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Welcome back to Tai Lung's path to self discovery, not only for himself but for those around him as well. In the last thread, after many long months, the team finally has a chance to truly relax and celebrate the New Year's festival. Accompanied by two special guests, Shenlong the Great Dragon of Wind and Bao his high preistess, the team enjoy everything the small town of Taishi has to offer. From the games, to the community cooking competition, to simply speaking to friends around town. While not extravagant or luxurious, Tai Lung's gifts are accepted wholeheartedly by his supernatural friends and are given the highest honor of being preseved in the purest gemstones by Shenlong himself. Soon after the guests of honor depart and the rest of the group spend the night enjoying the town's fireworks.

Of course those weren't all the gifts that were to be had. As the fireworks end, everyone trades gifts from jewelry to a simple "I love you" before continuing the revelry into the night. The next day travel resumes and the group finds themselves at the foot of the Huangshan Mountain range. After talking with two travelers who failed their journey up the mountain, the crew begins their own. Now partway up the mountain, cold and exhausted, the team rest up as best they can before continuing their journey.

Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Tai%20Lung%20quest
>>
You're not sure how long you slept but you find Ming curled up in your arm, hugging your side and trying to stay as close to you as possible. You see Xin Lan and Renshu close by, both of them holding one another to try and stay warm. You feel pangs of guilt. They were here because of you. They followed you up the mountain on your promises of finding information on promises that things would be ok and you can feel their worry and suffering. It takes you a moment longer as you look at all your friends, feeling worry and unease creep up on you, before you notice you're not cold. You still felt a bit light headed and exhausted despite your rest but you were relatively comfortable. The sounds of the blizzard have ceased and you stand up confused. Ming stirs and gets up as she clings to your arm.

"What's going on?" She asks groggily as she looks around. "Do we need more firewood?"

You gently lift Ming as you get up and stand her upright. "No." You say. "That's whats bothering me. It's not cold."

Ming comes to her senses and shakes her head as she tries to wake up faster. "What?!" She asks placing a few bare fingers on your neck before placing an ear on your chest. She slips her gloves on and opens on of your eyes. You patiently wait for her examination to end before asking, "Are we sick? Dying?"

Ming shakes her head. "No. As far as I can tell, you're perfectly healthy. One of the last symptoms of hypothermia is feeling increadibly hot. We're not sure if it's people panicking or if the body is simply burning itself out to stay alive but it's one of the things many records say are the last words of people who died of the sickness. That they felt too hot and needed to get colder."

"So we're not dying. Then it must mean things are actually warm." You say. "Let's wake the others."

----

"So what do we do now?" Xin Lan asks as you all share a meal. "No way this is normal."

"Of course not." Ming says. "But maybe we passed the test? Maybe we're close by."

"Or perhaps we've entered the next test." Renshu says. "First the cold then the heat."

"Whatever it is, we should prepare before we leave." You say. "Who knows how long until we find another cave that can shelter us."

"Right, first off. Food." Xin Lan says taking another bite.

>What do you want to do to prepare for the journey?
>Write in.
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>>4818070
>Eat, talk and relax for a small while. Healthy mind, relaxed body. Maybe make a few jokes or talk about the view outside the cave. It could all be cool.
>Make some bindings or bandages to help with being snowblinded. It's a danger.
>Meditate once more, figure out if our fire friends are still nearby and why the fuck it isn't cold.
>>
>>4818070
We got to eat, retie the ropes to one-another, maybe mediatate to check the spirits or check the outside.
Also we need to check deeper into this cave/alcove if we can, maybe it's the reason it's warmer.
>>
>>4818090
>>4818211
Taking these.Writing.
>>
"For once, Xin is right." You chuckle and the small rabbit glares at you. "We should rest up what we can and get our strength back. It could be that the storms happen on a cycle too. If the elementals are involved then it's certain they're influencing the weather. Wouldn't surprise me if they could make it snow at will."

"Then I'll get to cooking." Renshu says rolling up his sleeves. "If we have the small chance then I'll attempt to cook An Bo's dish. I managed to ask her for the recipie before we left and it seems her good intentions will serve us well."

"I'll make some bandages." Ming says. "I don't think we have to time to make more of the warmth brews. So I'll try and make some energy drinks. Just something to help our bodies go a bit further."

"And the big guy and I will explore." Xin Lan says leaping into your arms. "Let's go."

"I was going to meditate." You admit. "But I do want to see deeper into this cave. There might be a secret passage. Just give me a minute." You sit down and begin to meditate. Once again you immerse yourself in the realm of spirits and feel the flurry of movement all around you. Dozens and dozens of earth spirits and sprites are digging around the mountain. They don't seem to be digging out the mountain just traveling through it. Though they ignore you and your friends like the rest of the spirits, you can't help but notice that they're doing it on their own volition. Rather, you get the feeling that they're ignoring you because they want to not because they were told to, like someone you do not wish to speak to. You always got the feeling that the children of the earth were rather duty minded and solitary so you shouldn't be surprised.

You continue to feel around and notice an increase in fire spirits. They hang around the outside of the cave, idling around and simply waiting. The water spirits seem to have decreased in population as well. Even at a distance, you can feel more and more fire spirits. The wind elementals are also around, flowing through skies but still avoiding entering the cave. You don't feel anything special about this area, no magical enchantments or presence of something that would repel them. You're not even sure of such a thing existing but it seems as if this cave was off limits.

You open your eyes and look at Xin Lan who was relaxing in your arms, feet propped up against your forearm. "How'd it go?" They ask.

"There's tons more fire spirits." You say. "And wind ones but they don't seem to want to enter this cave. I'm not sure why."

"Well they can stay out there." Xin Lan says. "They're nothing but trouble." You ruffle their ears and stand up. "While the others are doing their cooking, we might as well explore." You say.

>Where do you want to look?
>Go deeper in to the cave.
>Go outside and just take a peek. See what the weather is like.
>Go back down the mountain. You might find something you missed.
>Write in.
>>
>>4818720
>Go deeper in to the cave.
>Go outside and just take a peek. See what the weather is like.
Just take a look, and then go spelunking.
>>
>>4818720
>>4818741
This seems like a good play.
>>
>>4818741
Sure, lets see if the temp drops drasticly.
>>
>>4818741
>>4818753
>>4818756
Peeking and then exploring. Writing.
>>
"I wanna check outside. Maybe it's still cold out but I want to see what has drawn the fire spirits out." You say. Xin Lan hops to the ground and follows you.

"Hopefully it's not a raging firestorm outside." They say. The two of you head to entrance of the cave and squeeze through to get a look outside. It was a bright morning, clear cast everywhere except for the clouds around the top of the mountains as ussual. everywhere around you was soaking wet. You see no sign of snow or the previous cold other than the water from the melted remains before you. The weather itself was slightly chilly but nothing different than what you'd expect from walking around anywhere else on a cool spring morning. "Where's the snow?!" Xin Lan asks bewildered. "No way that it could hav-" They begin before the two of you instinctively pull back into the cave. There's a rumble and the two of you see a sheet of white come crashing down upon the ledge infront of you. Like waves upon a seaside cliff, snow continues to crash upon the mountain for a minute before it ceases. You and Xin Lan duck back into the cave as Ming and Renshu come running over.

"What happened?" Ming asks, concerned.

"Avalanche." You say. "The snow is all melted outside. It's a regular spring day outside. Happened back at home too. The snow melts and becomes a slush then it's too heavy to hold itself up so it comes sliding down. Granted back home, the snow never piled up do that dangerous a level so the slush we got was more a nuiscance than a danger but the idea is the same."

"So our blessing comes at a cost." Renshu says. "In return for safety from the cold, we must risk being crushed and knocked off the mountain."

"This is insane!" Xin Lan says crossing their arms. "How's any normal person supposed to make it to the top?!"

"It could be that we were never meant to make it this far." Renshu says and he motions you all to join him near the cooking fire.

"What do you mean?" Ming asks, following him and the rest of you follow suit.

"Stories often contain nuggets of truth within them." He says. "And often times in situations like these, the stories have the main characters be rescued. Perhaps we were meant to fail. We were meant to be rescued and taken to the library."

"So do you think they're trying to off us for knowing too much?" Xin Lan asks.

"I doubt the monks of the library would resort to such means." He says.

"They're testing us still." You say. "We pushed pasted what they expected and now they want to see how far we can go."

"Do you really think so?" Ming asks. "What can we even do? I mean you guys can get up there no problem. I'm not sure what else to prove."

"We win." Xin Lan says. "We get to that library and we shove our success in their faces. If we make to the top then they have to let us in. We did what no one else could."
>>
"As enthusiastic the little one is, they are right." Renshu admits. "We can only continue onwards, let our actions prove our conviction." Ming nods and goes back to making her drinks. "Right then I better get back to work or we'll never get these tonics done."

"Xin and I are going to go check out the rest of the cave." You say as you light a torch in the campfire. "Maybe there's an alternative route."

"Be careful." Ming says. "We don't know if the cave is safe."

"We'll be fine." Xin Lan says. "Can't be as bad as the climb up." You and Xin Lan make your way to the back of the cave and continue into the growing darkness. Your friends slowly fade away as the light of the cooking fire gives way to the shadows and as you turn around a corner, they vanish. It's an odd sensation, being this blind. Even in the darkest of nights, you always could see...something. Vague sillouttes and movements, the glinting of the moon off of water and other surfaces but this was different. Other than the small ring of light from your torch, the cave's darkness swallows all. Beyond the light, you see nothing and your mind strains to comprehend it.

"Been a while. Since I've been in this kind of darkness." Xin Lan says quietly, almost tonelessly. "When I was little they threw me into a cave like this. Don't remember how I managed to not break something but I had no light. I had to find a way back out, back to the others."

"You're not alone anymore." You say as you move your torch around to get your bearings. "You have us."

"I know." They reply.

The two of you continue onwards, making sure to keep your bearings and memorizing the route you take. The tunnels branch off in many directions but you feel the ground slope downwards and descending. You feel the air cool down rapidly as you continue your descent. You can see faint outlines of clouds escape your mouth in the torch light as you breathe. You strain your ears to hear anything but nothing comes beyond the sound of your own footsteps. "You getting anything?" You ask.
>>
"No. Can't see anything and I don't smell anything." They reply, looking around. "I think I hear something but that might just be echoes. I'm not sure. I could just be making things up in hopes that I actually find something. Mind does funny things like that when it doesn't get the things it wants."

"We should head back." You say. "It's starting to get cold again."

"Yeah. I don't want to be here anymore anyways." They reply.


---

You arrive back to camp a while later. The cave is rather stuffy now compared to the cold caves but the smell of food welcomes you. Ming wipes her brow and steps back from the flames as she sits and waits to be served. Renshu, for his part, has loosened up his shirt, exposing his chest more, as he continues to work on the food.

"What'd you find?" Ming asks as the two of you arrive.

"Nothing." You say. "Just darkness and cold. The cave seems to head downwards but there were too many tunnels to check out. What about you?"

"Things are going fine. Had a few more things drop from the top of the mountain and the campfire is making things stuffy but that's it." She says. "We should plan what to do next though."

>What do you say?
>Suggest that you continue scaling the side of the mountain. It's the fastest method of travel you have so far.
>Say that you all should try and travel through the caves. It might be safer than traveling outside but you're not sure about that.
>Say that you should continue following the path. It's the best route you have at the moment.
>Say that you should use this good weather to go back down and resupply. Better to be more prepared than risk another snowstorm.
>Write in.
>>
I never got to say in the previous thread but I like that one of the images of Xin included that sword they found before the raid. Something they still have. Little details like that make me realize how much people enjoy the game. Or...it could have been a coincidence. Either way, nice touch.
>>
>>4818934
>Say that you all should try and travel through the caves. It might be safer than traveling outside but you're not sure about that.
I bet it's a maze of tunnels that they have a way to know the path, perhaps some markings. Reminds me of the Mata Nui online game when I was a child and being lost for the entire day.
>>
>>4818934
>Say that you all should try and travel through the caves. It might be safer than traveling outside but you're not sure about that.
>>
>>4818934
>Ask Renshu if the dead need light to see.
If they do, then
>Say that you should continue following the path. It's the best route you have at the moment.
If they don’t, then tunnels
>>
>>4819065
I'll support.

We should really go up the tunnels but. . eh
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>>4818980
>>4818996
>>4819065
>>4819370
Caves? Ok. Writing.


Side notes, I don't know if ghosts need light to see. That's a weird question so give me some time to think. Also finished Yakuza 2 and it's Majima chapters. Goddamn my heart. That hit hard.
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>>4819065
>if the dead need light to see.
I don't know. I'm overthinking this so I'm gonna say yes.
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>>4820199
Think, Luo, Think! They don't have physical eyes! They exist purely as a spirit! Do the sprites have eyes?
HOW CAN THEY SEE WHEN THEY DON'T HAVE THE STRUCTURES FOR THE LIGHT TO ENTER
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>>4820258
but TL is the light for those who wander the dark...And I'd have you...
>>
>>4820199
But how can they haunt and pick up things in the dark if they need eyes to see?
Unless ghost just bumble around in the dark, and that's why they are depicted as throwing and dropping things.
>>
>>4820271
Light, not eyes.
But that could mean that they "see" things differently, more like sensing them, so maybe it wouldn't be that much of a help except finding dead ends.
>>
You all settle around the fire to eat. It seems the small room was more insulated than you expected as it only feels like the heat is rising. As you eat in silence you speak up. "I think we should travel through the caves." You say and the others pause to look at you.

"The caves?" Ming asks. "I'm not sure. They can be very dangerous Tai Lung. We could get lost, at best."

"I gotta agree with Ming here big guy." Xin Lan says. "Speaking from experience, caves aren't just straight tunnels. Some paths loop into each other, others lead to dead ends, and some can even turn into full drops. Not to mention that tunnels aren't just large open roads. They expand and contract as well. It's possible that you can end up stuck because you tried to squeeze through and I know for a fact you can't punch starvation out of your body."

"Yeah...but I think it's still safer than trying to walk outside with all the avalanches coming down on us." You say as you try to convince yourself as well. "Maybe the monks use the tunnels to quickly travel through the mountain? That way they don't need to stop the spirits from preventing others from journeying up to the library."


"I don't know..." Ming says unconvinced. "Are you sure this is a good idea?" You nod. Turning to Renshu, you ask, "Do your spirits need the light too see?" Renshu shakes his head.

"The spirits of the dead are no longer burdened by the needs of mortal men. That being said, even with their supernatural sight, they do not know the route and would be as lost as we are." He says.

"They can help warn us of dangers or dead ends." You say. "At the very least we'll have another set of hands to help us navigate."

"Then I presume you have a plan on how to chart a course through the cave system?" He asks as he gently bats Xin Lan's hand with a spoon.

>What do you say?
>Say that you should all focuse on tunnels that seem to slope upwards. The library is at the top of the mountain so any tunnel that goes down would be the wrong way.
>Try to find something that could help guide you. The monks should have some system. Unless they've all memoriezed the routes which seems impossible.
>Have Xin Lan lead you. You're not one for forcing them to relive their "childhood" but they'd know the best way to travel through a cave system.
>Write in.
>>
>>4820303
>Try to find something that could help guide you. The monks should have some system. Unless they've all memoriezed the routes which seems impossible.
Even if they memorized the tunnels, it means those would have markings due the constant usage, kind like how a trail is formed due to many people waçking through them.
So look for any markings, scrapes on the walls or floors, things that look unnatural like a path thats is too regular or smoth, maybe steps that are too uniform.
Scraps of cloth that get cut from robes, maybe even lost items or food, if they use it for supplies runs.
>>
>>4820385
Support.
But ask ideas.
>>
>>4820385
>>4820473
Alright we're exploring by looking for clues. Writing.
>>
"I do, people can't travel without leaving tracks. Especially if they need goods delivered. If the caves are used for travel then and even if they memorized it, they should have left a mark. The most used trails are worn down. There's footprints and wheel marks. They might not be here but the principle is the same. The cave tunnels could have been smoothed out. There could be things left behind like small items, food or the like." You explain. "We should keep an eye out for that and use it to find our way through."

"Assuming they even use these caves as means of travel." Xin Lan points out.

"If you have a better idea then I'm always willing to hear it." You say.

"Simple. We don't go through the caves." They reply eating a spoonful of soup. "But I can already see you got that look in your eyes. You still wanna try. So we might as well get this done."

"We better tie ourselves together again." Ming says. "That way we can't get seperated."

"I'll get some more torches." Renshu says as he digs through the bags. "It'll be for the best that we have as much light as possible."

You quickly finish your meal and pack up your small camp. Your thankful for the short meal as you're feeling a few beads of sweat trickle down your neck by the time you finish. You all tether each other together by the waist with rope once more before you start to head deeper into the cave. You slowly leave the heat of the small room you all rested in and the world around you grows cool again. "It's so creepy." Ming whispers. "I can't see a thing. How do you think the monks would travel through here?"

"They probably have various clues they use to navigate." You say. "Maybe like landmarks and markings?"

"I'm not seeing anything like that." Renshu says as he gently traces his fingers over the walls of the cave. "The cave seems as natural as it always is. Perhaps we need to delve in deeper."

You and your friends on continue onwards into the darkness and the air quickly becomes colder. You continue to look for tracks and clues. Anything to help indicate a way to go but you find none so far. You take turns, go down different tunnels, and avoid dead ends but it seems like you're not getting anywhere. It was difficult to tell and sense of distance or height with how large the mountain was. "Where are we?" Ming asks looking around. "I'm completely lost."

You hate to admit it but so were you. You had lost track of how many turns and paths you had taken. You had managed to avoid pitfalls and dead ends because of Renshu's warnings but you couldn't really know which paths you took. "You guys see anything?" You ask the others. Renshu shakes his head. "No. But...I think I feel a breeze coming from one of these tunnels." He says.
>>
"And I think I can hear something." Xin Lan admits. "It's kind of like...a rumbling but it's coming from that direction." He says pointing to another set of tunnels opposite of Renshu's.

"Air ussually means an exit." Ming says hopefully. "Anything to get out of these tunnels."

"But the rumbling might be people." Xin Lan says. "I was thinking about it but it kind of makes sense. What's the most defensible place in a mountain? The inside. What if the library isnt' at the top but rather inside it?"

"A mountain library?" Ming asks. "But then why would Luo say it was on the top?"

"Maybe the normal entrance is at the top?" Xin Lan says. "Or maybe the area only allowed to the public is ontop?"

"We have been through stranger situations." Renshu says. "Perhaps Xin Lan is correct. Either way, it seems we have to choose a route."

>Which way do you go?
>Head towards the breeze. Better to be back outside than stuck in a cave system.
>Follow the rumbling. Perhaps it's the clue you need.
>Write in.
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>>4820829
Renshu, If you ask one of your spirits to stay here, then we can follow back like bread crumbs following the sounds of their voices. This is assuming they don't mind the dark.

That being said
>Follow the rumbling
It's either a cave in or something interesting.
>>
>>4820829
>Investigate the rumble, but go towards the air first.
An idea, we make marking on the wall, arrows pointing the way to the outside, so that way we know that way out and we don't get lost.
>>
>>4820829
>Follow the rumbling. Perhaps it's the clue you need.
>>
>>4820832
>>4820892
>>4820922
We're going towards the noise. Writing.
>>
"Renshu can you tell one of your ghosts to wait here? They can guide us back if we don't find anything." You say. "We're gonna follow that noise. Xin and Renshu can lead the way." You take the time to rearrange your marching order and move onwards. You're not sure what the rabbits hear but they often stop and wait to listen, their long ears turning and flicking around as they try to catch the sound before they continue through a tunnel. Occasionally they stop and quietly argue for a moment before finally choosing a path to take. You and Ming can only look at each other at a loss as you don't really hear anything noteworthy. The paths you took didn't help matters either as you can feel the ground slope downwards once again then upwards and the downwards. It seems that there is no real rhyme or reason to the paths the rabbits took other than what they were hearing. You were beginning to regret coming into the caves now.

Trapped within an unthinkable ammount of stone, you wonder what would you do if you were in here alone. How would you get out? Your senses were sharp, sharper than any normal person but there was a sense of humility in knowing that there was someone who could hear and smell better than you. "Where do you think we're going?" Ming whispers.

"I don't know." You admit.

"We're close." Xin Lan says as they kneel down.

"What makes you say that?" Ming asks, clearly straining her eyes and ears to find something.

"The ground is much smoother here." Renshu says looking down and uncharacteristically thumping the ground with their foot. "Well worn."

"There's rocks here and there too. Up against the walls." Xin Lan adds. "They've been swept aside."

"So they do use the tunnels!" Ming says excitedly, her voice echoing throughout the tunnels. She clamps her mouth shut and covers it with her hand. Evidentally her library manners kicking in once more.

"Can you tell which way to go?" You ask.

"Same as before." Xin Lan says. "Only this time we can make our choices faster knowing that we only have to stick to the more maintained tunnels."

"Then let's go." You say. "I don't want to stay down here any longer than I have to."

"Feeling's mutual." Xin Lan replies.
>>
You press onward, invigorated by the idea of progress. As you continue your journey, you keep your eyes and ears peeled for other travelers. Perhaps you might find a wandering monk. They could help you out. After all you've accomplished, you hope that it's proof of your worthiness. While you continue on your way, you can't help but have a nagging feeling tug at you. Something felt familiar, too familiar to pass off as a one off thing. The most irritating part was that you simply could not pin what that feeling was or why it seemed to be more prominent as it went on. Eventually, you thoughts are pulled away when you hear something. A low rumbling sound that seemed to echo through the stone. Ming seems to catch it as well as she looks around.

"Is this what you've been following?" She says. "This weird noise?"

"Yeah. It's pretty loud now." Xin Lan says. The ground begins to slope upwards once more as you continue, the noise growing in strength. It goes from a quiet rumble to a constant buzz now as the source of the noise is being distorted by the echoing of the tunnels. Louder and louder, your attention is then pulled away for a moment as you feel something else. A breeze, cool and gentle, followed by the dimming of your torches. It takes another moment to realize that it's not your torches dimming but the fact more and more light is coming in. Everyone's footsteps quicken as realization hits and you all feel the exit near. You half jog, half sprint as you see the light of an exit. The wind becomes more prominent, and the sounds become clearer. It's not a rumble but chatter. The sounds of a large crowd talking, chatting, laughing. You all burst free and step out of the cave into the blinding light...
>>
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"It's...beautiful..." Ming whispers, breathless.

"No way..." Xin Lan adds, completely awestruck.

"To think that we had planned something similar and yet it never crossed our minds." Renshu says with amusement.

As your eyes adjust to the blinding eyes, you find yourself standing at the top of a small that hugs the walls of an enormous crater, fully covered in grass and vegitation. It was as if a large chunk of China itself was cut out and planted here. At the bottom lay a city. Walled off, you can see the small dots of people wandering about their daily lives, hidden and unknown to the rest of the world. Patches of green can be seen within the city itself, small farms. A large river seems to flow from a lake through the city and out of the mountain side as well. At the bottom of this path you can it lead to a gate that has what looks like guards keeping watch. You feel another breeze tug at your clothing, this time soft and welcoming. At the precipice of your senses you can feel the elementals hanging around and studying your group, no longer ignoring you all but curious about the new comers. You had done it. You had arrived to the Sacred Library of China.

>What do you do?
>Go to the gate and introduce yourselves. Ask to see the leader of this village.
>Go to the gates and ask for lodging. Best you get some rest first.
>Try to sneak in and get some more information.
>Sneak in and blend in with the inhabitants. You can show yourselves when you're ready.
>Write in.
>>
>>4822223
>Go ask for some lodging and to meet the leader of this place.

No point trying to hide. The rabbits could do it but not us.
>>
>>4822223
>>Go to the gate and introduce yourselves. Ask to see the leader of this village.
>>
>>4822223
>Go to the gate and introduce yourselves. Ask to see the leader of this village.
A whole hidden village on top of a crater surrounded by an mountain range, protected by magical barriers.
Did we get isekaid to Naruto or Touhou?
>>
>>4822313
Certainly no High Hrothgar isn't it?

>>4822310
>>4822313
>>4822285
We demand to see the manager. Writing.
>>
Quick question. How do you want to introduce yourselves? Are you using an alias or coming clean?
>>
>>4822413
It's a magical town on a mountain, let's be honest. They probably heard about us anyway, and someone probably knows the spirits.
>>
>>4822413
Come clean.
They're super monks or something right? They should know what's up.
>>
>>4822413
Just use the old Xinbao, we only reveal for those that we trust. Or a panda does. Or the five do after capturing us. Or the other person deducts our identity.

Also my father just got admitted with a delibated lung dye to covid, and me and my mother got a strong cold that refused to leave at the same time, so if I stop participating you know what happened.
>>
>>4822452
Oh shit man. Hope your family pulls through. I understand the worry so don't feel obligated to post or vote if you need some time for yourself and your family.
>>
>>4822431
>>4822438
Honesty it is. Writing.
>>
"Come on." You say, "Let's introduce ourselves." You all make your way down the path towards the city gates. Unlike the two guards in Taishi, the guards here are ready and alert by the time you arrive. "You've come far strangers." A wolf says as you come into earshot. Though his weapon is not drawn, he is alert and ready. His eyes study you and your friends as you approach. "Though I gotta admit, most people arrive more haggard than you."

"Well maybe next time you shouldn't try to murder us along the way." Xin Lan says grumpily.

"Our city is rather solitary and as per the Exarch's orders, we only allow those that are worthy." The wolf says. "However, you're here and that alone is enough to speak with the preisthood."

"Preisthood?" Renshu asks curiously. "You mentioned an Exarch. I presume he is the leader of this city? Is he indisposed?" You nod.

"We were hoping to speak with them in person." You say. The wolf shakes his head.

"I'm afraid very few speak with the Exarch. He is often in deep meditation and only the highest of our order are allowed into his chambers." The guard explains.

"So another stuffy robed man." Xin Lan huffs. Ming bats their ears.

"Forgive them." She says quickly. "We...haven't had the best of experiences with spiritual orders."

The man nods. "I'm sorry to hear that but I ask that you abide by our rules. I assume you're here for some lost knowledge or something you could not find in an average library. If you follow our customs then we may be able to help the best we can. Before we continue I must ask for your names and intentions."
>>
Your friends look at you and you nod at them encouragingly. "I am Chan Ming. Alchemist by trade and...I've traveled far from home to learn. I want to be more than I just was. More than just an assitant. I came here to discover myself if nothing else. Perhaps there's something I can find here to prove my growth." Ming says stepping forward.

"Xin Lan." Xin Lan says. "I'm not here for anything other than being with my brother and my friends. I don't think there's anything I can find here that'll interest me but I guess I can find a good read. Can't let the others have fun traveling."

"I am Wu Renshu." Renshu adds. "I've only recently joined my friends comparitively but I've journeyed with them in hopes of becoming a better man. In this sacred trove of knowledge, perhaps I might find something to acheive that."

"I am Tai Lung." You say. "Once a murderer and a killer, I razed an entire valley and deprived hundreds of happiness and their families. That was the man I used to be. Now I am new man. I've sacrificed my life and soul for others and I've traveled in search of the location of the Pools of Contemplation. No longer do I need them for redemption, I simply wish to visit them to complete my quest and honor the sacrifices and efforts those around me gave in order to allow me to get this far."

The wolf nods slowly and waves his hand behind him. A monkey leaps down from the high walls and lands next to him. Your keen ears pick up their whispers. "He's here. Get the captain." The wolf turns back to you and says, "We've been expecting you Tai Lung. I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to wait a bit longer. I've been given special orders to hold you here until the captain arrives."


