Topic: A New World: Book 1 Completed  (Read 20606 times)

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Kasu

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Re: A New World
« Reply #30 on: July 28, 2010, 01:07:34 pm »
It would seem a lot of stuff went down.

Apparently, Thomas the Tank Engine isn't one to take crap from anyone.

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Re: A New World
« Reply #31 on: July 28, 2010, 08:40:47 pm »
You can say that again ... >.>;

This is starting to feel like one of those stories where "the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train."
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Re: A New World
« Reply #32 on: July 28, 2010, 09:48:05 pm »
You can say that again ... >.>;

This is starting to feel like one of those stories where "the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train."
Of course it's a train!

The question is, where is it going to be redirected?   ;)

Iced Fairy

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Re: A New World
« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2010, 05:02:16 am »
Revival!  With more to follow in a couple of days.  Then mecha, then the wild west!  I'm back in action!  Er, for now.

Also I apologize for my inability to get the proper names of Tokugawa era currency lower then a ryo.  The copper coins being used here are correct, I just don't know their name.

----

Renko inspected the apple carefully.  While she had always been interested in natural foods, she had to admit that it was kind of nice to not have to check all your produce for worms.  “I really wish we'd thought to bring our exploring club supplies.  My knife would be real handy.”

She immediately regretted the comment when Maribel looked downcast.  “Eh, we'll just have to get some new stuff.  It's not like we ever packed for more then a couple of days anyways.”

Maribel sighed.  “That's true.”  Her friend's eyes returned to the barrel before picking out three more of the red fruits.  “Hm...  These should be good by tomorrow.”

Renko nodded, then added the apple she was inspecting to the basket.  She then turned to the vendor.  “We'll take these.”

The stall owner smiled.  “That'll be ten copper coins miss.”

Renko was confused for a bit.  They'd only gotten eight apples, and they were small at that.  “I think you miscounted.  Here take a look.”

The man gave her an odd look in return.  “Um...” 

The three stood in silence for a moment before Renko realized she was probably supposed to haggle.  “Ah!  Six coins is fair for this many right?”

The man pretended to look incredulous.  “Six?  In this season?  No less then nine.”

Mary tapped Renko on the shoulder.  “They look pretty small to cost that much.  Far smaller then the apples outside.  Maybe seven, Renko?”

Renko groaned internally but tried to keep her worry off her face.  “Yeah, seven sounds right.”

“I don't know what the apples 'outside' look like, but these are some of the finest in Gensoukyo,” the man stated with a grin.  “Nine is a fair price here.”

Renko fished around in her pocket, then looked at the cash in her hand.  “That's too bad.  We only have eight copper.  I'm afraid we'll have to call Keine over then.”

The man blanched.  “Er...  Well I can make a special deal for you today.  Eight for eight.”

Renko smiled and handed over the money.  “Thank you, sir.”

“Thank you.” Mary repeated.

As the two walked off Renko softly said, “Mary, I think that mentioning we're outsiders is a bad plan.  That usually means 'fleece me' when haggling is involved.”

Mary looked embarrassed.  “Yeah I realized that as soon as I said it.  Sorry.”

“You didn't do too badly.” Keine said as she stepped out of the crowd.  “I know haggling has gone out of style in the outside world.  I'm surprised you realized what you needed to do so quickly.”

Renko smiled at the praise as she returned the rest of the coins Keine had given her.  “Well we're both students of history to some degree, and you still need to haggle some places.”

Mary nodded.  “If nothing else it appears in books frequently.”

Keine handed off one of her own shopping baskets to Mary and began heading back towards the school house.  “That's good.  You'll need that skill around here.  Later on I'll give you an idea about how much things are worth in Gensoukyo, but for now you can get a general feel for things by watching the market in your off time.”

As they moved out of the market and started passing more permanent stores, Renko noticed something odd.  “Hey Keine, why are there so many hatters?  That's the fourth one we've passed.”

Keine shrugged.  “I actually have no idea.  I've never really thought about it.  Hats have always been popular in Gensoukyo.”

Renko brooded on that for a while.  It didn't seem to fit the era.  Oh well, at least she'd be able to replace her hat when it finally wore out.

She wondered if one of those stores was where Keine got her... headpiece.  And if that meant the place was really good, or someplace to avoid.

After a bit of walking Keine paused for a moment.  “Would you mind if we took a slight detour?  I want to check up on someone.”

The two girls looked at each other and shrugged.  “Sure.  We're here to see the village after all,” Mary said.

“Thank you,” Keine replied.  She turned and headed down a few alleys towards where Renko thought the other market was probably located.

After a bit more walking Renko began to hear someone singing.  It was an odd song, seemingly changing pitches at random while still remaining lyrical.  As if someone was trying to sing bird song.

As the trio entered a larger street the source of the singing became apparent.  Behind the counter of a food stand a girl, who could only be considered a bird youkai, was happily singing as she grilled fish.  Mostly lamprey from the menu.  She looked surprised to see Keine, but she didn't stop singing until the school teacher approached the counter.  “What do you want, Keine?”

The words weren't openly hostile, but they weren't friendly either.  Keine however seemed unfazed.  “I just wanted to check if there were any rumors running around the forest.  You're usually one of the first to hear things, Mystia.”

Mystia considered the matter as she flipped a few pieces of lamprey.  “Hm...  I haven't really heard anything.  The only oddity is Rumia's disappeared, but she does that every now and then.  Chen's off working too, but that's hardly news.”

Keine thought for a moment.  “Still a week and a half to the full moon as well.”  She sighed.  “Well thank you Mystia.  I'll probably be dropping by until then just in case something changes.”

Mystia shrugged.  “I'll keep my ears open when I go fishing again.”  She turned back to her grill and started singing again.

Keine returned and began leading them once again to the schoolhouse.  “Sorry about that.  I wanted to check to see if your arrival had caused any changes with the local youkai.  I don't expect anything like that of course, but it's better to be safe then sorry.”

“Is she one of the 'friendly youkai' that your history text mentioned?” Mary asked.

Keine looked startled then laughed.  “Yes I guess you could say she is, though I wouldn't recommend saying it to her face.  She was one of the youkai that still hunted humans actually for a long while, even if she wasn't too serious about it.” Keine's grin faded a bit.  “However, youkai don't just eat humans.  For some species, weaker youkai are fine too.  Mokou rescued her after her wing got broken, and she set up shop in the village.  After a while she decided to stay.  After all she was never good at actually catching humans before, and she was making a lot of money here.  Also no one tries to eat her in the village."

The two girls frowned.  “Is she safe to be around?”

Keine nodded.  “I think she's actually grown somewhat fond of most humans.  She's been here a few generations now.  She's angry at me for... a variety of other reasons.  We didn't get along well when we first met.”

They walked for a bit more before Mary spoke up again.  “And... well, is that safe for her?  I mean we read your history on the changes to Gensoukyo and...”

Keine managed a weak smile.  “Ah, Mystia is actually doing rather well.  You see, most youkai's powers fade when they aren't feared or respected.  I get my powers from respect, and because of my human nature.  Mystia on the other hand has actually gotten more fear and respect now that she's a member of the village.”

Renko blinked.  “How so?”

Keine paused for a moment.  “In the village, we have only one crime for serious offenses.  Banishment.  Since there's no one who will call vengeance on a youkai for eating a non person...”  Mary and Renko blanched.  “Anyway, Mystia has been using her advance knowledge of when the punishment is to take place to get a leg up on the competition.  Some of the more superstitious villagers see her as an youkai of vengeance now.  She's doing fine.”

Renko felt slightly dizzy at the thought of the small bird girl hunting down people as they fled the village.  “Are you trying to throw us off balance with culture shock!?”

Keine nodded.  “Yes.  I've found it's better to cause a mental breakdown in the first couple of days when Mokou and I can help.  Letting things build up usually ends up hurting more in the long run.”

Renko and Mary looked at each other.  It seemed they were in for a long week.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2010, 11:06:57 pm by IcedFairy »
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Re: A New World
« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2010, 12:07:31 pm »
Keine paused for a moment.  “In the village, we have only one crime for serious offenses.  Banishment.  Since there's no one who will call vangance on a youkai for eating a non person....”  Mary and Renko blanched.  “Anyway, Mystia has been using her advance knowledge of when the punishment is to take place to get a leg up on the competition.  Some of the more superstitious villagers see her as an youkai of vengeance now.  She's doing fine.”
So, Mystia is the guardian force of the village that keeps people from returning when they've been banished? Clever!

Quote
Keine nodded.  “Yes.  I've found it's better to cause a mental breakdown in the first couple of days when Mokou and I can help.  Letting things build up usually ends up hurting more in the long run.”

"Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I am trying to break your mind."
I giggled.

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Re: A New World
« Reply #35 on: August 17, 2010, 04:27:29 am »
Keine's house at the back of the school was smaller then what Maribel had expected, but still spacious compared to the apartments of Japan.  It had a combination entry room / kitchen, in addition to a decently sized bedroom and a bath.  Beyond that was the massive records room of course, and Keine had told them there was an attic above Keine's room where they would be staying.

Currently though they were using the kitchen to prepare the groceries Keine had acquired.  “That should do it.”  She ignored Renko's questioning glance.  The other girl was great at measuring ingredients, but she was always terrible when it came to time.

Keine walked over from where she'd been preparing the vegetables and took a sample of the curry.  “Excellent!  Thanks for helping with the cooking.”

Maribel smiled.  “Well we should try to help somehow, since we're staying over.”

“Though curry's a pretty easy recipe,” Renko added.  “We might need a little more help with something harder.”

The door opened.

Immediately Maribel had to look away.  Once again infinity ripped into her mind from her eyes.  She took a few deep breaths to try to clear her head while she stared at the walls.  Those were much less terrifying.  As her mind cleared she noticed Renko was holding her hand.

“Er, I'm not that hungry today Keine, so I'll just wander around for a bit before nightfall,” Mokou said behind her.

There was a couple of quick steps, followed by a sharp crack and a yelp of pain.  “Fujiwara no Mokou!  You will NOT just wander into the woods because you're feeling guilty about that young girl's power!  If you're worried about it you can sit outside while you eat.”

Maribel turned towards the fight until she caught a glimpse of the immortal for the corner of her eyes.  It was annoying, but not actively painful like this.  “Um....  I can handle it, so long as I'm not staring directly at you.”  She immediately felt terrible about it.  “I'm sorry, I'm being a bad guest.”

“Not your fault,” Mokou replied.  “I'm surprised your power's kicked up so much though.  You really should have that investigated.”

Keine's voice chimed in.  “The next free day I'll take you to the temple of Myouren.  They should be able to help you.”

Renko stepped in front of Maribel, to her annoyance and relief.  “What about the Hakurei Shrine you were talking about?  Wouldn't they be good with boundaries?”

Keine shook her head.  “They would be better people to ask, but I'm afraid the forest between the village and there is incredibly perilous.  The Hakurei miko acts to eliminate the most dangerous youkai who choose to attack humans.  So the youkai do their best to make going to the shrine as dangerous as possible.  I'm unsure if I could protect you two by myself, and going with Mokou is out as well.”

“However the temple has some people who could take you there safely even if they can't help you themselves.”  The schoolteacher sat down at the table.  “For now I'll see if concealing Mokou's history will help.  But, I'd like you to try to handle it on your own later.  You might learn some more about your abilities if you do so.”

Renko hesitated for a moment, but she moved when Maribel pushed her towards the other chair.  This time Maribel couldn't see anything from the white haired woman.  She sighed in relief then bowed in apology.  “I'm really very sorry for being such a pain.”

Mokou shook her head.  “Don't worry about it.  It's my fault for drinking that stupid elixir.  Though, if you slapped Eirin for making the stupid stuff to begin with I'd have a good laugh.”

The rest of dinner was awkward to put it mildly.  Maribel felt terrible for treating Mokou like some kind of freak.  Mokou seemed to feel that she was some kind of freak.  Keine was insistent that Mokou act like everyone else, and Renko was feeling incredibly helpless and out of place.

Finally Mokou finished her meal and stood.  “I'll go heat up the baths.”  The immortal was out the doors before anyone could voice a protest.

Maribel opened her mouth to apologize again, but Keine just shook her head.  “Don't let it bother you too much.  Mokou's always been bad at socializing with other humans.  It's not your fault.  You're trying your best.”

