LANDING IMMINENT - WAKING SOULUPDATING SENSORY READINGS...SPIRITUAL ENERGY: Capable of supporting space-faring life.ATMOSPHERE: StableMAGNETIC FIELD: StableGRAVITY: AverageRADIATION: LowWATER: Present in oceans.FLORA: Present.FAUNA: Likely present.INTELLIGENT LIFE: Unknown.ESTIMATED TECHNOLOGICAL ACTIVITY: Unknown.CHOOSING LANDING SITE. LANDING IN 5 MINUTES... PREPARE TO TAKE OVER CONTROLS IF NEEDED...EXHAUSTING SPIRITUAL ENERGY TO ADJUST APPROACH VECTOR. APPROACH VECTOR OPTIMAL. SLOWING VESSEL...SCANS DETECT STRUCTURES CREATED BY INTELLIGENT LIFE. TECHNOLOGICAL ACTIVITY MODERATE. ADJUSTING LANDING PATH. TOUCHDOWN IMMINENT... And with that, a glint of silver tumbles through the crown of a tree and falls to the ground with a soft thump. An unexceptional ring lies on the ground, stained with dirt. Part of a fleet of almost endless numbers of such rings, the final hope of a civilization millions, hundreds of millions of years gone, having finally found intelligent life. Intelligent life to pass down their everything to. Not just their history, culture, and technology, but their hopes, dreams, and fears too. All this to leave a remnant of themselves behind and to force the uncaring universe to remember what once was.Whether future generations will consider this encounter to be a blessing or a catastrophe is impossible to know.---You are conscious, but your mind is fuzzy. You can scarcely remember your purpose. You... need to be picked up? Yes, you need to be picked up. Your shell is easily made, but immobile.>Send the spiritual energy left in the device into the environment. Attract notice. You can always absorb more.>Go back to sleep. Someone will come, eventually.
What follows are the tales of three civilizations from among the endless sea of stars that have all met their end. You hail from one of them, with your own unique desire and defining trait, beyond passing on your civilizations' legacy. The others, perhaps you just imagined.>There once existed the Apoth, large insectoid creatures that operated via two brains in parallel. One brain of their own, private to themselves, and another connected to a hivemind. With this structure, the Apoth were naturally friendly and enjoyed working in teams. Each hivemind was led by a king or queen with the ability to cultivate in order to obtain the strength and computational ability necessary to manage and protect a large hive. Eventually, the Apoth flew as far as they could fly and, unable to reach beyond their galaxy, realized that their end would eventually come. But the Apoth were smart. They poured their all into finding a way to survive - into finding a new hope, new friends, and a new hive![Desire: A new hive. Personality: Naive optimist.]>Once upon a time, there existed a man who searched for the most forbidden knowledge, seeking to overcome nature and find the path to become one with the heavens. His quest was a respectable one, and so many people gathered around him - eventually his entire species. They embarked upon a work called The Work, which would consume tens of thousands of years and many billions of souls. Ruins were excavated, experiments were performed, and data was compiled. Planets were hollowed out and made into great data centers and a civilization transformed. All of this to find the one cultivation technique that could minimize the time and energy needed to reach maximal power, one that could create a god. Eventually, The Work was completed to a standard The Workers deemed satisfactory, and the technique was given to all, as all had worked on it. Bottlenecks and struggles in absorbing spiritual energy disappeared, and everyone was able to reach as high a realm as their surroundings allowed. The Workers became strong, but their environment became barren. In an attempt to remedy things many voluntarily gave up their lives, dedicating all resources possible to creating one mighty cultivator, one who could become one with the heavens and protect and archive The Work. He was created, and he did have great power, but it wasn't enough. With what remained, he created a mighty fleet of vessels and separated up the endless data containing The Work among them, bit by bit. Separate, they may be useless, but perhaps if enough of them could gather together once again, they could recreate The Work, more perfectly than before.[Desire: To recreate the great work. Personality: Obsessive archivist.]
>>5516283>On a scorching hot planet covered in volcanic activity appeared the Galamantra, parasitic in nature and their host an intelligent species on their home planet. Eventually they gained intelligence themselves, and after a bloody civil war gained control of their host species. From there they developed rapidly. New and improved host bodies were biologically engineered - the bigger the better. In time, the Galamantra split into castes. A lower caste, to control smaller hosts and perform menial tasks. A higher caste, to strengthen their souls through cultivation and manipulate stronger and stronger hosts. A single phrase defined the relationship between the two: "Survival of the fittest." At the end of their civilization's lifecycle, the strongest of their species were astronomically sized, with the ability to survive in space and doom planets. However, pure strength could not save them from having used up all their reachable resources, and after a period of internal turmoil, they began to dwindle. In the end they determined that their only chance left to migrate to space at large was to return to their parasitic nature, relying upon another civilization to pass part of themselves on.[Desire: New, stronger flesh. Personality: Survival of the fittest.]
>>5516281>Send the spiritual energy left in the device into the environment. Attract notice. You can always absorb more.>>5516283>There once existed the Apoth, large insectoid creatures that operated via two brains in parallel. One brain of their own, private to themselves, and another connected to a hivemind. With this structure, the Apoth were naturally friendly and enjoyed working in teams. Each hivemind was led by a king or queen with the ability to cultivate in order to obtain the strength and computational ability necessary to manage and protect a large hive. Eventually, the Apoth flew as far as they could fly and, unable to reach beyond their galaxy, realized that their end would eventually come. But the Apoth were smart. They poured their all into finding a way to survive - into finding a new hope, new friends, and a new hive!
>>5516281>Send the spiritual energy left in the device into the environment. Attract notice. You can always absorb more.>On a scorching hot planet covered in volcanic activity appeared the Galamantra, parasitic in nature and their host an intelligent species on their home planet. Eventually they gained intelligence themselves, and after a bloody civil war gained control of their host species. From there they developed rapidly. New and improved host bodies were biologically engineered - the bigger the better. In time, the Galamantra split into castes. A lower caste, to control smaller hosts and perform menial tasks. A higher caste, to strengthen their souls through cultivation and manipulate stronger and stronger hosts. A single phrase defined the relationship between the two: "Survival of the fittest." At the end of their civilization's lifecycle, the strongest of their species were astronomically sized, with the ability to survive in space and doom planets. However, pure strength could not save them from having used up all their reachable resources, and after a period of internal turmoil, they began to dwindle. In the end they determined that their only chance left to migrate to space at large was to return to their parasitic nature, relying upon another civilization to pass part of themselves on.Reading some of Er Gen's work RN and I can appreciate a more out-there cultivation quest.
>>5516283>Send the spiritual energy left in the device into the environment. Attract notice. You can always absorb more.>Once upon a time, there existed a man who searched for the most forbidden knowledge, seeking to overcome nature and find the path to become one with the heavens. His quest was a respectable one, and so many people gathered around him - eventually his entire species. They embarked upon a work called The Work, which would consume tens of thousands of years and many billions of souls. Ruins were excavated, experiments were performed, and data was compiled. Planets were hollowed out and made into great data centers and a civilization transformed. All of this to find the one cultivation technique that could minimize the time and energy needed to reach maximal power, one that could create a god. Eventually, The Work was completed to a standard The Workers deemed satisfactory, and the technique was given to all, as all had worked on it. Bottlenecks and struggles in absorbing spiritual energy disappeared, and everyone was able to reach as high a realm as their surroundings allowed. The Workers became strong, but their environment became barren. In an attempt to remedy things many voluntarily gave up their lives, dedicating all resources possible to creating one mighty cultivator, one who could become one with the heavens and protect and archive The Work. He was created, and he did have great power, but it wasn't enough. With what remained, he created a mighty fleet of vessels and separated up the endless data containing The Work among them, bit by bit. Separate, they may be useless, but perhaps if enough of them could gather together once again, they could recreate The Work, more perfectly than before.
>>5516281>Send the spiritual energy left in the device into the environment. Attract notice. You can always absorb more.>There once existed the Apoth, large insectoid creatures that operated via two brains in parallel. One brain of their own, private to themselves, and another connected to a hivemind. With this structure, the Apoth were naturally friendly and enjoyed working in teams. Each hivemind was led by a king or queen with the ability to cultivate in order to obtain the strength and computational ability necessary to manage and protect a large hive. Eventually, the Apoth flew as far as they could fly and, unable to reach beyond their galaxy, realized that their end would eventually come. But the Apoth were smart. They poured their all into finding a way to survive - into finding a new hope, new friends, and a new hive!Oh hey, new cultivation quest.
>>5516283>Send the spiritual energy left in the device into the environment. Attract notice. You can always absorb more.>On a scorching hot planet covered in volcanic activity appeared the Galamantra, parasitic in nature and their host an intelligent species on their home planet. Eventually they gained intelligence themselves, and after a bloody civil war gained control of their host species. From there they developed rapidly. New and improved host bodies were biologically engineered - the bigger the better. In time, the Galamantra split into castes. A lower caste, to control smaller hosts and perform menial tasks. A higher caste, to strengthen their souls through cultivation and manipulate stronger and stronger hosts. A single phrase defined the relationship between the two: "Survival of the fittest." At the end of their civilization's lifecycle, the strongest of their species were astronomically sized, with the ability to survive in space and doom planets. However, pure strength could not save them from having used up all their reachable resources, and after a period of internal turmoil, they began to dwindle. In the end they determined that their only chance left to migrate to space at large was to return to their parasitic nature, relying upon another civilization to pass part of themselves on.honestly all three are cool sounding, and don't mind which one wins
>>5516283>Send the spiritual energy left in the device into the environment. Attract notice. You can always absorb more>Once upon a time, there existed a man who searched for the most forbidden knowledge, seeking to overcome nature and find the path to become one with the heavens. His quest was a respectable one, and so many people gathered around him - eventually his entire species. They embarked upon a work called The Work, which would consume tens of thousands of years and many billions of souls. Ruins were excavated, experiments were performed, and data was compiled. Planets were hollowed out and made into great data centers and a civilization transformed. All of this to find the one cultivation technique that could minimize the time and energy needed to reach maximal power, one that could create a god. Eventually, The Work was completed to a standard The Workers deemed satisfactory, and the technique was given to all, as all had worked on it. Bottlenecks and struggles in absorbing spiritual energy disappeared, and everyone was able to reach as high a realm as their surroundings allowed. The Workers became strong, but their environment became barren. In an attempt to remedy things many voluntarily gave up their lives, dedicating all resources possible to creating one mighty cultivator, one who could become one with the heavens and protect and archive The Work. He was created, and he did have great power, but it wasn't enough. With what remained, he created a mighty fleet of vessels and separated up the endless data containing The Work among them, bit by bit. Separate, they may be useless, but perhaps if enough of them could gather together once again, they could recreate The Work, more perfectly than before.
>>5516281You are conscious, but your mind is fuzzy. You can scarcely remember your purpose. You... need to be picked up? Yes, you need to be picked up. Your shell is easily made, but immobile.>Send the spiritual energy left in the device into the environment. Attract notice. You can always absorb more.>>5516283What follows are the tales of three civilizations from among the endless sea of stars that have all met their end. You hail from one of them, with your own unique desire and defining trait, beyond passing on your civilizations' legacy. The others, perhaps you just imagined.>There once existed the Apoth, large insectoid creatures that operated via two brains in parallel. One brain of their own, private to themselves, and another connected to a hivemind. With this structure, the Apoth were naturally friendly and enjoyed working in teams. Each hivemind was led by a king or queen with the ability to cultivate in order to obtain the strength and computational ability necessary to manage and protect a large hive. Eventually, the Apoth flew as far as they could fly and, unable to reach beyond their galaxy, realized that their end would eventually come. But the Apoth were smart. They poured their all into finding a way to survive - into finding a new hope, new friends, and a new hive![Desire: A new hive. Personality: Naive optimist.]
>>5516308 >>5516368 >>5516392 >>5516527 >>5516529 >>5516606 >>5516666You don't want to go back to sleep. It scares you. You will mobilize what spiritual energy is left in order to draw attention.A moment later, a cone of spiritual energy shoots forth from the ring, dissolving into the heavens above. The leaves nearby are scattered and the treetops shaken, an unfortunate looking avian crashing to the ground nearby. It is not what you are looking for, however. If there is intelligent life nearby, particularly life that can detect spiritual energy, then it should be coming. Hopefully.It is scarcely a unit of time before you return to worrying. It can't be helped. When you were sent out, hope was distant, and your chances of surviving perhaps one in a billion. It is easy to throw your worries away when you feel that you're giving up your life. But with hope of a new life, hope of reviving your people close, you naturally ponder the what-ifs, how things can still go wrong.But before long, you see something that alleviates your worries. Through the device's sensors, a bipedal creature can be seen approaching. It is roughly four antenna high, with a thin pelt of black hair densest around its cranium. Covering its torso and limbs are what appear to be manufactured garments. Uncommon among your people, but a sign of intellect regardless. Even more promising is a sharp tool you see fastened to its garments. It is shaped out of metal! Metal! Metalworking is a sign of not just intellect, but civilization! It is almost certain that this is intelligent life!The creature approaches slowly, examining the area closely with its visual organs as it does so. A series of utterances can be detected from its cranium in the form of acoustic waves. Unlikely to be echolocation. Training suggests acoustic wave based communication. Eventually the creature passes near you. But you are too small, and it is unnoticing. You must draw attention once more.You expend a small amount of your soul's energy to forcefully gather spiritual energy and send it out. The leaves near you are sent flying, and the creature's visual organs focus on you. It reaches out with one of its appendages. 「えぇ?何これ?指輪?」 You cannot decipher the creature's acoustic waves.A great warmth can be felt as the creature's flesh rubs against your casing. Not of the literal kind, although you can detect temperature. No, the warmth of mind against mind, that you have not felt for so long. Through physical connection, a mental one can be formed, even if the creature lacks the ability to properly communicate. Instinctively, you share your feelings.Joy. Overwhelming joy.You are immediately dropped. The creature shows signs of fear. No no no no no no. You wish to tell the small creature that there is nothing to fear, but without a connection it is for naught. Instead, it just stands a mere step away, staring at you.
>>5516747Just as you're considering what you can do to remedy the situation, it picks you up once more. 「気のせいか。。。?」 This time you restrain your thoughts, stopping them from transmitting. You do not want to scare the creature. For now, you will only observe.While you observe the creature, it observes you. It turns you over in its upper appendage and views your markings. They do contain some information about your purpose, but mainly exist to draw interest from local wildlife. It seems they are working.Several units later, your sensors pick up another bipedal creature. It is far off in the distance, barely visible through the trees, but approaching quickly. The newcomer's speed indicates that unlike this creature, which you sense almost no spiritual energy within, it is likely to be utilizing spiritual energy in some form. A warrior of the same race, perhaps?More important than the newcomer's place in these creatures' society, though, is the hurry it is in. If it can sense spiritual energy, then it is likely that it has come for you.>Notify this creature of the newcomer's approach, so that it may conceal your presence.>Tell the creature to run. It is some distance from where you appeared, and the newcomer is a ways away. Fleeing is still possible.>Stay silent. What happens will happen, and a stronger partner could be beneficial.>Write-in
>>5516748>Tell the creature to run. It is some distance from where you appeared, and the newcomer is a ways away. Fleeing is still possible.Save Fren! Protect Fren!
>>5516748>Tell the creature to run. It is some distance from where you appeared, and the newcomer is a ways away. Fleeing is still possible.Run fast
>>5516748>>Notify this creature of the newcomer's approach, so that it may conceal your presence.
>>5516748>Notify this creature of the newcomer's approach, so that it may conceal your presence.
>>5516392>>Send the spiritual energy left in the device into the environment. Attract notice. You can always absorb more.+1 Support
>>5516748>Notify this creature of the newcomer's approach, so that it may conceal your presence.>Tell the creature to run. It is some distance from where you appeared, and the newcomer is a ways away. Fleeing is still possible.
>>5516752 >>5516772 >>5516788 >>5516815 >>5516887 >>5517169Danger is likely if this creature encounters the newcomer. You should prevent that. Once again, you begin transmitting thoughts. This time, not an emotion, but what can best be described as the readout of a mental compass. 232 degrees, 24 minutes, 14 seconds. Newcomer. Flee. 228 degrees, 12 minutes, 10 seconds. Newcomer. Flee. The creature appears startled, glancing around with a confused look. But it does not flee. This is worrying. Perhaps it cannot see the newcomer. You alter your transmission. 220 degrees, 8 minutes, 54 seconds. Image of newcomer. Long distance. Flee immediately. The face seems to elicit a reaction. 「あのやつ。。。マジ?あ、みえる。やべえぇ!」 After an exclamation, the creature reacts. Not as you wished though. It places you down on the ground, in between the roots of a tree, before covering you up. Thoroughly. Your sensors can see nothing but dirt. This is highly concerning. If you had predicted such a reaction, you would have simply flooded their mind with fear, making them run.After being covered up, all you have to go off of is sound. The sound of metal hitting wood. The sound of the newcomer arriving. The sound of acoustic waves being exchanged, and finally, the sound of flesh hitting flesh. After some time, there are no more sounds than that of nature.You are alone again. Many, many units pass. Relative to this planet, it should be nearly a day cycle. Your systems request that you return to sleep mode. You refuse, temporarily. Outside of space, radiation is mild. A few orbital periods will do little harm to your soul.The earth shifts. A hand grabs you. You recognize the mental sensation - it is that of the creature who first picked up your shell. You were not abandoned, and you will not have to return to sleep.Dirt is removed from your sensors. You engage night vision. You are still in a forest. No other intelligent life is present.>Prior communication succeeded. You should introduce yourself and your mission.>Prior communication succeeded, but introduction of oneself as extraterrestrial may harm the mission. You will introduce yourself as a mighty historical cultivator in order to arouse feelings of awe and respect. [Select a name and title to go by]>Observe. A few cycles watching may avoid much trouble.>Write-in
>>5517455>Prior communication succeeded. You should introduce yourself and your mission.
>>5517455>Observe. A few cycles watching may avoid much trouble.
I was curious what the moonrunes said, so here's the results from google translate.>>5516747「えぇ?何これ?指輪?」What is this? A ring?>>5516748「気のせいか。。。?」"Is it just me...?">>5517455「あのやつ。。。マジ?あ、みえる。やべえぇ!」"That guy. . . Seriously? Ah, I can see it. Yabeee!"
>>5517514Any forbidden moonrunes that show up won't be important and are mostly there to show that you don't know the language yet and be easter eggs, so no need for anyone to go further than "Oh, that's someone I don't understand" if they don't want to. That being said you mostly have the gist of it, although the second line is more like>[Was it just] My imagination...?
>>5517533That was one of the alternative options google offered for the translations.It makes more sense that way.
>>5517463 >>5517487 >>5517500 >>5517514 >>5517565You spend some time contemplating how to best communicate your intent. Whatever you do, it must seem friendly - scaring the creature is unwise. Many units of thinking later, you devise a suitable transmission.IMAGE OF TASTY PLANTS. WARM COLORS. SOOTHING HORN MUSIC. THE FACE OF A HAPPY BIPEDAL CREATURE. IT IS NICE TO MEET YOU, FRIEND!! I AM COMMANDER-OF-TEN-TENS SEVEN OF MY HIVE, BUT YOU MAY CALL ME ONE-WHO-HOPS-WELL. MAY I KNOW YOUR NAME?Despite the great consideration put into your message, you seem to throw the creature into a panic. 「誰がいるの?!俺は武器を持っているぞ!」 After looking over its surroundings with its visual organs several times, the creature seems less anxious, and more just confused. 「頭のネジが外れるじゃん。」 Ah, you can guess what that means from the creature's mental state - it is questioning its sanity. You should reassure it.YOUR MENTAL STATE HAS NO PROBLEM. I AM COMMUNICATING WITH YOU VIA A MENTAL LINK. I AM INSIDE THE RING.You only manage to get one more thought through before being thrown more than ten antennas away. I CAN ONLY COMMUNICATE WHILE MAKING PHYSICAL CONTACT. PLEASE DO NOT-To your relief, it is not too long before you are retrieved. I sense many questions. We may work them out slowly. To reintroduce myself, I am COMMANDER-OF-TEN-TENS SEVEN, ONE-WHO-HOPS-WELL. What is your name, friend? There is some hesitation, but then your sensors pick up acoustic waves.[薪。」Your name is TAKIGI? Agreement. Good. I can only sense vague emotion from you, so it may be difficult for us to hold a proper conversation. Please focus on a single thought and transmit it to me through our mental link.By the time a concept more complex than vague emotions can be gotten across, long enough has passed for the moons in the sky to move.「How?」 How am I here? Agreement and disagreement. How am I in a ring? Agreement. My soul is sealed inside of it. My civilization created the vessel and sent it into space. I arrived here by chance. 「Why?」 Resources were dwindling and our civilization was doomed to decline. I am here to start a new life and pass on my home's legacy. It resumes walking through the forest and thinks for some time. 「What want. You. What you want.」 before you can answer, it continues. 「What get. Me. What me get.」So it is talking terms. Understandable.
>>5517744What can you offer?>Strength. Your shell naturally collects spiritual energy. If you redirect a portion towards Takigi, then even if you do not know how their species cultivates, it will likely make them stronger.>Knowledge. It is impossible for your shell to hold the entire wealth of your civilization's knowledge, but a great deal is contained within. Most of it is still being extracted from storage, but you are certain some of it can be of use to your friend.>Reciprocation. If you can benefit, then Takigi will naturally benefit as well. Scratching each other's antennae, so to speak. You simply need some assistance in order to be able to help them.>Write-inAnd what will you ask of Takigi?>Information. You have just arrived on a new world and have many things to learn. You need to be brought around to explore and observe the world. If your new friend agrees to carry you around for some time, it would aid you greatly.>Power. You must enlist the aid of a strong human in order to establish a foothold on this planet. For the time being, making Takigi stronger will be the same as improving your own strength.>A body. Your actions will be greatly limited without a body. You need a suitable host of Takigi's species for possession. You may not be able to hope for someone with a high talent, but perhaps Takigi could find someone who is at least capable of cultivation for you to possess.>A voluntary host. Takigi may not be willing to harm another member of their species on your behalf, and possession by force reduces the amount of remaining memories that you can learn from. Perhaps Takigi could search for a willing host for you.>A new owner. You require a body, but asking Takigi to find a suitable member of their species could risk their anger. If you simply ask them to pass you on to such a creature without informing them of your purpose, it would avoid a lot of potential conflict.>Write-in
>>5517747>Reciprocation. If you can benefit, then Takigi will naturally benefit as well. Scratching each other's antennae, so to speak. You simply need some assistance in order to be able to help them.>A voluntary host. Takigi may not be willing to harm another member of their species on your behalf, and possession by force reduces the amount of remaining memories that you can learn from. Perhaps Takigi could search for a willing host for you.
>>5517747>Reciprocation. If you can benefit, then Takigi will naturally benefit as well. Scratching each other's antennae, so to speak. You simply need some assistance in order to be able to help them.>Information. You have just arrived on a new world and have many things to learn. You need to be brought around to explore and observe the world. If your new friend agrees to carry you around for some time, it would aid you greatly.