>What do you say?
>Ask if you're going to be arrested. You've kind of seen this before.
>Ask if you can at least speak to the priesthood before you speak to the captain to explain your case. You don't want to cause trouble.
>Wait for the captain patiently and make some small talk with the wolf.
>Write in
>>
>>4822608
>"I hope your prisons are more comfortable than the last few places we've been too."
>Wait for the captain patiently and make some small talk.

Just a little humour.
>>
>>4822608
>Wait for the captain patiently and make some small talk with the wolf.
>Ask if you're going to be arrested. You've kind of seen this before.
>So did one of the elementals snitched or does the exarch has pregconition? If your order knows how to better project your soul, I will be interested in learning.
>>
>>4822608
>Wait for the captain patiently and make some small talk with the wolf.

>>4822654
The exarch probably have connection with the Earth Dragon.
Beside Eureka, we did meet the wind and water in the living world. Fire through the wandering prince and now we might meet the earth one here.

I almost forget: Is the elemental dragon the 4 cardinal or the chinese elemental with iron and stuff?
>>
>>4822847
Not sure, but I remember it being mentioned that someone is that in tune with the elements as to be able to differentiate them from eachother.
>>
>>4822847
I asked that question for Luo sometime ago, we are going with the classical/fantasy/greek for elements for the big dragons, and no answer if they have cardinal directions on their portifolio too.
And they live on a mountain, so it makes sense for them to have some connection to the earth, maybe the exarch is a friend of the earth like we are to the wind, or atleast the founder of his order was. Cataloging and preserving all knowledge and books in China sounds a thankless and dutiful work, just like the earth sprites are.
>>
>>4822900
Four elements.
And I meant to say endless, not thankless, but I guess it can be it too.
>>
>>4822608
>Wait for the captain patiently and make some small talk with the wolf.
>>
>>4822632
>>4822654
>>4822847
>>4822971
A bit of dark humor and small talk. Writing


>>4822847
>>4822900
We are indeed using the classic elements of Earth, Fire, Wind, Water just for simplicity.
>>
You nod. "That's fine. I've been through this song and dance before though just to clarify. Am I being arrested? Because if so, I hope that your prisons are more comfortable than the last few places we've been too."

"I'm afraid I wouldn't know. All I've been instructed to do is inform the captain that you've arrived. Though I will admit that if you were to be aressted then you'd be quite the celebrity. Last person to be arrested was a couple of teenagers that decided they could handle more drinks than they actually could and figured they could then sneak away with a few handfuls of baked goods. If someone like you were thrown in jail, you'd be the talk of the town." The wolf said with a small smile. "Granted, if we were supposed to arrest you then we'd have done so already."

You smirk. "So how'd you know I was going to be here? Does the Exarch have some kind of precognition or did one of the spirits give away the surprise?" The guard shrugs.

"I don't know. If either or both were the case, I wouldn't be surprised. No one sees the Exarch save for the rare occasions he shows up for public apperances on holidays. I suppose that's to be expected given his age. Although we all heard news of your escape months ago. It was quite the story. I think I heard the tale for weeks afterwards while on patrol." The wolf admits.

"How old is the Exarch?" Ming asks. "If he's the head of your order then he's must have been here for a while to earn the title. Unless he's some kind of prodigy?"

"Good question Miss. I don't rightly now. My old man says we had the same Exarch since he was a child and his father said the same thing. It does show though. I'm surprised he can even walk out of his library. Every step he takes seems deliberate as if he's counting them down before he drops dead." The wolf replies as he thinks. "I'm not exactly sure how the next one will be chosen. I guess one of the brotherhood will be chosen."

"You seem pretty ill informed." Xin Lan points out. "Aren't you all supposed to be monks? How's a temple gonna run if only a few are in the know?"

"Me? A monk?" The wolf laughs. "Oh no. I'm not really into all that philosphical stuff. I'm just a simple guard. Very few of us take up the path of a Librarian of the Cloth. Most of us are content to live our lives as common folk. The path of knowledge is a hard one and few have the dedication to do it."

"So you can't speak with the spirits of the elements?" You ask.

"I'm afraid not." The wolf says. "I'll admit that we're more senstitive to them than the rest of China but majority of us can only feel them slightly. Usually when they're excited or agitated. Farmers use it to guess the weather, mothers use it know what elementals they should pray to for luck, doctors to ask for help in their medicines. It's ussually the most senstive of us that tend to take up the cloth and become Librarians."
>>
You want to ask more but a screech rings out through the skies and a shadow comes over you all. A falcon flies above you all and lands deftly infront of you all. Fully armored, he makes his way towards the wolf. "Tenzin, if you have enough time to blather with travelers then you should quit your post and join the brotherhood. Last thing I need is one of my own men giving away all of our secrets."

Tenzin simply smiles and gives the Falcon a casual salute. "Forgive me cap, it's not often we get travelers. I was just giving them a run down of our customs. It's only proper for a host to do so. Can't have them going around inadvertantly offending people can we?" The falcon squints and glares at Tenzin but says nothing. Instead he turns to face you, "Tai Lung." He says curtly. "Come along. The Exarch wants to see you. Tezin, go to the baracks. Get some men to take over the posts. I've got a squad escorting our guest."

Tenzin whistles, "The Exarch? Looks like you're getting your wish after all. Good luck! Especially around the captain." He whispers slyly.

"Tenzin..." The captain growls.

"Only sayin' Captain. You're a man of high expectations. Can't have the guests dissappointing you." Tenzin chuckles as he gives a lazy wave and enters the walls as the gates open. The captain shakes his head and begins his march into the city. You and your friends follow close by and a squad of guards surrounds you and acts as an escort as they too follow your group.

As you travel through the main road of the city, a silence seems to permeate. It seems like all motion and activity dies around you and your group as you pass by. You hear whispers of curiosity, mostly revolving around the fact that there are strangers in the city for the first time in who knows how long. Women pull their children closer out of habit and men eye you curiously. It seems like majority of the people do not recognize you though you do stand out. Everyone in the city seemed to be wearing the same kind of clothing. Thick layers and fully covering the body to keep the cold out. Just noticing this makes you realize that it was a bit chilly out and your travel clothes aren't suitable for this kind of eviroment though that fact was proven on the way up. Not quite uniforms, many of the clothes were all designed and customized to their wearer's tastes giving away to a form of fashion of it's own while still retaining it's function.

"Look." Ming whispers as she points forward. "That must be the library."
>>
Up ahead, in the center of the city was an increadibly worn and ancient building. Towering above all other buildings and up a flight of stairs, a temple stood as it seemed to withstand the test of time. As you look at it, you got that nagging feeling once more. The overwhelming sense of familiarity but with just enough difference that you could never quite pin what it was. As you scale the flight of stairs, you can see various robed men and women going about their buisness. These, it seems, were the actual monks of this city. They all pause momentarily to study you and your friends. The younger of the monks would continue to watch in curiosity, this being perhaps the first time they've ever seen an outsider, while the elder ones would glance at you for a moment and return to their chores. The captian leads you past several rooms and halls before taking you to a large circular chamber in the back of the temple. It was empty save for the hundreds of shelves lining the walls, each filled to the brim with scrolls, books and various other means of collecting information. In the very center was a raised platform with a single sitting mat atop it and on that rested a very ancient looking monkey who seemed in a deep meditation.

"You're holiness." The captain says as he and all the guards bow in revrence. "We've brought you Tai Lung as you've asked."

The old monkey does not answer and you all wait in awkward silence. Just as you feel one of you about to speak up, the monkey opens their tired eyes. "So you have." He says in a raspy voice. "Good...good..." The old man struggles to get to his feet for a bit but raises his hand as the captain takes a step to assist him. "The journey of life and knowledge is a long and difficult one. Though often times it is made easier thanks to those around us. However, one must still must their own strength to carry onwards and I will do so myself." He says as he finally stands and begins to climb down the the platform. "You may leave us captain."

"But sir..." The captain protests.
>>
"It will be fine." The old man wheezes as he tries to muster some kind of authority. "I have not lived this long without knowing how to judge a man's character. I have every reason to believe that our good friend here has come on peaceful terms. Please take your men back to their posts." The captain nods and turns to his men. "You heard the Exarch. Dismissed!" The guards give the Exarch one last bow before they leave the room.

"Excellent...excellent..." The old man says. "I'm afriad my eyes aren't as good as they have been in the last few decades. Let me just get a better look of you child." He says as he slowly makes his way towards you. As the Exarch approaches you, it finally dawns what has been bothering you this whole time. It was you. That's what you felt. You were so used to it that you never thought what it would feel like on the receiving end. Your title. A friend of Shenlong. No sooner had you realize this that you also see the old man limp slightly and begin to fall from his leg cramping up.

>What do you do?
>Catch the old man. Clearly this was some kind of test. You've heard of this dozens of times and even if not, it'd be rude to allow him to fall.
>Don't move. The old man seemed pretty sensitive about people coddling him and you don't want to offend your host.
>Write in.
>>
>>4823374
>>Catch the old man. Clearly this was some kind of test. You've heard of this dozens of times and even if not, it'd be rude to allow him to fall.

We don't care of customs, if they prevent us from doing the right thing. In this case, its helping him.
Screw trying to pass the tests, if we do, we do, if we dont, it was not meant to be.
>>
>>4823374
>Catch him

So this is the man of peace. I'm afraid we havent asked about him before.
>>
>>4823477
And the retort to if he gives us the "You must use your own strength" part of his speech again, we can quote right back at him "the journey of life is a hard one, but can be made easier due to those around us"
>>
>>4823374
>Catch the old man. Clearly this was some kind of test. You've heard of this dozens of times and even if not, it'd be rude to allow him to fall.
>Friends of my friends are also my friends. And I help them even if they don't want it, just ask them.
>>
>>4823992
Also I hope this isn't the monkey king playing a prank, he was kinda of a dick.
>>
>>4823996
How'd you guess? But Son Wu Kong is a different entity entirely. You were real close to being right though. Debated for a while what animal the Exarch would be and if it should even be the monkey king. In the end I decided it just didn't fit him.
>>
>>4824285
An immortal monkey that lives on a mountain, is wearing tibetan clothing, something from the west of China, has a holy aura and is being playful and doing misterious things? The monkey king has to be the first guess.
But now that you said it was close, than I'm betting on Tang Sanzang/Tripitaka, the reincarnated monk apprentice of buddha that he had to escort, odd that he isn't a cicada though.
It's that or the white dragon that got transformed into a horse, and he isn't a friend of the dragons, but rather a son.
>>
>>4823477
>>4823527
>>4823992
We're helping. Writing
>>
You quickly step in and take hold of the old man's arm though you were half afraid that he'd shatter in your grip. "Ah...thank you." He says as he pats your shoulder. "Sometimes I forget how to walk." He chuckles. "Just one moment." The old man says as he places his hands on his back. You hear his back crack and him sigh in relief as he stands upright. He cracks his neck and adjusts a pair of glasses. "Now," He says far more invigorated. "You're ol' green scale's new friend are you?" The Exarch leaps onto your and hangs from your shoulder as he opens on of your eyes. "Not the most perceptive of kids but I can see it." The old man leaps off of you.

"Well, Shelong chooses who he wishes." He says casually as he circles you before heading back to his seat. "Got a good build but I'm guessing you're more than just a random muscle head. Not if you're here. So...before we get to the boring stuffy details. Why don't you introduce me to your friends?"

"Wait, wait, wait." Xin Lan interjects. "You can't just drop the old man act and pretend we're used to it."

The Exarch strokes his beard. "But I am an old man. Just so happens that meditating for a several days in a row tends to leave someone rather cramped. I wouldn't expect a young spry rabbit to understand. These old bones of mine tend to lock a bit and frankly I just need a bit of movement to get them going again."

"But your holiness-" Ming starts but the Exarch waves his waves.

"None of that title stuff. I'm far too old and dusty to care and frankly after a century or so of it, I'm tired of it." He sighs. "Just Exarch will do. Been a while since anyone's called me by my real name and I've half sure even I don't remember it."

"Exarch..." Ming starts again. "Why do you stay here? People say that they never see you and when you do...you're old."

"Because I like my privacy." The Exarch says. "I like a good book, a nice spirit to talk to and some time to think. I only ever leave to keep up apperances. It's much easier that way. If people think I'm dead or dying then I'll never hear the end of it and I'll never be able to continue my work."

"So then, why are we here?" Renshu asks.
>>
The Exarch turns to face you with a grin. "Because you're interesting." He says. "Far be it that there is another friend of Shenlong, but a group of people who have every desirable trait I love to see in a seeker of knowledge. The tenacity to never give up, the ingenuity to think outside the box and bend the rules, and just the extra hint of luck to push them over the edge to success. Climbing the sides of the mountains to divert the path in a blizzard? Brilliant. Taking the caves to avoid a heatwave? Clever. Going towards the sounds of voices instead the gaurenteed exit and avoiding the fake ruins of this library? Now that's risk taking and luck paying off. Each and every action you took proves that you have the guts and moxy to push past where others would quit and that children is why I find you interesting. You think I gave up when I was trapped in the ruins of an ancient building? Or when I got lost in the middle of mongolia?"

"Wait, so you it's your fault that we nearly died?" Xin Lan says.

"And it's your fault that you decided to push onwards without any winter clothing?" The Exarch says walking over to Xin Lan. "Are those ears just for show? Or did it never cross your mind to them to find information on the mountain you were going to climb?"

"Things came up." Xin Lan grumbles.

"But yes, I did push you all a bit harder than most." The Exarch says. "Seeing as it was both Tai Lung and he had the brand of Shenlong, I wanted to see for myself what he could do. But that's in the past and frankly none of you were in any danger. Though..." He pauses waving a finger at Ming. "I must say that was a clever bit of alchemy you did there young lady. According to the sprites, you keep everyone warm with it. Not something I expected I will admit. But back to the topic at hand, what do you require of the library?"

>What do you say?
>Tell the Exarch about your journey and what you seek.
>Ask the Exarch something else.
>First ask if you can rest a bit before you go into a lengthy discussion.
>Write in.
>>
>>4825050
>Can we have your true name Exarch? We are rather informal but if you prefer your title then so be it.

>Tell them about the Journey and our path

I feel like we will be asking for stories soon, or at least his ankle from Shenlong.
Wait. . . Double spiritual transcendence? That could be cool.


Anyway, I think my bet on him was right.
>>
>>4825050
>Tell the Exarch about your journey and what you seek.
>Also any other knowledge that could be useful to us, we been self taught for this whole spiritual matters.
>Maybe offer to share our own knowledge too? Sometimes an extra point of view helps a lot, and thinking that we could help someone in the future, even indirectly is nice.
>>4825109
I think he just said he doesn't remember, but he's 200% fucking with us. We will juat ask Big Green later if he decides to keep it up.

Time for me to repost the list.
The location of the pools is obviously tye primary objetive
Than for us, we should search for knowledge about Chi strikes, blind combat, emotion sensing and anything about the elemental sprites and spirits.
For Ming, knowledge about alchemy and medicine, like key point in the body. If she can find any information on sorcery, magic, rituals, astrology or talismans, that could help too.
For Renshu, kbowledge of spirits, sensitivity to the dead and hauntings, so he may understand how Xin could have accidentatly boung him, and why he could see spirits and they were attracted to him.
Xin should search for things relating to the assassins order. If we can find more informations on their existance, and the rituals they performed so they could created hybrids and emotionless people, we could use that to better help them develop their emotions. That should be the hardest one, because I doubt there would be information on that, and if they are, they would probably be mythological tales or innacurates accounts, so if add a secondary mission of finding any philosophical books about emotions or ancient chinese magical psycology.

Our focus should therefore be on manipulation of Chi and capacity for sensing spirits. Though we could probably improve that in our usual manner of speaking with spirits.
Another Anon also said something about Dim Mak, ATLA chi-bending or what Aang did to Ozai on the finale, better knowledge about that astral projecting would be good.
>>
>>4825109
Also anon, if you want to talk about the Journey, you are thinking about the wrong large guy with white hair.
When are we meeting our first Chen?
>>
>>4825109
>>4825181
I'm a bit lost. Are you asking if he has died more than once or for something else?
>>
>>4825162
That would be good to go through the list.

Anyway, if he doesnt remember, which he does, then we can ask shenlong.
Sort of regret not asking about his friend earlier some could go "so and so, I presume"
>>
>>4825181
They keep crossing over.

>>4825188
Nah, I was telling him about why we are here and anon referenced Lieren's journey.
>>
>>4825189
That certainly would be one way to impress a man who is all about gathering knowledge. After all not all adventurers sought glory and combat. Some sought treasures of another kind such as knowledge.
>>
>>4825197
Time is gone, sadly.
>>
>>4825188
Wait what? What do you mean? Where did that come from boss?
Now I'm the one confused.

Just wanted to share stories, say that we came here for the locations of the pools, but if we find any of that knowledge it would help us, because our spiritual path has been enterily self taught so we been just winging it.
And offer to add any knowledge we have to the library too, because it's a noble cause and can help future generations, even if it's just a different point of view.
And that list is what could benefit the other characters, the Dim Mak and chi strikes from avatar are thi k were ideas on how to make our chi strikes look like?
>>
>>4825216
Sorry, I was just thrown off by the double ascension remark. I thought anon was guessing if the Exarch had ascended to the spirit realm twice or something. Turns out it was a refrence to something else which I'm not sure of.

I understood what the votes were for, so that's my bad.
>>
>>4825224
Oh no. I mean us both going to see Shenlong at the same time. That is both astral transcending, and there are two of us.

Double asctral ascension.
>>
>>4825238
Ah, I getcha now. Neat idea.

I'm gonna make lunch so I'll be away for a bit. Asking for a lot of info though so we'll see how the Exarch responds.
>>
>>4825224
>>4825238
Oh ok, now I understand.
I was also confused a bit about the double transcendence thing but that makes sense.
Although in a way we are the onea that died twice, if you count the whole punishement in Renshu's place.
And I guess him too with Xin killing him and his soul leaving after the circle.
So it wouldn't be that far fetched to ask that to someone since in our group of 4, 2 died 2 times. Oddly fitting.
>>
>>4825260
Oddly fitting indeed.
>>
>>4825265
4 deaths, 4 party members, all of them involved in death in some way.
>>
>>4825411
The fatal four.
Ironically they avoid killing.
>>
I wanted to do more than one post today but I'm dead tired. Good news is that we're nearly there. Next tuesday I won't be as bogged down. Other good news, in three months TL Quest will be a year old. Just thinking of it...god I never thought I'd be doing this for a whole year. Time flies huh?

I want to do something to celebrate it (then I again I guess there's not much to celebrate all things considered) I just don't know what.
>>
>>4825553
A lot of thinga can happen in three months.
God knows what the gang will be up to by then. Maybe you could do a bunch of omakes in the pov of characters in the quest for what they are up to? Or something they did after they left if the present would spoil any surprises. Or maybe one of that things some qms do where they say their thoughts on the mc, the party or what they did.
>>
>>4825568
I always liked when QMs do the last one. It's kind of neat to see how the MC and cast have an effect on the world. Omakes sound fun as well but I guess it'll depend on what happens between then and now.

Maybe I could set up an "extras" thread where it's just the crew hanging around. Slice of life stuff with the cast just enjoying some time together even if in the main game they could be miles apart.
>>
>>4825574
You could always do darkest timeline where we died at the worst possible point so we can marvel in horror at how it could all go so wrong!

Or you know a happy set of trees, and how all of those we have met so far are enjoying themselves.
>>
>>4825109
>>4825162
we wanna know more about the exarch. Writing.
>>
>>4826797
And the exarch has know more about us too.
Mutual friends and all that.

I wonder if he has visited the new retirement home in Eureka during his meditations, he might know someone there.
>>
The best part of this whole situation is that everyone is still tied together at the waist.
>>
>>4826844
If you like it put a ring on it. Never said the ring couldn't be made out of rope
>>
>>4826844
Time to tie him too than.
All will join the rope.
>>
>>4826854
Ah I see. Well gents looks like we inadvertantly went the harem route. TL is married to all 3 of his companions and it wasn't even my idea this time.
>>
>>4826859
Dirty minded fool, I just said we liked our friends!
>>
>>4826860
In the noble bright future of China there exists only head pats and ear scritches.
>>
"Can we at least know your name? We're pretty informal but it's kind of hard when we don't know what to call you besides your title." You ask. The old monkey leaps back onto his seat, "I'm too old for things like names. Everyone just calls me the Exarch. It's easier that way."

"We know you're lying, you know." Xin Lan says. "And besides, we're seekers of knowledge like you. So we can be very stubborn. That's why you like us." They add with a smirk. The old monkey grumbles something about the youth of today not knowing respect, evidentally not happy that his own logic was used against him. Despite all that, you can see a playful glint in his eyes. You get the feeling that it's been a long time since he'd spoken to anyone that wasn't immeditately reverential to him.

"Fine! Fine." He grumbles. "If it means we can move on..." The old man plays up attempting to remember his name, mostly to irritate Xin Lan who was getting a bit impatient before finally saying, "I think...no...that was when I was in the south and was staying away from the mercnaries. Could've been...no thats when I was a sailor...I think...yes, yes I think that was it. Sangpo...I think that's what my mother used to call me. Not a very good name for someone in my position but I think it will do." You look down at Xin Lan who shrugs.

"He's not lying. So it's either the truth or he thinks it is. It's the best we're gonna get." They say. You return the shrug. You weren't here to cause trouble. Turning back to the old man you say, "If that is what you want then it's how we'll call you."

The old man smiles. "The persuit of knowledge is never ending and often times not what we like but in the end we all come out richer for it. So, you climbed the mountain in search of the Sacred Library. You're a wanted man but...not in all areas of China. Stories are spreading about you. However, I've never been one to settle for rumors when I have the source right in front of me." The Exarch laces his fingers and seems to settle in. "Why don't you tell me what brought you here? I've always had a soft spot for tales."

You chuckle. "You sound a bit like an old friend of mine. I'm sure you know about Luo Guanzhong."

"Luo?!" The Exarch laughs and slaps his knee. "That little billy goat? I taught him everything he knows. Is the boy still kicking?" He asks. Though his tone is playful and amused, you can sense a great anxiety behind it though you're not sure why. You nod with a smile.

"Kicking and working on another book." You say. "Something about the resurgence of heroes in modern China although I have to admit I'm not really educated on the subject." The Exarch seems to relax slightly.

"Another book?" He says amused. "I'll have to send him word that I'll need a copy of it. Preferably the first print or the original manuscript. He knows I'm a bit of a glutton when it comes to collecting first edition books. I swear the poor child is going to pass on to the next world with a pen in his hand."
>>
"Has he been here?" You ask. "He was the one who told me about the Library's existence."

"Oh no." The Exarch says waving his hand. "I had to go find him myself years ago when I heard word of some little upstart going around asking questions during a war. Never met a boy as stubborn as he was. Reminded me of myself actually. Always going in blind and trying to find out as much as I could regardless of the danger. I felt rather obligated to show him the ropes. I guess the little goat sort of became my protégé. I invited him to the library but he passed. Said he wanted to finish up his book and I suppose he simply never made the time."

"That's so sad. Surely, he'd love to be here." She says looking around. "I've never seen so many books here."

"We'll let him know that the offer is still open next time we meet." You offer.

"You do that. Maybe this time he'll take the offer. Been a while since we traded stories..." The Exarch mumbles. "But back to yours. Tell me everything."


You spend the next few hours going over your journey from the Valley of Peace to the Library you stand in. Your friends step in to fill in details and offer their sides of the story. All the while that Exarch sits there watching you all in rapt attention. His gaze never shifted, his postion never changed. It was as if he was a statue and had no need for things such as comfort. Occasionally, he'd politely stop you and ask for an explanation or clarification but he never judged nor made any remarks other than asking for more details. By the time you finished the sun hangs low in the sky and the night is nearly upon you. "And that's why we're here. There's so much more we want to know besides the location of the Pools."

"No offense big guy but...I'm fine the way I am." Xin Lan says. "I don't particularly care much for my past. I'm becoming who I am my own way and I don't really feel inclined to go looking at some duty old books about that stuff."

"Xin Lan is right." Renshu says. "How I was brought back or why I am the way I am does not matter to me. It's who I will become that I care about. The angry child I was is no more and neither is the man I once was. I appreaciate you attempting to help us like this but I do not feel it is nessecary. If you truly wish for us to look into these things then we will but right now...we're simply happy for the progress we've made."
>>
"Not to mention such things are dark and dangerous." The Exarch says. "You two have gone through things that would break most grown men, let alone children. As rich as it is, knowledge is can also be a terrible burden. I cannot gaurentee that there is even information for what Tai Lung is asking for. Whoever did this to you seems to have tread in areas of magic that no others dared to try and for good reason. Attempts to pry control from nature, to subjegate it to their will always come at a terrible cost. Few parents are lucky enough to have children when wed between different species but to attempt to force it to happen via magic or Chi is madness. With this and your small friend's condition in mind, I must ask you. Why do you seek the pools?"

"What does Xin Lan's condition have to do with this?" You ask confused.

The Exarch closes his eyes in sad contemplation. "We have to location of the Pools. Of that I know. However, I will not give them to anyone. Not that I'm selective about who I will give them to but that I will never disclose their location. They are dangerous in the wrong hands and your friend is the prime reason."

"What do you mean?" Xin Lan asks. "What do you know old man?"

"Child...how much blood is on your hands?" He asks. "How long have you killed without remorse? How long as your brother killed and enjoyed it? Perhaps we should start from the beginning. Tai Lung...what is inner peace?"


>What do you say?
>Write in.
>>
>>4827007
>Normally I would say something like accepting who you are and being free of your chains, but that wouldn't be right. Because just like courage is not the lack of fear, but mastery of it, inner peace is to waddle through your worries. Neither throwing it away nor drowing in it.
>As cliche as it sounds, I think it's balance and understanding.
>>
>>4827007
>Inner peace is when you know yourself perfectly well, Aware of all your emotions and are at peace with yourself. You could call it pure or unclouded of judgement.
>Your worry is that to look into the pool and to see that your soul is stained would remove all doubt and remove inhibitions. Good becomes more good and bad becomes worse, that is your fear, isn't it?
>>
>>4827034
Or, hold on, perhaps the fear isn't how bad it would make them, but what it would do to their minds to see themselves in the past?
>>
>>4827038
I think it's because they are empty.
Remember, apparently it's only us that can see the little emotion ball inside Xin, everyone else sees nothing.
Now I'm not sure what the head of the Bon religion sees, but he might be worried that they go deeper in the whole remorse thing, because there won't be much to reflect on, since they did it all without emotions.
Or he might be worried that now that Xin does have them, their past actions will break them, because now they can feel remorse.
>>
>>4827050
That's what I was saying, past actions break them

I'm not sure about how to phrase it without insulting them
>>
>>4827050
Actually, it might be that last one, kinda like what we had to deal with Renshu.
The first time we achieved it, we had to debate ourselves, see the five kill our friends, were judged by a dragon god and fucking died.
The second was better because although it was the horrors of hell, ultimatly it wasn't our punishement.
The third time it wasn't even us, we were hijacking Renshu Quest while being railroaded.
Imagine if Xin had to relive all their assassinations and their trainings, but this time with emotions. Killing the child they took their name and Remshu after purging the order would fuck them up.
>>
>>4827060
Oh yeah, in that case I absolutly agree.
>>
>>4827027
>>4827038
>>4827050
>>4827076
>>4827060
>>4827034
taking all of these. Writing.
>>
"Normally I would say something like accepting who you are and being free of your chains, but that wouldn't be right. Because just like courage is not the lack of fear, but mastery of it, inner peace is to accept your worries. Neither throwing it away nor drowing in it. It's when you know yourself perfectly well. Aware of all your emotions and at peace with yourself. You could call is pure or unclouded judgement." You say. "Your worry is that to look into the pool and to see that your soul is stained would remove all doubt and remove inhibitions. Good becomes more good and bad becomes worse, that is your fear, isn't it?"

