the consideration of a calligraphist with brushstroke. “Do you actually like this junk?” You take another swig off your jug.
“Why, of course! I consider manzai an art--it's a precarious balancing act of comedy with painstaking care taken toward timing, delivery, tone, their counterpart.. I once tried my hand at an act back home with a friend of mine. It’s a great deal more difficult than it looks.” Aleister observes. “To see a live performance after so many years away! What a treat.”
“You really like this country, huh?” You glance back to the performance. “That much more than your home?”
“Why, of course. They say distance deepenes heartache, and New Caudlin is an ocean away from the Thousand Lotus Isle.” He sighs, a melancholic smile on his face. “To tell the truth.. when I first heard of war here, I was deeply saddened–not just because I would be barred from a visit for some time, but because I realized that the orient was no flawless paradise. I was hopelessly naive back then. This is a real place of flesh and blood, beholden to war and death, just like the west.”
“..Yeah.” Your eyes slip down.

“But even yet, I still love your country. Your great works of art, your literature, culture, warriors.. they’re unlike any other.” He beams. “And I can only hope that my ancestors will one day live in a world where they won’t have to slink about beneath a straw hat to enjoy it as I do. Maybe in another century..”

>Ask about the West. You know so little about it.
>Ask what his life was like in New Caudlin.
>Strike up conversation with Natsumi.
>Get up. Look for the concessions stand for snacks.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5329319
>Ask about the West
>>
>>5329319
>Ask about the West. You know so little about it.
>Ask what his life was like in New Caudlin.
>>
>>5329319
>Ask about whappened to Old Caudlin
>>
>>5329319
>Ask about the West. You know so little about it.
>>
>>5329319
>Ask about the West. You know so little about it.
>>
>>5329319
>Ask if he's heard of anyone named Yoji Yokozuna in the west
>>
>>5329319
>Ask about the West. You know so little about it.
>>
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>>5329339
>>5329352
>>5329413
>>5329431
>>5329492
>>5329752
>>5329809

>Ask about the West. You know so little about it.

“So.. what is it like? New Caudlin. The West.” You lean your head back against the seat’s backrest. You might call it sentiment for what could have been.
“The western continent, hmm? Ah.. well, as much love I have for my motherland, I can’t very well say it measures up to the orient.” Aleister rests a hand against his cheek. “New Caudlin borders Ophelie and the sea. We’ve vast stone walls, grey and heavy, that barricade us from one another and from nature. There are those with broad hats who deal in magic, warriors in steel plate so heavy they’d sink in seawater.. and we’ve begun work on simple automata.”
“Yeah. We’ve got automata here, too.” You think to the war karakuris the capitol deploys at battlegrounds–dolls of porcelain and clockwork that tear through flesh like hot butter. “What about what we don’t have?”
“Hmmm.. ah! In the west, we walk side-by-side with species beside humans. You have your yokai, of course, but you live in separate realms.” He snaps his fingers. “There are men that walk at half the height of humans, with hairier hinds and forelimbs. They tend toward gluttony. There are men like your oni–mountains of muscle and hair, horns that sprout from their heads. And pale men of the night, with bat-like wings and fangs that marinate in blood.”
“What, you think I’m some dumb country hick? That’s not real.” You scoff. “What do you actually have out west?”
“It’s the truth, my fair lady!

Your train of thought is cut short by the shuttering of a door behind you. You glance up to see the same old man from the restaurant before, hobbling along on his cane down the theater aisles and nearing you.

>Get up. Time to go again.
>Confront the old man yourself. Maybe you can distract him.
>Sit still. Maybe he won’t see you if you’re perfectly still.
>Throw something at him.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5329974
>Confront the old man yourself. Maybe you can distract him.
>>
>>5329974
>Sit still. Maybe he won’t see you if you’re perfectly still.
>>
>>5329974
>Confront the old man yourself. Maybe you can distract him.
>>
>>5329974
>Confront the old man yourself. Maybe you can distract him.
>>
>>5329974
>Confront the old man yourself. Maybe you can distract him.
>>
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>>5330051
>>5330058
>>5330068
>>5330071
>>5330224

“‘Scuse me.” You rip yourself free from your seat. “Gotta go to the bathroom.”
“Ah, well, be back soon.” The nobleman warns you as you ease past the snoring kid. “You’ll miss the punchline if you tarry! Should be just another ten minutes or so..”