>>5517754 >>5517787 >>5517854 >>5517990I require information. If you could wear my shell throughout your day so that I may observe your daily life, in addition to answering some questions, then it would aid me greatly. Once I am able to begin my undertaking then I will be in a position to return such aid. Slight disappointment leaks out. A pause. 「Ok.」 With that, an agreement is struck.You attempt to converse more on the return journey, but are interrupted by another transmission. 「Less.」 Your reply is interrupted. 「Quiet. Tired.」 Understood. The creature, Takigi, returns to its nest in silence. It is a single room made out of brown rectangles of plant material, and packed with strands of soft plant material. More soft plant material covers the floor. In the center of the room sits a large container. The presence of ashes and dim coals indicate that it is used for the extraction of heat energy. To the right are mats made of a similar material to the floor, upon which two more creatures sleep. One is much smaller than Takigi, which could be a result of either sexual dimorphism or the creature still being in its growth stages. You will need to inquire later.Takigi gathers together with the other creatures for warmth and begins hibernating. Initially you are concerned about the length of this hibernation, wondering if it is best for you to return hibernation as well, but it is scarcely a tenth of a day cycle before it rises once more.Is a tenth of a day cycle your normal period of hibernation? Surprise. Fear. Recognition. 「This short.」 You intend to inquire further, but the other creature rises, and you are ignored once more. The two creatures appear to be close. The second creature starts the energy extractor, while Takigi goes to retrieve combustible material.What is the nature of the relationship between Takigi and the other creature? . A feeling of love is transmitted. 「Mate. Mother of child.」 Mother. Then that creature is the opposite sex? Confusion. 「Obvious.」The conversation is continued in bits throughout the morning. You find that Takigi's mate is referred to as Nui, and the offspring Kinzou. While you cannot understand the morning conversation, you do manage to make out the words for "yes", "no", and "ring". It seems that your appearance is being discussed.After consuming a combination of reheated baked grains and boiled green plants, Takigi departs. Are you performing labor? 「Yes. Rest day. But. Need funds.」 Funds. Is this an item used in place of resources to exchange for needed resources? 「Yes.」 Are all needed resources exchanged for this way, or are some provided by the hive? 「Confusion. Detail more.」
>>5518164Each member of my species belonged to a hive. Hives provided required resources for survival to each member. Competition existed, but was focused around acquisition of additional resources, particularly between hives. 「No hive. Mate and offspring only.」 So resource competition is more intense among this species. Given the apparent lack of mental communication, it is sad but understandable.Takigi spends the day gathering certain varieties of plants. Apparently they can be exchanged for currency. You offer to assist with collection if a database of required plants can be provided, but you are informed that such a collection would come in written form and cannot be acquired. Unfortunate. Instead of assisting, you focus on cataloguing the appearance of collected plants, the difference between varieties, and the terrain of the forest. Perhaps you can assist on the next rest day.The next 'week' passes quickly. Each unit of seven days, Takigi spends six in a forest owned by his superior. There he harvests combustible plant material for use in energy extraction and construction from trees. This process is managed by other creatures, who mark trees meant for trimming, or 'pollarding', with one character. Trees meant to be completely harvested are marked for another. Takigi differentiates between these two characters and performs the required tasks with his metal tool, referred to as a 'machete'. Takigi has performed this work for 15 orbital periods, or half his life, ever since the end of his growth period.Each seventh day is a 'rest day'. This day is spent gathering plants to exchange for currency. Apparently this currency is needed to pay a debt incurred. It is important. You assist in acquiring currency by increasing yield of gathering by over one-fold, but Takigi still seems worried that it is lacking.You observe Takigi return to his nest shortly before sunset. Another creature that you do not recognize stands outside the house, fixing their visual organs on Takigi. You think it is a male. Nature of relationship? 「Enemy.」 The two speak for some time. You can recognize a few words such as "money", "hurt", and several "swear words" that Takigi seemed very enthused to teach you earlier in the week. After some time, you also recognize the word for "ring". You have a bad feeling.「Request. Less than good funds. Enemy want ring. Temporary. One week. Seek permission.」All of the swear words that you were taught spring to mind.>Permission granted. A change of scenery is good for observation.>Permission denied. Change of owner is dangerous. Enemy could go back on deal.>Suggestion. Takigi hands over the ring, and you engage in a mental assault upon the enemy. The enemy will no longer have the presence of mind to pursue the debt. Ever.>Suggestion. Takigi hands over the ring, and then you expel enough spiritual energy to eviscerate the enemy's hand. Takigi can finish eliminating the enemy via his machete.>Write-in
>>5518168>Permission granted. A change of scenery is good for observation.
>>5518168>Suggestion. Takigi hands over the ring, and you engage in a mental assault upon the enemy. The enemy will no longer have the presence of mind to pursue the debt. Ever.If takigi is made nervous by this, then >Permission granted. A change of scenery is good for observation.
>>5518360Support. Fuck debt collectors.
I'll roll for this tie if it's still around in a couple of hours.
>>5518180 >>5518200 >>5518360 >>5518448 >>5518784Elimination of the enemy is viable. But perhaps it would cause more issues than it would resolve. For the time being, you can accept this agreement.Permission granted. A short pause. 「Thank you.」 You feel your connection with Takigi disappear, as it is replaced with that of another mind. You restrain your thoughts, intending to hide your presence, and simply scan the surface emotions of the new holder. Happiness. Greed. Disdain, perhaps.You continue to observe the holder as he returns to the more populated village center. The spiritual energy concentration within this man's body is slightly higher than Takigi's. You are unsure if this qualifies him as a member of the warrior caste or not.Eventually, the holder reaches his nest. It is made out of the same material as Takigi's, but the floor is of the hard brown tree material, and not soft plants. The nest contains two chambers. In the second chamber sits an elevated resting mat and a workstation covered in paper. The giddiness in the man's mind disappears as he sits down at the work station, focusing on a series of written documents in front of him. You are placed on the workstation, along with currency divided into around 10 separate piles.After sorting the documents, the man extracts a black pigment with water, wields what appears to be a writing implement, and then begins altering the documents. He intermittently stops and moves beads on some sort of wooden device as he does so.As the man goes through the documents, you attempt to decipher them. A difficult task given that you only know 15 characters. Specifically, the numbers 1-9, the two characters used for marking trees, and the three used in Takigi, Nui, and Kinzou's names that are not included in the former groups. The documents are covered in numbers, however, and after a few you manage to deduce that they are all balance sheets. From this, you learn the characters for ten and one hundred, as well as one you can only assume refers to a unit of currency. You also discover how the math is formatted. Fortunately, the logic itself is universal, and the most advanced calculations are basic multiplication. Easy to reverse-engineer.Across the documents, you seem to notice that most debts are only slowly worked down, increasing by around the same amount as is increased per calculation. Likely interest. Given that each calculation spans a pay period of one month, the average interest rate for an orbital period is around... 400% to 600%. Highly concerning. Just as you think this, a document marked with Takigi's character appears. You hurry to commit the information to memory. Initial debt of 130, increasing by 15% per period after subtracting payment, always rounded up to the nearest integer. Current debt 107 after 9 periods of payment totaling 176 due to compounding interest. Estimated repayment period at least an additional year, totaling up to around 400 at best.
>>5518864Assessment of this creature as an enemy is fair.Once the alteration of existing documents is finished, the creature leaves the nest. You are left alone.>Release a large amount of spiritual energy, enough to destroy the documents sitting next to you. Perhaps a lack of documentation may ease existing debts.>Release spiritual energy to propel yourself below the elevated resting mat. You do not trust this creature to refrain from exchanging your shell for currency during the one week period. It is best to hide until it is time to return.>Wait for it to return. There is not much you can do in such a situation.>Write-in
>>5518865>Wait for it to return. There is not much you can do in such a situation.anons what do you guys think about potentially learning abut this guys life and info then should he wear us we can destroy/erase his mind and take control of his body as this individual seems to hold ill will to his fellow people and rebalance and make a fair deal or outright removing debt that the people encored, but chances are he isn't the one in charge of this and could just be fallowing orders
>>5518865>Release spiritual energy to propel yourself below the elevated resting mat. You do not trust this creature to refrain from exchanging your shell for currency during the one week period. It is best to hide until it is time to return.
>>5518882I kinda of want a voluntary host, since it's more like the Apoth's deal.But I do want to break this asshole's mind
>>5518865>Wait for it to return. There is not much you can do in such a situation.I'm concerned about lashback on our host. If the paperwork or the ring vanishes it might be construed as Takigi sneaking in and sabatoging or stealing the item. >>5518890Sadly he's probably just a cog in a greater injustice. But I'm not against using him as a tool to dismantle it.
>>5518865>Wait for it to return. There is not much you can do in such a situation.
>>5518882 >>5518885 >>5518909 >>5519002There is little you can do at this time without a body. For now, you will just wait. As you do so, you analyze the document nearest to you. This analysis yields some fruit, allowing you to approximate the meaning of a couple more characters, such as month, and guess the meaning of several words. At the same time, you now remember the format this creature writes his documents in. A useful memory, perhaps.Lacking much else to do, you query the portion of your soul used to maintain your shell's functions. How long will it be until all data is available? It takes some time to respond. Exact time unknown. Without additional computing resources, complete decompression will take thousands or tens of thousands of orbital periods. Absolute amount of data stored was prioritized over speed of retrieval. If more information is required, vessel design documents can be referred to, particularly on the method of compression and distributed data storage via soul computing. So it will be some time until you can make good use of all your information. Not a major issue as of now, given that you would need an industrial base to make use of a great deal of said information.Can I set a priority for decompression? Pause. That is acceptable. What data would you like access to?>Your memories. The basics of your existence are clear to you, but not the life you led. You would like to know.>Theoretical ancient civilizations. A great deal of the information you're working off of currently was based off of hypothetical species, civilizations, and their possible ways of life. Retrieving access to these files in full could help you strategize and understand local technology better, and perhaps flaws to said technology.>Rudimentary physical cultivation techniques. It may be beyond your capabilities to alter any existing technique to work for this species, but perhaps preexisting techniques could offer insight for when you re-cultivate yourself nonetheless.After consulting with the other portion of your soul, you leave it to its duties. It has been altered so heavily that it cannot truly be called you anymore, but as it originated from your soul it is only fair to call it that, rather than an on-board computer. A last bit of respect for a you who used to be.The creature returns and immediately begins hibernation. It does not stir until after the sun has been up for some time. Upon waking, it gathers the funds from yesterday, as well as you, and places them inside a strongbox. You can then sense the box you're in being carried. Initially, you expect this transfer to take a short time, but instead, you are carried for quite some time.
>>5519174When the strongbox is opened once more, you are inside a nest. It is much more elaborate than Takigi's, or even your present holder's. A soft synthetic material covers the ground, and several large windows allow illumination to enter the room. Your holder sits around a wooden table with several other male creatures. You begin committing their faces to memory, but recognize one - the warrior from the forest. It seems that he has dealings with this creature.The creatures speak for some time, and while you can make out very little of what is talked about, a great many mentions of numbers, dates, and money are being thrown around. They seem to be all in the same business. More accurately, they all appear to be in the same business under the warrior. After some discussion, the currency brought by the creatures is counted and split up. A portion to be kept, and a portion to be offered to the warrior.At one point you are picked up and the word 'ring' is mentioned by your holder. This concerns you, but the warrior only gives a short response to the question about you before you are placed back in the strongbox, which is then locked. It seems that you will be staying where you are for the time being. The creatures continue to talk, but money is no longer mentioned, and you cannot make out what is being discussed. Eventually your holder is dismissed, and you feel yourself begin moving once more.Your holder immediately returns to his nest. To your relief, he re-opens the strongbox there. He then proceeds to pick you up once more, and examine you very closely. He then begins examining a thin booklet. The booklet contains drawings of jewelry, and what few bits you can understand are monetary amounts. Perhaps you are biased given that numbers are most of what you can understand, but you would guess that you are being appraised. Your fears of being sold may not be unfounded.>Remain silent. There's no need to take action for now. You are only collateral.>Engage in a full-scale mental assault upon the enemy. With your holder mentally incapacitated you will be staying here, where Takigi hopefully knows where to find you.>Attempt to establish communication. Preliminary observation suggests a desire for wealth and power, and the mental state felt during the meeting showed fear, respect, and envy towards the warrior. By introducing yourself grandly, and promising strength greater than said warrior's, then perhaps you can manipulate this creature to do your bidding. [If you wish to introduce yourself by a specific name and/or title, write something in.]>Write-in
>>5519179> Trick this man into unwittingly giving up his body, thinking that it would lead him to great power and treasures.
>>5519192>>5519199This is entirely feasible so don't take this as a 'no', but I do want to leave two quick notes if you all want to try this (you know this all in-character as well):1. Once you possess a body it will be much much harder to possess a new one. One of the main purposes of the ring, along with storing info, keeping your soul safe, etc., is keeping your soul in a form where it can easily enter a body. Once you enter someone else's it kind of lays down roots, to use a metaphor, and becomes a lot harder to swap out. Possible but hard and resource-intensive.2. Even if he is tricked into 'voluntarily' accepting you, you will not retain all of his memories. You will keep a large amount though, much more than with forceful possession. Given how ridiculous someone going "Hm, I wonder if he's possessed?" as their first response it's unlikely for you to be found out, but you're going to have to feign a brain injury for a while.So yeah, you can attempt that, just keep these main points in mind as just catches that you'll have to deal with.
>>5519174>Theoretical ancient civilizations. A great deal of the information you're working off of currently was based off of hypothetical species, civilizations, and their possible ways of life. Retrieving access to these files in full could help you strategize and understand local technology better, and perhaps flaws to said technology.>Engage in a full-scale mental assault upon the enemy. With your holder mentally incapacitated you will be staying here, where Takigi hopefully knows where to find you.
>>5519174>Theoretical ancient civilizations. A great deal of the information you're working off of currently was based off of hypothetical species, civilizations, and their possible ways of life. Retrieving access to these files in full could help you strategize and understand local technology better, and perhaps flaws to said technology.>>5519179>>5519179>Remain silent. There's no need to take action for now. You are only collateral.if we meet a merchant it would be easier to speak and make deals as they seek nothing more that monetary gain and with our knowledge we could provide improved tech that would be feasible for them
>>5519200Interesting...I would like to propose a new plan then. We strike a deal with this man where he puts us into position to interact with and take control of his boss.
>>5519174>Rudimentary physical cultivation techniques. It may be beyond your capabilities to alter any existing technique to work for this species, but perhaps preexisting techniques could offer insight for when you re-cultivate yourself nonetheless.>>5519179>Engage in a full-scale mental assault upon the enemy. With your holder mentally incapacitated you will be staying here, where Takigi hopefully knows where to find you.
Alright, so current vote count is:>2: Mental assault upon the man.>1: Possess the man.>1: Attempt to establish communication so that you can possess the man's boss.>1: Do nothing.and>2: Theoretical ancient civilizations>1: Rudimentary physical cultivation techniquesWill probably close it in an hour or two, after I do some errands.
>>5519192 >>5519199 >>5519247 >>5519257 >>5519432Takigi has been the most helpful creature so far. Losing contact with him would be harmful towards your mission. You will take preventative action to avoid such a scenario.A mental link is a double-edged sword. It can be far more efficient than mental waves in facilitating communication, but it can also be used to cause harm. Especially when one of the souls linked is much stronger than the other. In an instant, you send as much over the link as is possible, flooding it with harmful transmissions. There is a moment of latency in which nothing happens. And then the brunt of your soul lands against his.You are dropped on the desk. The man's head follows, landing with a thud. He is unconscious. Task done, you turn you attention to committing all the visible characters on the booklet to memory, even if you do not know their exact meanings. This may aid in later learning. Then you wait. It is an entire day cycle before the man stirs.His eyes open first. They carry a certain blankness to them where emotion once was. It takes another tenth of a day cycle for the man to attempt to get up. He attempts this several times before knocking over the chair he is sitting on and landing on the floor. During the next day cycle, you see him attempt to stand again many times, but none of his attempts succeed, the mind so damaged that it struggles to control the body. He also attempts to crawl, but he doesn't get very far. Eventually, he simply gives up, lying there.It isn't until three day cycles after your assault that someone arrives. A knock on the front door. Several knocks. And then it and the inner door are pushed open. Observing the door, you find that the one who arrived is one of the man's colleagues. You will mentally refer to him as Enemy Two.Enemy Two examines Enemy One. One's breathing is very shallow by this point, having lacked hydration for three day cycles. Seemingly concerned, Enemy Two goes to aid Enemy One. But then he pauses. A few units of time later, he can be observed taking the open strongbox off the desk. He removes the currency from the strongbox, stows it in his garments, and then proceeds to assist the other enemy, carrying him away.
>>5519856Approximately one and a half day cycles later, knocking can be heard once more.「む・ぼう様。お金がありますよ。」 A pleasant surprise - that is Takigi's voice. You didn't expect him to arrive for another day cycle. You consider altering him to your presence, but wait first. Drawing attention is such a populated area may be unwise.You hear some more knocking, until the door is eventually pushed open. In the hurry two was in, it was not locked. A moment later Takigi enters the inner room. After a moment you are spotted, and he puts you on.「Where enemy?」I have eliminated the enemy. Concern.「Explain.」Approximately five day cycles ago, it appeared that the enemy was appraising my value for sale. Unwilling to be sold, I used the connection formed between us to disable his mind. He was alive but unable to move.A mixture of concern and joy is transmitted. After a moment, joy wins out. 「Thank you.」Takigi goes to leave. The documents concerning your debt are in the desk. What do you wish to do with them?「Unsure. Suggestion?」>"Take the documents with you. Losing them, as well as one of the men managing these debts, may affect collection of debts drastically.">"Take your document with you. Loss of all the documents may raise suspicion. If you are lucky, then the loss of only your document may go unnoticed.">"Alter your document. Loss of documentation will warrant investigation. Alteration, if done well, will not.">"View them if you wish, and then leave them as they are. Alteration or theft of documents may backfire.">Write-in
>>5519859>"Take your document with you. Loss of all the documents may raise suspicion. If you are lucky, then the loss of only your document may go unnoticed."
>>5519883Actually, I think it's better to do either>"Take the documents with you. Losing them, as well as one of the men managing these debts, may affect collection of debts drastically."or>"View them if you wish, and then leave them as they are. Alteration or theft of documents may backfire."
>>5519859very unwise to alter and or steal these notes, most likely they all will be punished together.>"View them if you wish, and then leave them as they are. Alteration or theft of documents may backfire."
>>5519859>"Take your document with you. Loss of all the documents may raise suspicion. If you are lucky, then the loss of only your document may go unnoticed."> Keep setting aside money in case it doesn't workAs long as we promptly destroy the document there's no way to link us to it going missing, and if there's a backup we just nod along and deliver our next payment when they ask.
>>5519883 >>5520036 >>5520067 >>5520237Take your document with you. Loss of all the documents may raise suspicion. If you are lucky, then the loss of only your document may go unnoticed.「True」Heeding your advice, Takigi goes through the assorted balance sheets until he finds the one detailing his debt. After retrieving it he straightens out the remaining documents and returns them to the desk, folding his up and stuffing it into his garments.「Burn later. Leave now.」The return to Takigi's nest goes without trouble, fortunately. By the time you are back, it is nearly the night of the day before rest day. Takigi uses what little daylight is left to look through the document while avoiding prying eyes. As he does so, you hear every swear word you have been taught.Is something wrong with the document? 「More than something. Everything. Paid more than shown.」 How much? 「Every one three silver less than paid. Except large payment. Large payment is good. That is...」 You can feel Takigi's frustration mount as he attempts to multiply three by seven. I can recalculate the debt based off of the actual amount paid. Assuming payments are measured in the currency of silver, and all payments made except the month of nonpayment and the month where are a large payment were made are understated by three units of currency, the actual amount owed is... 69 silver, instead of the stated 107.More swearing. 「I keep this.」 With that said, you observe Takigi re-enter his nest and hand the paper to his mate. After saying a few words, she takes it. You are aware of the risks of keeping the record, yes? 「Yes.」 As long as you are aware.The next weeks spent with Takigi are much like the first. Six days of cutting wood, one of gathering herbs. Takigi is more tolerant of your repeated inquiries than previously. Your ability to understand spoken conversations is improving. You know every character that Takigi does, although that is less than 30. Takigi has helped you gain a great deal of knowledge, but with that knowledge you come to an unpleasant realization.
>>5520486Takigi's species, which refer to themselves as the humans, can cultivate in order to achieve great strength. To begin this process, they must temper the body, passing through 'The Martial Gateway' and going through 'The Nine Temperings'. You attempt to inquire further, but Takigi is unable to explain. The catch, particularly for you, is that the ability to cultivate is dependent on both talent and age. You doubt you would be reliably able to detect talent among a different species, so that cannot be helped in selection of a host. But as for age... the ideal age to begin cultivating is said to be 10 'years'. But Takigi says that the end of the growth period for a human is 15 years. Ignoring personal opinions, given what you have observed you find it impossible that Takigi would assist you in possessing someone who has not finished their growth period. This is a quandary, given that you will need a body sooner or later.>Be honest about your need for a body and request that Takigi put you in contact with as young an enemy as possible. Perhaps someone who others would benefit from being possessed.>Hide your need for a body and request that Takigi put you in contact with someone of the appropriate age group. Pretend that it is for observation purposes, and that you wish to switch holders to learn new information.>Request that Takigi produce a body for you. You will replace the existing soul before they are developed, while still in the mother.>You may leave these conversations for a few years from now. You are not in a hurry and may bide your time while looking for a suitable body.>Write-in
>>5520488Completely chicken option but>You may leave these conversations for a few years from now. You are not in a hurry and may bide your time while looking for a suitable body.This is a tough situation. Ideally we could land in the hands of some asshole's asshole kid, or perhaps a powerful cultivator's unborn child.Does Takigi know of any sects or temples nearby?
>>5520488>Request that Takigi produce a body for you. You will replace the existing soul before they are developed, while still in the mother.Go get some pussy my boy. Having a talented son will naturally mean you benefit as we'll fulfill our "filial obligations" and also take care of your other kids.
>>5520488>You may leave these conversations for a few years from now. You are not in a hurry and may bide your time while looking for a suitable body.
>>5520602I can make your firstborn into a cultivator!Really?Well no i would possess their bodies and supplant their souls like the most evil of fae monsters but it's cool right?Cue to takigi digging up the deepest well and throwing the ring inside never to be seen again...>>5520488>You may leave these conversations for a few years from now. You are not in a hurry and may bide your time while looking for a suitable body.There's no need to rush it and takigi will have a kid eventually, and hopefully by that time we had learned some useful cultivation techniques so we can truly be the cool grampa in the ring for the youth.A timeskip may be sensible if this option is chosen.
>>5520488>You may leave these conversations for a few years from now. You are not in a hurry and may bide your time while looking for a suitable body.I still want a willing host
>>5520568 >>5520602 >>5520603 >>5520631 >>5520741Current situation awkward. Requests for assistance will be likely to be denied. For the time being, it would be best to wait. You can reconsider how to approach the issue once more at a later date.One of the debt collectors returns a week after the stated collection date for the ninth month of the year. From what you can follow, the two get into a verbal conflict over the current amount of the debt. When pushed on why amounts for the debt do not match, the new collector requests to know payment amounts for the past three months, effectively admitting that he has no idea what was paid. It appears that the loss of documents was harmful.Takigi inflates the payments made to 2 silver greater than the actual amounts in response. The debt collector questions these amounts, and it can be seen that the collector is resisting the urge to just resolve things physically. After more arguing the collector eventually begins reciting the payments recorded, including the month of nonpayment, likely as evidence that Takigi could not afford to pay the amounts stated. That is when Takigi brings up several grievances, involving the payments recorded being lower than actual payments, as well as assurance from the original collector that interest for the first pay period would not be applied, as the loan was made on the 26th of that month.The two continue arguing for some time, and you can only follow some of the specifics. Takigi's speech is centered on words such as "tell", "spread", and "everyone". The collector's focuses around words such as "hurt", "life", and "pain". Eventually the argument ceases and the two reach an agreement. Takigi seems pleased. You inquire as to the terms.「Pay 2 gold. Now. Debt gone. Do not debt talk. Ever.」With this agreement the lenders avoid losing their reputation and Takigi his life. A better outcome than expected, certainly.In the following weeks you occasionally pick up enemies on your sensors, but their appearance quickly dwindles as the issue fades away. Takigi continues saving funds constantly despite the waiving of the remainder of the debt. To your understanding winter is coming soon, and supplies are required.