"You are close so very close." The Exarch says quietly. "Though your title might have been a mistake, I have no doubt that Shenlong saw something within you to let you keep it even before you saved the children of the dragons. To come to that conclusion for one as young as yourself is a major step."

"Well I didn't come to it through contemplation." You admit. "I lived it so I don't believe it is such a grand thing." The Exarch shakes his head.

"It is often said that a fool learns from his mistakes and that a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. But what if said fool had no choice? What if they were thrust into their misery? Knowledge is useless without experience. Experience is useless if one does not learn from it. When Knowledge and experience come together in harmony. That is what we call wisdom. Your friend is well trained in medicine but her knowledge is tempered by compassion. Not dulled, tempered. Made sharper. Treatment is not merely the application of medicines but also communication with the patient. If one does not assauge their worries. They proceed with the most painful of procedures. Then their patient will not survive. Your experiences do not dimish the knowledge you have aquired in your journey, my child. They enchance it and make it greater. You have made mistakes. You have harmed people but you used this pain you have caused to place yourself in the place of others. You know pain yourself as well. So when you come across those in pain, you not only understand their pain but know why others would inflict such misery on their fellow man. You draw these experiences into yourself and you place yourself before them to shield them from harm. But you are not a wall, solid and unyeilding. You are a gate. You hold your hand out and are willing to allow others to cross if they wish to better themselves. You are not blind to the pleas of the wrongdoers. You have come far Tai Lung and you still have much more you can do. That is something I will watch eagerly." The Exarch says with a smile before it fades back to sadness as he looks at your siblings.
>>
"That is why I do not wish to give you what you ask for." He says solemly. "Inner peace is about balance within oneself. It allows extreme focus and extraodinary feats but not because of magic or anything supernatural. As you've said, it removes doubt and inhibition but...even poisons are balanced." He says. "To be able to see one's soul is a power thing indeed. But...what if someone of ill intent views their own soul. What if they see all the deeds and evil they've done? What would happen?"

"They might break." You suggest looking at Xin Lan. "When faced with all their evil bared before them. They wouldn't be able to handle it. It would destroy them." The Exarch nods.

"Yes that is one result but such a thing would happen even to those of good intentions." He says. "Allow me to elaborate a bit more. What if the old you saw himself? What if he saw all the evil he had done? What if he saw it all...and accepted it? Not merely accepted it as their own actions but fully accepted that is who they are?"

Your blood runs cold as you contemplate that. What if you had accepted that you were evil? That your past actions were natural and you were ok with them? The thought of you with the sharpness and focus you had now going around China and continuing to commit the evils you had once caused...would anyone be able to stop you? Fully immersed in your own evil and not just being ok with but accepting it with all your being... The old man nods once more. "You are correct that one who is at peace with themselves no longer holds doubt and are balanced. But that does not mean they are good people. Your young friend there is the perfect example of that. They are at peace with themselves. They always have been. I do not know what cruel sorcery was forced upon them but they had inner peace forced upon them. Who would be cruel enough to force that upon a child I do not know but it was a terrible stroke of genius. The perfect assassin. A child who does not know right from wrong, good from evil. If they had accepted themselves as being that then how would they ever break? How would they ever question orders or succumb to morals? Unburdened by such things there would nothing they couldn't and wouldn't do. I have no doubt that they did more to your friend to enhance their prowess as a killer but their mentality was perfect."

"But Xin isn't evil!" Ming says. "They've done just as much good as Tai Lung and they're our friend."
>>
"No." The Exarch says. "They're not and that is was makes it all the more tragic. A child who doesn't know right or wrong and having no choice in the matter but being completely at peace with their situation...That is why I refuse to give you the location. As antithetical to our order's goal as it may be, I do not want to burden you all with the knowledge of who you truly are. Nor do I wish to break your friends in attempting to use them. They are coming into their own. Learning who they want to be and how to acheive it. In this new light, could they handle all they have done in the past? Could they live with it? Or will they succumb to their darkner nature? Or worse...be broken by it."

"I'm not weak old man!" Xin Lan shouts. "I can handle it. I'm not going to just go back to the way I was."

"Of course not." The Exarch says. "You're surrounded by good people. People who want the best for you. People who care and love you and thus set an example for you to follow. But what if they weren't? What if they were their opposites? Would you be here asking me or would you be here willing to do whatever it takes to get the information? Your progess is miraculous. A litteral miracle that you have retained that acceptance of who you are and what you were while still striving to move forward. I do not want to play a part in undoing all that simply because you wanted a quicker way of doing it. I am sorry. I will assist you in the other ways. If you wish for me to delve into my archives and see what I may do to shed light or hypothesis on what was done to you, I will do so. If you want medicines, help with meditation and chi then I will assist you. But I will not give you the location of the pools."

>What do you say?
>Attempt to convince the Exarch. This is your journey. Whatever comes out of it is your own doing and your willing to take a risk. Ask him if there is any way to prove yourself.
>Tell the Exarch you won't leave until you have the location. You'll be as stubborn as he is if you have to but he doesn't dictate what you can or can't handle.
>Accept the Exarch's words and take what you can get. you're not sure if you can convince him otherwise.
>Write in.
>>
Gonna grab food. Be back in a while.
>>
>>4827224
>I will not stop searching for it, even if I have to go through very inch of land in China. Even if I have to go to the rest of the world. Because I know one thing, that the moment I let my worries drag me down, was when I lost my inner peace, when all I could see was hell itself. I own to my friends and companions to bring them to the pools, to honour all of our struggles and sacrifices.
>You can't hide from your past, you can't run from it, because it will catch up to you. I don't know what I did with Renshu when he struggle in his meditation, but I'm willing to do it again for Xin too, for anyone that I would trust, even if that would doom us both, because I have to help them. A life lived in fear is a life not lived at all.
Also supervillain Tai Lung quest would have been kino too because Luo is based
>>
>>4827258
I will support this, both in suggestion and proof of our stubborn nature. But let's be honest, we never expected or planned to have the others use the pools did we?

And Renshu and Xin were content to not use it, and Ming doesn't really care since she is happy who she is. But for us? It is vindication or proof.

>Sangpo, you are wise and have spent many years honing that wisdom, enough to judge and to be wary. But what I say next I say without a shadow of doubt nor a hint of disbelief.
>I shall never be anything less than the best example I can be.
>Improvement after improvement must be made and perfection cannot be achieved but I refuse to harbour what made the old me so dim, no matter where it hides. I dont say this out of pride or hubris but out of honest belief and intention that I will not accept what is bad but rather use it to improve further. I can't accept it because it isnt good. So I ask for your faith rather than your worry. Improvement is the only way we can progress and shying away from ourselves out of fear of becoming complacent in our own flaws rather than embracing how much further we have to go isnt wise, it is simply fear holding you back.

It is a well founded fear without a doubt, but it being a fear based on the weakness of men isnt very cash money.
I think we should accept the other help from the library and double check if the others are still content to not use it or if I am misremembering, but stubbornness is something we excell at.
I dont want to be either, since this is a project of validation but. .
>>
>>4827258
Villian quest seems interesting but I feel it has too much potential to attract the murder hobo crowd or the "I'm evil therefore it's ok to suggest super henious shit for the sake of being evil." crowd. It'd require a lot of monitoring and the like I feel but with a good group it certainly can be fun.

Coincidentally, I've had a bit of an anti hero game in mind. It's a bit too anime and persona like though. I'm not sure if it'd go over too well. The premise being of killing a Mary Sue. A litteral one for which reality will bend so she gets what she wants and players have to stop her before she ascends to godhood as all anime good guys do. The MC has a similar power and needs to acheive shonen protagonist godhood to compete while being completely immune to Mary's ability to warp reality. Basically in the eyes of everyone, you're the bad guy but you're trying to do the right thing by saving everyone even if you need to deal with less than savoury people and do less then good things. There'd be points of showing how sociopathic Mary is as a kind of a deconstruction of how people play rpgs and ussually just do or say whatever to min max despite it not being very heroic while hopefully the players would stick to their guns and not stray from their established morals as much. Very buffy the vampire slayer kinds of vibes I guess. Problem being is that it would probably lean too much to the shonen stuff and power creep and the like. I dunno maybe it'd be intersting.
>>
>>4827333
That's a really good speech but it has a vibe like it belongs in another quest.
Stubbornes is a virtue and no one will change my mind.
And fuck yeah we are accepting looking through the library, it's Mings time to shine.
Also the bunnies are looking for the truth of their pasts, fuck that shit about being content, leaving loose ends that big is begging for it to cone back and bite your ass. Also essential for us to avoid another bad end when they look at wet mirror.
>>4827343
I'm pretty sure there's a setting that tg before it became a trashfire that was like that, where mary sues are like interdimensional parasites or something.
Also I thibk I remember a few quests that had a similar premise, not exactly but close enough in spirit, but I thibk all of them died.
>>
>>4827377
I'm not quite sure if my speech got across the idea I wanted so I'll put it a bit easier.

The idea is that while the monkey is right to worry, We arent going to use this as a way to say "guess I am this way, love it and let's not change" we are instead going to use it to see where we fall short and remove those impurities.
For the perceptive monkey, he may even notice that we are sort of seeking validation of our efforts from this and want to continue to set a good example to the buns.

But as I recall, both of the Buns didnt actually care about the pools and only do because we do. Xin is happy to grow as he is now while Renshu knows perfectly well what and who he is and is trying to be better.

I also know the setting your all about.
>>
>>4827343
Depends on your villain. If you make them a ruler, you usually get the "I'm willing to torture you to shit, but that's bad diplomacy" sorts.
>>
>>4827377
>>4827392
I know that exact setting and I only just realised the similarities but it was more of like one of those ideas where a side character becomes aware of their situation and decides thsy don't like the status quo. Like I said, really rough concept.
>>
The real reason why the Exarch doesn't want the team to go to the pools is the burden of knowledge TL will achieve and the fact that The buns and Ming might not be best girl
>>
>>4827392
Oh, you got the idea across, it's just the way you wrote sounded like something you would read on a certain book, or one of those inspirational speeches.
>>4827405
>>4827395
There was also a recent quest were the mc was a party member of the mary sue but got kicked out, so he decided to become a chimera. Unfortunaly it died due to a combination of real life and anons going the good guy route and the qm not being prepared for that. A shame though, I enjoyed reading it while I was still an archive only lurker.
But seeing edgelord vs mary sue could be funny, and him being selfaware of the situation could help going too far into murderhoboing, just make sure to make enough juatification for being evil, otherwise he will be just a spiky hero that people say it's a villain due to wacky anime misunderstandings.
In which case I would constantly vote to start killing until the general IQ of the population increases
>>
>>4827441
It was less edgelord and more reverse TL quest I guess...where your goal is ultimately good but you're willing to take the mantle of villain or anti hero to get the job done. Of course it could go the villain route.

The chimera quest sounds vaguely familiar and a shame it died. Going around proving the Sue's bs sounds like a nice premise.
>>
>>4827392
Oh fuck, I just realised what you meant about the buns not caring for the pools.
When I said that they are looking for the truth, it wasn't that it was their justification for wanting it, it was a plan for them to follow tge list anyway and search the archives, because ignoring your past is not the way foward, and kinda antithesis to what Tai Lung been doing so far, that's what I meant by the fuck being content part too.
>>4827422
>>4827451
Also boss, how do you feel being so powerful, that even in other quests the MC gets knocked out for a week and important shit happens when they sleep?
Are you aware of the meme magic that you have created?
>>
>>4827473
Yeah, I'm glad we understand eachother. TL is the only one who wants or needs to use them, the other offered wisdom we should accept gladly as well though.
>>
>>4827473
>Are you aware of the meme magic that you have created
Wait what? N-no. I only had that happen because I wanted to keep things consistent. The world wasn't gonna wait while you slept, you know? And your friends would wait for you but they also understood that you wouldn't want them to mope around so they continued working.
>>
>>4827484
In the 2nd primarch quest, Lieren went to sleep for the first time in nearly a decade after defeating the big daemon boss, than he tried looking at the true form of the emperor while astral projecting his soul to terra, resulting in him being knocked out for 8 days.
When he woke up his army arrived at the capital and crowned him king against his wishes, we had to spend like 2 updates trying to fix the issue. All I could think was that it was a Tai Lung moment, it was fucking great.
It happened sometime ago though, so felt like bringing it up now for some reason
>>
>>4827511
But, not so.
I'm dumb.
>>
>>4827511
>inb4 blacking out through important events becomes a running gag through my games.

Thats pretty funny. For s moment I thought someone mentioned this quest in another thread.
>>
>>4826201
>You could always do darkest timeline where we died at the worst possible point so we can marvel in horror at how it could all go so wrong!
Was thinking about this. It depends on when TL died. If he had died during the final raider fight:

Ming and Xin would continue to journey to find the pools. If only to honor their friend's memory and continue their own journey of self reflection. TL was stubborn and is rubbed off on them. They would never go their separate ways. Probably because they were the only people who they could really relate too. Ming would eventually start her own clinic and Xin would help. Oddly, they worked well with kids though their parents didn't really approve of the fact the kids took a penchant for learning how to throw things.

Hien would be sad bit see it as another casualty of war. He'd go back home and have him honored. Villain in life but died a hero. He'd Bury himself in his work and probably become a well known diplomat of peace but He'd never give himself and time for himself.

Renshu would vanish. No one knows where he went or what became of him. His friends and family would often wonder what became of him as they lived their lives unknown to the fact that something died within him that night. Not just his brother. The raiders had killed the one man he loved...and Mongolia burned for it. Man, woman and child, the whole country burned for years until nothing was left but Ash. Renshu was going to hell but he was making sure everyone who took his world away came with him.
>>
>>4827258
>
>>4827333
Taking these. Writing.
>>
"Exarch, Sangpo, you are wife and have spent many years honing that wisdom. I have no doubt you can accurately judge people and be wary, rightly so. But what I say next I say without a shadow of doubt nor hint of disbelief. I shall never be anything less than the best example I can be." You say as you approach the old man's seat. "Improvement after improvement, I will continue to strive to better myself. Perfection cannot be acheived but I refuse to harbor what made the old me so dim, no matter where it hides. I say this, not out of hubris, but out of honest belief that the way forward is to not accept the bad as something that simply is but rather to use it as a direction of improvement. I don't look for my faults to be at peace with them. I seek them so I know how to better myself. To do otherwise out of fear of being complacent in our own flaws rather than use that as a means to see how much futher we can go is not wisdom, it is simply fear holding you back."

You look at your friends for a moment. "I will not stop searching for the pools. Even if it means I have to comb through every inch of China, even if it means I have to search the rest of the world. I know one thing. The moment I let my worries drag me down, was when I lost my inner peace, when all I could see was Hell itself. I owe it to my friends and companions to reach the pools. To honor all of their sturggles and sacrifices. You can't hide from your past nor run from it because it will catch up to you. What I did for Renshu I would do for Xin. I would do it for anyone that I trust, even if it meant damning us both because I have to help them. A life lived in fear is a life not lived at all. Would you be the same man you are today if you decided to stay at a library rather than become trapped in those ruins? Would you be as knowledgable if you decided to rest at an inn rather than wander lost in Mongolia? You said that knoweldge without experience is not complete. So I'm asking you to allow us to experience it. To let us make our own conclusions rather than learn from the words of another."

The Exarch rests his cheek on his hand as he rests on his side, eyeing you curiously. "To be a foolish young man again..." He sighs. "Has anyone ever told you that you come off as really stubborn?"

"Every day." You and your friends say in unison.

"So you want the location of the pools. This forbidden knowledge that I've expressly told you I wouldn't give you?" He asks. You nod. "And I presume you'd be willing to do anything for this information?"

"Almost anything." You correct. "I will not harm nor put others in harm for this information."
>>
"Almost anything." The Exarch corrects himself, nodding. "You say this is a journey of self improvement. You say that you only want this so that you know how to better yourself. Very well...I'll entertain you request." The old monkey leaps from the seat and jumps towards a table full of papers and scrolls. For an old man, he was surprisingly agile. He pull out a stack of papers and walks over to you. Holding them up, you realize it's a calender. The Exarch removes a few fingers and drops almost half the pages. "One year. You will live a full year here in our city as an acolyte. How you wish to spend your time here is up to you. You may browse the small section of the library available to acolytes which is slightly more than the general public and learn from that. You may attempt to rise in the ranks of the order. Or you may simply live here as a citizen. I don't care. However...12 months from now I will judge you on how much you've progessed in yourself improvement be it physical, mental, or spiritual. If I deem a single one of you to have not improved to my standards and satisifaction. I will refuse to give you the location of the pools and I will banish you from this Library forevermore."

"Hold on. Only the big guy and Ming want to read your books. Why do we gotta do it?" Xin Lan asks. The Exarch looks at him, his face authoritarian and all shreds of playfullness gone.

"Because if there is one thing I hate above all else it's complacency. I dedicated my life to gathering as much knowledge and wisdom in China. I raised this Library brick by brick, book by book and I refuse to allow it to be used by those who do not appreciate it's wealth. You made it up here on your own. That grants you entrance to my city and the help of my order in finding the information you seek but what I'm offering you is something far far more grand. Something strangers spend years, decades, of their lives earning and that's the use of the library itself." The Exarch leans down a bit, nearly nose to nose with Xin Lan. "Because as much as I hate all the prattle and all the micromanaging, this is my city, rabbit. And I won't let you spit in the face of all the work and sacrifices my friends made simply because you're ok with who you are." The old man stands up, and looks at you with the same eyes you've seen in Jie, Shifu, Hien, and Daiyu. The eyes of leader. "Those are my terms. Whether you accept them or not is up to you."

"But how will we know if we meet your standards?" Ming asks.

"You don't." The Exarch says. "Let that continue to push you onwards."
>>
>What do you say?
>Agree to terms. You came here for the location of the pools. You said you'd comb all of China for them. Comparatively, a year isn't that much although you're worried a bit about how much you need to improve.
>Try and bargin. A year is far too long. You understand the Exarch's point. What you're asking is huge and you need to prove yourself but surely you can do something that takes less time.
>Decline. Say you'll take whatever else the Exarch offered you but you cannot stay here for a year. You'll look for information in the pools elsewhere and you mean no disrespect when you say you'll simply accept the regular amount of help.
>Write in.
>>
>>4827945
>I'm willing, are the rest of you?

It isnt much to do. But if the others dont feel comfortable spending a year here then so be it.
>>
>>4827936
>you are wife
jesus christ luo please...
>>
>>4828025
Of all the dumb typos to make, kek. That's definitely a sign to go the fuck to sleep. I'll see you guys in a few hours.
>>
>>4827945
>Agree to terms. You came here for the location of the pools. You said you'd comb all of China for them. Comparatively, a year isn't that much although you're worried a bit about how much you need to improve.
>>
>>4827945
I'm leaning towards.
>Agree to terms. You came here for the location of the pools. You said you'd comb all of China for them. Comparatively, a year isn't that much although you're worried a bit about how much you need to improve.
But first we need to
>Write in. (Have a group huddle with the team about how we should play this and what we want to do. A year long investment isn't something we should decide on by ourselves, even if two of our three party members are attached to us by the hip)
>>
>>4827945
>Agree to terms. You came here for the location of the pools. You said you'd comb all of China for them. Comparatively, a year isn't that much although you're worried a bit about how much you need to improve.
>But only if our friends are willing too.
>>4828025
>>4828030
It's just the meta memes bleeding into the quest. Tai lung is simply expanding the best girl faith.
>>
I suppose the plan for the year, assuming they are willing to do so, I figure we can focus on our Chi studies/Style and speaking with spirits.

For Ming the obvious method is to improve her alchemy and her bodily training.

Xin themselves, I'm not sure what they physically want to improve with, but I think they may enjoy cooking or a few mentions of philosophy/magic so they can understand what they did with Renshu.

And Renshu himself, I think a lot of philosophy would be good for him. Physicality isnt as important but they still need to "clean up" their style and impulses.
>>
>>4828519
He could probably work with the book we gave him and start doing music meditation, it's the perfect time.
Ming has to become the witch sorceress that she deserves to be.
We need to learn more about chi strikes,spirit talking and our new comabt styles. Maybe we should bother swastika monkey more, or one of his aprentices. Maybe actually taking the mantle of monkhood seriously and learning more could help patch up all the philosophy that we skipped in the jade palace.
Xin needs to develop a personality for themselves, something that is only theirs, and what they truly want in life.
>>
>>4828529
I agree on the case of Xin. That is really the point they want and need to shift around.

And while yeah, Ming does deserve to be a sorceress-witch but cant let her physical shit suffer either. So I figure that group training session on a given day would be the solution. Keep us all socialised and such, though taking our acolyte responsibilities is also a good priority.
>>
>>4828544
We can make a daily workout on the end of the day to keep up our physical training, and then everyone can say what they did and relax after, like a group outing to the city or the dormitory.
Or it can be a weekly thing, depends if we want Ming to stay fit, or get stronger, although that could impact her studies and precision if she is sore every morning.

Also I'm still not giving up finding what the fuck was up with the assassins and how Xin bound Renshu and why he could sense spirits. There got to be something in this library about it.
>>
But the question is how much can you improve in a year and will it be enough? Especially when you continue to focus on your strengths.
>>
>>4828575
I wouldnt say that focusing on spirits is our strength. We are floundering in their domain and have a lot to learn.

I dont actually think we are focusing on out strengths here, we are improving on things we wish to become our strengths.

Renshu is growing spiritually and Xin personally.
. . . I guess we can use this time to learn how to not drop the spaghetti.
>>
If focusing on TL's "strengths" falls short, we could always pivot to finally teaching him to talk to girls.
>>
>>4828564
I don't think that information is in the library anon, and even if it was it would be restricted as fuck due to being dark magic as hell.
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>>4828581
Fair enough. Though I don't think the library will ever fix TLs spaghetti problems. Where would Xin get his fun from then?
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>>4828575
But how is focusing on the formal educution that we skipped in lieu of training focusing in our strengths boss?
Everything we learned has been by winging it, I'm talking going full on actual monk training for a year, singing mantras and learning kuans, and studying university theology and mythos.
We are leaving as Delay Lama.
Ming learns astrology, talisman, elements, balance and chi point in the body.
Renshu can be more introspective, use that songs we taught him to meditate on the nature of everything, and how all life is connected, so he can't kill something for it's hurting the self or something.
Xin needs to go the full way and form a personality, no more borowing for them.
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>>4828587
Any information is better than no information.
Also another reason to advance in the rankings of the library, acess to more restricted knowledge.
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>>4828596
Clearly because I can't rail road you. But more seriously, I misinterpreted what you meant. I thought the agreement was to focus on the chi aspect of fighting instead of spirits and meditative things. That was my mistake. The ideas are solid actually. They keep in line with building on your weakness to improve rather than be ok with them.
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>>4828600
Yeah, we're sort of nearing perfect at fighting so it's sort of time to improve on our spiritual understanding and capacity to talk about sex without dying of head implosion.
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>>4828600
Nah, that's my bad, I should have said understanding chi instead of chi strikes, and spirit talking should be with the ones we don't have experience, like actual spirits and elements other than wind.
And our new combat style too, that whole letting the other wash over you part, not the punching the person thing.
>>4828605
We need Ming to give a sex ed class, in the most dry and scientific way possible.
The chance to have the talk is already over, so it's time for the school tactic.
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>>4828612
Hey, maybe we could help out with the city's guard and make some more friends.
Our end of day jogs and work outs becoming a sort of communal bonding excercise.

But that's probably slipping into fantasy land.
>>
>>4828612
The idea of Ming giving a sex Ed class to a really flustered Tai Lung is really wholesome. Dunno if it'd be funnier if Tai Lung gets flustered or if he doesn't and its just trying to flirt that bothers him. Or maybe it's just trying to flirt with the buns because he has a thing for rabbits.

Xin does sort of need a goal, it's true, they're kind of just coasting now.

Renshu could also get over his thing of not wanting to touch you. Plus he can stop being so distant.

Ming need to learn how to kill a man 5 times be before the body hits the ground.

Tons of stuff to work on and just a year to do it.
>>
>>4828617
TL making friends? It's more likely than you think.
>>
>>4828623
Good call on Renshu. I didn't want to say anything, but him being embarrased to be near us kinda hurts my soul, even if I understand the reason. Even more than>>4827589
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>>4828617
That's a good idea if we got the time, being the part-time trainer for the militia would be cool.
>>4828623
I was thinking like that scene from fate with the blackboard. I have no idea who the characters or which episode, bu I know the meme.
brb gotta photoshop something.
>>4828626
Tai Lung is going to be the popular kid in monk school confirmed.
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>>4828633
Actually, I just had an idea.
What if Xin works as the guard? Make them interact with people and solve problems. Also funny because their most common personality is of a thief.
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>>4828638
It's up to them. Noooooooo wait wait wait, Better idea. Give them a bunch of personality tests.

Just a bunch of small, mostly meaningless questions about mundane matters and let them consider how they feel about them and why. That's what your personality is, isn't it? What you feel about things and why?
>>
>>4828631
Bad end Renshu is sad but I think Renshu right now is a bit more heart breaking its more subtle. It's there but the fact ots doesn't cause a problem and sort of just hangs in the background unnoticed hits way closer to home for most people than exacting revenge on a whole country. Both show pain but one is more realistic than the other.

Plus I thought it was a good step forward. Renshu doesn't have inner peace. Never did and one coma trance isn't gonna do it. You put him on the right track and worked on his self loathing but that doesn't wipe away what he feels for you.

>>4828633
Training the militia sounds like an excellent idea. A good substitute for starting your own school.
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>>4828646
Maybe but what he feels isn't bad, least I don't think so. It just needs to be channeled properly.

So current list of what to improve on.
TL: Learn about spirituality and spirits and spaghetti
Ming: Her studies and martial style.
Xin: Their personality
Renshu: His murder urge and self loathing, with a bit of philosophy.
>>
What you all don't realize is that this is the start of Xin's romance fanfic empire. The Snow Leopard series. Don't think they haven't noticed how Stripes looks at you. Or for the more fantastically inclined there is a certain lynx that also cameos.
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>>4828665
The risk we took was calculated. But boy are we bad at math.
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>>4828633
So the meme was very different from what I tough it was, but I spent too long searching for it to not photoshop it.
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>>4828796
kek
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>>4828796
Nice.

So can I get a small consolidation of the ideas. We had tons of good ones.
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>>4828827
The consensus was "We'll do it, if our friends agree."

Actual ideas for how to improve.
TL: We will have to improve on our knowlege and language of spirits, Chi and cosmology while also helping the others and possibly training/bonding with the city milita.

Xin: Mostly work on a personality, through questions and simply finding what they enjoy from the library. Suggestion of cooking. Maybe suggest they go out and make new friends, expand their social circle so they don't stay in an echo chamber.

Ming: Continue to tread the path of the swole and also improve both sorcery and alchemy.

>Renshu: Work on reducing the lethality of their style, but mostly learn how to control themselves and why they think as they do. Introspection, philosophy and maybe some more help with their self loathing and their feelings towards us.
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>>4828827
Xin will focus on exploring their own personality and maturing emotionally, they should try to meet more people and make friends. Perhaps they should join the militia and expend their time without a fake personality. They can be a trainer for them too, put what they learned teaching Ming to some use.