Maribel lowered her eyes.  “I still feel bad about it.  And I don't want to constantly have splitting headaches when I run across people like that either.”

Renko frowned.  “Yeah.  That could get annoying really fast.  When is your next free day Keine?”

Keine thought for a moment.  “Three days from now.  That should give you plenty of time to look around the village and start figuring out what you want to do with yourselves.  I'll still help show you around after classes of course.”

“Now you two go ahead and take a bath,” the school teacher said while standing.  “I'll take the time to get some spare clothes for you two as well.  You two both know how to put on a basic kimono right?”

Maribel and Renko both nodded.  “Yeah.”

Keine smiled.  “Good.  You'll eventually both need to learn how to make them.  But that will do for now.  I'll also look up some spells for you two to try out, but we should wait until tomorrow for that.  You'll both want a good night's rest before trying magic.  Even if it is in an easy to use form.”

***

Clean and wearing a fresh, if slightly worn, yukata Maribel found herself staring at the attic's ceiling.  The room was filled with odd trinkets, mirrors and other items that Maribel would normally happily investigate, but she was bone tired, in spirit if not in body.  She wasn't sure she wanted to learn anything else today.

She turned on the futon and looked over at Renko.  Her friend was staring out the attic window at the stars.  For once she truly envied her friends strange eyes.  Renko's eyes didn't tear apart worlds or force her to see things.  They just told Renko where she was, something Maribel wasn't sure about anymore.

Renko must have felt her gaze, because her friend turned from the window and shut the curtains.  “It's 11 o'clock.  We probably should try to get some rest.”

Maribel nodded and pulled the blankets over her as Renko snuffed the oil lantern.  As her friend slipped into the other futon Maribel reached out and put her hand on Renko's arm.

Renko started at the touch, then she wordlessly took Maribel's hand.  With that Maribel allowed herself to sleep.  She knew that no matter where they ended up, Renko would be there to tell her where they were.

***

There are cherry trees everywhere.

I'm not sure if that's a terrible insult, or somehow fitting.

But then, you probably don't remember.

I see you now.  Standing in front of the one tree that doesn't blossom.  The tree that will never blossom.  You look different then you did in life.  Your hair has turned the same color as the blossoms, but that's not the real change.  Your face seems happier, but less passionate.  Less, well... alive.

How else have you changed my friend?  How much of your humanity do you still have?  Do you remember the trials you suffered through, the decisions you made and that made you?

Do you remember me?

You turn at my approach....

I don't see any recognition on your face.

It doesn't matter.  Even if you've changed completely, even if you no longer wish to be my friend, I still remember you.  And I want you to know that.

I walk up and hug your ghostly form.  And as you gasp in surprise I whisper, “I missed you.”
« Last Edit: September 11, 2010, 11:12:22 pm by IcedFairy »
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Re: A New World
« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2010, 04:59:37 am »
They'd finally reached the portion of the day that they'd been waiting for.  They were in a strange land, separated forever from home, surrounded by beings that thought they'd go well with a bit of ketchup.  But that seemed completely unimportant, because today, they were going to learn magic.

Or at least, that's what Keine claimed they were doing.

Renko stared down at the card then glanced over to Maribel.  She shook her head as well.  “So these cards will allow us to cast magic?”

Keine hesitated for a moment before nodding.  “Yes, but probably not today.  Right now they'll give me a rough estimate of how strong you are, and allow you to get an idea of what magic feels like.”  She gestured towards some nearby scrolls.  “After that you'll begin the real process.”

“But how do cards help?” Maribel asked.

“Those items are magical artifacts known as spellcards.  Spellcards are part of an ancient dueling mechanism that has gone in and out of favor across the centuries.  Originally designed by a small magician sect shortly after the first Lunarians departed, it spread to the tengu and from there to youkai across the lands.  Its purpose is to allow for non lethal duels while still showing the spirit of the participants, and the capture system showed your victories over time, however....”  Keine blinked then stopped her historical lecture.  “Um, in any case the nice thing about spellcards is that they're designed to be activated quickly and safely, and they're linked to the user's preferred style of magic.”

Maribel gave the cards another close look.  “But you said we can't use them to create magic.”

“Probably not.”  Keine looked slightly embarrassed.  “I don't really have much skill at teaching magic.  I'm mostly going by guesswork.  But I know this is a safe way of determining your power.”

Renko pulled out a card from her stack.  “So how do we use these things?”

Keine pulled out a card of her own.  “Simple.  Focus on the card and call out it's name.  If you have an idea about what it should look like visualize that.”  She closed her eyes then held her card towards the sky.  “Sacred Treasure: Magetama!”

Maribel jumped back in surprise as several energy bubbles flew into the sky, followed by a dazzling stream of glowing shots.  The spell moved somewhat slowly, but the pattern looked almost like a curving wall.  It was as beautiful as any fireworks display back home.  Perhaps more so.

“Whoa,” said Renko from beside her.

Keine lowered her hands and the spell abruptly stopped, the bullets vanishing. “Now you two give it a try.”

Maribel began looking through the cards Keine had given her.  'Flying insects' nest'?  What, did the spell summon bees?  'Mesh of Light and Darkness.'  How would that look?  'Border of Wave and Particle...'  That sounded promising.  “Renko, light is a wave and a particle, right?”

Renko gave her a questioning look.  “Yeah, basically.  Why do you ask?”

“One of the cards referenced that for some reason.”

“That's strange.  Then again I guess a physicist had to have wandered in her at some point, considering the questions the mages were giving me back at the mansion.”  Renko returned her attention to the  cards.  “I'll give these a shot.” Renko said, holding up 3 cards from her stack. 

Maribel nodded and held up the spellcard that had caught her eye.  “I'll try this one.”

Renko stepped up first and held up a card.  “Curse of the Heavens: Apollo 13!”

There was a long pause as nothing happened. 

Finally Renko put her arm down.  “It felt like something was different but....”  Maribel stifled a giggle as Renko blushed.  Her friend didn't need to be told how silly she looked.

Keine just smiled.  “Don't worry.  Eirin's spells are all very difficult, and that one's probably  even worse for you because you don't know the real history.  Try the other two.”

Maribel briefly wondered about the 'real history' bit, but Renko pulled out her second card.  “Star Sign: Twinkle Sapphire!”

This time the card glowed bright purple.  Then the light surrounded Renko, occasionally flaring out.  There were no bullets but Maribel could see tiny stars in the light.

After a few more seconds the glow cut out, just as abruptly as Keine's spell had.  The school teacher began clapping, and Mary joined in soon after.  “That was great Renko!”  Renko flushed and adjusted her hat.

Keine nodded.  “Indeed.  Even if that was a fairy's spell, it's still an impressive feat for someone without training.  I think I know where to start you.  Try the third spell.”

Renko nodded.  “Okay.  Let's see....  Star Sign: Eccentric Asteroid!”

This time there was just a yellow glow from the card.  Maribel could sense some sparkles around it, but she couldn't tell if those were real, or something only her eyes could see.

Renko lowered the card and frowned.  “That didn't work as well.”

Keine smiled.  “No actually, given the difference in power between you and the creator of that card I think it went very well.  In fact I already know where to start you.”  Keine searched through the scrolls before handing Renko a few.  “You seem to favor star style magics.  These are the works that Marisa Kirisame used to train.  You should get good use out of them for now.”

Renko nodded as she took the scrolls.  "Maybe I should reconsider that deal with the mansion too, if you think that Marisa's a good teacher."

Keine laughed.  "No no no.  Marisa would be a terrible teacher.  She's a good magician, but she's terrible at explaining things in a sane manner.  The only one of the magician kids that managed to learn her spells did it by recreating them from scratch.  And Yukihana moved to Makai, so she can't really help.  But since both of them managed to learn magic on their own you should be able to do so as well."

Renko nodded.  "Okay, that makes sense.  I guess I'll just have to study hard then."

Now Maribel found both sets of eye on her.  She took a deep breath and tried to not feel nervous.  The card would probably just glow a bit then Keine would hand her some reading.  Not much to worry about.  She held the slip up and called out, “Border of Wave and Particle!”

Maribel felt a rush, like she was running downhill.  Her eyes twisted and suddenly she could SEE the light, millions of little particles, swirling like waves.  It was amazing.  She saw the card become a light on it's own, swirling waves of particles heading into the sky.

“MARY STOP!”

Maribel blinked and her vision cleared.  Renko was on the ground behind a tree stump, and Keine was picking herself off the ground and patting at a hole in her dress.  Maribel blanched and dropped the card.  “Wha...  what happened?”

Keine winced as she tested her shoulder.  “You succeeded in using the spellcard.  It was less powerful then Yukari's normal attack, but sometimes she went easy on people.  However, I thought that was impossible even with your boundary manipulation abilities.”  She looked over at Renko.  “Nice dodging by the way.  That's a good skill to have.”

Renko stood up and dusted herself off.  “Well, I guess Mary beats me.  Guess you really are connected to this Yakumo person.”

“Obviously yes, but that doesn't explain it...”  Keine stood there for a long moment frowning.  Maribel began to feel uneasy.

“I'm afraid I was lying to you earlier.  Spellcards are actually nothing more then a piece of paper that makes spells cast through them less lethal.  I added a spell that would show your potential based on your own magical efforts,” Keine looked at Renko.  “The effects you caused were because of my spell.  Maribel here seems to have bypassed that entirely.”

Keine sighed.  “I really shouldn't be surprised by this.  You did manage to travel to the moon after all.  However being able to duplicate her spellcard personally... that really shouldn't be possible outside of a few circumstances.  With that I believe I can say with near certainty you are her reincarnation.”

Maribel felt slightly ill as Keine continued to look at her with cautious eyes.  The young woman couldn't help but look down at the ground to avoid that piercing gaze.  She'd believe in reincarnation on an abstract level, but it now seemed to be driving her life.  And having someone know the person you were reincarnated from personally was very odd.

A familiar arm draped across her shoulders.  Maribel smiled and shook off the odd feeling.  “Thanks Renko but I'm fine.  I'm getting used to these shocks.”  She frowned.  “Besides you're cold.”

“M~M~M~Mary!”

Maribel turned towards the voice to see Renko still standing next to the tree stump, pointing at her while trembling.

Maribel's veins turned to ice.  She didn't want to turn.  She didn't want to look.  But she had to.  Slowly she managed to force herself to turn her head.

The woman was beautiful.  Her hair seemed to be the color of cherry blossoms, and her skin was fair and pale.  Her funeral robes were blue and pure white and she was only slightly translucent.

As Maribel took all that in the ghost smiled and enfolded Mary in her arms.  As Mary gasped the ghost whispered in her ear, “I missed you.”

Maribel decided now would be an appropriate point to scream.

***

Mystia sang to herself as she cleaned her grill.  She sang most of the time really.  Singing was her nature, and no matter what minor changes she'd gone through that was still part of Mystia's being.

Some the other youkai thought that Mystia had become tamed, but really she considered the village just a really safe nesting spot.  It had the potential to cage her of course, but it was no more dangerous then the forest.  And a cage with an open door wasn't a cage at all.

Still, she did wish she could use her blinding song more often.

Mystia paused in her cleaning as a figure stepped out of the alleyway.  “I'm sorry, we're not ready for business yet.”

The figure chuckled.  “I'm not looking for lunch, at least, not my lunch.”

Mystia's eyes narrowed and she moved to place her grill between her and the intruder.  “What do you want Ran?”

The kitsune slowly moved into the light, then stopped politely.  “Don't worry.  I'm here to offer you a job.  You're one of the few youkai I know I can trust.”

Mystia bent her legs in case she needed to jump away quickly.  “And if I refuse?”

“Then I'd request that you keep the matter a secret.  I can't force you to do it, but it would be problematic if the rumor market got too active.”  Ran smiled slightly, her teeth gleaming.

Mystia relaxed a bit.  The casual threat indicated the fox youkai was probably telling the truth, and Mystia knew how to keep her mouth shut when needed.  “What's the job?”

“I need someone to help collect and distribute human corpses....”
« Last Edit: September 11, 2010, 11:18:31 pm by IcedFairy »
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Re: A New World
« Reply #37 on: September 01, 2010, 01:38:03 pm »
Yuyuko sure knows how to make an entrance.