>>5520930「By the emperor is it freezing. I wish it were spring year-round.」 My sensors do detect quite the low temperature. My kind also found them quite unpleasant.It is now late in the 11th month. Work is winding down for the year, and it is likely that the first snow will descend soon. Large piles of firewood have been assembled outside of Takigi's nest, and preparations for winter work are underway. In lieu of woodcutting, which is traditionally suspended for the season, Takigi's work days will be spent engaging in carpentry, an indoor task.With the approach of winter comes your own time to make a decision. You have been observing Takigi for roughly four months. Basic information has been acquired, and while your grasp of the language is not complete, it is sufficient. At the same time Takigi has become more adept at mental communication, and you have built up a suitable rapport.>Takigi has proven himself a useful friend. Perhaps it would be best to increase the extent of cooperation and allow some spiritual energy from your vessel to enter his body. If his power and influence increase, you may benefit as well.>You must switch target of observation in order to gather additional data. Approach Takigi about switching who your carrier is before the snow sets in. [If you have any specifics about what kind of carrier would be optimal, include them.]>The current state is acceptable. The bond between the two of you is growing, and neither party holds a decisive advantage. You will watch and wait for an opportunity.>Write-In
>>5520568>Does Takigi know of any sects or temples nearby?The region is rather remote, and not known for being high in spiritual energy. There is only a single entity large enough to be considered a sect in the county, the Verdant Mountain Sect.>>5520631>takigi will have a kid eventuallyTakigi does have a single male offspring, Kinzou. He is currently in his sixth year.
>>5520931>You must switch target of observation in order to gather additional data. Approach Takigi about switching who your carrier is before the snow sets in. [If you have any specifics about what kind of carrier would be optimal, include them.]We wish to talk to a child. Since they are not a hive species, the young should know less about social norms, and therefore act closer to an unfiltered member of their kind.Also the young tend to have an ease to learn and acceptance, meaning an stronger connection and ease to could teach cultivation and the history of our people.
>>5520931>The current state is acceptable. The bond between the two of you is growing, and neither party holds a decisive advantage. You will watch and wait for an opportunity.>>Write-InTakgi I need information on a rudimentary human training method.If possible to acquire I can deduce a superior method from it to elavate thd strength of your offspring.
>>5520932Even better if he has a kid already, we can begin to be a cool grampa sooner, i vote towards talking with takigi about the child upbringing and possible cultivation future.>>5520931>The current state is acceptable. The bond between the two of you is growing, and neither party holds a decisive advantage. You will watch and wait for an opportunity.
>>5520931>The current state is acceptable.also i support >>5520946 this plus we can check/determine how we'd need to adapt our own cultivation techniques accordingly
>>5520946 >>5520977 >>5521107 >>5521156 >>5521274You are satisfied by the current situation. But you must lay a plan for the future. You cannot revive a part of your civilization, nor can you acquire a new life, by doing nothing.After some consideration, you lay out a plan. Takigi's son, Kinzou, is still some years away from the age when one can begin cultivation. That gives you time to prepare. If a method for human cultivation can be acquired, then with your cultivation knowledge and what files concerning the topic are decompressed it is likely you can improve it slightly. Major overhauls would require a detailed understanding of the human anatomy and the acquisition of test subjects, which is unfeasible at the present time, but minor improvements will suffice. With the energy inside the ring and your guidance, surely you can make a cultivator out of the youngling.You propose your plan to Takigi. For the benefit of his lineage. For your benefit. To move up in the world. He grows silent and considers it.「Are you aware of the cost of a cultivation technique?」 A rhetorical question, possibly, for he answers himself. 「Our family's most valuable possession is our home. A lot of people in our village cannot afford such a home. It was due to the help of my late father, as well as the assistance of Nui's father, that we were able to buy our own piece of land and construct a home instead of renting. And that is because it is someways from the village, due to my work. If it were in the village center? Then I could simply not afford it.」 You remain silent.「...I should stop beating around the bush. I took out a loan to treat Kinzou's fever last winter. I sold my mother's ring to help pay it back down. There are no savings left. Just the house. The recording of a cultivation technique requires production of some sort of special book, by hand, of someone who fully understands the content. The only thing I have to exchange for something of that value is my house. Even then, I might have to take out an additional loan.」And such a manual is required in order to cultivate? 「Not to pass through The Martial Gateway. From what I know, that can happen completely on accident. But to go through The Nine Temperings that follow? Yes, it is required. I have not heard of a single cultivator in the village doing so without a manual.」The village does not seem prosperous. How do they acquire such a manual? 「Well, most wouldn't acquire it before passing through The Martial Gateway to start with. Once they became stronger their earning potential would increase, and they could slowly save up in order to acquire one. Either that, or they simply belonged to a wealthy enough family, or a family who had already acquired a manual to pass down.」
>>5521777So it mostly boils down to pre-existing wealth or talent. It doesn't sound difficult for Kinzou to pass through The Martial Gateway with the assistance of additional spiritual energy, but how long would it take to save up funds for such a manual after he broke through? Three years? Half a decade? More? It would waste some of his best years for cultivation. Acquiring a manual before he breaks through The Martial Gateway is of great importance if you plan to assist him in cultivating.There are a bit more than 3 years left until Kinzou begins cultivating. You will simply estimate four until he has the chance of passing through The Martial Gateway. Within that time you must acquire a cultivation manual. Ideally earlier, so that you have time to ponder over possible alterations, even if you cannot test them yourself.>"The barrier is high, but I would think about the issue. Perhaps this chance is worth the house." The ultimate decision must be left to him to consider. But this seems like the best way.>Within the files about theoretical ancient technology you have decrypted so far, there were quite a few theoretical lock designs. Assuming that the locks produced in this world are at all similar, they should be trivial to surpass with sufficient effort, even if acquiring skeleton keys and other tools does have some upfront cost. Whether it's to acquire additional funds, or the manual directly, you have a suggestion...>There is some time left. Perhaps you can assist Takigi through The Martial Gateway so that he may accrue additional funds before his son reaches cultivating age. You can only hope that it will be enough.>"Perhaps a deal can be brokered with someone. Can you think of anyone who would be amiable providing such a technique to a youngling who has passed through The Martial Gateway?">Write-In
>>5521779>"The barrier is high, but I would think about the issue. Perhaps this chance is worth the house." The ultimate decision must be left to him to consider. But this seems like the best way.>There is some time left. Perhaps you can assist Takigi through The Martial Gateway so that he may accrue additional funds before his son reaches cultivating age. You can only hope that it will be enoughHaving a cultivator in the family means never going hungry again. It's worth the risk! We can help him with the martial gateway too so he can earn enough to pay off the loans.
>>5521779>There is some time left. Perhaps you can assist Takigi through The Martial Gateway so that he may accrue additional funds before his son reaches cultivating age. You can only hope that it will be enough.
>>5521777>There is some time left. Perhaps you can assist Takigi through The Martial Gateway so that he may accrue additional funds before his son reaches cultivating age. You can only hope that it will be enough.We are going to help our dear friend become a warrior
>>5521779>>There is some time left. Perhaps you can assist Takigi through The Martial Gateway so that he may accrue additional funds before his son reaches cultivating age. You can only hope that it will be enough.No debt, so if he passes through he should be able to make a lot of cash.
>>5521779> Write inTakigi sells us to a wealthy family as a cultivation aid for one of their young children. Takigi makes a tidy sum, and we end up in a family with more resources at their disposal.Alternatively I'm not opposed to helping Takigi, then his son pass the martial barrier. We could even plan for the long haul and plan on Takigi's grandson being the cultivator so we don't have to take any massive risks on the family's wealth. Just steady improvement over the generations
>>5521779>>There is some time left. Perhaps you can assist Takigi through The Martial Gateway so that he may accrue additional funds before his son reaches cultivating age. You can only hope that it will be enough.>Takigi have you ever heard of anyone of your age passing through the Martial Gateway? If yes then we can attempt to make you stronger first to build up finances. I know of a few mechanical designs that you can use with some simple carpentry to build tools and earn further wealth alternatively.
1/5?>>5521795 >>5521797 >>5521812 >>5521842 >>5521850 >>5521875 >>5521904You will allow for three years to acquire the cultivation manual. Perhaps just long enough to do so without incurring major loans.Proposal. You will pass through The Martial Gateway and attempt to earn the required funds. Enough to forgo a loan if possible, or to reduce the amount if not. 「Is that possible?!」 Some time ago you mentioned in passing that one of your coworkers broke through, did you not? From observation he was likely older than you.「But he was an exception - not the rule. By 30, 90% of those who will become a martial artist already have. And those who do manage to pass through The Martial Gateway then won't get very far.」 You do not need to get very far. You just need to get as far as you can get. If you are able to put the effort in, then I can supply you with additional spiritual energy. A short pause.「I am willing to try. Proposal accepted.」It does not take you long to know why Takigi has not naturally become a martial artist himself. His body cannot handle much spiritual energy, and of what energy it can be made to absorb it releases more than half, like a leaky bucket. Given what you've been able to glean during observation, you estimate that perhaps only between 5% and 15% of humans manage to break through The Martial Gateway during their life, and even fewer become proper cultivators afterwards. A lack of both talent and resources simply cannot be helped. At least not without your aid.Your vessel was not made to the highest standards of technology possible to your kind. It was made to be mass-produced for the lowest price per unit possible while still retaining all required functions, so as to offset the minuscule chance of a vessel actually encountering a life-bearing planet. That is to say, it gets the job done, but that is all. This instance of spendthrift that occurred millions of years ago is the reason why Takigi is currently loudly swearing in pain, the feeling of spiritual energy entering his body resembling that of needles stabbing his flesh from the inside. The energy he absorbs is reckless, mediated only to the extent that it will not result in the termination of his life. But to his credit he does get used to it, and after only a few days laid up in bed resumes his normal duties.Sunrise. Takigi wakes. He leaves the home in order to exercise in the cold for several hours. Stimulation of the body seems to aid the absorption of spiritual energy somewhat, at least according to humans. Given what you can observe, you are inclined to believe him. After returning, Takigi consumes his morning meal with Nui and Kinzou. Afterwards, Nui mends clothing and does basic clothwork while Takigi engages in carpentry. You are not at all an expert in the topic, but you do refer to what information regarding the topic you have on hand in order to assist him. Some of it does help, and he is appreciative.
>>5522156After the second meal of the day, Takigi exercises further, returning when the sun is close to setting. For a short time afterwards he resumes working, but before long everyone turns in for the night. Near the end of the day cycle the he and Nui wake, refuel the fire, and take care of household chores or continue working for around two hours. Kinzou usually remains asleep. This can be considered the closest to leisure time that Kinzou gets on a normal day.The first snow. New Years. The first sowing. The Sun Festival. The first harvest. The first snow. New Years.It is roughly fourteen months between the time Takigi first begins training and when he manages to pass through The Martial Gate. On that day in particular he had remarked about feeling restless, and forgoed his winter work to continue exercising throughout the day. Despite the low temperatures he ran, and ran, and ran. He said he felt warm - burning hot, actually. Worriedly, you confirmed that this was not a symptom of low body temperature. To your surprise it wasn't; he was running a fever.Eventually, he simply fell down in the middle of running. A moment later he started screaming. Pain several times greater than when absorbing spiritual energy could be felt through your mental link. Pain like needles was not only piercing the flesh of the hand he normally absorbed energy through, but nearly his entire body, albeit milder in intensity at any one spot. This pain continued for several minutes, until his body began to excrete a black sludge. Impurities, according to the humans. You are curious as to the chemical composition yourself.It is only a short couple of weeks between Takigi's breakthrough and the resumption of his woodcutting labor.「Good to see you boss. How has the new year been?」The now greying boss of the woodcutting laborers, Ki Jin, responds with a laugh. "Another year in paradise." 「Glad to hear it. Hey, I, uh, would like to transfer to the heavy cutting team.」 Ki Jin raises an eyebrow. "You passed through the gateway? Despite your persistence, can't say I expected it." You can detect a whispered remark. "Guess a midlife crisis can be a good thing..." He coughs for a moment and after seeing that he hasn't been corrected, continues on. "As long as you can control your strength by now, you can transfer whenever you want. You probably already recognize it, but keep an eye out for this character - this marks the heavy cutting team's trees."The man draws out a character in the snow with a stick: 大. "Other stuff is all the same, just make sure to grab one of the heavy axes. Oh, and be careful on what direction you let the fuckers fall. Y'don't have anyone to spot you if a tree falls the wrong way, and they sure ain't small so... well, you get it."
>>5522163Starting that day, Takigi takes up new duties. Although, frankly, they're almost exactly the same as the old duties. He simply uses an axe instead of a machete and fells significantly larger trees. You suppose it makes sense - what else would one do with improved strength in this trade?The pay is better, but not quite satisfactory. Takigi considers taking up work as a hunter, but struggles to make a decision Even with improved strength, it is rather dangerous. That's when an old acquaintance reaches out."Mr. Takagi. Mr. Kanekatsu wishes to invite you to his residence." 「...」 One of the loan sharks stands before the two of you. Given how long has passed, you almost didn't recognize him. You can feel a mixture of annoyance and anger in his mind, but Takigi responds respectfully. 「Certainly. May I know what Mr. Kanekatsu wants with me?」 "It has to do with an offer of employment, but I don't know the specifics. Please, I'll lead the way."After half an hour you reach a two story home situated near the center of the village. Smoke spills out of a chimney in the top right of the house, and the fauna in the front yard can be seen to be recovering from the recent winter. The man who led you here knocks on the door. "Mr. Kanekatsu, I've come with Mr. Takigi." "Come in."The home is similar to before. Not elaborate or excessively decorated, but not lacking in comforts. The warrior - Kanekatsu - stands in the middle of the room. "I'm glad you made it. Let's speak in my office." Takigi refrains from speaking and follows Kanekatsu into a side room.Two large wooden chairs sit on either side of a desk littered with piles of papers, although blank sheets cover up anything of import. A small bookshelf sits on the right side of the room, containing perhaps a dozen books, and a fireplace built into the wall warms the room. While the mood is not comfortable, the room itself certainly seems comfortable."As you've likely heard, I'm interested in hiring you. I need a new debt collector. Someone who can hold down the fort when I'm not able to pay attention." Anger flares up once more, but Takigi holds himself back. 「Why would you approach me to fill such a position? Pardon me if this is a bit blunt, but I thought our relationship ended on rather frigid terms before. I'm surprised you'd want to deal with me again.」"Frigid terms?" Kanekatsu raises an eyebrow. "I certainly didn't see it that way. I won't disagree that you were treated unfairly - Mu Bou was a schemer who defrauded both of us - but I think we resolved the affair on a good note. As I recall, the remainder of your debt was waived. And as for Mu Bou... well, he's no longer with us, so that will not be a problem."
>>5522165Part of Takigi's facade snaps. 「A good note? I was sheared for my money and saved only because of a coincidence. If it weren't for that, perhaps I would still be paying back that debt. Even ignoring what was taken off of the top, I was held over a barrel and made to pay a ridiculous rate because my son needed immediate medical treatment. I had no choice.」Kanekatsu simply nods, before staring Takigi in the eyes. "But without that loan, would your son still be alive?" Takigi struggles to compose a response. "Well, maybe he would have survived, may he wouldn't have - that's not important to my point. What's more important is... without that loan, would you have been able to get treatment for your son? Would anyone else have been willing and able to lend you that sum of money? And if so, would their terms be any better?"Takigi is unable to answer verbally, but you feel an answer through his emotions. Uncertainty. Kanekatsu continues. "Many of our debtors are much the same. They need the money for an emergency, or perhaps an investment like a home or citizenship that they would be unable to acquire otherwise. We help them do this. The rates are high, yes, but the risk is also high. If the average villager simply can't pay, then... well, what do I do? Do I get mad, hit them, and tell them to pay me? I can, but what does that do for me? I still won't recoup my loss. My money is already spent.""And that is why I must charge high interest rates. Most of my clients are high risk, so I need a suitably high reward. Otherwise there will be no way to recoup from the losses and make a profit worth my time. It's not any sort of malice. Just business."He continues. "But now that you've passed through The Martial Gateway, you don't have to worry about such things anymore. Even if you needed money, it'd be at a much better rate. You're no longer high risk. You yourself are a person of great value. I know you can earn enough money if needed - you have the ability." Kanekatsu pauses. "And so I'd like to make use of that value. Why don't you work for me?"A few seconds pass before Takigi can compose a response. He is hesitant and confused, but no longer angry. 「Why me exactly? I understand what you're saying, but wouldn't you prefer someone you have less... history with?」Kanekatsu smiles. "Fogtop doesn't exactly have a wide pool of talent, and I'm not going to be able to poach workers from the county seat. Martial artists are lacking, and I need someone who can hold down the fort when I'm otherwise occupied. Given that you're familiar with what we do, you appeared to be the best candidate."
>>5522168"I won't press you for an answer now, but do think about it. Whether it's a citizenship, a better home, or a better life for your family, you'll need money for it. I'll be free this time on the next rest day. Give me your answer then."Takigi grabs a hold of himself. 「Alright, I'll see you then. Er, one more question though. A cultivation manual - what about that? What if that's what I needed?」A clear expression of surprise covers Kanekatsu's face, which he quickly suppresses. "I'd heard you were persistent and hardworking. I suppose you'd have to be to pass through The Martial Gate at such an age, no offense meant. It's a good quality for martial arts. Yes, if you intend to continue your cultivation, you certainly will need a manual. I can't just give you my own, obviously, but if you take up the position I can arrange for the purchase of one on the next caravan. You'd have to take out a loan to cover the expense, but, well, it would be a lower interest, longer term loan than your last one. Something paid off over the next decade. Sooner if you broke through. We can discuss it in further detail next week."With that, Takigi takes his leave and begins returning home. You can feel him contemplating the matter over in his head.>This matter is his decision. You will not butt in.>You will make your suspicion of the situation known. "I do not trust Kanekatsu. Do not take the position. Some things are not worth doing, regardless of money promised.">"The proposal is questionable, but I must admit that it satisfies our needs. I would consider it.">Write-In
>>5522170>This matter is his decision. You will not butt in.>You will make your suspicion of the situation known. "I do not trust Kanekatsu. Do not take the position. Some things are not worth doing, regardless of money promised."
>>5522170>>This matter is his decision. You will not butt in.
>>5522170>"The proposal is questionable, but I must admit that it satisfies our needs. I would consider it."If he doesn't take the position then another shark might.It won't be perfect but it's the fastest way to avoid trouble and get what's needed.If even the boss is willing to oversee past grievances then i don't see why spit on his hand.I trust takigi to not be a heartless monster and maybe do something to mitigate the impact on poor people.
>>5522170>This matter is his decision. You will not butt in.>Maybe help him weigh his options. Let him know your suspicions and the possibility of him sacrificing his morals for money with his new position. But also mention how the position does seem to satisfy our current needs quite well. Suggest he talk over his plans with his wife, in consideration of their child. Perhaps also how it may affect their standing in the community as debt collectors.While we are alien in terms of our ability to sympathize with him, letting him know our concern for him and his family outside of how it fulfills our mission may help us build rapport. A rapport that could enable us to take over the body of a potential future offspring, or allow us to take more liberties when training his son in martial arts.
>>5522277Yes, but what if the nature of the job requires that he get his hands dirty? He could step on some toes if he were to refuse orders or take too many liberties when debt collecting.
>>5522170>This matter is his decision. You will not butt in.
>>5522170>It is his decisionVery, very interesting.
>>5522280Then takigi gets fired for being too pure and we lose nothing.Seems to me that this side business is not particularly well liked even by Kanekatsu himself, hence why he wants somebody else to do it.So long as there's no loss of money for him i think it's good enough to be competent at bookkeeping
>>5522170i suppouse kanekatsu is the big fish in the village, so>"The proposal is questionable, but I must admit that it satisfies our needs. I would consider it."alligning with the big fish can net us much more than whatever we can get from "not" rock bottom we are at right now. plus we as in the ring can afford to spent some time waiting for the boy to grow + we get to see all those documents and whatnots eg we can learn more signs/letters/words
>>5522170>>"The proposal is questionable, but I must admit that it satisfies our needs. I would consider it.">>Write-InRead through some of the de-compiled historical data to make suggestions about how to do the debt collecting in a humane way that leaves people the option to work it off without a lifetime of debt.Organizing a carpentry goods manufacture and using the debtors as low wage labour comes to mind.Even frail individuals could be put to use that way without risking their health.
>>5522213 >>5522275 >>5522277 >>5522278 >>5522293 >>5522318 >>5522450 >>5522491You really shouldn't interfere. Ultimately, this is Takigi's choice to make. Although, you must admit that it meets the two of your needs rather well.I would discuss the matter with Nui first. It is a major decision. You will need to consider what is best for all three of you. Takigi nods to himself. 「Of course.」Then he sighs. 「The offer really is tempting. From what I know, Kanekatsu is at the 3rd Tempering. Only that far, but he can still live a much better life than both the me of before and the me of now. I don't want Kinzou to turn out like him, but, well - if I could provide the opportunity needed to reach the same height, then I'd be satisfied. If he could reach the 4th or 5th Tempering, like those in charge of the village, then even better. ...But I can't guarantee any of that. I can just try my best to make it possible for him.」Takigi seems to come to a decision, albeit hesitantly. Later that night Nui and Takigi discuss the issue for some time. Nui is initially opposed to taking the job, but due to Takigi's insistence that something needs to be done to ensure Kinzou's future, eventually agrees."So. What's your decision?" 「I'll do it. Tell me what I need to do.」The first weeks of Takigi's employment are different from what he expected. He acquires some waste parchment and writing utensils and begins practicing basic literacy and mathematics. How to read balance sheets and terms common to loan contracts, how to calculate interest, how fixed-payment loans different from variable-payment loans, and so on and so forth. It is quite a lot of information to absorb, particularly for a man who has never studied in his life before, but he is persistent, to his credit.After three weeks, while Takigi is still lacking, he is able to carry out basic duties. He begins carrying out basic bookkeeping and collecting funds. In Kanekatsu's words: "Going around, looking tough, maybe yelling something and punching a tree. Just get them to pay. We get our money, and their interest doesn't build up. Win win." In his spare time he continues his studies and goes on a couple of basic errands for Kanekatsu. If you were to describe his role, it would be a split between a debt collector and a steward. He just does what Kanekatsu needs him to.When a month has passed, Kanekatsu summons Takigi to his office. "The caravan will be leaving for the county seat in a few days. If you still want the cultivation manual, I have a loan drafted. You should be able to parse most of it yourself." Kanekatsu passes a piece of parchment across the table, and Takigi begins reading it. You follow.
