You quickly find yourself falling back into the hustle and bustle of the Sacred Library. Like everything that relied on muscle memory, it seems like this too is something you can just get back into despite the change of location. Perhaps it was your inability to sit still when there is work to be done or, more than likely, it was Xin Lan's constant teasing that you couldn't keep to one place. In any case you welcomed it with open arms, Xin Lan's teasing especially though you'd never allow such a secret to leave your lips. However, every day seemed to pull you closer and closer to the camp's edge and you couldn't deny that it was partly in hopes of catching a glimpse of Ming earlier than anyone else. It just felt right that you of all people should be the first to welcome her back maybe even be the first to help if she was in danger.For the first day or so, you fought the urge by simply talking with Xin Lan. Now donning their usual male attire, Renshu's usual style though black with red lining as opposed to pure white, they were not particularly amused to hear that their presence had been revealed to a certain brown bunny. "I'm going to live here from now own." They whisper into your ear as they hide in the back of your shirt and poke their tiny nose out. "You have a duty to protect your husbun.""My what?" You ask, unable to keep your eyebrows from rising."Husbun. HUSBUN!" They say as a hand rises from your shirt and bats your ear. "Bunny Husband. It's what all the girls call my male bunny character from my books. He's very popular. If you though Stripes was your husband then you're dead wrong. I found you first. He'll have to fight me for you."You do your best to ignore Xin Lan's ramblings and fish them out of your shirt by the leg. Holding them upside down you give them your usual quizzical look. "You could at least give the poor boy the time of day." You say. Xin Lan crosses their arms."No and I'm upset at you for not telling him no as well." They say. "I couldn't just tell him no." You reply sheepishly. Truth be told, you found something rather endearing about the young man's persistence. "Honestly, seems like a good match for you." You joke. The bunny's fur bristles and you hold them out a bit further. "But I told them that you were dealing with a few things so I doubt they'll come looking for you. I think they're well enough aware how much of a mistake it is to make you angry.""I'm telling Ming. You're my big brother. You should be bullying me." They say in a huff. You chuckle."And little sisters shouldn't be teasing their elder siblings." You counter before flipping Xin Lan right side up and placing them on your back. Xin Lan orients themselves on your shoulders and with a quiet "hmmf!" They place their chin ontop of your head before covering your eyes.
You spend the rest of the day simply meditating and ruffling Xin Lan's ears. Despite being upset, you can feel the contentment emanating from them. On the second day, you find the urge to leave the camp rise again and part of you worries if the seals you heard about were beginning to fail. Wanting to prepare if such a thing occurs, you reach out to one of your students with a plan."You're going to- what?""Xin and I are going to head out for a bit. We want to collect more fire wood. Seems like whatever is out there doesn't like it or at the very least it seems to keep it and whatever it brings at bay. We might need to plan in case Ming returns late. I think having enough wood to make enough bonfires for everyone would be a good idea." You explain. "I don't think its a good idea...""If we're lucky we might even find Ming and help her out. We'll be careful and besides we're the ones who taught her. So if she can manage then so can we. We'll return before nightfall. Promise." You say. "You don't need to worry about it." Your student seems unconvinced. "Just let people know that we'll be back. I figure it's better than simply vanishing out of nowhere.""I guess I can't really stop you." They reply with a sigh. "But how will we know if it's really you that returned? If something happened to you...well maybe secrets you know won't be enough...">What do you say?>Write in.
>>5699685>"I'll return with the firewood, and I'll try to convince the fire sprites that follow you to ignite a bonfire without me starting the fire"
>>5699685>I can preform a few Chi moves, on your arm if you're willing to risk it.>But the creature seems to fear fire. Worst comes to worst, I'll just have to burn myself to prove my flesh nature.I mean we're not going far. We're gonna be literally outside the camp in the middle of the day.
>>5699684What’s the link to this quest’s archive?
>>5699846here you go anon. #29 hasn't been archived yet but I'll get on it asap. The whole saga I guess with it's ups and downs in posting rates. All of which I am to blame. https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=luo
>>5699734>>5699773We have options. Burning seems a bit extreme but I assume you meant like taking a coal to the arm or something. Writing.
>>5699953Yeah, I'm not like. . put my hand out to roast.I mean more like put a smouldering touch on our fore arm, or use that weird kung fu thing in the first film to put the fire on our hands.Though that may have been special fire in the jade palace.
"The spirits can vouch for me." You say confidently. "I have a bit of rapport with the younger ones at least. However, if push comes to shove then we can simply use fire. Like I said, whatever is out there seems to fear it. I'm willing to endure a small burn if it means proving myself.""W-we can't do that! You're our teacher!" They respond as they wave their hands in panic. "It'll be fine. We won't even be a few minutes away from the camp and it's barely noon. We have plenty of time left in the day." You reassure. Even with your assurances it still didn't seem enough but as they mentioned they couldn't stop you. You make your way to the edge of the camp and steady yourself for a bit before taking a step forward beyond the edge. The effect was almost immediate. All the voices and sounds of life seemed to vanish in an instant almost smothered by the woods themselves. "We better get to it then." You say quietly. You weren't sure why but there seemed to be an instinctual urge to not want to break the silence and the rebellious part of you did not like that. Xin Lan hops off your back and starts to walk alongside you."You can do all the work. That's what elder brothers are for." They tease though their whole body language showed they were alert as their eyes shifted from side to side. "I'll stay close to make sure you do a good job.""Funny, I was thinking of using you to knock some trees down. I think you're getting some of that hardheadedness I'm known for. Pretty sure that's what younger siblings are known for right?" You joke before ducking under a pine cone. "You keep that up and I'll be the one reporting you to Ming. Throwing things is not nice." Another pine cone flies by and embeds itself into the tree behind you. Deciding that this was just as good as any other, you swing your arm wide and smash your forearm against the trunk. Your arm cleaves through it as easily as a knife through paper felling the large tree and causing it to crash against the others nearby. You and Xin Lan stay still and watch the tree fall in rapt attention. Both of you look around, half expecting something to come crashing towards you to attack. Nothing comes and it slowly dawns on you that the sound of the falling tree was unaltered. It was just as loud as you expected it to be and the realization brings a bit of relief. Knowing that things were working as they should, if only for now, gave you a sense of safety. "Here, pull the stump out while I work on the rest of the tree." You instruct. "Have you...ever done this before?" You ask curiously. Xin Lan shakes their head.
"It's not too hard. You're a strong bunny so we can just get to it." You run your hand over the stump for a moment. "This tree was pretty healthy so it's not going to let go easily but we don't want to fully pull it out anyways. Something this big will have it's roots too deep. Mostly we want to break up the main stump into fire wood." You take the rabbit's hand and place it in the center of the stump. "The tricky part is to strike in the center with enough force. Too soft and the force will spread out. Too hard and your liable to obliterate the stump leaving nothing useful or just leave a huge hole in it. You want to hit it hard enough that cracks will spread out from the center. From there you start tearing it apart into pieces of firewood.""So it's like caving someone's skull in then?" Xin Lan asks without flinching. "Stripes taught me how to do that when I was little. Don't want to make the head explode.""Yeah...something like that." You reply awkwardly before quickly continuing. "Because the tree is a fresh cut and it was a living one, it might be a bit difficult. The stump still has the pliability that let's trees bend with the wind. If it was a dead tree we might need to hit it harder. I've dealt with a few that were so old they basically became rock. The sweet spot is usually a few weeks after it was cut down. Gives it time to dry out and become more brittle.""We could just leave it behind. Not like anyone comes across here anyways." Xin Lan says, still not removing their hand from where you left it. Despite their protest it was obvious they were listening to you very carefully and you can feel happiness coming from them. You nod."We could. I suppose it would eventually rot away with the rain but we should make the most of our resources. Otherwise we'll end up cutting more trees than we should. Not to mention, we don't know if we'll anger some kind of spirit either. Best that we take as much as we can with as little disturbance as possible. Plus I'm sure Ming could make some use of the tree roots." You explain."You made that last part up didn't you?" "Of course not. Little sisters need to listen to their older brothers. We know best." You joke."You totally did! I've never heard of tree roots being used in anything!" Xin Lan shouts back. You chuckle and ruffle their ears.
"Just get to breaking that stump up or I'll make you break up the tree itself." You smirk. Grabbing the fallen tree, you easily pull it down and off of the rest of the trees. Broken branches and leaves rain from the sky but even with your recent kill, it seemed like there was no opening in the canopy above you. You measure out a length of the trunk around a forearm's length and drive your hand down in a chop. The cut is clean and you take the newly broken log in both hands before digging your claws in the center and pulling it apart with sheer strength. You repeat the process with the remaining halves until you have several freshly cut pieces of firewood. Once you stacked them neatly on the side you move back to the tree and begin again. Meanwhile Xin Lan strikes the stump once, twice, three times with no result behind leaving an ever deepening furrow the shape of their fist. You keep an eye on them for a moment. You could go over and do it for them, show by example, or you could leave them be and let them try to learn by themselves. Either way, it was getting a bit quiet beyond the sounds of wood breaking apart.>What do you do?>Go and break the stump for Xin. Show them how it's done. After that they can help you break the main tree apart.>Watch Xin Lan and let them experiment as you continue to work. No need to rush a learning process.>Continue to work and strike up a conversation. You don't like the quiet and Xin is good company. Part of you realizes that you don't really know much about Xin's past beyond the worst parts but perhaps you don't really need to know much more. (What do you talk about?)>Write in
>>5700088>Go and break the stump for Xin. Show them how it's done. After that they can help you break the main tree apart.