Apparently, Thomas the Tank Engine isn't one to take crap from anyone.

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Re: A New World
« Reply #38 on: September 10, 2010, 01:44:22 am »
After Ran finished explaining the plan, Mystia shook her head.  “Not a chance.”

Mystia shuddered a bit as Ran growled in frustration.  She was pretty sure the kitsune wouldn't harm her, but as a prey species she couldn't be too trusting.

“Why not?”  Ran asked.  “I can understand the other two I talked to, but why not you Mystia?  Have you really gotten domesticated?  Or are you actually going after that immortal girl?”

Mystia looked shocked, then giggled.  “Hardly.  It's just your offer is terrible.”

Ran's eyes narrowed.  “What's wrong with all the human you can eat?”

“Because I'd get eaten first!”  Mystia shook her head.  “Some people might believe that I've got a safe source, but most would just figure I'm shrine maiden bait and take me and the meat as a bonus.  Heck there are enough stupid youkai around that some wouldn't even think about it before attacking.”

Ran growled in annoyance again.  “So then 'Eel Cart Lady', what the hell am I supposed to do?  I can't leave this in the hands of one of the big players.  The only one that needs humans anyway is the damned Scarlet Devil Mansion, and no one likes them.”

Mystia shrugged.  “You're going to have to prove this isn't a short term thing.  That you're back in control and the good old days of the youkai sage are back.”

Ran thought about that for a moment.  “You always were good at marketing little sparrow.”  Then she began to pace.  “Hm... how to do this without screwing everything up again.  This will take some calculations.”

Mystia reached into her ice chest and pulled out a chilled fish.  “Well while you thinking could I interest you in some fish?  I hear it's good brain food....”

***

Mary's scream managed to break the paralysis of fear that was holding Renko in place.

At least that's what she wanted to claim.  The truth was that even hearing her friend cry out, it still took her some time to get her shivering legs in motion and reach her side.

Which is why by the time Renko was there to protect Mary the ghostly figure had released her and was floating away looking disappointed.  “Oh dear.   You didn't take it as well as I did.”

“Who are you!?” Renko yelled at the ghost.

Then she felt Keine's hand fall on her shoulder.  “It's alright.  She's harmless."

"But why are you here Yuyuko?  For that matter, how are you here?” Keine asked as she stepped up to the pale figure.

The ghost hid her face with her sleeve.  “How cold.  I simply came to talk to my old friend again.  Even if she doesn't remember me.”

Yuyuko sighed and let the sleeve drop before looking straight at Mary.  “But I guess this is different isn't it.  We both don't remember our past, but I was still me then.  Now you, no she, is someone else.”

Renko gave Mary a hand up, while keeping her eyes fixed on the ghost.  Mary seemed less scared, but Renko could still feel her friends pulse racing.  Or maybe that was her own heartbeat.

Keine however seemed to be completely relaxed.  “So that confirms it.”  Keine turned towards them.  “Since she's apparently able to enter Gensoukyo again, I might as well introduce you.  This is Yuyuko Saigyouji, Princess of the Netherworld.  Yuyuko, Maribel Hearn and Renko Usami, from the outside world.”

Yuyuko smiled then bowed.  “A pleasure to meet you two again.”

Renko hesitated a moment before giving a slight bow, with Mary following shortly behind.  They didn't let go of each others hands though.  “So you've met me in a past life too?” Renko asked.

Yuyuko thought on the matter for a moment.  “Sort of.  It was after the Yama had judged you however, so your past life was mostly cleaned away.  I can't say I knew you well.”

Mary's grip on Renko's hand tightened, so she gave Mary a comforting squeeze in return.  “So... how well did this Yukari know you before?” Mary asked.

Yuyuko's smile widened.  “Better then I knew myself.  Death and judgment tend to remove most of your memories you see, though it leaves the personality.  Reincarnation however can change that.  Or so it seems.”  Yuyuko bowed once again.  “I'm sorry for surprising you.  You see, you had known me when I was alive, so you greeted me when I assumed my care of the Netherworld.  I thought I'd feel better returning the favor, but well, I'd forgotten that people here probably were afraid of ghosts since the boundaries had gone back up.”

“I'm sorry to interrupt, but I'm a bit curious about that.” Keine asked.  “How did you get into Gensoukyo again?  And should we be worried about more ghosts wandering about?”

Yuyuko nodded to Keine.  “You will be seeing more ghosts because the boundary between Gensoukyo and the Netherworld has weakened.  That's how I can travel here as well.”

Suddenly Yuyuko smiled happily.  “Well even if I got a few things wrong, I've done what I came to do.  I probably should return and start teaching my new gardener the ins and outs of the world of the living.  It was good speaking to you again, Maribel was it?  And you as well Renko.”

“Good to meet you too?” Renko replied.

“Um, it was good to meet you, but could you do me a favor?” Mary said.  “Could you not keep treating this Yukari and me like the same person?  I'm not her.”

Yuyuko paused, her smile fading again.  “Hm....  While I can understand your confusion over the matter, the truth is you are her.  One of the biggest mistakes I made came from forgetting who I had been.”

“Well your situations aren't exactly the same are they?”

Renko felt her neck begin to prickle with embarrassment when she found everyone staring at her.  She hadn't meant to say that out loud!

Yuyuko however didn't seem insulted, just concerned.  “Perhaps.”

“Yuyuko, there's something you aren't telling us isn't there,” Keine stated.

The ghost pulled out a fan and fiddled with it for a bit before nodding again.  “But Yukari specifically asked me to keep that a secret.”  The ghost looked pointedly at Maribel.

“Well then that's between you and her,” Maribel replied.

Renko chuckled at her friends comment.  Surprisingly so did Keine and Yuyuko.  Still smiling Yuyuko nodded.  “Very well.  I never was one to listen to her plans unless they were fun.”

She composed herself and for the first time looked at all three of the living women present.  “Yukari Yakumo knew of her death.  She might even have planned it.  I don't know.  I do know she came to say goodbye to me beforehand.  And she asked me not to interfere with her plans after her death.”

Renko felt fear stirring in her again as the ghost looked at Mary and her.  “So even if you don't want to be associated with Yukari, her plans are in motion, and you probably are at the center of them.”
« Last Edit: September 11, 2010, 11:21:29 pm by IcedFairy »
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Re: A New World
« Reply #39 on: September 11, 2010, 11:25:39 pm »
Somehow, hearing that Yukari planned things out after her death is unsurprising. Although if so, Ran doesn't seem to be aware of it.

Also, we've heard about ghosts coming into Gensokyo more often, so what are the odds of us meeting the ghosts of Youmu/Sakuya? (Because I'm still a little ;__; over the dying thing.)

Anyway, I assume this is inevitably going to end in World Lunar War III, but until then I like the look of this 'on the verge of being screwed over' Gensokyo you've come up with. There's a real feeling of the human village being the last safe haven in a dying world, and when the Lunarians come down all hell is going to break loose.

Sign me up.

Iced Fairy

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Re: A New World
« Reply #40 on: September 18, 2010, 08:58:32 pm »
“I knew you would come here, murderer.”

“Oh good, I'd hate to think I wasted the trip.”

“You seem rather carefree for someone whose powers are being negated.”

“Ufufu.  Normally I'd pretend that I care, but you're such a fool you'll go ahead with your plans anyway, even if I tell you about the trap.”

“....  I think you're bluffing.  Kill her.”

“Strike me down, and I will become more powerful then you could possibly imagine.”

“Do you really want your last words to be that?”

“What makes you think that these will be my last words?  We will meet again....”

***

“Time to wake up Mary.”

Maribel muttered something unintelligible then forced herself to sit up.  “Wha...”  She looked around the small attic getting her bearings before turning to her friend.  “Renko.  You waking me up?”

Renko sighed.  “I'm waking you up because we're going to the Myouren temple today.  Remember?”

Maribel stretched then nodded.  She figured she shouldn't mention she was actually asking if they were really so late Renko had to wake her.

Maribel pulled herself free from the futon then stood up and grabbed her dress.  Renko and her had been wearing spare kimonos in town to help blend in, but outside the village she didn't need to bother with that.

Renko sat and waited for her.  “You look out of it Mary.  I thought you wanted to go to the temple and get your eyes looked at.  Did you have bad dreams?”

“I'm just not looking forward to hearing more about that Yukari.”  Maribel sighed.  “But I suppose that's a stupid reason to dawdle.”

“Yeah it is,” Renko said.  “I thought you'd gotten over that too.  You didn't seem angry when we were chatting with Yuyuko again yesterday.”

“Only because she actually was talking to me this time.”  Maribel finished dressing then adjusted her hat.  “Also it's really hard to stay mad at her.  She just doesn't seem to have any malice.”

Renko nodded thoughtfully.  “Yeah.  Maybe being dead that long gives you a different view on things.”  Her friend laughed lightly.  “But I don't think that'd be a good thing to experiment with.”

Maribel smiled in return.  “No it wouldn't.”

The two girls made their way down to the first floor of Keine's schoolhouse home and were greeted by the smell of a traditional Japanese breakfast, the standard at Keine's home.  It was good and filling, but a little monotonous.  Maribel once again made a mental note to try to get up early and make pancakes one of these days.

“Good Morning!” Keine said with a smile as she waved the two towards the seats where meals were sitting.  “Mokou got called out to help the foresters, but there shouldn't be any trouble getting to the temple so long as I'm there.”

Maribel just nodded and started in on her food.  Renko sat beside her.

“So who are we going to meet at this temple?” her friend asked.  “I think I saw something about them in your histories but we haven't really run into them in the village.”

Keine chuckled.  “Actually I bet you've seen Nue about.  She does most of their shopping these days, though I don't think I'd notice her since she'd be hiding her true form.”

Maribel frowned.  “Nue?  Didn't Hiyori shoot the creature?  And wasn't it a troublemaker?”

“Apparently she was merely sealed,”  Keine sighed.  “And she still is a troublemaker, she just doesn't kill people anymore.  One of the good deeds Byakuren accomplished.  But perhaps I should tell the story from the beginning.”

Keine explained how the temple of Myouren came to be.  From the fall of the legendary Myouren's sister Byakuren, to the incident where Marisa (who had apparently been human at the time) and two miko freed her, and helped her build a temple where youkai and humans could learn to live together.  While it was a truncated version Maribel found herself liking the characters Keine described.

Keine finished her explanation about the same time breakfast wrapped up.  “Of course, when the border solidified and relations between humans and youkai became strained again, the Myouren temple tried to fix things.  Sadly there's only so much goodwill alone can do.  After the battle Byakuren retreated to her chambers to meditate.  Some people think she's running from her past actions.  I personally think she's investigating the barrier to find a way to set it back to it's old state.  But either way Shou is in charge now.”

“Hm...”  Maribel considered the matter.  “So we're not likely to get answers there then.  Just a guard to help us get to the Hakurei shrine.”

Keine shook her head as they started to clear the table.  “I admit Byakuren's advice would be helpful, but Shou or Ichirin might have an idea as well.  The temple of Myoren is a Shingon sect temple, and Shou is an avatar of Bishamonten.  All of them are proficient in spiritual abilities.”

Maribel looked outside.  The sun was shining mildly, and she heard the laughter of the kids in the front playing on the grounds in front of the school.

“Well if nothing else it's a nice day for a walk.”

When everything was put away the three headed out.  Maribel nodded to some of the villagers she'd seen about, and they stopped to chat with Haraguchi-sensei, the woman who apparently as a private tutor for the few children who wanted to advance their studies beyond what Keine's school could offer.  Maribel was still sometimes taken aback by how quickly Renko and her had been welcomed into the community, but apparently being vouched for by Keine counted for a lot.  Or maybe the village just was quicker to band together.

Outside the village Maribel and Renko once again marveled at how natural everything was.  Even the rice fields seemed a thousand times more lively then the world they left behind, with all sorts of strange insects and birds flitting about.  The expedition turned into more of a nature hike as they exited the farms and hit some rolling hills. 

Soon however they reached their destination.  Four stone walls surrounded the strangest temple Maribel had ever seen.  It looked like someone had tried to turn a old grain silo into a boat, then beached the thing and slapped a few temple buildings around it.  It was by far the ugliest building she'd seen in Gensoukyo.