>>5522724A payment period of 10 years. Fixed repayments, month by month, totaling up to 120 payments. Non-compounding interest of a reasonable rate. Designed to make a profit, of course, but much better than the previous loan. Takigi reads the rest of the clauses under his breath. 「...Loan sworn to the County Magistrate, with a copy kept by his office. That's a first seeing... if holder of the loan passes away or rendered incapable, loan passes on to the next of kin.」Takigi throws a questioning glance at Kanekatsu. "Standard clause, look at any large loan on my desk. You don't plan on dying soon, do you? You're only 32." 「True. Agreement between the loaning party and the debtor...」After some time, Takigi manages to double and triple check the document, with Kanekatsu clarifying where needed. It's a bit strict, but nothing seems particularly out of place. The rate is generally fair, and the intent is just to make certain that he repays what is borrowed. Upon seeing Takigi stop reading, Kanekatsu looks up from his work. "Are the terms agreeable?" Takigi nods. 「Yes. I'll accept.」With that the contract is signed. A sizable debt is incurred, but at the same time so is the acquisition of a cultivation manual. All in all, a win.Over the next weeks Takigi focuses less on basic studies, and more on practical duties. Sorting and updating documentation, managing repayment, and beginning to learn about assessing risk and providing basic loans. The work seems to wear on him slightly, but upon inquiry he says he's alright. It's certainly easier than his previous job, at least physically.In his seventh week of work, a pleasant surprise arrives to improve his mood. The caravan returns, his cultivation manual with it. It is basic and rather unadorned, but it is a cultivation manual - a so-called path to immortality. Takigi is ecstatic and begins reviewing it immediately.「Now that I have a manual, I should resume training.」 Certainly. Reaching the 1st Tempering wouldn't hurt. A pause. 「Now that we have a manual, should you begin getting acquainted with my son? I imagine it will take some time for you to get used to cooperating.」>You are not opposed to such an arrangement. There are roughly 19 and a half months before Kinzou turns 10. Plenty of time to form a bond.>Such an arrangement seems slightly hasty. You can wait a while - say, until Kinzou turns nine. Your observation of Takigi is rather fruitful right now, and you'd prefer not to abandon it.>With Takigi vouching for you, perhaps so much time isn't needed. If you switch holders a few months before Kinzou's 10th birthday, then there should be enough time to begin working together.>Write-In
>>5522735>>Such an arrangement seems slightly hasty. You can wait a while - say, until Kinzou turns nine. Your observation of Takigi is rather fruitful right now, and you'd prefer not to abandon it.>Write in:I need to examine and improve the manual first.Due to observing your training i can make better adjustments while also still aiding you during work to improve your mathematical skills and both of our written vocabulary and understanding of law.You also need a second steady source of income.If there are any low risk craftsmen who incurred debt you can consider covering part of their debt to have Kinzou learn a trade like carpentry or metalworking to ensure that he can make a living even if something happens to you.Passing down a copy of the manual to him will also be necessary.
>>5522735>You are not opposed to such an arrangement. There are roughly 19 and a half months before Kinzou turns 10. Plenty of time to form a bond.
>>5522735>Such an arrangement seems slightly hasty. You can wait a while - say, until Kinzou turns nine. Your observation of Takigi is rather fruitful right now, and you'd prefer not to abandon it.
>>5522735>You are not opposed to such an arrangement. There are roughly 19 and a half months before Kinzou turns 10. Plenty of time to form a bond.no reason not to, the sooner we grasp understanding of how this species grows up and forms the better for us plus nothing stopping us from switching bearers and we dont really need to be on either of those two to decipher this manual
Have been taking care of some stuff today and yesterday. Will resume normal updating today hopefully, and if not tomorrow. Just a heads up.
>>5522754 >>5522826 >>5522842 >>5523252 >>5523601 >>5523859No need to be too hasty. A year with him beforehand should be long enough. The current observation is productive. In the meantime, perhaps he can learn a trade.「A trade?」 Takigi ponders. 「Normally apprenticeships would start in a couple years, but it's not the worst of ideas given that his training will probably take up time. I'll think about it. Now...」 Takigi turns his attention to the manual and gingerly turns each page once again. Complex illustrations cover each page, as well as large sets of accompanying text. Neither you nor Takigi can read the whole thing as of present, unfortunately - it will take some time to get through. What can be felt are small flows of qi that explain some of the drawings, sealed within the manual through some unknown method. Intriguing.The next day, work continues as usual. Takigi walks though the village square, towards a client. A couple odd gazes follow him. It seems that you're not popular. Takigi shrugs. 「Can't be helped」 After some time the two of you leave the more crowded center of the village and reach another outskirt. A home rather reminiscent of Takigi's appears through the trees - your destination.KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. 「It's Takigi. I'm here for your payment.」 A short man with tanned skin opens the door. "So it's Mr. Takigi. Come in, come in!" He waves Takigi into his home. A small woodworking area is set up on one side of the room, where a teenager works, while the other half of the room is a living space. The two sit down on a makeshift bench.「Good afternoon Mr. Wang. I hope everything is going well.」 "Ah, well... ok I guess." 「Good to hear. Can I have the payment? Then I'll get out of your hair and we can both go on with our day.」"Uh, you see, about that... actually, I lied. Things aren't really going too well." Takigi stares at the man, who is scratching his head. 「...are you saying you don't have the payment?」 "That... I... most of it. I have most of it. 13 silver."Takigi continues staring. 「As per the terms of your contract, the monthly payment is 2 gold. 20 silver.」 "Well, yes, it is. But this month has been a bit slow, and I had to replace one of my tools. Maybe I can get back to you next week?" You sense annoyance from Takigi. Both at Wang, and at himself. After some hesitation, he places a hand on Wang's shoulder. He presses down. Not enough to cause any actual injury, but enough to be uncomfortable.「It's in both of our best interests that you pay the full amount today. I have no control over what you already signed, and even if I did let you pay later, then you'd just build up more interest. The same as taking out another loan. I'm helping you here.」 Wang stays silent. 「...If you really don't have the money then we could always sell some of this lumber. You have quite a bit. Or if that won't work, then maybe we can ask some of my partners for ideas. I'm sure they have work.」
>>5525851Wang opens his mouth to speak,. but then stops himself. "I'll go get the money." Takigi smiles and nods, removing his hand from Wang's shoulder. 「That's a good idea.」Wang stands up, while Takigi thinks about something. Just as Wang returns with the money, he's interrupted. 「Actually, do you need an apprentice?」Wang pauses. "Well, ever since Suji got the hang of things I've had some energy to spare. Why do you ask, Mr. Takagi?"「I was thinking that my son should start learning a trade. He's learned a bit of carpentry from me, but I don't really have time to teach him.」Wang nods. "Of course. How old is he?" 「Eight.」"..." 「I'll pay you a gold a month. No need to do anything special, just make sure that he learns.」 "...I will do my best then."With that agreement worked out, Kinzou starts his apprenticeship. He initially throws a tantrum, but eventually grows used to it. At the same time Takigi grows used to his job.Half a year passes. Takigi can properly read a contract without just skimming through it and having portions read aloud to him. The both of you can understand the vast majority of the cultivation manual you received. You are not merely a leaky roof from disaster. Things are going rather well. Takigi still shows a tinge of distaste towards his work, but it has grown normal over time. There is no longer much discomfort in dealing with the day to day tasks. It's just business.One afternoon, Kanekatsu calls him in. The formalities are ignored, and he jumps right into things. "You know the apothecary on the edge of the village, right?" Takigi nods. "Great. Take this latter to her. Let me know how she replies." Kanematsu passes over a letter. A wax seal with the character's for Kanekatsu's name, 金, holds it shut.The apothecary's home is a ways from the village, being located in the middle of a wooded hill by way of several barely maintained dirt paths. It's been quite the time since you visited; you haven't been here since Takigi stopped collecting herbs for the woman. Upon arriving at the sizable cabin, a platinum-haired woman can be seen waiting for you. A few light wrinkles show her age. "I heard you coming. Come in." She disappears inside with a grace that's impressive for her age.
>>5525857The two sit on opposite sides of a large wooden table. Through a door nearby a workshop of some sort can be seen, and through another a bedroom. "Haven't seen you in a while. Looking for work again?" 「No thank you mam. I'm still employed by Kanekatsu.」 "Ah. That you were. What'd you come for then?" Takigi passes over the letter. 「He wanted me to deliver this letter.」 The woman raises an eyebrow before opening the envelope, removing a piece of paper, and glancing through it.After a few moments, she lets out a snort. "Hilarious. Does he think I'm an idiot?" Takigi seems interested, but remains silent. The apothecary doesn't miss this. "You interested? Here, take a look." She hands over the letter, which Takigi looks through. Some of the words are still unknown but the meaning is clear. In exchange for this woman publicly serving as Kanekatsu's right hand, she'll receive 40% of all his businesses. No other conditions. A formal invitation to discuss the offer at his home follows.Takigi's mouth hangs open slightly. "Why exactly..." The apothecary chuckles. "Probably wants me to scare some people off. I'm not getting wrapped up in that pile of shit though - I'm not completely ignorant of what goes on in the village. Pay's not good enough for the risk and Kanekatsu's too much of a shark. Wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him."She continues speaking without prompting. "Still, this is a good opportunity. You want to make some money?" Takigi replies hesitantly. 「...Yes?」 The woman smiles. "Great! It sounds like something will be happening soonish, so just keep eye on Kanekatsu and tell me what you see. You find anything interesting, I sell it to the interested parties, and we both come out with a bag of cash. Sound good?"「That... uh...」 You feel confusion, hesitance, and fear. The apothecary responds to it an aloof fashion. "What, you don't actually like that guy, do you? If you can't already tell, he's an ass. And you don't necessarily need to go spying or anything. Just keep an eye out and tell me about what's going on, what you're working on, that kind of stuff."Takigi doesn't respond. He's still considering things.>Stay silent while he comes to a decision. It's his life.>"Money is money. The work doesn't sound too risky." From what you understand, cultivation is a money pit. It wouldn't hurt to have some additional savings.>"...Doublecrossing is dangerous. Particularly when Kanekatsu is involved. I would decline and pretend this never happened.." Takigi is already earning enough to pay off his debts. No need to court more trouble.>"You can't afford to get on Kanekatsu's bad side. I'd decline and report the matter." Takigi isn't even at the first tempering. If he draws Kanekatsu's ire, then things will not end well.>Write-In
>>5525860>"...Doublecrossing is dangerous. Particularly when Kanekatsu is involved. I would decline and pretend this never happened.." Takigi is already earning enough to pay off his debts. No need to court more trouble.
>>5525860>>"...Doublecrossing is dangerous. Particularly when Kanekatsu is involved. I would decline and pretend this never happened.." Takigi is already earning enough to pay off his debts. No need to court more troubleApologies.Unless I have life guarantees for my family I'm not interested in any mix ups.
>>5525860>"Money is money. The work doesn't sound too risky." From what you understand, cultivation is a money pit. It wouldn't hurt to have some additional savings.no ones is saying we actually go and report if we hear/see something plus if what she said is true the power distibution in the village might changer rather soon.
>>5525875 >>5525920 >>5525957 >>5525967...Doublecrossing is dangerous. Particularly when Kanekatsu is involved. I would decline and pretend this never happened..「I was thinking the same. I'd rather not get on the bad side of anyone here.」Takigi lowers his head slightly. 「Thank you for the offer, but I'll pass. I have a family, so...」The woman nods. "Understandable. Give me a moment and I'll draft up a reply for your boss." She turns the letter over and scribbles something on the back before handing it back to Takigi. He glances at the reply.「...What does this word mean?」"Imbecile." An awkward pause. "You can just tell him I declined, if you prefer." Takigi latches onto that lifeline. 「That's what I'll do. I'll be taking my leave then.」As he stands up, the apothecary chimes in one more time. "You were rather useful before, so I'll give you some advice. Don't get too close to Kanekatsu. He's the same as his father - too focused on gains and losses. Not the worst I've met, but not someone I'd want as a partner."「I'll keep it in mind.」Upon arrival at Kanekatsu's home, Takigi informs him of the apothecary's refusal of his offer. He maintains calmness on the surface, but after sending Takigi out you can barely detect an annoyed groan from the office. It seems that whatever is going on, that it will be bothersome.Takigi returns home, and consumes a dinner of stewed meat and vegetables. It is much more nutritious than the old fare. You sense great contentment. Not just with the food, but with this life. After dinner he cultivates. A month passes.Through observation of the going-ons in Kanekatsu's home, the source of the unease felt among the village's upper-echelons has come to light. The village head's health has declined. Up until now the strength of his body as a cultivator of the 5th Tempering had sustained him, but time affects all men. At the age of 81 years, the flame of his life has begun to wane. As for whether it will last for another few months or another few years, it is not yet known. Regardless, the nearing struggle for power has sent the dozens at the top of the village into a scramble, strategizing and scheming to try and benefit from the matter.
>>5526832In the midst of this stiff atmosphere, Kanekatsu summons Takigi to his office. A frown covers his face. "I need you to beat a man." Takigi barely stops himself from going "Excuse me?"「I see. Who and why exactly?」"It's a man you used to work with. Baku. As you should be aware, he has a long-term debt with us. Someone went to collect his monthly payment yesterday, but they got into an argument and the bastard pulled out a machete and threatened to castrate our man. The matter wasn't exactly private, and it looks badly on us. If we just let it go, then people will refuse payment. I need you to give that man a good beating, and to do it publicly. Let them know we cannot be toyed with."Takigi just stares at Kanekatsu for a few moments. Kanekatsu seems to realize something, and continues. "Don't kill him or maim him yet, that would cause trouble. Just make him hurt. A lot. I'm sure you've punched a few people on the job, this won't be much different." You begin recalling your observations. You don't believe that Takigi has punched anyone in the years you have observed him - the worst you recall is him stepping on someone's foot to get them to stop yelling.You sense many quick thoughts. Takigi is trying to come up with a response as quickly as possible. Perhaps your opinion could be of use.>Stay silent. This is not your place to speak.>"It's your job. Not much choice but to do it." It's scarcely possible to get off a tiger at this point.>"...Perhaps you can accept and then try to foist the job off on someone else?" As you recall there are a couple other martial artists who work for another business of Kanekatsu's. Maybe one of them would be willing to assist if Takigi approached them.>"...Perhaps you can accept and gather some helpers?" There are several other debt collectors under Kanekatsu, although none of them have passed The Martial Gateway. Gathering them together and having them take care of the so-called 'dirty work' while Takigi simply watched might be easier on him.>"You should decline here. Draw a line on what work you are willing to do." Takigi may be a martial artist, but he's not quite cut out for violence. ...You just worry that Kanekatsu's anger may be more dangerous than his jobs.>Write-In
>>5526836>Write-InI need some time to prepare boss,also if possible I'd like to resolve this without violence.Let's get Takigi some iron tonfas and practice disarming/subduing moves.
>>5526836>Stay silent. This is not your place to speak.
>>5526836>"Maybe you could pretend to beat him up? Surely there are techniques to fake injuries."This is why I didn't want him to get involved with Kanekatsu
>>5526866He doesn't want the money, he wants an example made.
>>5526836>"You should decline here. Draw a line on what work you are willing to do." Takigi may be a martial artist, but he's not quite cut out for violence. ...You just worry that Kanekatsu's anger may be more dangerous than his jobs.Perhaps we could also rely on the fact that Takigi has never had hands-on fighting experience to bolster the point that he really shouldn't be doing this job.
>>5527127We should probably look into the other debt collector.He probably inflated the debt too.If so we might string along the debtor into a play to put on appearances and help the boss put the collectors into order. If we can introduce the boss to some encryption and book keeping tricks we could prevent this from happening all together.A simple double book-keeping contract with a cypher to prevent the collectors or debtors from fudging the numbers should do the trick.
>>5526836>Draw the line>Write inBoss can I look into the other debt collector as well?If he messed with the numbers this could get ugly.If he has we can convince the debtor to put on a play of getting hurt which will benefit us since he will be able to pay us back.
>>5526836>"It's your job. Not much choice but to do it." It's scarcely possible to get off a tiger at this point.time to see what all the fuss about breaking through is on about
>>5526866Attempt to resolve non-violently>>5526907Stay silent>>5527124Accept, attempt to fake injuries>>5527189Decline, mention lack of fighting experience>>5527254Investigate details of debt>>5527438Do itVotes are mixed but the general consensus seems to be not to directly refuse, but to try and see if you can't find a way around this through alternative avenues.Will start writing in a bit.
>>5526866 >>5526907 >>5527124 >>5527189 >>5527254 >>5527438Perhaps there is a way around the issue. Putting on a fake show instead of actually beating the man, or checking if there was any wrongdoing done with the debt behind the scenes. Not declining, but avoiding violent action while resolving the issue.Takigi seems to take note of this and begins composing a response. 「Sir, perhaps the issue warrants a bit more caution. What if there are issues behind the scene with the debt, such as with Mu Bou? It would put us in a bad light if we were to blow up the issue then. Not to mention my lack of fighting experience. Perhaps we can come to a more amiable...」"Takigi." He stops talking. "Why do you think I hired you?"「...Um, well, to work for your money lending enterprise. To collect debts, manage balance sheets, take care of errands, and some other things besides.」 Kanekatsu stares at Takigi for several several seconds. Then he sighs. "Certainly, that is part of it. But does that warrant hiring a martial artist? Does it warrant the pay you receive, or the effort I put into recruiting you?"The 'no' is left unspoken. "When someone steps out of line and threatens not to pay, you are the threat. If someone says - and they have - that perhaps you will pay them a visit if they refuse to pay... then the debtor stands down. Threats are usually enough. That is the prestige of a martial artist. And we make sure that they know that you are one. Given that neither us nor the debtors particularly want to fight, this works. But when the debtors pick a fight, then we cannot back off, lest we become a paper tiger and threats no longer work. Do you understand?"「Er, uh... what about my debt then? Why was that cancelled instead of a... similar outcome?」 "There was verifiable misconduct. Loss of documents. Very importantly, the fact that you simply paid normally until then and did not chase off one of our debt collectors with a machete and then brag about it. It was much easier for everyone to make the issue disappear then. But now the cat is out of the bag, and it can't just be shoved back in."After an awkward silence, Kanekatsu fishes something out of one of his desk drawers and places it on his desk. It's a very ornately made knife. "Have you ever heard of yubitsume?" 「No sir.」 "It's an ancient ritual to atone for one's mistakes. In order to show that one is sincerely apologetic, they use actions, instead of words." Kanekatsu stares at Takigi. "They cut off their finger, from the knuckle up."Kanekatsu puts the knife away. "Do your job, or accept that we've had quite the misunderstanding and that you need to be demoted to a different position. The former, and we carry on with business as normal. The latter, and you take a cut in pay and apologize."
>>5527537Your mouth is dry. Were you a fool to accept such a job in the first place? You should've known there would be a catch. Or to be more accurate, you did know. You just swept that knowledge under the rug and refused to think about it.Not that knowing that helps now. You need to make a decision. A voice in your head isn't going to solve things for you. At least not right now.>「Yes sir. I'll make sure the job is done well.」>「I am afraid that I will have to leave the job to someone else. Allow me to apologize.」>「I... uh... is there a third option sir?」>Write-In
>>5527541>「I am afraid that I will have to leave the job to someone else. Allow me to apologize.」I said to not take the job
>>5527541>>「Yes sir. I'll make sure the job is done well.」>Wrte inI will still look into it if there was some form of misconduct first to be prudent.If yes I will force the other party to put on a show with me "beating them up" and them publicly apologizing.
>>5527542Another option could be to try and pay off the apology with the ring, and give Kanekatsu the Mu Bou treatment, but I'm sure there would be repercussions, if we can even do it to a low level cultivator.I doubt my suggestion of a fake beating will work now, since we hesitated I'm sure he will look deeper in the punishment
>>5527537>「Yes sir. I'll make sure the job is done well.」With the added caveat, we will not initiate violence until we understand the situation a little more. If we find the man with the machete was in the right, then we can simply take a demotion since this job is out of our comfort zone.I don't suggest we tell kanekatsu about this. We can simply decline and demote after further investigation quietly.
>>5527541> 「Yes sir. I'll make sure the job is done well.」Sucks to be in this position, but I'm not destroying our future prospects to take a moral stand that isn't going to be good for much. At least with us doing it we can ensure that we're more focused on humiliation than harm. Let's try to devise a way to humiliate the target more than break him, while making sure he's aware we can in fact break him.
About done writing, I'm gonna do a minor retcon since we're in the first thread and it makes some things settingwise a lot easier for me to work with - there are now 13 months in a year on this planet, not 12. Sorry, this kind of stuff just pops up.
>>5528550>Minor retcon>Changes the orbital speed of the planet
>>5528562Hey, hey, the planet still orbits at the same speed....I just changed how society as a whole divides years up.
>>5527542 >>5527548 >>5527702 >>5528192「Yes sir. I'll make sure the job is done well.」"Good. You're dismissed." Takigi doesn't move. 「One more thing sir. Who's in charge of the debt?」 Kanekatsu thinks for a moment. "That'd be Yo Hua. You know where to find him." With that, Takigi bows slightly and takes his leave. Once he's out of the room he wipes his sweat and mutters to himself. 「I really like having my fingers...」Takigi grumbles as he plods along a muddy path and towards the main agricultural area of the village, pulling his hood up to block the rain. After nearly an hour's walk, uneven hills and scattered woods turn to fields and carts. A basin in the midst of the village's mainly hilly terrain, serving as one of the more convenient places to grow crops. Houses and workshops stand erected near the side of the road, aiming to save the residents of the area from the long walk to Fogtop proper.Scattered among these buildings is Yo Hua's home. Two rooms, mainly made of wood. A nice enough place. It only takes a couple knocks until an older man opens the door. An over-exaggerated grin covers his face as he ingratiates himself. "Mr. Takigi, Mr. Takigi, come right on in. Would you like to warm yourself up by the fire? Have you eaten?"「I'm not hungry, but I will sit by the fire.」 Takigi takes a seat on a stool near the hearth and removes his cloak. 「I'm supposed to deal with the issue about Baku. Tell me anything that might cause problems handling this. Whether you skimmed money off the top, if anything was calculated 'wrongly' in our favor, anything. I'm not the boss, I'm not going to rat you out.」Yo Hua shakes his head. "Oh no no no, I would never do such a thing. Especially not after..." Despite being in his own house, the man throws a furtive glance about. "...what happened to the last guy. Have you heard about Mu Bou?" You feel feelings of disgust, but Takigi barely maintains a straight face. 「A bit. What about him?」"He was skimming money off the top and... well, no one is sure what Kanekatsu did, but it was horrifying. He couldn't speak, could barely move, and had to be helped to eat and drink. Whenever you looked in his eyes you couldn't see any emotion. It was like he was an empty husk." Yo Hua shudders. "In the end they say he dragged himself into the woods and disappeared, preferring death. No, no one's brave enough to go over the boss's head after that."Takigi has an odd expression. 「I... see. That certainly sounds terrifying.」A short transmission to you. 「By the emperor. Now I'm disappointed that I was too late to see the bastard lying there.」 I observed it. It was not an incident of much interest. Takigi struggles not to laugh.
>>5528596「So you're telling me there's nothing you did that could come back to bite us on this? Just started as an argument?」 "Yes Mr. Takigi. He mentioned wanting to change the date that repayment falls on, and when I said it was already specified when we signed the contract he got upset. It was scarcely a few minutes after that he pulled a machete on me and I deemed it best to flee..."You sense annoyance. Takigi was hoping there was still a way out of this. 「Well, it's... uh, good, to know there's no problems. Is there a copy of the contract I can take for reference?」 "It's in my workroom. I'll get it for you."A moment later, Takigi is on his way back to the village proper. A hunk of dense, brown bread and cheese lays in one of his hands. He accepted the offer of food after all - harder to be upset when eating, by his words. 「I'll double check the situation with Baku.」And then? 「And then, uh... ah, shit. I guess I'll just have to catch him during work and finish things if I don't find a way out of this. Hit him a few times, humiliate him, wander off. That should be enough, right?」I don't know. I'll leave it to your judgement. The pitter patter of rain continues as Takigi stares fixedly at one of his hands, testing what it's like to eat using four fingers.Lunchtime. 「Baku. I know you're there.」 The sounds of rain. 「...You always go home for lunch.」After a few more seconds, the door opens, and a large man with a scar across half his face peeks out. "Whaddyu want traitor?"「Traitor? Tha- nevermind. I came about the debt.」 The door begins closing. Takigi blocks it with his foot and leans in with a smile. 「Come on, just talk to me. I'm here to figure out what's going. Why things, uh, escalated to the point they did.」"Why I made that ballless ass patter piss himself?" Ass patter?「It means a suckup - wait, not now.」 Takigi turns his attention back to Baku.「Yes, that's what I'm asking about.」Baku stares at Takigi suspiciously before stepping out of the house. "I'm supposed to be payin' 1 gold an' 8 silver a month, but I keep havin' t'pay 2 gold 1 silver." An eyebrow raises. 「He raised the payment without telling you?」 "Aye, aye. That 'e did. I'm just tryin' to get by. Can't just up the payments like that. It's fraud, out n' out! Chased him off because he wouldn't give on that."You feel some hope from Takigi. 「And that's all?」 Baku nods. "Can't think ov anythin' else that'd matter." 「Nothing about the date of payment?」 The man freezes up for a few seconds. "Dunno anythin' about that. I pay first of the month every month. Gotta get back to eating. Tell yer pals that they can pound sand. 1 gold 8 silver a month." The door closes.