>>5700088>Continue to work and strike up a conversation. You don't like the quiet and Xin is good company. Part of you realizes that you don't really know much about Xin's past beyond the worst parts but perhaps you don't really need to know much more. (What do you talk about?)Just a bit of normal chatting. Maybe some tips on stump breaking? lmao
>>5700088>Continue to work and chat with them. [Try and weasle some details out of them about their book.]There really is no reason to rush their learning of it.
>>5700870>>5700148Gotta let Xin learn at their own pace. Morning writings in a few hours.
"Having a bit of trouble there?" You ask as you tear apart another section of tree. Xin Lan throws a piece of bark at you. "No. I'm just letting you have your fun. Otherwise you'd feel bad about it all that I'm a pure natural." They reply. "I can't be perfect all the time. I have to hold back.""Right. I forgot the great burden you bear over being the best at everything." You say, rolling your eyes. "Woe is you.""Yeah laugh it up. You'll never know my true pain." Xin Lan retorts as the place their hand over their forehead and sits down. "It's just so hard to be this wonderful all the time. I look at all the regular people and envy them for all their flaws." They continue melodramatically. You decide that this is a good point to reciprocate Xin Lan's gifts by tossing a bit of bark back at them as well."Sure, sure. How about you get back to work on that stump." You chuckle. "Perhaps the perfect being would humor us mortals by asking for help?""I'll ask for help when you ask for dating advice." They counter. "Given your recent reactions. I'm starting to wonder what you would actually know about dating. Stuff you've read out of romance novels doesn't count you know.""I've been on dates! Tons of them. You'd be surprised how many men are willing to buy me a meal with a simple wink and a smile." They say. "You should be happy I'm even married to you. You're just too much effort. Fighting killer bats from the past, giant armies, ghosts. Honestly, you just don't appreciate how much I put up with you." Xin Lan insists as they laying on their side and smirking at you. You put down the fire wood and pet them. "Well I'd say that I'm thankful but that would be saying we're married which we're not..." You pause before sighing internally and deciding to throw more fuel to the fire. "Because I'm marrying your brother. You lose." You lean down and whisper into their ear. Xin Lan's eyes grow wide and they immediately latch on to your neck. Giant grin on their face, they push their nose against yours before leaning forward and whispering into your ear."I'm telling everyone what you just said. You're never living this down." They hop off and begin wailing away at the tree stump, humming happily and wiggling their tail. Though you expected something like this, you were at least happy to see Xin Lan in high spirits even if it meant shaving a few years off your life span from embarrassment. However, something wouldn't simply let you live it down without fighting back."Fine." You say nonchalantly while you go back to casually breaking wood apart. "But I have to be there to hear it too.""Oh don't worry. You will." Xin Lan says gleefully."That's good to hear. I can't wait to see everyone's reactions myself. Ming, my father, Po, Luo, Tigress, the brown bunny...just to name a few, you know?" Xin Lan makes a face at you."You ruin all the fun." They say. "I wasn't really known for being a 'fun' person." You say with a smirk.
"I'm still telling Ming though." They threaten."Not if I tell her first. In fact, I might tell everyone myself. I really should be more open about my feelings." You continue with false enthusiasm and turning your back to hide your smirk."You wouldn't dare!""I guess that's really what all this is about isn't Xin? You always teased me because you wanted me to be more open and honest about the truth. So really I should be thanking you. It's a shame though. I will miss this banter and you pretending to be my spouse. Well I guess it'd be easier to go undercover with Renshu as my husband. It'd be easier to keep up the disguise.""If you think this is some kind of trick to beat me then you're wrong. I'll never stop teasing you. I know you. You'll crack. You always do." Xin Lan says but you pretend to ignore them."I mean I guess the biggest shame is that I was actually starting to have feelings for you. Now we'll never know what our kids would look like. I was thinking of naming our first child after you.""Very funny." Xin Lan says as they punch the stump and finally managing to crack it apart. "We all know you'd just die from embarrassment from being naked. Of course I would have been willing to help you with that first hand but now you've ruined it. I don't wanna help now. Even if you're big and handsome."With the joke properly ruined, you continue to work together in silence. It takes about an hour or so but once Xin Lan finishes pulling the stump apart the two of you work to finish up the rest of the tree. Though it yielded far more wood than you think someone would need, you had an entire encampment to think about. Still, even with the two of you, it would be difficult to carry all of the fire wood in one trip from this tree alone. >What do you do?>Haul the firewood to camp and go for another tree. Best you be sure you have enough for the refugee camp.>Take what you have and call it a day. You were mostly out here in hopes of seeing Ming but it doesn't seem she'll be back today. There's no real reason to linger around any longer.>Grab another tree. You'll figure out a way to bring it all back somehow. Better to not leave a job half finished. Besides, the two of you are actually enjoying yourselves out here for once. You kind of want to linger a bit longer if only for that.>Write in.
>>5703353>Grab another treeWe can just do multiple quick trips.
>>5703353>Haul the firewood to camp and go for another tree. Best you be sure you have enough for the refugee camp.
>>5703374Eh whatever, Doesn't make much difference to me.>Change to support
>>5703406>>5703374Heading back with the firewood before going back. Writing.
You take a moment to admire a job well done. Even if it was as simple as breaking training board for you the fact that this wood would be put to good use was enough to give you a sense of pride. "Let's gather all of this wood up and head back. Once it's in the camp we can come back to get another tree. There's still plenty of sunlight.""What if...you carry me and the wood?" Xin Lan asks as they hop on your shoulders. "It's nice and comfy here." They add while rubbing their chin between your ears. You pluck the bunny from your shoulder and plant them firmly on the ground."We can rest after we're done with all of this. I can only spoil you so much." You say with a smirk before leaning down and placing some firewood into Xin Lan's arms. Xin Lan pouts but begins to stack and adjust the firewood for easier transportation. You take the time to show Xin Lan how to tie up the firewood into bundles and then the bundles into a makeshift pack. "Did you really do all this when you were younger?" Xin Lan asks as they begin to shoulder their share of wood."Of course. It was pretty good training at my age...of course once I learned people were willing to pay for the fire wood. It was a pretty good way to make some spare spending money. Of course any money was good spending money. Father was as strict with spending as he was with anything else. 'Allow your discipline and focus to falter in one area and the rest will soon follow.'" You recite."You should listen to your dad. You need to focus on your tasks more. Namely making me happy." Xin Lan says proudly. You let out a laugh which echoes throughout the forest."The day you're satisfied will be the day it rains food from the heavens." You say."Or it's the day you take me to bed. I'm sure all that training you did must have taught you some nice tricks. I know I have some. Wanna see~?" They ask with a happy hum. As expected, you feel the blood rush to your face and feel it warm up."S-shush you. I was serious about my training. That kind of stuff never even crossed my mind." You stammer and try to find and excuse to rub your face and hide your embarrassment."You know, if it was any other man who said that I'd know they'd be lying but that's what makes teasing you so fun.""I'm glad you found something that makes you happy." You mutter."It really is the simple pleasures isn't it?" Xin Lan replies with a grin. They readjust their cargo and skip a few steps. "So...you ever gonna tell your dad about... you know..." Xin Lan makes vague motions in the air as if to help remind you.
You look at them with some confusion. "About what?""The fact that you've been exiled from the country." Xin Lan replies simply."He already knows. For good or ill. He was there himself. As much as we can say that I can simply sneak back in I doubt that was much of a relief. I have brought even greater shame upon his name not to mention that he can never publicly admit that I am his son anymore. Eventually, I suppose my name will be stricken from history save from stories and legends. This land is no longer my home and they no longer accept me." "I still think it's great that you're exiled. It's not like anyone could stop you and besides, being a citizen isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Not like they wanted to you alive when you were still part of this place. Just look at me and Stripes. We can go where we please and do what we want. Just think of it like this. The whole world has opened up to you. You can say anywhere is your home and no one is your master anymore. You're your own man and aren't beholden to anyone.""Maybe but no one here can offer us refuge and our friends can no longer be seen with us or they might face punishment. Even Ming can no longer be seen with us once we leave the country. She still has her family here and being with us will put them and her at risk." You point out. "We'll never be able to see Guang or An Bo anymore either.""Ming's a smart girl. I bet she'll know how to get around it plus I think we're starting to be a bad influence to her. She wouldn't care anymore. She'd probably be more worried over whether or not we're getting enough to eat.""Sometimes I wonder whether or not what you say it pure bluster or you really believe it." You wonder as you watch Xin Lan."I've never been a citizen of anything. Been working out for me. It's just a perk of being so strong. We decide what our rules are. Everyone is lucky that we choose to the harder path of being good." They say with a shrug. You're about to lecture them about the dangerous path of that kind of thinking but as the two of you cross the threshold of trees one of your students comes hurrying over to you."Teach! You're back. We've been looking all over for you." They say breathlessly and when they see the look of horror in your face they shake their head. "Not outside of camp but we didn't know if you had returned. The brotherhood has been asking for you. They say it's important.""Did they say what they wanted?" You ask as you unsling the fire wood off your back. Your student shakes their head."No but...rumor has is that they've been planning how to get us out of the forest. Even Master Tigress has been called. Everyone's been talking about it. Maybe they want you to help with that? Or maybe they want to know more about what happened back at the Library."