You sidle up the theater stairs, careful not to trip over your own feet, and approach the old coot. You hope to avoid a scene, but..
“Ah! You, there. The one spilling out of her dress.” His moustache bristles at the sight of you. “I know I saw you at the restaurant with that boy!"

>Engage in close quarters combat with an elderly man.
>Convince him that you’re not actually that person, but her twin.
>Try to talk him out of looking the other way.
>Flee.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5330268
>SWING THE SAKE BOTTLE AT HIS HEAD
>>
>>5330351
+1 we don’t negotiate with terrorists.
>>
>>5330268
>>5330351
+1
>>
>>5330268
>CQC
Baka no hentai, begone!
>>
>>5330268
>Flirt shamelessly to distract him
>>
>>5330551
This first, then when he’s off guard >>5330351
>>
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>>5330557
>>5330551
>>5330455
>>5330388
>>5330383
>>5330351

>SWING THE SAKE BOTTLE AT HIS HEAD

You think, hard–..just have to remember some of the basics of CQC..
“Now, what are you–” The old man begins before you crack him along the side of the head with the sake bottle. The jug–although half empty now–still packs a stiff enough punch to knock the old man down into the theater wall. He groans, lying splayed out along the aisle steps and gingerly rubbing the sore spot. “B-..bah! Just what the hell are you doing..?! I’m trying to help Master Aleister, you halfwit..!”
“Just what is going on here?” A new voice cuts into your conversation. Your head whips back to see a mountain of a man before you all at once, a caterpillar of a mustache flared out along his lips and his kimono stretched to burst. A squadron of men in similar dress file behind the walrus. “Ugh. She reeks of sake. Nasu, take care of this. Rest of you, we’ve got more important business to attend to.”

“Right away, Chief Hokoroi.” The man with the eggplant chin peers out from behind the leader. “Sad to see an unprovoked attack on a poor old man in Gunto..”
“Hmph.” Hokoroi grunts, shoving past you in disdain. “Let’s see if the rumors of the rat here are true.”

>Protest. The old man came onto you or something!
>Let them know you can tell them where the foreigner is if they let you go.
>Shout at Aleister to get away.
>Go quietly.
>Write-In.
>>
>>5330695
>Protest. The old man came onto you or something!
>>
>>5330695
>Protest. The old man came onto you or something!
He talked about our bubbling melons. Unforgivable
>>
>>5330695
>Protest. The old man came onto you or something!
>He alleged that we were a Oiran! The indignity!
>>
>>5330704
Support
>>
>>5330695
>>5330704
+1
>>
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>>5330701
>>5330703
>>5330704
>>5330712
>>5330730

>Protest. The old man came onto you or something!
>He alleged that we were a Oiran! The indignity!

“Ah–..hey! Now, hey, hold on, wait–..” You pull back from the man’s rope cuffs. “That old man came onto me. Yeah! He blabbered about some weird stuff, called me an oiran.. started to get handsy, so I hit him. How’s that a crime?!”
“Hmmm.” Nasu leans in, his eyes narrow. He glances back down to the old man, who still moans on the stairs. “That really true?”

“Feh. Don’t fall for that crock, Nasu.” Hokoroi sticks a fat finger in your face. “Just look at her. Get a whiff off her breath and you might get a little tipsy yourself. She got plastered, stumbled out here, and smacked an old man up the head because he got in her way. Now get her out of here before things get ugly.”

Your face reddens even more in frustration.

>Let them know you can tell them where the foreigner is if they let you go in return.
>Shout at Aleister to get away.
>Try to (subtly) grab their attention and alert them of the Shinsegumi.
>Quietly come with them.
>Write-In.
>>