>>5528599Not long after, Takigi is sitting in his own house and going over the contract in detail.「Repayment falls on the 25th day of each month. A late fee of 3 silver is incurred for each two weeks a payment is late, and will not be counted towards repayment of the debt.」Takigi scowls as he rereads the papers in front of him.「Payments of 1 gold and 8 silver towards the principal and interest of the loan each month, on an initial loan of 8 gold at 20% interest monthly. Balance sits at 6 gold and 2 silver after three months of repayment.」「I... think I know what the deal is here. The 25th is the middle of a work week, so Baku won't be paid until just before the rest day - the 28th. He's paying after his debt is due for the month every month, which is increasing what he has to pay.」So payment is in line with the agreed upon terms? You sense a mixture of annoyance and disappointment. Both feelings seem to be directed towards a lot of things. Yo Hua, Baku, Kanekatsu. The situation itself, really.That is unfortunate. Takigi nods.「But as you said, still within the bounds of the contract.」 A few minutes pass before Takigi stands up with a grunt.「I'll wait for the end of the workday, when everyone's storing away the last haul of wood for the day.」For the rest of the day, he mostly walks. You try to make conversation, but Takigi usually doesn't respond. When the sun is near to setting, Takigi makes his way to his final destination. The wood cutting camp.Upon arriving, Takigi gets a mixture of looks. Friendly looks from former coworkers. Unfriendly looks from former debtors, or those close to them. A nervous glance from Ki Jin, who cuts off his approach. "Kid. Why're you here?" Takigi stares at the sky as he responds. 「I... uh... Kanekatsu told me I had to deal with Baku. I couldn't say no. I'm sorry sir.」 Ki Jin lets out a sigh. "Can you take it somewhere else?" 「...I was explicitly told to do it where people would see.」It takes a moment, but Ki Jin moves out of the way and waves Takigi on with annoyance. "Just get it over with kid." Takigi nods and walks towards Baku, who is grinning at him. "Y'worked everything out, right? Told the fuckers what was what? Knew y-"The sound of air being vibrated by meat is replaced by the sound of meat smashing against meat. Baku lands on his side after being punched in the face. A moment later, Takigi takes the machete on his belt and throws it to the side.「I worked everything out, yes. Everything was done according to the contract, but you threatened to kill one of ours and then bragged about it. Now you'll have to pay that off as well.」Baku stares upwards, confusion and anger mixing together as he holds his mouth. "You ungrateful bastard. I-" He coughs as he's punched in the gut, and curls up slightly. You can sense Takigi pondering over something and detect him muttering「...I don't think I hurt him?」on your sensors.
>>5528607After that, he steps on his hand and then lightly slaps Baku a couple of times for more measure. More showmanship than anything harmful, really.「Apologize.」 "Fuck you! I'm not-" The next slap is much harder. Takigi whispers next.「Just apologize you numbskull. Please.」Baku doesn't talk for a few seconds. "I'm sorry."「Sorry for what?」"I'm, uh... sorry for..." A light kick to the stomach. Baku coughs. "I'm sorry for chasing Yo Hou with a machete. That's what you wanted, right? Right?"You feel annoyance from Takigi. He's upset that Baku can't just play along better. 「Almost.」 He grabs Baku's head and moves it towards his foot, barely keeping it held down. 「Apologize for insulting me and for disrespecting Kanekatsu through your actions.」 Baku doesn't say anything, and Takigi reluctantly steps down harder. A moment later, a muffled apology can be heard."I'm sorry. I'm sorry for what I said. I'm sorry for causing Sir Kanekatsu trouble. Stop." With a great feeling of relief, Takagi stops. Then he walks away, the eyes of everyone present locked onto him with a mixture of fear, disgust, and anger."Not sure if I'd call it a good job, but you did it. Knew you'd get it done. Happens again and you might want to hit him a couple more times though. They tend to be more eager to say sorry then." Kanekatsu pauses. 'Well, that's that. You can go back to your paperwork." 「...Yes sir.」There's now only a week left until you switch holders to Kinzou. Takigi is preparing himself to finally speak to Nui about your existence, and then his son. As he discusses the issue with you, he hesitantly transmits a thought.「Just as you can feel some of my emotions, I can feel some of yours. You seem rather excited about the swap. And... I've been wondering for a while, about your goals. Ever since I found you really. You want to revive your people's culture, yes, but how exactly do you achieve that while trapped in a piece of metal? Were you really expected to just rely on other's cooperation? Isn't that too optimistic?」Transmissions halt.「I guess what I'm really asking is whether you have an ulterior motive. It's fine if you do - I've used you to gain money and strength. I'm just curious.」>"An understandable inquiry, but not one I have a satisfactory answer to. I'm simply excited by future opportunities. The chance for both of us to gain more resources, and the chance to observe a new life." Perhaps there will be a time to make your needs known. That's not now.>"...Truth to be told, I am not expected to do my duties from inside this vessel. I need a body. I am hoping that if your line grows strong enough, then perhaps your influence can acquire a suitable one. One that I do not feel gratefulness towards." You've both known each other for some time. It is only fair for him to know. You believe you both have a good understanding of the other.>Write-In
>>5528610>"...Truth to be told, I am not expected to do my duties from inside this vessel. I need a body. I am hoping that if your line grows strong enough, then perhaps your influence can acquire a suitable one. One that I do not feel gratefulness towards." You've both known each other for some time. It is only fair for him to know. You believe you both have a good understanding of the other.>"A willing host, someone that would accept this fusion. My people have a different concept of individuality then yours, due to different biology."
>>5528612I support.Though I feel that the .after of the debt should have been explained to the debtor properly, and then tall to his handler.The conditions of the contract are now none viable and in the interest of preventing a repeat incident, the terms should be amended to the 29th.But that is playing on fairness, good will and manners. Well done QM, for once you have actually given a viable reason and example of cultivation "big fish eat little fish" without it being flat out evil like most chinese mentality.
>>5528610>>Write-InIn truth i seek to reincarnate into a new body.A rebirth in a brand new body instead of attempting possession and the like would be the optimal solution.By raising your family lines standing i am preparing for my eventual rebirth among your descendants.That should still be in the far off future, perhaps even among the grandchildren of your grandchildren.Also suggest for Takigi to check on the work contracts (pay day) of the debtors and see to it that they match up with the days their debts are due so they can actually pay it off.Tell the woodcutter that he has a favour if he needs it for putting up with the humiliation.Saving him or one of his family members from trouble in the future will cost us nothing.
>>5528612 >>5528625 >>5528808Well, there is no use covering your intentions up for much longer. There is prudence in hiding the more objectionable side of your existence from others, but that too can beg suspicion.Truth to be told, I am not expected to do my duties from within this vessel. Eventually I will need a body. My hope is that if your line grows strong enough, that your influence will be able to acquire a suitable one for me. One that I do not feel gratefulness towards. Ideally a willing host that would accept my presence.Takigi remains silent for some time. 「...I have some trouble in thinking that you'll ever find someone willing.」 Perhaps. Unfortunately it is not quite so easy to convince your kind. Due to differing biological structures, our sense of individuality differs slightly. Takigi desires for you to explain further. My kind, the Apoth, had two organs analogous to the human brain. One brain was used exclusively among us, while the other was connected to and shared among the hive. We were individuals, but also a group.Instead of being afraid or suspicious of you, Takigi is mostly just confused trying to imagine what an existence would be like. After several unhelpful explanations, he simply gives up on the topic. 「I will refrain from mentioning this to Nui. She tends to worry. I will attempt to explain the situation to her tomorrow though.」 Best of luck.The next day, Takigi cleans up some of the fallout from the recent situation with Baku. Baku was aware of what the issue was with the date of payment so it can be said that the blame is split, but feeling some guilt Takigi pays half of his next payment - 9 silver. That should more than suffice to let him save up enough money before the work week payment falls on ends. If not, that is unfortunate, but no longer due to the date of payment.That night, Takigi explains your presence to Nui and attempts to introduce you. It is impossible for her to transmit full thoughts to you, so the easiest form of communication is for you to speak mentally and for her to speak out loud. Her emotion towards your existence can be best described as bewildered suspicion, but she does not oppose you. Wealth and power are good things, particularly when starting with none. No one would refuse coal in winter.With that introduction over, you are gifted to Kinzou a couple weeks after the New Year, just after his 9th birthday. By the time you arrive on your hand, Takigi has already briefed him of the details. Greetings Kinzou. I am your father's friend, commander-of-ten-tens seven of my hive. You may call me One-Who-Hops-Well. Pleasant mental imagery accompanies your greeting.「That name sounds stupid. And it's long. Can I call you something else?」>"Certainly. Is 'Hops' satisfactory?">"Certainly. What about 'gramps'. It is my understanding that this is a somewhat affectionate term for a much older creature.">"No." You like your name.>Write-In
Whoops, forgot a quote.>>5528877>>5529134
>>5529134>>5529145Benevolent Grandfather WellHoper
>>5529134> GrampsBut I'm good with Gramps Hops too.Oh boy, childhood petulance is going to be fun
>>5529134>"Certainly. What about 'gramps'. It is my understanding that this is a somewhat affectionate term for a much older creature."Grandfather Hops, even.
>>5529202I support.Boy will learn to respect us
>>5529145 >>5529195 >>5529202 >>5529558 >>5530226That is acceptable. Perhaps Grandfather Hops then?「But you aren't my grandpa.」 Is grandfather not a generic form of address used towards close, older figures? 「Are you old?」 The answer to that question depends. If you are inquiring about how long I have lived and been aware of my surroundings, the answer is likely several hundred years. As for how long since I was born, it has been at minimum some millions of years.Kinzou doesn't really know how to respond to that. 「Huh. That's really really really old. I guess you're a grandpa then.」 A lull in the conversation. 「You're supposed to show me how to become a cultivator, right?」 Yes. When you turn ten you will begin cultivating. 「Why not now?」 Because ten years is said to be the ideal age for cultivating. 「Why?」 I have not verified the facts behind why. Likely due to decreased life force and a difficulty in processing spiritual energy among older humans, as well as extremely young humans not having achieved sufficient growth to avoid being harmed by the absorption of spiritual energy.「...I don't get it. Come on, teach me how to cultivate.」 No. 「Please Grandpa Hops?」 No. After a few hours of annoyed begging the repeated 'no's sink in and Kinzou gives up.During the start of the year, Kinzou doesn't do much. Eat, sleep, play in the woods. You take to educating him in writing during this time, as well as attempting to teach him in how to transmit information across your mental link. Progress in the former is a bit slow, but fortunately he is more adept at mental communication. While you miss Takigi's relative proficiency at the task, after a couple of months Kinzou is at least getting basic statements across mentally. They are a bit fractured, but it's certainly better than nothing.As winter draws to a close and the snow begins to thaw, the citizenry's normal jobs begins. For Takigi this makes no difference, as he works for Kanekatsu year round. But for Kinzou, this means resuming his apprenticeship under Wang, the melted snow making the commute acceptable once more."It's been a while. The Emperor's blessing to you this year too, kid." Kinzou nods. "You too mister. What should I do?" Wang glances around for a while. "Uh, just help out Suji. Suji, you explain anything to him he doesn't understand." A young man with a perpetual frown turns towards the two. "Alright."For several hours you observe Kinzou assist Suji in treating and filing down dried lumber into wooden planks. Do you like carpentry? Kinzou pauses what he's doing for a second. 「No. Boring. Super boring.」 Well, that's understandable. Your current role requires an excess of patience, but you're a bit bored of carpentry yourself at this point. It is still more interesting than observing Takigi cut wood at least.
>>5530233A short time after consuming a packed lunch, Kinzou begins making his way home. His apprenticeship is only around half a full workday. While returning, he encounters a child of around the same age. The two stop and stare at each other."Hey, uh..., uh..."The other child points at Kinzou but stops mid-sentence.「...Kinzou.」 "Kinzou! My dad said your dad is a jerk!" 「No he isn't!」 "Yeah he is!" 「Nuh uh!」 "Yuh huh!" Kinzou pouts slightly. 「Oh yeah? Well I bet my dad can beat your dad up!」 Several useless rejections of this premise, and its resulting restatement follow."Well I bet I can win against you in a fight!" Kinzou stares at the other child for a couple seconds before grabbing a nearby stick, slightly shorter than his arm in length, and bopping the other kid over the head with it. "Ow!" Seeing the lack of resistance, Kinzou bops him again. "Ow, stop that!" Kinzou throws aside the stick and performs an expression of vulgarity.「I win! I win! I win! I win!」as he walks away into the distance.>"That is not how you wield a blunt weapon. Retrieve another stick so that I may tell you what you did wrong.">"That's no good. You shouldn't be so eager to commit violence against another intelligent creature.">"One must be more sportsmanlike in their victory. It instills respect.">"Vulgarity is the lowest form of gloating. There are much better ways to rub in one's victory.">"...Perhaps it would be amusing to hit him again?">Say nothing.>Write-In (feel free to combine multiple options if you want)
>>5530238>"That is not how you wield a blunt weapon. Retrieve another stick so that I may tell you what you did wrong.">"One must be more sportsmanlike in their victory. It instills respect."
>>5530238>"That's no good. You shouldn't be so eager to commit violence against another intelligent creature."Ah, little sociopaths.
>>5530252I support the vote, but we cannot have our host becoming a blaggard.>"Why did you hit him?" Point out the benefits and drawbacks of what he did and why he did so. Caution him to act more thoughtfully.He turned to force when conversation didnt work. Possible damages is his fathers reputation and one himself as a bully, possible advantages is a reputation as a bully and a fighter.Make him think. He may ignore us, but there is no use in a fool
>>5530280That's true, he tried to bully the other one whe he couldn't winSo something like>>5530238>"That's no good. You shouldn't be so eager to commit violence against another intelligent creature.">"Why did you hit him?" Point out the benefits and drawbacks of what he did and why he did so. Caution him to act more thoughtfully.>"One must be more sportsmanlike in their victory. It instills respect.">"That being said, violence sometimes is inevitable">"That is not how you wield a blunt weapon. Retrieve another stick so that I may tell you what you did wrong."This is a quite lot actually
>>5530238>>"That's no good. You shouldn't be so eager to commit violence against another intelligent creature."
>>5530252 >>5530253 >>5530280 >>5530476Why did you hit him? One shouldn't be eager to commit violence against another intelligent creature.Kinzou speaks to you as if speaking to a small child, clearly finding the question stupid. 「He said he could beat me in a fight. Duh, of course I'd hit him.」 ...Perhaps you should've acted more thoughtfully. He may not have been suggesting an immediate spar. What would you have done if he had gotten hurt? 「Not my fault. He said he could beat me in a fight. The only way to prove him wrong is to fight! And he'll be fine, it was just a couple of smacks with a stick.」 Is there not some sort of dueling etiquette? Perhaps you came off as a bully? 「What's an etiquette?」 Commonly accepted rules. 「If he told me there were rules I would've followed him. That's his fault. Next time he should. He started it by picking a fight so it's not my fault.」Your conversation continues for some time. You make very little headway in the 'violence is a last resort' department, if simply because Kinzou does not view himself as the instigator. Despite that Kinzou does seem to gel with the idea of sportsmanship. That one should accept victory gracefully as a form of respect towards both themselves and their opponent. ...And perhaps even that one should confirm with their opponent that they are actually fighting before they start hitting them.After returning home you instruct Kinzou in the art of stick-wielding for some time. You cannot call yourself an expert on the topic, but through basic logic and far too much observation of Takigi cutting down trees, you can at least say that you know how a one-handed weapon should be held, even if that would differ for each weapon.Time marches on, moving from spring to summer. Mental communications become much easier, beginning to gain favor over verbal communications. Kinzou's reading and writing improve greatly. Progress is being made overall. On one rest day, news spreads that a caravan heading west is passing through the village, and will be staying the night. Kinzou requests to visit the caravan, and Takigi, finding the idea interesting himself, decides to take the family to look at what goods are available.The caravan is quite the sight. Tens of wagons sit in a line with a great many laborers moving around them, loading and unloading objects. As they move they maneuver around a large number of domesticated quadrupedal animals. One of the furred beasts stares at Takigi as he passes by, letting out a light snort.A plump man with flushed cheeks approaches the three. "Welcome, welcome! Come to buy or sell?" 「To buy, although we don't really know what you have on hand. Would you mind introducing us to your wares?」 "Certainly, certainly! We hail from the capital of the prefecture, up north. As such we carry a great many goods from both the tributary states and the prefectural capital! Why, look at this..."
>>5530719The man shows Takigi what the caravan is currently selling off, and he makes a couple of minor purchases - novel but affordable foodstuffs. After some time, the man introduces several books that the caravan is carrying. All printed in batches from a workshop in the prefectural capital. Still expensive, but far and away more affordable than something like a cultivation manual, which must be produced by hand by a cultivator of some ability.After some consideration, Takigi seems to make a decision. "A bit expensive, but fine as a one-time expense. Kinzou, are you interested in any of the books?" Kinzou's face lights up. 「Really? I can have one?」Takigi nods. "Sure. We'll just call it a late present for the new year."「Ummmm...」It takes some consideration before Kinzou narrows his selection down to three books. Seemingly stuck at an impasse, he transmits a thought.「Grandpa Hops, which one should I get? They all look interesting.」 You ponder the three books and select one.>The Sage's Analects, a set of stories and sayings on an ancient sage's life, as collected by his disciples.>Jun Rei's Travels, the memoirs of a pilgrim who traveled across the empire.>Surviving On The Frontier, a collection of advice on surviving in the woods and hills of the Immortal Empire's northwestern reaches, where you're currently located.
>>5530722>Jun Rei's Travels, the memoirs of a pilgrim who traveled across the empire.Got to learn about different places.
>>5530733>>Surviving On The Frontier, a collection of advice on surviving in the woods and hills of the Immortal Empire's northwestern reaches, where you're currently located.Although this one could help too, depending on how much travelling we want to do, or if we want to stick to civilization or the wilderness.
>>5530733>>5530741I suggest you pick one my dude.But I recommend>Travelling PilgrimBecause knowledge of others will expand our options WHEN we start travelling.
>>5530811I know we can only choose one, but I realized the second could be useful as well afterwards, and wanted to get some discussion going.
>>5530818Actually, it does raise a question.>>5530722Wuxia, is this one of those cultivation settings where someone can just meditate to heal their wounds and not eat? Because in that case survival would become less useful
>>5530826Cultivators not having to eat is something you've heard mentioned in passing along with other alleged claims about what cultivators can do, but to your knowledge no one in the village is powerful enough to be able to do such a thing. You are inclined to believe such claims are true though, as those in charge of hives were generally able to substitute food with spiritual energy, so humans of a sufficient cultivation should be able to do the same.As for meditating to heal from wounds, you don't know. That would be a much more complicated procedure and likely depend massively on what type of wound the person has, assuming it is possible in the first place.Either way if you or the person wearing you reached the point where they could do either of these things, then you imagine they'd have the ability to buy as many books as they wanted.
>>5530849In that case I'm sticking to my original vote here>>5530733
>>5530722>Surviving On The Frontier, a collection of advice on surviving in the woods and hills of the Immortal Empire's northwestern reaches, where you're currently located.Good practical advice for when we're weakest.
>>5530722>Surviving On The Frontier, a collection of advice on surviving in the woods and hills of the Immortal Empire's northwestern reaches, where you're currently located.
>>5530733 >>5530811two for Jun Rei's travels>>5531034 >>5531162two for Surviving on the FrontierWill roll to tiebreak in an hour or two assuming it's not broken by then.
>>5530722>Jun Rei's Travels,knowing about the world naturally motivates one to explore it
>>5531661>Surviving on the Frontier
>>5530722>Jun Rei's Travels, the memoirs of a pilgrim who traveled across the empire.A wider perspective on the world is what this violent prepubescent boy needs.
>>5530733 >>5530811 >>5531034 >>5531162 >>5531782 >>5531829 >>5531843Jun Rei's Travels, perhaps? Information on what lies outside of Fogtop sounds interesting.Kinzou takes your suggestion and returns home with the book. It takes a great deal of effort over the next months to actually get through it. While you're about as literate as Takigi, that is unfortunately not a very high standard. It still takes a great deal of assistance to get more than a very vague understanding of what's written.Over this period, Kinzou settles into a cycle with the book. Reading what he can tolerate before it all fades into a word salad, recording down words that neither you nor he can understand, and then doing his best to get the meanings from others. At first Kinzou passes the list of words onto his father, but after a few days Takigi manages to find that the innkeeper is happy to help and mostly unoccupied, freeing himself of the responsibility of looking for someone to help with deciphering the text.This process does more for Kinzou's ability to read and write than your tutelage ever could, especially given your limited resources. But beyond that, it also makes him feel a great desire to explore the outside world. He'd always expressed such a desire, but hearing what lay outside of Fogtop added oil to that flame.Jun Rei's tale is an intriguing one. 144 years ago, the man, feeling a lack of excitement in his life, decided that something had to change. He decided to sell of what possessions he had amassed in his 130 years of life and put it towards a great, continent-spanning journey.He was not a religious man, but in seeking a goal, had decided upon investigating a minor religion he found of much interest. The religion held that long ago, there was a god, who had created the world. Long after the creation of this world, upon which humanity flourished, a harmful force arose which nearly wiped humanity's presence away from the lands. In order to make up for this purge god taught five disciples among humanity, who contributed to the human race and aided them in moving forward once more.The religion also held a great many other things, but these few facts were what were most relevant to Jun Rei in his expedition. He wished to cross the continent, explore the lands, and to stop at the shrines erected for each of the five 'Disciples of God', as they were so called.The most recent disciple was said to live in the far east of the continent, on the coast. In fact, he was said to have lived in the same place Jun Rei lived - the capital of the Immortal Empire, Xiang Cheng, also known as the Immortal's City!
>>5532053As the two of you decipher the words, the luster of the empire's capital is revealed to you. The Royal City, open only to those of great import, and with extremely dense spiritual energy. The sprawling outer city that lay beyond it, seemingly endless at first glance. Filled with the cramped hustle and bustle of lives on the surface, and sparse spires piercing into the heavens up above.To the north, across a choppy sea, a half-frozen isle that constantly flips between open hostility and a reluctant peace towards the empire. On that isle, a massive shrine towards the one of the disciples, carved into a mountainside. Hundreds, thousands of stairs reaching upwards, a path to be walked while reaching one's own personal enlightenment. The words of many other visitors recorded on the cliffside adjacent to the stairway, their own musings on the world. At the top, a small cottage, supposedly the home of that disciple.From there Jun Rei sailed east, trekking through dense, cold forests in what you and Kinzou believe are now the tributary states to the north. While there he visited the shrine of the third "god's disciple", before heading south, towards the empire's frontier - your present location - where the empire's wars of conquest were only just coming to a close after a century.The text continues to record a great many sceneries. Floating along the mighty Yuanyin river and admiring the breadbasket of the empire. Heading south, and then to the west, passing through arid desert and dense jungle. Making his way northwest through The Great Flats, and crossing the colossal peaks at their edge.After 20 years of journeying, the man finally settles down in the distant west, far beyond the reaches of the empire, and beyond even the five shrines he had initially planned to visit. In the end very little about the religion is actually recorded, besides a personal theory of Jun Rei's that perhaps the most recent of the five disciples was actually just the founder of the empire, whose story had been warped and integrated into preexisting folklore. What's more important are the lands he explored along the way.With the text not quite fully read, but understood well enough, Kinzou takes to visiting the inn whenever travelers or merchants pass through, attempting to get a story out of them. These pale greatly in comparison to the travels of Jun Rei, but are interesting nonetheless. Kinzou hears of the magnificent palace in the kingdom's capital, as well as of other rural communities which still follow the traditions of what came before the empire, the nation-states over a hundred years gone in this region.