"They're crazy if they think they can get everyone through the woods without attracting attention." Xin Lan. "Is Ming back? Maybe she's brought new intel.""No one's seen the Exarch since she left." Your student replies. "Ussually she's back by now but then again, she always just appears out of nowhere. It's possible she snuck in without anyone seeing her. But normally she makes sure the food it prepped so at least someone sees her at least once.""Well sounds like things are starting to move again. Wanna go see what the big wigs want?" Xin Lan asks you.>What do you do?>Go see the Brotherhood. You might finally work a way out of this forest.>Send your student to let everyone know that you need a bit more time before you can see the Brotherhood. (What do you do before seeing them?)>Remind your student that you still haven't proven who you are. Ask them to bring someone who can see and speak to spirits so you can do so. You don't want this to come up later and cause panic.>Write in.
>>5704561>You've not proven your identity, come get a test. The coals if nothing else.
>>5704561>Remind your student that you still haven't proven who you are. Ask them to bring someone who can see and speak to spirits so you can do so. You don't want this to come up later and cause panic.I knew that Ming was in charge, but I didn't expect her to be the new exarch.
>>5704561>Go see the Brotherhood. You might finally work a way out of this forest.
>>5705099>>5705104Gotta prove our identity. Writing.
"Not so fast." You say. "You still haven't seen if it's the real me. I am me but I'd rather everyone agree with me than risk being undermined by suspicion.""H-how do we do that?" Your student asks, suddenly becoming very suspicious. A bit of a late reaction but at the very least they still had some sense of self preservation. "You can bring one of the Brotherhood. They'll be able to tell using Chi. I can also ask one of the spirits to vouch for me but it'd be much of the same. Only they are capable of fully understanding them aren't they?" You explain. "It's good that they're looking for me as well. I've been meaning to speak to them myself.""Y-you have?"You face palm. "There isn't much else you can do right now. We're both at an impass if you no longer trust me and the Brotherhood are the only people who everyone trusts. They can keep their distance and I'll stay here. Now go before the sun goes down and we're all at risk." You shoo your student away and sit down to wait."He never was the brightest candle on the stick. You also failed to mention that if you were a monster, everyone would be in danger seeing as we're past the charms that were put up." Xin Lan says as they drop their firewood and hop on your shoulders."Because we definitely need to give the poor boy even more paranoia. Hopefully it's one of the more reasonable members of the Brotherhood." You say."Lucky you. Everyone we need to like us, hates us. It's almost like we're cursed...you're not cursed are you?" Xin Lan asks."If I was, you'd be cursed too given how much time you spend with me." You say. "I wonder what exactly they want us for.""If they want to escape, no doubt they're expecting us to have a plan. Otherwise they'd have left by now.""Well it's best we think of one soon. With or without Ming." "I'm not leaving without her." Xin Lan snaps. "Even if we need to wait another week or so.""You know that's not what she'd want." You say.
"I don't care. It's what I want." Xin Lan says stubbornly. "And I'm not budging. They're going to wait for her just like we are." You purse your lips and say nothing. Like Xin Lan, you also wanted to wait for Ming but you know that she'd always put the lives of everyone else over her own. You didn't doubt she'd show up sooner or later. How long it would take was another story. A few minutes pass before you see someone approach you. A familiar small dog in ornate, yet well worn robes. He hurries over to you seemingly ignoring the fact that you could be a potential threat and waves."Tai Lung! It really is you! I haven't seen you since we last spoke at your advancement interview." Catching himself, Mida adds. "It...is you right?" >What do you say?>Ask Mida to try and feel your Chi. He should sense the Dragon's Blessing on you and you don't think anything can replicate that.>Ask Mida to ask the spirits. They would know if you were some kind of evil creatures.>Say something only you and Mida know. There's not much but that should only solidify that it is you.>Write in.
>>5709029WE could just leave how it's checked up to them...
>>5709029>Say something only you and Mida know. There's not much but that should only solidify that it is you.We could talk about the things we wrote on chi, it was about spirits and the translated panda work wasn't it?
>>5709029they said that not even memories were completely safe.>Mida, if you can sense Chi then try and sense the great dragons blessing.I forget if they CAN sense Chi, I just know Mida is the foremost expert on the subject of chi and spirits.
Rolled 1 (1d3)Just gonna roll for it. Here is the order.>>5709221>>5709279>>5709742
"That is the reason you are here." You say with a smile. "Unless you can verify that it is indeed up, I'm afraid we run the risk of panicking the rest of the population. So we asked for someone the people look up to for guidance. Not to mention, someone who could have an idea of how to do so. I'm afraid if we were to offer any suggestions, it might be overly scrutinized in the end." You explain. "Once this is all said and done, we can head to whatever meeting we were expected to be at." Mida's face scrunches up as he thinks for a few moments. Perhaps you yourself were being a bit paranoid. There was no guarantee that what you said was true. It was entirely possible that the survivors would simply take your word for it and would rather put all their faith in the charms that were protecting the camp but you had a bit too much experience with people not trusting your words and frankly you'd rather avoid going through the whole ordeal again. A few minutes of waiting would be better than several days of people casting glances at your direction or second guessing your suggestions.Mida seems to come to a solution and begins to motion at someone or something in the distance. Looking past him, you don't see anyone and you wonder if he was preparing some kind of ritual but soon enough you feel the presences of tiny beings around you. The familiar curiosity of the sprites come close to you and surround you. It was mostly air sprites but you can sense a few earth ones and it doesn't take much to notice how extra cautious the earthen ones were. Mida seems to be satisfied with the results of what he was doing and nods. "It's him." He says somewhat proud of himself."Are you sure?" Your student asks."Well mostly. See Tai Lung is the greatest mind in the field of studying spirits. So it goes without saying that spirits would be quite comfortable with him around. Not to mention that I doubt the spirits would willingly approach something as evil whatever is outside. They never seemed to be tricked by the false shouts it makes at night. So with that in mind, I think they would know better if someone is under the influence of that monster or if that monster is trying to mimic one of us." He explains happily."Right...if you say so." Your student replies, more confused than unconvinced. Turning to you, he says, "Well I guess that clears things up. Did you find anything out there? Hear anything suspicious?"
You shake your head. "No. Seems like whatever is out there prefers to work in the dark. There was only silence out in the forest and nothing seemed out of the ordinary as we worked. Even bringing a tree down did nothing to disturb the peace. If one wasn't aware of what was out there, they'd be liable to think that it was perfectly safe. However, I still wouldn't recommend going out during the day. Best if everyone stay where it's safe than risk everything on a hunch. If it's worked so far then best not to mess with our current situation." Your student nods and hangs around for a bit before finally making up their mind and saying their farewells. With the three of you alone, you motion for Mida to lead the way which he eagerly obliges. "It's so good to see you again." He says as you all walk towards the temple. "We were all worried that you didn't make it and I must admit that part of me selfishly worried that I would no longer have anyone to talk about the spirits with.""I can imagine." You say. "It's good to be back. I already have a list of things I promised to do should we make it to our destination but I'll be sure to add chatting with you to that list. Here's hoping that we can all make it through to enjoy what I promised.""We all hope to make it out." Mida replies. "But I think we were all at the end of our ropes. At least, until you showed up. Seems like everyone is eager to hear about how you made it. Gives them hope that there is a way out of these woods. Not to mention, a little bit of good news goes a long way. Now if only her Ladyship would return." He adds.>What do you say?>Ask Mida how Ming of all people ended up being the leader of the city.>Ask what the brotherhood has planned. You were told that they were thinking of a way to escape.>Ask what happened to the mayor. Or any of the city's leading people. It sounds like the Brotherhood is all that's left.>Write in.
>>5709742>I forget if they CAN sense Chi, I just know Mida is the foremost expert on the subject of chi and spirits.I don't know if I directly stated how well the Brotherhood can sense Chi or communicate with spirits but I do know that it's been mentioned that even the youngest of the Library's population can faintly sense sprites and spirits due to them living in such close proximity with them and due to the land basically being blessed by all four dragons.It's nothing major like words but more akin to say like feeling lucky or a gut feeling. At best they can tell if the spirits are in a good mood but they don't know why or which spirits hence the feeling lucky kind of feeling. Certainly someone like Mida who spent their lives studying spirits can sense and even communicate with them in some capacity but he not remotely close to your level.