Ming will study alchemy, astrology, mysticism, talismans, elemental interactions, spells and how chi and rituals work.

Renshu will focus on meditating through song and continuing their path to inner peace, trying to be more introspective. Perhaps he should try to develop a less violent and lethal style too.

We will take this acolyte business seriously, we are going all in on the theology and philosophical aspect, and try to formally expand on all of the knowledge we learned, like actually understanding chi, talking to spirits of all elements, not just winds sprites, soul and emotion sensing, astral projecting and that learning more about that thing we did against Tigress, maybe even putting ourselves on that mindset.

All of us should try to advance through our stations so we can get access to more hidden parts of the library, hopefully to find any information on what the assassins done.

Every day or week we will all gather and do our training regimen, share what we done and how we are progressing, enjoy the city and rest, maybe even bring any new friends we make into it.
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>>4828877
And I want to leave knowing mantras, Kuans and axions.
And maybe a message for Luo if we find him again.
>>4828845
Should we actually go and try to learn how to deal with flirting or should we keep it only as a meme?
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>>4828889
I'm genuine about learning how to deal with it without breaking down. I'm not expecting panty dropping james bond, but being able to endure it without flustering up would be great.
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>>4828889
Don't let the memes be dreams. If anything TL could use the time to at least learn about what he likes I suppose. The whole situation with Renshu did catch him off guard and not being able to speak about these things properly might cause issues if you want to deal with his embarrassment he currently feels around you. Because that's something you'll need to talk to him about I think.
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>>4828900
Yeah, that's also something to deal with, ideally within the first two months or so of our time here. Because I can't justify leaving him like this.
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>>4828897
>>4828900
Than add it to the list.
I think we are ready for the high school arc, bring it on boss.
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>>4828955
Alright lads. We're going to school. Writing...on my phone so this may take a bit.
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You look at your friends and then at the Exarch. "Just a moment." You say before turning to your companions. "Well? What do you guys think?"

"It seems we've both managed to impress and irritate the Exarch." Renshu says. "I doubt he'll be willing to compromise."

"Yeah..." Xin Lan says rubbing the back of their neck. "I think he's got us dead to rights. He pretty much has all the bargaining power. Don't really have much of a choice now do we?"

"I'm not going to pass this chance up." Ming says. "This is the biggest library in all of China. We've traveled across the country, fought bad guys, and nearly died on a mountain. If those didn't force us to give up then why should this? Not only that but all we have to do is get better to prove to the Exarch that we're worthy of the map. It's basically just more training and you guys are maniacs for this." She says with a grin. "Maybe this time you guys will find something to do other than getting into trouble."

You chuckle. "So then we're agreed? But what do we even focus on? Seems like we need to show some progress at the end of the year.”

“Like I said, we don’t have much choice so yeah, I’m in. We got a year to figure things out right? I’m sure in the next few weeks we’ll find something to focus on.” Xin Lan says.

“I must admit the prospect of having access to the library is not without it’s temptations. So I am fine with the Exarch’s proposal.”

“Excellent!” Ming says, pumping her fist and catching herself. “I mean...it’s good that we’re in agreement. We should use this opportunity to the best of our abilities.”

You turn to the old man and nod. “We agree with your idea, Exarch.” You say. “In one year, we’ll show you that we’re serious about our intentions about the Pools. You won’t have anything to worry about.”

“Good. I look forward to seeing the progress you’ll make.” The Exarch says, slowly going back to his more amiable demeanor. “This might just be more interesting than I anticipated.”

“Hold up.” Xin Lan says. “It’s all well and dandy that we’re in sync but what about food and water? We only have so much money and I’m assuming a city as big as this one doesn’t have many empty homes considering there’s limited room for expansion.” The Exarch gives Xin Lan a small smile.
>>
“You’re sharper than you look. Shame you don’t use it as often as you should.” He says. “However, I have something in mind. You could use the dormitory the acolytes use but being adventurers, I assume you’d like your privacy. There is a small building in the market district...it’s owners unfortunately passed away with no one to inherit the property. I believe it used to be a restaurant. I’ll allow you to own it for your stay, on the condition that you use it to contribute to the city in some way. As you said, we’re on limited space and everything must have a purpose here. I’ll allow you to decide.”

>What do you say?
>Take the dormitory. If you want to improve and show the fruits of your studies then you’ll need all the time you can get.
>Take the small shop. You can use some privacy and running an establishment of some kind shouldn’t be too hard with Ming around. Plus you can use this to earn some more money.
>Ask the Exarch if there is any other area you can use instead.
>Decline and say you’ll be fine camping out of the city walls if the Exarch doesn’t mind you coming and going every morning.
>Write in.
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>>4829224
>Take the dormitory. If you want to improve and show the fruits of your studies then you’ll need all the time you can get.
privacy is for nerds
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>>4829224
>Take the dormitory. If you want to improve and show the fruits of your studies then you’ll need all the time you can get.
As long as we can be near each other on the dormitory it's fine, and it's a chance to meet other people.
Also I'm worried that running an apothecary or restaurant will eat up our time, not only that but we would need to worry about ingredients and customers and making a profit, all of that could distance ourselves from the spiritual matters.
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>>4829224
>Take the dorm
We can camp out in the crater whenever we want some privacy. And this serves our aims perfectly.
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>>4829224
>Decline and say you’ll be fine camping out of the city walls if the Exarch doesn’t mind you coming and going every morning.
I really like the idea of whole ass building a place to live over the course of a month
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>>4829224
>Take the small shop. You can use some privacy and running an establishment of some kind shouldn’t be too hard with Ming around. Plus you can use this to earn some more money.

Didn't we say at one point it'd be fun to own a restaurant or a clinic or what have you with the gang?

Perfect trial run to be quite honest. Voting for this
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>>4829248
>>4829253
>>4829298
No shop unfortunately. Thought it really didn't have to be an apothocary or resteraunt. We're going to be boring dorm students. Writing.
>>
You turn to your friends once more. "What do you guys think?"

"I'd take the house. Some privacy would be good." Xin Lan says. "Probably not in good shape if it's been empty for a few years though."

"The dorms should have everything we need." Renshu says. "While I too would enjoy the privacy of a home, I'm not sure running a buisness would be a good use of our time. We may have a year but many things take quite a bit of time when you think about it. Adding more responsibilities takes away from our goals."

"I never lived in a dorm before." Ming says. "I think it'd be nice to be around other people for a change. We always try to keep to ourselves. Maybe they might even be able to help us."

"Then it's settled." You say. "We'll be living in the acolyte's dorms but thank you for offering an alternative. Trusting a buisness to strangers isn't something most people do." The Exarch waves his hand again.

"I was getting tired of being told about that building anyways." He lies, trying to keep apperances and he leaps forward back to the table. He grabs a sheet of paper and you hear the sounds of brushstrokes before he returns to you and hands you each a letter. "Here you go. This is your proof that I've authorized you as a member of the order. Let me get my walking stick. I'll take you to the High Brotherhood. One of them can show you to the acolyte's chambers." The Exarch grabs a stick from behind his seat, it was increadibly worn and beat up. You can see places where it chipped and stripped of paint but repainted. You think you can even see indents along it where the Exarch's fingers slip into as if they had been created from years of being rubbed away. The old man walks ahead of you and taps the door lightly, sending them flying open. You and your friends quickly follow him and into the night. The Exarch leads you towards a large building across the way but still on the same level as the Exarch's chambers. Looking down at the city, you can see the lights twinkling within the buildings and the streets lit up with lantern light. Even in the dim lights, you can see the shapes of people wandering around the streets.

You arrive the Brotherhood's building and the Exarch raps his stick against the door. The door slowly opens and you hear a rather lazy and irritated, "Can I help you?" Before the robed woman notices who is at the door and she falls to her knees. "Your holiness! I did not know! How can I help you?"

You sense the Exarch become rather irritated but whether it's because of the woman's tone or her reverence you cannot say. "Ah Dawa. Good. These are the new Acolytes. I want you to show them to the dormitory." The woman looks up from her bow and eyes you.

"New...acolytes?" She asks. "Aren't these the strangers whom the guard captain led to you?"

"Yes." The Exarch says a bit tired. "This is Tai Lung and his friends. Ming, Xin Lan, and Renshu. They will be living among the order. They are quite keen in joining." He says slightly amused.
>>
"Tai Lung?" Dawa repeats. "Master...are you sure? He is a wanted criminal."

"Yes. I am." The Exarch says. "And I expect you and the others to give them the respect you give me. Respect. Not favoritism. Given the fact that Tai Lung shares the same relationship with one of our benefactors as I do, he out ranks you but he has agreed to start from the beginning as a bit of a favor for me while I search for something on his behalf." Dawa looks at you, her eyes a mixture of emotions. Emotions that bring rather unplesant memories of Tigress.

"Yes, master." She says after a bit.

"Good." The Exarch says. "They will need a set of robes as well. I'm afraid their clothing right now is a bit unsuitable for the weather."

"Yes, sir." Dawa repeats.

"Then I bid you goodnight." The Exarch says. "Good luck kids. I want to see what progress you all make." And the old man wanders off. Dawa waits for a moment before she slowly stands up and eyes all of you.

"Well then...we should be off. Acolytes." She says neutrally and begins to walk off. The woman leads you down the stairs to the lower levels near the base of the building. "These are the acolytes' quarters. As you no doubt have guessed, the higher your rank in the order is, the closer you are to the top. Only a rare few have the privilage with speaking with the master. You should be honored that you had the chance to do so immediately after entering our city. Only the most privilaged of us can have one on one sessions with him, discussing philosophy or the various areas of knowledge we study." She opens the doors to another building and you all walk in. The smell of warm food and the sounds of a dining hall echo through the halls. "This is the main living quarters. Here you will have access to the dining hall, community room and several meeting rooms that you can use with your fellow acolytes. If you follow me down the hall, I'll take you to the dormitories." As you follow Dawa, you can see several people talking among themselves. They either hold books or scrolls, sometimes open sheets of paper with writings on it but they all grow silent when they see Dawa approach. Several of them bow in respect, others seem too shocked by your presence to say anything but they all move out of the way to let you pass. Dawa opens a door a the end of the hallway and reveals another but wider hall. Doors line both sides of this hallway and through the open doors you can see beds within the rooms. Roughly about four each.

Dawa walks down the hall and looks at a few plaques on the doors. A quick glance reveals that it contains names, most likely the names of those who reside in this room. You finall reach a door with some empty space and Dawa turns to face you. "Here is an empty room. Unfortunately, there is only space for one person here. Which one of you will take this one?"
>>
"I will." You say as you finally realize you're still tied to your friends. "I don't mind sharing a room with stangers and it's not like we can't find each other." You explain as you begin to undo the ropes.

"Eh...works for me as well." Xin Lan says as they untie theirs. "I'll bunk with the big guy. Make sure he stays out of trouble."

"We don't allow acolytes to share beds." Dawa says stiffly. "If you wish to have a relationship, you'll do it on your own time and out of the dorms where you won't disrupt your fellow acolytes."

"Well...that's the thing." Xin Lan says offhandedly. "I'm really bad with rules and frankly, the big guy has an easier time climbing this mountain than initiating intimacy so you don't have to worry there." They say elbowing your knee and hopping on your shoulders. "Ready to meet our roomies?" They ask.

>What do you say?
>Shrug and say there's not much you can do. Once Xin gets an idea there really isn't anything stopping them. You can assure her that Renshu and Ming won't mind following the rules though.
>Jokingly tell Xin that you'll be fine without their protection. You're a big leopard now and you're not afraid of bullies. Then tell them that it's perhaps best that you all follow the rules this time.
>Ask someone else if they want to take this room. You can wait to see if there's any other room with two openings so Xin can share it with you or you can share it with someone else.
>Write in.
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>>4829919
>Ask if the others want the room, wait for a spare/two rooms next to eachother.
>Untie ourselves.

We are right about Xin not being easily dissuaded so just gotta play peacemaker. And god damnit another person we have wronged? this far from the valley?
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>>4829919
>Ask someone else if they want to take this room. You can wait to see if there's any other room with two openings so Xin can share it with you or you can share it with someone else.
I could see Ming appreciating chatting the night away with her fellow intellectuals. Let her lean into the dorm experience.
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>>4830211
>Walk in with a book over her shoulder
How you doing my fellow intellectuals!
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>>4829919
>Jokingly tell Xin that you'll be fine without their protection. You're a big leopard now and you're not afraid of bullies. Then tell them that it's perhaps best that you all follow the rules this time.
I think making Xin become more independent is the first step in improving themselves.
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>>4830644
Actually, that's a fair point.

I'll support it instead of >>4830194 Maybe say that they may enjoy following some rules for a bit, or meeting people without us looming over their shoulders.
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>>4830733
>they may enjoy following some rules
>Xin's face when
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>>4830795
Yes.
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>>4830795
That's why I think my idea to put then on the militia is good.
Force them out of their comfort zone.
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>>4830644
>>4830733
Trying to get the wild bunny to follow the rules. Writing.
>>
You chuckle and reach up to lift Xin Lan from your shoulders. The rabbit grabs your wrist and swings down so that they're relaxing in your arms. "Now, now. You heard the lady. No relationships in school."

You smirk. "I don't think you need to worry about that Xin. I'm a big snow leopard-"

"Oh don't I know it."

"...but I think maybe we should follow the rules this time. I think I can handle the bullies right now." You stammer as your face flushes. "We can meet up tomorrow."

Xin Lan frowns, "Hmm...I don't think I like this version of you." They say as they push your cheek with their foot. "Nerdy school boy Tai Lung isn't as fun as I thought. Then again I didn't think he would be. We have Ming for that."

"Hey! I break the rules!" Ming protests before they shrink away from Dawa's look. "I mean...sometimes...only when it's really really important."

You set Xin Lan on the ground. "It'll be fine." You assure them. They sigh and put their hands behind their head.

"Fiiine. I'll go find some other room to take but I better get a bed near a window." They say causually though you can tell they're only putting on airs. You nod to the others as you open the door. "See you in the morning?"

"Yeah." Ming says. "We'll plan tomorrow."

"Take care of yourself." Renshu says. "Try not to scare your roommates."

"Don't I always?" You say with a grin and you step in into your room. The room itself is fairly empty save for the beds and a small table with four seats around it. Said table is stacked with books and has pages, ink bottles, brushes and the like scattered around it. Judging by the writing, it doesn't belong to one person but several. The one person you can see is hunched over the desk and writing something down. Upon entering, they look up and you see that they're an elderly man. They squint a bit, adjust their glasses and hold up a candle. "Can I help you?" He asks with a warm curiosity.

>How do you introduce yourself?
>Write in.
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>>4830995
>How do you introduce yourself?
>Write in.(Bow. Give name. Give reason for being here. Ask them to take care of you.)
Nice simple and easy.
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>>4830995
>Hello, I'm a new acolyte here at the Sacred Library, and I've been assigned to this dormitory, I hope we can coexist in peace and help eachother.
>Ask him his name and of the other obes in the this dormitory.
Only after everything, and he becomes calmer, do we say.
>Oh, where are my manner! You can call me Tai.
I want to ease him into sharing a bedroom with an escaped mass murderer.
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>>4830995
>Hello there, I'm a new acolyte, I'm meant to sleep here, I hope you don't mind.
>Ask his name and about the other residents.

Basically >>4831033 but less stilted sounding. I suppose we will have to name ourselves, but that's a bandaid I'm not looking forward to ripping off.
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>>4831014
>>4831033
>>4831052
Taking these. Writing.
>>
"I'm the new acolyte." You say. "Well, me and a few of my friends. I was assigned this room. To be honest...I've never been much of a scholar so I hope you and the others can show me the ropes." You add with a bow.

The old man's face lights up and he smiles. "A newcomer! Welcome! Welcome! Always good to see fresh faces joining our order." He says hurrying over to shake your hand. "Now, I know the other acolytes might seem much younger than you but don't let that discourage you. Age is never an excuse to stop learning. Just look at the Exarch! He's old enough to be my grandfather and rumors still have it that he continues to meditate on the secrets of the universe." He grins. "Us old folk need to stick together!" You laugh a bit. You weren't that old but there was something about the old man's enthusiasm that seemed contagious.

"How old do I look?" You ask, amused. "Most people see me the other way around. They usually think I'm younger."

"Oh looks don't fool me." The old man says with a grin. "You look young but your eyes. Your eyes look like they've been through a lot. Young men don't carry the weight you do." He says gently then bring his hand to his forehead. "Ah! But I'm rambling again like if you were one of the young ones. I'm sure you've heard enough lectures. I'm Yuàn bó. I've sort of become a bit of the head master among the acolytes although I share the same rank as them!" He laughs. "I guess it's because I've been here for so long."

That catches your attention. "How long have you been here? Is it difficult to rise up in the ranks of the order?" You ask without thinking.

"Oh not in the beginning." Yuàn bó says. "I've seen many acolytes rise up or leave the order to persue other things. Of course like many things as you become more proficient progress slows. I'd say I've been here for at least 30 years."

"30?" You ask in surprise. "Is it because you're not a native of the city? Your name seems more common from where I'm from. Names here seem a bit different."

"Oh no." Yuàn bó says as he offers you a chair and serves you some water. He moves over and lights a few torches to illuminate the room further. "The city is rather welcoming to strangers and outsiders. Without them, it would never have flourished. No. I'm afraid my lack of progress is my own doing. Like many regrets, it happened when I was younger. I was bold. Arrogant. Felt I deserved the world for making it up here. Felt like I was being held back by the system. So...in order to try and advance faster, I did the single greatest sin among scholars and philosophers."

"What's that?" You ask.
>>
"I plagarized someone's work." Yuàn bó says. "Not take their own work and adapt it to my own work in an attempt to further our base of knowledge but simply stole it and claimed it as my own. Perhaps I should have known better than to think I could pull a fast one on those smarter than I but I was caught and punished. Rightfully so. Luckily the Exarch was merciful enough to allow me to stay in the city and remain a part of the order. However, he has expressly forbidden my advancement. I can never rise in the rank and I'll never be able to have access to the rest of the library."

"I'm sorry." You say. "I didn't mean to bring it up." The old man shakes his head and offers you a kind smile.

"It was my own failing that I brought upon myself. No one else was at fault. I've learned to accept it and I use my punishment to guide newer acolytes in hopes they do not follow my footsteps. There is still plenty to read and study here and I enjoy the small service I provide to the city even if it's not official."

"I know all too well about regret." You say with a nod. "I'm glad you managed to find a way to come to terms with it. I've seen the destructive nature it can have when people refuse to see the truth of their actions." The old man pats your shoulder.

"See? Not so young are you?" He says with a wheezy laugh. "So, my new friend, what made you want to join the order?"

>What do you say?
>Tell Yuàn bó the truth. You're here to prove yourself to the exarch so you can gain the location of the Pools of Contemplation.
>Say that you're here to expand your horizons. You're not sure if you're here to stay but you want to be able to learn something new.
>Say that you're not sure exactly. You want to improve but you have no idea how to do so. Joining the order seemed like a good idea.
>Write in.
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>>4831242
>Tell him the truth

In a city of knowledge, Lies don't last as he just proved.
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>>4831242
>I've come searching for a knowledge that the Exarch isn't willing to divulge until I prove myself.
>I've decided to learn and improve myself through philosophy and and actual knowledge, things that I skipped over in life in my misguuded search for martial strength.
>>
>>4831259
>>4831269
We're telling the truth. Probably gonna get thrown off the mountain. writing.
>>
"I've come searching for some informatino the Exarch isn't willing to give unless my friends and I prove ourselves." You say. "Hopefully joining the order will help us do that."

"Ohh! You met the Exarch already?" The old man says in awe. "Not many people have that honor. You must be someone special my friend."

"As much as I would like to disagree, I'm afraid you're right. Unfortunately, it's only caused me more problems any anything." You admit. "Though thankfully I've been able to do some good as well."

"You must have many stories to tell." The old man says. "But we should save that for a later time. You must be tired from your travels. I'm afraid the others won't be back here for a while. They tend to lose themselves in their studies and don't return until morning." He motions to a bed in the corner. "You may use that bed there. It's been empty for a while."

"Thanks." You say and you get up to put your bags on the bed. It wasn't the most luxurious bed but it served it's purpose. The blanket itself was a bit dusty but a few flicks manage to clean it up decently. You sit on it and look around for a moment. "I'm Tai Lung by the way." You say when realized, you habitually failed to mention your name. The old man stops and looks at you.

"Tai Lung?" He asks. "You don't mean, the Tai Lung?" You nod. The old man flinches slighty. "For you of all people to be here...and to have you as a roommate? But how? Why?" He asks.

"I am not the same man I was years ago." You say. "As I've said, I've come here to find myself, to prove to the Exarch I am worthy. Long have I neglected philosophy and knowledge and it has brought only ruin around me. Now I want to change that. To be able to do better."

"Still..." The old man says. "Perhaps it is best that you do not go around annoucing your name. Many people here are very afraid of you even if they have never met you."

>What do you say?
>Say that it does not matter. You have to be ok with who you are and that includes how people react to your name.
>Say that you will not lie about yourself but perhaps you will keep a low profile.
>Say that you'll only tell people your name if you trust them.
>Write in.
>>
>>4831514
>Unfortunately, that is the rod I have made for my own back. I doubt it would remain secret for long given that I announced it ot the guard and am seemingly the only Snow leopard here. I will simply have to deal with it, as you have learned to deal with your own disgrace.
>>
>>4831514
>Say that it does not matter. You have to be ok with who you are and that includes how people react to your name.
>"Some mistakes can never be taken back. The best we can do is to acknowledge them openly, and make sure never to repeat them. For once, no lives are on the line when it comes to revealing who I am, so I shall do so freely and face the consequences of it."
>>
>>4831514
>Normally I would adopt a fake identity, and only reveal my identity to those I trust when I leave, but in this case it's already past that, the Exarch, Dawa, the militia captain and a guard by the name of Tenzin already know who I am, and no doubt they will spread that information.
>That may be for the better though, I came here looking for truth and knowledge, so I must try living like through that.
>>
making food. So I'll be back in a bit. Then we can start our studies.
>>
>>4831625
What animals are Dawa and Yuan Bo.
I may try to give everyone the festival treatment at tge end of this arc, call it graduation day or something.
Should I try to draw the taverners, Jie and the two lazy guards too?
>>
>>4831643
If you want to man. I look forward to it.

But looks like the consensus is "There's no reason for us to hide our name, we deserve it and nobody but we are hurt by it."
>>
>>4831643
Good question because I tend to forget I'm writing furry fanfic. Yuan Bo is a duck and Dawa is a sheep. You're two other roommate are aligators. Just writing that down to keep in mind. You'll be meeting them soon enough though so it's not a major spoiler.

>>4831526
>>4831580
>>4831544
It doesn't matter if people know our name. Writing.
>>
>>4831878
So we are going to the aligators later than?
>>
>>4831909
To see.
The whole joke has been ruined.
>>
"Normally I would adopt a fake identity and only reveal myself to those I trust when I leave. Unfortunately, several people already know my name so it's only a matter of time before the rest of the city will know." You say. "Some mistakes can never be taken back but the best we can do is acknowledge them openly and make sure to never repeat them. Fortunately, there are no risks this time to revealing my name so I will do so and face the consequences of it. This is the road I have made for myself and I will walk it. It may be for the better though. I came here for truth and knowledge so I must try living with those things in mind."

"I can see why the Exarch would allow you to stay." The old man says. "You sound much like the man your eyes show. If you wish to learn then I cannot stop you. I just hope that you can ire you may draw upon yourself."

"I can take care of myself." You say with a smile. "I think I can handle whatever is thrown at me. As long as they do not try anything that threatens the lives of others then I will bear it in silence."

"Then I wish you good luck." Yuan Bo says. "But I'm keeping you up. I will let you sleep and should you need anything in the morning I will try and help you." You nod and put your things away in a small trunk at the side of the bed that was wedged between it and the wall. You guess that it was moved here by the others to make more room. With a yawn, you go under the surprisingly heavy sheets and fall fast asleep.

---

You awake the next morning and to your surprise, you are not blind and you are alone. You half expected Xin Lan to sneak into your bed and nap ontop of you. Sitting up, it dawns on you that your solitude means your roommates have gone out for the day and you never noticed them leave or come in for that matter despite how early in the morning it was. The skies were still dark but you could see the faint stain of sunlight creep on to you. You body feels slightly confused as it knows the sun should be out and yet there is still darkness. It takes another moment for you to realize that perhaps height of the mountain has something to do with the sun not appearing as it should. The city was within a crater and who knows how high up.

Stretching, you let out a quiet yawn and get ready for the morning.

>What do you want to do?
>Go find Ming and jog with her. You always enjoy seeing the look on her face when she realizes your running and you want to see it now considering you'd be running in the dark.
>Go find Renshu. See what he is up to. No doubt he's awake as well. Perhaps he'd like to join you for breakfast.
>Go find Xin. Maybe you can get away with a small joke of missing them in bed...or most definitely not. See how they fared last night. Hopefully they made some friends.
>Head out into the city proper. Go explore for a bit.
>Gather all your friends for breakfast and plan out what you will do with your year or at the very least what you want to do today.
>Write in.
>>
>>4832046
>Go find Xin. Maybe you can get away with a small joke of missing them in bed...or most definitely not. See how they fared last night. Hopefully they made some friends.
>>
>>4832046
>You forgot to talk to your invisible friends once you arrived. No doubt they’re buzzing with excitement and wanting to talk about you besting the trial of the mountain after they had to ignore you.
>>
>>4832046
>Jog with ming first, then get breakfast with the others.
>>
>>4832046
>Gather all of your friends and go for a bit of training, studying isn't an excuse to stop training.
>Go for breakfast and get used to the city, maybe meet out other two roomates too.
>>
>>4832720
Changing my vote to this.
>>4832130
Maybe we can get breakfast with the others after we talk to our little friends.
And better leave the training and outing to the city to the end of the day.
>>
>>4832732
Oh yeah. We were gonna save that till days end.

Change to support>>4832130
>>
>>4832130
>>4832732
>>4832763
Talking to the spirits. Writing.
>>
>>4833093
But really if you wanted to talk to the spirits, you could have just found one of your friends and flirted with them. The embarassment alone would have killed you.
>>
>>4833118
Hey boss, is it ok for the bird captain to be a 1800s gurkha instead of an armored tibetan medieval warrior?
Aparently instead of going the way of china, korea, mongols and even the japanese and using bolied leather, lamenar or scaled armour, they followed the arabs, persians and indians in using chainmail with welded parts of plates over a robe, and drawing all the linked circles is a pain.
So I'm thinking of using the most famous group of warriors that came out of the Himalayas to atleast stay close to the spirit of the place.
>>
>>4833141
Go ahead man. I look forward to seeing your interpretation of the character.
>>
>>4833141
Love the Gurkha's man. They are some really nice blokes when you get to meet them, least the group I lived near.

Even if their stories were a bit too "mature" for the younguns.
>>
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Well then, for now here's a Tai Lung as a Bon Monk.
Were the Mongol boar officer we fought twins or just one that got did magically healed? So If I ever draw the raider's leaders I should just draw him by her side or she be flanked be a hammer/axe duo.
>>
>>4833280
They were twins actually. if you had decided to check into the makeshift medic room as Xin, you'd had found the first one on a table and basically immobilized with splints.
>>
>>4833285
Part of me wants to feel bad. The other part of me remembers just how far they pushed our tolerance.
>>
You decide that the first order of buisness was to consult the spirits. Being in a mountain full of them, it made sense that you should see what they were up to. You take a few mintues to make your bed before you sit on the floor and begin to meditate. You slip away to the spiritual world that was layered on to yours. You sense the multitude of spirits hovering about the city and going on about their daily duties. You sense a few fire sprites skittering around the walls near the torches before they notice your presence and they scurry away.

