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"I think we've been looking at this the wrong way." You say after considering this for a while. "Our opponents are birds. The sky is their battlefield and it would make sense that they would strategize accordingly." Hien's face lights up.

"Then they would see things from the air that we couldn't!" Hien exclaims. He looks up at the clear sky. "We'll have to jump from a higher point if we wish to get the greatest view."

"To the cave's entrance then." You say. "It's the highest we'll get without climbing the stone walls themselves." The two of you make your way back up the grassy path that overlooked the city itself. Taking a deep breath, you center yourself and imagine yourself to lighter than air. There's a small burst of wind around you as leap as high as your legs and send you into the air. Hien rockets alongside you but his speed quickly dies down and he falls behind. You kick off again and again, each one propelling you onward as you defy the winds themselves. You feel the winds hit your face as you soak above the city and for a moment you wonder if this is how all birds feel. Perhaps they felt even more free. Even as you fly through the air, you can still feel the weight of your body as the earth attempts to pull you back down. You look down bellow and see Hien slowly coming to a stop and despite making an impressive height, it's still far beneath you. You feel yourself slowly coming to a halt as well, and you finally decide to look over the ruins before you.

Even at this height, the city is a mess. You can see the bodies dotting the streets all over, and the remains of what used to be homes, and deep scorch marks scarring the city. Could the city ever be restored to it's former glory? Would you even want to live here, knowing what had occured and what was lost? You push aside your emotions for a moment to study the landscape farther, focusing on every detail. Slowly, things come into focus. The burns in the road, the way it scarred the city, even the large remains of pyres that dotted the streets. It was so simple from this view, and impossible to tell from ground level. The city itself was a circle, perfectly constructed to fit the crater atop the mount and perfectly constructed to serve as a ritual circle for anyone with the audacity to use it as such.

You land back on the ground with a quiet 'Thump' and look at Hien. "What did you see?" He asks. "I'm afraid I couldn't get a great view of the city myself."

"The city is the circle." You say quietly. "Every burn, every ruin. It as all used to work as a ritual circle..."

Hien's face grows pale. "T-that...no...The amount of energy to power something like that. It's inconceiveable." He says. "No one sorcerer, not even two, could every manage to conjure up the chi to do something like that."
>>
"Not unless they had volunteers." You say. "It's obvious the statues are used as some kind of key to this. The way it seems to drain everything from you. No doubt it's probably siphoning Chi. It's the only way this all makes sense."

"They'd...good gods..." Hien whispers as he falls to his knees, wide eyed and in shock. "What cruel madness is this..." You say nothing. The only thing you knew to do was to go back down the path. "Where are you going?" Hien asks bleakly.

"I want to study the statues some more." You say.

"What good could come of that?" He replies. "Tai Lung, we're out of our depth here. I'm afraid there isn't anything we can do now and I don't think any good could come from messing with those monstrosities. It's time we simply leave. The rest of China needs us, needs you. I'm sorry but we can do nothing for these people right now. I agreed to look around some more in the hope we could find a solution but now I know we cannot find one. All we can do is hope they understand that we have a duty to those that still look to us."

"No. I just need some time. I can try and sense them. Maybe I'll get some more information from this." You say, not turning to face Hien.

"What information?" Hien asks and you pause. "What exactly are you looking for?"

"I don't...know. Just some way to stop this." You snap back.

"What way? What do you think you can find?" Hien asks, his voice growing firmer. "You said those statues seemed to drain everything away. You said that must be how they gathered the energy from this. What else do you think you'll find if you try to push your spirit into that kind of device?"

"I'll know when I do this." You say curtly.

"How will you know?" Hien continues.

"Why are you asking me this?" You snap. "I'm trying to save these people!"

"Are you?" Hien asks sharply. "I see it in your eyes. Like you're trying to make this go away. Like you're trying to undo all this. My friend, we cannot help them. Not right now. Not you and me. There are other people out there that do need us. People who have no idea what will be happening and if we do not move, then we may be too late to shelter them from what has occured here." The young lord stands and offers his hand to you. "Let us be off. To find your friends and to find a way to save our countrymen. For those we could not save. For those that may yet live."