>>5711600>Ask what the brotherhood has planned. You were told that they were thinking of a way to escape.>Ask Mida how Ming of all people ended up being the leader of the city.>"As for how I survived, it seems my companions put me inside a coffin hidden in a cave while I was in my recovery coma from healing the hurt child. When I woke up I found myself in the middle of the destroyed city, trying to piece together what happened and having to fight some of the forces left behind by the attackers."
>>5711770I'll support that.We all know that Ming is a Denmother, it's simply a question of how the hell she became EXARCH.Something about being there when he died perhaps?I get that we are all superlative experts but damn does Ming seem like the one that everybody wants to work or be in their secret organisations. Who knew?
>>5712555To be fair, it's only happened twice. One being a the shadow broker that sees her great intelligence as the perfect trait for a new protégé and the other...well that remains to be seen I suppose. Don't think I'm missing anything. Ship captain doesn't really count because she had the hots for Ming. Humorously, it's kind of Tai Lung's fault for the first instance. Had she stayed home, Ming would have gone unnoticed as an average medicine woman. Perhaps a known for her talent but ultimately average given that she had nothing to push her to be better. Now she's practicing alchemy, learning magic rituals and to speak with spirits. TL's good influence has struck once more.
>>5715009Fuck, forgot that my stuff would have changed after messing with my computer.
As the two of you make your way through the camp you feel the urge to ask, "How exactly did Ming end up as the exarch? Wouldn't that fall upon one of the Brotherhood?" "Did you guys even have a plan if ever the old man passed away?" Xin Lan asks. "Well...not really." Mida says with a sheepish shrug. "None of us ever...I mean...there were rumors he was with us since the founding of the Library. We figured he must've...been immortal.""Seems a bit short sighted..." Xin Lan mutters. "That seems a bit unwise. Surely he would have wanted some kind of successor eventually. Isn't that why he created the Brotherhood?" You repeat in a kinder manner."I'm afraid that will be one of the many secrets he will take with him. As far as I can remember, the Brotherhood has always existed. Even since childhood we spoke of the Brotherhood as an organization that has always existed." Mida says. "Am I missing something then? Did Ming join the Brotherhood officially?" "Nothing as complicated as that. She has been blessed! In his last moments, the Exarch must have chosen her as his successor. We can all see it in her eyes, hear it in her voice. His wisdom flowing through her! From the beginning she lead us onward. Gave us direction when we had none. Fed us when we were hungry, tended our wounds when we were injured. If it wasn't for her, we might never had made it this far or worse our people would have been scattered to the winds." Mida replies eagerly, his eyes alight with reverence. "We all saw it in the coming months and time and again she lead us through. It was only natural that she be chosen to lead us." You and Xin Lan exchange glances. Xin Lan shakes their head."Don't look at me. She seemed ok when I last saw her. No sudden abilities to appear out of nowhere, didn't seem any smarter than usual." They mouth at you behind Mida's back. Deciding to change the subject, you quickly add, "I see, well, as for how I survived. I was placed in a coffin hidden away in a cave while I recovered from healing an injured child. I'm afraid that's the extent of what I know. When I woke up the city was destroyed and I've been trying to find out what occurred ever since. All that aside, what exactly does the Brotherhood have planned?" "We are trying to find a way out of the forest. Despite all her Ladyship's efforts, we can't survive here forever and with that thing out there it's only a matter of time before something lapses and it manages to get us. You and your friends are the only people we know to have navigated the forest and made it here alive. What you know could be invaluable." Mida explains as you all enter the temple."I'm afraid we don't know much that could help." You say but Mida holds their hands up."We don't know that for sure. Even the smallest detail might be enough but we should save that discussion for the whole group." He says reassuringly. "After all, it's you."
You're unsure how to respond to that. Frankly, this all felt rather surreal. All the years of people hating and fearing you for what you did. Years of having to hide who you were and being seen as a monster and now an entire city looked up to you for salvation. Like a hero. Not one who worked in the background but one who was openly praised as a good person. You mull over this realization as you three step into a small room. Sitting around a makeshift table is Tigress along with 4 other people which you deduce is the remains of the city's Brotherhood. "You're late Mida." A familiar woman says. "Sorry Dawa. But I thought it would be best if they were brought up to speed. At least now we can speak without having to go back an forth as to why we have gathered." Mida says. "I already told them we're looking for a way out." Dawa casts a familiar glare at you but nods."Well if the formalities are out of the way, we should begin." The man, a duck, says. "We have spoken with Master Tigress on the matter for a bit but we'd like to hear both of your accounts on the matter as well. Is there anything you can recall about your travels in the forest that we might be able to use to escape?">What do you say?>Tell the group what you know. It's not much but as Mida said, anything could help.>Suggest that you all wait for Ming to return. If she has been frequently going out to gather food then she would know more than you. Besides, you would feel more comfortable thinking about escape with her at your side.>Ask the Brotherhood if they know what exactly this creature is. Maybe they have come across it in their studies.>Write in.
>>5715079>Tell the group what you know. It's not much but as Mida said, anything could help.
Also, should we tell them about the necromancers in the ruins of library, the mass killing of the spirits, and the grief of the great dragons? There is a chance this might be a monster that was summoned to hunt then down, one that became powerful or corrupted after that crime, or even one that already existed, but is now free to do as it pleases.We don't know how much knowledge they have, so it's best to share as much as we can.
>>5715009The captain counts!and 3 times is still peculiar, we've not recieved job offers to be heirs of secretive societies.Even if madame webb explicitly pointed out that we wear everything on the open.>>5715079>Tell em what you knowWe do need to be delicate about mentioning the destruction of the city. But it's very possible that the crows summoned something, yeah.
>>5715776>>5715087Damn I hate black outs. We're sharing what we saw at the library. It wasn't pretty.
Just remembered that Web told us that Ming was being hunted.So maybe this monster really was sent to go after the survivors.
>>5715776Well if the captain counts, she did say you would have made a great crewmate...save for the fact you were a wanted criminal. TL has been kinda offered a lot of jobs...but he is a man wanted for murder so no one every says it directly. Only that it would be nice if he could be hired. Mayor even said you'd have been a great investigator if not for the fact you chose to dedicate yourself to teaching. The buns are already part of a secret society and they're not happy about it. But don't worry, TL is already in a super exclusive organization. The buns' hearts. You're the nicest person they've ever met.
You move to take a seat and Xin Lan sits upon the table much to Dawa's chagrin. "I'm sure Tigress has explained it but it seemed as if the forest itself was working against us. Paths seemed to turn back upon themselves despite us walking in a straight line. Time seemed to move at odd speeds, hours felt like minutes to some or even longer to others. This seemed to start and intensify the closer it got to night. The forest seems oddly quiet even more than one would think though this is felt even during the day. Then there is the screaming. If it is some kind of creature or person, their ability to mimic voices is unmatched. It sounds just like a real person." You explain as you think back to your nights in the woods. "There was also the fear. It's intensity only revealed how unnatural it was and thinking upon it, I can only assume it would be used to drive someone into panic thus causing them to become even more lost and thus easier prey.""Familiar voices, intense fear, and our very senses turned against us. All the tools of something that knows how to hunt people." Xin Lan speaks up."Do you think it can be an assassin?" Tigress asks almost accusingly which Xin Lan thankfully ignores. "No. I don't think anyone could conjure up such effects without serious preparation. Even taking into account the fact this only happens at night I doubt a single person could do this. If they can then we're in serious trouble. Which leads me to believe we might be up against something super natural." They say as they swing their legs while thinking. "I wish Ren was here. He'd know." They add quietly."If it's a supernatural creature would you know what it could be? Perhaps you've heard of something like that in Library?" You ask.
"It could be any number of things." Mida speaks up. "There are many recordings of yaoguai over the years but they are so varied that it could be any one of them. There are several evil spirits that wail and use the cries of the dead to lure unsuspecting travelers however, I've never read of any that could mimic those they have killed or any that could cause one's path to turn against itself. Certainly many legends of wronged dead that wander the world seeking vengeance or another's identity but many of these tales claim that such desires are insatiable and the cursed being never gets what they wish for as punishment. There is a text written by a man named Wang Chong, an ancient philosopher given how old the text was, named Balanced Discussions. It claimed that many things such grass, rocks, and other inanimate objects are endowed with human like qualities due to their old age. Perhaps it was a precursor to the idea that items can be imbued with Chi." He explains before shaking his head. "Is there anything else you can tell us? Anything at all?"You think for a moment. As your mind wanders, thoughts of the Library come to mind once more. The dead walking, the ritual feeding itself forevermore. You struggle with the thought. Would it be worth bringing it up right now? With so many struggling to maintain hope would it be a good idea to reveal the truth of what happened to their home?"There is...one more thing." You start slowly.>How do you tell them of what became of their home?>Write in.