You sense some earth sprites deep within the rock under the floor as they dig around, bringing fertile soil and rock to the surface and burying the old to be rejuvinated. A lone water sprite pokes it's head out of the jug full of tea. It sees you and it's everpresent smile widens as it hops out of the jug and rolls towards you instead of hopping. You feel it bump into your leg before it leaps up and lands on your head with a damp splat.

"Hello there." You say. "Having a good time?"

The water sprite jiggles contently on your head and you hear a very watery, "Yes."

"Where are you friends?" You ask but it seemed like the water sprite had fallen asleep on your head or at least they decided to stay very still. You walk towards the open window and look outside. The city outside was a bit of a blurry mess as you're not quite familiar with the surrounding area but it seems you and your jiggling friend have garnered some attention as nearly half a dozen wind sprites excitedly fly in causing some pages to scatter off the table. "It's a young friend! Hello young friend!" They shout as they float around you and bounce in the air.

"No, it is old friend." One of the sprites corrects the others with what you assume is pride. The other wind sprites continue to dance around you and tease the lone sprite by still refering to you as 'young friend'.

>What do you want to talk to the sprites about?
>Write in.
>>
>>4833325
>Talk about living here in the Sacred Library. Does anyone other than Sangpo talk to them? Do they know why that fire sprite was so shy? Do they want for us to tell a story or to play?
I assume that the one that said we are his old friend is our little adoring fan that follows us around.
>>
>>4833325
>It is indeed old friend, But I'm younger than your fathers other friend.
>Talk about the library, ask if only Sangpo speaks with them, Would you like to hear some stories?

We can probably entertain them with the raiders and our climb up the mountain. I'm not sure if the one sprite is Little Fan, but it seems likely.
>>
>>4833336
>>4833340
It is. Your #1 fan. Too pure to see you as evil.
>>
>>4833345
Daaaw. We should say hello to him/her/it specifically

And as another point to ask, they said they were promised not to tell anyone about it which makes sense. But Sangpo mentioned benefactors and our connection to them so maybe we can ask how many other great dragons have given this place their blessings.
>>
>>4833345
We should give them a name.
I think Fan is good, sounds chinese.
I hopexthe little guy grows up to become a full fledged spirit by watching all of our adventures. Maybe he can be the guardian spirit living in the shrine we build in our home, guarding the magical bamboo forest that grew on a mountaintop, or the bkessed lake.
>>
>>4833375
I like that idea. Maybe after the timeskip. "Little Fan" is a cute nickname especially if you pronounce it like 'fahn'.
>>
>>4833375
I think we already tried to explain the concept of names to them. They didn't get it.

Still, calling them Little Fan should start to get the idea across.
>>
>>4833280
Oh shit, I forgot to mention that I love the look of TL in monk robes. It has a more casual feel to it. They're clearly not fighting clothing but they look comfortable. I can imagine the crew teasing TL about it though and his only response is a very Kiryu, "Nah, I like this one."
>>
>>4833404
Sprites and spirits don't have much of a concept of indiviuality. While they can identify themselves as a singular thing it doesn't go much beyond that. They're a collective. Not quite hive mind where they can see through one another or read the other's "mind" but much like a river flowing into an ocean or hills giving way to a mountain. They all flow through one another. You can name indiviual oceans and lake but they're all part of one entire system of water, you know? Little Fan might never understand why you call them that but I like to imagine, because I'm a sucker for sappy things, that they'll eventually learn that's simply what you call them and them alone.
>>
>>4833422
That is sappy. And that's not a bad thing.

But clearly we should also ask, How do sprites become Spirits become greater one.
>>
>>4833404
I know, and we asked him what is his name, and he didn't know because he didn't have one, or even a concept of individuality.
I think that's probably something that they develop when they become a more fully fledged spirit.
We can call him that and he may get it when he gets older/more powerful. Also it's cute and he deserves it.
>>4833397
They are young children, I love them.
Talking about spirits, how do they look like? We know the sprites, and that the water spirits are like snakes with four arms going by the the ones that attacked the ship, and the wind ones look like driads/spriggans/wickermen if we go by what happened with the forest and Jia Bao, but what do the earth and fire spirits look like? Before the confrotation with Kai the only description of them is that they have a humanoid form, and the image is the reveal of the little fire salamanders.
>>
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>>4833436
I haven't found an image for fire and earth spirits. Orginally I imagined them all to be humanoid but that seemed rather boring for this setting. You're right on water and wind spirits but there's also been water spirits that look like constantly rolling waves in vaguely humanoid form and typhoon/tornado in the same vein for wind ones along with the ones you've seen. Earth spirits look like golems but can also adopt the form of larger armadillos made of solid stone and magma. Fire spirits can look like miniuature dragons but also like larger lizards made of lava like pic related. However fire spirits and earth spirits are far rarer than their wind and water counterparts.

Fire spirits only come forth during large blazes and mainly reside in volcanos and similar areas. Sometimes a single fire spirit might reside in a town, content with the flames there particularly if there is a forge. Coincidentally, there's rumors of the Feng family patricarch using fire spirits to assist his smithing and that's how he won the competitions to become Royal Blacksmith but he denies such claims.

Earth spirits remain deep within the land and it's mountains. They make sure that the land remains fertile and lively while some claim that they also help prevent earthquakes unless their dragon matriarch's wrath is incurred. Because of their dutitful nature, they rarely are ever seen above ground.


I'm making lunch at the moment so it'll be a bit before I can post again.
>>
>>4833478
I like to imagine wind sprites look like Raava from that show that doesn't exist but pretends to sequel Avatar. The asthetic is just cool
>>
>>4833478
>>
>>4833563
That's adroable as fuck. I love it.
>>
>>4833583
That's what they do. Sprites are made as cute as possible, because everyone loves them and if ever some heavy lifting is needed the Spirits can come and be the wrath of god.
>>
>>4833336
>>4833340
talking to the sprites. Hopefully we don't cause weather conditions this time.
>>
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>>4833583
>>
"Hello, Little Fan." You say. "You are right, I am an old friend but I am younger than your father's other friend. It has been a while. It seems your firey friends are a little bit shy."

"Fire sprites are not used to being seen." Fan says. "They are cautious when approached so they don't burn anything. Especially when there is so many things around."

"Can only Sangpo see you all?" You ask, looking at the sprites. "Does no one else speak to you?"

"The ancient one talks to us all." Fan says. "But his students see us too. We speak to them but they do not respond. They are very boring." You chuckle.

"Perhaps they cannot understand you." You say with a smile. "Give them time and perhaps eventually they will be able to tell your stories." Fan and the others seem confused.

"We do not speak differently. " One says. "Other ones, do not speak differently either. We use words to communicate. Why do they not respond?"

You put on an air of reassurance. "It is simply different." You say. "Do not worry. They will hear you in time but in the mean time perhaps you would like hear a story?" More papers are strewn about as the wind sprites fly around your head excitedly. The noise seems to bring more curious sprites around as well. A few fire sprites poke their heads out of the flames of a nearby torch and watch curiously as they skitter about the metal that holds the flames. You quickly work to settle the sprites down and begin recant the events of the raiders and how you fought to find them and defeat them. You're not always sure if the sprites can understand the exact meaning of your words but you're glad that they're at least entertained by your tales.

You finish you story and the sprites float about and fly around the room. "More! More!" They chant eagerly.

"I'm sorry small ones, but I'm afraid that is all the stories I have for now." You says. "However, why don't you tell me some stories? I could always go for a good story."

"Yes! We shall tell the stories!" The wind sprites sing and they come down to be near your head before your ears are filled with almost a dozen tales at once. Even for you, it's hard to make out one word from another. Perhaps it would be best if you gave the sprites a sense of direction.

>What do you want the sprites to tell you about?
>Write in.
>>
>>4833934
>The forming of the Sacred Library's ancient accord
mountain lore
>>
>>4833961
That's a good one, support.
Also the sprites are aways adorable and cute.
>>
>>4833961
I will support but I also suggest

>A story of the jade palace.
Maybe feeling a little homesick, a reminder of where we wish to return eventually, if only in spirit. Heh.
>>
>>4834025
Are you telling them the story or are you asking for one?
>>
>>4834069
Asking them for one.

It is nice to be reminded of home, and they may have some tales from before our time that we never heard before.
>>
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Our little Fan made me want to draw the spirits before the rest of cast, so here's a redesign of the wind sprites. Wanted to make they look more fairy-like and at the same time less human, so i went for a face with just eyes, leaf wings and a necklace, and small twig horns so may share a detail with their dad.
>>
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>>4835327
And here's a water sprite.
Wanted to keep the DQ slime look and at the same time make it look more watery.
>>
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>>4835404
Transformed the fire sprite for a simple salamander to an axolotl, so they could be more different from a fire spirit.
>>
>>4835327
Cuuuuuuuuuuuute!
>>
>>4833961
>>4833965
>>4834025
taking these. Writing.
>>
"How about you tell me more about this city? How come there are so many of you here? I've never seen anything like it." You ask. The water sprite on your head jiggles momentarily before falling off and landing on the ground with a "Splat". It gets up, face upside down and slightly confused before it smiles again and decides that your knee is a good spot to sit on. The wind sprites hover around your shoulders and spin in place.

"This is a fun place!" The sprites say. "Father says we're safe here and can play all we want! Everyone is friendly here."

"The Exarch is a friend of your father but what about the others? There's water, earth and fire spirits here too." You ask.

"More friends!" The sprites say. "They come here to have fun too! We help with the mountain. Sometimes we play with the children here but most of the time not. People leave lots of nice gifts at the shrines."

"Yes, but why?" You ask. "Normally it seems like you all go your seperate ways. What did the Exarch do? Is he friends with all the Great Dragons?"

The sprites seem confused at that question. You guess that perhaps they simply don't know or don't quite understand that being able to speak with them is a bigger deal than they assume. Perhaps it would be best to speak to a spirit or the Exarch about this. Thinking a bit, you decide to try another topic.

"Do you guys know about the Jade Palace?" You ask. "Know any stories about that?"

The sprites grow excited at that. "Yes! We know all about there! Oogway tells us lots of stories about that."

You chuckle. You had forgotten that Oogway had far more time with the elementals than you did. It was no surprise he'd tell stories as well. "Well what stories has Oogway told you?"

"He told us many tales! About the peach tree and little Shifu's first love and how he build the palace." They chant. "And how shifu found the little snow leopard."

You were a bit surprised at those topics. Oogway, though wise and always open to discussion, never did speak about his past. You're a bit shocked that he'd reveal these things to the elementals.

>Which story do you want to hear?
>About the peach tree. You know the one but you never found it to be anything special.
>Shifu's love life. Frankly, you never thought your father to be open enough to have a relationship. You always figured he was as bad about it as you.
>Your adoption. You already know this tale but you suppose it can't hurt to hear it again.
>The palace's construction. You never gave it much thought, to be honest. It was always there as far as you know.
>Write in
>>
>>4835935
>Shifu's love life
>Your adoption
>The palace construction

I'm interested in the palace and the alternative view of our adoption, but Shifu had a love?! This we must know.
>>
>>4835935
>About the peach tree. You know the one but you never found it to be anything special.
>The palace's construction. You never gave it much thought, to be honest. It was always there as far as you know.
The earth boy is taking a bit longer because I fucked up the coloring so I'm having to redraw him.
>>
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>>4835942
Here's he is.
Guess now i have to draw the grow spirits.
Think I'll just post them all together at once.
>>
>>4835974
>>
>>4835983
I'm surprised you haven't recommended a firefox, for a joke.
Although a fire lynx could work given the relation between Zhulong and the royal family
>>
>>4836011
We can always use a messenger in flames.
>>
>>4835936
>>4835942
Sorry lads, but I gotta choose the common vote. Building the palace it is. Writing.
>>
>>4836040
Fine by me.
>>
>>4836011
>>
>>4836053
Cute!
>>
"What did Oogway tell you about building the Jade palace?" You ask. Truthfully, you had never given any thought to the origins of your home. Thinking on that, you now wonder what else you took for granted. It seemed ironic that despite dying once and going through Hell for Renshu, you never stopped to think about things around you and what they meant to you. Granted, you knew how much your family meant to you but for other things...Well things always did come up and this was one of the rare instances where you didn't have any other matters at hand.

"Oogway made the the Palace a long long time ago he says." One sprite starts before the others begin to chime in. "He was sad because he had no friends. So he wandered for a long time. He walked over mountains and through rivers. He walked through forests and into caves. Finally he found a large pool and there he say and thought. Thought about war and about friends. About fighting and about peace. He had no friends because the war had taken them away. But he didn't want to fight. He just wanted his friends back. So he decided that he would not fight anymore and he would build a house where he can think about his friends. So he went down the hill and began to break rocks and then made bricks. One by one he made it. It was very very slow but for turtles slow is not so bad. One day, he heard screaming. Poor people were being chased by bad men. The bad men wanted to hurt the people but Oogway did not want to fight. So he tried to tell the bad men to go away. But the bad men did not want to listen and so they tried to hurt him. Oogway had to fight again and he was sad but the people were happy. New friend had saved them and so they promised to help him. So they went to the rocks and began to make bricks too. Bricks were a little faster now. But soon everyone became hungry, so some friends decided to make food while others made bricks. Then more people came and Oogway and his new friends shared their things for food. So more people came back to trade and some stayed. And then more people worked on the bricks. Soon the bad people came back but with more bad people. Oogway did not want people to fight but his new friends, now much much more wanted to. They wanted to keep Oogway safe and keep his house safe. So everyone fought and Oogway made sure no new friends were lost. When everyone was safe, Oogway went back to the pools and he thought some more. Why did fighting not make people sad? Why did they become happy? Oogway thought some more. Maybe fighting was not all bad. Maybe fighting could be good if it made people happy. So Oogway practiced fighting, new fighting. Fighting that could help people instead of destroy. And Kung Fu was made. He would teach people there and they would go to help other people and make new Kung Fu and they would come back to teach him so he could teach others. Slowly the house got bigger and Kung Fu became bigger. And that is how Oogway's house was made."
>>
You sit there as you listen. The story was quite basic but much like the elementals themselves, it was the basic parts that were important. You wonder how long Oogway wallowed in his sadness. You wonder how long he meditated at the Pools. Perhaps you should take the time to speak with him someday. Maybe you could take your friends as well. Hopefully they too could follow you to the other lands. The sprites dance around your head and try to sit on it like the water sprite only to bump into one another and fall off. You want to stay here and speak some more but you also figure you've been here for a while and your friends are waiting on you.

>What do you do?
>Go and find your friends. No doubt they're waiting for you.
>Ask for another story. One more couldn't hurt.
>Try and ask for information on something else. Maybe you can make sense of the sprites chattering.
>Write in.
>>
>>4836236
>>Go and find your friends. No doubt they're waiting for you.
We got to get breakfast, but remember to thank the sprites and promise to play with them sometime.
How do you guys think that Big Fan would look like? I was was thinking like a female air djinn, but wearing a dress of petals and maybe a painted wooden mask with wooden horns shaped like a crown.
>>
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>>4836241
Also here's a full wind spirit in a wooden form, next I'm going to make a sentient tornado.
I realized that if I post all of them at once, I would have to lower the resolution and the image size to get past 4chan file limit.
>>
Wait a minute.
>Finally he found a large pool and there he say and thought. Thought about war and about friends.
>So he decided that he would not fight anymore and he would build a house where he can think about his friends.
>So he went down the hill and began to break rocks and then made bricks
>Oogway went back to the pools and he thought some more.
Are the fucking Pools of Reflection that water basin at the top of the Jade Palace? The one where the Dragon Scroll was suspended above? Did we go all this way just to have to go back where we started? You really can't run from your past huh?
>>
>>4836236
>Go find our friends
>Bye little fan

Time for food.
>>
>>4836272
No, the pools of reflection are the twin to the pool of sacred tears.

The one where they went to train in the 1st-2nd movie.
We could have meditated in the valley of peace, but uh. . .You know why we couldn't
>>
>>4836280
I hope so, because as poetic as having to go full circle to complete our journey would be, that still gives a "the real treasure was the friends we made along the way", "was inside of you all along" or even "the journey was more valuable than the destination" feeling, a certain lack of payoff to all the effort.
>>
>>4836285
Making food but no. The Pools of Contemplation are the twin to the Pools were Shifu taught Po. Might just be my interpretation but I thought of them up as the yin to the Pool of Sacred tear's yan. Where as the pool of Sacred Tears allows someone to meditate on the world around them. The Pools of Contemplation allow one to meditate on what's within.
>>
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>>4836289
Thanks boss, sometimes I forget about all the lore of Kung Pu Panda.
>>4836280
Also thanks to you too anon, just checked the wiki, forgot that the Sacred Tears was a thing.

I had made some symbols to put on banners for the collage with all of our friends at the end of the arc, it's all based on the real world's symbols, but I'm not sure if I will end up using them or not, and i don't like the idea of just wasting my time, so here they are.
>>
>>4836297
It's no problem. I have to look back on old threads for names and the like as well. I really should make a cheat sheet for the lore considering I make up a lot of it and it surprisingly comes back up more often than I expect from votes and player mentions. Also digging the flags too.
>>
>>4836331
Checking old threads in the archive is fun. Ming is introduced by flirting after a delivery job and Tai Lung isn't broken down by the brothel or interrogating prostitutes.
I also didn't have any recolletion that Bao's surname was Jia, I must commit Sudoku in shame for failing the first girl
>>
>>4836541
Anon you wound me. Ming was introduced at a point where TL was still burying all his emotions so embarassment and shame were buried with arrogance and anger. Same applies during the brothel encounter although even those two emotions were buried by the then unknown protect Ming state you had unlocked. After all you saw her be sad and that's just no good. Harlots beware a TL incenced by seeing best girl be sad. As you can see, all of these encounters are lore friendly and totally not a result of me still figuring out characters and the like.
>>
>>4836297
I claim bottom left in the name of Bestgirlism!

>>4836598
>>
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Here's a wind spirit that lives in the clouds.
>>4836598
Kek, it's alright boss, it's like the opposite of flanderization, the characters got deeper instead of shallower.
>>4836884
I think that those symbols would fit more the eastern meme religion, and the symbol of best girlism would be a Chi Rho, but a B instead of a P.
The First Girl Church would be a cross, but making it a fancy lower case f, and a reformed girl would be just a upper case block letter F.
No idea what would be for besboyism and haremnism though.
>>
>>4837228
Multiple Chi Rho's is the mark of the heretic
>>
>>4837282
How about a moon or star surronded by star for haremnism than?
I was thinking that bestboy was an anismist/shamam pagan faith, like tengrii or lithuanian.

Woul post the chi-rho I drew, but I'm phoneposting right now.
>>
>>4837446
Sun surrounded by stars, not a star surrounded by others.
>>
>>4836241
>>4836274
finding our friends. Writing.
>>
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>>4837446
Here's a Chi-Beta.
A fitting name for a meme religion that boils down to being a simp.
>>
"I see. Thank you for the stories, friends. I'm afraid I have to go now. My other friends are waiting on me." You say. The sprites all wail in disappointment causing the long water sprite to perk up, bob up and down for a moment, then roll off your knee to go somewhere else. The wind sprites say their goodbyes and float away to find some other mischeif to get to leaving you alone once more. You open your eyes and find the sun streaming through the windows and your stomach sinks slightly. Xin Lan was going to be upset if they had to miss breakfast because of you. No doubt they'd get their revenge later by teasing you into a sweating mess.

You stand and stretch a bit to get the stiffness out. As you finish, you notice two more figures in the room. A pair of aligators fast asleep in two beds. They must've come in while you were meditating and gone to bed. The old man did mention they tended to go overboard in their studies. You go and get something to drink from the jug the water sprite was residing in and notice a package with your name on it. It was oddly heavy and upon opening it, you find a set of acolyte's robes. For something simple, it seemed much heavier than your current set of clothing and thicker too. You take a few mintues to swap clothes and find them to be quite comfortable. Despite their look, they were quite roomy and comfortable. You take another moment to grab your lighter bag for in city travel and step outside. The halls of the building were packed with people and chatter. Some stood in the halls and discussed various topics you weren't particularly interested in but you did keep an ear out for any chatter about your group. The best you could catch was that there was a new group of acolytes that were personally escorted by one of the Brotherhood themselves, something unheard of.

You make your way to the common room that Dawa had shown you and find your friends sitting around the window and chatting. "There you are!" Xin Lan shouts as they hop off the windowsill and confront you, hands on their hips. "You said we'd meet for breakfast. It's noon!" They say stamping their foot.

"Sorry." You say awkwardly. "I just took some time to speak with the spirits. You know, get some information on the city. It'd be a bad idea not to considering how many of them there are around here." Xin Lan grumbles and glares at you. "Anything important happen?" You ask the others sheepishly.

"Nothing at all." Renshu replies, somewhat amused at Xin Lan yelling at you. "Xin Lan and I have canvased the city a bit this morning. We have a basic map set up." He pulls a rolled up scroll from his shirt and hands it over to you. You open it and see it's a very basic map, still mostly blank but you have what appears to be the main streets and some basic stores outlined for you." A snort draws your attention and you realize that Ming is fast asleep in her chair. A bit of drool running down her face.
>>
"What's going on with Ming?" You ask.

"It seems like Ming has become rather enthralled with the library." Renshu chuckles. "I'm not sure she slept much last night with all the talking she did. I'm sure a nice cup of tea will perk her right up."

"Right...breakfast." You say, embarassed. You lean down and pick up the angry bunny to tuck under your arm. They make a grumpy sound but don't resist you. You then move and pick up Ming as you cradle her in your arm. She lets out a yawn and snuggles into your chest. "You ready to go?" You ask Renshu. He nods and motions to you.

"Where would you like to go?" He asks.

>Where do you want to eat?
>Eat here in the acolyte's chambers. It might help get a feel for things.
>Go find somewhere to eat in the city. Explore a bit.
>Go to one of the diners on your map. Your friends went out of your way to map the city. Might as well make the most of it and celebrate your arrival.
>Write in.

>Bonus, post an image of what kind of robes the acolytes wear. >>4833280 already posted a pretty cool one.
>>
>>4837646
>Wander the city.

Let's explore a bit more. Maybe find a hidden gem
>>
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Xin edit
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>>4837646
>Go to one of the diners on your map. Your friends went out of your way to map the city. Might as well make the most of it and celebrate your arrival.
I was saving this images I saved of Bon monks for when i got around to draw the rest of the cast, before i got sidetracked to draw memes instead, but here's the clothes.
I was thinking that red and blue are for acolytes, than orange and red, than they get the goofy hat, and the highest ranking wear the crowns.
Also I was going to drawn yuan Bo as a mandarin duck, still not sure what to make Shangpo, how about a snub nosed monkey? They look funny.
>>
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>>4837719
Here's the First Girl not-cross.
Also something I learned searching for those images. See those poses that some of the monks are doing? it's how they are supposed to debate, the one making the argument has to make the pose, and the defending one must sitting in a lotus position, than they switch, or something.
>>
>>4837663
>>4837719
Eating out. Carrying an angry bun and a sleeping kitty. Writing.
>>
"Let's eat out. We still haven't properly celebrated making it here." You say.

"Let's get some potstickers or dumplings. Maybe some nice buns." Xin Lan says as they rest their elbows on your arm. "Could go for some soup too. Bit chilly up here and we'll need to get used to the enviroment."

"Ming was speaking about it." Renshu agrees. "The air is much thinner up here so weariness will settle in much faster than we are used to. Effectively it's as if we're holding out breath half the time. It's quite interesting and would make for some good training."

"It might help speed up Ming's training." You admit. "The harsher enviroment will help push her though I'm mostly worried about ourselves." You admit. "I doubt physical progress will be enough to satisfy the Exarch. We are at peak physical condition. I doubt any progress in that will be enough."

"Don't you worry your fluffy tail about that." Xin Lan says. "I got an idea that will knock the old man's socks off."

"Oh really?" You ask, surprised. "What do you got in mind?" Xin Lan gives you a cheeky grin.

"I'm going to write a book." They say.

"A book?" You ask. "You?"

"What do you mean by that?" They demand. "I can write a book. Anyone can do it. Mine's gonna be the best."

"What's it about?" You ask.

"Oh you know...this and that." They say vaugely.

"I don't." You say. "I think maybe you should look into something else. If anyone can write a book then it might not be enough." Xin Lan simply grunts at that. You step out of the acolyte's building and feel a cool breeze hit your face. Thanks to your robes, however, you barely feel it on your body. Ming stirs and opens her eyes.

"What's on fire?" She mumbles looking around and instinctively wrapping her arms around your neck.

"Nothing." You chuckle. "I'm a bit hurt you think we're that big of trouble makers."

"It's true though." Ming says with a giggle. "Everytime I'm carried around, there's always something we're running form."

"I can carry you more often." You offer.

"Aren't you sweet?" She says giving you a peck on the cheek. "I guess it's my turn to be your wife? Can we snuggle in bed too? Xin can be our son."

"How does that work?" Xin Lan asks. "We look nothing alike. I'm way more handsom than the big guy."

"You're adopted." Ming says as she rests her head against your neck. "Isn't that right honey?" She coos. "We found the poor thing in the woods and we just couldn't live without a child of our own."

"I...think...maybe we should just be truthful about ourselves this one time." You stammer. "Everyone will know who we are soon enough. Making up stories might just make things worse."

"Aww...but Xin got a turn." Ming pouts. "I think we should all have one. Even Renshu." She says. You feel a large pang of guilt and pain come from him at that.
>>
You cough. "Maybe in the next town. What are you in the mood for lunch?" You lie and try to get to another topic. "Xin's in the mood for something warm. Renshu also mentioned something about less air? Sounds like good training for you." Ming rolls her eyes at the word training and smiles.

"Always single minded." She says. "The air is thinner up here, yes. You need to be careful. Even someone as strong as you might find themselves breathless and light headed after normal exercise. Worst case senario, you might pass out mid fight and not even know it."

"Is there nothing we can do to adjust faster?" You ask.

"Not that I know of." Ming admits. "You're basically asking me how you can learn to breathe less. Your body needs to learn how to make the most out of every breath. Honestly, you might have the easiest time of it considering you grew up in a mountain. The rest of us are used to the abundance of air so we have to learn how to do it from scratch."

"Guess breathing exercises are on the list now." You say.

"You don't need to worry about me." Ming says with a grin. "I'm living here from now on. These are the Pools for me. I can't go back home. Ever. I got a good man, a cute son, an entire order dedicated to knowledge, and the largest library in China. What more could I ask for." She giggles. You shake your head.

"Lunch first. Plans later." Xin Lan says. "Turn right here and we'll be in the market district." You follow Xin Lan's directions and soon enough, the crowds become thicker and louder as you approach the main street. Stalls fill the sides and vendors shout at you to look at their wares. The smell of dozens of meals and foods flow into your nose and you soon remember you haven't eaten in a day or so.

"That's a bakery, and that's a noodle shop. That place there has weird foods, probably the local stuff. Not there, that's sea food and it's gross. Oh that place has tons of fried foods, you can smell it from there." Xin Lan says pointing out the various shops.

"That is a tea place." Renshu says quietly. "It's quite nice. You're allowed to brew your own tea there at your own pace. Nothing premade or brewed."

