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A Sage's Journey (Original Xianxia)

Discussion in 'Questing' started by ChandraMagic, Aug 20, 2017.

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  1. Threadmarks: Character Creation
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    The year is 438, and the Han Dynasty has been dead for twenty years. Today, the great country of Catai is divided into three. Three kingdoms. Three would-be claimants to be Emperor of Catai. Three armies, uneasily eyeing each other as a tension filled peace is maintained on a knife’s edge.

    That, however, is really, only for nobility, and the soldiers in the armies, to worry about. Most of the people of Catai do not care who is emperor, as long as money continues to come in, and food continues to appear on the table. Their only concern is when and which army will be burning their crops and raping their daughters.

    Further removed however, are the Sages. Those that seek enlightenment, that seek to raise themselves up from their imperfect existence to something better. Or they just like the cool stuff they can do because of their expanded knowledge of themselves, and their place in the world. They have the chance to raise up to the very heavens themselves, or to wallow in the muck under a beggar’s foot.

    Some Sages follow a martial bent, learning to fight with sword and fist and feet as they work to refine themselves and their spirit, and others are more mystical, learning to listen to the world itself. Both are able to reach the highest heights of enlightenment, and both can fall deep into the muck.

    It’s all the same in the end, though. Where a learned Sage treads, the world itself trembles and the heavens take notice. They can grow to be living legends, and the annuls of history will remember them for ages to come.

    So tell me, young Sage, about how your legend starts.


    What Class Were You?

    [X] Nobility
    [X] Merchant
    [X] Commoner
    -[X] City
    -[X] Rural
    [X] Entertainer

    What type of Sage Are You?

    That is, are you in official training, in a Temple or Monastery, or are you self taught? (Both options are valid, and neither option is more powerful than the other. It is just that training and learning is faster with the former, with the penalty of having certain rules and restrictions, and the latter is slower, with fewer rules and restrictions. It also helps determine where you start.)

    [X] Trained
    [X] Self Taught

    What weapon is your ‘main’ weapon?

    While you can, obviously, use your body itself as a weapon, most styles also teach weapon use. Pick a weapon that you have trained extensively with, enough to be able to project your essence through it. Or, pick Hidden Weapons, which while offers you competency in use of improvised weapons, does not allow you to project your essence through them.

    [X] Sword
    (Double edged, straight sword. Considered elegant)

    [X] Saber
    (single edge, curved blade. Heavier than the sword, and considered rather brutish)

    [X] Spear
    (leaf shaped head, tassel lashed just underneath it. Not seen as elegant or brutish. Neutral)

    [X] Staff
    (length of wood, both ends clapped in iron. Considered a weapon of peasants)

    [X] Hidden Weapons
    (More about improvised weapons. Never as good as sticking to a single weapon, but there is more variety here at least. While you will never be creating airblades via slashing a hidden weapon, it is harder to divest you of weapons, and will probably be more comical in fight scenes, at least. Just not as epic.)

    This quest is, obviously, SFW. There will never be any lewds in this do not ask. That said, if I, or the mods, feel that the blood and gore and violence get to be too much for SFW, then yes, it will be moved NSFW. Even then though, there will be no lewds.

    So, important things now. This is sort of an Exalted-lite quest. Very Xianxia type. The MC will be female, and the quest will follow her from neophyte to Immortal, hopefully.

    This first vote will be tallied by plan. You may, if you choose, vote for a name (that I may, or may not, pick, depending on how much I like it/feel it is suitable, though a winning name vote is more likely to see me use it than not). You may also post, BUT NOT VOTE ON, pictures for our young, nubile Sage. Of those I will either pick the one I like the most, or if there are a lot I like, then I will let people vote on which one from the ones I really like.
     
    caspian1a, meridian, Stylph and 12 others like this.
  2. Threadmarks: Prelude to a Journey
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    Haha, so. I got this all written, and then realized I did not like the beginning, so I removed it. It was only 400 words, but still. 400 words. Anyway, this means this is a bit stilted at the beginning, and some of this may not make some sense, but hey, it's like child birth. It's always messy and painful and there is always screaming.

    Er, yeah. This is a rough start, but once I get stuck in, it should smooth out a lot.




    “Resplendent Lotus, I do not care if you turned eighteen today,” your father barks from the kitchen in back of the bakery. “Stop daydreaming, and put these beef buns out on display. You will have time enough to gaze uselessly at your naval later, after we have closed for the day.”

    “Yes father,” you sigh, knowing you can not win against him, so you brush your hair out of your eyes and put the book you were flipping through down before moving to grab the rack of steamed beef buns. A slight grunt escapes you as you heft the rack up, it settling heavily in your grasp. “I swear this thing keeps getting heavier and heavier.”

    “I do not think gazing at one's navel is a useless way to spend your time,” comes an unknown, feminine voice from right behind you. “Why, I have spent a large portion of my time gazing longingly at my navel,and it has not done me harm.”

    “Cha!” you can’t hleo but declare as you spin, surprised, at the handsome woman standing nonchalantly behind you. “D-don’t do that! And customers should not be here. This is a prep area, and...and….”

    The woman seems to find you amusing, though you admit to yourself it is hard to discern that, seeing as the woman is using a fan to hide her face below her eyes. She has long, brown hair and is wearing simple silken pants and a silk shirt with wooden togs down the front to hold it closed. She’s athletic, you think, with her slim figure and the way she seems to balance on the balls of her feet.

    “...oh, don’t worry; I got lost, you see. Got all turned around and instead of being there, I was here, and so I was here when I should have been there,” the woman natters, cutting you off easily, as she glides...yes, glides, to your side and effortlessly lifts the rack from your grasp. “And since I am here and not there, I will help you, as penance of my trespass, yes yes?”

    “Yes yes..I mean, no no! My parents, they will kill me if I let someone else touch the racks,” you worry, trying to grab the rack back, but unable to latch your hands onto it for some strange reason. “I don’t want to be beaten to death!”

    “Oh pishposh, your parents won’t do that, and besides, they will never know,” the woman says, and she is really starting to annoy you. “They have other things to worry about...and so do you, in a minute.”

    Your heart freezes and you look at the woman in fear. Is she...is she going to hurt you? Rob the bakery? Kill you?!

    “Do not worry, First and Forsaken Flower. I am not an enemy of yours, or of your parents,” the woman says she hefts the rack in her two hands and..wait, how is the fan staying in place? “I am but a simple traveller, who found something of amusement here. Your true enemies are….”

    “...alright, old woman, hand me the liang, and I don’t cut your face up,” a rough, male voice comes from the front of the bakery, causing your heart to seize, again.

    “...and there is your current enemy, child,” the woman continues seamlessly. “Now, since your hands are free, you are capable of doing something about that. Aren’t I helpful?”

    “What? But…,” you start to say, only for the woman’s fan to snap shut and somehow get tucked into your pants pocket. Then you are somehow pushed through the door into the front, quick enough that you only get a glimpse of the woman’s face...was that hair on the sides...and what was that thin furry thing waving around.

    “Eh? Wot’s this? Oho, your daughter? She’s cute,” the man said and you get your first look at him and he is..cut up and dark looking and you do not know what to do! You’re not a fighter. “Tell ya what; you give me the money and the girl, and I don’t harm you, or burn this shitty place down.”

    Your breathing is rapid and your heart hammers in your chest as you look around in alarm. Someone, do something! No, you were supposed to do something, but you can’t. You never learned how.

    Naval. Forsaken. Your parents Way that you never felt comfortable with. Lotus. Fan. That strange woman who was a stranger but talked like she knew you. Naval gazing.

    Liang.

    You feel a spark in you tummy, just behind your bellybutton. It is warm and familiar and special and you know what to do. Well, actually, you don’t, but you body does.

    You shift your body, like you do when you are moving a full rack into its resting place in the display, only without the weight of the rack holding you down, you end up doing a haphazard cartwheel that takes you closer to the man holding the bakery up and threatening your mother, and you. Both you and he are shocked as you come face to face less than a foot away, and while you are sure you are still looking terrified, he starts to smile evilly and reaches out to grab your arm. You manage to step to the side, like you do when a customer gets a bit too close, reaching into your pants and pulling the fan.


    Flashing your second best smile, you hand the closed fan to the thug. When he dumbfoundedly takes it, you punch the back of it, right into his ugly face. That causes him to stagger, so you pluck the closed fan back from his hands before he drops it and tuck it back into your pants, because you feel it will be important. You scamper over the counter, and drop to the floor with an oof, but manage to spring back to your feet and grab the broom your mother keeps there immediately after.

    Of course, the thug isn’t idle and he seems to have pulled a wicked looking knife from somewhere and is advancing on you.

    “Alright girlie, fun is fun, but that you are going to pay for,” the thug sneers, while leering at you, as if you do not know what this base creature has in store for your nubile body. “Jus’ drop the broom and no one has to get hurt.”

    Right, and your parents will miraculously have a son. Well, that woman got you into this, but you will find your way out of this. You purse your lips and pause, before leaning the broom back against the counter.

    “Yeah, that’s the ticket, girlie….hey, what gives?!”

    You pelt him with steamed buns of pork and beef and even peanut, and then, when he is thoroughly distracted by the foodstuffs, you grab the broom and swing it around yourself, even as you twist your body around, to give more momentum as you strike, with the handle side of the broom. Unerringly, it strikes the thug’s throat, causing him to choke, and causing the broom to break.