>>5717381>"I returned to the mountain with an imperial observer, to spread the word and act as a witness to the court. We faced two crows who were waiting for any survivors to return, and they had enacted. . . a ritual, of some manner. The mountain has become a wounded void of Chi, and their soldiers bodies were like puppets at their bidding.">"With such a demonstration of sorcery, this set of events could be a summoned fighter, rather than one innate to the area."Do not. mention. their families and friends becoming zombies
>>5717498SupportAnd do mention that we had a source, the same one that pointed to the direction of the survivors, confirm that they were being hunted.
"A few days after I woke up I began searching for anyone left. It was then when I met a friend who was well respected in the imperial courts. Together we returned to the Library to make record of what had happened. We both agreed that the Empress should be made aware of what had happened to one of China's greatest treasures. That's when we encountered two crows. They had stayed behind waiting on any survivors who might have decided to return. They had enacted some kind of ritual. The bodies of their soldiers had become puppets for them to control. Just as in life, they were nothing but mere tools for them. More importantly, the ritual has left the library a void devoid of Chi. Such an affront to nature that the Dragons themselves rage to this day. Never in all my travels have I seen such an affront to nature and I do not think that the Gods themselves have seen such a thing either." You explain though it seems like everyone at the table struggle to comprehend what you are saying. You didn't blame them. Had you been in their shoes, you'd never think such a thing possible. Not even in your darkest days in prison would you had conceived such a deed and part of you still struggled to come to terms with it. "I couldn't bring myself to believe it myself even as I felt it then and there. It was only when I conferred with someone more knowledgeable in the subject. The very same person who helped me find the location of this camp that I learned what it really meant. These people were not simply after our lives and land. They want to erase our very being. As of now, the mountain we called home is uninhabitable and it may remain that way forevermore. If those crows are capable of planning something like that then it may be possible they could summon some kind of demon or evil spirit to come finish the job. As I attempted to locate you, I was warned by the very same person that you were being hunted. At the time I merely suspected that it would have been remnants of the army who lingered but now I'm not so sure." The air in the small room grew grim and quiet. No one wanted to speak up as they tried to comprehend what you just said. You doubted they would ever truly understand just as you would never understand the feeling of losing a place you had called home for generations. A person run out by bandits could hold on to the hope of someday returning after they were routed. A person who's home was destroyed could find solace in the fact that, with time, it could be rebuilt. But the people of the library had no such hope. Neither time nor man power would ever give them back what they had lost and you had no doubt that they, the greatest minds in perhaps all of China, were still trying to acknowledge such a fact.
As if to prove your point, Dawa weakly clears her throat. "That is something we'll need to review in the future. The people of the Library have come this far. Surely we can overcome that in due time." She says though there was nothing in her voice that gave indication that she meant any of what she said. "For now, we should base our situation on what you said. This is clearly not a group of invaders hoping to finish us off. This is something far more sinister.""Then we should wait for her Ladyship!" One of the Brotherhood speaks up. "She will know what to do!""She is already carries the burden of maintaining the city. Not to mention she takes it upon herself to feed us! We are failing her every day by demeaning her with such mundane tasks. We have no right to burden her further with this." Another member says."That's enough!" Dawa speaks up. "We will inform her of what we spoke of here in due time. However, if we are to ease her burdens then it falls to us to devise a plan. Should we fail to come to a consensus then it will fall upon her to decide. Now, given what we know what are our options?""Its clear that we should only travel during the day. I propose we send out a party to establish a second camp. Once our new forward base is set, we can begin moving people to there and then we repeat the process until we leave this vile place." The protesting Brother says."Are you mad? We are already struggling to maintain one camp. How do you suggest we manage to feed and protect two?" The other retorts."He's right. Even if we could feed both camps, it's her Ladyship's seals that keep the monster at bay. Asking her to try and ward two places might be too taxing especially if she's attempting to feed two camps." Mida speaks up."Fine. Then what do you propose?" The man replies testily. "It's clear to me that the only person with enough experience in all of this is Tai Lung." Dawa says though her tone betrayed the fact that she clearly loathed to admit it. "So the only sensible solution is to have him either confront whatever is after us or at least have him serve as a distraction. His exploits before even finding us are legendary. Maintaining the monster's attention for a few days should pose no problem for him." Xin Lan moves to stand and face Dawa, mutinous rage blazing in their eyes, but you manage to grab them and hold a hand over their mouth.
"I have no problems with that plan. However, we don't have a guarantee that it will follow me for that long if at all." You say while quietly struggling to keep Xin Lan still. "But I'm assuming that the seals keeping this place safe cannot be moved. Otherwise, I'd suggest using them as a portable barrier against the beast.""Tai Lung is right. We might have some idea of what it's capable but we have no idea of what it's truly after. If we had a means of knowing that then perhaps we could serve as a diversion." Tigress says. "While your leader might be feeding the camps, we too can offer our help on that front at the very least. So there may be some merit to the two camps idea. We three are at the very least proficient in keeping out of sight.""In that case, perhaps we might approach this from another angle." Mida speaks up. "If you can somehow remain hidden from what's out there...it might be possible to study the monster. Right?">What do you say?>Say that it'd be better to focus on avoiding the monster all together especially with a group as gigantic as the city. Moving during the day would be safest.>Agree and say that you'd be willing to try and study the creature. Perhaps then you can find a way to get rid of it.>Say that if anyone would have information like that, it would be Ming as she has been the one with the most experience avoiding it. The best plan would be to wait for her.>Write in
>>5720162>Say that if anyone would have information like that, it would be Ming as she has been the one with the most experience avoiding it. The best plan would be to wait for her.>Her potions and rituals have helped us greatly before. I'm sure that if we work together once more, we will be able to find a way to either avoid or repeal the beast.
>>5720329But this is a good second>Agree and say that you'd be willing to try and study the creature. Perhaps then you can find a way to get rid of it.I just want to do it with Ming, she surely could pick up anything we might miss.
>>5720162>It seems to hate fire and the light. It may serve as one method for protection.>While I agree to try and study the creature, we must still wait until Ming returns to the camp before it can move.Guys. . . I've the most terrible feeling that the first night may have- No, Luo wouldn't do that to us.
>>5720879Killing Ming while everyone stopped us from saving her would be too mean. And apparently screaming to bait victims is just something this monster does.Now, how does one kill a chinese wendigo?
>>5720882>>5720879>>5720330>>5720329Wating on Ming it is. But yes, Ming definitely has earned a hug and head pats.
"While I do agree and am willing to go study whatever is targeting us, I also believe that we should wait for Ming. She has the most experience avoiding the creature not to mention her alchemy and rituals have helped us greatly before and I'm certain that if we work together again we will find a way to avoid or repel the beast. However, if we really must risk it then we have noticed that fire and daylight seems to keep the creature at bay though it doesn't seem to prevent it from attempting to manipulate people." You say as you pet Xin Lan and attempt to soothe their fury."He does have a point." Mida agrees. "If anyone would know how to approach this it would be her Ladyship. As much as we want to avoid it the safest way to approach this would be to have her involved. As Tai Lung mentioned, she has the most experience.""There must be something we can do." Dawa says. "We simply can't stay here helpless while we heap all of our problems on to her. Otherwise, we're nothing but a burden to her. We were chosen to help run the city not simply pass it's problems along.""These are strange and trying times." Another of the Brotherhood speaks up. "None of us ever imagined such a thing happening let alone there being a protocol for it. I'm sure even the previous Exarch, rest his soul, would understand that we are simply not equipped for this. For now we much place our faith in her. She has led us this far, I'm sure she will guide us out." Dawa's frustration remains unabated but she refrains from commenting. "I suppose if there is nothing else to discuss then we can conclude this meeting adjourned for the time being. Once her Ladyship returns, we may resume these discussions. Until then, we should remain vigilant. Perhaps the Gods might bless us with more information or some kind of hint on what path to take.""The three of us will keep watch on the city." You say as you get up and place Xin Lan on your back. They give a little "hmph!" and dive under your shirt once more. "If we see Ming before anyone else we'll make sure to catch her up to speed. More so, we might be able to have more people out there foraging for food. At the very least it will get morale up."
"I'm certain the people of the city would appreciate not having to worry about their next meal." Mida says. "At the very least it could give people the strength to hold on just a bit longer." You give him a polite nod and excuse yourself from the room. Making your way through the temple you do your best to try and keep the images of the roaming dead, desecrated, broken, and unable to gain peace after death but most importantly the fact that they were once people's friends and family. People who never knew war and never deserved a fate worse than death. You step outside to see that the sun was going down and night would be soon upon you though it never seemed like dawn would never truly ever be here.>What do you do?>Head back to your spot near the edge of the woods. Talk to Xin about their feelings.>Wander the city and see what you can do to improve people's lives. Every bit would help.>Find Tigress and talk to her. See what she thinks of the situation.>Write in.