“Is that the temple?” she asked incredulously.

Keine nodded.  “Yes.  Remember it was built around the flying grain silo of Myouren.”

Renko blinked at it a few more times.  “Well, I can believe that.”

“Is it safe?” Maribel asked.

Keine nodded.  “Oh yes.  They keep the temple very well maintained physically and magically.  After all hard labor is a good focusing technique.”

Maribel supposed there ware stranger looking buildings back at home.  Still those looked modern so you could believe there was a scientific trick keeping them stable.  This just looked... patched together.

A woman dressed in simple clothing came to meet them as they entered.  “Welcome.  It's good to see you Miss Keine, and your guests as well.”

Renko squinted slightly as she looked at the girl.  The girl smiled and bowed.  “Oh!  You must be Nue.  That's an odd form to pick if you want to look inconspicuous but...  Anyway I'm Renko Usami.”

The girl jumped backwards in shock.  “Eh!?”

Maribel bowed as well.  “Maribel Hearn.”  She looked over the girl once again.  “Though I don't think it's all that standoffish myself.  When'd you see her Renko?”

Renko looked at her with disbelief.  “Uh Mary, those wings would stick out, even if she wasn't wearing a short black dress and thigh highs.”

“Wings?”  Maribel stared at the girl.  Then she blinked, and the figure in front of her changed.  Simply put Renko had been right.  Those asymmetrical wings were very distinct.  And she noted with a hint of displeasure, the woman was in fact wearing a very short black dress.  She shook that off quickly though.

Nue rubbed her head.  “Ehehehe.  That's really strange.  Looks like my power doesn't work on you.  Oh well, I suppose I really shouldn't be obsessing over hiding my true form as much.”

Keine lightly coughed.  “I hate to interrupt, but could you tell Shou I'm here?  We actually came here to get some magical advice.”

Nue raised an eyebrow at that.  “Eh?  Sounds like something interesting's up.”  The youkai girl smiled.  “Go on in.  I'll grab Shou.”

To Maribel's surprise the girl hopped into the air and then flew into the temple complex.

“I didn't think she'd be able to actually fly with those wings,” Maribel said as they walked in after Nue.

Keine's mouth opened in an o of astonishment, then she smiled and shook her head.  “That's right.  You two don't know how easy it is to fly yet.  Most people can do it.  However people walk nowadays because flying is seen as a sign of physical weakness among some youkai.”

Renko coughed and asked the question they were both thinking, “Er, what about the pantyshots?” 

Keine looked confused for a moment.  “Pantyshots?  Oh!  Well you can't let yourself be restrained by those sort of things too much.”

Maribel wasn't sure if she wanted to discard that much of her common sense.  She looked over at Renko and they nodded in unspoken agreement.

The inside of the temple was much better construction then its outside.  Here the wood all matched, and the beams were solid.  The inner temple that Keine lead them to continued the trend, being fairly simple, but very solid.  The only really extravagant item in the room was the gold statue on the alter.

They had just seated themselves when their host entered in a blaze of radiance.

At first Maribel was uncertain if the person who entered was a boy or a girl.  But matter which was correct the robed figure was stunningly beautiful with a golden halo.  As Maribel's eyes readjusted she became aware, somehow, that what she was seeing was the weakened boundary between god and youkai.

Suddenly she felt a poke in her side.  She jumped, then flushed and looked down slightly when she realized Renko must have prodded her for staring.

“Greetings Keine Kameshirasawa, Maribel Hearn, and Renko Usami.  I, Shou Toramaru, welcome you to the temple of Myouren.”  As the woman sat her aura weakened considerably.  Maribel felt even more embarrassed when she realized that Nue and two other women had entered the room as well.  One was very obviously a Mouse youkai, while the other seemed to be a ghost in a sailor's uniform.  “How can we help you?”

Maribel let Keine explain the situation while her heart slowed down.  The temple's acting head was pretty, and she had a striking aura of confidence as well, but Maribel's stunned reaction had been purely from the divine power.  Yet another annoyance she could thank her eyes for.

Thus when Keine finished Maribel said, “I really need to find someone who can help fast.  I don't want to be randomly incapacitated every time there's a weak boundary about.”

Shou nodded.  “Yes that would be dangerous.  Unfortunately I personally have no skill in boundary manipulation.  The way of the Buddha is to move past boundaries and definitions, and while in my position as an avatar I will find it difficult to gain such enlightenment, I do not stray from the path either.”

Maribel slumped in disappointment.  “So I can't get any help here?”

Shou raised her hand.  “I can't speak for Ichirin or Byakuren.  My strength is my own, but my magic is purely derived from Bishamonten.  Ichirin is attempting to ask Byakuren now, so when they arrive you may have more options.”

“If you'll forgive me though, I have some questions for you Renko.”

“Or rather Nue and Murasa have questions,” the mouse youkai said with a smirk.

Murasa laughed and waved the comment off, “I just thought I'd seen her before.  Not likely though if you are outsiders.”

Renko shook her head.  “I know I've never seen a ghost like you before.”

Maribel chucked.  “We haven't seen many ghosts at all before arriving here.  No matter how much we looked.”

“I'd like to know what your power is,” Nue said.  “You shouldn't be able to see through my seed of the unknown form with any illusion piercing magics.”

Renko shrugged.  “Uh, all I know how to do is figure out where I am and what time it is by looking at the stars.  I don't have any other powers.”

“Aha!  That's where I saw you before!”  Murasa pounded her fist into her hand.  “You were the woman captain of that boat I sank!  That really surprised me.  I didn't even realize you were a girl until you'd drowned.  Actually managed to save some of the crew before going down with the ship.  Real impressive.”

Murasa noticed everyone looking at her.  “Er, sorry about that by the way.  I've stopped doing that.”

Renko looked at Maribel.  “How come you get to be the reincarnation of the incredibly powerful being that created a mystical world, and I get to be the reincarnation of someone who drowned?”

“How come you get to have eyes that tell the time and see through illusions while mine short circuit my brain,” Maribel retorted.

“Now, now calm down,” Keine said as she placed her hands on the two girls shoulders.

Maribel flushed again.  Obviously her eyes were still affecting her.  "Sorry."

Shou nodded.  “I promise you we'll get you help for that problem one way or another.  Even if Byakuren can't find a solution, Ichirin and Unzan can escort you to the Hakurei Shrine easily.  And they are certain to have a solution."

“That won't be necessary.”

Space seemed to tear open.  Maribel could see the boundary being manipulated, and she once again saw that strange yet familiar realm.  Out of there stepped a kitsune in a blue and white dress.  Maribel couldn't see them all, but she somehow knew that there were nine bushy tails behind the woman, and her yellow ears twitched as everyone in the room stood.

“We have a door, Ran,” growled Shou.

The kitsune ignored Shou's statement.  “I should be able to handle the the girl's teaching myself.  After all who alive knows boundaries better then a Yakumo?”

Maribel's eyes narrowed and she breathed a sigh of frustration.  “Yakumo.”  Two sentences, and she already didn't like the fox.

She figured this was going to be a long day.
Re: A New World
« Reply #41 on: September 19, 2010, 05:41:51 pm »
Heh the Ran/Maribel interaction will be interesting.
I have...a terrible need...shall I say the word?...of religion. Then I go out at night and paint the stars.

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Re: A New World
« Reply #42 on: September 19, 2010, 10:40:20 pm »


“Strike me down, and I will become more powerful then you could possibly imagine.”
 

Damn, Yukari is the only character who can get away with saying that quote.

Pretty good stuff so far, read it all in a single sitting. Only complain is that there's no more. Great view of what could possibly happen, sad about some of the things that went on the past.
so much evil it's poisonously healthy!

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Re: A New World
« Reply #43 on: October 01, 2010, 08:04:54 pm »
Shou apparently saw Maribel's displeasure.  “I think you should be asking instead of demanding, Ran.  And perhaps also explaining.”

Keine turned to face the kitsune.  “Indeed.  For example, where have you been?”

Ran frowned.  “I....  I suppose I can explain.  You wouldn't realize what's been happening.”  Maribel edged backwards as the Kitsune pointed straight at her.  “This girl has destabilized the barrier.”

The room somehow got more tense.  However all that tension seemed to be focused at Ran.  Maribel stood up straighter.  “What exactly does that mean?  And how do you know it's my fault?” asked Maribel.

Ran sighed.  “Don't all glare at me.  I'm not accusing her of anything.  The barrier is slowly going back to the state it was supposed to be in!”

A collective gasp came up from the youkai.  “Oi!  Then why aren't you telling everyone about this!?” yelled the mouse youkai.

“Yeah!  If everyone knew, then things would go back to the way they were and Byakuren would....”  Nue trailed off into silence.

Ran grimaced painfully.  “Yeah, that's what I thought too.  I've been trying to set things up for the last week or so.  But that won't work anymore.  People don't trust me.”  Ran tossed her hands up in exasperation.  “Hell they didn't trust Yukari either.  I'm trying to pull off 200 years of social evolution in two hours.  I'll need something concrete before anyone will listen to me.”

“So you want me as a prop?” Maribel snapped.

Ran's eyes narrowed as she looked into Maribel's eyes.  “If necessary?  Yes.”

Maribel matched the woman's glare.  “And if I refuse?”

“Then....”

“Oh Ichirin.  You didn't tell me Ran was here as well.”

The tension in the room seemed to shatter at the cheery voice coming from the entryway.  Mary turned and found herself face to face with a beaming woman in a black and white dress.  Behind her was a Buddhist nun, and what looked to be a pink cloud.

“Hello,” the woman said, “I'm Byakuren Hijiri.  I'm pleased you came to visit my temple, Maribel Hearn.”  Byakuren then turned to Renko, “And you as well Renko Usami.  This is a place that allows humans and youkai to enter freely in a spirit of understanding.  I hope you feel comfortable dropping by at any time.”

“However right now, I'd like to talk to you about something very important.  If you have the time of course.”  Byakuren put a hand on Maribel's shoulder while smiling at Ran and Renko.  “And unfortunately it has to be for your ears only.  I'm sorry to interrupt your discussion like that, but I'm sure Shou can keep you company while we're away.”

Maribel looked at Renko who gave a quick thumbs up.  Keine seemed to be fine with the matter as well so Maribel nodded.  “I'd be glad to speak to you for a bit.”  Anything to get away from that annoying fox girl.

Ran was frowning deeply.  “Byakuren you know what's at stake here.”

“Yes, I do know Ran,” Byakuren said, before turning back towards the door.

Maribel watches Ran's grimace deepen, then fade.  She could almost see the calculations going on behind the fox woman's eyes.

It was not an endearing trait.

Deciding that spending any more time dwelling on the matter was foolish she waved a quick goodbye to Renko and Keine and followed Byakuren out the door.  The tall woman led her just a little deeper into the ship before opening a side door to a small tea room.  “Please have a seat.”

Maribel sat down on the small pillow that was probably put there for people like her who didn't practice sitting formally very often.  Byakuren closed the door then sat down across from her.

As Maribel finally took the time to study the woman closely, she noticed Byakuren seemed somewhat tired.  There were no circles around the eyes, or lines on her face, but she drooped slightly, as if under a heavy weight.  It didn't seem to fit with her youth and energy.

“Would you like some tea child?” the magician asked, offering a cup that had just appeared in her hands.

“Yes.  Thank you.”

Byakuren set the cup in front of Maribel, then produced another one for herself.  Maribel took a quick sip to wet her throat.

The tea was... plain.  Utterly dull.  Though, Maribel supposed she should expect that from a temple.  She took a few more sips, then turned her full attention to Byakuren.  “So what is so important that even Renko can't hear it?”

Byakuren blinked, then smiled slightly.  “Oh sorry, I'd forgotten that already.  The truth is that there's nothing that really needed to be hidden about our little talk.  It's just it will mostly be about you, and your power, and I imagine your friend is getting sick of being the fifth wheel in these conversations.  You can tell her all about it later.  Besides, she'll learn more from Shou this way.”

Maribel paused, then smiled in return.  “That's true, I can't imagine she was enjoying hearing everyone say the world revolved around me all the time.  I don't like it either, but at least it makes me sound important.”

“The world does not revolve around anyone, but some people change the world more then others,” Byakuren stated simply.  “Though I feel your friend is still stronger then most.  She might be able to become a good magician.  Perhaps on Alice's level or my own.”