>Where do you want to go?
>Go to the bakery. You'll be fine with a nice snack for the day.
>Try the noodle shop. Been a while since you've had noodles even if you're not the biggest fan of them.
>Go for the local things. You're curious what there's in there.
>Sea food. Simply because you know Xin Lan is lying and is making a fuss about the ocean.
>Try the tea shop. Some place quiet could be nice.
>Go search for something away from the main street. See if you can find something else.
>Write in.
>>
>>4837861
>Bakery
>Tea

get some hot warm pastry and then brew some tea for ourselves. Crumpets and tea eh
>>
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>>4837861
>>Go for the local things. You're curious what there's in there.
More memes, this time a reformist.
>>
>>4837870
The fires of War have given away to the flames of religion. Its a very true to life kind of thing. But anons...what if you're all first/bestgirls?
>>
>>4837898
As the devoted of Bestgirlism, All art bestgirl as according to their own drive to improve. And the firstgirl is the first to appear, which would. . . Technically make that Tigress, given that we saw them first. But the first OC we encountered was Bao.

But as for my personal favorite, Renshu. Like I never expected the gay furry bromance to be my preferred option but there you go.
Probably also triggers a few of my likes, like stories which include tragic events which mostly pertain to protecting their family at their own expense.
>>
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>>4837898
That's the eastern religion boss, that the best girl is tge one that's inside of you. I've been calling it Lungism for reasons, but Luoism works too.

Ahem, I meant to say, how many times do you plan to convert away from the true faith? Do we need to start another crusade?
>>
While I wait for a few more votes on what to eat for lunch. I'm making lunch for myself.

>>4837911
Big bun just wants little bun to be safe.

>>4837912
But how can you crusade against me when I simply want you to be the best you that you can be? Would you cursade against yourself?
>>
>>4837916
Yes he does. And Big bun deserves all the hugs for it.

And to not hate himself when they get them.
>>
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Welcome moon and star, to this place where Harems are made.
>>4837912
Don't make me call the First Girl boss, I'm pretty sure I still have a favor saved because of how quickly the last one went.
>>
Rolled 2 (1d2)

>>4837868
>>4837870
Local things or tea? Guess it's time for the dice to decide.
>>
>>4838061
looks like we going local

>>4837912
State the difference between bestgirlism and Lungism
>>
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>>4838108
Bestgirlism believes all are the best girls, the best girl is outside, everywhere, and all equal under the Waifu.
Lungism believes that the best girl is you, it's inside, the way to the Waifu is only through yourself.
Firstgirlism believes that the First Girl is the Chosen Waifu, and can only be passed on from one of them to the other, after it ends.
The Reformists believes that one must search for their Waifu, and that is the First Girl that you find in that Quest. There's many different understanding on what would define an actual first girl and when that quest starts.
Haremnist sees the WAifu in all of Girls, so he must attain them all.
Bestboyists are either unenlightened to the truth, or active contrarians. Both must be saved, but one with words and the other with swords.
Autismus Animen.

Talking about the not-pagans and satanists, here they are.
>>
"I want to try some of the local things." You admit. "Might as well celebrate by trying out the local food and drink right?" You say with a grin.

"Feast! Feast!" Xin Lan chants.

"Sounds like an excellent idea." Renshu agrees. "If we want to learn about the local custom then we should partake in them."

"Well we know where to go." Ming says. "Let's see what they got."

You enter the local restaurant and are immediately surrounded by the sounds of talking and eating. People give you odd looks as you walk in carrying Ming clinging to you in one arm and an excited Xin Lan tucked under the other. No one says anything nor approaches you about it so you ignore them. You sit down at an open table and allow your friends to choose their seats. Moments later, a lamb hurries over to you. "Sorry for the wait dearies." She says. "But it's the ussual lunch rush. What can I get for you?"

"One of everything!" Xin Lan announces. "We want to try out everything you got."

"Just some green tea please." Renshu says. "It seems food is already covered."

"I'll just have some fruit juice if you have it." Ming says.

"I'll have some peach juice." You say.

The woman looks at you a bit confused or perhaps more overwhealmed at the size of your order. "O-of course. We'll get you a bit of everything. What would you like as a center piece?" She asks, slightly flustered.

"I'm sorry?" You ask.

"We don't need any decorations ma'am." Ming says.

"Oh no. I'm not talking about decorations." She says. "Are you new to our city?" She asks after your confusions seems to register.

"We are." Renshu says. "So if we are not following customs then we apologize." The woman shakes her head.

"When we ask for a center piece, we're not refering to decorations. Here, when a group eats together, it's custom to share a dish together to promote unity and discussion. Stories say that the Exarch used to always share a meal with newcomers back in his day. In order to both encourage his guests to talk and to learn more about the world around him. Both guest and host would prepare half of the meal then they would trade recipes. Since we don't have too many outsiders arrive, we simply adopted it as a meal to share with friends and family. Sometimes it's used as a peace offering to settle disputes. The one who's center piece is on the table is said to be the most important person at the table however such things are rarely considered at a public place like this." The woman explains as she motions to the center of the table. You now notice that the table itself is made of smoothed stone. In the center is a blackened metal brazier with a grate on it. Inside of the brazier were a few logs of wood, ready to be lit. It reminds you of the makeshift cooking station Xin Lan made when the two of you were stranded at sea. "Our tables here have the center prepared for fire. We ignite the logs and the heat of the flames keep both the centerpiece nice and hot as well as keep the guests warm."
>>
"Wow. So there are even food customs here as well." Ming says. "Is there any center pieces that are commonly cooked for a celebration?" She asks. "We want to celebrate our arrival here." You stifle a chuckle as the woman's eyes glint with the prospect of a sale.

"Well...we have a small potluck dish we offer here." She says. "A pot partitioned off into four sections, each one containing a different stew representing a different season. It's a common style of dish used to celebrate a bit of everything in life. If there was anything that would represent celebration, it would be that."

"What do you guys think?" Ming asks.

"Sounds good to me." Xin Lan says. "More kinds of soup, more kinds of food."

"Well...if it is proper to use it as a celebratory meal. I don't see why not?" Renshu says.

>What do you say?
>Take the bait and buy the special dish. You're here to celebrate after all.
>Ask for something less...grand. A simple soup will do among all the other dishes you're ordering.
>Try and ask the others to maybe hold back on the food. There's still the rest of the day to go through.
>Write in.
>>
>>4838185
>Take the bait and buy the special dish. You're here to celebrate after all.
quickly tell fan to invite the exarch over urgently
>>
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>>4838185
>Ask for something less...grand. A simple soup will do among all the other dishes you're ordering.
>Try and ask the others to maybe hold back on the food. There's still the rest of the day to go through.
Something light and simple, we don't know how well we will adjust to the air, so better not risk getting sick.

Also here's all the memes at once.
>>
>>4837729
Looks quite similar to something I've seen only in visions of the future.... something called "Visage Tome" I believe, my memory is quite hazy indeed but that does seem to be quite close to what it was named. A tome of visages? Quite preposterous but when it comes to these visions of mine nothing makes sense
>>
Hey Luo, odd question but how old are Hien and Renshu respectively?

I don't remember if it was ever mentioned and I kinda wanna know for something I plan on doing for the quest. Y'all would get a kick out of I'm sure
>>
>>4838734
Hien is early to mid 20s. About Xin's age so like 24-26. Renshu is the second oldest of the team. Mid 30s.
>>
>>4838772
No wait. Sorry, Hien is younger than that. He's 22 because he was born just before TL went to prison and TL spent 20 years in jail. I remember now because he had never heard of the Emperor having 3 kids, only 2 since news of Hien’s birth was not wildly known at the time of TL's incarceration.
>>
>>4838772
>>4838800
Thank ya kindly. Don't mind the ID change, Phone posting is as always quite homosexual
>>
>>4838185
>A simple soup would do, since it woulnt behooves us to overstuffed on fine foods. Much as my friend here may be impervious to getting ill
>>
>>4838991
>>4838392
Going for something simple. Writing.
>>
"Maybe we should cut back a bit." You suggest. "We'll take just a simple soup and maybe just get us the chef's choice of dishes for us."

"What?" Xin Lan exclaims. "You can't do this! I'm dying!"

"You will be if you over eat and find yourself throwing up because your body isn't used to the altitude." You chide. "We're celebrating but we still have things to do today. Can't just feel all bloated and full."

"Oh come on." Ming says gently pushing your shoulder. "At least let us have the celebration soup. It sounds nice and like you said, we are celebrating."

"Yeah! It's like 4 soups in one. I think that will be good to make up for cutting our food allowance." Xin Lan teases. You look at Renshu for his oppinion but he merely shrug. Ming hugs your arm and gives it a squeeze.

"Pleeease?" She says giving you a wide eyed look.

"Yeah. Come on. Don't be a bully." Xin Lan says hugging your other arm. You sigh and look up as you try to avoid their gazes. "Alright." You concede. "We'll have the celebration soup but everyone gets a single dish just to be safe."

"Great!" Ming says clapping her hands. "We'll have that celebration soup and let's see what I want..."

You and your friends place your orders and the waitress hurrys off to place it before returning to light the brazier for you. It takes a few moments but you can feel the rock slowly begin to heat up as well giving you and your friends a warm surface to place your arms on. The waitress returns a few seconds afterwards with the mugs of drink you asked for. "Just place those on these and your drinks will remain nice and cool." She says as she hands you several disk shaped peices of wood. As she leaves, Xin Lan takes a sip and says, "You know. I'm not liking this responsible version of you." They say. "What happened to the old you? The one who went around disregarding the law to save everyone?" They tease.

"There's no one to save." You reply as you drink. "Besides you after you come down from a stomach ache. So there's no reason to break the rules."

"Please. My belly is made of iron." Xin Lan says. "I've seen you staring at it. You wanna pet it don't you? I'm nice and soft."

"I thought you said you had abs of steel and that you could grate cheese on them." Ming grins from under her mug. "Also something about being able to beat Tai Lung in any challenge."
>>
"That's still true." Xin Lan insists. "I've yet to teach him every I know. He's still my best student." You snort and cough for a bit as you choke on your drink after that.

"While I have full faith in Xin Lan's ability to be undaunted by the impossible, perhaps we should hear what Tai Lung has to say." Renshu speaks up. "He did wish to talk to us about something."

"Oh?" Ming says as she looks up from the fire. "What's you want to talk about?"

>What do you say?
>Talk to your friends about anything. Make some small talk. (What do you chat about?)
>Talk about what you all are going to work on for the Exarch's request.
>Tell everyone what you want them to work on. Perhaps some direction would be best rather than letting them do whatever and risking them getting side tracked.
>Write in.
>>
>>4839945
>Tell everyone what you want them to work on. Perhaps some direction would be best rather than letting them do whatever and risking them getting side tracked.
The list.
The plan.
The schedule.
>>4825162
>>4828845
>>4828877
>>4828897
>>4828955
They have to give their inputs too.
And decide what to do with Xin, whether they are going to be a cook, a militia or a trainer.
Whatever options is chosen, I qant for them to try and do it without trying to use a fake personality, there's no need to hife here,so it's their time to be set free of that burden and mature.
>>4838724
Hey man, I'm a firm believer that the scientific explaination for Deja Vu is bullshit, so I'm all ears.
>>4838804
Oh yeah I'm hyped as fuck.
Are you the voice actor anon?
>>
>>4839945
>Talk about what we are going to work on for the request.
>Tell them our thoughts on what they could work towards.

I feel it is important that they come up with their own ways first and we offer our thoughts if asked for. This isnt our improvement we are talking about, and for Renshu let's use telepathy to talk about his emotions. Its polite that way.
>>
>>4839958
Yep. I'm the VA Anon.
>>
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>>4840211
Nice, looking forward to a potential vocaroo link in the future.
>>4840009
Yes, letting they discuss and propose their own ideas is essential for we to make a plan that actually works.

Anyway, here's one of our (first) killers.
Next on the list is water spirits as a living wave.
>>
>>4840433
Bloody fantastic, real fish man
>>
>>4841011
It's a fish, snake, crododile, dinosaur dragon spirit man thing.
I just drew over the original image, started searching on google for semi or fully aquatic, and started adding details or changing body parts.
Making a frankestain was kinda fun.
>>
>>4840009
>>4839958
Ordering our friends around. That's what they're for. That and for dispensing head pats. Writing.
>>
>>4841921
Offering suggestions and guidence, is more accurate.
>>
>>4841969
Right. I forgot this is not village TL quest. Not yet at least. We need the obligatory fall from grace arc that's only really filler and is never mentioned again in the manga
>>
>>4841973
>village
Villian. Not village. Village quest is when TL finally chooses his waifu and starts a clan.
>>
"I think this is the perfect time to talk about our plans." You say.

"Can it wait til after lunch?" Xin Lan asks as they lower their mug.

"Yeah but I'd rather we get this over with now than keep putting it off. Otherwise we'll just get into the habit of finding something else to do and we'll run out of time." You say. "I have a few suggestions in mind."

"What do you got in mind?" Xin Lan asks.

"Maybe you should look into the stuff about your order." You say. "And try to figure out what they did to you."

"No." Xin Lan says. "I'm done with that part of my life and I don't care enough to look into it, even if the library somehow has information on it."

"Xin, you can't just run away from your past." Ming says.

"I'm not running away. I'm moving on. That part of me is gone and it isn't who I am. I'm not going to spend the rest of my life just wallowing over how hard I had it. I'm here, I'm happy, and that's how I want it to continue." Xin Lan says crossing their arms grumpily. "Just because I'm done with it and I no longer want to associate with it doesn't mean I'm avoiding it out of fear."

"Alright, alright." You say stroking Xin Lan's ear. "It was just a suggestion. What about just working on your emotions? Finding out what you like and what you don't like. Maybe make some friends outside of us. You could try cooking."

"Or..." Xin Lan says snuggling into your side and tracing on of your spots with a finger. "Maybe we could focus on a different emotion. The emotion of love." They tease. "I could really use some comforting after Ming just bullied me. Something a bit more intimate and special..." You look away and feel your face burn as you try to push Xin Lan away.

"I...think you should start with something smaller." You say. "Like maybe a hobby or something to pass the time. If you find that, then you can meet other people who share similar tastes. It's a good way to expand your horizons."

"I dunno..." Xin Lan replies coyly. "You know I prefer big things..."

You gingerly grab Xin Lan and place them on Renshu's lap. Xin Lan gives you a playful pout. "He'll come around." They tell him. Renshu simply flicks their ears.

"Listen to him." He says gently. "He's trying to help you."

Xin Lan sighs. "Well at least I know he'll save himself for me if can barely handle that." They say. "I'll see what I can find out there." They relent. "Maybe I'll learn how to paint or something. No promises on the friends. I already have enough."

You sigh and figure that would have to be good enough. As stubborn as Xin Lan could be, and perhaps you realize that they might be getting that from all three of you, you know that you could trust them. They might put up a fuss and do what they can to fluster you but at the end of the day, they'll put all their effort into what they're asked to do.
>>
With that settled or perhaps not, you clear your throat and look at Ming. "Ming. It's high time you learn how to punch a man." You say. "We'll make some time every day to train you properly. Now that we're not running after anything. This is a good chance to teach you martial arts. I think you should also look into Chi and other supernatural things. Surely a library this size must have something on those subjects. Bao says you're capable of being a powerful magic user. You're quite talented in that regard according to her."

"You really think so?" Ming asks.

"I mean, the High Priestess of the great dragon can't be wrong right? Not to mention, you've been able to faintly feel the presence of sprites and stuff too. Maybe you just don't notice it yet because you're not aware of the fact? Wouldn't hurt to look into it."

"Not to mention you've completed your first ritual without even knowing it." Renshu points out. "If that doesn't add to your prodigus status then I don't know what does."

"Do you think I'll be able to breathe fire and shoot lightning out of my eyes?" Ming asks.

"Probably not." Renshu says with a smile. "But we'll never know will we?"

"What about for Renshu?" Xin Lan asks. "You got anything for him? Maybe he can find forbidden cooking recipies."

You and Renshu look at each other. Despite the fact, the two of you maintain neutral looks, you can't help but feel a sense of awkwardness between the two of you. Partly because of how distant he's been. You can feel him in your mind and not doubt you for him but both of you feel hesistant about it. Not to mention, that even in the physical world, you both feel like avoiding each other unless aboslutely nessecary. Even know, you kind of want to look away to avoid his gaze but you maintain it, if only to keep up apperances.

>What do you say? How do you want to word it seeing as the things you want to suggest are rather personal?
>Write in.
>>
>>4842075
>"I plan to be working on Spiritual awareness, social skills, spirits and astrology and that sort of thing. Catching up with what I've been ignoring so far. To that end I was also going to suggest that Renshu be looking into introspection and philosophy with me. I'm hoping it will do us both some good."
>>
>>4842075
>Renshu has started his path towards finding inner peace, as I'm pretty sure you all remember what happened during the festival and the deal I made with YanluoWang, I believe it would be for the best if he continue that path.
>I plan to take this acolyte business seriously and formally learn all the religious and philosophical knowledge I've been picking up in this journey, and that I had ignored before.
>So I think we will end up having to study similar things. Not only that, but we still have unfinished business that we need to solve.
>Also if you make a joke about it Xin, I'm cutting back on petting and letting you sleep on top of fur.
>>
>>4842113
I'm not entirely sure about "religion" as much as the practicals and spirituals.
If it ain't practical why bother?
>>
>>4842276
We went down that path once.
Also when divinities, magic and spirits are real than faith is pratical too.
In taoism and budhism, astrology, elements, chi, meditation, debating, philosophy are all part of religion too, and knowning about dieties and what they do is good too, so we never get with our pants down again.
But it's mainly because I hunger for that sweet, sweet lore.
>>
>>4842299
Meditation has a function.

I was more thinking things like "carry a pale of water up to the highest point of the crater to strengthen the body for enlightenment"
>>
>>4842307
That's a type of meditation too, or is it more of comtemplation?
Anyway, it all has a place and fuction, and if we bear through any seemly useless acolyte duty or rituals, it will mean we can try and climb the ranks.
Which mean acess to more advanced and complicated knowledge, since we only have the clearence of the acolyte level of the library due to our deal with the monk(ey).
>>
>>4842299
>sweet, sweet lore.
>Asking for lore.
>Mfw

Making food as ussual so I'll be back in a bit. But here's how I'm gonna handle things for now.

We'll start on a week by week basis. Doing 365 days will drive us all nuts. If weekly is slow then we'll go monthly. Each week will be split into two phases. First half is TL's personal time. He can spend it as he wishes (Stuyding, training yourself, hanging out with friends, or training other people. I'll probably have npcs approach you as well just to make it more lively.) Second half is training Ming. This is time purely dedicated to improving her. You promised to train her in martial arts and now is the time to make good on it. You'll be able to choose on what she can work on such as physical training, chi, jumping, sneaking, throwing ect.

We'll see how that plays out and tweak it as we go. For now, I'll put both votes in a single post and then write them both out. If you have any other suggetions or ideas feel free to post them.
>>
>>4842323
Nah that seems a pretty good way.

I remember her style, and over 52 weeks I think she will get pretty great at it.
>>
>>4842099
>>4842113
Alright. Taking these. Writing.
>>
>>4842113
>Also if you make a joke about it Xin, I'm cutting back on petting and letting you sleep on top of fur.
why would you bully the bun so? No Petting and not napping on you? What barbarity.
>>
>>4842650
If you don't punish a child when they misbehave, they won't won't stop.
It's Xin's choice between making a joke about Renshu and us sepending time together or getting pats and naps.
>>
>>4842698
Oh I thought you mean making fun of you studying philosophy. No, you're right. That would be completely warranted.
>>
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You feel a pang of guilt when it's Renshu who looks away first as they try to make it look like something else in the room has caught their interest and they attempt to muddle their feelings with mixed results. You quickly catch yourself and say, "Well..umm...Renshu has started on his path towards inner peace and I thought maybe it would be best if he continued it. We're all here to improve ourselves but it doesn't have to be physical or learning a new skill." You explain as you get back into the swing of things. "I'm thinking of doing the same. I've spent too much of my life ignoring the philosophy of my art and perhaps that is why I failed. I'm going to take being and acolyte seriously. We might end up studying the same thing to be honest so hopefully he'll bear with me and help me with the basics." You say, trying to make a light joke of it.

"I doubt that you would stop you. You can be quite stubborn sometimes, you know." Renshu says with an amused if false smile. It was too perfect, too well set considering the whirlwind of emotion just beneath the facade. You're unsure how to proceed or what to say at the moment. The silence feels like it's too long, too awkward and thankfully it ends when the waitress returns with a cart full of dishes. "Here you go dearies." She says happily as she begins to place your plates before you on the warm stone table. Once everyone had grabbed their meal, she pulls a pot out of the cart and sets it in the center of the table. A cloud of steam bursts from the top as the lid is removed and the smell of various freshly cooked vegetables emerge. Just as advertised, the pot is segemented into 4 sections each containing a different kind of soup.

"It smells wonderful." Ming says excitedly as the waitress places a set of soup bowls on the table. "How did you manage to cook 4 different soups in one pot? You'd have to time it for the different kinds of styles and ingredients right?"

"Oh I'm afraid that's a trade secret miss." The waitress giggles. "My husband has been doing this for a while and I assure you, he knows how to do it."

"Is that fish?" Renshu asks, his nose wiggling as he smells the food. "How did you manage to get that all the way up here?"

"It was a bit tricky from what I've been told but somehow in our city's history we managed to get a school of fish to live this high up and in the cold. One of the bigger families, the Dorji family, breeds them and sells them in the markets. They claim to be one of the first families to settle here." The woman says.
>>
"Interesting." Renshu says as he pours himself a bowl and grabs a peice of fish out of it. "Perfectly seared and crispy skin. This was fried before being put into the soup." He sips the strew before taking a bit. "And it's saltiness is balanced by the broth. What season is this supposed to be?"

"Spring. The fish is representative of the renewal of life and the broth is meant to reflect the crisp yet fresh morning breeze of spring." The woman replies. "You sure know a lot about food, sir. Are you a cook yourself?"

"I dabble." Renshu says politely. "Though I wouldn't mind asking your husband for the recipe."

Xin Lan rolls their eyes, sneaks a bite form Renshu's plate and moves over to sit next to Ming. "Hey, you think we can find some dyes here?" They ask.

"Dyes?" Ming asks. "What for?"

"Thinking of staining my fur." Xin Lan replies. "Think of a nice grey. Maybe I'll copy Stripes and get some of those nice black stripes to match. Brown also seems good though."

"How long until it comes out?" Ming asks. "Sounds like a bit of a pain to me."

"You get used to the process. Then again, I could just do my hair." They admit. "Like the bangs or maybe some highlights."

"For the stealthiest bunny, you sure want to stand out." She teases.

"Sometimes it's good to stand out. Gotta show em how it's done." They grin. Your friends continue to chatter and once again you find yourself simply listening to them and enjoying a meal.

>What do you do?
>Hop into a conversation. Don't want to be left out. (Who do you talk to?)
>Just eat and enjoy the meal. You've done enough talking for now.
>See what else the place has to offer. You have lunch but there's no dessert. If you do ask for dessert though, you know your friends will never let it go considering you asked them to cut back on the food.
>Write in.
>>
>>4842825
>Just eat and enjoy the meal. You've done enough talking for now.
CONSUME
>>
>>4842825
>Just enjoy

Poor buns
>>
>>4842847
>>4843236
We eat. Writing.
>>
>>4843760
Sorry lads, but my computer just froze and shut down. Upon boot up my RAM is looking funky. I'm gonna work on this and figure it out. Will keep you posted.
>>
>>4843982
Alright. Things seem back to normal. So we were eating right?
>>
>>4844179
Indeed we do.
>>
>>4844179
Yeah, we are just vibing.
>>
You sit back and help yourself to some stew and your plate. You feel like you've spoken enough for now and you still feel a bit bad for Renshu. Maybe it would be best if you studied by yourself. The worst part was that your uncertainty came just simply not being able to deal with emotions well. At least emotions beyond those that you relied on in combat. Dealing with other people was simply something you weren't equiped with and while you were making leaps and bounds compared to how you were a year ago, things were still hard. It frustrated you that the sole reason you were in this position was the arrogance you had in thinking that all you had to strive for was martial prowess. While it was that same arrogance that lead you down that path and to your friends, those you held closest to you, you just couldn't help but being a bit angry at yourself because of it.

You take your mind off of things by trying the soup. It was a nice golden noodle soup with large chunks of tofu in them. While light on vegetables, you can certainly taste a mixture of herbs within the broth. "So I was telling them that. I said that you can't just take the extra time to brew more herbs for an extra potent potion. Especially when you have a sick patient. Not only does it strain the body but poison doesn't just magically purge itself, it has to leave the body somehow. Either through sweat or being broken down within the blood. Making something extra strong only makes the immune system have to deal with that too. That's why we start with small doses. If the small dose works, then that's good. If it doesn't then we're slowly aclimating the body to so it can process the higher doses." Ming says as she waves her chopsticks in the air, slightly irritably.

"I dunno. Sometimes you just need that poison out. You've seen the big guy. I bet he'd take a massive dose for a chance to get back on his feet as soon as possible." Xin Lan replies as they chew on a dumpling.

"Yes...but he's like a walking fortress." Mind says. "I bet that in a year's time, he'll be flying by just flapping his arms."

"No he won't. He needs those to carry me." They joke and stick their tongue out.

"Honestly, I really want to see the apothecary. I can only imagine what it would look like in a city like this." Ming says reverently.

"Why don't you just move in? Seems like you've already reached heaven." Xin Lan teases.
>>
"Because someone needs to make sure the three of you don't simply waltz around lost and confused in China." Ming laughs. "I don't think you'd survive without me."

"We totally can but I know that you can't resist my charms. It's ok Ming. You can admit it." They say as they drink.

"Yes. I am completely enamoured by the fact you try to sneak food off my plate and the fact I wake up with your foot pushing against my face when we share a room."

"Single beds are boring." Xin Lan says.

"I don't see you sharing a bed with your roommates."

"Because I don't trust em. They could have weapons or something." Xin Lan says seriously.

"Not everyone is trying to kill you Xin."

"But it's a good habit to live by." They counter. Ming simply rolls her eyes and goes back to eating. You all spend a while longer to enjoy the food and chat, each one of you taking a bit from the soups and slowly enjoying which one you liked the most. The food itself was not too different from what you were used to but you can tell that each dish had an alteration that allowed it to be viable in the mountain city. From the replacements of certain staple veggetables to the use of a different kind of rice or noodle. Finally, you all sit back contently, bellies full of food.

"More..." Xin Lan says obviously quite full themselves.

"Maybe you were right in asking us to hold back." Ming sighs happily. "The sun looks like it setting. How long have we been here?"

"Not that long." Renshu says. "However, the lip of the mountain crater we reside in makes it so that the sun seems to set earlier. I suspect we still have quite a bit of time before shops and the like close."

"Well if we still got time to do things, what do you wanna do?" Xin Lan asks.

>What do you do now?
>Go look through the shops. See if you can find anything to buy. (What do you want to buy?)
>Go to the outside of the city. Free time means training time. You can get started on Ming's training.
>Go back to the dorms. You could use an early sleep before you fully comit to everything tomorrow.
>Write in.
>>
>>4844242
>Training

Got to work off that food.
Besides it is the afternoon, time for some group exercise. I am interested in a proper race actually, once ming drops out from exaughstion.
>>
>>4844242
>Go to the outside of the city. Free time means training time. You can get started on Ming's training.
The schedule starts today.
All shall fear the power of Ming, swole of body, brain and soul.
>>
>>4844251
>>4844283
Training? But what will you do?
>>
>>4844301
Get her started on dodging.
>>
>>4844335
Dodging. Not racing. Wrting.
>>
"Let's go for a walk." You say. "Was thinking of maybe heading out of the city gates and see if we can actually teach Ming something today."