>>5721867>Back to the spot at the edge of the woods.Set a fire and set Xin down near it. It's time to let the fireworks out.Now, I'm thinking about this chinese wendigo. If we use chinese mysticism, Yin aspected creature without a doubt. It likes the darkness and it hates fire. So I suggest we use wood/flames in hunting it, if we are hoping that it adheres to these norms. Spears and torches if you will.Naturally though, we can get too caught up in the metaphysical, like the last time we doubted ming. It was a poison, not a haunting.Spirit it may be, but we can also just. . . you know, punch the fucker with our fists. Declare a challenge in a dragons roar and demand it come.
>>5721867>Wander the city and see what you can do to improve people's lives. Every bit would help.
>>5721962Luo is using the classic elements instead of the chinese ones, so it might be a water (or ice) aligned monster, or maybe even a corrupted spirit.Good point that it's might not be magical, it could be one of the assassins from Xin's clan, given that they apparently are back. Avoiding light could make sense if they are less powerful then Xin or Renshu, but then that puts into question why Ming's wards is repelling them.
>>5721983Oh no, I think it is absolutely spiritual.I just also know that we can channel Chi in such a way as to be able to touch them.So. . actually just beat the fuck out of them.
>>5722053Ah, so the /fit/ way to deal with the supernatural.
>>5721981>>5721962Welp we gotta tie. We can be social or we can wait for a bit. Which do you guys prefer?>>5722055Ghost puncher story is legit one of my favorite tales. So fucking funny.
>>5723421I'll change to >>5721981yeah, it's probably good to get Xin to vent, but we can let them cool off for a bit first.
You reach back to poke the tiny volcano of anger behind you only to find Xin Lan's hand poke out and smack you in the back of the head. Curiosity sated for the moment, you begin to wander the campgrounds in search of something to do and to give the bunny some time to settle down. Much like your last walk around the camp, people were beginning to settle down for the day.You make a note of what you can do to help. Ming might be out there trying to get food for everyone but you'd rather she came home with less things to worry on her mind. You note that a majority of the people simply sat around in the grass or up against the temple itself. Perhaps some furniture would be good. Although you weren't a craftsman, you could source materials. Perhaps it could give the craftsman of the city something to keep occupied even if you would have to abandon it all once you had to move on...or perhaps carts. It would help transport people, especially the elderly and the children. The faster people could move, the easier it would be to leave. Mentally jotting that for later, you continue your tour of the camp.It doesn't take long to return to the small river that ran along the edge of the camp. The people were fortunate to have a fresh water source nearby but you didn't really have any ideas of how you can improve people's stay here. You'd rather live out in the woods than attempt cook with it and you're not sure if you could adequately make any medicines with it. Part of you wonders how the creature would react to water. As far as you could tell, the water wasn't tainted or altered in any way. You kneel and dip your hand into the cold water. At it's deepest, the water went up to your elbow. You did have long arms though, perhaps the river could be a means of escape? At the very least you could rest easy knowing that it was safe. There was still plenty of injured if the city had a need of a medical ward. You could simply leave for a few hours and gather herbs to help. You had plenty of medical knowledge for combat and general injuries and even if your skills paled in comparison to Ming's, Mida and the others would surely appreciate whatever supplies you could offer. With Xin Lan's help, the two of you could gather an ample supply in no time assuming they were growing in this area. While you're lost in your thoughts and ideas, you vaguely register a few people walking in your direction along with someone who seems to be making a dash towards you. It's when said person begins shouting your name that you turn to look at the group in confusion.
You register the faces of your students trailing behind a very frantic man running towards you. Because of their very plain clothes it takes you a moment to realize that it's the tailor from so long ago that is running to you. "It is you! Thank the Gods you have survived!" He shouts before beginning to poke and prod at you which only served to add to your confusion. "Teacher. Is this the tailor you were looking for?" One of your students asks, unsure. "Of course I am! As if any other riff raff had the talent to create clothing worthy of this physique." The tailor asks before mumbling to themselves. "Not at pound heavier...Good. Good." You gently push the tailor away and give your students a meek nod."Yes...it's him. Though it took a bit for me to recogniz-""I know! My clothing! It's horrible! But every artist must make sacrifices for the sake of their work or in this case their livelihood." The tailor interrupts. "But what intrigues me the most is the fact that you were looking for me. Last I remember, you were quite eager to get out of my shop and none to pleased at the thought of becoming a model for my clothing.">What do you say?>Ask about the order you commissioned. Perhaps he can finish it once you arrive at the Valley of Peace.>Ask about any other crafters that escaped. You might be able to get a start on one of your ideas.>Ask if he knows about anything the people need. Maybe he might have some insight on what the city could use.>Write in.
>>5725126>"It's just that I'm shy about showing off my appearance to others, it was nothing against you personally. Every person I know that I found out has survived is one less worry in my mind.">Ask about the order you commissioned. Perhaps he can finish it once you arrive at the Valley of Peace.>Ask if he knows about anything the people need. Maybe he might have some insight on what the city could use.>Ask for his name. Apologize for having forgotten to ask back in the cityWhat was the crafting ideas we had again? I might change my vote to it if they are good
>>5725336Supplying wood for furniture, wood for carts, try for a possible raft, or gather herbs for medicine were the choices I mentioned. Always up for other suggetions as always. The goal being to help people either escape or make their time here better.
>>5725126I will note that the last time we were at his shop, we agreed and were pushed out the door as he was struck with a fit of artistic inspiration. >Ask the name>Ask for other insights.I don't really need to ask about the order. it seems. . tasteless to ask now.
>>5725640Ah damn you're right. Well I suppose the tailor is prone to fits of melodrama.
>>5725571In that case I'll cahnge my vote to>Ask about any other crafters that escaped. You might be able to get a start on one of your ideas.>Ask if he knows about anything the people need. Maybe he might have some insight on what the city could use.>Ask his name
>>5725660I'd expect nothing else. The artistic soul is a . . . prone one to emotion
"You were someone who offered to help me, even if it was in exchange for something else. That alone was enough to remember you. More importantly, I'm glad to see that you're safe and unharmed. Every soul that managed to escape is one less worry in my mind." You reply with a hand on the man's shoulder. "With that said, do you know if any other crafters managed to escape?""Oh yes, many of us managed to escape though loathe as we were to abandon our beloved city." The tailor asks. "Each and every one of us learned and perfected our craft there. It was not only our home but our inspiration even if some of us couldn't think beyond the city's walls." He adds ruefully though his tone softens. "Despite my contemporary's narrow vision we all loved our city dearly.""I don't think there is a single person here who disagrees with that sentiment." You say. "However, I ask because I'm trying to learn of the state of the camp. More importantly, I want to know if there is anything the people need. I want to help raise morale and give people hope for the future. After all we've been through, I think we can all use a bit of good will.""What the people need is purpose. Without art, inspiration, the soul withers. What is a painter who cannot draw? A smith who has nothing to forge? We yearn to serve the public but without purpose we are nothing. Every day we wish to create but without materials or instruments we are lost. If you can somehow give the crafters purpose then they can help breathe some life into this place.""What about your patrons? The noncreators? Do you know if they need anything?" You ask. "I'm sure someone as well connected as you would have heard of something." The tailor nods.
"There are whispers here and there but ultimately people are unsure of their place in the world anymore. With their lives uprooted and in turmoil, they're unsure of what to do. They do not know if this will be their new home or if they will be able to move on. The Exarch claims we are going to the Valley where Kung Fu was born and a place of learning and meditation but we remain here. So people are unable to settle and process their lives as they expect to be leaving but that leave never comes. They are restless." He explains. The man had a point. Everyone was waiting to leave and to get away. It only stood to reason that they would not take the time to settle down and think as they could do that once they were truly safe. "So what people need, ultimately, is something to take their minds off of things. To keep busy or decompress." You mutter.>What do you do?>Ask the tailor to gather all the crafters here. Say that you want to put them to work on projects to make living here more comfortable. You'll gather everything they would need to make new tools as well.>Ask the crafters to gather. You want to put them to work on vehicles to help transport people safely. Working on towards the goal of leaving is much better than simply waiting for the day to come.>Go find one of the brotherhood. If people haven't had a chance to grieve properly then maybe some kind of memorial ceremony would help. At the very least, it could give families peace of mind that their loved ones have been sent off properly...even if you had to lie about it to everyone.>Ask if you can speak to anyone who knew woodworking. You're unsure if anyone in the Library could build a raft or small boat of some kind but you would like to see if it was possible to use the river to escape.>Write in.
>>5726923>Ask the crafters to gather. You want to put them to work on vehicles to help transport people safely. Working on towards the goal of leaving is much better than simply waiting for the day to come.
>>5726923>Gather the crafters, it is best to work towards escape rather than simply wait around for the day.Hmm, does the river flow the right way?It's not a great solution, due to the unpredictable nature of where a river goes but. . . it is always an option
>>5727134River currently flows south west from what you can see.
>>5727577That *is* the way we want to go, so it's a possible method.
Alright, so do you want them to work land travel or attempt some kind of travel via the water? The consensus is to build travel vehicles.