>>5532063Among these stories, Kinzou hears of a nearby monastery. Roughly a day straight west, sitting at the base of a mighty waterfall. This is the final straw that causes Kinzou's wanderlust to explode .First, he asks Takigi to take him. Due to several concerns, such as the difficulty in getting so much time off at once and the two's lack of citizenships, he pushes the idea aside. That is when Kinzou begins contemplating the possibility of preparing the neccesary supplies and going himself,>Dissuade him. While he is preparing for the outing, you do not trust him to manage a one to two day trek through the woods well. If he loses his way then it will be of great concern.>Do your best to assist him in preparations while keeping Takigi up to date on the situation. Given that the journey is performed while still in the temperate part of fall, it should be of little risk. The forest nearby is decently settled, and the chance of running into a hostile beast unlikely.>Attempt to push the journey back to a later time. Perhaps to when Kinzou can pass through The Martial Gateway, or undergo his 1st Tempering. It will be much safer then, even if he does lose his way.>Write-In
>>5532067>Attempt to push the journey back to a later time. Perhaps to when Kinzou can pass through The Martial Gateway, or undergo his 1st Tempering. It will be much safer then, even if he does lose his way.
>>5532067>Attempt to push the journey back to a later time. Perhaps to when Kinzou can pass through The Martial Gateway, or undergo his 1st Tempering. It will be much safer then, even if he does lose his way.>>Write-InChild I will help you under the condition that you finish your basic training as a warrior and your apprenticeship as a carpenter.By that time your father might be able to acquire citizenship for your family so you will be able to travel freely.
>>5532212Support.Feels like a good approach. If the kiddo insists though let's do everything we can to help.
>>5532212Support.He needs to learn to duel first.
>>5532067>>5532212supportkinzou just gave us an easy carrot and stick approach we demand he lives up to our standard and we allow him to go, failing so means more training and not going
>>5532152 >>5532212 >>5532253 >>5532433 >>5532560I cannot endorse this course of action. Such a journey is far too dangerous. It would be best to wait until you have some accomplishments in cultivation to make it. In the meantime you may prepare yourself.Kinzou disagrees with your judgement, but after some time you do manage to talk him down, and convince him to quietly train and bide his time here before embarking on such a travel. With the promise of cultivation only a few months away, it's more tempting to him than before.Just as winter is about to go into full swing, you observe a major incident. In the early afternoon, as Takigi, Nui, and Kinzou eat lunch, a high-pitched noise suddenly rings out across the village, reminiscent of a musical instrument. Takigi and Nui freeze up, while Kinzou just appears confused. 「Dad, what's that?」Takigi forces himself to calm down. "A government envoy bearing important news." Kinzou tilts his head. 「What kind of news?」"I don't know. I've only heard of two of their visits. Once in my father's generation, when the war in the north began. Once when I was a child, when it ended."It is not long before the majority of the village is gathered into the main square, sans those in the agricultural district. In front of the crowd stands a young man in formal dress - a jacket of some sort upon an outer shirt, upon another under shirt. The pants are simply made, but a large, elaborately made pair of boots cover up their bottoms. Every part of the outfit is in black.With the crowd gathered, the young envoy clears his throat. The sound resounds across the square, and those gathered quiet down. "Freemen of the empire, it is with heavy heart and deepest sorrow that I must share a piece of grave news with you all. Our beloved emperor, The Second Immortal Emperor, Shen Zheng Fu, has passed away in secluded cultivation at the age of 1019. Sheng Zheng Fu was a shining beacon of wisdom and justice, and his steady hand guided our Immortal Empire with unmatched strength and grace during his 483 year reign. His name will forever be etched into the annals of history as a ruler among rulers, who ushered in a second golden age for our nation. He will be missed greatly, and surely be remembered fondly in the hearts of each and every one of his citizenry, for whom he was the wisest of shepherds."The envoy stops speaking for a moment. Among the entire crowd not a single person responds - it is almost deathly quiet. Then, the envoy continues."Starting in Sheng 484, a period of mourning will be observed for a year. During this period federal taxes will be waived, so as to allow you all to manage in this time of grief. A new emperor will be crowned after this period is over." The envoy stops for a moment. "That is all."
>>5533075You have never seen sadness turn to happiness so quickly before. The mood is mixed, but overall people seem less upset about the emperor dying than they are glad that their taxes have been cut for a year. Entirely reasonable, given that one affects their livelihoods far more directly than the other.While the announcement serves as quite the piece of news in the village, life goes on as normal, unaffected by the happenings in the capital half a continent away. Winter rolls in, and with it the new year. And on the 1st month, 7th day of this new year, Sheng 484, Kinzou turns 10.「I can cultivate now, right?」 By my knowledge, yes. We may begin whenever you are ready. Kinzou nods, considering something. 「It hurts a lot, right? Dad always looks mad when he borrows you to cultivate.」The absorption of spiritual energy does hurt, yes. Unfortunately I cannot prevent that. Are you concerned? Kinzou shakes his head. 「Nah. I don't want to be stuck here forever, so I can handle it, no matter how much it hurts. I just needed to know first.」Kinzou settles into a deep silence. 「...Alright. Start the thingy. Whatever you need to do.」>Begin infusing spiritual energy as per normal, for optimal cultivation. Pain and perseverance are unavoidable parts of cultivation, unfortunately.>Infuse less spiritual energy than ideal, as to reduce pain. It will impede cultivation, but you fear that Kinzou will not be able to handle the optimal amount as a youngling.>Write-In
>>5533078>Begin infusing spiritual energy as per normal, for optimal cultivation. Pain and perseverance are unavoidable parts of cultivation, unfortunately.
>>5533078Begin infusing spiritual energy as per normal, for optimal cultivation. Pain and perseverance are unavoidable parts of cultivation, unfortunately.
>>5533078>Begin infusion.>use our observations of his father doing so to see where he absorbs the energy easier, and what advice we can give him to circulate it.Do cultivators sign their Manuel's?
>>5533078>Begin infusing spiritual energy as per normal, for optimal cultivation. Pain and perseverance are unavoidable parts of cultivation, unfortunately.Getting some pain tolerance early would be good for him
Moving today so there won't be an update until later tonight.also, I'm going to have to figure out how to substitute for italics for a while, at least until I make a new thread and get my formatting back then
>>5533432I seen QMs be able to format even with a different ID before, but I'm not sure if it's because of having the same trip as the OP, or using the same device
Huh, I guess it's the tripcode that makes that work but that's wild, just a couple months ago my formatting broke because I changed locations mid-quest even though I used the same trip.Anyways, that's good.
>>5533093 >>5533170 >>5533248 >>5533298No one ever got anywhere without a bit of pain. Or at least you've heard that said - you cannot attest as to the validity, or lack thereof of such an aphorism. Regardless, you shall follow it in this case.I will begin providing spiritual energy for use during the first half of the day. Absorption of spiritual energy will take place over the course of one minute.Through your mental connection, you can feel an intense flash of pain. After around two seconds, it suddenly disappears. Confused, you observe Kinzou's current state. After a moment, the reason why there is no longer any pain becomes clear - Kinzou is currently unconscious. You halt the transferal of spiritual energy and silently wait for Takigi or Nui to notice the situation.「Can't say I'm surprised honestly. Been years for me and I still feel like burning hot needles are being twisted inside my hand twice a day..」 ...Should I reduce the quantity of spiritual energy? Or spread out absorption over a long period? It will reduce efficiency, but... Takigi shrugs. 「Up to him really. Based off everything I heard I don't think it hurt him. Just think it'll take a while to get used to. Anyways, it should be about my time for the morning, right? Let's get it over with.」Slightly over an hour passes before Kinzou stirs. 「What happened?」 The sudden pain of absorption of spiritual energy resulted in your loss of consciousness, commonly referred to as fainting. 「..And that happens every time?」 The fainting? Unknown. The pain? Yes, but for the duration of a single minute. Kinzou tries to push himself up and off of the rest area, but his arms give out and he falls back to the ground. 「Everything hurts.」 From prior experience, body-wide aches are to be expected. As I recall your father stayed bedridden for several days as he first got accustomed to the absorption of spiritual energy. 「And he still did that thing again during that?」 Yes. Twice a day, every day, for several years. Including when sick or bedridden.After remaining silent for some time, mulling over something, Kinzou directs a response towards you.「Alright. Do it again.」It is not time yet. The second attempt of absorption should wait until the afternoon.「Oh. Do it then then. Ok?」 Certainly.Later that afternoon, Kinzou faints again. He faints twice the next day. And two more times the day after that. At that point his annoyance is split equally between the bursts of intense pain and constant aches racking his body, and the fact that he keeps passing out, affecting the efficiency of his training. But to his credit, he keeps coming back to be shocked with pain again, much like Apoths repeatedly pressing a button triggering electrical stimulation when disconnected from the hivemind as part of scientific experimentation. Only, in this case there is a greater purpose behind the pain than extreme boredom. ...Or at least you hope there is.
>>5534400During this period you're only slightly concerned. Who is very concerned, however, is Nui. She makes many vocal, repeated complaints about the process, and the suffering involved. Often she notes Kinzou's age. But with Takigi and Kinzou opposed to her interference, complaining is all that she can do. Training continues as scheduled, and after a few weeks Kinzou no longer faints from the absorption of spiritual energy. It is another few weeks until he no longer spends a large amount of time sleeping and in bed, and resumes his normal amount of time spent out of bed. Another two weeks, and he is able to walk long distances once again, albiet while ignoring a great many aches. Besides slightly decreased muscle mass, everything is back to normal.Takigi is chopping wood while his son watches. "Glad that you were able to walk to the village center the other day. Was afraid you'd be laid up so long that you wouldn't be able to go to Wang's place next week." Kinzou frowns, not wanting to be reminded of his apprenticeship resuming. After a moment, a thought strikes him.「About that... why should I learn carpentry?」His father starts to answer, but Kinzou cuts him off. 「I can read. And write. Not, like, perfectly, but better than you. If I ever need a job, why would I settle for making furniture? That's stupid.」His father stops cutting wood, and a facial expression that clearly communicates "I never thought about that" covers his face. You, too, are caught by surprise. Perhaps you got tunnel vision at some point because that, well, never occurred to you.「So I can quit going to Wang's, right? It's boring. I'll never be a carpenter. Right dad? Grandpa Hops?」>...Fair enough. If he needs an employable skill, he already has one. May as well leave him own devices, such as training, and poring over Jun Rei's Travels.>Agreeable. But best to give the youngling a direction, rather than letting him run free. While it may be hard to find employment at such a young age, you'll suggest he looks for some work regardless.>Carpentry isn't completely useless, and it is a good way of keeping Kinzou safe from doing whatever he suddenly thinks is good idea during the day. Best to keep the situation as it is.>Write-In
>>5534402>Agreeable. But best to give the youngling a direction, rather than letting him run free. While it may be hard to find employment at such a young age, you'll suggest he looks for some work regardless.There's that shady alchemist. It's a big thing in cultivation.
>>5534402>Knowledge is it's own reward. I would recommend that you retain how it is done and how it works.>However, I recommend you try and gather work, to bolster your useable income.
>>5534461>>5534729Reasonable observation. Suggestion agreeable, although one should do their best to retain existing knowledge. Kinzou smiles. With your newly acquired free time, perhaps you can find work utilizing your ability to read and write. It will provide additional funds, and serve as a good use of your time. You feel a great many hopes of Kinzou's being dashed, like a cluster of eggs bursting.「I... uh... maybe in a few years. I should wait to work...」 Takigi catches onto the situation immediately and latches onto the opportunity to make you the bad guy for this. "You should listen to Hops. Other kids are still doing their apprenticeships, but since you're done with all that, it shouldn't be any trouble at all to start working! He has a point!"After a short back and forth, whatever Kinzou thought he might be done with his newly founded time is now gone from his mind. All that is left is disappointment. And acceptance that there is no easy way out of this. 「Fine. Jerks. At least it's less boring than Wang's place.」Takigi returns to cutting wood as Kinzou tries to think of how to continue things.「You write at your job, right dad? Does Kanekatsu need someone else to do that?」 Takigi immediately stops what he's doing and practically jogs over to Kinzou, crouching down and looking him in the eyes. He puts his hands on Kinzou's shoulders. "You will not work for Kanekatsu. You cannot work for Kanekatsu. It's best if you don't even talk to him, not even to say hello. Got it?"「Dad... it hurts...」Takigi seems to snap back to reality and takes his hands off of Kinzou's shoulders. "Sorry, I was pressing down a little hard there. Anyways, don't get involved with him. Find work somewhere else." Takigi returns to cutting wood without saying anything further.「Work, huh? Who would even hire me?」>"Perhaps the apothecary has some use for your skills. She seemed to be on decent terms with your father.">"The caravan should always have need for another bookkeeper. Given your age you won't be able to leave the village, but perhaps you'll see something of interest.">"Perhaps the farms are in need of an extra hand to track harvests, taxes, things like that. Not the most interesting of jobs, but unlikely to be stressful either.">Write-In
>>5534908>"Perhaps the apothecary has some use for your skills. She seemed to be on decent terms with your father."Pills, elixirs and poisons gallore
>>5534908>"The caravan should always have need for another bookkeeper. Given your age you won't be able to leave the village, but perhaps you'll see something of interest."I like the traveling personality we building with this kid
>>5534908>Try and get a job with tallying the caravans. The work will be incidental, whenever a caravan comes through, but it should make you money, grant you the free time you desire and gove you access to their stories. Isnt this what you desire?
>>5534908>"The caravan should always have need for another bookkeeper. Given your age you won't be able to leave the village, but perhaps you'll see something of interest."
>>5534908>"The caravan should always have needno better time to start making contacts than now
>>5534913 >>5535052 >>5535070 >>5535451 >>5535587The caravan should always have need for another bookkeeper. Perhaps you'll see something of interest working there as well.Kinzou seems accepting of this idea, and excitedly departs that morning to seek work. After some trodding through mud and snow he arrives at a small set of buildings on the eastern set of town, generally referred to as the 'intake'. The intake doubles as a storehouse and trading post. Any caravans stopping at Fogtop stop at the intake to trade goods, book lodgings, and so on and so forth, and the occasional caravans heading out of Fogtop to the county seat or elsewhere in the province are organized by the intake as well. It could be said to be the economic seat of the village, if someone was to use so grand a term.A large man in roughly woven clothes intercepts Kinzou as he enters the area. "Hey, kid, you ain't supposed to play around here! Go somewhere else!" Kinzou stops and addresses him. 「Thanks mister, but I'm here to look for a job. Y'know who I should talk to about that?」The man looks Kinzou up and down and scratches his head. "How ol' are you? You looking for an apprenticeship? Wanna be a wagonhand?" Kinzou shakes his head. 「Uh, I don't think so. I can read and write pretty good already. Thought there'd be work for that.」 "Huh." He thinks for a minute. "The shift manager is in the building over there. Knock three times. If he doesn't respond, then come back another day." The man turns back to his work loading a cart, only shooting an occasional glance at Kinzou to make sure he isn't up to anything odd.Kinzou heads up to a long wooding building and knocks on the door. It takes some time, but eventually a man's voice can be heard from inside. "Come in." Kinzou opens the door, revealing what is best described as an extremely cluttered office. Bookshelves and baskets line the walls, filled with documents, but they still find their way out, overflowing across the room. Writing utensils lay astray, and all sorts of bits and bobs are scattered about. A man with messy black hair sits in the midst of it all, now staring at Kinzou.Several seconds of confused staring later, the man speaks. "Do you work for us?" Kinzou shakes his head. 「Nah. I want to though.」 After a short pause, Kinzou adds more. 「I can read. And write.」 "Uhh... really?" The man glances around for a moment before picking up a quill. "Can you do math?" 「A little.」 He unconsciously nods. "Good, good. Here, take this." He hands several sheets of paper over to Kinzou. "Add up the totals for each item onto the final sheet. If there's a word you don't recognize, talk to Brynn - the old man with the blonde hair in the next room over. You're hired. We'll talk details over lunch."
>>5535812With that the man returns to his work, completely ignoring Kinzou. You receive a transmission. 「..Uh... what should I do?」You pause. ...Just follow his instructions I suppose. Some math could scarcely hurt. Hesitantly, Kinzou walks into the next room over. What can be seen is a slightly less cluttered office, where two men and two women are currently poring over papers. Several desks lay empty next to them. Seeing that he's been ignored, Kinzou walks up to one of the desks and starts working.「...What's this word?」 "Oil." 「...And this?」 "Perfume." Before Kinzou can ask again, you remind him of the next one. That refers to paper. With that another few sums are calculated. You leave that task to Kinzou, only interfering when a mistake is about to be made. Eventually the afternoon rolls around, and everyone else in the room stops working. Kinzou follows their lead. 「...This is harder than I thought.」 It is to be expected. You can barely be said to have 'read' a single book. Better than most, but still lacking. Full literacy requires a great deal of reinforcement.Work paused, the man next to Kinzou finally addresses Kinzou directly. "Yer...?" 「Kinzou.」 "I see. I'm Brynn. You just get hired on?" 「I think so?」 Brynn nods knowingly. "Makes sense. Mao doesn't explain shit." The door to the room opens."Brynn, you disrespecting me again?" The messy-haired man glares at the man next to you. "Only s'much as you deserve to be." After glaring for a bit longer, the both of them break out into laughter. "Alright, show me what you have." The messy-haired man nudges past you and grabs your work. As he goes over it, he address a question towards Brynn. "He bother you?" Brynn shrugs. "A bit. N'more than any newbie really. Knew part of what he was looking at at least."The messy haired man just nods. After a couple minutes he looks at Kinzou. "You're slow and you need to learn more. That being said, your math isn't off, which saves me trouble. You're hired. You report to Brynn. When a caravan comes through help with the crunch, and when not just do whatever he tells you to." His brows scrunch as he thinks. "That's about it. Oh - one more thing. I'm Jing Mao. Nice to meet you." Jing Mao leaves the room immediately after saying that, not waiting for a response. Brynn nods and offers a handshake. "He's always like that. Welcome abroad."
>>5535816The following months are rather busy. Kinzou helps out wherever a spare hand is needed, whether that amounts to taking inventories, doing math, or just helping move boxes around. When a spare hand isn't needed, Brynn will teach him a bit. Kinzou initially feels bad at how much assistance he needs with the work, but the old man brushes him off. "Ain't nothing. Before you know, you don't know. You won't learn anything without asking, you got it? So ask whenever you need to, long as you have the chance to." After that, Kinzou doesn't seem to mind as much.Near the start of summer comes one of the few 'holidays' in Fogtop - the coming of age ceremony. There are two comings of age, at least in the local region. One when a child turns 10, to indicate the beginning of a transition between childhood and adulthood. A second when they turn 15, to indicate that they're of age. Instead of holding individual ceremonies Fogtop, at least, saves themselves a great deal of trouble by hosting only two a year. One for the first coming of age, and one for the second.The first coming of age ceremony is currently being held at a barely-maintained temple on what can only charitably be called the edge of the village. The temple itself was constructed shortly before the empire expanded into the area, and was only reclaimed as a grounds for festivals and ceremonies quite a while after.Currently, the children are just being left to their own devices as preparations are finalized, wandering around the vast ground in front of the temple.Kinzou glances at the many children scattered around, a bit paralyzed by choice of who to approach. 「...Wonder what I should do?」You feel like that question may be directed at you, if simply to foist the trouble of deciding onto someone else.>"Just do whatever you feel like. It's up to you.">"A group of boys over there seem to be engaging in mock combat. You liked that, did you not? You could participate.">"A great many children are gathered around that boy near the temple gates. Observation has yielded that he's a grandson of the village head. Perhaps you can join them.">"I can observe two boys playing a board game of sorts under that tree. Mayhap you could inquire as to the rules from them?">Write-In
>>5535820>"I can observe two boys playing a board game of sorts under that tree. Mayhap you could inquire as to the rules from them?"
>>5535820>I can observe the two boys playing a board game of sorts.
>>5533248>Do cultivators sign their Manuel's?Oh, just remembered that I never gave an answer to this.There is a signature written on the inside of the manual Takigi acquired, although you can't be sure as to how the name is pronounced. Whoever created that copy probably left it behind, although it's extremely unlikely they came up with the technique themself.As to whether Takigi left behind a signature on it? No, but he does look after it rather obsessively, making sure it's never out of someone's sight. Fortunately the material is waterproof, or this might've caused more harm than good.
>>5535820>"A great many children are gathered aroundgotta stuff our contact list
>>5535874Does Takigis wife try to cultivate?If possible we should assist her as well.Her knowing what her husband and son expirience to cultivate for the family might make her more agreeable on the long term.
>>5536013It was only due to us that the father could cultivate.Spreading our energies thin on unproductive and null return ventures is a waste.
>>5536023being sociable and deeping our bonds isnt a futile endeavour, little (or not so) things serve for the family to trust us and see us as benevolent instead of potentially sheming and ill-meaning
>>5535826 >>5535868 >>5535966I can observe two boys playing a board game of sorts, under that tree to your left.Kinzou turns his attention to the two. 「Oh. You're right.」 He watches the two from a distance for a bit before wandering closer. The two boys stare at the the newcomer.「Name's Kinzou. Whatcha doing?」 Several several seconds pass before one of the boys responds. "Playin' a game." 「What g-」 "Ousatsu." Kinzou sits down and continues his inquiries. 「How's it work?」The other boy, who had been remaining silent, chimes in. "I'm playing as the king, and he's playing as the rebels. The king and his men start at the center of the board, and need to get to one of the corners so that the king can escape. The rebels need to kill him before that happens."After speaking the kid points to a wooden board divided into squares, where a great many pieces sit. They seem a bit lazily carved, but you think you can tell them apart at least - although you aren't sure what they're supposed to do. 「S'good if I join you?」 "Sure." The two turn their attention back to the game in progress as that's said, occasionally explaining the rules in more detail.A few games later, one of them turns towards Kinzou. "You wanna play?" 「Uh, sure? How'd you play exactly?」 "Uh, well, a piece is captured if it gets surrounded by enemies on two sides..."One quick rundown of the rules later, and Kinzou plays, choosing the king. He immediately loses. A second try, this time as the rebels, and the same fate follows. His opponent tries to reassure him. "Bound to happen. I lost my first few dozen. Let's go one more."Kinzou's focus wanders as he sets up the board again. 「Grandpa Hops? You wanna play?」...Do you just want to see him lose? Kinzou ignores your accusation.「You wanna play, right? Has to be boring in there.」>Well, you do want to play, that's true. "Sure." It's not like there's any stakes.>"Beat him yourself. The fruits of one's labors taste best after a difficult harvest.">...You don't remember what exactly your original life was like, but you're sure that whatever it was, you're above being used to help a child cheat at board games. "No.">Write-In
>>5536136>"Beat him yourself. The fruits of one's labors taste best after a difficult harvest."
>>5536136>"Beat him yourself. The fruits of one's labors taste best after a difficult harvest."> "If you'd like I wouldn't mind playing with you and helping you practice until you're better than these two."