    Oops.

    You smile a bit guiltily at your mother as you drop the broken remnants of the broom, but keep focused as you scramble back over the counter to land, heavily, on the guy’s hand where it was clutching the handle of his knife. Bad for him, because you think you just broke his hand, and bad for you, as it makes your footing unsteady and you fall back, onto your butt.

    Oh no.

    “What do you think you are doing?” your father bellows as he charges out of the back and lays a beating on the would-be robber with the large, heavy metal wok he keeps in the kitchen. “That’s my wife and daughter, you scum, and this is my bakery and I won’t allow filth like you ruin it!”

    You just kind of stare on for a long moment as your father starts drawing blood with the wok, until you catch a movement out of the corner of your eye. Turning your head to the door to the back, you see the rack of steamed beef buns sitting where it’s supposed to sit, and a furry appendage wave as it disappears around a corner.

    Blinking, you pull the fan from your pants,m only to discover it is not a fan, but a book. Eyes widening, you stare at the book, wondering just what the hell is going on.

    ‘Baby’s first Enlightenment: How to start a Sage’s Journey right.’

    What. Just...what.

    What do you do now?

    [X] Read the book
    (this will take a few days)

    [X] Find the thug’s boss
    (You know the thug was not working alone, and you don’t want them to come after your family)

    [X] Just...go back to your routine
    (Deny anything special happened and hope it was all a dream)

    [X] Learn to fight
    (That was kind of awesome, how you just..did all that stuff, but you were really clumsy at it.l It would be better if you found someone to teach you to at least throw a punch right)




    I started this late because I was trying to find a good picture, but failed. So, in between waiting to update this I will try to find good pictures. You, and yes, I mean you, can post pictures for me to consider. I promise nothing, of course, but warm fuzzies knowing you helpde me find a good picture.
     
    meridian, Stylph, steamrick and 18 others like this.
  3. Threadmarks: 0.1 - The Original Troll's Book
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    Hm, not quite as long as I would have liked, but then, I am not going for a minimum word count here! I am just trying to entertain~




    While your father, and mother, dealt with the subprefect sent around to take the thug away, you quietly and efficiently, hide the book that had been a fan but was now a book and that confuses the hell out of you, but you roll with it, and just hide the book. No need to reveal it for now. You want to read it first.

    It’s not your fault you enjoy reading.

    More troubling though, is when you mentioned the strange woman before the subprefect had shown up to your parents, neither had seen her. Which is impossible, because either she had to come through the front, and pass by you and your mother, or go through the back, and pass by your father. Thankfully, you managed to pass it off as thinking you had seen someone go in or out, and not having talked to the person.

    Either way, while your parents are dealing with the subprefect, you get stuck with the task of cleaning the front room up. Which wouldn’t be too bad, if you hadn’t broken the broom, and mother is not happy about that. Not in the slightest, judging by the look in her eye as she looked at the remains of said sweeper upper. So you have to pick everything up by hand, or sweep with a rag to gather up bits of broken stuff.

    It’s annoying work, and a punishment you don’t think you deserve, considering you stopped the thug from harming mother, or yourself, or taking what little money the bakery brings in. Nonetheless, when you have finished that, you head to your tiny room, and pull out the book.

    You’re not sure what you will find in it, but you suspect something interesting, or at least unique. It is with mild trepidation that you crack open ‘Baby’s First Enlightenment: How to start a Sage’s Journey right’ to the first chapter, and begin to read:



    Shoes...really? I-if one of the Immortals really did write this, then why are they talking about shoes? This makes no sense! This book is weird and must be a fake, a trick. But, just in case, you will read on a bit more….



    Maps now? What is this? A book on Sages, or..or...a travel itinerary?!

    “Resplendent Lotus, I have been calling you for the last ten minutes!” your mother chastises you suddenly from your bedroom doorway. “Go to bed! The sun has long gone down and we wake in only six hours! You will need your rest if you are to help your father. Go go, put the light out and go to sleep!”

    “Y-yes mother, of course mother,” you chirp, startled by her words. Did it really take you all day to read just that? Where has the time gone? Shaking yourself, you tuck your book away in a hiding place, and blow out the light after your mother withdraws from your room.

    You will worry about it tomorrow. For now, you will sleep.

    So, you have begun reading the book given to you by Sun Wukong (and if you hadn’t realized it was Sun Wukong, you should be ashamed of yourself. I don’t think I could have telegraphed that any harder, dammit), but time moves on and a new day approaches. What will you do in the new light of dawn?
    [X] Continue to read the Book
    [X] Find some good shoes
    [X] Look for good maps of Catai
    [X] Find a Sifu to teach you to punch people in the face
    [X] Ignore yesterday and go back to your regular routine




    Just as a warning, I will probably not be writing more excerpts from the book, since I have little idea on what should go in it in the first place.

    Also, just as a thing, none of the votes are bad. Some of them are...suboptimal, depending on what you are looking for, but again, none of them are objectively bad, or worse than any of the others. They just signify a different road travelled. Kind of poignant considering the quest's subject matter, actually! :cool:
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
    Stylph, molemole, steamrick and 13 others like this.
  4. Threadmarks: 0.2 - Shoes, Sandals, and Enlightenment
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    [X] Find some good shoes
    No. of Votes: 4

    Having thought of it, I should have used sandals instead of shoes, but alas and alack, I didn’t use sandals, I used shoes. What this means is that I will be using sandals instead of shoes from here on in. I will not be changing it in the previous, part, at least, not right now, because of confusion reasons.




    In the morning, you wake to mother pounding on the door, calling for you to get up and get moving, so you can help with setup. It’s a pain, but you drag yourself out of your comfy bed and get to go about your morning routine. When your gaze flicks past the hiding spot for the book underneath your pillow, you pause and almost, almost grab it.

    In the end, you pass it by and just continue to get ready, absently putting your hair into a topknot to keep it out of the way. You have work to do, and maybe, after the morning chores, you can head off and see if you can find some sandals. You have been meaning to get a new pair for a bit now, after all.

    You’d honestly forgotten until the book, which you somehow spent hours reading and not realizing it, had reminded you. So, uh, thank you Sun Wukong, whoever they are.

    Either way, you put it out of your mind, as you go about the carting and carrying and cleaning and talking to early customers, and so on and so forth. It’s a grind, and it’s every morning, but you are used to it and it is life and you kind of want out now. Yes, a journey does sound good and different.

    But you do not want to abandon your family. Mother and Father do rely on you, after all, and you know one or two of the customers come in and buy stuff simply because they hope to gain a glimpse of you. Or so they say.

    Well, no matter, you just need to finish carrying this rack of steamed buns and then you can get cleaned up, put on clothes that do not smell like a bakery, and go see if you can find a good pair of sandals.

    * * * * *

    Yuzhou.

    The city within which you live. It is loud and judgemental and bright. It is also comfortable, known, and predictable. You are fairly sure you didn’t like the city at the beginning, when you moved here at the age of four, but it’s grown on you and while you still can’t say you love the place, you don’t hate it. Or at least, you dislike it less.

    It’s noisy most hours of the day, and it smells of burnt oil,of sweat, of blood, and of waste. It’s not clean, and it can never be clean. Not with the hundreds, if not thousands, of people living in such a packed place. Worse still, is Face.

    Face. Looking respectable, while wallowing in human filth. That’s father’s opinion on the matter, although he too tries to look maintain Face. If only so our customers don’t abandon us because of some preconceived notion. Mother though, she loves it. Is in her element when she is working on gaining Face.

    Or helping others lose it.

    You, you do not care either way. It is what it is and you live with it and let push you when it will not hurt, but hold firm when it conflicts with your own priorities. Something about bamboo bending and flexibility or some such saying you heard ages ago.

    Neither too hard, nor too soft what a minute.



    You are frozen in time. The whole world seems to have stopped and your breath is harsh in your ears. Your heart pumps loudly, rhythmically. The Blood pounds in your ears. Your vision narrows to just pinpricks and you know nothing else of the world except the nothing you are viewing.

    You feel empty, adrift. Lost. That little spark, burning behind your navel gets hotter, brighter, bruning you to ash, only for your heart to *Ba-Bum* refresh you, reshape you. Make you unburnt, unbowed and new again. Ready for that white hot fire to burn you to ash again.

    The cycle repeats and you feel Eternity. You understand the need for good sandals. Neither too hard, too tough that they hurt your self, nor to soft, that they let your self be harmed. Further, it makes sense, and you can see the way that your Way and The Way flow, how they interact, how they merge, how they-

    “Oi,don’t be stopping in the middle of the street, girlie!” shouts a large, rotund man as he hauls a cart behind him, having barely stopped himself from hitting you. “Now get; I have deliveries to make and you are holding up traffic!”

    -and you have lost it. It’s gone, all gone. You dimly feel yourself shuffling out of the way as you shed tears at the loss. It was...you can’t explain it, you can barely remember but a fragment of it, but you can feel at least some of it, some of that knowledge, inside you. You’re...you’re not sure how to reconnect to it, to learn that just out of reach knowledge, but you will.

    Now that you know it exists, that it is right there, you will grab it, and you will learn it. You will know Something. Your Way has told you that, told you it will lead you there.