>What do you do?
>Ignore Hien. He doesn't understand. He didn't live here with these people and get to know them. He can go off and be a hero if he wants. You won't rest until you fix this.
>Ask Hien for just a bit more time. You're on to something. You know it. You just need some more time.
>Leave with Hien. His speaks the truth. Regardless of what you might find, you'd have no real way to tell if it's relavent or if it can be used.
>Write in.
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>>5242414
>Leave with Hien. His speaks the truth. Regardless of what you might find, you'd have no real way to tell if it's relavent or if it can be used.
we aren't good enough to do this. I would only attempt this with reshu or someone else as qualified.
>>
>>5242414
>Leave with Hien
>Try and explain ourselves, it is all of our fault. We let this happen over a broken leg. A business quarrel.
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>>5242414
>Leave with Hien. His speaks the truth. Regardless of what you might find, you'd have no real way to tell if it's relavent or if it can be used.
>>
>>5242613
Oh and
>We should still keep the statues and all the evidence. The empire has proper exorcist that will know.
>Normally I would try it anyway, just to know in case it helps in the future, but tye reason I wasn't able to help during the attack because I devides to risk myself to heal a boy's broken leg. We can't afford risking me going into another coma right now.
>>
>>5242420
>>5242577
>>5242613
Getting back into things. Writing.
>>
"It's my fault." You say. "I could have stopped this if I was around. A small boy got caught up in a stupid quarrel I had with a buisness owner. Fell down in the caves and broke his legs and who knows what else. He didn't deserve that. I did the only thing I could do. I didn't know I was going to be unconcisous for so long. If only I was awake...I have to make up for this."

"Tai Lung, everyone would tell you that no one could have seen this occuring. You did what you thought was best under the current circumstances." Hien consoles. "You're not to blame for this and if it weren't for you, things could have gone much worse."

"I didn't do anything." You say.

"What about your friends?" Hien asks. "If it wasn't for you, then they wouldn't be here in more ways than one. You trained Ming, and even if she didn't fight, I'm sure her medical knowledge saved some lives. What about Xin Lan and Renshu? If it wasn't for you, they surely would have continued their lives in darkness. You taught them to use what people would consider evil talents for good and we both know they're worth at least a few batallions each. You know better than anyone that actions have consequences but sometimes it doesn't have to be directly because of your current actions." You remain silent for a while.

"I still want to try and take some evidence with us." You say after a while. Hien frowns.

"I'm not sure if it's safe to take any of the statues of with us. However, I can't deny that being able to bring evidence or something to be studied by those more knowledgeable than us would be a boon." He says. "But how would we transport it. There didn't seem to be any kind of container they used. It was all on their person. Undoubtly, the things didn't have any effect until activated. Making it only more horrific knowing that their owners had no idea what they were carrying. And if they did..." Hien shakes his head.

>What do you do?
>Put a statue in your bag. Perhaps it will have lesser effects if it's not in direct contact.
>Somehow place it in a box or chest. A sturdier container might do the trick.
>Hide as much of the evidence as you can. It's possible that people can come back here and try to hide what happened.
>Write in.
>>
>>5243065
>Hide as much of the evidence as you can. It's possible that people can come back here and try to hide what happened.
Is it finally time to use the false library red herring for something?
>Take one or two statues with you, wrap them cloth, put inside one of those jar that Ming used for the light, and put them inside a box. Better to be safe than sorry.
It might help whoever the empire sends if they can inspect or study it before come over.
I hope they don't have a way to track the statues, like some sort of sense or connection it would make this pointless.
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>>5243065
>Place it in a box or chest, then string that between a chunk of wood.

Like a hobo's bag or a peliquin.
That way it's not near us, but we can carry it. Between us or otherwise.
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>>5243130
>>5243131
Trying to carry a statue at a distance. Writing.
>>
"Let's think about this." You say as you stroke your chin. "It's clear that the statues, don't affect us at a range. We've walked through the entire city and have never felt any effects of them. Not even when manipulating the bodies or fighting them. So it must be that we have to be in direct contact with them for the effect to get to us." You pace a bit. "So...it might be possible for us to carry these back if we can manage to do it without being in contact with them. Perhaps in a large box or if we can carry the bundle at a distance."