>>5536145 >>5536326You would be lying if you said you didn't want to play, but... Beat him yourself. The fruits of one's labors taste best after a difficult harvest. A quiet utterance about someone being a goody-two-shoes later, and Kinzou returns his attention to the game, where he promptly loses again. From then on he merely observes.If you want, then you could manufacture a board yourself to play on, and practice against me. Kinzou shrugs.「Maybe. Dunno if I'll see them again anyways. Don't interact with the kids from the farms much.」The line of kids in front of Kinzou begins entering the temple's main building, where the coming of age ceremony is to be held.The children stand in a long line throughout the length of the temple, dressed in clean, white robes. The eastern half of the empire's tradition. As they stand there, waiting, a speaker steps up. From what you understand it's supposed to be the village head, but given his current ill health, a young man in his 20s, one of the village head's grandsons, speaks instead.He speaks for some time on the transition to adulthood, and how important it is, and how it will be a time where one gains the ability to become independent... but frankly, you don't think many of the children are paying full attention. It only becomes worse when he talks about the empire, and how as a resident of the empire, it is all of their duties to contribute to the nation's well being, and adhere to the empire's values. Even the adults are thoroughly bored by then.But after 20 or 30 minutes the speaking does come to an end, and everyone perks up once again. What comes next is the giving of gifts. In Fogtop, at least, children traditionally take on an apprenticeship of some sort at the age of 10. In the giving of gifts, the child's parents and master will give a single gift each to the child, generally relating to their chosen line of work. Whether the purpose is to show that the elders are supporting the now maturing child's goals, or merely a way to make very practical gifts feel more meaningful, you have no idea.Brynn steps up. "Hey. Wouldn't say I'm yer master, but it'd be a shame if y'didn't get anything. Here you go." The man holds out a brush for writing, which Kinzou accepts, before taking a bow.「Thanks!」"Ain't nothing." Brynn quickly ruffles the child's hair. "Anyways, yer parents are behind me. I'll let them past." The old man backs away slightly before pausing. "Oh. And Mao said to tell you he said, 'Hi, or congratulations, or something.'"
>>5536981"You're growing up so fast..."「Uh, I gu- ah, no, mom, don't hug me here-」10 seconds later a frowning Kinzou emerges from his mother's arms. Takigi clears his throat. "Proud of you kid. You're definitely ahead of where I was at your age." Takigi trails off, a bit unsure of what to say. "Well, uh, I guess what I want to say is don't overdo it, and I'm sure you'll be a fine young man in another five years. We're both proud of you." With that Takigi passes over an ink stone to his son, and slowly steps back."The giving of gifts is now over. Now, if everyone can sit down, we will continue with the feast..." The children and their families take their seats at a long set of tables, laid end to end with quite a bit of food. The spread isn't meager, nor is it luxurious - it's enough to feel like a celebration for the working class without being a burden on the village's coffers."Alright, to start off, everyone take their cups. Fathers, fill your son's cups with wine. Mothers, do the same for your daughters. Good. Now on the count of three, everyone drink. 3... 2... 1... cheers! To growing up!" A scattered applause breaks out, which the man leading the ceremony interrupts. "Wait, wait. Don't think I don't see you there- one drink, one drink! Wait until you're 15 if you want more!" Several girls and boys guilty stop what they're doing. "Good, well then, the formalities are over. Now dig in!"The warmth of summer begins to fade, and the autumn chill replaces it. While the festivities of the coming of age ceremony were of note, not much has changed afterwards. Well, save for Kinzou making an Ousatsu board in his spare time, and then proceeding to lose against you every single time. Your current record stands at 90-0 against Kinzou, and 11-1 against his father.「What was it like in the north?」Kinzou excitedly accosts Brynn, who is eating his lunch. "Not t'different. Colder. More complaining 'bout the empire. Full ove big animals." He stops to swallow a piece of bread. "Round where I lived there was lotsa white stone, so the walls of my hometown were built out ove'it. Only ever 'ad to use them once 'gainst raiders. Even though we paid tribute to the empire, they didn't do shit - said the threat 'ad already passed. Ya get the worst of both worlds, really, living that far north. Better living within the empire."The two talk for some time, before being interrupted by Jin Mao. "Hey kid. You can take the rest of today and tomorrow off. Brynn, Kain's caravan is back in town. I'll need your help later on counts." Jin Mao leaves after saying that, returning to his work."Well, that's that. See you in a couple days kid." Brynn dismisses Kinzou, who takes his leave, slightly annoyed.
>>5536984On the way home, Kinzou addresses you. 「They send me out every time that caravan passes through. Wonder if they don't trust my work yet. Or if something's weird about it.」You transmit the mental equivalent of a shrug. Who knows. You haven't even worked for a year yet, after all.「Maybe I'll go visit them tonight. Never met the guys behind that caravan. They could know some cool stuff.」>"If you want to.">"Certainly. Gathering more data is always of interest.">"Jin Mao sends you out when they stop by. While the reason is unknown, it would be best to abide by his decision.">Write-In
>>5536985>"Jin Mao sends you out when they stop by. While the reason is unknown, it would be best to abide by his decision."
>>5536985>>"Jin Mao sends you out when they stop by. While the reason is unknown, it would be best to abide by his decision.">>Write-InThat specific caravan could be troublesome, possibly being smugglers or human traffickers. If the adults are keeping you away its likely for your own safety so you best not get involved.
>>5536985>The reason is unknown, but likely for your benefit.>We can use the time to train, how would you like to improve?Idle hands and devil's work.
>>5536013>Does Takigis wife try to cultivate?She tried once.She fainted after about 20 or 30 seconds of you providing spiritual energy. Better than Kinzou when he started, but worse than Takigi.She doesn't really approve of Kinzou going through that much pain twice a day, but it is what it is.
>>5537070Hm once we know a gentler method we should help her as well.I think anons here are in it for a generational deal until we think the clan is strong enough for Hops to reincarnate through fetus.Decompyling the data from the ring along with compiling a decent base of human knowledge will take time.
>>5537073No. "Gentle" methods are crap.Cultivation is difficult, and if you can't hack it, you don't cultivate. If someone is filtered by pain, they don't have the will or perseverance to defy fate and the heavens.
>>5537083She doesn't need to defy any grand fate.Only being strong and long-lived enough to be a decent matron (breeding sow for her husband or grandma for her grandkids) will suffice.
>>5537002 >>5537028 >>5537033Whatever the reason is, it's likely to your benefit. Best to abide by his decision.While Kinzou does question the situation a bit further, your remark does make him think twice about looking into things too much. Curiosity killed the cat, or you've heard said. The days off are spent as they normally are with Kinzou: Training in the morning and afternoon, going through Jun Rei's travels and stopping by the inn between those two training sessions, playing outside a bit, and heading back home at night. Nothing too much of interest - just another day of many.As the weather gets colder, and the first snow looms overhead, Jin Mao lets Kinzou know that he won't be needed over the winter. "The commute is hard for a kid and there aren't many caravans that come through in the winter regardless", by his words. That makes one fateful afternoon near the start of the 12th month of the year Kinzou's last day of work, at least until Sheng 485.「It's gonna be boring stuck at home.」You concur. Kinzou attempts to warm his hands in his pockets as best he can, frustrated by the cold.「Remember that mountain that shoots fire that one guy mentioned?」The eastern man last month?「Yeah. No way that's real, right?」I believe he was referring to a volcano, and they are most certainly real.「Really? Grandpa Hops, have you seen a volcano?」You take some time to respond. I am not sure. I know of volcanoes, but I cannot be sure what I did in my life. My memories are still in storage, replaced with more important data. Kinzou seems confused on how to respond.「Huh. That sucks. A lot.」A couple minutes of walking later.「Well, that doesn't matter. We can always go see one ourselves, right? Plenty of time for memories.」Certainly.Only a couple of days after work ends for the year, Kinzou feels an odd burst of energy. A need to be active. You and Takigi identify this behavior a the symptom of a breakthrough, and Takigi decides to kill two birds with one stone and have Kinzou cut all of the wood out back into kindling.Kinzou's breakthrough goes more cleanly than Takigi's. There is pain, and an entire day spent engaging in physical activity before it occurs, but in Kinzou's case there is both a lack of fever, and a lack of intense pain. A result of his youth, perhaps. Regardless of the differences, however, the result is the same - Kinzou passes through The Martial Gateway, improving his strength and becoming what can barely be called a "cultivator", depending on one's usage of the word. As a result of his youth he can't be said to be quite as strong as his father, but at the very least, he should be as strong as any normal adult male. An occasion to celebrate, surely.
>>5537206That night, Kinzou sends you several transmissions while preparing to sleep. 「I'm so excited for tomorrow. Can't wait to show off to everybody! Bet none of the other kids my age are as strong as me.」A mix of giddiness and smugness accompany these thoughts. A natural response for a youngling gaining strength.>"Best to keep the information to yourself, at least for now. Passing through The Martial Gateway at your age would draw unneeded attention from the village-folk.">Say nothing. Bragging may draw some attention, but it may help improve the family's social standing through that attention. No need to stop the boy.>Write-In
>>5537210>"Best to keep the information to yourself, at least for now. Passing through The Martial Gateway at your age would draw unneeded attention from the village-folk.">"If the village discovers me, they most likely would label me as an artifact and have me confiscated for the empire. I have ways to stop that, but I would rather not have to hurt innocent people"
>>5537210>Say nothing. Bragging may draw some attention, but it may help improve the family's social standing through that attention. No need to stop the boy.Let him brag. Maybe a cultivator will hear about the talented boy who passed the martial gateway at a young age.
>>5537210>Allow him to brag>If you are asked Kinzou how you are able to do so, Do not mention me. It is hard work and training and your father's dedication. Mostly true and shall avoid much trouble.
>>5537206Support >>5537226It's not virtuous to be boastful. Self-control and humility may not bear obvious fruit, but they strengthen the soul, and many a cultivator could stand to learn them.
If there's still a tie in 2-3 hours I'll roll to break it.
>>5537226Support. Attention in the world of cultivation can be dangerous.
>>5537226 >>5537267 >>5537299 >>5537512 >>5537982Displaying one's strength can certainly be beneficial, particularly in a hiveless society - one is their own best advocate after all - but it comes with its own set of risks. And, ultimately, you believe that the risks outweigh the benefits here. You are a foreign entity in these lands, and neither Takigi nor his family have the strength to protect you if someone truly powerful discovers you. If you wish to retain your freedom, then the safest option is to maintain a low profile.I cannot recommend such a course of action. Attention may feel good, but it can also be dangerous. If someone stronger than yourself were to discover my existence... well, I'm sure you can guess what would happen. The excited thoughts in Kinzou's mind are washed away, and soon he goes into a somewhat melancholy sleep. A shame to force a youngling to think about such concerns, but necessary sooner or later.A week of recovery and stabilization passes before Kinzou feels that he has a measure of his new strength and returns his focus to cultivation. The family's manual sits in front of him as he stares intensely at the many intricate words, lines, and illustrations contained within. As he traces the book with his fingers he does his best to sense the spiritual energy contained within. An easy task for your shell, but one more difficult for untrained human senses.「So, I have to choose a part of my body to make better?」More or less. Such a choice is not necessary now, but is essential before undergoing one's first tempering. Kinzou thinks intensely as he looks through the manual again. 「What did dad pick?」Your father has chosen to temper his meridians first, given his age and talent. It will still be some time until his first tempering is over with though.「Hm. So the earlier I temper something, the less I improve it?」Yes. But at the same time, the earlier you receive that increase in ability. Thus, those who don't expect to make it through many temperings will generally prioritize what tempering would be most immediately useful. This is the opposite of those who expect to make it further, who will put off the most beneficial temperings for as long as possible, so to as increase the extent to which those parts of the body are tempered.Kinzou begins muttering to himself, as he considers the issue of what tempering to undergo first. 「The muscles would be cool.... but maybe I should save that for later. Hmm..」Perhaps your input on which part of the body Kinzou should temper first would be useful.>The Meridians. Tempering the meridians may force the meridians partially open, as well as strengthening them. This can make it easier for a Body Tempering cultivator to absorb and manipulate spiritual energy, among other things. Due to the difficulty of tempering the meridians in other ways, and the cultivation benefits, those able to tend to leave it for last.
>>5538118>The Sensory Organs. Tempering them improves every sense but touch, and depending on one's profession can be very useful. Their positioning within the temperings depends greatly on the type of cultivator.>The Bones. Improves the strength of the bones, and allows one to stand strong against physical attacks. Highly valued by those who espouse an absolute defense - the type of cultivator who is fine with getting beaten and bruised, but never completely broken.>The Marrow. Tempering the marrow can help improve recovery time, physical wellness, and lifespan, but doesn't provide many direct benefits. The manual mentions that it's often chosen as a first tempering so as to reserve later temperings for more important parts of the body. The main exceptions to this rule are the ill or physically infirm, who may prize the health benefits more greatly, or those who simply don't expect to cultivate very far, who would rather temper more useful parts of their body.>The Inner Organs. Tempering the inner organs can assist in improving health, endurance, and the absorption of spiritual energy through physical sources by making the liver, circulatory system, and digestive system operate at a higher standard. Due to the lack of direct benefits the inner organs are also commonly chosen as a first or second tempering, particularly given the uncommonness of absorbing spiritual energy from sources such as meat within the empire.> The Skin. Among the two temperings which focus on defense, the skin tends to be more highly valued than bones due to the increased sensitivity to touch this tempering offers. Cultivators focused on weapon techniques, or who need keen senses, like to leave it until later.>The Muscles. Tempering the muscles allows for a great increase in the amount of pure force that a cultivator can output. Brawlers and cultivators focused around purely force like to leave it for later.>The Tendons. Tempering the tendons improves strength, but in a different way from the muscles. Instead of focusing on outputting the maximum amount of strength as much as possible, tempering the tendons is more about sudden bursts of strength, and control over one's body. Cultivators focused around speed, flexibility, or gracefulness, may leave this tempering until later.>The Brain. Tempering the brain generally improves mentally recall and acuity, although the effects can vary more among individual cultivators than with other temperings - not all cultivators are smart. Often left to be one of the last temperings due to the all-round benefits and the difficulty of tempering the brain through other methods. Especially important among cultivators hoping to become administrators, those lacking in perceptivity, or those, such as weapon-focused cultivators, who highly value perceptivity.I might leave this vote open for a while and just continue updating since it doesn't require an immediate consensus.
>>5538119>The Inner organsI'd honestly recommend following standard wisdom and go for either the marrow or the inner organs. We have no idea what Kinzou plans for, or what he has affinity for yet, so probably best to get the base beneficial stuff out there. And with that, endurance and Health is important for a kid, due to weaker immune systems.
>>5538119>The Inner Organs.
>>5538118>>The Meridians. Tempering the meridians may force the meridians partially open, as well as strengthening them. This can make it easier for a Body Tempering cultivator to absorb and manipulate spiritual energy, among other things. Due to the difficulty of tempering the meridians in other ways, and the cultivation benefits, those able to tend to leave it for last.The more ''common sense'' it is for something to go last the more likely it is deliberate disinformation.
I'll leave the other vote open for a while since it is relatively important and continue updating in the meanwhile.The start of the year passes by, and with it Kinzou's 11th birthday. A child he still is, but perhaps a more mature and reasonable one than before. Not to say that he still wouldn't hit someone with a stick if they said they could beat him in a fight, but perhaps he may offer a word of warning first. Growth.Winter passes without much ado. Nui does her clothwork, Takigi continues marching through the snow to work, and Kinzou mostly stays at home or in the surrounding forests. But with the spring thaw, Fogtop slowly wakes up for the year. With the third month's arrival Kinzou's, and most everyone elses', work resumes as per normal.With the lifting of the snow, caravans begin passing through the village once more. The storehouses and granaries are refilled through trade, supplies a bit low after the cold. Kinzou is made busy once more, and doesn't have too much time for things other than his usual diversions.The normal occurrences of yet another spring are interrupted during the fourth month of the year. A notice sits in the town square, in large, striking, calligraphy.OUR VILLAGE HEAD, MU REN, HAS DIED AT THE AGE OF 83. FOR THE PAST FOUR DECADES HE HAS SERVED US WELL, VYING FOR OUR INTERESTS AMONG THE GREATER COUNTY AND PROVINCE AND ENSURING FOGTOP'S SAFETY AND STABILITY. HIS PASSING IS MUCH LAMENTED, AND WE ONLY HOPE THAT HIS NEXT LIFE BRINGS HIM AS MUCH HAPPINESS AS HE HAS BROUGHT US.While most of the villagers cannot actually read the posting, it is read aloud quite a few times, and the news rapidly spreads. As for what happens next, that is a bit more of a murky subject. Some old fellows, having lived during the appointment of the past chief, say that an election will be held. Others, even older, say that the county magistrate may appoint their own candidate, as the village head before last was appointed that way. What becomes most clear, however, is that neither occurrence will happen quickly. Instead of the announcement of a new village head, or an election, the next couple of weeks simply pass with a vague air of uncertainty.From the office at the intake, a rather eccentric may in queer, foreign dress can be seen wandering around outside, giving orders. Kinzou stops staring out the window at him and turns to Brynn. 「Who's he?」 Brynn turns his attention to where the boy is pointing, before chuckling. "Shoulda known you ment him. That's the boss." 「Jin Mao's not the boss?」
>>5538163"He is an' he isn't. Jin Mao is our boss. He's Jin Mao's boss, or maybe a bit higher, dependin' on 'ow you want to call it. Either way, he's the one who's 'in charge' ov the intake, if you can say anyone is." Kinzou nods his head.「...If he's so important why have I never seen him before?」"Cuz' he's important enough that he can leave someone else t'take care ov all this. Prefers wanderin' round the county really, talkin' to people, organizing deals. Bit weird too, but some people like that."Only a few minutes after, Jin Mao enters the room. "Everyone but Brynn and Ai, out. Boss is holding a meeting." The old man stands up, stretches, and groans. "Really? Waz' hoping that wasn't the case." He turns to you. "Better get goin', unless you wanna be real bored." Kinzou takes the threat seriously and hurries to vacate the premises. As you leave you pick up a couple of passing statements - several mention the passing of the village chief. Perhaps the situation under the surface is more chaotic than it seems.The sun still hangs high in the sky; it's not even lunchtime yet. Kinzou kicks a stone along as he returns home.「I'm bored. Have any ideas about what to do, Grandpa Hops?」>Perhaps you could stop by the the agricultural district and search for those two boys you met at the coming of age ceremony last year. Given the walk, they'll likely be done with their apprenticeship work by the time you arrive, and open to a game or three of Ousatsu.>You seem to find the forests rather entertaining. Why not go wandering around for a few hours?>If you have some spare time, why not do some work around the house. A spare hand never went unappreciated.>Write-In
>>5538167>Perhaps you could stop by the the agricultural district and search for those two boys you met at the coming of age ceremony last year. Given the walk, they'll likely be done with their apprenticeship work by the time you arrive, and open to a game or three of Ousatsu.
>>5538167>>If you have some spare time, why not do some work around the house. A spare hand never went unappreciated.>>Write-InMoreover if your mother got sick you'd need to be able to do the work on your own.
>>5538167>Find the kids and play a game of OusatsuConnections are important.>>5538155If what you say is true, then we can test it.Go for a "shit" first pick like Inner organs first, then with the next one, do the marrow.If the increase of energy is worse off, or we can percieve a noticable decrease of quality in the "improvements" then we can immediately switch to meridians.If we don't, we didn't just fuck ourselves.
>>5538119>The Marrow. so how are our memories coming along? how did our species temper themselves>>5538163>Perhaps you could stop by the the agricultural districtlets see how the thinking is going
>>5538234>so how are our memories coming along? how did our species temper themselvesWent back and double-checked in chase I recalled wrongly, but you guys voted to prioritize decompressing data on theoretical ancient civilizations.Given the amount of time that has passed you do, indeed, now have a surplus of data on woodworking methods, vehicles, locks, et cetera, that your species theorized civilizations at a low level of technology might utilize. The amount of this information you have on hand will also continue to increase as time goes on, until it is all freely accessible, hopefully soon. You just haven't really been able to use much of it given that you don't have a body, or funds, and actually testing out almost all of these ideas requires that you have time and money. Very useful if you own some sort of workshop, just not useful to you now.
>>5538248I remember that, 2 anons voted for theoretical, 1 for cultivation, and 2 only voted for one of the prompts instead of both. I only remember because I was the one that lost.
>>5538119>The Marrow. Tempering the marrow can help improve recovery time, physical wellness, and lifespan, but doesn't provide many direct benefits. The manual mentions that it's often chosen as a first tempering so as to reserve later temperings for more important parts of the body. The main exceptions to this rule are the ill or physically infirm, who may prize the health benefits more greatly, or those who simply don't expect to cultivate very far, who would rather temper more useful parts of their body.Inner organs seems like a bad first choice since with our knowledge absorption can be a possibility in the future
>>5538167>You seem to find the forests rather entertaining. Why not go wandering around for a few hours?
>>5538383We’ve been going down the traveler/ wanderer archetype with this kid so why not?
>>5538119>The Inner Organs. Tempering the inner organs can assist in improving health, endurance, and the absorption of spiritual energy through physical sources by making the liver, circulatory system, and digestive system operate at a higher standard. Due to the lack of direct benefits the inner organs are also commonly chosen as a first or second tempering, particularly given the uncommonness of absorbing spiritual energy from sources such as meat within the empire.>>5538167>Perhaps you could stop by the the agricultural district and search for those two boys you met at the coming of age ceremony last year. Given the walk, they'll likely be done with their apprenticeship work by the time you arrive, and open to a game or three of Ousatsu.Picking the Marrow first could limit Kinzou's lifespan to the extent that his first tempering will reach, which is quite unfortunate. I'd pick Meridians, but if those can be opened at a higher quality later, then Kinzou's ability to process the spiritual energy we give him should make that choice a wonderful benefit to his training. Being able to convert the spiritual energy from food items more efficiently at higher levels may not be the most useful, and neither would being able to digest food more efficiently, so I'll go with the organs since it doesn't seem to have the most benefits if it's chosen later, unlike most of the other choices.
>>5538169 >>5538171 >>5538188 >>5538234 >>5538382 >>5538464Those boys you played against at the coming of age ceremony lived in the agricultural district, did they not? Affirmation. Why not visit them?Kinzou mulls it over for all of two seconds before accepting. Something to do is something to do after all. He kicks the stone a short ways along before leaving it at the side of the road and walking much further onwards. The sun is at its zenith by the time he arrives at the agricultural district.「Never really spent much time here. Wonder where they are.」Who knows. Ask around. Advice easily taken, but that turns out to be more troublesome than expected to execute. It takes nearly a quarter hour before Kinzou spots a farmer tending to his fields. Kinzou does his best to avoid touching the nearby plant stalks as he approaches the man, waving. Once they're within around 50 or 60 antennas of each other, the man finally notices him. "HEY KID. YOU COME TO DELIVER MY LUNCH?" Kinzou cups his hands around his mouth before yelling back.「...NO.」Your sensors detect profound disappointment from the other party."DO YOU KNOW WHEN LUNCH IS COMING?"「NO. DO YOU KNOW TWO KIDS WHO PLAY A BOARD GAME A LOT?」Some time passes. When you're beginning to wonder if the man will just decline to respond, he finally says something back. "THINK I KNOW WHO YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. GO BACK TO THE ROAD, AND THEN KEEP GOING TIL' YOU SEE THE POND. THEY'RE USUALLY 'ROUND THERE."Before the man can continue inquiring about the fate of his meal, Kinzou hurriedly thanks him and heads on his way. As he continues down the roads a ways he passes by a few more fields of large, vine-like stalks with several round, reddish fruits hanging from each one. Eventually the seemingly endless farms are interrupted, however, and he catches sight of a pond, where two boys are sat.They turn their attention to Kinzou as he approaches. After a few seconds of confused staring, one of them calls out. "It's... uh... you!"「I'm Kinzou. Your name?」The boy who spoke points to himself. "I'm Shou."The other boy chimes in. "And I'm Go." Kinzou nods.「Nice to meetcha. Wanna play a game? Uh, after you're done.」Shou nods. "Sure. Give me a minute."10 minutes later, you see Kinzou more upset than he has been in a long time.「...I lost.」Shou laughs. "You played pretty well though. I'm just better." He points to his friend. "Y'might be able to win against Go though. He's not as good." The other boy pouts a bit. "...I haven't been playing since I was three. Well, whatever. Let's play a round."