    But for now...for now, you will go buy a new pair of sandals.


    After buying sandals, what will you do?

    [X] Buy a map
    [X] Read more of the book
    [X] Learn to face punch.
    [X] Meditate on what you have discovered





    Hm, not exactly how I envisioned it coming out, but I guess it is what it is. I think I managed to communicate everything I wanted to communicate, but I guess only time will tell if I did or not.
     
    Stylph, molemole, steamrick and 12 others like this.
  5. Threadmarks: 0.3 - Mapmaker, Mapmaker, make me a map to Enlightenment
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    I’m sorry, between exciting (in a good way) things happening, me being a bit, hm, lazy regarding this quest seeing as it is in the SFW section of QQ and thus, kind of barren, the tie, and me recently getting back into XCOM: Long War (I’m trying a French MEC Rush campaign; it’s fun. Except when I’m raging at thinman bullshit).

    So yeah, here’s the next part. Finally?




    After purchasing a new pair of sandals, and realising that it isn’t that the sandals are too hard, or too soft, but that they haven’t been properly broken in yet. You have not learned how to walk in these particular sandals, and the sandals have not learned how to shelter and protect your feet properly. So much philosophy in this, it is unreal.

    That’s neither here nor there, as you are now flipping the idea of either going off to meditate and think on that glimpse of Something, or just going to buy a map. Both options have their appeal. Meditating may help you digest this new way of looking at things, and make the idea that you may be a Sage settle properly. On the other hand, the map, well, look what happened after you went off to buy sandals?

    What could a map do?

    * * * * *

    Turns out, nothing.

    Well, not nothing, you did find some spectacular maps, and yes, even bought some, on the off chance you do leave the city and go travelling. You honestly wouldn’t mind, and the old man that sold the maps looked so alive when he explained the exotic places you could see that you swear you could almost taste it.

    Alas, it was only a woman with too much makeup and perfume. Still, it’s sparked a wanderlust in you, that you can say. You just have to come to a decision on how and what you want to go about this. Either not going on a journey and living a cold, miserable life in the city, or a cold, miserable life on the road.

    You aren’t going to romantic it up. Your parents have told you what it was like when the moved to the city, after all. Rain and mud and bugs and predatory animals. Oh, there were good things too, they told you, but they also cautioned you to remember that even if it looks good, sounds good, and feels good, that there is some drawback. Some hardship you must persevere through.

    Nothing good is free.

    Which is about where your thoughts stop as you turn the corner and see, standing outside of the family’s bakery, a couple of thugs. One of them holding a bottle with a blackened rag hanging out of it. You aren’t up on all the tools of thuggery, but you are sure that bottle is meant to catch fire.

    Since they are standing outside the bakery, and gestating at it, you surmise they must be with the thug you, and your dad, beat up the day before. Hunh, looks like the people the thug runs with got annoyed at his inexplicable ability to garner multiple blows to the head, and a jail stay, when trying to shake down a simple bakery.

    This, this is a problem. You do not want the bakery to burn down. You also do not want these thugs to trouble you and your family any more. Unfortunately, you do not know what to do. You could go and flail at them like a...like a flailing person. You could hide out and when they run off, you could follow them back to their hideout, but that would mean the ruin of the bakery in a fire.

    Or you could run and get help, but that would take too long, you suspect, and the bakery would be on fire and the thugs would be running away..

    What do now?

    [X] Flail at the thugs
    [X] Run to get help
    [X] Wait and follow the thugs




    Again, none of the voting choices are traps, they are just different paths to follow. Obviously, each path comes with consequences, but they also bring with them rewards, even if you do not see them.

    And since the 'reward' from this one will not appear for a bit, and by then, people won't make the connection. Since you took the buy a map option, you will have more options when you do finally go on the road (because we all know it will happen, eventually), and some other miscellaneous things that I haven't fully decided on yet.
     
  6. Threadmarks: 0.4 - Flailing Commences
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    Flailing commences!




    You blink once, twice. You do not even think, you just react.

    One of the sandals you are, or were, carrying, is suddenly flying through the air to impact the thug with the fire bomb, causing him to drop it...just as he lit it. Which is good, as it hit the ground and shattered, causing a pool of flame to appear, and distract the two men. This gives you enough time to throw your other sandal, and impact the other thug, knocking him off balance enough that he stumbles.

    Right into the flame puddle.

    With nary a care, you drop the rest of your packages -two maps, a bundle of string, and sadly, a very good beef bowl- and sprint the rest of your way towards the thugs as they are still disoriented. Along the way, you grab a pole -used to light and extinguish lampposts- leaning against, well, a lamppost. Lucky you that someone left it there.

    You skid to a stop just at the edge of the puddle of flames and pain, wobbling on your feet and gripping the pole -like you have seen those monks, out by the monastery, hold their sticks- tightly in both hands. With a squick, you try to hit the thug that is turning even now towards you and raising his hand as he scrambles out of the fire.

    Bend, don’t break. Be the good sandal, not the new sandal, not the old sandal.

    Hunh, that...makes some sense, and while you are drifting in your own head, the thug takes a swipe at you, even as fire crawls up his left leg. Which you block, barely, with the pole, though you are forced to take a step back, else you be overbalanced and tumble down. That would be bad.

    “Shit! You lil’ cunt, you set me on fire,” the thug you’re currently dealing with shouts at you and takes a swipe at you with one of his hands, his other patting at his leg as he hops and tries to put himself out.

    You can’t help but squeak as you block the swipe with the pole, though the wooden impromptu weapon breaks in half, leaving a piece in each of your hands. You also stumble back and fall on your cute bum. Thankfully, you fell away from the burning pool of fire, and just landed on packed dirt. Unfortunately, you are now on the ground, your opponent(s) are above you, if hopping around on fire, and you have dropped your weapon(s).

    Flipping onto your hands and knees, you scrabbling away from the the thugs, hearing a thump, and then another thump, as the thugs stop, drop, and roll. Only...you feel a big hand wrap around your ankle and start tugging you backwards!

    “What, nonono! Getoffgetoffgetoff!” you screech, as you roll onto your back and kick the thug in the face repeatedly, trying to get him to let you go. It doesn’t work and you are dragged, kicking and screaming towards the thug, as the other thug gets up, more slowly as he savours the fact that you can’t go anywhere.

    Until one of your flailing legs nails him in the crotch. You honestly weren’t aiming there, but you will take what you can get. Oh, hey, thug two let you go, to mimic his buddy and grab his groin in sympathy. This lets you flip back on your hands and knees and get up to your feet again.

    With a grunt, you kick the sympathising thug in his ugly face before you turn and run back to the bakery. Making as much noise as you can, in the hope that someone, anyone, will come help. To no avail apparently, as you see doors and windows close instead. Not the bakery, of course, but everywhere else. And it is oddly bereft of people.

    Well.

    You pick up a bamboo umbrella someone has carelessly left lying on the road and twirl it around in your hand, before turning and setting yourself for the thugs. They will not pass. Hopefully, you can hold them long enough for father to get his wok into play.

    “Oh, Resplendent Lotus, the things you get yourself caught up into,” you hear father behind you, and you glance to the side just enough to see him step up beside you, weidling his wok of headbashing. I thought mother and I told you not to get into any more trouble?”

    “But father, they were going to burn the bakery,” you protest, your lips turning into a pout as you stamp your foot. “They deserve to get their butts kicked!”

    “Yes, yes, but it doesn’t have to be you that does it,” mother fusses as she pulls up on the other side of you, holding a...is that a sword? Oh, that’s the replica sword that your mother puts on display in the front room.

    “Shit, we gotta tell the boss ‘bout this,” says the thug you nailed in the groin, still a bit hunched over before he turns and starts to hobble/run away. HIs partner in crime, literally, follows right behind him.

    What do now?

    [X] Stay here
    (make sure your parents are safe)

    [X] Apprehend the thugs
    (Stop the thugs to turn over to the subprefects)

    [X] Follow the thugs
    (Try to find the thugs base)





    Ugh, I forgot how hard writing fighting scenes are. Especially when the main protag doesn't know how to fight. Ah well; I think I am getting better.
     
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  7. Threadmarks: 0.5 - Following dumb and dumber
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    Sorry, this would have been up sooner, but War of the Chosen dropped a couple of days ago and my favourite streamers have been almost nonstop streaming it, so that has taken my time. Fret not, this is not abandoned, nor is it forgotten.




    You think long and hard on this. Do you concentrate on your parents, and making sure everything is okay, do you try to apprehend the thugs so they will face the full brunt of the law, or do you follow them to their hideout, so you can...you’re not sure what you will do when you get there, but you will do it, yes you will.

    Your hands grip the bamboo umbrella in your hands and you feel it creak a bit as you worry your mind back and forth between just running up to them and kicking their asses, and sneaking behind them, somehow because you aren’t the most stealthy, and trying to find out where their base is. For reasons. That you haven’t decided yet.

    Finally,you sigh and hand the umbrella to mother. It would be better to find out where they are coming from, rather than cut your information source off. Please, you will do something. Something big. Something that will stop them from coming. Something...that you still do not know.