Byakuren shook her head.  “But that's for later.  First let's handle your own power.”

“You can do that?  That would be great!” Maribel shifted a bit in her seat.  “I've been troubling Keine and Mokou for the past week, not to mention the pain it causes me.  Anything that can help would be good.”

“Very well, let me explain your power first,” Byakuren set her tea cup to the side and closed her eyes.  “The power that both Yukari Yakumo and you wield is the power of boundaries.  Within the world of illusions boundaries are the most important power.  The Boundary of Death defines Life, and even outside of Gensoukyo, the Boundary of Dreams defines Reality.”

“Without limits and boundaries there is nothing, as you see whenever you look at Fujiwara no Moukou.    She is neither alive nor dead, but a unique existence.  Not fully allowed to live in either realm.”  Byakuren opened her eyes again.  “So all we need to do is change the limit of your powers so that you choose when to see boundaries and when not to.”

The two women looked at each other for a minute.

“Um, that's nice and all... but how do I do that?”  Maribel asked.

“By having you read this aloud.”  Byakuren raised her arms over her head, then pulled them apart in an arc.  As she did so a rainbow colored scroll formed in the air, shining brightly throughout the dim room.

Maribel tried to look at the scroll, but the glare caused her eyes to water.  “Is there any way to turn that down?”

“You have to endure the light.  Don't worry, it's not long.”

Maribel gritted her teeth and tried to look at the scroll once again.  She tried shielding the light with her hands, but that only made it worse.  She tried closing her eyes and reading the red splotches on her retina, but that didn't work either.  So in the end she just kept staring and blinking the tears away, until finally she thought she could see the kanji printed on it.

“Namusan!”

Maribel sighed with relief as Byakuren closed the scroll, returning it to where ever it had come from.  “Very good.”

Maribel rubbed her eyes vigorously.  Then took a look around the room.  “Um...  Did it work?”

Byakuren nodded and waved her hands.  This time a window appeared in the air, showing Renko, Ran and Shou chatting about something.  “You should now have to concentrate to see the border.”

Maribel frowned, then did try to focus her eyes.  As she did so the abnormality in the border of space quickly became evident.  In fact Maribel thought she saw better then before.  Instead of simply seeing the presence of power she saw threads of power forming the alteration in the boundary.  Of course that might just be Byakuren's magic.

“This is great!  Thank you so much!”  Maribel smiled at the magician.  “So what kind of spell was that?  Can you use it to teach me how to use my abilities in other ways?”

Byakuren coughed lightly.  “I'm sorry.  I'm afraid that there wasn't a spell at all.  If I were to compare it to something I suppose it would be a placebo effect.”

“What?”  Maribel stared at Byakuren incredulously.  “But, you're saying that wasn't a spell?  Then how...?”

Byakuren took a sip of her tea.  “Explaining it will be both simple and difficult I'm afraid.  To start with, I performed no spell.  However you altered your own abilities in response to my suggestion.”

Maribel thought on that for a moment.  “You're saying I could do that all along, I just didn't try hard enough?”

“It's not that simple.”  Byakuren sighed.  “It has to do with your power.  All powers are defined by their limits.  For example, one's strength is defined by the limit of their lifting capacity.  Do you understand?”

Maribel nodded slowly.  “I think so.”

Byakuren returned the nod and continued.  “Your power is the alteration of limits.  In short, it was impossible for you to control your powers, but you changed that.  Now controlling your power is within your limits.”

Maribel, thought about the matter.  Then thought about it some more.  “Wait.  Did I really just give myself the power to control my powers?”

“Yes.”

“Isn't that a paradox?”

“Somewhat.”

Maribel's head was spinning.  “Wait.  So my power can do whatever I want it to do?”

Byakuren nodded again.  “Indeed.  You can alter the boundaries of your abilities to do almost anything.”

Maribel considered that for a while.  “Doesn't that make me omnipotent?”

Byakuren sighed.  “No.  You see this is where it gets complicated.”

Maribel sipped her tea and listened.

“As I said before, power is defined by boundaries.  Without limitations on your power you actually can't do anything.”  Byakuren held out her hands.  “This is true for most magic.  I can summon a ball with pure willpower.”  A ball appeared in the magicians hands.  “But if I don't limit the spell to summoning a ball nothing would happen.  I can't summon 'something.'  I must limit the spell so I'm not just wasting energy.”

That made sense, Maribel thought.  “So I have to know what I'm doing, and limit myself to a certain level of power?”

Byakuren smiled happily.  “Yes.  Exactly.”

Maribel considered the matter a little more.  “So what keeps me from making myself effectively omnipotent?”

“Two things.”  Byakuren held up two fingers to emphasize the points.  “One, you must believe the action is possible.  That's why I tricked you into thinking you were casting a spell.  Now that you've accessed your abilities voluntarily you believe you can, but before you would have doubted.  And that would have prevented you from making the alterations.”

“Two, you can only perform actions you comprehend, obviously.”  Byakuren shrugged.  “If you don't know something exists you can't alter its boundaries.”

“Hm...”  Maribel nodded.  “But it's got to be hard to believe you can change something that you understand very well just by thinking about it.”

“Very good.”  Byakuren rewarded Maribel's insight with another smile.  “That's one of the reasons magic is difficult.  The other reason is that with magic other people's disbelief actively hampers a spell.  That at least is something you don't have to worry about.”

Maribel happily took another sip of the tea.  She liked Byakuren.  In fact the temple just seemed like a friendly place in general.  This seemed like a good place to study her power.  Especially, she remembered with sudden distaste, since going to the Hakurei Shrine would mean dealing with that fox woman.

In this case to think was to act.  “Thank you for the instruction Miss Hijiri.  You seem very knowledgeable about my abilities, would it be possible to study with you?”

Byakuren's eyes widened slightly then her smile softened a bit.  “Ah.  Trying to avoid having to deal with Ran?”

Maribel grimaced.  “Is it that obvious?”

“Yes, though I can understand how her nature can be a little offsetting.”  Byakuren sighed.  “The poor girl has been trying to do the impossible for so long, I'm afraid her social skills have suffered for it.  Still she is the best person to teach you how to master boundaries, for whatever purpose you may find for that ability.”

Maribel couldn't help but ask, “Why?  All she's done in wander into my life and start making demands."

Byakuren stared into her cup for a long moment before replying.  "I can't ask you to like her.  That's something you two will have to work out yourselves.  Or not, as the case may be."

“I will explain why she's the one who can teach you the most, because I believe it will do you some good to understand.  But certain parts will anger you.  Because you see, to explain fully I'll have to tell you not only about your power, but also about the sin that lead to your early reincarnation.”

Tengukami

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Re: A New World
« Reply #44 on: October 01, 2010, 09:26:07 pm »
Anything to get away from that annoying fox girl.

+1 Maribel.


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Re: A New World
« Reply #45 on: October 02, 2010, 11:07:16 pm »
... placebo, of course it would work without a doubt!

I could almost imagine the scene in anime setting, with Aya and Hatate flying over the Temple as Maribel processed what had just happened.
so much evil it's poisonously healthy!

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Re: A New World
« Reply #46 on: October 05, 2010, 03:35:13 am »
“What!?  My rebirth is a sin?” Maribel couldn't believe what she was hearing now.

“I'm sorry.”  Byakuren made a placating gesture.  “Perhaps I should start by saying that you are NOT Yukari Yakumo.  The fires of hell burnt down to the core of her being, and from that you were created.  You are no more her then a plow is the sword that was melted down to forge it.”

Maribel's eyes narrowed.  “I sense a 'but' there.”

Byakuren nodded.  “But you do have the same soul.  Just as Yukari was burned away, so you will be too upon your death, unless you abandon the self and advance to enlightenment.  The essence will remain but the 'you' that will be born will be different.”

Maribel nodded.  “Okay.  So, what does this have to do with me specifically?”

Byakuren sipped her tea.  “Part of what is supposed to be burned away is the powers and memories of the past life.  They still exist of course, but you should only be able to access them through mystic disciplines.”  Byakuren pointed at her eyes  “You however kept your powers.  While sometimes hell makes a mistake, given the people involved in Yukari Yakumo's case, I imagine it was more a breakout.”

Maribel felt her face flush with anger.  She wanted to squeeze the teacup until it broke.  “So I'm going to be punished in the afterlife for something she did?”

“Yes,” Byakuren nodded.  “Though by that point I imagine there will only be Yukari's stray memories left, so it will be her punishment.  However, your reincarnation will still be delayed.”

Maribel took a few deep breaths.  That was stupid bullshit, but after a few minutes she decided it didn't matter that much how long reincarnation took.  After all she'd be dead.

She took a sip of tea to finish calming down then asked, “Okay, I understand that, but what does that have to do with the bossy fox woman?”

“It's because you're a human wielding a youkai's powers.”  Byakuren folded her hands.  “The Hakurei shrine wields the power of boundaries as well, but they use a human power.  Ran and Chen are the only people alive who know how to use the youkai power.  And if Ran won't teach you Chen won't either.”

Maribel stared into her tea.  She really didn't want to hear that.

“If you decide not to deal with Ran I'll work with you myself,” Byakuren said softly.  “For that matter, if you choose to go with Ran, and later decide you don't want to deal with her any more I'll give you my support.  But I think it would be best for you if you gave her a chance.”

Maribel kept staring at her tea.  She didn't like this Ran at all.  Perhaps she was overreacting a little.  She could admit she was still touchy about the Yakumo thing.  But controlling her powers wasn't just a nice ability.  It would open the world up to her.  Perhaps literally if it let her back through the border.

Finally she sighed.  “Alright.  I'll talk to her at least.  After I go to the Hakurei Shrine.”

Byakuren smiled.  “Perhaps I can teach you something that will help you there.”

---

Renko was proud of Mary when she stood up for herself and walked out on Ran.  But now she realized there was a problem with that action.  Specifically, she was still here.

'Here,' was in between a tiger youkai that claimed to be the avatar of a god, and a fox youkai that acted like she was a goddess.  Worse, they both seemed to have taken an interest in her.  And while Keine was still here, the school teacher had whipped out a pencil and was just recording everything.

Ran eventually spoke first.  “You have an interesting power.  I can't quite place it.  It seems to be the opposite of your friend's.”

Renko nodded warily.  “Thanks?  I'm not sure why you'd say that though.  I mainly can just see where I am and what time it is.”

Ran raised an eyebrow and her ears twitched.  “Oh you didn't know?  Your eyes also have a centering effect.”

“Oh!” Shou placed her fist in her palm.  “I see.  That's how she saw Nue.”

“Indeed,” Ran stated.

Great, now they're talking around me, Renko thought.  Out loud she said, “So what does that mean.”

Ran turned her judgmental gaze back on her and Renko reconsidered her desire to be in the conversation.  “It means you don't need to interpret what your eyes tell you.  You accept that as real.  Which means if what you see IS real to you, you can enforce that reality.”

Shou coughed lightly.  “Sorry.  That's the basic explanation.  You don't have to process vision like other people, so you can spend that mental power interpreting the details of what you see, instead of just trying to make sense of light and darkness.”

“It's a good trait.  You'd make a fine Shikigami.” Ran stated.

Renko felt a chill at that statement.  “Thanks?”

“Ran was Yukari's shikigami,” Keine whispered to her.  It wasn't reassuring.

“I'd think you'd be a better magician,” Shou said.  “You don't seem like the type to serve others unquestioningly.”

“Hm... she'd make a terrible magician,” Ran stated in her even voice.

Renko was starting to understand Maribel's annoyance.  “Why's that!?” Renko asked.

For the first time Ran actually blinked and looked her in they eye.  “Oh, right you wouldn't know.  Good magicians are all insane.  You're far too sane to be a good magician.  You'd be good with spells of course.”

“Hey!” Renko jumped as the entire crew turned their attention to Ran again.  “Byakuren isn't insane!” Murasa yelled at the kitsune.

Ran took the yelling in stride.  “She was, back when she was obsessing over keeping herself alive.  She's mellowed now, but she's stopped developing new spells too.  Now she just steals other peoples spells or sticks to mystic works.”

Shou raised her hand and the babble of retorts quieted.  “I've heard something similar from Hijiri, but I think you could have phrased that better, Ran.”