"No..." Ming moans. "I'm too full."

You chuckle and get to your feet. "Come on. A little training will do some good. Can't let the food get to our thighs." You wave the waitress over and pay for your meal. Though higher than you had wanted it, you couldn't deny that it was a good meal and you did want to celebrate. The rest of your friends follow suit and you all step back out into the busy streets. By now, most people were simply wandering and passing the time rather than shopping. Many of the merchants and stall owners are sitting down rather than shouting, content to serve customers who make their way over to them rather than attempting to generate traffic towards their wares. You take the main road back down to the city gates, the one you were led to get the Exarch's room. Once you reach the city entrance, you see that it's manned by a pig and not the wolf named Tenzin.

"Hey, are we allowed to leave?" You ask. The pig gives you a strange look.

"Yes?" He says in a half question. "I don't see why not. Did you conclude your buisness here?"

"No, we still want to come back but we want some extra space to do a bit of a work out. Don't want to bother people in the city." You say. "We just plan to be a bit outside the city gates."

"Go ahead." The pig says and waving to the top of the wall. The doors begin to slowly open and the pig says, "We have curfew at sundown. If you're not back in by then then you're camping out." You nod and lead your friends to the grassy outside. You continue walking for about a minute or so to make some distance between the gates and you so you don't bother the guards. Once you find a nice suitable area that was particularly flat, you turn to face everyone. "Alright. So I was thinking we finally get started on training Ming. For today I think we could focus on teaching her how to dodge."

"Dodging?" Xin Lan asks. "Should we like teach her some basic forms first?"

"Perhaps, getting her used to moving in combat would be a better idea." Renshu suggests.

"I wanna learn how to beat you up actually. That way maybe I can teach you to stop making rash decisions." Ming says, poking your chest.

"Dodging is pretty basic." You insist. "If we can teach Ming how to react instinctively to danger then the rest will fall into place. Being able to hit someone or manuvering in a fight won't mean much if she gets hurt when caught by surprise."

"Well...I could just hurl rocks at her all day." Xin Lan says.

"Don't throw rocks at me! I still have to study and do other things." Ming shouts.

>How do you plan to train Ming's dodging capabality? Or at least get the basics down?
>Write in.
>>
>>4844445
Make her do forms.
We can train her reactions and ahility later, first she need the muscle memory.
Help her maitain fluidity between each dodge too, that way we can train her to add swaping to an strike, flee, throw or jump to the style in a seanless way, tgem the opponent will away be guessing.
>>
>>4844513
Oh, and this will probably require a hands on aproach, the body really doesn't like ducking and swearving for some reason until it's trained to do it subcounciously, so gotta guide her through it.
>>
>>4844513
I'll support.
>>
>>4844513
>>4845077
Teaching Ming. Writing.
>>
"We're not throwing rocks at you Ming." You say. "At least not yet." Ming glares at you. "Today we're just gonna show you the basics. Get your body used to moving and some basic dodges for basic fighting. You need to teach yourself how to do it instinticly and unlike what the past year has shown you, martial artists are few and far between. The most common kind of fighting is the kind you probably did as a kid. Just punch and kick while hoping you get in a hit but that makes it no less deadly. Even inexerpienced fighters get lucky."

"So what, you're gonna make me fight people?" Ming asks punching your chest. You move slightly to soften the impact for her, even so she winces slightly.

"If you want to do that, I might as well ask Xin to throw rocks at you." You chuckle. "No, we're going to slow spar. It's what children do when learning martial arts." You add quickly when Ming's eyes widen. "I'm just going to go really really slow. You'll see it a mile away and that way I can tell you how to move and what way to dodge. Don't wait for the last second or try to time the dodge. In a street fight those don't matter. Once you start to get used to it, we'll move on to follow up attacks and how those flow with timing and movement." Ming nods, albeit increadibly nervously and you step forward. Ming flinches but you gently grab her wrist. You raise her hands to her head and pull them towards you slightly.

"Alright, so this is the most basic of fighting stances. Knuckles at temple height and hunched down slightly. Your arms are high enough to block blows to your head and upper torso and more importantly your hunched over to duck under wild swings. Your knees are bent and allow you mobility. Don't keep them tensed and always keep moving. A moving target is a hard target to hit in a street fight. Just bouncing around makes it hard to track you and to aim hits at you. There's a practice of deliberately directing attacks towards parts of your body that can take them but those are last resort and there almost always another option. We'll get to that some other day as well."

"Well then exactly what are we doing today?" Ming asks.
>>
"Teaching you how to dodge." You say. "Now, take your stance." You say and Ming obliges. You gently adjust her hands and feet back to the proper positions. "Ok hold it. Count to 30 and drop it." You instruct. Ming does as she's told and you nod. "Now, stance again and repeat. We'll do 20 reps of this. We want you to get used to slipping into this form at a moment's notice and do it perfectly every time. For now, I just want you to get used to how to assume your form properly. Later, I'll start asking you to do it at random to simulate getting caught by surprise." You continue to explain as you adjust Ming's posture and stance as she goes through her repetitions. Once she was done, you continue, "Alright, now let's start. Just dodge as I tell you."

You extend your fist forward as clumsily and slowly as you could, imitating a punch someone on the street would through. You moves at an agonizingly slow place, as if you were parodying someone's fighting style. "Ok, now I want you to step our of the way. As big step as you can while maintaining your stance. Lean back and step in the direction of my fist's side not along the direction of the punch like your instincts tell you. A person punching can continue with the follow through and track you as you step that way. By stepping in the other direction, I have to move with you. I can't bend my arm backwards to follow you and that means you control the direction of the fight. Don't back step. You're not ready for that and that requires a better spatial awareness of your surroundings that you're trained for." You explain as your continue your slow attack. You follow through and swing with your other arm. "An untrained fighter will almost always follow up with their other arm. It's more comfortable after over extending with the other and it's instinctive becuase they'll try to follow you. Like I said, you're now directing the fight. Now, like before, lean back and dodge in the other direction."

"But when do I hit back?" Ming asks. "How do I make them stop?"

"At this moment? You don't. As a matter of fact, I'd advise you'd have stalled for time and look for an exit then after the first dodge, you run away and get to safety." You say. "But for practice, I want you to get used to being able to dodge most of the basic attacks." Ming pouts but you continue to throw punches and then move on to kicks. It's slow and tedious but there's a rythmn to it that you find you enjoy. You continue this exercise for a while longer but soon the sun begins to hide behind the crater's walls.

"It's getting late." Renshu says as they hold a sleeping Xin Lan. "We best start heading back or we'll be locked out."

>What do you say?
>Head back. You have stuff to do tomorrow and some sleep would be nice.
>Stay here. You can camp out for the night.
>Tell the others to head back. You want to stay out of the walls for a while later. (What do you do?)
>Write in.
>>
>>4845947
>Head back. You have stuff to do tomorrow and some sleep would be nice.
>>
>>4845947
>Head back
>>
>>4845958
>>4846063
Heading back. Our learning starts tomorrow. Writing.
>>
You nod, "Yeah, we better get on back to our dorms. Tomorrow we're going to be busy with our work." You say as you stretch.

"I can't wait!" Ming says excitedly. "So many books to go over. So many ideas to try out."

"Yeah...excitement." Xin Lan says, completely unethused. You reach the gates and the guard lets you in while bidding you a good night. There's a bit of a disconnect as you see the streets still busy as ever, perhaps even more so now that the sun was no longer bearing down upon the streets. You have to remind yourself that it's still somewhat in the afternoon. You'd hazard a guess that it'd be around the time the sun was just being noticed as setting, where the sky is showing tints of orange as the night sky begins to fade in. You make the long walk back to your dorms, already feeling a bit winded despite no rigorous exercise. You wonder if the food was partly to blame as you had gone to train so soon after eating. Even if that wasn't the case it certainly was making you a bit wary of how easily fatigued you became. You can't ever remember running short of breath this fast before. You take note of this for the next time you train with the others.

A silence falls upon the dormitory as you enter it and you feel the familiar sensation of everyone's eyes upon you. As you and your friends continue forwards it was as if you were emitting some kind of aura of silence. The people you passby begin to whisper and those you come towards cease their discussions. It's nothing new and you can safely guess that people had learned who you were.

"That's him right?"

"Gotta be."

"What's he doing here?"

"Think he's up to something?"

"Why hasn't he killed us all?"

You, Xin Lan, and Renshu proceed onwards. Your past sins and crimes inurring you to any kind of harm that could have come from harsh whispers and rumors. Ming however, shirks away and tries to hide among you, clearly uncomfortable under the scrutiny. You arrive at your room and you stop before entering. "We'll meet for lunch? Same time tomorrow?" You ask.

"Sure. If you're buying." Xin Lan says with a grin.

"It's your turn." You reply. "I'm sure you owe me a few lunches by now." You smirk.

"A good idea. We can spend out lunches to discuss what we are doing and cosolidate our ideas. Being able to bounce ideas off of each other should prove enlightening." Renshu says.

"Sounds good to me." Ming says looking over her shoulder, slightly distracted. "It'll remind us to take a break from our studies. Otherwise we might burn out."

"Great. I'll see you tomorrow then." You say and slip into your dorm room. You scarcly close the door behind you when you feel two pair of hands on your body. You instinctively move to attack and defend yourself when the hands stop and you hear movement around you. It takes all your mental fortitude to hold back and take everything in rather than strike.
>>
"Excellent conditioning." One voice says, which you note is one of the aligators, a male one.

"One could say, peak physical condition. His musculature is immaculate." Another says, the other alligator, a female one.

"Perfect is perhaps more precise and just as accurate." The male says as he runs his hand down your abdomen. "His core is astoundingly resilient."

"As it should be, if the stories are to be belived." The female says. You don't have time to tell them to leave you alone or to ask what exactly they think they are doing when the door behind your flies open. Yuan Bo stands there, panting and out of breath.

"I'm sorry, my friend. I was hoping to catch you and warn you." He says eyeing the two alligators with a bit of exasperation. "These are...well twins. I'm afraid they refuse to give out their last names to anyone."

"Last names are irrelavent." The male says.

"Our deeds and discoveries will be attributed to us and not some dynasty as the archaic traditions would have it." The female concludes.

Yuan bo sighs, "They are Akar and Dampa. Akar is the sister and Dampa is the brother. I'm sorry Tai Lung but when they heard you would be here...well like I told you. They take their studies a bit too seriously...or earnestly."

"What do you want?" You asks side stepping their hands and making some distance.

"Excellent reflexes as well." Akar says.

"Far above the normal expected time for a feline as well. Perhaps attributed to his speicies?" Dampa says.

"Perhaps though more probably is that it exceeds that as well. We will scour the archives for snow leopard physiology and cross refrence this." Akar replies.

Yuan bo coughs loudly. "The man asked you two a question. Please at least heed the words of your test subject." He says sternly before giving you an apologetic look.

"I don't like being someone's object of study without being asked." You say.

"I'm sorry." Yaun Bo says. "But-"

"That is also a nonissue." Dampa says. "Should we placed you in harm, we would have warned you. However, these are simply cursory examinations. Nothing was taken and no harm was done to you so your permission is somewhat irrelavant."
>>
"Regardless, you are a unique subject. One of a kind and perfect for what we need. To not use you would simply be idiocy." Akar says. "As for your purposes in our study? You are, simply put, walking perfection. We are studying what makes people strong. What makes them weak? What training regimine is required to acheive it? Some would say it requires dedication or strenght of will but those people are fools. A perfect body is almost impossible to find and you not only have that but are considered strong."

"Thus we will study you. Now...do you realize how perfect your body is?" Dampa asks. You nod, starting to feel annoyed and a bit naked if you were to admit it.

"Of course. I trained myself. Years and years of training to make myself the way I am. Much to my detriment." You say.

"Yes, there would have been more...optimal ways to use your power but the fact you are not in prison and are here is a great boon to us." Akar says. "Note how not a single muscle is overworked. Each is perfectly balanced with one another." She says pointing a wet brush at you before taking notes.

"Well yes." You say. "Of course they are. If one works a muscle too much then it becomes cumbersome, you lose mobility and flexibility in it and the rest of your body has to compensate by working harder or becoming weaker. That's why you see blacksmiths with such large arms. They constantly work them out but soon they become too big. Unlike popular belief, they do not make the best fighters. The rest of their body is under developed and they cannot be as precise in non hammer swinging motions."

"His mental acumen appears to be standard however." Dampa says ignoring you completely.

"But his eyes are cunning. Perfect for a warrior." Akar adds. You feel a growl escape your throat.

>What do you do?
>Go to bed. You don't have time to waste with these two. You have things to do tomorrow.
>Tell them that they only have a set ammount of time with you. Place a limit and don't budge. They'll just have to deal with it.
>Let them study you for as long as they need to. As soon as they get what they want, the sooner they get out of your fur.
>Write in.
>>
>>4846525
>Tell them that they only have a set ammount of time with you. Place a limit and don't budge. They'll just have to deal with it.
>Here's a little help for your research. The only other snow leopard I met managed to hold against me two others simultaneously. Although she was armed and we did have fight through an army to get to her in the first place.
I like the twins already.
I also fear them meeting Xin.
>>
>>4846615
Hold her own against me and two others.
Also mention that we were going non-lethal.
>>
>>4846615
>I support. Give them an hour or half that.
>>
>>4846921
I'd also suggest to them "You should't be so keen to dismiss dedication and education as the source of strength."
>>
>>4846960
>"You should't be so keen to dismiss dedication and education as the source of strength."
Says the man who is a walking mountain of perfect genetics who travels with his two siblings who were bred to have perfect genes for assassination and his friend who was born a certified genius. Although Crane wasn't good at martial arts at first was he? He's one of the Five, the best Kung Fu masters in China so there might be something to that...maybe.

>>4846615
>>4846921
They get an hour. Writing.
>>
"You get an hour." You say grumpily. "Make the most of it."

"Excellent." Akar says, not bothering to look up form her notes. She waves her hand idly and adds,"Take your clothes off."

"Excuse me?!" You ask as your frustration gives away to embarassment.

"You clothing is in the way of our studies. If we wish to examine your physique, then we need them removed." Dampa continues. "Remove them."

"I'm sorry Tai Lung." Yuan Bo says as he bows. "I should have explained all this last night. I was more worried about you getting some rest." You sigh and start to remove your robes.

"Don't worry about it old man.You're not to blame here." You say as you fold your robes and shiver slightly at the cool room. "I am for my big mouth." You mutter to yourself.

"As expected, his legs are as just as developed as his arms. Perfect in every way." Dampa says running a finger down your leg and poking at your hamstrings." Your face burns with shame and you do all you can to stare at a single point on the wall.

"Will it help speed this up if I told you I've fought the only other snow leopard I met? She manged to hold up against me and two others simultaneously. Although she was armed and we did have to fight through an army to get to her in the first place." You say as you mentally pray to the Great Dragons that Xin Lan does not decide to walk in right now.

"Anecdotal." Akar says as she squeezes your shoulder blade. "We cannot work on stories alone. Had your phsyique not matched the tales we've heard about you, we'd have ignored you. For all we know, she had an advantage. Perhaps she was trained in fighting multiple opponents or more likely, you were simply tired from fighting this army and thus removing any advantage your strength in numbers had."

"However," Dampa says, "We will take that into consideration. If your tale is true, then that means you fought off an entire army nearly single handedly. Further proof that strength lies in birth and not in training. An average martial artist would have died long before reaching her. We will keep this tale in mind while researching your species. Perhaps this is simply the natural strength of your kind. The more evidence we find to coroborate this the more valid your story will be for our research."

"Do you drink heavily?" Dampa asks before you can say anything as he holds up a brush and seems to measure something with it. "Muscle symmetry is on par with the rest of his physique." He says quietly.
>>
"No. I barely drink at all. Only for special occasions." You say.

"Such as?" Akar asks.

"New years...celebrating major acomplishments of my friends." You say. "Even then it's only a small amount."

"We should preform a series of tests. How does alcohol affect the subject's system? His tolorence should be low. Perhaps 4, maybe 5, mugs of ale?" Dampa asks.

"No. And continue to set up tests without my consent and I'll lower your time to 2 mintues." You grunt. To your satisfaction, the two actually stop and look at each other warily before continuing. Taking advantage of the silence, you say, "You should't be so keen to dismiss dedication and education as the source of strength."

"False." Dampa says. "Some are strong and some are weak and you are proof of that. Would you say if Yuan Bo dedicated himself to training that he would be able to match you in combat? What of the other students?"

"Yes?" You say uncertainly. You didn't like the idea of being living proof that someone like Ming couldn't better herself no matter how hard she tried.

"Wrong." Akar says. "That is what we wish to prove. People can become strong but some will always be stronger than others. Smarter than others and we will document this."

"I...you can't just paint it that simply." You say. "Yes, maybe someone might be stronger than another but what about cunning? Intellegence? Wisdom? Those can turn the tide of battle."

"And thus further proving our point." Dampa says. "If one is smarter than the other then it was their superior intellect that won the battle but their strength would have to match otherwise they would have been overwhelmed. However, an intellgent man would have no chance against you in combat. Would you say if he strategized enough that he would best you? Outlast you? Out manuver you?"

You sigh and say nothing. Clearly there two were set in their ways and most frustratingly, you couldn't match their intellect which only served to cement their point. Still, you could not help but feel they were wrong. Something about their clinical approach to this felt wrong, like it was negating the hard work of others. You knew you had an advantage but that shouldn't discount the effort of others nor should it allow you to underestimate people. It was precisely that attitude that landed you in prison in the first place. The hour passes by and as agreed upon, the two alligators step back.

"We have sufficient data it seems." Dampa says.

"Then let us head to the archives. We must corrolate our findings." Akar replies and with that the two alligators leave the room. You bend down and put your clothes back off, feeling slightly upset.

"Those two..." Yuan Bo says sadly. "I can't help but feel something happened to them."
>>
"Why do you say that?" You say as you sit at the table with the old man. You grab the jug of water and pour him and yourself a drink. "I'm sorry, it's my brother that ussually carries tea." You say.

"No one obsesses that much and with that certainty without something happening to shift their views like that." Yuan Bo says taking the water gratefully. "Perhaps not an act of cruelty or misfortunte as we think but something happened that had a major effect on their lives." The old man takes a drink and says in a lighter tone. "A brother you say? I never heard tales of the great Tai Lung having a brother."

"I'm anything but great." You insist. "But not one by birth, no. If I did then I would not know. I was adopted and perhaps I adopted him as well. In anycase, we've come to far and been through too much together to be anything but brothers." You say and still feel the guilt and awkwardness of earlier in the day. Evidentally it showed on your face as the old man says, "But...?"

"But what?"

"Something happened?" He guesses.

"I...wouldn't say that." You deny.

"Tai Lung. I'm an old man and I help manage a dormitory of acolytes. Knowing how to read people is my Kung Fu." He muses. "But I won't press the issue."

>What do you say?
>Tell Yuan Bo about you and Renshu? You don't really feel comfortable doing that. It's rather personal and you're not sure how Renshu would feel about it. Then again, you're not comfortable deal with emotion in general so it could just be that.
>Tell the old man that there is something going on but you'll deal with it on your own.
>Insist that there's nothing wrong. You don't want people meddlilng in this. It's between you and your brother.
>Lie and try to pass it off as a hypothetical question.
>Say nothing and simply go to bed.
>Write in.
>>
>>4847217
Honestly veering towards just letting it out a bit. My vote is for venting to Yuan a tad. It's taking a toll on us mentally I'm pretty sure and could very well possibly be kinda straining our relationship with renshu, so having someone not attached to the situation give their two cents on the debacle would give us some much needed direction. Good chance Yuan doesn't have much of a head for romantic and interpersonal shit like this but hey, ya gotta take advice where you can. It's a start
>>
>>4847217
>I hurt him in a way that I'm not good at fixing. That's enough.

There is something for him to chew on, but this isn't something for other people.
>>
>>4847217
>Tell Yuan Bo about you and Renshu? You don't really feel comfortable doing that. It's rather personal and you're not sure how Renshu would feel about it. Then again, you're not comfortable deal with emotion in general so it could just be that.
But don't go full rant.
Say to Yuan something like Renshu had a really hard life, and that after we sacrificed a lot to help him he fell for us.
Than when he confessed we refused his declaration and things have been awkward between us.
I'm not sure about mentioning the whole thing of the blood ritual, and how we can sense eachother emotions and talk through telepathy, but definatly don't mention the whole deal wth him being dead, what the assassins did, going to hell, the deal with the judge or what happened after he tried going for inner peace.
>>
>>4847080
All the muscles in the world mean nothing if you don't know how to use them.

TL isn't a clever or quickwitted cookie but I like to think I am, so I shall attempt to refute these claims.

Take the clear example which TL expresses earlier, about blacksmiths and their muscles. They over train them which renders the entire structure weaker, which unless you were a genuine genius with an obsessive eye for details you wouldn't notice until it was too late to correct in your training.
Kung fu itself requires a hard work ethic and dedication to master and cultivate, which despite having some genetic advantage ourselves we are still matched by a man more than 30 years older and with a limp and superseeded by a turtle of all things, due to their greater understanding and skill. Such things would trounce us if we were not the focused and driven individual that we are who has dedicated our entire lives to the craft of fighting.

They are right that when two individuals have pushed themselves to the limit of their training, focus and effort it will be chance and biological advantages that give them the edge but even then that can be counteracted with enviromental advantages such as training at high altitude to force the body to produce more red blood cells, which makes it harder to grow tired at sea level.

With regards to Ming and other "Born" geniuses, they are wrong there as well. Genetics have the slightest effect due to hormone balance and senses but how someone perceives the world and interacts with it is produced by the enviroment they are brought up in, such as a newborn being cast into the jungle being naturally a better hunter by necessity compared to a child raised by loving parents. The same applies here, in that Ming's personality is inherently curious which drives her to know more, which gains and retains more information, which in turn enhances the breadth of her knowledge in a self fufilling cycle.

The proposed Idea of "only one may be strong through birth" is wrong by a good 90% and it only seems that they are that way because people, both ancient and modern, greatly dismiss how vital the right personality and mindset is to being a genius. And even though it is possible to pull yourself up by the bootstrap to that status, it's hard enough that most people don't do it.
>>
>>4847480
To put this more succinctly and memorably.

Hard work beats natural talent when natural talent refuses to work hard
>>
>>4847480
You are probably correct, but years of Crusader Kings taught me to disregard that and always start eugenics programs.
Had I not be part of the First Girl faith, I would be pushing for Ming, so the genious herculean Tai dinasty would walk the world.
>>
>>4847491
But given how the twins seem to have a hatred for the idea of giving the glory to their family, them I think that may be from a noble family, but have been passed up or mistreated for either being bastards or born later in line, despite being obvioualy smarter than their brothers/sisters/heirs.
I wouldn't make much sense for them to be from a commoner family whike still having that eugenicist view, unless they believed that ther lord was unfit to rule.
Anyway, this have been my wild guesses.
>>
>>4847228
>>4847472
>>4847478
So the consensus is to vent a little. Not give the whole story but just air out the fact you feel you caused a rift between the two of you and your just not equipped to know how to deal with it. Just want to know what you'd like to mention and leave out.

>>4847480
Anon is channelling Ming and being the best girl he can be I see.
>>
>>4847491
>>4847507
Eugenics completely pay a part in things, but it's all about learning how to use your gifts otherwise you will be upstaged.
Good theory on them though, would make sense to be part of some storied linage.


>>4847531
That's the consensus. Lets leave out the hell, and the assassin order and the judge and his desire for inner peace.

We are blood brothers and closer than kin, and that's all we really need to say.
>>
>>4847535
You've also touched his meat buns several times. It's no wonder Xin is writing romantic novels about you.
>>
>>4847531
Say that we are very close, we have no idea how relationships works amd are new to it, be they friendships, familial or romantic, and that we are afraid we fucked up.

Personally I would say that we refused because we ourselves didn't know what we wanted and were attracted to, and were afraid that his love was because all that we sacrificed and did for him after he had such a hard life, instead of a normal love, but that was my worry, I don't know if the others anons share that or even if we should bother grandpa duck with that.
>>4847535
Genetics is the scientific term for the gene theory.
Eugenics is a set of beliefs that you can improve humanity through careful mixing of different groups, like selective breeding for people. Atleast the new one is, the old one was just an nationalistic ideology.
Not sure if you just typed wrong, but the difference is important for my post to make sense, so I'm clarifying it just in case.
>>
>>4847535
But yeah, you are completly right, if someone that is gifted never has the chance to use their gifts, or never bother improving them, than they are the same as the rest.
>>
>>4847577
Ehhhhh, I used them sort of interchangeably. "Of course your parents genes completely play a part in things" And Eugenics [the practice of breeding the best pairs together to produce better creatures] has a firm basis to go off if we look at dogs and pigs and horses and shit like that. People tend to slippery slope that way into incest babies, but the principle is solid by my understanding.

It was just more saying that while what your parents gives you do have an effect they don't become important unless you are facing something which makes them your only advantage.
>>
I'll get to writing then. Then we can figure out what the new training regimen is.
>>
>>4847590
It's ok anon, it's just that I've had so many arguments were both sides were agreeing because someone read something wrong and neither bothered to explain themselves that I made a habit to do that just in case.
The incest baby thing would only be justifiable if if the family had actual perfect genetics for hundreds, and they made sure to prune any mutations.
Even them it would be dangerous since low genetic diversity makes it easier for deseases to spread, since in that case everyone would be nearly a clone.
I fuck I went on a tangent again.
>>
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>>4847595
I think it's quite obvious what it should be.
We should continue with her dodging training until she can actually keep up. Mixing in some backward jumps and debilitating strikes in too. Maybe train her to always go to the chi points or place that would make people flinch, we already decided she will have a more middle ranged throwing style of battlefield control, so she isn't supposed to be in melee to begin with.
Than we move on to throwing training, the points were she should aim at to deliver potion and poison needles.
Than we go with understanding chi and chi strikes.
Maybe last we build up her physical endurance so she could actually take a few punches, since no one can just avoid damage forever.
She can learn how to cast magic, rituals and the other sorceries on her own, since we don't know that. Unless we learn something while being an acolyte, in that case we share.
>>4847608
So many fucking typos, phoneposting is a pain.
>>
>>4847632
I disagree.

Dodging until she can keep up.
Distance management
Endurance/pain training, maybe do this sooner [I'm sorry Ming]
Throwing practice
Chi strikes.

Chi striking is the capstone. Learn everything else before that. Bit it's sad that we have to hit the kitty in the face, but it has to be done. Getting hit when you are not used to it can end you in a fight.
>>
>>4847734
I wanted to leave the pain training for later because she is suposed to avoid getting hit at all costa, so it would be an extra instead of a core feature.
And the chi striking/knowledge would work well right after she lerned where to target the needle/knifes in the body, and she learning about chi early could help with her normal daily studies with alchemy/rituals/astrology/magic in the library.
Maybe with pain endurance she could be forced to carry things or punch boulders? We will be forced to hit her sometime, even if we get one of those spinning dummies that hit back, but I want to postpone it as much as possible, so her studies don't suffer.
I doubt she will ever get the chance to learn magic anywhere else after all, but we can always do train her more later.
>>
>>4847760
Punching boulders strengthens your hands. Not your face or chest.