    “Hold this, I will be back in a bit,” you say to mother, before bouncing off. Your hands absently rise up and tie your hair into a quick topknot and you try to blend in with the crowd of people -too fucking scared to come out when the thugs weren’t limping away- that is starting to spill out onto the dusty streets once more.

    “Resplendent Lotus, don’t do…,” mother starts to say, only to trail off and just heave a heavy sigh. You’re not focused on her, but you imagine she just waves her hand vaguely at you. “Just...be safe, child.”

    “Be quick, Resplendent Lotus,” father says in turn, and even though you are not looking at him as you travel further away, you imagine he’s folded his arms in front of him and is glowering at you. “Don’t be late for clean up, daughter.”

    You smile slightly, and as you pass out of hearing range, turn back and flash them a smile, and your index and middle finger held up in ‘V’ sign to show them that everything is alright and they shouldn’t worry. You can’t promise about being there to help with clean up, if only because you kind of want to not have to do it if you do not have to. You will never mention that fact. Never ever.

    Now, following the thugs is both easy, and hard. Easy, because it is easy to follow the thugs, what with one still nursing your kick to his dick slowing them down, and being noticeable in the hunched way he walks. Hard, because you have to follow them on the street and it is hard to hide and still keep an eye on where the two thugs go.

    Still, you manage to hang back and follow them along. Occasionally, you have to stop and do something else. Like pick up some newsprint to read, and have to buy because the shopkeeper is glaring at you. Or, or, start looking through some produce...and have to buy some because you accidentally drop the peach in your hand. Or...well, you manage to make it through the district you live in, and only have to spend most of your money on things you will never see again, because if you want to move you have to keep your hands free.

    You sigh in relief when they, and then you, pass through into the ‘lower’ district. So called because it is where those that barely make enough money to survive live. Thankfully, this is not you, but it still kind of breaks your heart to see the people here shuffling along as they seek to make enough to live on.

    But today is not about your sympathies with the poor. You are a stealthy stealth type following two thugs as they crawl back to their boss and master to tell them how they failed because of you, because of a girl. You hope they choke on having to report it. You doubt it though. Probably a lot of macho posturing, and chest beating...well, you’ll just have to kick them in the nads again.

    Only harder. Make them regret looking down on you and all that.

    Then you hear a sound and you barely manage to frantically look around for a second, before jumping up and grabbing an overhang and pulling yourself up, out of the way. Two guys, dressed similarly enough to the thugs that are currently getting away, pass close underneath you as your arms strain to keep you from falling down and being discovered. Bend, don’t break, bend don’t break.

    Bend, don’t...and your muscles give out and you fall. Surprisingly, you manage to catch yourself and land almost silently on all fours. Stifling a squeak, you shuffle on all fours out of sight, pressing yourself into shadow as you wait for the two guys to turn a corner before dragging yourself back to your feet and dashing to relocate the thugs.

    “Yeah, guess they were seeing things. Didn’t find no slag following them,” one of the two guys says to a third guy. Your fist clenches at the insult, but you keep listening. “Nah, let them tell the boss. No point in us borrowing any trouble, when it will all fall on them anyway.”

    So, these two, well, three, are also in the employ of whoever sent the thugs to the bakery. Well, with them standing outside of a...massage parlour -and doesn’t that just make your skin crawl- you can guess that their base is inside Now is the time to decide what to do. Be all action-y, and fight your way in, when you have no fighting ability, sneak your way in, when you suck at stealth. Or something else.

    Whatever you decide, at least you know where their base is.

    So, what do you do now?

    [X] Fight your way in
    [X] Sneak your way in
    [X] Go home
    [X] Tell the authorities
     
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  8. Threadmarks: 0.6 - Civil Serving
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    Sorry this took so long to get to, but as I said before, I have been busy with other things. I also, admittedly, do not have this as the highest priority of things in my mental queue, because it is SFW, and I know that it takes a while for votes to accrue. Ah well. Have unhelpful civil servant and helpful civil servant!




    You wrestle with the idea of just going home, of reporting this to the authorities, or maybe, an errant thought - that you ruthlessly crushed the instant it appear- suggested, you go in and fight them. Yeah, no. You, in the end, decide to report it to the Prefect’s office. It’s the responsible thing to do, and you don’t have to try to do something you are not good at. E-even if you have weird luck lately, and managed to not get hurt flailing like a...like a....well, like a thing that flails a lot.




    The Prefect’s office is in the main government building for the city, which is a rather ornate building, all told, and shows definite signs of good craftsmanship. Also, there are inlaids of jade, because someone thought it was a good idea to have the most pretentious looking building in the city. Probably not the Prefect though. The governor most likely, since he was the one to order the building built.

    You’re getting distracted and sidetracked though and you enter the building and begin looking for the Prefect’s office. Which, thanks to a large sign, which you can read -because mother could read and she broke her back teaching both you and father- thankfully, you find said office relatively quickly. Unthankfully, you also find the clerk that acts as gatekeeper.

    “If you do not have an appointment, I am afraid you can not see Prefect Arin,” replied the brown haired, officious woman. “If you wish to make an appointment, then next month is the earliest I can pencil you in.”

    “But...but...I have vital information!” you exclaim with a burst of irritation. How dare this woman keep you from reporting this to the relevant authorities. Your fingers clench as you grip the countertop with your hands, to keep you from going over and doing something to the annoying woman. “Look, I do not want these thugs to attack my family again! I thought the Prefect, you know, the guy that handles law and order in the city, would appreciate knowing about this?”

    “Yes, yes, he would, but you still do not have an appointment, so you can not see him at this time,” the clerk rattled off again, seemingly bored with the interaction. And not at all afraid of your nonthreatening self. Somedays, it does not pay to try to deal legally with anyone.


    “If I may?” comes a cultured, male voice from behind you, causing you to turn around and look at the subprefect that you had to deal with when the thugs attacked the bakery the first time. “Ah, I recognise you. The daughter of the baker and his wife, yes? Did you have something additional to report about that?”

    “Yes, well, no, but yes,” you say, stumbling over your explaination for a moment, before setting your shoulders and taking a deep breath. What was his name? What was his name? Oh, right! “Subprefect Azure Hair of the Moon! Yes, you can help me, but I don’t think it is in your jurisdiction? Nevermind. I found the hideout of where those thugs attacked live, or hang out, or whatever thug things thugs do when they are not being thugs to innocent people.”

    “It’s Eyes. Azure Eyes, but you are not the first to make that mistake,” the subprefect, Azure Eyes says with a long, suffering tone. “Very well, tell me what you have found, and I can report it to the Prefect when I meet with him later today, when I make my report to him on the attack on your father’s bakery.”

    “Fine, you see…,” you start to say, settling yourself back and relaxing your handgrip on the counter as you start to tell him about where you found the hideout, and the general intelligence of the people that called it ‘home’.


    What do you want to do now?

    [X] Meditate
    [X] Learn to Face Punch
    [X] Read more of the Book
    [X] Help with Bakery




    I should clarify what the Prefect is? He, or she, is basically the judge and jury and investigator for a city, elected by the governor. The Prefect chooses subprefects to hand off a lot of his workload because he can not be everywhere at once. Actual police forces are different, and are often more of a neighbourhood watch type deal.

    At least, that is how I interpreted some things I read about ancient China. And if I am wrong, well, that is how it is in this Quest, so nyah!
     
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  9. Threadmarks: 0.7 - Face Punching 101
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    You’re torn between reading more of The Book, and finding someone to teach you how to face punch. Really, it is a hard decision, seeing as the the Tao wishes to throw you into combative situations. At least, you assume it is the Tao, and not some random happenstance of, well, you can’t call it luck, or unluck in this case, because the Tao would control it and thus the Tao….

    You get a headache thinking in circles for a few minutes, before shrugging it off and going for something else. Yes, face punching. You will look into learning face punching, and you will try not to cause yourself a headache again.




    “Excuse me, sir, but would you teach me how to punch face?” you ask the sifu of what looks like a school for, well, punching face. That is, from what you see, they do a lot of punching. Also, a face could be at about the height of a lot of their punches. Face punching, see? “Like, I know I know nothing about the, uh, fine art of, um, punching a person in the face, but would it be okay for me to join your school and, ah learn?”

    “...my art is not ‘face punching,” the elderly man says, nostrils flaring as he pulls himself fully upright and glaring at you. “It is the Northern Long Fist style. We don’t just ‘punch people in the face’ as you so crudely put it, we also kick, and throw. In fact, the face is the least likely place for a student of mine to strike at.”

    You stare at the balding man for a long moment, and then shrug your shoulders. Whatever, it looks like face pu- ohhhh, okay, that was a kick...to about where a person’s face would be. Very flexible. You approve.

    “Okay, so, can I learn it?”

    I...I will think on it. Now begone, lest you distract my students.”

    “Fine, fine,” you grumble, before turning and walking away. It’s got some possibility. Definitely gets points, if only for the whole face punching thing and face kicking. You think you are that flexible, but you are not sure. Well, you’ll look for other schools, see if they are less stuffy than this one.



    Turns out, no, they aren’t. Apparently the sifu’s you run into do not want to admit that they teach people how to punch, and kick sometimes, faces. Sad, really. They need to be better, more grounded people and see the truth of the matter. Face punching is fun. Which is why you wish to learn it.