The kitsune shrugged.  “Perhaps.”

Renko gave the woman a long look.  “Are you trying to make everyone hate you?”

Ran looked away, her ears drooping.  “Since you'll end up hating me later, why wait?”

There was a long silence.  Murasa and Nazarin continued to glare at Ran.  Nue and Unzan looked mildly annoyed (though it was hard to tell with Unzan).  Meanwhile, Keine, Ichirin and Shou looked disappointed.

After a moment Shou sighed and turned her attention back to Renko.  The tall woman leaned over and whispered in Renko's ear.  “I saw the look you gave me when your friend Maribel was distracted by my aura.”

Renko flushed, she opened up her mouth to deny it, but that would only draw attention.

“I don't know if that's just you being a protective friend, or something else, but either way you should stay close to her.”  Shou continued.  “She'll need a friend like you.”

“And while you should study magic, if you wish to learn more martial pursuits feel free to come and speak to me.  The gatekeeper's techniques are better then mine admittedly, but I can teach you what you need to know in less then 50 years.”

Ranko nodded her thanks, then went back to analyzing her actions.

Her thoughts however were interrupted by Mary and Byakuren's return.

Mary came over to her first.  “Sorry for the wait Renko.”

Renko smiled.  “No problem.  So, how are we getting to the shrine?”

Mary hesitated a moment, then turned to Ran.  “I'll listen to your offer, but I want you to take us to the Hakurei Shrine first.”

Ran sneered briefly then shrugged.  “Well you should speak to them anyway.”

Renko tapped her friend on the arm.  “Mary, what if she decides to just ditch us somewhere until we agree with her?”

Keine stood up and nodded in agreement.  “While normally I wouldn't expect Ran to attack a human, in this case....”

Mary smiled slightly.  “I figured out something for that.”

With that Mary stared in front of her.  After a second her eyes flashed gold and a rip just like the one they had fallen through to the moon appeared in front of her.  Then Mary blinked and relaxed, and the rift vanished.

Renko stared in shock.  As did everyone else in the room, except Byakuren who simply clapped lightly. “Well done.”

Ran was the next person to recover.  For the first time she honestly smiled without any rancor.  “Clever.  Learned that off me when I entered, didn't you?  Well I guess I won't need to worry about ferrying you back to the village.  Just don't try that to places you haven't seen yet.”

“That was awesome Mary,” Renko said.  “So we can go anywhere you've been?”

Her friend frowned.  “Only places I was actually paying attention to.”

“Still that's very useful,” Keine said.  “With that I think you two can go on your own, though if you want me to I can accompany you.”

Mary smiled at Renko and gave her a thumbs up, then turned back to Ran confidently.  “I think Renko and I can go with Ran.  For now.”

Ran nodded in acquiescence.  “I'll be happy to take you to the Hakurei shrine.”  The kitsune paused for a moment, then her ears folded back.  “Er, though I suggest you get some money to donate first.”  For some reason everyone else in the room nodded solemnly at that.

Mary and Renko blinked.  “Why?” asked Renko.

Shou stepped forward and handed Renko a string of coins.  “It's better that way.  Trust us.”

Keine handed Mary a bill.  “Most people need armed escort to make it to the shrine.  Visitors who don't donate are frowned upon.”

“Oh,” Renko said simply.

Ran stood up straight.  “Well now that the donations are covered, let's be off.”  She waved her hands and a gap once again appeared in space time.

Renko moved over and took Mary's hand.  “Sure you don't want to bring Keine?” she asked.

Mary shook her head.  “I want to talk to this Ran on her own.  In private where she doesn't need to save face as much.”

Renko nodded, then bowed to Keine and Shou.  “Thanks for bringing us here, Keine.  And thanks for the offer Shou.”

Mary bowed to Keine and Byakuren.  “Thanks for everything.”

Byakuren just smiled and bowed, while Keine said, “I'll expect you back for dinner, alright?”

Shou nodded.  “May Bishamonten favor you with the strength you need.”

“Well if you're done?” Ran said gesturing towards the portal.

Renko adjusted her grip on Mary's hand, then disappeared with her friend into the boundary between spaces.

Hideki

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Re: A New World
« Reply #47 on: October 05, 2010, 06:18:46 am »
“I'm sorry.”  Byakuren made a placating gesture.  “Perhaps I should start by saying that you are NOT Yukari Yakumo.  The fires of hell burnt down to the core of her being, and from that you were created.  You are no more her then a plow is the sword that was melted down to forge it.”
I'm sorry, I have to ask.  do you or have you ever played Magic: the Gathering?

Badass bookworms

Iced Fairy

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Re: A New World
« Reply #48 on: October 05, 2010, 02:39:01 pm »
I'm sorry, I have to ask.  do you or have you ever played Magic: the Gathering?
Back when it was first created actually.  But I've known about that phrase even before then. 

Tengukami

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Re: A New World
« Reply #49 on: October 06, 2010, 05:34:15 pm »
I gotta say, this is probably the most interesting take on this pair that I've read. I especially enjoy your take on the Maribel/Yukari thing.

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Re: A New World
« Reply #50 on: October 06, 2010, 08:37:05 pm »
I love this :* I want A New Update for A new World :V

Iced Fairy

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Re: A New World
« Reply #51 on: October 08, 2010, 04:39:37 pm »
(Thanks to all the readers and commenters, and an extra thanks to Roukan for helping clean out my more blatent errors by proofreading the last bunch of releases.)

---

As she stepped out of the gap Maribel found herself at the top of a long stone stairway.  Before her was the Hakurei Shrine of Gensoukyo.  Maribel had actually visited the Hakurei shrine in the outside world once.  And this place had the same general layout.  It had a large open ground surrounded by cherry trees, designed for gatherings and festivals.  A central shrine building dominated the grounds, while a smaller storage building sat to the side.  There was obviously a garden in the back, and Maribel thought she could see a glimpse of the pool back there.

However it was definitely a different shrine.  This shrine was far more run down.  It was clean, but it hadn't seen paint in at least 40 years, and the repairs that were keeping the shrine intact and weatherproof were obviously made from local woods taken at random.

And of course instead of a group of people at the shrine there was only a single young miko, probably 7ish, carrying a broom.  Right now she was looking at them strangely, but as Ran stepped through the young girl smiled.  “Oh, you brought them, Miss Yakumo?”

Maribel saw Ran's ear twitch at 'Miss Yakumo', but the kitsune was smiling.  “Hello Kanon.  Could you get your mother?  These ladies want to speak to her.”

“Sure!”  The young girl rested her broom on a nearby tree, then dashed off behind the shrine.  Maribel looked around for a few more seconds before Ran jerked her head towards the shrine.  “Well, pay your respects.”

Maribel considered sniping back, but Renko just shrugged and moved to toss in the coins Shou had handed her.  After a moment, Maribel decided that the god of the shrine really wasn't responsible for Ran being a pain and moved up to drop her own money in.

The donations thudded dully against dry wood.  The two friends winced at the sound.  A shrine like this was always kind of sad.  “Well, might as well ring the bell,” Renko said, and pulled on the shrine rope three times.

The bells sounded cheerfully, right before a woman sped around the corner.  She too was dressed as a miko, though she was old enough to be the young miko's mother (and probably was).

She paused and looked at the two girls for a long moment, then over to Ran.  She very pointedly ignored the fox youkai and then put on a smile for the two girls.  “Welcome to the Hakurei Shrine.  Is there anything I can get for you?”

“Yes, uh....”  Maribel thought about how exactly to phrase this.  “I'm from the outside world you see, and I, um, heard you could help me mastering boundary manipulation.”

The woman blinked at her, then pulled out a small orb from her sleeve.  After another moment she frowned.  “You aren't of my bloodline.  How did you come across those powers?”

Maribel hesitated.  She was still angry about that particular detail.

“She's the reincarnation of Yukari Yakumo,” Renko stated simply from next to her.

Renko held up a placating hand as Maribel turned towards her, “Yeah I know, but it's the best way to explain things.  Don't worry about it so much.  You're still Mary.”

Maribel sighed.  Renko was right.  “Yeah, I guess that is the short version.”

The woman's eyes narrowed.  “I see.”  Ran bowed in acknowledgment.  “Trying to avoid getting Shanghaied into becoming a youkai, eh?”

“Huh?” Maribel and Renko replied in unison.

Ran stepped forward.  “Actually she wanted to speak to you before hearing my offer.”

The woman looked disdainfully at Ran then nodded once.  “Very well.”  She turned and yelled towards the back, “Kanon!  Please make some tea for our guests!”

The little girl's voice shouted back, “Okay!”

“Then please finish the sweeping, Kanon!”  The woman turned back to her guests.  “I am Hitomi Hakurei, preistess of the Hakurei shrine.  If you two would follow me...?”

Ran turned away.  “I'll wait for you here,” she said.

Not wanting to question her good fortune Maribel simply followed Hitomi to the back of the shrine where there was a small house.  The three women sat around the small table inside, and the young miko, Kanon, cheerfully came poured them all some tea before jumping back outside.

The three sat and sipped their tea while Maribel gave the summary of their journeys again.  She was getting fairly good at it, given all the practice.

Then Renko spoke up.  “So, can you help Mary?”

Hitomi tapped her foot a few times before speaking, “Hm...  I'm not exactly sure what to say on that matter.  First, why me instead of Ran?”

Maribel considered being polite for a moment, then decided against it.  “Because I don't like her.”

Hitomi smirked at the comment, “I can understand that, but then I want to ask, why do you want to master boundary manipulation?  I hate my job, but it's the only one I can do in addition to my other duties so, I don't need another youkai hunter in competition with me.  And it doesn't have much other use.”

Maribel opened her mouth then shut it again.  That was a good question.

Byakuren insinuated she could have world shattering power, and while that was nice in an abstract sort of way, it really wasn't something Maribel was looking for.  What did she really want to do?

She had her answer the second she looked outside and caught a glimpse of the barrier that gave the shrine it's name.  “I want to be able to visit home.”

Hitomi looked startled at her statement, but Renko nodded her approval.  They'd both searched for Gensoukyo for years, and Maribel was certain Renko wanted to live here, even if the plumbing was terrible and there was no cable.  But they'd always imagined there would be a way back.  That their family would hear about their lives in this new world, and that they could pop out for Christmas, or maybe a bite of pizza.

And while Maribel could live without the pizza, she didn't want her family wondering where she'd disappeared to for the rest of their lives.

Hitomi recovered then shook her head sadly.  “I... understand that desire.  But I'm afraid I can't help you there.  Even when the border was weak, my family's power was unable to move through the barrier.  Our power is the power of sealing, of stability.  That's why Yukari Yakumo needed our help in the first place, to create the seal, along with the power of a dragon to pull the whole thing off.  Her power is the power of defining, of chaos.  Without our work the barrier would collapse under the weight of the paradox it bears.  Without Yukari, well... I imagine as outsiders you've been told what happened without her.”

Maribel's heart sank.  “So, you can't help me then?”

“I'm very sorry.” Hitomi said, “I could teach you how to use your powers to a minor degree, but I can't teach you how to move through the border.”

Renko patted her hand, and Maribel smiled at her friend.  They hadn't used up all their options yet.

Renko then turned to Hitomi, “So what was that about Ran wanting to turn Maribel into a youkai?  Do you know what she's planning?”

A shadow fell over Hitomi's face.  “Because she needs your friend alive, as long as possible.  A human lifespan won't do.  And what Ran needs, she'll do anything to get.”

After a long pause Hitomi said, “Still...  She might have a way to help you.  I know both Ran and her Shikigami used to be able to cross the border.” 

Hitomi continued staring into her teacup.  Eventually Maribel asked, “So what would you suggest I do?”

Hitomi seemed to deflate.  “I... can't answer you fairly.  I don't like the idea of a human becoming a youkai.  I hate them too much for that.  But... soon I'll have to retire.”  She looked up at Maribel with haunted eyes.  “I don't want my daughter to have to go through that.”

She took a deep breath.  “So while I hate youkai, if you could bring back the peace of my ancestors times I would be grateful.”

Maribel rubbed her forehead.  “I seems like every time I look for a better solution there isn't one.  I don't really have a choice do I?”

“No.”  Hitomi's voice sharpened a little.  “You always have a choice.  And you always have more choices then the ones you see at first glance.”