>>5728044River is tempting, but it all depends on the monster's abilities. I don't want to risk it being able to push trees and stop water convoy.I also doubt that the survivors have much knowledge on how to sail given they lived on a mountain, even if we do find someone that can make a boat.I'm leaning on a caravan for now, but maybe we should do a test run first?
>>5728044Land travel, all the way. It'll also serve them better once we escape the forest.The trick is in making the carts big enough to hold a lot of people but also good enough to withstand the difficult terrain.I'd also suggest that we gather wood in a direct line away from the camp, to make escape a bit easier.
"Can you spread the word to all the crafters? I think I have a project that might give them purpose. Tell them to gather whatever tools they have and meet me here tomorrow. It's too late to start anything right now and I need some time to plan it out a bit further." You say. "Is there anything I can tell them?" The tailor asks."We're building something to help people travel. Something that can carry the elderly and the young as well was whatever else we need. Could be carts or could be a raft. For now, I think I need to take stock on what kind of crafters we have on hand and what they will need to make that happen. Whatever the materials are, we'll find a way to supply them even if I need to leave the camp to find it out in the woods.""Escape? Nothing would make us happier and if we can play a part in that then we'll work day and night to make that happen.""I know. First we should see what we're working with before we become over eager or else we might end up setting ourselves back more than we wanted to move forward. Get some rest and we'll meet up again tomorrow." You say. "I never did get your name though. What should I call you?""My name is Kalden. It will be a name known across all of China belonging to the greatest tailor in history. Clothing will reach new heights because of me. Just you wait." He says. --------"Pull those ropes! We need to get that log in place!" Over the following days, the sounds of tools slowly began to fill the air around the camp. It was a rough start, with many of the crafters and tradesmen having lost their tools in the escape not to mention there was nothing that could replace their workshops here at the temple. But the people of the Library didn't live isolated form the rest of China without learning to be resourceful and with you and Xin Lan's help things began to move forward. It all started with making tools. With no metals or even a way to melt down what little metal the camp had, you and Xin Lan spent the first day scrounging around for spare stones and working to break them down into sharper but crude tools which could be used to make slightly better ones.
While crafters were working on that, you had to fend off the myriad of cutters who insisted on following you out of camp to cut down trees. While you admired their steadfastness and willingness to risk their lives for the city, you couldn't allow such a thing. Eventually you came to a compromise where you would bring the logs to the camp while so that they could break them down as needed for the camp and the project. Even with the crude tools, you were surprised at how well they worked. So well, that they made your logging efforts seem crude in comparison. However, the crafters weren't the only people who's attention your efforts caught. After the second day, more and more people began to linger around the work area you had started using. Many simply watched, others began to help by moving materials around the work areas, and some simply helped by bringing water and meals to the workers. Even Tigress hopped in to help as well by using her strength to help hold things in place or to hammer the more stubborn pieces of wood together.All the while, you and Xin worked to crave a small path as you knocked trees down and fill in the holes left by tree stumps. The two of you do your best to try and find more materials for the crafters to use but beyond simple plant fibers and more stones there wasn't much you could use. Even so, the first few carts began to take shape. Much slimmer than the average cart, these carts were made to more easily slip between trees and to blend into the terrain much more easily. Because of their smaller frames, more would have to be created to make up for it but it seemed like the crafters were happy for the challenge if not just the work alone. With all the hustle and bustle, you almost missed two things.The first being that with everything going on it almost felt like the city was what it was like before. The air around the camp was full of purpose and curiosity. People were speaking more eagerly and casually and it seemed like even the most withdrawn person was seen mingling with others. You hoped that this new found purpose would help fend off whatever was stalking the camp.
More importantly, one the third day, you note a figure emerging from the tree line in the far back of the camp. Dressed in an ornate hood and robes but with familiar yet very worn boots, the figure slowly makes their way through the camp all the while carrying several overly stuffed bags full of what appears to be wild crops. Even though they make no attempt to remain hidden it seems like no one notices their presence. You and Xin Lan study the figure for a moment. The figure seems to favor one of their legs but even if they weren't injured, their movements are extremely sluggish and not one born of being over encumbered. The figure dips behind another tree to avoid a few people walk by before leaving once they passed and making their way to the back of the temple.>What do you do?>Go around the temple to catch the figure. If it's Ming, you want to see alone without everyone swarming her at her return.>Continue to help people build. If that is Ming, and who else could it be, she might need some time alone. She'll appear once she's ready to.>Point out the figure's presence. If it is Ming, then it'd be nice to play a small prank to get back at her for making you wait so long. If it's not then it's best everyone is very aware that someone has entered camp.>Write in.
>>5730787>Go around the temple to catch the figure. If it's Ming, you want to see alone without everyone swarming her at her return.
>>5730787>Go and catch the figure.MIIIIIIIING!
So how do you wanna do this? Sneak up on them? Run in for hug? Throw the bun at them? Or tell on Xin before they tell on you? That way Ming chastises them first.
>>5731118HUG! But not just a regular hug, a family hug! Get Xin on this!
>>5731118Duh, We family hug her. Very careful to not break that shit, but we must give her hugs.Cordinate with Xin, we must engage the hug tactically for maximum huggage
You motion to Xin Lan to follow and the two of you quickly sneak away from the working crowd. Neither of you could help it and simply jumped onto the roof of the temple. Leaping over roots, corkscrewing between gaps made by them, and kicking off the large trunk of the tree that grew over the building you sprint as fast as you can to make it to the other side with Xin Lan right behind you. For the first time in a long time you feel that feeling of lightness in your chest and that tug at the edges of your lips. A sentiment shared by Xin Lan as they are brimming with light from within, all their pain and sorrow forgotten at this time with their eyes alight with a spark of joy. You grab a nearby branch and swing on it while Xin Lan grabs on to your neck to pivot off of and grab a branch of their own. The two of you sail through the air as if the very winds were carrying you towards your goal. You clear the rooftops and land right in front of the hooded figure just as Xin Lan lands on their shoulders and cuts them free of their baggage. https://youtu.be/vZmSDuBSbO4Without hesitation you wrap your arms around them and lift them off the ground while Xin Lan wraps their tiny arms around their neck and pulls their hood off revealing Ming's face. She was worn down with large bags under her eyes from who knows how many days of not sleeping, her face was gaunt and thin indicating a lack of proper eating and her hair was messy and ragged. Despite all this, you could see that spark in her eyes. That bright glimmer of hope that never seemed to die down despite all the hardships and tribulations you were all put through. That stupid stubbornness that seems to run in your family. "You're alive." She breathes before wrapping her thin arms around your neck and hugging you tightly with a surprising amount of strength. "You're both alive.""I could say the same for you." You say with what you can only imagine to be a stupid grin on your face. You couldn't help it and you didn't care. "You look terrible." Xin Lan says with an equally large grin on your face. "Just because you can't keep up with my amazing hips doesn't mean you had to go for the extreme weight loss route.""Shut up you." Ming says, letting go and putting the rabbit in a headlock. "We haven't seen each other in months and all you can do is make dumb jokes." She says as her voice cracks. "Oh Gods I promised I wouldn't cry. I prayed. I prayed so hard that you were too stupid and stubborn to- to..." She sniffs.
"The afterlife failed to claim any of us on multiple occasions. I don't know if I could face you guys knowing I was the first to give up and let it win." You croak as you feel your eyes sting. "I think we could all use a good laugh right now.""I don't know if I want to beat you or hug you or Oh Tai Lung! You're back. You're really back!" She breaks down and buries her face between Xin Lan's ears to plant as many boogery kisses as she could. "You brought him back. Just like you promised.""Y-yeah...just like I said I would." They say anxiously.Picking up the lead, you ask. "Ming what happened? Look at you." You say as you gingerly cradle her with one arm and pick up all the luggage with the other. Ming rests her head against your shoulder."I'm fine." She whispers as her eyes flutter. "I'll tell you...tell you later..." She says before closing her eyes and going limp in your arm."MING!" Xin Lan screams as they break free and begins to shake her. You grab their wrists and hold them back when you hear a quiet snore coming from Ming. A large smile breaks across her face and she shifts slightly in your arm before settling in. "I guess she got the last laugh." You manage to choke out a chuckle as you let the tears flow. "Falling asleep and leaving us to carry all the heavy things and answer all the questions." You pull back the hood over Ming's face. You didn't want the people to see their leader in such a mess.>What do you do?>Take Ming and the goods inside the temple. People can sort them out later. Right now the little sister needed sleep.>Deliver the goods to the kitchen. People seeing food and the Exarch return would be a surefire way to raise everyone's spirits. >Leave the goods here and go to the family hangout spot, the rooftops. No one will bother you there or even think to look for you.>Write in.
>>5732274>Take her inside the temple, people can sort shit out later.We're all going to a bedroom and sleeping in a pile. The big-guy-branded matress is open for buissness again.
>>5732375uuuugh, we might also have responsibilities.But group piiiiiiiiiile
>>5732274>Take Ming and the goods inside the temple. People can sort them out later. Right now the little sister needed sleep.Tell Xin to warn the brotherhood about the goods, so they ca sort it out while Ming rests.