    “So, can I learn how to face-”

    “I do not teach face punching. I teach Southern Iron Strike style. I teach strength through aggression,” the sifu says, this one kinda short and thick, like a barrel. He also has a funny, pencil thin moustache that is way too long. “I teach overwhelming force, with which you use to defeat any and all opponents.”

    “Well, yeah, and you do that by punching people’s faces,” you say nonchalantly, giving a shrug and ignoring the growl from the sifu. “See, if you look, you students are punching, and kicking, at about where a person’s face is. So, face punching.”

    “I do not teach face punching! I teach force overwhelming!”

    “Mhm, you keep believing that,” you say with a raised eyebrow at the, frankly, un-sifu like outburst from the man. Really, and he calls himself a sifu? Well, he doesn’t appear to be too bad, so you will add it to the list you will be keeping, but you want to move on in your scouting potential styles to learn.




    “This...is not face punching,” you muse, contemplatively as you stare at the row of students moving through slow motions that involve almost all their body. Oh, there are punches and kicks, but they are slowed right down, and had no power in them. “What is it even they are doing?”

    “They are meditating through martial prowess,” comes an elderly voice and you turn and see a man who must be at the end of his years, with pure white hair, and a slightly hunched back. You still get a sense of...something from him, though. You’re not sure what, but something about him screams dangerous, even if he looks like a still breeze will crush him.

    “That makes no sense.”

    “It makes no sense to you, young one, but if you give it time, you will,” the sifu says serenely, folding his hands together under the white robe he wears. “You must only have patience.”

    “But...but I want to learn to face punch now.”

    “And that is why you do not understand, child. You want, but what is it you need?”

    “I…,” you start to say, only to stop and just kind of stare at the strange old man. No, really, he’s being all strange and saying all this cryptic stuff that makes no sense. Actually, you will just go..to somewhere that you will not be confused so much. “I..I am just going to, ah, go….”

    “Very well, child; you come back once you are ready to know.”



    So, which face punching do you want to learn?

    [X] Northern Long Fist
    (Long on strikes with the fist and the foot. Rather acrobatic, with cartwheels and flips and the like. Hidden Weapons style would fit nicely with this one)

    [X] Southern Iron Strike
    (Long on fist strikes and grapples, and overwhelming an opponent with the body. You don’t quite have the stature to really bully someone with your body, but you will still learn how. Ill fit for Hidden Weapons Style)

    [X] The Slow One
    (You do not even know, but there was a challenge there. Good for meditation, about neutral for Hidden Weapons Style)




    And you thought I had forgotten the Hidden Weapons Style? I hav enot. There is a possibility to really starting to form your own fighting style (Hidden Weapons), but there is also the chance to get a style that can finish a fight in one strike, or a style that helps you with your whole being a Sage, but not so much on the whole learning how to Hidden Weapons. So, ultimately, it’s up to you which you want to do, and what you want to be. It’s your Journey after all~
     
  10. Threadmarks: 0.8 - Percussive Learning
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    You nibble your lip as you ponder what flavour of face punching you want to do, worrying over ifs, and what fors, and even thoughs. You immediately strike from consideration Southern Iron Strike, because you just do not have the stature, nor the bulk, to really make use of the style. So it comes down to Northern Long Fist and that other slow, ponderous one.

    In the end, you find a bench to sit on, and a sticky bun to eat (don’t tell Father) as you work through what you want to do. In the end, you end up consulting that odd book by this Sun Wukong person. Better to start after the map bit.

    Flipping the book open you settle down to read:


    What, but it said to...you are confused. No, do not let a book confuse you. Books are not confusing, only the way you read them is confusing...no, the book is confusing. Well, okay, better to flip a bit ahead, see if there is a section for face pun- ah, there is.


    Well, okay, that makes sense, you guess. Like, it makes sense and should be obvious, so why didn’t..no, do not think on this. Thinking on this may result in madness. Best to just keep reading on, so you skip a bit ahead and find this:


    Hm, this is true too...well, looks like Northern Long Fist is the style you will learn.

    * * * * *

    “I have decided that you will be the one to teach me how to face punch effectively,” you say as you approach the sifu confidently, stopping an arms length away as you stare in defiance at the man, daring him to reject you. “And face kicking, too, I suppose.”

    “I will, will I?” the elderly man says, crossing his arms over his chest. The man actually looks rather wiry, and solid, but still thin. “And why would I take a disrespectful young lady such as yourself as a student?”

    “Because I am Resplendent Lotus,” you blurt out, before taking a deep breath and centering yourself. You take another deep breath, slowly releasing it, and begin again. “Because I am Resplendent Lotus, and I will learn. I will learn what you have to teach, and you will learn what I have to teach. I will be the perfect student. The one from whom you learn from teaching.”

    You’re...not sure where the words come from, or where the idea comes from, but the words you speak. They seem to,,,you can feel them resonate in the very fabric of the Tao. In everything. They are correct and true, because you have made, somehow, made them correct and true.

    “Hm. Very well, student, let us see what I may learn,” the elderly man -your sifu- says, before turning abruptly and leading the way to an open practice area in the small school situated in the district adjacent to the one you live in.

    What follows once you reach the practice area is the beating of your lifetime.

    * * * * *

    “I did not know a person could bend like that,” you grumble as you limp back to the bakery, bruised and battered, but unbowed. You bent, but you did not break. You withstood your sifu’s onslaught, and learned from it, as he learned from your fierce desire to be his student. “At least I am learning to face pun-” you pause, and flinch. Sifu did not like that flippancy, and you understand now why. Face punching is just the beginning of what you are learning to do! Okay, so Sifu will probably chastise you for that thought, too. “Stuffy old men.”

    “What was that and by the sage’s what happened to you,k daughter?” your mother starts to say, only to then demand an answer when she sees your roughed up state. “Who did this too you? I knew you shouldn’t have run off after those thugs on your own. Are you alright? They didn...did they? Oh no, dear? DEAR?! OUR DAUGHTER IS HOME!”

    “Mother, mother, MOTHER! Calm down, I’m okay,:” you desperately try to calm your mother down, waving your hands in front of you. “I found Sifu..er, a sifu, and he showed me how not to look like an idiot when I get into a fight, that’s all, that’s all! Do not...you do not need to worry!”

    “What’s this now? Daughter! Who did this to you I will beat them to death with my wok!”

    “Faaaather!”

    * * * * *

    After you manage to get your parents off your back, and get in a good scrubbing, to clean the dirt and sweat off. You are left with not much to do, honestly. You could help out with the bakery, you could go to the bathes and have a good, proper soak. You could meditate on what you have learned today. Or you could just give up and go to bed. Well, or you could read some more of the book.

    So, what now?

    [X] Early Bed
    [X] Go to the Bathes
    [X] Help in Bakery
    [X] Meditate
    [X] Read the Book




    Special thank you to TotalAbsolutism for the koans in the book. Without his help, this wouldn't be nearly as amusing. :)
     
  11. Threadmarks: 0.9 - The Baker's Daughter
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    You make do with a quick wash, to clean the sweat and dirt off, put on a clean pair of clothes, tie your hair back with a handy strip of cloth, and then head out into the Bakery to be the dutiful daughter and help your parents. You had almost decided to meditate, but really, what does meditate do for you? Does it help you parents? Does it further your goals of doing...something. Does it help with your new learnings of face punching?

    You do not know. Why would you? You have not read further into the book, and you have not meditated. The benefits and drawbacks are hidden from you, for now.

    Ah well, you have been kind of neglecting the bakery since that first fight, when you found that odd book on Sage’s. You are only half certain the book is for you though. Why would you be a Sage? You’re a baker’s daughter. Not...not a learned person. Not a martial ar- oh, you kind of are one of those now.

    Hunh. Right, helping with the bakery. It’s not exactly hard work, or intellectually stimulating. Go here, carry that there. That sort of thing. Father in the back, making things, and mother in the front, selling things, and you in the middle running back and forth between back and front, front and back, carrying trays of freshly cooked foodstuffs, or empty trays to be refilled.

    As you dart here, there, and everywhere, you pick up snippets of conversation:

    “...did you see her....fight….it was hilarious….”

    “...did you see…fire….”

    “...they...back...endangered...all....”

    Well.

    Well.

    You seem the talk of the town, block, whatever, and you are not sure if it is in a good way, or a bad way. No one mentions if there has been any action taken against the gangs’ hideout, which...kind of worries you. Or maybe they are taking their time? Doing it all quiet like so as not to give away anything?

    Or...or is the subprefect in league with the...with the...filth?

    You hate that thought, you do. For one, he was...nice, and for another, it would totally shatter your belief in a just and fair society. For yet another, it means you are back to square one and will have to find the gang boss and punch his face in.

    And...and you are still not very good at face punching!

    It’s only father’s sharp rebuke that reminds you that you have things you still need to do, that gets you moving from the spot you had stopped at as your thoughts all collided and, well, caused you to stop in the first place. You’re not...you still do not know what to do, but as your eyes are open to the potentially bad fates that can happen, you notice a few things now. Like father’s heavy wok, which he never uses for cooking because the thing is just too heavy to cook with. Mother clutches the broom handle a bit too oddly, for someone just sweeping up, and when she is doing other things, it is never far away.