Maribel sighed.  Renko gripped her hand again.  “Don't worry Mary.  I'll help think of something too.”

Maribel smiled but her worry only faded a little.  This was turning out to be a long day.

***

Kanon wished she could have stayed with the new girls and her mommy and listened to their conversation, but mommy was really strict about Kanon staying away from business until she was older.  And Kanon was almost 7 now!  Surely she'd be able to hear those conversations soon.

Still there was something else for her to do, even if she couldn't listen to the grown up conversation.  She could talk to her fluffy aunt!

She worked her way over to where the kitsune was pacing.  “How have you been doing Miss Yakumo?”

Ran smiled a Kanon and patted her on the head.  “I've been busy, but it's a good kind of busy.”  She then looked at Kanon seriously.  “And have you been good and keeping up with your studies?”

“Uh huh!” Kanon nodded eagerly.  Admittedly she might have kinda skipped that history session, and she hadn't tried too hard with all those exercises.  But she'd been mostly good so she could say she was good right?

Ran smiled again.  “Then you can have a treat.”  The fox woman held out a small hard candy which Kanon graciously accepted.

“Thank you!”

As she popped the candy in her mouth she once again wondered if mommy and Ran were fighting.  They did that a lot, especially since daddy had died.  She didn't like how they fought but neither of them would tell her why so she could fix it.  They kept telling her to wait until she was older.

That gave her an idea.  “Hey Miss Yakumo, when will I be older?”

Ran blinked in surprise then laughed.  “Sorry Kanon, I don't know human ages that well.  Maybe when you're thirteen?”

Kanon frowned as she finished off the candy.  Getting to thirteen was going to take forever!

Ran laughed again.  “Now now don't make that face, it'll be sooner then you think I'm sure.  Anyway it looks like you have a guest, you don't want to show your guest such a pouty face”

“Eh!?”  Kanon looked back to where Ran was pointing and saw the cat that always came around.  “Kitty!”

Kanon ran over to the cat and dropped to the ground in front of it, so they could touch noses.  She laughed when the twin tailed black cat licked her face.  “Ahahaha!  Silly girl, my nose doesn't need a bath.”  She giggled again and fell on her back as the cat pounced on her.  “Did you bring the kittens?” she asked hopefully, but the cat just yawned and purred.

Still one cat was fine too.  She managed to get the cat off her chest and chasing a cattail when it suddenly paused, gave her a final head rub while purring, then ran into the forest.  Kanon was a little disappointed, but she knew what that meant.  Sure enough her mom and the guests came out a second later.

Kanon quickly grabbed a broom and pretended to be sweeping again as they spoke.

Miss Ran said, “So do you still wish to hear my offer?”

The blond woman nodded, “Yes, unless you want to call it a day first Renko.”

The woman with the cool hat shook her head.  “Nah, it's still early.  Might as well get it done with right Mary?”

“Good,” Ran said.  “Then let's adjourn to Mayohiga to finish discussing the matter.”  She bowed to mommy, “Thank you for allowing us to visit.”

Mommy just gave Ran a nod, which wasn't very polite, but she bowed more deeply to the other guests.  “Please come visit the Hakurei Shrine again.”

“Well will, thank you.” The two women bowed in return then they followed Miss Ran through one of her gap things.

Mommy looked at the place where the gap was for a long time, then walked over and hugged Kanon tightly.  A little too tightly, but she relaxed a little when Kanon squirmed.

Now that she wasn't being squeezed Kanon returned the hug, but she couldn't help but ask, “Why are you hugging me Mommy?”

“Just because darling,” was mommy's reply.

After a few seconds mommy slowly released her.  “Alright, do you want to check the donation box?”

“Hooray!”  Kanon ran for the box to see what treasures were hidden inside this time.
Re: A New World
« Reply #52 on: October 08, 2010, 06:00:56 pm »
Gulp.
I have...a terrible need...shall I say the word?...of religion. Then I go out at night and paint the stars.

Tengukami

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Re: A New World
« Reply #53 on: October 08, 2010, 07:41:00 pm »
Kanon is positively adorable. The pace of this knocks along really well, too; keeps you interested and engaged.

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  • Evil Chibi-Dan -doesn't bite-
Re: A New World
« Reply #54 on: October 09, 2010, 12:07:32 am »
nice bits of background story you gave, enough to get an idea of what happened, but pretty sure you're going to pull the rug off our feet once you actually get to show it.

And as Tsukiko already said, Kanon is luff.
so much evil it's poisonously healthy!

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Iced Fairy

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Re: A New World
« Reply #55 on: October 10, 2010, 06:02:14 pm »
As Maribel entered the area she briefly wondered if Ran had made a mistake and brought them back to the village.  However the lack of people quickly convinced her this was a different place altogether.

“Welcome to Mayohiga, please refrain from stealing our dinnerware,” Ran said as she stepped down the street.  She looked around a bit before calling out “CHEN!”

“Ah, yes Miss Ran!”  Maribel blinked as a girl who appeared to be in her late teens dashed around a corner.  The girl ran over and hugged the kitsune tightly, then just as quickly let go and turned her full attention on Maribel.

Now that 'Chen' had stopped moving Maribel could clearly see the two cat ears and tails that marked her as a Nekomata.  The way she rapidly switched focus between Renko and Maribel just cemented her cat like nature.

After a quick inspection Chen nodded.  “So this is the girl and her friend?  Well I suppose she has the same hat.”

Maribel frowned.  “Hey!  It's a good hat!”

Renko coughed beside her.

Ran sighed and smiled.  “So how'd it go?”

Chen whirled around.  “Just like you thought it would.  Wriggle's not that interested but Rumia's all for it.  Wriggle did tell me that Yamame might be interested though.  And she can tell which humans are diseased and which are safe to eat.”

Maribel suddenly realized what they were talking about.  “Wait, are you kidnapping humans outside the border for food?”

The two animal youkai looked at her with surprise, then Chen laughed.  “Don't you need to be alive to be kidnapped?”

“Indeed,” said Ran.  “Why would we hunt humans when we can just grab the bodies?  Corpses are plentiful and they don't fight back.  Those pistol bullets tend to sting, and police inquiries can cause all sorts of minor annoyances.”

Maribel exchanged a look with Renko.  “Well I suppose that's better then the alternatives....” Renko said.

Ran shrugged.  “Anyways that's tangential to our business.”

“Right.  Then I guess the first question is, what exactly do you want?” Maribel asked.

“I want to train you in your powers,” Ran said simply.  “No offense, but right now you can't actually offer me anything.”

Renko spoke up.  “But what are you going to ask for later?”

“Nothing.  There's very little she can offer me that she isn't already offering me,” Ran looked at both of the girls.  “I mainly wish to grant her the abilities to survive in Gensoukyo.”

Maribel shook her head.  “You need me alive so I keep destabilizing the barrier.  A figurehead for your youkai social project, with me becoming a youkai as well, right?”

Ran was a silent a moment before nodding.  “There are other ways of giving you a lifespan actually worth talking about, but yes.  I mostly just want to keep you alive.”

Chen's tails lashed around as she looked between her master and the two girls.  “That's not a bad thing though right?  Being alive is good.”

“In addition there are other benefits to your powers,” Ran said calmly.  “While I won't claim it will give you everything you want, you'll definitely have no financial worries, and you'll be free to travel about Gensoukyo.”

Maribel stared Ran straight in the eyes.  “What if I said that I wanted to learn how to go outside the barrier?”

“I'd tell you that's impossible except for a youkai.  A human can't make the trip out,” Ran replied with a straight face.

However Chen's ears twitched.

“You're lying,” Maribel said in a cold rage.

Ran shrugged and smirked infuriatingly.  “Perhaps, but that's the only answer you'll get from me either way.”

Maribel trembled.  She'd had it.  She was tired of mystical excuses, dead ends and insinuations that she was supposed to play along with someone else's game.  Especially since that someone else was supposed to be dead!  She wasn't going to take this shit anymore.

“Mary!” Renko yelled behind her.

Renko's voice snapped her out of her mindless rage, halfway through her swing at Ran.

However, her human speed wasn't enough.  The kitsune effortlessly blocked her slap.  “What have we learned?” the fox woman asked in a bored voice.

Once again Maribel's vision blurred red.  She wanted to slap that bored expression so badly!  She swung again, this time demanding that her blow reach it's target.

Ran shifted her arm to block again.

And reality twisted.

Maribel's arm phased right through Ran's, and she felt a surge of power.  The open hand slap whipped Ran's head to the side with a loud crack.  The kitsune took a step back, stunned, as Maribel's anger subsided.

“Mary!” Renko yelled again behind her.

“Miss Ran!” cried Chen, as she ran between the two women.  The nekomata gave Maribel a angry glare.  “How could you!?  Miss Ran was offering you everything she could!”

“Like hell!” Maribel yelled back.  “She's been evasive and manipulative every second she's been around me!”  Maribel was about to keep yelling when Renko gripped her shoulder, so instead she took a few deep breaths.

Chen stood her ground.  “She's just doing what she has to do to save Gensoukyo.  Even though everyone blames her because she has to follow all their rules.  Even though we can't manipulate the border like Yukari can....”

“If it's so damn important, then maybe she could show a little more humility instead of just ordering me about,” Maribel snapped.

Ran slowly pulled herself fully upright rubbing the slap mark Maribel had left.  She glared at Maribel for a long moment.  “I... I don't need... to....”  She swallowed and her ears flipped back.

Then the kitsune's eyes turned down, and her tails drooped behind her.  Before everyone's shocked gaze, she slowly fell to her knees and prostrated herself on the ground.  “I... I beg of you.”

Chen stepped backwards in shock.  “Miss Ran...”

“Even with the barrier we can't exist without the outside world.  Without a connection the outside world will start to forget us.” Ran pushed herself up a little, but the fox woman couldn't seem to lift her eyes off the ground.  “We can live on disbelief, but if we are forgotten this world won't just vanish.  It will never have existed.”

“I~”  Ran's voice broke, and she took an audible breath, “I can't let this happen to my family... to Chen.  So I beg you.  I'll do anything.  Anything.  If you demand it, I'll become your personal servant.  But please, help me save this world.”  Ran's face was still to the ground, but her body shivered with shame and grief, while Chen was obviously fighting back tears.

Maribel felt ill.

She looked back at Renko to see if her friend had any idea what to do, but Renko seemed just as helpless.

Finally she kneeled down to bring herself closer to the fallen woman.  “I don't want a servant.  I just want some straight answers.  If you can give me that I swear I'll do my best to help you.”

Ran took a few deep breaths before pulling herself to her knees.  She still couldn't seem to raise her eyes or ears, but she'd stopped shaking.  “Very well.”

“Is it possible for me to leave Gensoukyo, just for a little while?  I know you two can pop in and out of the border now.”

Ran closed her eyes and said simply, “I don't know.  I know you can leave, but I think that being outside would both weaken your powers and strengthen the barrier.  I don't believe you'd be able to return.  But I can't be sure anymore.”

Maribel didn't like the ambiguity there, but Ran sounded sincerely uncertain.  “Anymore?  What changed your mind?”

Ran managed to look up at her face.  “That slap.  When you altered the boundaries between us.  Yukari would never have even considered that.  It was impossible to our minds.”  The kitsune seemed almost awed.  “You have the power of a youkai, but the mind of a human.  I can't say what you are capable of.”

“So you're saying I might be able to find a way for me to move back and forth on my own?” Maribel asked.

“It's possible.  You'd need training of course.”  Ran managed a very weak smile.  “That trick you used there was very dangerous.  The reason you managed to hurt me at all was because blending us together allowed you to take some of my power.”

“Uh...” Renko moved opposite Chen to look at the two kneeling women.  “Forgive me if I'm wrong, but you're saying that Mary can't come back because the border would become too strong again right?”

Ran nodded.

Renko looked embarassed.  “So wouldn't it still be possible to go somewhere that doesn't have as strong a barrier, then teleport or whatever to Gensoukyo?  Like how we came here via the moon?”

Maribel considered that.  Then she felt incredibly stupid.  “Why didn't I think of that?”

Ran's ears drooped again.  “Why didn't I think of that?”

Chen on the other hand just laughed.  “You're pretty smart Miss Renko!  You'd be an awesome Shikigami!”