"You mean like on a stick? Akin to some training weights? Or balanced on both ends like water buckets?" Hien asks.

"Exactly. If we can tie a box or bundle at the end of a stick we can carry it safely...at least thats the theory. However, I want to move more than just one. We need to hide a few of them."

"You're worried that they might get stolen?"

"In a sense. There's nothing stopping from our opponents coming back and attempting to destroy any evidence of them being here and the methods they used to defile this place. We have to prevent them from trying to hide their methods if we'll be sending people back here to investigate. Preferably with an army." You say as you make you way down the path and to the fallen tree, snapping off one of the thicker branches and cleaning it up a bit with Renshu's knife. "There's a false version of the library some ways down the mountain. Apperantly it was used as a part of the test to see if people had the tenacity to continue or investigate. Our enemies are probably aware of this and we can use that to our advantage. If we hide things there, they will probably look over it knowing where the real city is." You explain. You feel a bit silly as you set down a small rag and then gingerly tap one of the statues onto it, careful to keep an eye out for any changes to you, then pull the rag up by the corners to tie to the stick. You hoist the stick over your shoulder and take a few test steps. Nothing seems to happen. "Well it seems to be ok." You say. "Looks a bit odd from a distance but I'd rather it be odd than have this effect us."

"Perhaps we should avoid villages and the like as we travel. Lest a curious individual gets their hands on it or we accidentally have it hit someone." Hien notes as he follows suit and begins to collect a few more of the statues in a ruined shirt before grabbing his own branch. With a nice bundle gathered, the two of you make the precarious trek down the side of the mountain itself rather than taking the caves to get to the ruins of the false library. Without the snow clouding your vision, it was only a matter of endurance of which you had plenty of.
>>
On an enormous outcrop stood what looked like the ruins of a small village, even smaller than the ones you had seen this far north. Worn away by time and weather, you could only just make out what the buildings where supposed to be with the biggest being the supposed library. Compared to the real thing, it was almost laughable to imagine anyone falling for this but given the secretive nature of the place, you couldn't fault anyone for thinking that the home of a recluse group of people being a simple building.

You take Hien's larger bag of statues and bury them within the remains of the library's building taking extra steps to make sure it looked undisturbed even after you covered it all up again. With your task done, you and Hien make your way down the rest of the mountain. Once at the foot of the mountain, all you had to do was decide where your journey would take you.

>What do you do?
>Go find Ming. Traveling with a such a large group of people can't be that fast. Even after a month of travel, they had to be close by. Someone had to had seen them.
>Try to find out the significance of the coin Xin left you. It must be a hint of some kind but this is no ordinary coin. Perhaps you can find information on someone who can help you with it.
>Head to the capital. You need to tell the Empress of the war to come. You only hope that your reputation doesn't get you killed on sight.
>Write in.
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>>5243449
>Head to the capital. You need to tell the Empress of the war to come. You only hope that your reputation doesn't get you killed on sight.
Trust Hien's plan. Also if our presence does end up making a fuss, our friends wil hear about whereaboits anyway.
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>>5243449
>Head to the capital. You need to tell the Empress of the war to come. You only hope that your reputation doesn't get you killed on sight.
>>
By the way, I archived last thread.
I think this is the fourth or fifth time, did I accidentaly turn into the quest's unofficial archivist?
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>>5243503
You just might have. Welcome to the team?
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>>5243449
>Head to the capital
They will have coin Smith's there, as well as the fastest couriers in the empire.
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>>5243449
>>Head to the capital. You need to tell the Empress of the war to come. You only hope that your reputation doesn't get you killed on sight.
>>
>>5243449
>Head to the capital. You need to tell the Empress of the war to come. You only hope that your reputation doesn't get you killed on sight.
if we make a big enough stink they will find us... plu when we get out of here we may be able to reconnect to reshu.