    Some of the customers are carrying truncheons, or blades, or have a new, wary step to their gait now. The district is geared up, ready for a fight, you think...no, you know. Now that you are paying attention to it, you can feel the tension in the air. The ripples of minor grievances being poked and prodded and brought out to blame someone for the way the district is unrestful.

    When they are not blaming you in whispers, that is.

    You hear tales of a monkey man -what is that even you do not- sighted sitting, kneeling, in the pond in the park. You hear tell of a lady of silk seen floating through the district beside yours. You hear that Sages of all stripes have been sighted, more and more in the countryside. In the city.

    And all through this, you can feel the Tao tingle in...you think it is excitement. With purpose. And you feel your own , burgeoning Way start to nudge you. Nudge you where you do not know, but you must trust that it has your interests at heart. That you will not lose yourself, that you will not lose your family, in all this.

    Maybe...just maybe….you really are a Sage.

    So, what do you want to do now? You don’t have a lot of time, since Resplendent Lotus will be sleeping shortly.
    [X] Go the the public bathhouse to soak
    [X] Go sleep
    [X] Read book
    [X] Meditate




    Of the options, only meditate is the subpar one. You just do not have the time needed to properly meditate, until you fall asleep.

    Also, just to say, meditate is how you rank up your Sage-ness. Like, it is not a quick rank up, and it won’t put you above a letter grade everytime it you take it, but it does help you be more awesome. It lets you..digest what you have learned, in books, in practice, and in thought.

    Just saying. ;P
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
  12. Threadmarks: 0.10 - Irrelevant Reading
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    With not a lot of time to really get into the whole meditation thing, although you would love to give it a shot, you instead grab the book that had started this mess, or not started, but certainly helped along, and lay back in your bed to read a bit.

    First thing’s first, is to check what to do after you buy some maps, because you had let it slip past you in the your quest for teaching in the proper art of face punching. What you found hurt your brain:


    You’re sure that means..something, but you’re not sure what. You’re starting to get the idea, well, more of an idea, that everything in this book is doublespeak. Some sort of ‘wise’ sayings. Of course, just when you have that thought solidify, you run across passages like the following, which totally throw you off:


    It’s just...it’s there and it is in black and white...well, ink and paper, but still. Your poor head hurts sometimes at the sheer what the fuckness that occurs regularly with the book. Still, there is some...good advice, and some strange advice, and some advice you wish you had before you set out, and even some advice that makes you resigned to just having a book that likes to tease you.


    Which describes the martial art style you settled on after reading about badness of the other two in this bleeding book. You’re highly suspect that this Sun Wukong person who wrote the book is a trickster, and likes to fuck with people. Also, definitely not a Sage. No way would someone so irrelevant be a Sage.

    That’s...that’s not to say the advice is all bad, or irrelevant, some of it is just flippant, too.




    And that is really, all there is to it. Little bits of ‘advice’, wrapped up in weird not really relevant koans that, in the end, makes your head hurt. Still, you feel...better about yourself, and your path after you finish reading the book for the night. You’re not done it, not by a long shot, but you are feeling better, and more stuffed in the head, so hopefully, something good will come of it.

    Just as you are about to close the book and douse the light though, you see:


    This, now, you know this. You’ve had a couple of days like this. You get that feeling with every different passage of the book itself. Frowning, you flip to the last page:


    Fuck it. Put out the light, go to sleep. Do not think about it. Do not think about it at all.

    So, what do you wish to do in the morning?

    [X] Help in the Bakery
    (After morning chores, help with the bakery some more)

    [X] Learn from Sifu
    (Northern Long Fist)

    [X] Meditate

    [X] Practice Face-Punching

    [X] Read more of the Book

    [X] Visit Friends
    (You have some, but it has never been the right time to introduce them, because things have been going on. Now though, you can see some friends, if you wish)



    Like last time, a thank you to TotalAbsolutism for the passages in The Book. HIs koans have made it easier for me to do this stuff (I suck at koans).
     
  13. Threadmarks: 0.11 - Training Montage
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    Well, this was quicker than the couple of hours I expected, but hey, it helps that I had most of the sequence plotted out in my head because of a dream, I guess.




    Punch. Kick. Punch.

    “Again!”

    Punch. Kick. Punch.

    “Again.”

    Punch. Misstep. Flail blindly.

    “Pick yourself up and do it again! Only don’t fall like a flummoxed ox. You fall like this.”

    “Yes Sifu,” you say, smiling through gritted teeth as you pick yourself up off the packed dirt and reset yourself in the default stance that Sifu had shown you yesterday, when you started this odyssey of face punching. At least all he is doing is watching you punch and kick in this little area of the main practice yard as he walks class after class of students through punches and kicks of their own. You, he relegates to an out of the way corner, to repeat the two techniques -a straight punch forward, and a kick to the stomach- repeatedly.

    There is no give in the elder man. No smile and well done. Just being told to do it again and again and again and again and- you get stuck in repeat like that for a while, and eventually, you realise the sun has risen to about mid-day. Sifu does not call for a rest. He does not seem to care that you are kind of hungry right now. Although, he is nice enough to bring you a bucket of water to drink from and douse yourself with.

    “Resplendent Lotus,” Sifu says, after you have set the bucket down, he dropping to kneel in the ground and motioning for you to do the same. “You have proven you are willing to work for what you asked for. You have shown me that you can and will pick up what I teach. When you are not re-enacting a newborn horse trying to stand on its own legs for the first time, that is.”

    “I had a cramp in my leg, Sifu,” you explain stiffly as you kneel in the hard dirt, ignoring the sounds of students practicing their own drills in the background. You can see the point at which he starts getting annoyed at your comment and continue smoothly, “this is not an excuse. It is a reason. I should have made you aware of the cramp and stopped to see to it, I know. There is no reason to push me hard if all I am going to do is injure myself.”

    “Just so,” Sifu says, squaring himself before he looks you in the eye and starts teaching. “Between yesterday and today so far, you have done well, young one. You have learned the proper way of punching and kicking. More importantly, you have learned how to breath properly, how to stand so you are less likely to be knocked down, and you have learned, at last, how to fall and not hurt yourself in the process.”

    “Thank you, Sifu,” you say, bowing your head low to him. “It is only through your teaching that I have learned what I have learned. I told you when we started that I would be your perfect student, and I do not wish to make a liar of myself.”

    “So you did, so you did,” the elderly man says after a moment, stroking his chin as he looks you over. “Go to the building on the far side. It is myself, and you will find my wife there. Ask her for a bowl of rice, for lunch. After, you are to come back here and practice your punches and kicks, until I have a chance to instruct you in the basic blocks. Now go.”

    “Yes Sifu, thank you Sifu.”

    * * * * *

    Punch. Kick. Punch.

    Your lunch, which consisted of a bowl of fried rice, mixed with some onion, bits of chicken, and an egg, was adequate. Not as...well, as satisfying as lunch at home would be, but you live in a bakery, so that is a wash. Lunch will always be ‘better’ at home, if only because of the variety. The bowl of rice was filling though, filling just enough for you to continue your practice without making you get sick or anything of the like.

    Punch. Kick. Punch.

    So you practice what Sifu has taught you so far. Not a lot, honestly, but it’s only been a day and a half, roughly, since you started, so hey, any progress you make is good progress. Out of the corner of your eye, you can see that Sifu is leading a class through some sort of sequence of moves and though you are so very tempted to watch, it would mean stopping, or slowing down your own ‘sequence’ of punch, kick, punch.

    Punch. Kick. Punch.

    Punch. Kick. Punch.

    So you give up on the watching, and just focus on your own moves. Which, you suspect, is a test by Sifu. It’s an evil test though, tempting you like this. In fact, it is so evil, you are tempted to fail it purposefully, just to...no, stop.. That way of thinking is bad. Bad thinking. Thinking like that would make The Book make sense, and you have not lost enough sense to think that is a good thing. Yet.

    Punch. Kick. Punch. Punch. Kick. Pu- Blocked.

    “At rest, student,” Sifu suddenly says, after appearing in front of you and effortlessly blocking your last punch in sequence. “We will finish today’s lesson with instruction on proper blocking.”

    “Teach me, Sifu,” you say, smiling slightly, as you focus yourself, and learn.



    So, it is early afternoon. What do you do now?

    [X] Continue your Instruction
    [X] Help your Parents Out
    [X] Meditate on all you have learned
    [X] Read The Book
    [X] See to your friends
    [X] Soak in the Public Baths




    You have learned enough of Northern Long Fist Style that Sifu will teach you a proper form (or Kata, if you are a weebo) in the next training montage. You do still need to meditate at some point if you wish your Sageness to rise, even if it will not be a complete rank up (it will get you closer to ranking up however, which not meditating is not doing).
     
  14. Threadmarks: 0.12 - Being One with Oneness
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    Okay, okay. It is time to...it is time to meditate on what you have learned. Contemplate on your navel. Be one with the Oneness. That’s what Sages do, right, and you kind of are a Sage? Or at least, you think you may be a sage. The Book is...hazy on that, actually, when you went looking for answers on just how you should meditate.


    So, by The Book’s interpretation of things, you are definitely not a Sage. Though you would love to walk on water, because that sounds like a neat party trick at the bathes. It is also why you are sure you are only maybe Sage.