>>5538607Kinzou's annoyance ferments, until after four games, he finally wins one. Whether due to a stroke of luck, an inevitability of probability, or Go's mercy, you're not quite sure. With that, his mood lightens up.「You guys just sit here and hang out in the afternoons? Sounds nice.」"Good when it lasts. But during the harvest..." Shou furrows his brow. "You gotta work through the night sometimes to get everything picked. Like, the WHOLE night. It sucks."「Through the night? You have to take lamps out with you into the fields or something?」Go seems confused. "Nothin' that bad. When the fruit get ripe for the picking, they glow!"「...They glow?」"Yup! That's why we call them 'Red Lanterns'!" Shou chimes in. "You ever feel like wearing yourself out, come during one of the harvests. It looks awesome!" Kinzou senses an obvious ulterior motive, but interested nonetheless, says he'll try to make it to one.Over the next month, 'the boss' calls meetings several times. Kinzou, as well as most of the lower-level workers, are sent home every time. On those days, Kinzou makes the journey to hang out with Shou and Go, playing a few games of Ousatsu and chatting about the village. They're enjoyable times to observe.While Kinzou enjoys his youth, Takigi sinks into his work. Recently Kanekatsu has had more errands for him to take care of than ever, sometimes forcing him to work into the night. That, along with the disappearance of his woodcutting machete, put him into a bit of a foul mood. The main redeeming point of the whole situation being, by Takigi's own words, that "at least the job pays well". You inquire as to the nature of the work, and it doesn't seem much different from usual. It's simply that it's become... well, a lot, since the village head has passed. Takigi theorizes that perhaps his coworkers have been moved to other tasks, leaving him with the 'grunt' work. Better than being moved to whatever they're doing, at least.Tonight, at least, Takigi comes home on time. Apparently he filled out paperwork in the morning, and kept an eye on someone's house from one of Kanekatsu's properties during the afternoon. Absolutely nothing happened at the house he was watching, and he nearly fell asleep. A relaxing day. One Takigi remarks that he wished that he had more of. After a new village head is selected, perhaps. Kinzou passes the remark onto his father, who replies through a mouthful of food. "Aye. Just have to wait for that to be over with. Better sooner than later if you ask me."
>>5538611The morning of the 6th month, 9th day, of Sheng 485. The boss holds a meeting particularly early. Kinzou is sent home.「Maybe I'll head into the forest. It's nice out」I cannot sense the weather myself, but based on secondary observations, I agree with that statement. After that, the two of you enjoy the morning's silence, listening only to the singsong of birds and the occasional passerby.Eventually Kinzou makes his way to the village center and continues heading towards his home, a bit of a spring in his step.Then he stops.In front of Kanekatsu's home sits a covered carriage. It's elaborately made - better than the head wagons of most caravans that pass through here. Two men leave Kanekatsu's home and walk towards the wagon. One of them is Takigi. His hands are held behind his back by a long-haired man you've never seen before, who's practically pushing him forward. You observe those living nearby looking on from afar, Kanekatsu included."Please, wait! This is a set up! I can explain everything - I didn't do i-!" The man holding Takigi's arms pulls on one of them, eliciting a pained grunt. "Shut up and save your complaints for later. I'm not a judge."You're not sure what is going on. Nor is Kinzou. He merely stands there for a moment, mouth hanging open.Then you sense a great anger.>"...">"...Don't do anything rash. Use your words.">Write-In
>>5538623>"...Don't do anything rash. Use your words."
>>5538119>>The Inner Organs. Tempering the inner organs can assist in improving health, endurance, and the absorption of spiritual energy through physical sources by making the liver, circulatory system, and digestive system operate at a higher standard. Due to the lack of direct benefits the inner organs are also commonly chosen as a first or second tempering, particularly given the uncommonness of absorbing spiritual energy from sources such as meat within the empire.>>5538623>>"...Don't do anything rash. Use your words."
>>5538623>"...Don't do anything rash. Use your words."I hope we can finally break Kanekatsu's mind
>>5538623>"Kinzou. Listen. Run up to your father and try to grab hold of him, the guard will probably try to pull you off, use the time to ask what's going on. We want to help your father, but the guard is manhandling him rather easily, you don't have the required strength to win. Yet. Find out what happened, and we will clear your fathers name."bit of tricky subversion here.
>>5538732 >>5538776 >>5538850 >>5538945 >>5539018Don't do anything rash. Use your words. Kinzou doesn't respond, running towards the two.As Kinzou nears them, the long-haired man immediately turns his attention to him, brows furrowing. You repeat your request. Several times. Finally, just before reaching them, Kinzou slows down and comes to a reluctant halt. The long-haired man lets out a light sigh of relief and relaxes as he addresses Kinzou."Child, back away. This man is a dangerous criminal." Takigi lifts his attention from the ground and turns it towards his son. "Kinzou! It's great you-" mid-sentence, Takigi's speech turns into another pained grunt, as the man prevents him from speaking.「Dad!」The long-haired man raises an eyebrow as he looks between Takigi and Kinzou, before the constant frown on his face deepens. "You would commit such vile deeds when you have a family? Trash.""I said I was framed! I would never kill any-" "QUIET." The man's hand brushes against the hilt of an ornate sword sheathed at his waist. "If it were not for my duties, I would deal with you where you stand. A great many placed you at the scene of the crime and the weapon is verified to be yours. Acknowledge your crimes, torturer." A tense few moments pass, before he takes his hand away from the sword and steps away, letting go of Takigi."I will give the both of you a moment. Do not scheme, whisper, or continue to deny your guilt when it is so clear. Do not attempt to run, or use your son as a shield from punishment. Trying to escape from justice will only make your outcome worse." With that said, the man leans against the wagon, fixing his eyes on Kinzou and Takigi.Takigi crouches down and hugs his son. His voice comes out choked. "I'm sorry. I don't think I'm going to be around to watch you grow anymore. I love you and your mother, and always will." One of Takigi's fingers passes over to make contact with you. A mental link is established between the three of you.「Listen closely. The house I was keeping watch from last night didn't belong to Kanekatsu or one of his men. It belonged to one of the village head's grandsons, who lived there alone. I was spotted entering and exiting the home by several people nearby. Later that night, the village head's grandson was found dead inside, tortured and killed with the machete I lost the week before last.」 No transmissions.「...Kanekatsu framed me. I'm certain of it.」
>>5539316「...What are we gonna do dad? If we tell him, he'll definitely-」Kinzou's father interrupts him.「We're going to do nothing. This has been prepared for ahead of time. They planned it when they knew an official from the county seat would be passing through, and made my guilt appear obvious. I am a scapegoat.」Sadness and regret.「I am fucked. Do nothing. Do not go near Kanekatsu. Do not speak to him. Do not let him know that you've passed through The Martial Gateway. Let him think you're weak, and dutifully pay him back for the cultivation manual. Someday, leave Fogtop completely. Don't make the same mistakes I did.」Takigi pats his son on the back, trying to stop him from crying. You can barely observe the man next to the carriage watching, perhaps trying to figure out if he should cut them off. You may not have much longer left.>Is there anything you would like to say?
>>5539317Is there a way to break Kanekatsu's mind, or is he too powerful? people were afraid because they thought it was a punishement he did.
>>5539338>Is there a way to break Kanekatsu's mind, or is he too powerful?From your knowledge he's at the 3rd Tempering, maybe the 4th by now.As to whether that would make it impossible to ruin his mind... you don't know. You've never tried.>people were afraid because they thought it was a punishement he did.It, referring to destruction of Mu Bou's mind?Kanekatsu never admitted to it doing it, but never denied it. And he aired Mu Bou's dirty laundry at the same time. Convincing enough of an act to make the average villager attribute the incident to Kanekatsu, even without any evidence that Kanekatsu has the ability to turn someone into a vegetable. Whatever you know about martial artists and cultivators, a random person in Fogtop knows significantly less.Died of a mysterious disease? Maybe they pissed off a cultivator.You thought you saw something weird in the sky? Might be a cultivator.Not much rain this year? Shit, that could be a cultivator too.Anyways, you have no real benchmark as to how strong someone past The Martial Gateway is, as you've never seen one need to use their full abilities in front of you. Just seeing them walk around and talk doesn't tell much.
>>5539317>"Your father is set in his way Takigi, but that doesn't mean that justice can't be done one day. Become stronger, and when you are we leave Fogtop, we can give Kanekatsu the Mu Bou treatment."
>>5539364Fuck, it was meant to be talking to Kinzou, not Takigi.
>>5539317>"Your son will be kept safe and strong Takigi. What is your punishment and where?"If I know Cultivation stories, he's probably going to be imprisoned in terrible conditions rather than outright executed.But still.then to comfort Kinzou>>5539364
And just an addition, encourage the kid to hug his dad. It might be the last time that he can.
>>5539364 >>5539494I will make certain that your son is in safe hands. Do you know aught of your punishment?「No. I'll have to go back to the county seat for trial.」 A flash of nervousness. 「...I guess I'll find out what is to happen then.」The two embrace for some time before they're interrupted. "It's time to go." The swordsman gestures towards the wagon. Reluctantly, Takigi raises his hands and begins slowly walking towards the vehicle. The man takes hold of his hands and leads Takigi into the wagon. A few seconds later the driver strikes his reins against the horse, and the wagon begins to move away.Kinzou is left with a cloud of dest and a pitying glance from the long-haired man as the carriage disappears into the distance. He stands there for some time, even after activity in the surrounding area resumes.Your father may be gone, but-「Shut up.」Kinzou doesn't explain further, but you get the feeling that he wants to think. So you stop yourself from transmitting anything and leave him to it.After standing there for the better part of an hour, Kinzou finally continues on his way. First he wanders through the village, before eventually moving towards home. Halfway there he pauses, and steps off into the nearby forest.Your mother may get worried. 「That's fine. I want to be alone for a while.」With that the two of you return to silence, Kinzou absentmindedly walks to and fro throughout the forest. Sometimes he cries, and sometimes he just blankly stares at his surroundings. Occasionally he'll get close to a hut, or some other sign of civilization, and then wander off in the opposite direction, seemingly afraid of meeting anyone else.It is getting dark. There is no response, but Kinzou does begin moving towards home. Once he arrives there he stays outside for some time, circling the forest around the hut for nearly an hour after it gets dark. Then, finally, he steps inside.「I'm home.」Kinzou's mother rushes over. "Where were you?! You're so dirty - you're ok, right?" Kinzou strains a nod.
>>5539769Nui continues to fuss over Kinzou for a bit before preparing dinner. Kinzou wonders over how to inform his mother of what's happened for a moment, before you point out how red her eyes are. ...There's probably no need to remind her. Kinzou silently accepts that, and returns to thinking, having no mind for further conversation.During dinner, Nui does her best to put on a smile and act as if everything is alright, not directly mentioning Takigi. But her expression is forced, and occasionally she just falls silent, saying and doing nothing. The meal is an awkward one.The two go to sleep immediately after eating. Or to be more accurate, they lie down. After some time, you make out Nui quietly sobbing. Kinzou refrains. You think he got that out of his system in the forest. For the time being at least. Feeling uncomfortable from the length of the silence between the two of you, you try to reassure Kinzou, but are taken off his finger in response, and left on the nearby floor.The early light of dawn leaks into the home. Kinzou stands up. You do not believe he has slept. He hesitantly grabs hold of your shell. You wait for him to speak.「Dad said something once. That you need a body. That I should be careful, just in case, and that I might need to help you with getting one someday.」...I must've been with your mother at the time, as I don't recall that conversation. But it is true.Kinzou stands there for a couple of minutes.「If you took my body, would I be stronger?」What is left would mostly be me. Not you. He ignores your response.「But would I be stronger?」...「Answer me.」If I were in your body, I would likely be slightly stronger, due to my larger soul. But the main difference would be my speed of growth - not my actual strength.「So you're saying you could get strong faster?」Yes. But that's not important - if it is strength you're after, you will gain it in time. You do-「You can stop talking. I've thought about it, and come to a decision. Without strength, I can't leave the village. Without strength, I can't protect myself, or my mom and dad. Without strength, I can't get revenge.」Kinzou grips your shell tightly.「If letting you live in my place will give me strength, then I'll do it.」「Take my body. See the world for me.」「Protect mom.」「Get revenge.」...You feel an unwavering determination pouring through your mental connection.>"Ok. If that is your decision.">"...No. I refuse.">Write-In
>>5539773>"Ok. If that is your decision."
>>5539773>"...No. I refuse."We promised his dad that his son would be in safe our hands. This would break that promise. He needs to get his own strength.
>>5539773>"...No. I refuse."
>>5539773First, I was going to refuse him. But then I consider that this is not truly death. It's symbiosis.>If that is your decision. I shall carry our dreams to the heavens.
>>5539773>If that is your decision. I shall carry our dreams to the heavens.Just caught up, I love what you've wrote so far QM even it's a bit slow paced but that's wuxia in general.Just for the record I'm fine with either choice, both are quite fitting honestly.
>>5539776 >>5539949 >>5539974 >>5539986 >>5540108 >>5540157 >>5540255No. I refuse.「I don't care. I said to take my body.」I said no.「And I said I don't care.」I told your father that you would be safe. Seizing your body would likely violated that. Obtain your own strength.Kinzou steps outside before beginning the mental equivalent of screaming at the top of his lungs. 「I don't care! Dad told me to live quietly and not to get revenge. Do you think I'm going to listen to that? No! I'm a child, but can't I make my own decisions?! Or am I just here to listen to what you, dad, and mom say, and not to live my own life?」His thoughts calm slightly.「What 'own strength' should I be striving for? Does where someone gets their strength from matter! No! What matters if that they have that strength, for the better or worse! That's the only way they can control what's around them!」After a moment, Kinzou starts walking down the road towards the village.「Do you think you'll be able to hide from having to do anything by staying in this ring? That you can keep half-assing everything? You helped my dad get strong, but not strong enough to protect himself. You kept an eye on him, but didn't protect him. If you'd never shown up, he'd still be working as a lumberjack, and we'd be poorer, but everything would still be ok.」...「Well, whatever. If using me makes you feel guilty, then we can try something else. But you need to take responsibility and stop hiding in there.」Kinzou stops walking, and stares at your container. 「Taking my body was Plan A. If you're not fine with, then we'll go Plan B.」What is Plan B?「Remember that grandson of the old village head who's the same age as me? Since you're always around, you should know too. That he passed through The Martial Gateway as well.」Kinzou grits his teeth.「His body is Plan B.」「...You're about to ask if there's a Plan C, aren't you?」You verify his guess.「I find a very dark box, put you in it, and only wear you twice a day so that I can cultivate. I'll hit a wall cultivating or die eventually, and someone else should get you, eventually. If you're too much of a coward to help directly, then you can stay out of my life. If you actually want to help, then put in the effort.」>"Plan A.">"Plan B.">"Plan C."
>>5540255>but that's wuxia in general.Nothing more Wuxia/Xianxia than weird pacing, like a decades-long timeskip followed by a drawn-out tournament arc.(Although I hope to avoid anything that awkward)Glad you're enjoying the quest.
>>5540601Let me add>I was going to say I was going to help you become stronger to take revenge on kanetsu, not to live your live. But you told me to shut up.>So even if I left the ring, you still wouldn't listen to what I say.
And I'm half a mind to go for plan A, and then just not take revenge. If Kinzou is going to act like that, he's more likely to just keep growing his irrational grudge by adding even more what if.
>>5540587>"Plan C."He’s just mad right now and throwing a tantrum. We’re as much of a father figure to him as his actual father. I doubt he’ll be able to hold onto his grudge for long
>>5540587>"Plan A."or>"Plan B."going for C is playing with fire, he's right in that if we hadn't shown up his father would be fine, i believe he'll go through with it our main goal is still restoring our civilization and acquiring a body anyways, so i'm up for a/b, we can be more useful and do our own stuff at the same time
>>5540587>"Plan A."He's willing, finding such a compatibility again could be difficult.I don't see why his anger could be seen as irrational, it seems to be quite clear how severe the situation is to him.
>>5540587> Plan AHe wants to play with fire...
>>5540601You know what, I'm changing to>"Plan a."But I still want to tell him that>"I was going to say I was going to help you become stronger to take revenge on Kanekatsu, not to live quietly, but you told me to shut up. Even if I wanted to take over a body of someone unwilling, or try to teach you cultivation, you wouldn't cooperate, would you? It's easier to throw a tantrum and blame me">"I'm going to make justice in your name, but only because I should not have made the mistake to let Takigi get involved with the debt collectors."
>>5540587>Plan BI'm more in favour for plan B since the village heads grandson because that gives us local protection from the loan shark, plus resources to cultivate. C also breaks our promise.The kid has guts and moxy. I absolutely believe that he would do it, because that's the kid we've been with.
>>5540587>>"Plan C."I don't plan on harming an innocent child.The village chiefs family was made to grieve just as much due to that mans schemes to use your father as a scapegoat.Before you lock me away i wish for you to know that the Herbalist was originally trying to get your father to spy for her on that scumbag.If you are bound to find help and guidance then seek her out.
>>5540640 >>5540622 >>5540670 >>5540675 >>5540677 >>5540678 >>5540698 >>55407183A, 3C, 1B, 1 A or BA wins....You aren't giving me much choice here, are you? Kinzou doesn't respond. You transmit a great regret. If it is truly what you desire, then I will take your body. But let it be known that I think this is short-sighted. I wished to try to help you the best I could as I can, and I think that would lead to the best outcome, but you have rejected me. You are too mad to think carefully, even if it is understandable.Kinzou replies. A bit calmer now that you have accepted. 「I've followed everything you've said up until now. But I can't take this lying down. I know my own talent. Or lack of it. If I take things the short way, how long would it take to match Kanekatsu? Five years, if I'm lucky? 10 years or more, if I'm not? I can't wait that long. It has a chance of working out, but too much could change, and too much could put me and mom in danger.」「I am mad because you gave my dad power, but didn't protect him. But I'm asking you to do this because I trust you. And I'm twisting your arm because I trust my own judgement.」「...Anyways, that's that. I need you to do the things I don't have the strength to do, and you need a body. Works out for both of us, right, Grandpa Hops?」...I'm not going to change your mind, am I?The determination floods back in. His choice has been made.Let it commence then. Any last words to pass on, or final notes? Some of you will be integrated with me, but if there's anything at all I may not think of...「...Tell mom I love her. Give something back to Brynn in return for that brush. See a volcano. Go to the capital. I think you know the rest.」A pause of several minutes. I will begin then.「Go for it. Live a life that's great for the both of us.」POSSESSION BEGINNING. MOBILIZING SPIRITUAL ENERGY... PREPARING... 3... 2... 1...
>>5540726It feels like your soul is being sucked through a pipe, squeezed, shaken, forced along until it finally comes out the other end.Instead of the cold, sterile, shell you'd been in, where you are feels warm and inviting. Your soul follows its natural instincts, and rushes towards a pulsing feeling in the distance. Kinzou's soul. The two of you circle around each for some time, like twin stars, although yours dwarfs his own. And then, sensing your hesitation, his flies into yours. Energies collide, but not quite violently. His soul disperses, breaking into tiny mites of light, and gently mixing together with yours. A light show on the micro-scale, made up of its own sort of energy, unseen and unnoticed by all else.All that appears for some time are flashes of memories. Running around in the forest. Scraping your knee. Taking dad's machete and trying to cut trees yourself. All Kinzou, but also all you. But while Kinzou is you, you are only slightly Kinzou - your soul is simply too large to be overwhelmed by such a meager influx of energies. But it allows you understand him better than anyone else. Perhaps better than himself, although you don't tend to make such grand claims.Eventually, the collisions settle. Most of Kinzou's soul settles firmly in yours, and your soul begins solidifying, taking control over the vessel it is now a part of. Laid down roots that had previously been attached to Kinzou's soul, are now controlled by yours. New ones appear as well, taking additional control over the body. It becomes truly your own, even if it was not born as such.As you establish control over the body, you feel a small pulse of energy exit your soul. You examine it closely. A portion of Kinzou's soul. Too small to be said to maintain proper consciousness, but large enough to called 'Kinzou', and not just a memory of his.Without your interference, it will decay naturally over time. It is much too small to do anything else. A shame.You reach out with a tendril of your soul and shepherd the remaining fragment towards your former shell - the ring. There it can be preserved for the long-term and perhaps, eventually, find some new form of existence in the future.
>>5540732Sensations begin flooding in. Touch. Scent. Taste. Hearing. Sight, and a great many more micro-senses. Senses which a small part of you is familiar with, but which the rest finds strange and foreign. Regardless, you find some comfort in them. You've slept for most of it, but it has been so long since you've been in a body. Oh so very long. It is reassuring.You struggle to move for a moment. But then instincts kick in, and you get the hang of it. You push yourself up, and off of the forest floor. The sun has already risen - dawn has passed. Nui will certainly be worried.It is over. Kinzou is you. You are Kinzou. Mostly you, but also Kinzou.A bittersweet way to gain your freedom, but you suppose none of them would have been particularly pleasant.For a moment you force the whirls of emotion in your mind quiet, and focus on what has to be done. Deal with Kanekatsu and revive a trace of your people, yes, but more immediately...Reassure Nui. Go to work. Plan on what to do next.Your force the body - your body - into locomotion. You will greet Nui first. ...But how exactly should you go about that?>Take on Kinzou's identity. Her son is alive, but not. If she knew about this happening only a day after Takigi's arrest, then you're afraid she would break.>Inform her of what has occurred. It is not up to you to think of what may or may not be better for her. She has a right to know.>Write-InThe next update will mark the beginning of the second thread. I'd like to thank everyone for participating, and hopefully the darkish thread-ending hasn't put anyone off.
>>5540739>Take on Kinzou's identity. Her son is alive, but not. If she knew about this happening only a day after Takigi's arrest, then you're afraid she would break.I don't think she could handle it.>SpoilerNah it's fine. if anything you could kinda say this is the end of the prologue, now the real *fun* begins with a fleshy meat bag body.
>>5540739>Take on Kinzou's identity. Her son is alive, but not. If she knew about this happening only a day after Takigi's arrest, then you're afraid she would break.
>>5540739The world of cultivation is full of assholes, so it was only a matter of time. Atleast Kinzou was willing.
>>5540739>Take on Kinzou's identityI wasn't joking earlier about carrying OUR dreams. We're the same person now, weird as it sounds, and we should act that way.We can probably blame the arrest on a change in attitudes, but first things first that we need to do.>I love you Mom, and I'm going to take care of things from now on.
>>5540745>The world of cultivation is full of assholesWorld's biggest understatement when the average cultivator acts like pic related
Oh yeah, and Inner Organs wins on the first tempering vote.
>>5540739>>Inform her of what has occurred. It is not up to you to think of what may or may not be better for her. She has a right to know.
>>5540739>Take on Kinzou's identity.well well well time for actual selfpreservation
New thread will be up Tuesday (today, I guess) or Wednesday,
>>5540741 >>5540742 >>5540751 >>5540754 >>5541308 >>5541947>>5544775>>5544775>>5544775New thread is up.