>>5732592Fine but we're at least tucking her in to bed and making sure nobody wakes her up. She has several days of sleep to catch up.
>>5732749Yes, not one shall interrupt Ming's rest
Group pile later, protective big brother tank mode activating now. Writing.
You let go of the stuff you're carrying to cradle Ming in both arms. "We should get her to an actual bed. Can you go find one of the Brotherhood to let them know Ming's brought the food back?" You ask Xin Lan."No." They say bluntly as they climb onto your shoulders. "I'm not letting Ming out of my sight. Let's just go. Someone can find this stuff later.""You're the fastest out of all of us. Besides, can you guard a door...without having to break people's fingers?" You add when Xin Lan gives you a look. They pout and tug at your ears before falling backwards and flipping to land on their feet with a grumble."Fine but you're not allowed to do anything." They say as they run off. You're unsure what they meant about "doing anything" but you don't pay it too much mind. More importantly, you had to figure out how to get Ming inside without being, mostly, seen. Barring breaking down a wall or unceremoniously stuffing her through a window, you were just going to have to deal with the fact you were going to rile up everyone you came across as they say the unconscious body of their savior. To put it simply, it was going to be somewhat irritating. You do your best to look casual as you walk towards the entrance to the temple. Rather than attempt a stealthy approach, you decide to rely on your size to get the job done. You brusquely push your way past anyone you had to get close by attempting to make make it seem like you were in a bit of a hurry. With a bit of your Kung Fu training, it's rather easy to simply pivot around people's field of you as you make it look like you're trying to maintain your balance. You offer a brief apology but continue on your way much to the offended party's irritation. It gets more and more difficult as you enter the building where the hallways force people closer and your size begins to work against you. More often than not, you can see people's faces register recognition but before they can speak up you excuse yourself and hurry along. Even so, word started getting around and soon enough you see people starting to tail you. It was rather comical if you thought about it but you were determined to give Ming some peace and quiet. Eventually, you manage to find an empty room. There wasn't anything you could call a bed in it but a bit of ingenuity, or more accurately using your large shirt as a pillow, and a table and you have something like a makeshift bed. You could send Xin Lan for some sleeping bags later.
For now, you grab a chair and take post outside the door where a crowd had started to form. With your arms crossed, you begin to shoo people away. "She said she needed some time alone." "She's meditating on something she saw on her way back. No I don't know what it is either." and "Right now, she said to continue helping with the crafting project. She'll go survey it once she is finished." were the more common excuses you gave and anyone who still protested were simply given a very grumpy glare which was more than enough to send them scurrying away.Eventually, Xin Lan arrives and with a leap to smack you between the ears they jump past you to go curl up and fall asleep next to Ming. Amused, you remain at your post but soon enough you see a group of people who wouldn't simply be shoo'd away. Lead by Dawa, you see the Brotherhood making their way towards you. Unsurprisingly, Dawa's first words were, "We want to see her.">What do you say?>Say no and lie. Tell them that Ming is doing some meditation and communing with the spirits. She asked you to keep watch and to let everyone know she'll address them once she's done but to not be disturbed.>Say no and tell the truth. Ming is tired and she needs rest regardless of what everyone else wants. Once she's rested and you're satisfied that she's gotten enough rest then she can talk to them.>Let the Brotherhood in. It's not like they can do anything but warn them that if any of them wake Ming up, you'll legitimately throw them out the window.>Write in.
>>5732964>Say no and tell the truth. Ming is tired and she needs rest regardless of what everyone else wants. Once she's rested and you're satisfied that she's gotten enough rest then she can talk to them.>Looks like she's been gathering things non-stop since she left. Let her recuperate for a while, no-one can push themselves forever without paying a heavy cost.
>>5732964>Tell them No, she's just collapsed from fatigue and they have supplies to deal with. But if they refuse to budge on the issue.>Push the door open but warn them that if they wake her up, They will be thrown out of the window and no thought will be given for the comfort of the landing.You can see just fine. And you can see that she's exhausted. So go away for the next 6 hours.
>>5733011>>5733013Ming's ours. They can't have her. Writing.
"No." You say firmly as you shake your head. "She's resting right now. From the looks of it, she's been up for a while trying to gather food. Until I deem her rested, she won't be leaving that room. A person can only push themselves so much before injuring themselves. So unless you want your leader to become cripple or live a very short life, then I suggest you let her sleep." You slowly get up from your seat and stand in front of the doorway. "Maybe you should focus on whatever it is she brought and distribute that to those who need it. I'm sure Ming would appreciate it." Dawa gives you a glare but says nothing as she swiftly turns and heads in the other direction. Mida lingers for moment longer to say, "Give me a shout if she needs anything. Uhh quietly."You nod. "Thanks. I'll let you know if she needs a pick me up or some medicine. Right now she just needs some sleep." Mida returns the nod and hurries off shooing bystanders away as he does so. You reposition your chair to block the doorway a bit better and sit back down. Though you're left alone for the most part a few people would linger at the end of the hallway to stare for a moment before leaving. Thankfully none of them approach so for the rest of the time you simply sit there. About 3 hours into your watch, you hear movement behind you and when you stand to take a look the door opens to reveal Ming. "And I assume you have a good reason to be up early?" You ask, bemused.Ming adjusts her hood to look up at you. "I'm fine now. 3 hours is all I need for rest." She says with a smile."I didn't just tell the Brotherhood to go away just so you can skip out on your sleep. Who knows how long you've been up for? Take the rest while you can get it." You say now more seriously. Ming shakes her head."I need to get back to work." She says. "Portion out the food, prep the medicine, make sure things are dried and preserved properly.""I'm sure the others can do it themselves." You counter gently."No, I'm the only one who knows how to stretch out and portion what little we have while maintaining a proper nutritional balance. You'd be surprised how much practice you when traveling with you guys." She says. "Same goes with the medicinal herbs. They know how to work with limited materials because of living on the mountain but after so many years of having the safety net of a city stockpile, the people just aren't accustomed with so little goods, especially in comparison to how large the camp is. We can't afford to let anything go to waste." You cross your arms for a moment before grabbing the chair and stepping into the room. Closing the door, you wedge the chair against it to block it off. You then gently pick up Ming and carry her back to the table where Xin Lan was sleeping soundly.
"What are you doing?" Ming asks though she knows you well enough to not attempt to try and break free."Ignoring you. Just like you're going to ignore everything you need to do and get some rest." You say as you sit down and cross your legs. Your face softens. "They'll be fine for a few days and if anything spoils then we'll get more. Xin and I are here now. With the three of us we can gather much more and much faster now. We also got what we could while we were gathering wood." You say as you gently lower Ming's hood. "Look at you. You're a mess. How am I going to take you back to your parents looking like this?""I'm fine." Ming insists. "I've done the math. I know exactly how much sleep I need and how much food I should eat to work at my best. I've got it down to the calories. My body's just burned off the excess fat I had. I've taken that into account as well." You grab Xin Lan and place them atop of Ming. They immediately splay out and stretch atop her. "Xin's not gonna let you leave either. Go back to sleep. We can talk after you've actually rested. Like I said, everyone is doing fine and we have a little bit of extra food Xin and I gathered." You gently ruffle Ming's ears. "Everything will be ok now. You might be stubborn but I still can't be beat in that department. Or am I going to have to knock you out? I'll do it you know." Ming gives you a weary smile and gets comfortable. Leaning in to give you a kiss on the cheek, she whispers, "I missed you", before falling back asleep. You watch her sleep for a long while and eventually darkness slowly begins to creep into the room before you too succumb to a dreamless sleep. Although your arms were heavy, your heart was lighter knowing that Ming as back with you and your family was another step closer to becoming whole once more.
I think this is a good point to end the thread. You've found Ming and learned that she's taken the Tai Lung approach of basically carrying everyone on her back no matter the cost.Next thread, we'll work on getting the fuck out of dodge. Speaking of carrying things on your back. I can't thank you guys enough for carrying this fucking quest. Life's been a chaotic mess for a while but I appreciate you guys putting up with the bullshit so I can keep the damn thing going.
>>5733171It was nice.Now it's time for me to sleep as well.
>>5733171Ming learning those reliable lessons, it's almost like the fearsome four are specialised individuals who grow into better one's by taking from the others examples.I love it when the senpai can support one another.as for carrying, Luo I don't think you follow the level of effort distribution here. We're happy to turn up because it's good shit and we're invested. You're the little gremlin that's making the wheels turn.So thanks for the appreciation and take some in turn for your Furry Antihero Wuxia found family adventure across China fanfiction on a Newfoundlander bird watching forum.
>>5733372huh, F A M is a wordfilter for Senpai. cool
>>5733180>>5733372Well I appreciate you guys returning to the quest. I think we just hit year 3 of this quest starting? Which...holy shit guys. Here's the new thread >>5733542
>>5733548Don't need to return if we never left.And I gotta agree with the other anon, you are the QM, you do the heavy lifting. We just make funny suggestions.