    Then you read on and spot this:


    It’s a bit shady, but...well, you like face punching stuff. Punching faces, and kicking groins, just sounds so much fun. Still, it is a tad suspect. Whatever. You are learning the fine art face punching, and that is all there is to it. Also, groin kneeing. Can’t forget the sharp, bony knee.

    It’s a classic.

    What is also a classic is how you eventually decide to meditate on your oneness with Oneness. On contemplating your way, and the Tao, and how they intersect. And how they don’t. It makes sense in your head, and that is all that is important. Well, that and that it works.

    Right. Meditation. You obtain a candle, some matches, and find an area that you will not be disturbed. The floor of your room. Sitting down cross-legged, which is not as comfortable as kneeling, you light the candle and stare into the flickering flame. You put thumb to middle finger, and breathe in, hold...and breathe out. You breathe in, hold...and breath out. YOu meditate.

    “ooOOoooooOOoommmMMmm.”

    Okay, making noises doesn’t work, but you had to try it, Still, the other aspects are working, as you let your mind drift back, back to that first day, when you discovered the book, and inadvertently kicked a thug’s ass.

    Furry sideburns. Furred tail. Woman that is not a woman that is a monkey. An intricate fan that is a Book. Peace, and knowledge, and the assurance that you had done good and right and what you wanted to do. That you had discovered your way.

    Accidentally kicking the asses of the two thugs that came to burn the bakery down. Fire. Screams. Desperation. Intrigue. A man that is not a man and a magistrate that is not a magistrate. Intrigue. A gate still opened, and a noose still strung.

    Face punching. Face Punching.

    Punch. Kick. Punch.

    Punch. Kick. Punch. Black. Block. Kick. Block. Punch. Reset.

    You breath, long and deep and hold. Then you let it out.l a continuous gust of wind. A deflating of your lungs. An awareness of your seat, or lower...what? No, yes. Lower Dantian. You feel your Qi flow, circulate through you, trundling rather shakily through your...through your meridians. Yes, that is the word.

    Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out. Hold.

    Breahte in. Hold. Breathe out. Hold.

    Watch the flame. Focus the flame.

    Be the flame.

    Feel your Qi circulate through you, lifting you, buffering you.

    Touch that awareness of that perfect moment where you understood Everything. And Everything understood you. Pull back. Know you are not ready for that. It will burn you, crush you. You are not strong enough.

    Yet.

    End of the Prologue

    So, the question is, how to start Arc One? What is Arc One? Well, vote below and we shall get on with it~

    [X] Dealing With Loose Threads
    (Things have been going good in the last week. You have been working on your face punching, and you have done some meditation. Of course, every sun needs a cloud, and we begin in the middle of a fight between Resplendent Lotus and some familiar thugs.)

    [X] Enter the Jade Hall
    (Things have been going good for the last week and a half. You have worked with Sifu, you have meditated, and you have Read. For reasons you do not know, you have been summoned to the Prefect’s Office.)

    [X] Monkey Business
    (Your last month has been...a thing. You have learned face punching.,..North Long Fist Style Kung Fu well, and Sifu is pleased enough that he has been teaching you the various forms of it. Your meditation has been proceeding apace as well as your understanding of yourself. Now though, you have been made aware that there is..something, or someone, terrorizing your district. Thefts, assaults. Those that know of your new found desire to punch face have pestered you about finding out what is going on.
     
  15. Threadmarks: 1.0 - Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    For about the fifth or sixth time in as many minutes, you have to wonder ‘why?’. Why is this happening to you? Why now? Why couldn’t it have happened later, when you weren’t spending time with a friend? Of course, as with every other wondering on this topic, you return, once more, to that bit of advice from The Book.

    And that is the crux of the issue, isn’t it? Why not?

    Absently, you duck a wild punch to your head, and do a handless cartwheel to the left to get out of the attack area of the thug in front of you, and then hop backwards as another thug dives towards you. As he passes by, you pluck the straw hat the thug is wearing off his head and plop it on your head, just to see if it works for you. You bring your right hand up, and turn your torso a bit to block a punch, and then extend the blocking arm out into a chopping motion to the side, managing to catch that thug in the throat.

    Deftly, you do a backflip -just learned it yesterday, in fact, but you are reasonably flexible, so hey, it’s all good- and land beside a wooden box for tossing garbage in. Just in time, actually, to help a thug diving towards to you up, and over your head, and...right into the box! You weren’t even trying to do that, so go you.

    You spin yourself over to your friend, Mei-ling, and grab one end of the sash keeping your friend’s tunic closed. With a flash of a smile and a ‘just need to borrow this for a moment’, you give it a yank, taking the sash with you as you deposit the straw hat you had...liberated from a thug onto your friend’s head as recompense for the sash. As your friend cries out in shock, and not a little outrage, you dart back towards the three thugs still menacing you, sash trailing behind you like a streamer.

    A twist of your wrist and the sash is flowing through the air, to wrap around thug #1’s neck, letting you tug him towards you, and causing him to spin to face away from you, with the sash slithering off his neck again. That’s okay, as you just want to give his ass a kick, and push him forwards, potu of immediate combat range, even as thug #2 comes at you, bellowing out as he tries to brain you with a wooden club.

    You turn and throw one end of the sash up, wrapping it around just below the head of the club, You twist and throw yourself into a handless cartwheel, keeping hold of either end of the sash in your left hand, twisting the sash around, even as you tug it from thug #2’s hands. Ahh, now you have a weighted sash weapon. Much better.

    That’s about when you notice that the three thug’s have you cornered. Kind of. Turning, you sprint up a wall (well, you jump, manage to make one step further) and then jump, using your makeshift weapon as a long range battering ram to take out thug #3, and the way he goes down, you suspect it will be for long enough to say he was removed from the fight. Good.

    Landing into a forward roll, you do another forward roll, and then whip your sash weapon back, releasing one end of the sash, so that the club held in the sash’s twisted embrace spins out, and clocks thug #1 in the head, removing him from the fight too. With a half spin, you are facing the last thug, thug #2 and you smile a small smile. This will be easy. Well, easier, because the thugs have no formal training, and even though you have been diligently practicing for only a week, you are still better than them in every conceivable way.

    Also, you are once more in front of Mei-ling.

    Quickly, you loop the sash back around your friend -even tying the ends together in a cheerful bow- and then take the straw hat from her head and dash back towards the final thug. With a flick of your wrist, you toss the hat onto the thug’s head, causing it to obscure his vision, and then turn halfway, delivering a powerful sidekick into the thug’s sternum, and then face. Twice.

    Absently, you pluck the straw hat from the air as it drifts to the ground, and make sure you drop it to cover the thug’s unconscious face as he lays in the middle of the dirt packed street, completely out of it. That’s all there is for that.

    “I can’t believe you did that, Resplendent Lotus,” your friend complains as she storms up to stand beside you, looking down at the sprawled out thug. “You almost made me show my...show my chest to the entire world.”

    “Ah, but what a lovely chest you have,” you say brightly, hooking an arm around your friend’s shoulders and leading her away. “But come on, and let’s get out of here. It’s boring now; I’m sure we will much more enjoy a nice tea to all this frivolous excitement.”

    “A-and another thing! Where did you learn to fight like that? Why can you fight like that?” Mei-ling continues to demand as you lead her back to the district the two of you live in. The shopping district is a little too intense right now. “Why would you even want to learn something like that?”

    * * * * *

    “So, what was that?” Mei-ling asks, having calmed herself as the two of you waited for the herbal tea to steep properly. “I mean, you told me your parents were attacked by thugs, but why are they attacking you?”

    “Well, at least two of those are ones I have already kicked the asses of, and I didn’t even know how to fight then,” you say cheerfully, absently checking the teapot. “So it was probably because of that, although, if they are out and about and causing mischief, it means that the Prefect’s Office hasn’t done anything with the tip off I gave them. Or...I guess they could have moved. Maybe.”

    “Well, don’t get yourself hurt being a hero,” Mei-ling says, crossing her arms over her chest and harrumphing. “Heroes always die, and I don’t want you to die.”

    “Awwww, don’t worry Mei sweetie, I would never do something like that to you,” you say, nodding your head before taking a nibble on a peach flavoured sweetmeat. “Besides, I’m too pretty to be a hero. I’d be relegated to sidekick, or woman that needs saving, or some other revolting role. And if that happened to me, then they would knock you right out of the story, and that would be tragic.”

    “What.”

    “No, seriously; you know how those playwrights are; always cutting down on the number of people in a play,” you continue on, ignoring your friends question? Statement? Whatever. “So they would recast the hero to be some annoying guy, and totally credit him with all my exploits, while I would be relegated to screaming ‘help, help!’. And because I was put in that position, they would totally remove your character and replace it with ‘boy who wants to be a hero #5’ or whatever.”

    You pause, catch your brief, and just when your friend is about to comment:

    “And it would a crime, A gods forsaken crime,” you smack the table for emphasis, and ignore the hiss of displeasure from the proprietress of the tea shop, “for that to happen. Not when you are my sidekick, or secret confident, or whatever...what role do you want, actually?”

    “None, no roles, no plays or heroics or...or anything, Lotus,” Mei-ling complains, loudly, before growling and jerkily grabbing the teapot and pouring herself a cup of tea without even bothering to check if it was done. “I...you’re my friend, Lotus. I don’t want to lose you because you decided to run off and get yourself killed. Who would be at my wedding ceremony to the brick worker's son, if that was to happen?”