But the spiny thing is probably around the militias base somewhere. If not we can make one.
>>
"I...we..." You start as you wonder how to put this delicately. You sigh and run your hand down your face. "I...I'm not good at dealing with these things." You say slowly. "Emotional stuff just isn't my thing." You pour yourself another cup of water as you try to foucs yourself. "He...means a lot to me...more than anyone else I think...I'm not sure."

"It's alright son, just think it through." Yuan Bo says gently. "Take your time. I'll set us some tea." The old man stands up and walks over to his bedside chest and digs around it for a small satchel. Grabbing a few leaves he hangs a kettle of water over the small fireplace in the back of the room. You watch him for a moment before you catch yourself. You were just stalling and trying to avoid this again.

"We...had...a falling out of sorts." You start and shake your head. That didn't sound right. "I did something. I hurt him and I don't know how to fix it. He acts like everything is ok. Puts up a front. Everyone buys it but I can tell he's lying. We...haven't actually talked to one another in a month or so. At least...not privately. There's always someone else around when we talk and it's always on the topic at hand." Yuan Bo nods understandingly and he sits down across from you.

"Would you like a bread roll?" He asks opening a box of bread and basic tea snacks. "I find that it helps with gathering your thoughts if you're chewing on something." You shake your head.

"No thank you." You say quietly. "We...we're close but...we don't know how..." You bury your head in your hands. Why was this so hard to say? All you had to do was tell Yuan Bo the facts. There wasn't anything shameful in it. Even if some people would turn their heads, it's not like the two of you couldn't just ignore it. "He's had a hard life. Cruel even. I think...I think I might have been the only one to ever offer him something...no he said I was the only person who ever made him happy." You say and you hear the sound of pouring liquid.

"Drink this. It'll settle your nerves." Yuan Bo says when you don't move he adds, "Son, I'm not an expert in relationships. Nor can I even guess what you're trying to tell me. But I've dealt with my fair share of falling outs and fights among the younger acolytes. Even they have a hard time articulating their feelings. If you don't mind an old man's opinion, it seems you feel guilty and this seems harder for you to talk about than you thought. We can continue this if you like but these kinds of things are best when you go at your own pace. I won't force anything out of you. Do you want to continue?" You take the tea and nod before drinking the cup in one gulp. You barely taste it as the hot drink burns your throat and seems to jolt you back to your senses. You inhale deeply and focus.
>>
"A few months ago, the day before new years actually. He told me how he really felt." You say looking up as you try not to remember that day. "He loves me." You say. "That's what he said. That I was the only one he could love. I could hear it in his voice. The pain, the guilt..."

Yuan Bo nods knowingly. "It's alright, my friend. There is no shame in two men having feelings for one another. Perhaps some won't see it that way but you don't seem like the kind of man who would care about such a thing to begin with."

You shake your head again. "No...it wasn't like that. It shame and anguish yes but not because he was afraid of what other's thought of him. It was because he didn't feel he deserved to feel like that." You move the cup in your hands and look at it. You think about it for a moment, let the painful memories come back.

"Please...don't hate me...I just didn't see this coming...I didn't count on being happy..."

You force yourself to face it and try not to bury your feelings. You fail. Miserably. "It...hurt. I mean...he's someone close to me but there's more to it. I just...I don't know why it hit me harder than it should. But there was also...like..." You sigh, frustrated.

Yuan Bo places a wing on your arm. "It's ok son. We can stop here."

"No. I can't!" You shout angrily. You pull your arm away and throw the cup into the wall, shattering it. "He's hurting and I can't fix this!" You rant. "I can't...it's not something I can fight or intimidate! It's not something I can uncover or find proof for! I want to help but I can't! I don't know what to do!" You shout and look at a fearful Yuan Bo. You pant and you feel both exausted and on edge. You slump to your seat and hold your head again. "We don't have any experience with relationships. Friendships, families, romance. We just have no experience with them." You explain. "Neither of us ever had the chance to learn about this. I was...afraid. His feelings scared me more than anything before. I was afraid he was only saying these things because of all I did for him and he didn't understand that he was just trying to be...I don't know subservient? Like how a victim becomes attached to their abuser. I was afraid he only seeing me in a romantized light instead of loving me...normally?" You look away. "I don't know...I just don't know..."

You can feel Yuan Bo's gaze on you. You can tell he was pitying you. "What did you tell him?" He asks, his tone neutral. Not pressuring or dissuading you simply asking.

"I told him no. He asked me if I felt the same and I said no. That was the other fear...I don't know. I don't know how I feel about him. I don't know if I'm attracted to him like that or what I wanted. This was all new to me. I backed off. I...hurt him." You say. "We...haven't talked since."
>>
Yuan Bo nods slightly. He sips his tea. "I'm afraid I cannot help you." He says and his words sting. "I've dealt with soured relationships and the younger generation courting but your situation seems far more complex that anything I've experienced. Most of the time...the two feel the same way and just need a push to confess their feelings for one another. That's common enough. Other times, it's simply a matter of getting the two to voice their issues in a calm and diplomatic manner to talk them through. However, I do not think any of these apply. My honest opinion? I think you need to figure yourself out first. I don't think you can talk this out with your brother until you find out what you want. Do you love him back? Do you simply wish to be friends? Or perhaps...do you think you should go your seperate ways?"

"Why would I abandon him?" You snap.

"No abandon but sometimes it's simply healthier to part aways. Lingering feelings like that tend to make things tumultuous and simply don't go away. I'm sorry if this is offensive but it seems like due to his background...he might not be able to let these feelings go but I don't know this man personally. Maybe he's as strong willed as you and he can overcome these emotions and see you as someone he cannot court." Yuan Bo says gently. He stands up and moves to clean up the shattered cup. "For now, I think you should get some rest. This is not something you can figure out in a single night." You nod glumly and get up to slip into bed. Sleep comes to you quickly but it is not as comforting as you wish. There are no dreams, nor nightmares but every so often you think you can hear the sounds of a familiar voice sobbing.


>Week 1 Begins. What do you do for your personal time this week?
>Go study something in the libarary. (What do you study?)
>Spend some time with someone. (Which of any NPC you've met in this city do you spend your week with and what do you do?)
>Spend your week giving Ming extra lessons.
>Write in

>What do you spend your Week teaching Ming?
>Write in.
>>
>>4847936
>Study spirits and their natures. How to talk to them and their place in the cosmology.

>Teach ming Dodging.

Hmm. Hes right that we need to figure ourselves out, but I think we need to take a week from that to psyk ourselves up to doing a deep dive.
One thing for certain is that i am dearest against that 'part ways' option. We are the only person who hasnt abandoned him and damn me if I will let us do so.
>>
>>4847981
And i think we should focus on water talking next.
>>
>>4847928
It was just a little bit of chrisposting anon, pay it no mind
>>4847936
>Go study something in the libarary. (What do you study?)
Fuck, formal theory on Chi, chackra or whatever the fuck they call it here? We know how it works in pratice, but we don't have the theorical aspects and terms that might be referenced later, so let's avoid future confusion.
Kearn meridians and shit guess.
>What do you spend your Week teaching Ming?
Keep up the dodging training, that's one that we only stop when she mastered it
>>
>>4847981
We made a promise that we always be with him.
Even if we decide to perma-brotherzone him, we are staying by his side.

Studying the cosmology, mythos and how spirits work is good, I was feeling unsure if we should start if that or something else.

Should we try to integrate with other acolytes too? Maybe the roomates of ours friends and any teachers could be a good start.
We have to discover what we did to Dawa too, know if we killed someone she knew or if it's just general distrust and dislike for who we were and did.
>>
>>4848010
I just wanted to get started on something easier. Something simple so we can gather our thoughts and prepare ourselves for going into a deep dive of what we actually like, want and feel.
>>
>>4847981
>>4848003
Ok so what exactly do you want to study regarding Chi? I'm not quite getting it (probably because of a bad night's sleep). Mind simplifying it?

>>4847981
>>4848010
Abandoning stripey buns? But he's cooks and has nice stripes. He's only a little evil...not really.
>>
>>4848143
Namely how Chi actually relates to the natural world and the foundational texts on what it does/how it works. Like, are spirits made of it? How do they form from it? is there any secret lore we didn't notice about it's behavior? is it effected by the dragons or prayers or what.

Just trying to understand it and how it is manipulated.
>>
>>4848143
Ok so, I was thinking of studying the actual terminology and the theories on how Chi work and flows, and the books and authors that mention it.
Like what is it? Where does it come from? When was it first mentioned? Does it have different names? Does it pools in specfific parts of the body? Does it flow like blood? What are those parts called?
All we know is what we learned in practice, but someone must have tried studying and recording it.
Also understanding on how the library organises things, that way if in the future we read a book about Chi and it mentions the work of confucious junior the 3rd, than we know it's talking about the Meridians and You, and that he call chi chackra because he is from the south of China, so we don't get confused.
>>
>>4848187
>>4848233
But anons. That sounds like...lore. Heavy heavy lore. You sure you don't want more best girls to headpat?

I'll get to writing then.
>>
>>4848277
We need the lore to soothe the pain of introspection that is to come.
>>
>>4848309
Probably Tai Lung's greatest trial. Both as a meme and not. Hopefully my writing is good enough for it...and the lore I'm coming up with. Always scary, thinking up lore.
>>
>>4848314
I'm more afraid of the fact multiple people have to look at our long adventure and decide someone's wants, needs, desires and sexuality all together. It's. . A bit scary, but this is why I love the quest.
>>
>>4848319
>It's. . A bit scary, but this is why I love the quest.
A sentiment I share all the time. I enjoy that players can dictate the course of the game. I like how it keeps me on my toes but I don't like how easily people can fuck with the direction. Still, I think that's the draw of /qst/. The fact you, at least in theory, have influence on the game. I just don't get the same feeling while DMing a normal tabletop. Probably because I can't be as detailed over voice as I can be here.
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>>4848277
Only lore can sustain me boss.
Headpats are a welcome additon, but temporary.
>>4848319
>>4848314
It's definatly one of the strengths of the quest, it feels like we are playing someone with an actual personality, doubts, hopes and problems, someone that is in a journey of self-discovery.
You know, instead of the psicopath that thinks only on the best outcome for himself, the horny simp, the anime hero or the quantum squizophrenic that are the normal protagonists on qst.
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>>4848319
Luo knows how to make the metaphorical and sometimes literal butt clench

It's a stressful feeling but a good one because you know it's the intent, at least I believe it is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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>>4848339
The power of Veto is an amazing one. And it is why I find text a superior option to voice. Also makes the checking of previous events.

Anyway, it is going to be quite a kerfuffle so I'm going to consider this future problem.
We already considered how we view Renshu when the issue is forced on us, so we will now have to consider why we feel that. Other than the meta agreement that nobody wants to break the waifu peace treaty that would make a few people butthurt for a while. Probably not very butthurt, given how much I think we love them all, but still a little bit.
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>>4848339
Hey, I think we been going well so far on trying to stay concistent, even though we have no fucking idea what we are doing.
Also no big fights on whats in character or not, more like dissecting the options so far and trying to piece it together.
Again, it's something quite refreshing, because normally a person doesn't really have a character that they stick to like a script, but also not the completly nonsensical things I saw in other quests and the retcons that tryed to make tgem work together.
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>>4848358
Thanks, I'm not sure how I do it but I somehow do. One of my fears is actually in regards to any future quests. I'm not sure if I could make characters this complex again and I fear that I might just be doing retreads of this game. I don't mind anons saying things like "This guy is kind of similar to Xin or Ming." because similiarities are inevitable but just remaking the character in a different setting when I'm trying to make them someone different and not a cameo is something I'm rather nervous of.

>>4848377
Yeah the characters have stayed fairly consistent, even when we leap to the pov of another character. I really like that about this game. Not sure how it's happening but it is and for that I am glad.

>>4848374
It's not only why you feel that but, do you still feel the same way? TL's choice was made from a place of surpise and was caught off guard. With better introspection, would he still feel the same way he did back in Taishi? Also peace treaties are made to be broken! All grand strategy games taught me that and I lose at them all. I always saw the consensus when we weren't memeing to be "I got x choice in mind but I can see it that way as well." and recently it's been more of "Well fuck...it's the buns can't choose without hurting the others."


But I'm getting side tracked. I got lore to write!
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You wake up, not feeling great but also not feeling bad. You simply felt...drained emotionally. Furthermore, you find yourself blind once more. You exhale and delicately pull Xin Lan's ears off your face before slowly sitting up and holding them in your arms. You weren't really in the mood for this. Not after last night but you couldn't take it out on them. "I thought you promised to follow the rules." You tease them as you drop one of their ears on their face. Xin Lan stretches and rests their head on their arms while resting their feet on your shoulder.

"Ming kept me up all night. Got into some kind of debate or something." They say. "Besides, she's not as comfy as you." They grin.

"I thought we'd agreed you'd be making friends Xin." You say as you get up and start to make your bed. Xin Lan climbs onto your back and sits on your shoulders.

"No. I told you I didn't make any promises when it came to making friends." They say. "I did promise to do the other things though. What are you doing today?"

"Studying." You say. "I'm going to make the most of the library's resources and make up for years of neglect."

"Just don't turn into Ming." Xin Lan warns. "I'm not gonna lose you like that."

"I think you'll find that it'll be a bit difficult for me to change into a girl like you can." You chuckle and pat Xin Lan's ears. "Go on, get to your studies as well. We'll meet up later today."

"Fine." They sigh. "I'll go see what Stripes is up to." They jump off your back and head out of your room. "But I'll see you tonight again." They tease just as they step out of the door. You shake your head and finish up your morning routine before getting to the task at hand.

---

Your first week consists of exploring the dorms and getting an actual feel for the acolyte's area. Finding the library wasn't that difficult and surprisingly, the acolyte's library was the one for public use. Being on the lower levels of the Sacred Library itself, the public had easy access to it and among the shelves and desks you can see regular citizens browsing books at their own leisure. Speaking to the librarian on duty, you learn that all of the books in this level are common copies of books found in all other libraries in China although this collection is complete as opposed to the other libraries. You're free to take books as you need to the dorms but your name and book is logged in case they are damaged. In which case you'll be charged for the damage.
>>
You decide to dedicate your time to learn about Chi itself. Given how often you use it, you figure it'd be best to learn about it, a choice that proves rather fruitful. You learn that Chi itself has been traced back to the origins of China itself, long before the unification after the War of the Three Kingdoms. It is considered the energy of life itself and is often used interchangibly with the concept of the soul. It flows through all living things and binds them to life. When someone or something dies, their Chi disperses from their body to return to the earth. You are a bit confused as this contradicts what you have experienced in the afterlife. Your soul was intact so if your soul was your Chi then why did it not vanish into the earth. Did you retain some Chi to maintain your form in the afterlife? Or was it dispersed when you were judged by the Judges and their courts?

You continue to read on and learn that Chi, while the source of life and energy, was not tied to you body. It was an aura or energy of some kind and losing a limb or the use of a body part did not dimish the ammount of Chi you had not did it increase it's density within the body. You didn't quite understand this but upon asking Ming about it, she tells you that it meant your Chi didn't become thicker due to having less space in your body nor did it become stronger. Some rather outdated texts claimed that sicknesses and illnesses of all kinds were tied Chi and that imbalances with it were what caused them, something Ming found rather humorous. However, you don't discount these texts either. As Oogway explained, you caused changes in other people's bodies by changing their Chi or rather asking it to do something giving credence to the ideas that Chi is at least tied to the body in some way. A few texts you find tucked away in a distant corner of the library claim that Chi is imbued into objects as well. While not having any mention of magical artifacts, the texts claim that Savants and Geniuses imbue their Chi into the works. This deep connection with their works is what allows them to elevate them to masterpieces. Unfortunately, you cannnot find anything else to coroborate this claim and nothing that even remotely explains what Ming did with her brews.
>>
You finish your week a bit confused but ultimately more enlightened on Chi. However, you can't help but feel like all these texts were rather...basic. While you did learn something and get a better underestanding of the topic, you feel like this is something most people would know with a bit of reading and certainly not something you expect from the Greatest Library in China. When you bring this up to your friends, you all agree that perhaps it was due to the fact you were simply acolytes. Because of your low standing within the organization, you were most likely blocked off from more indepth texts. Texts that were not widely allowed to the general public. To Xin Lan, it meant that there were greater secrets to be found in this city but to you, Ming and Renshu, it only meant that you had to apply yourself further.

---

Through out this week, you spend your afternoons and free time training Ming. You continue drilling her in dodging attacks and taking her stances. You increase the speed of your slow punches and begin to randomly having her take her stance while talking to her. While you would find it amusing to have her do it in public, you reserve these surpises when the two of your are in private even if you weren't training. Along with the slow fighting, you have Xin Lan help her with flexiblity. At the start of every training session, Xin Lan would have her sit and pose her in various positions. They looked rather painful but slowly you could see her being able to bend and lean further than she could before.

"Do we really have to do this?" Ming complains as Xin Lan pulls her leg closer to her head.

"Do you want to stop midway through the more advanced training to learn how to limber up?" They counter. "Right now things are light and we have tons of time to prep you for the more advance stuff. Otherwise, we'll have to stall and catch you up." Ming only grumbles at that and continues to do so every stretching exercise after that.

By the end of the week, Ming was making good progress. You were moving at a steady speed when practicing her dodges in a street fight and had set up a few ropes on nearby trees to help her learn the basics of tumbling in the event she was either knocked to the ground or had to roll out of the way. Even so, all of your exercises were being cut short or stunted by the fact you all kept running out of breathe, Ming more so than anyone else. It was a bit discouraging but nothing any of you couldn't push past.

>Week 2. Same as before, what do you do?
>Continue your research into Chi.
>Go and study another topic. (What topic do you choose?)
>Spend some time with someone. (Which of any NPC you've met in this city do you spend your week with and what do you do?)
>Spend your week giving Ming extra lessons. (What do you teach her then?)
>Write in

>What do you do for Ming's training?
>Continue with dodge training.
>Begin on some other aspect to train on. (What does she train in now?)
>Write in.
>>
>>4848483
>Go and study another topic. (What topic do you choose?)
Cosmology and spirits, it might hekp tying back into chi.
>Continue with dodge training.
Only stopping dodging when she is ready, it's the bedrock foundation.
>>4848399
You see boss, it's because although you have given us plenty of best girls, you have it to provide the perfect girl.
Give us the wandering pure tribal amazon archer tomboy searching for glory and honour Luo, and start the world waifu war.
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>>4848483
>time for some intorspection

>Continue dodge training

Come on, the faster we get this done, the quicker we can help Renshu.
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>>4848596
The stalemate amuses me. Soon you'll see the light. TL was always meant to be with viper. I've carefully planted the clues long ago. The buns, Ming, Bao. None are a match for the bad joke.
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>>4848399
Process of elimination puts the most suitable as Renshu in the lead with Bao in second and Xin in third.

I would elaborate further but it is that late I am just gonna die now. I will rise again later and reveal my reasoning after. Later.
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>>4848596
>>4848610
Got dodge training but will you look at the cosmology or within?
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>>4848667
I will change to support the other anon since he went to sleep.
We can study gods later.
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>>4848677
Fair enough. Let's see how far TL progresses in a week. Perhaps he'll canonise lungism. Writing.
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>>4848708
If the monkey king can become a budha, Tai Lung can do it too.
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I'm actually gonna break here for today. I'm actually falling asleep as I type. Sorry about that. I'll continue tomorrow. Hopefully I get some actual sleep tonight.
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>Week 2

You decide to take a break from the books for a bit and try to figure things out about yourself. There was more to learning that just what you could gain from texts. Introspection was another path to knowledge as well. You don't feel like trying to meditate on things in your room considering you had a bad track record of things going wrong when you do this. You leave the dorms and head out into the city to look for a nice quiet place to hide away for a while. There aren't many places you can just hang around alone and you contemplate just leaving the city gates then you remember there was a lake somewhere in the city. After asking for directions, you make a quick jog to the opposite end of the city. The lake is large and glitters in the noon sun. You see children playing along it's edges, splashing each other but never delving far into the cold waters. You make your way to the opposite end of the lake, where the walls of the city hug the edges. There is still enough space between shore and wall for you to take a seat and be left well enough alone. You decide not to meditate this time as you don't think it will help much. You may not know what you want but you do know that you couldn't force this and perhaps the way to get this done would be to simply let things come as they do.

The sky is completely cloudless and you can't help but wonder if it ever rains here before you catch yourself and begin to think inward. You spend the next few days simply coming to this locations and thinking. What did you want? What should you do? No matter how much you think, you can't really come to any real answers. You keep going in circles. Do you like Renshu? Yes, he was your brother. You cared for him far more than anyone else and your actions proved that. But did you love him? That was something you could never answer. What did you like? Who did you like? You try to find evidence of what you liked or who you would like.

"I guess I would want the same as you. Someone who is honest and dependable. Someone who I can rely on when I need them. I'm sure there are other smaller details but they just slip by and no one has caught my attention." You remember saying.

"I guess...well they definitely need to know how to cook. Otherwise we'd starve within the week. Plus, I think I'd prefer someone who can read my emotions easily when I have trouble expressing them. I think something like that would be nice."

"That's Stripes." Xin Lan called out. . "You litterally just described him. Dependable, can cook, is honest with you and hell he can read everyone like a book as well."
>>
They were right of course but that still didn't awnser your question. It was exactly what you said you wanted but you still couldn't even begin to say if that's what you wanted and so you would continue on to think that maybe you didn't like men. Thus the next issue arose, was that actually true? You think to see if you were attracted to women and would run into the same issue. You just didn't know. You can't remember ever falling for a girl when you were younger and you never gave much thought about the village beauties growing up. Could it be that women simply didn't attract you? You think of Ming. She was certainly attractive and you it's not like you didn't notice people staring at her figure when you traveled with her, even more so now that she was training and becoming more athletic. Most men didn't dare approach her when they saw the party she traveled with. So why didn't you see her as they did? Perhaps it was because she was a close friend. You knew her better than anyone and you appreaciated her for her inner qualities than her physique. How could you see her for what she looked like when she had poured her fears and anxiety to you? When you and her have nearly died together.

Frowning, you decide to think of women you didn't know well. Your first thought was of Tigress. She was also someone who could be considered attractive. You stop and considering your wording. You always went off of what other people assumed to be attractive. They weren't wrong of course but why couldn't you say you found them attractive? Was it because you didn't? No, you could at least admit they were beautiful but you can't seem to feel that idiotic attraction men seemed to feel where they would make themselves the fools because of it.

You lay on your side and furrow your brow. That's what bothered you. Because that train of thought could easily be applied to Renshu as well. He was certainly attractive and well built. Women stared at him the same way men stared at Ming. Same went for Hien, now that you considered it. Although the difference between Ming and Renshu was that bond you had with him. It was the same as Ming in some ways. He had shared his vulnerabilities and fears. He had nearly died for you and you for him but it went farther than that considering all the two of you had been through. Not to mention you had seen Renshu naked. You shake your head as your face burns when remembering bathing with your friends. Did that mean anything? You weren't sure but you find yourself back at the start. So was it men or women? Was it both? Was it neither?
>>
The greatest confusion, although you find some amusement to how clearly it matched their nature to befuddle you, was Xin Lan. They were both boy and girl and neither at once. Did you feel anything different when they were a male or a female? An inclination to court them when they were one or the other? A feeling of being more comfortable or more eager to spend time with them as either gender? The answer was always that you didn't know, only that they were your best friend and you cared for them regardless if they decided they wanted a dress or pants for the day. Of course it never helped that they would sometimes wear female clothing to trick you while they were considered male then rant at you for judging someone based on their looks while trying not to laugh out loud.

A week goes by and you feel like you wasted it learning nothing. No, not wasted. This was something you couldn't solve in a mere week. You had to look at the steps you took and work from there. So what did you learn? You learned that you didn't base value on apperance alone. Nor did looks dimishish or enhance whether or not you'd enjoy someone's company. Instead, you seemed to, at the very least, define your enjoyment of someone's company based on the experiences you had with them. While admirable, it didn't help you with your current issue. You couldn't define if you loved Renshu. Maybe you did. Maybe you didn't but at the spot you were on, you'd simply give him the same answer and end up hurting him again.

You sigh and head back to your room to begin the next week, while trying to think of being in a full relationship with a man or woman only to start imagining your three friends in rather compromising thoughts before you felt too embarassed to go on. Perhaps you should work on that before you think about this.

---

Thankfully, you had other things to work on and make progress on to keep your spirits up. Ming's training continues apace and you soon begin to add other factors to the dodging training. You add makeshift weapons, obstacles (borrowed from the nearby guards), and by the very end of the week, multiple combatants. Every day seems to last a bit longer and training goes on for a few more mintues. Every day ends with you all breatheless but content. The progess you were making was great and each advancement only helps pick up the pace as the foundation builds. Although you had to slow down when you added new things again, Ming could easily dodge and stay away with proper dodging forms when against a single untrained combatant. She couldn't fight back but at the very least, she was safe enough to avoid a hit and run away.

"So..." Ming pants as she falls into a sitting position. "Are you gonna teach me how to beat people up? Come onn...you didn't learn dodging first when you were little right?"
>>
"No." You admit as you start pouring water for everyone. "I didn't. I learned basic combat forms and weight training but this was with me spending decades of my life practicing in mind. I wasn't in a rush like you are." You tease. "We might work fighting soon or we might build more of a foundation with other things before you learn to hit things."

"We can throw knives at you if you want." Xin Lan suggests. "That'll speed things up." Ming flings a rock at Xin Lan.

"How about instead of throwing things at me. You teach me to throw things at you." She says.

"No, I like being able to dodge your throws." Xin Lan smirks.

"Once, I feel comfortable with you being able to dodge we'll move onwards." You insist. "Now, let's get back to the dorms. I'm getting hungry."

>End of Week 2

>What do you study next?
>Continue looking inwards and trying to figure yourself out.
>Get back to looking at the concepts of Chi.
>Study something new. (What do you study?)
>Spend some time with someone. (Which of any NPC you've met in this city do you spend your week with and what do you do?)
>Spend your week giving Ming extra lessons. (What do you teach her then?)
>Write in
>>
Super big post because I spoil you all and to make up for my bad sleep habits.
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>>4849950
>Continue inwards

>Teach dodging until she is able to comfortably dodge 3-4 people at once, then we can move onto throwing/striking

Her style is mostly throwing, but she did have a striking/poision touch aspect to it.
>>
>>4849959
Ming will be a wizard. She will have a wand and shoot lighting out of her eyes as she dreamed. More serious, there were a ton of good ideas in previous threads for a more mystical apporach. I should go and double check them.
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>>4849950
>Study Inner Peace. The exarch was very worried about someone obtaining 'peaceful malice', maybe it actually happened in the past? Perhaps it was even related to the Bats that once ruled over China...
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>>4849950
>Study something new. (What do you study?)
Cosmogy, spirit, gods, religion, just so it starts appearing on the list from now on.
>>4849959
That was before magic was added into the mix, but it still works well enough for what we have planned anyway.
>>4849967
Give me some time and will patch it all together in a single post like I did for the suggestions to what the gang should do in the library boss.
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>>4849959
>>4849967
Got a tie. Both are pretty good options. Gonna have to roll for it soon.
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>>4850046
Thanks. I could use that list. Didn't even see this post when I counted votes.
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>>4850054
It's because I posted it 30 secinds before you did boss.
It probably wasn't even there when you were typing.
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Rolled 1 (1d3)

>>4849959
>>4849971
>>4850046
Rolling for the choice because there are so many good ones.
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>>4850123
Continuing to think about what lies within and about how much we love the striped bun. Writing.
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