“Er, thanks,” Renko replied.

Maribel's spirits rose.  “So it'll work!?”

“Yes.” Ran replied.  “The moon is definitely off limits, but realms like Makai are relatively safe to pass through, and fairly easy to access.”

'We can go home again!'  The thought burned its way across Maribels mind.  She laughed happily and hugged Renko closely.  This was how she wanted to live in Gensoukyo.  Idyllic lifestyle, but with some batteries for her music player and a way to call her parents.  It may be selfish, but it was what she'd dreamed of.

Sadly the current reality crashed down on her again.  She turned back to where Ran was still kneeling.  “So I guess our other problem is, do you still demand that I become a youkai?”

Ran took in a deep breath and let it out in a massive sigh.  “I... don't know that either.  It's possible as a human you'll be able to think of something Yukari couldn't and make it so the barrier is always properly weakened.  Or maybe your human mind won't be able to comprehend the barrier at all.  I know most humans have a problem doing things like calculating the width of the Sanzu River, or performing 5 variable calculus in their heads.”

Ran slowly rocked herself back to her feet.  “It's not like you can just become a youkai in two days anyway.  It would take at least ten years to master the concepts required.”  Ran looked downcast again.  “And to tell the truth, I'm not sure it would even work if you didn't want it to.”

Maribel looked at the women.  “You really had no other options did you?”

Ran shook her head.  “None I wanted to use.”  She looked down again.  “And I'm tired, very tired, of forcing people to do what's best for Gensoukyo.  That vampire may enjoy being the villain, but I don't.”

The kitsune dusted off her clothes then gestured to one of the nearby houses.  “I know you'll want to return to the village for dinner soon, but perhaps you would like to stay for tea, and discuss a possible training schedule?”

“Sure thing,” Renko said.

The house Ran led them into seemed to be a comfy well furnished place.  Ran gestured to the table then moved towards the kitchen.  After a second Chen spoke up, “Um, Miss Ran.  I'm the shikigami.  Shouldn't you let me handle it?”

Ran paused, her mouth opening in an “o” of surprise.  Then she smiled.  “That's okay Chen.  I'll get the tea this time.”  With that she disappeared into the kitchen.

Chen started chewing her lip.  “Nyah.  Not again.”

Maribel was slightly confused, but Renko seemed to catch on.  “She does this when she's stressed?”

“Yeah.” Chen sighed.  “She totally forgets she's not serving Miss Yukari and tries to do all the housework by herself.”  Chen's tails swished violently as she glared lightly at Maribel.

“Don't worry, I'm not looking to make anyone my servant,” Maribel said as she waved Chen off.  The nekomata seemed mollified by the comment.  “But I do want to know something.”  Chen's ears perked up, and Maribel found herself searching for a polite way to ask about the matter, but she couldn't find one.  “Um... why was she being such a bitch?  If she doesn't want to be seen as the villain why was she trying to annoy everyone?”

Chen's ears folded back and she looked sad.  “You met Hitomi right?”

The two girls nodded.  “Yeah.”

“Ran was the one that trained her,” Chen said.  “You see, Hitomi's aunt, the previous Hakurei maiden, quit.  She decided she didn't want to be the sole priestess of a small shrine.”

“The gods on the mountain tried to take the shrine over again,” Chen said, “And this time they might have done it too, since their shrine maiden has the Hakurei bloodline as well.  But we couldn't let those gods take the shrine's faith.  It would put the border in danger.”

“So Ran found a distant relative who was fairly strong and made her the new maiden.  That was Hitomi.  Ran trained her personally.  She was really nice about it, the same way she was when she trained me..”

Chen sighed.  “Gensoukyo needs a Hakurei maiden.  But the Hakurei shrine isn't really self sufficient.  The only faith they get is from the youkai exterminations they do.”  Chen shook her head.  “So when the shrine was running low on faith, Ran had to send Hitomi on a mission.”

“Except we made a mistake.  Hitomi was too young and not prepared to have to fight for her life.  She just barely survived that.  She's done better since, but she never really adjusted to having to fight youkai to the death to earn a living.”

Chen looked up and sighed again.  “So she's hated Ran ever since.  And Ran blames herself for not giving Hitomi more strict training.”

Suddenly Chen's eyes got wide and her tails bristled.  “Uh, don't tell Ran I told you that!  She hates giving excuses.”

“Sure thing,” Renko said.

Maribel just looked out into the courtyard outside the house.  She understood why Ran had been such a bitch before now, though she didn't think that excused her actions.  She wondered if these complications were from the recent troubles, or if she had been unreasonable in thinking Gensoukyo had been more of a utopia in the past.

Soon Ran walked back into the room with the tea.  She seemed to have recovered a lot from her breakdown in the streets, though Maribel noticed her tails were still a little limp, but her smile, while weak, didn't seem forced at all.  She set the teapot down, and allowed Chen to pour.

“So do you two have jobs yet?” Ran asked.  “Or were you still looking around?”

“Still looking,” Renko replied.  “I guess our days are kind of free.”

Ran nodded.  “I see.  While that will be good to start, I'd suggest you get a side job as well.  While I don't have a problem giving you two a stipend, even when human-youkai relations were at their best people who learned magic exclusively were considered somewhat dangerous.”

“Do you have any suggestions?” Maribel couldn't help but ask.

Ran simply shrugged.  “Not really.  It's not like Mayohiga lacks funds.  I'm already secretly keeping the Hakurei Shrine afloat in everything but faith.  Do what you want.”

“I assume since you're including both of us that you'll be teaching me magic as well,” Renko asked.

“Yes,” Ran sat up a little straighter.  “While you might want another tutor later, Chen and I are masters of Black Magic.  We both are using magic to emulate Yukari's abilities after all.  Since we don't have innate power of boundaries.  And it's best if you have a similar level of power with your friends.  Otherwise more unscrupulous people might try using you against them.”

Maribel rocked back.  As she stared at Ran the kitsune turned her full attention to her, “Yes Maribel, there are some things I won't stoop to.”

Renko's eyes opened wide, then she frowned.  “Yeah.  I want in on those lessons.  I'm not going to be the damsel in distress here.”

Ran breathed in the steam from her tea, then took a sip.  “So would tomorrow afternoon be a good time for you two?  I know you're probably still getting your legs, but there are certain skills I think you should learn quickly.”

Maribel looked at Renko who shrugged in return.  Well it wasn't like they were doing anything anyway.  “I suppose that's fine.  Do you intend to pick us up?”

Ran nodded.  “Yes.  It's a little difficult to get to Mayohiga.  I expect you can learn it in a day, but there's something more important for you to learn first.”

“What would that be?” Renko asked.

Ran smiled.  “Tomorrow I'm going to teach you two how to fly.  So you can view all of Gensoukyo as it's meant to be seen.”

Iced Fairy

  • So like if you try to hurt alkaza
  • *
  • I will set you on fire k'?
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: A New World
« Reply #56 on: October 10, 2010, 06:03:09 pm »
The rest of the day seemed like a blur, but it was still somehow calm.  They returned to Keine's house, ate dinner with her and Mokou (without the blinding headache part) then took a bath and started getting ready for bed.

The reason for that came to her when she was lying in bed, staring out the small window at the stars.  “I think this is the first time since we came here that I finally feel in control of things.”

Renko turned to her.  “Hm...  Yeah, I guess so.”  Renko turned back to the window.  “I guess I still feel a little redundant.  Maybe that'll go away if I find a job.”

Mary considered the matter.  “Maybe.  Are you planning on going into astronomy, like Keine suggested?”

Renko shrugged.  “Don't know.  Maybe I'll try my hand at teaching actually.  There's no way that Keine could teach all the higher education students and still have time for the kids.”

Maribel just nodded.  That was something that Renko would figure out, she was sure.

“You know though, we haven't solved the biggest problem yet,” Renko said.

“What's that?” Maribel asked.

“We'll have to find an explanation for where we disappeared to that our parents will accept,” Renko said with a smile.

Maribel laughed and rolled her eyes.  “I was just going to tell the truth.  It's not like they could deny the evidence, and they aren't foolish enough to tell anyone else.”

Renko smirked.  “That's easy for you to pull off.  You'll have the magic powers.”  Renko gave an exaggerated sigh.  “I'll probably just have to say we eloped.  My parents will believe it.  They've been wondering for some time about that 'Mary girl.'”

Maribel felt warmth run through her cheeks.  Married?  To Renko?  Her brain wasn't up for finding a proper response to that.

So she settled for throwing her pillow at her friend.  “If you're going to claim we're married at least learn how to say my name right, Renko!”

The two girls talked and laughed well into the night.

***

Yorihime looked at the plan laid out before her and sighed.  “Is that the best we can come up with?”

Toyohime nodded.  “It should leave some survivors.  And as always we aren't directly responsible for anything.”

“Indirectly though....” Yorihime rubbed her eyes.  “Well it's better then what anyone else would suggest, so I guess we'll have to go with it.  Hopefully no one will see the measures we put in to reduce casualties.”

Toyohime smiled weakly.  “I doubt it.  We're the ones who know the most about humanity.”  She frowned and tapped her fan against the table.  “I'm more worried about how we're going to have to explain leaving Gensoukyo alone.”

“Let's hope it never comes up then,” replied Yorihime.

“And if it does, that fear of Eirin will make up for how badly they underestimate the youkai.”

Iced Fairy

  • So like if you try to hurt alkaza
  • *
  • I will set you on fire k'?
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: A New World: Book 1 Completed
« Reply #57 on: October 10, 2010, 06:22:00 pm »
Triple postin' for great justice.

So this is the first section of A New World.  It started out as a joke project tied to the WWC self insert entry and as time passed actually morphed into a reasonable story in my mind.  Where before I only had one or two scenes in my brain, now I have a whole plethora waiting to escape, and I'm very glad I started this project.

I'm pausing here for a variety of reasons.  Firstly so people can take their time and read through it fully before the next part.  Secondly becuase I've got some other things I need to focus on for a bit (like the Great Suwa Incident and ESR or and school) and this point before the time skip seemed like a good stopping place.  Lastly and possibly most importantly, I want to try getting the entire next 'book' on paper before publishing it, so I don't end up going "Oh crap I need to explain that better don't I?" as often.

But rest assured that the big setup for a huge war won't go unused.

In more specific notes, I'm glad people liked Kanon, since that means I can get some OCs in there without damaging things too much.  I shy from using OCs in my normal writing, just because there's such a nice cast to work with, but I need replacements for all the people for whom age matters, and ZUN would need to make 3 games worth of Lunarians for the opposing force in my mind.  So I'm going to be testing my ability to make characters as well in this story.

Since we are in a break feel free to ask me any specifics about things that were unclear, or how I envision this future Gensoukyo.  There are some areas I glossed over, (like the connections between the Hakurei and Kochiya lines) because they either didn't fit in, or because I was already neck deep in exposition and I didn't want to pile on more.  Some things I might not be able to answer due to future events, but most things in the past or in the next seven years shouldn't spoil anything.

The next section will begin 7 years from this ending.  It may be a while, but I hope you enjoy it when it arrives.

Kasu

  • Small medium at large.
  • This soup has an explosive flavour!
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Kasunagi
Re: A New World: Book 1 Completed
« Reply #58 on: October 10, 2010, 06:34:52 pm »
The next section will begin 7 years from this ending.  It may be a while, but I hope you enjoy it when it arrives.
*gets settled in*

Can't wait 'til its ready.  :3

Apparently, Thomas the Tank Engine isn't one to take crap from anyone.

Dan-Heron

  • Evil Chibi-Dan -doesn't bite-
Re: A New World: Book 1 Completed
« Reply #59 on: October 11, 2010, 08:58:06 am »
oh, quited liked Ran's development. While I liked her top dog attitude, it's good to see a more "human" side in her; there's something pretty amusing when she reverts into Shikigami's mode without noticing.  Having Chen giving some more world building info was another nice touch. Doesn't feel like dry exposition.

Hmmm, 7 years, then? Long time. Anything nonsensical you think happens to our heroines in the meantime?

Also, has there been any noticeable change to the landscape of Gensokyo in these centuries?
so much evil it's poisonously healthy!

Be the Ultimate Ninja! Play Billy Vs. SNAKEMAN today!
 

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