    “Eric? My god, no, don’t do it. He’s as dull as slab of rock,” you protest, covering your mouth with your hand, and glad your rattling off nonsense had distracted your friend enough for you to shift the topic to something other than you kicking asses. “Have you looked at iron Heart? He’s the blacksmith’s son, or maybe, if you want to be a bit...flowery...you have been looking at Harmonious Star? She’s the weaponsmith’s daughter, you know.”



    So, what now?

    [X] Beat up Thugs
    You will find some thugs and beat them up. You will also interrogate them on where their hideout is and such)

    [X] Head to the Bathes
    (You and Meiling will head to the bathes and have a wash and soak and continue to hang out and chatter with each other. May catch some gossip this way)

    [X] Head Home
    (You will head home and help your parents with the afternoon rush.)

    [X] Report your Attack to the Prefect’s Office
    You, and Meiling, will go to the Prefect’s Office and report the attack, as well as look into how that tip you gave went)




    Hm, not exactly how I wanted it to go, but it is what it is. I feel the fight was either to technical at parts, and too rushed at the other parts. Ah well, and the bit with the friend feels a bit rushed, but only because I have no idea what they would be talking about.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  16. Threadmarks: 1.1 - The Bath Episode
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    Once more, this did not go anywhere near where I thought it would go. Still, it went someplace interesting, so it stays





    After washing the dust and dirt off yourselves, you and Mei-ling, wrap towels around your bodies and head to the nice, steaming baths. There, you each ease yourselves in up to just below your chin and relax, letting the heated water sooth your muscles. Nothing better after a strenuous fifteen minutes of punching face.

    “So, obviously, you’re learning to fight,” Mei-ling suddenly brings up as she relaxes and rests her head back on the lip of the heated pool, eyes closed. “I forgot to mention it before, but when did this happen? Why did you decide to do such a...such a boy thing?”

    “‘Cause thugs fucked with my family, so I had to learn the fine, fine art of punching face and ignoring names,” you say as you relax back like your friend. “It was, like, The Tao wanted me to do go this path. I mean, there was a woman and then I think a monkey who I think was a man and a lovely fan that turned into a book and then face punching for goodness.”

    “Resplendent Lotus, you have lost what little jade taels you have left,” your bestest best friend in the whole world says with a firm conviction. “Really? Face punching for goodness? A monkey woman man thing? Sounds more like a farcical tale of the sages, and we both know you are not a Sage.”

    Yet,” you stress with a happy hiss of breath. “I am not a Sage, yet. I believe I will be one, in time. And if not, then at least I am doing good, and hey, learning to pummel thugs is fun. You should try it. It might make you unclench about boy and girl things?”

    “You? A Sage? I’m...okay, I am not trying to be mean, but I just can’t see it, sorry,” Mei-ling says, and she does actually sound sorry. “I mean, you are the most unfocused person I know, and Sage’s are all about focus, at least, that’s what Master Iron says.”

    “Bah, Master Iron wouldn’t know a Sage if’n she walked on water in front of him,” you retort with a laugh, smacking your palm lightly against the steaming water you and Mei-ling are relaxing in, causing a bit of a splash. “Besides, he fills your head with nonsense. Boy shouldn’t pick flowers, girls shouldn’t beat the ever living shit out of rowdy boys. What would he know? He has no wife!”

    “Hmph, certainly more than you; he’s a teacher, after all,” Mei-ling argues back, splashing you with water. “And I do not need to ‘unclench’. I am unclenched enough thank you very much. If I unclenched more, I would have to marry you, and we both know that is not going to happen.”

    “It would be an epic marriage though,” you say sadly, slumping a bit in the water. “Love, passion. Heated words, shouted cries...and then one of us would stab the other in the eye with a chopstick. The end. I am not ready to be a widow.”

    “Hah, neither am I, and who says you would be the widow? I could pull off the grieving widow just fine thank you very much,” Mei-ling says, scowling at you and crossing her arms under the water, which causes her towel to...drift. Of course, she’s underwater, so nothing is seen, but such is life. “Not...not that I want to be a widow. I am much too young to be a widow. Or a wife. Or even a husband.”

    “Ha! You would never be the husband. You’re too girly for that!”

    “I am,” Mei-ling acquiesces, ducking her head in mock shame, even as she re-ties her bath towel. “So, you a Sage? Are you sure about that? Not that I think you can’t do it or anything, it’s just that I don’t think you can do it, you know?”

    “Ha ha,” you say, pouting a bit at your friend’s mockery of your totally reasonable goal in life, at the moment at least. “I have already learned how to sense my Qi. Soon, I will be able to do things with it...why you shaking your head?”

    “Resplendent Lotus...Lotus my friend,” Mei-ling says softly, lowly as she looks at you through her eyelashes. “I have been able to do that since I was five.”

    “I...what. No, well then. I, um, THAT’S NOT FAIR!”


    So, what next for our intrepid Sage to Be?

    [X] Demonstrate your Sageness somehow
    (I will think up a totally random way that Lotus will try to demonstrate her sageness. You may also make comments on this (not votes, or subvotes), but I do not promise anything working)

    [X] Pout

    [X] Distract Mei-ling with talk of her boyfriends
    (Yes, that ‘s’ is meant to be there.)

    [X] Demand Answers
    (You will demand how that is possible because Mei-ling is not a fighter, not a sage, and most definitely, even though she is cool, not as cool and awesome as you)




    Like always, a thank you to TotalAbsolutism for the any and all koans used within.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
  17. Threadmarks: 1.2 - Bath Episode Continues
    ChandraMagic

    ChandraMagic Just a Bit Ditzy Moderator

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    Not what I was expecting, but when I get Lotus and Mei-ling together, things go weird, I guess? It's a bit short, and a bit padded, but it is what it is.




    “Okay, no, stop. That is unbelievable. I had to, like, find my center and shit before I could do that whole sensing my Qi thing, and you tell me that you did it at age five?” you exclaim, crossing your arms over your chest and sinking into the water so only your eyes and nose were above water, just glaring at your best friend in the world turned rival of epic proportions.

    “Knitting,” Mei-ling says simply, nodding her head, before cocking it to the side. “Well, okay. Sewing too,m I guess. And cooking...hm, there’s a lot of ways to find your center, silly head. Most of them are ways that you, the meditator, are most comfortable with, the most familiar. It’s the act of going mind-no mind...or at least that’s what mom said when she told me all this thirteen years ago.”

    “I can’t believe you never told me this. Like, I can not believe it. It’s a betrayal, is what that is,” you growl, bubbles bubbling around your mouth as you surge out of the water. “No one told me it would lead to awesomeness. No one told me that I would be able to touch my Qi like that. Just...it’s not fair.

    “Your father told you all about this, I know. I was there,” Bei-ling says, ignoring your outburst as she languidly stretches out under the water. “Mind, you were paying more attention to the cookies, I guess?”

    “They were good cookies!” you shout, not that you really remember this event or anything, kind of, but it was not important enough and father never really explained why it was important. “YOu mean I have been busting my ass to punch face better for nothing?”

    “Well, you’re really good at punching face..er, fighting, I guess?” Mei-ling offers with a wrinkled nose. “Not that that is really good wife material or anything. I guess, if you plan on living like a monk...er, Sage, then it is all well and fine that you are, ah, learning the gentle art of ass kicking.”

    “Hm, well. A husband isn’t everything,” you retort primly, sniffing just a bit.,.which turns into a cough as you accidentally snort some of the hot water up your nose. “I mean *cough* ...The sex, would probably be mediocre, and then there’s *cough* settling down to raise *hack* a family. Meh, *wheeze* I say. Meh to it *cough* all. I am much happier right now, than I was a month ago.”

    “Well, for what it’s worth, while I think you are going about your life wrong, I support you anyway,” your bestest best friend ever says, looking fondly at you as you blubber and snot and wheeze. “You should get something to blow your nose with, too.”

    You grumble as you climb out of the heated pool, tightening your towel around you as you do, to keep you modest. You mutter and wave to your friend, as she waves back. Looks like she’s decided to stick around the bath house, and you, well, you’re not sure what you plan on doing. Except for blowing your nose.


    So finding something to blow your nose on, that you didn’t mind trashing, took you about five minutes. In that time, you have been thinking. And pondering. Did father really tell you the secrets to meditation and being able to feel your Qi, or is Mei-ling having you on. Both are equally possible. She did shift the topic from how she had learned, to how you didn’t learn, and named a few of her favourite hobbies.

    YOu glance at The Book as you toss away the piece of cloth you used to blow your nose and frown. Perhaps it has some wisdom to share...or at least a hilarious anecdote.


    Hm, well. It’s profound, but it isn’t what you are looking for. Perhaps if you flip a few pages...that way, and then you will see:


    Hm, nope. That didn’t do it. Well, you have a couple of options, you suppose. You can go back in and talk to Mei-ling some more, maybe. You could go and help your parents at the bakery, like a good, dutiful daughter. You could do that meditation thing, or maybe that practice thing.

    Or you could go find some more thugs to face punch.


    What do?

    [X] Face Punch Thugs
    [X] Help at Bakery
    [X] Meditate
    [X] Practice Punching Face
    [X] Spend more time with Mei-ling
     
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