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Previous chapters:https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Heretic%20Cultivator%20Quest
Lost chapter (thread 7): https://archived.moe/qst/thread/5334502/
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You are the magnanimous, peerlessly talented and wise Demonic beast Huānliúxuè (欢流血, Happy Bloodshed/ Happy to Shed Blood), currently in the guise of your plain and meek student in the art of medicines and apprentice doctor, Yuyi, whose face and body you have taken in your quest to learn human wisdom and experience humanity personally and truly. Having been invited from the humble Buddhist monastery you had been staying at in the hopes the genial and accepting Monks there could teach you insights and knowledge of faith and religion that you simply couldn't find anywhere else, to the palace of the failing imperial dynasty that had brought about the current age of unrest, turmoil and political upheaval that has so upset the mortal realm. However, cunning as you are, you sensed that the envoy Mao Wēixiào (猫 微笑 , Cat Smile) sent to collect the miraculous doctor Yuyi, would be but the first viper you'd meet in the employ of the disgraced emperor.

And so, to keep Yuyi safe from harm or the predation of the villains that surrounded and staffed the court of the reprobate ruler forsaken by the mandate of heaven, and yourself from any exorcists or cultivators that may be lurking nearby, you returned briefly to your subterranean temple to collect your real body and covertly smuggle it with you as you journeyed to the new seat of imperial power. And, your shrewd and loyal students and loving mother, realizing as you had that your body would be defenseless while it "Slept" empty and soulless, demanded to be allowed the honored privilege of guarding it while it was unoccupied.

And so, Fu, one of your earliest and most fiercly loyal disciples, and Qiang, another of that number and the only other practitioner of your Ruler of the Great Wheel's Law (统治者的这重大轮回法律, Tǒngzhìzhědīzhèzhòngdàlúnhuífǎlǜ), both of whom were stopped like Feiqing and Ping at a bottleneck in their own cultivation, volunteered to accompany you in the shadows. And, besides them and the entourage of soldiers and servants who accompanied Moa Weixiao to collect you for the emperor, one of the monks from the temple,Yongzheng, refusing to allow Yuyi to enter the palace of the Emperor unguarded also joined you with the excuse that he was the great jade doctor's personal assistant, apprentice and attendant.

However, a few days into your journey to the new imperial capital, the convoy was attacked by bandits while you were enjoying the pampering and grooming of the servant girls assigned to your care and service.
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>>5409033

And as arrows flew and men died, you grew curious about the loyalty of men and its ideal as held and understood by humans, and realized amidst the crying of your maids and the frantic shouting of Weixiao and Yongzheng as they rallied the men to guard your carriage against the predations of the forest brigands, that this most insolent attack presented the perfect opportunity for you to learn more of humanity! And thus bring you closer to your goal of truly understanding them and realizing what it meant to be and feel human and thus at last attain the human form taken by the long dead magical and demonic beasts who proceeded you and whose legacy you have inherited.

However, as Yuyi wasn't exactly the fighting type and certainly did not have a warrior's body or will, and was already to the point of tears she was so terrified by what was transpiring around her this formerly peaceful and worriless day, that you chose, mercifully, to leave her in the safety of the carriage and relinquish your hold on her body. To instead move through the air as a wandering spirit, to observe the battle and watch the soldiers and bandits fight in the hopes that it would reveal to you the truth of the loyalty held by men.

And so, Yuyi, with a pleasant and serene smile upon her red painted lips, fainted after being informed by the brave Mao Weixiao that they were underattack. She collapsed with her eyes still open, her peaceful expression umoving and unchanging as her panicked and frightened maids caught her and held onto her tightly as they wept and cried out to be saved and protected by the men just beyond the wooden walls of their carriage.

And while Yuyi slept from the shock of your sudden departure, the humble you slipped through the carriage, passing through it like mist through a grate as you turned your ghost flame into a copy of your magnificent true form, a crimson furred, ox sized house cat.

And no sooner than you did, did you meet the gaze of Yongzheng, still dressed in his Buddhist attire, eyes wide with shock and terror upon seeing your spectral form. Even though he had locked his staff with the saber of one of the attackers, he was more concerned by your sudden, ghostly appearance and shaken to behold your actual self unshrouded by Yuyi's own body and soul. A spiritual man like him must be more affected by your Imperial Aura of a thousand graves more than the others around him, and surely he alone can sense and see it in its complete majesty.

You smile and floated over his head like a leaf, pressing a paw down on the brute he was locked in a desperate struggle with, the sudden chill of your Ghostly Yin Essence sending a deathly chill by the man's spine. Which gave him enough pause for Yongzheng to knock him senseless with one, well placed blow of his stick.
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>>5409034

He tipped his straw hat to you, and returned to the fray as you lazily meandered up into the trees and turned once more into a ball of smokeless fire and ethereal gloom, wisps of blood red flame flickering in a ball of pure black shadow and a halo of white light.

And it was here you watched the battle from above, bobbing and swaying in the wind as you curiously studied the movements of both soldier and bandit, observing how they fought and died, and studying their minute and easily overlooked shows of loyalty. One bandit threw himself in the way of a spear thrusted by a soldier, who was guarding the injured and prone body of one of his own comrades. And as you watched, it dawned on you, actually you noticed it immediately once you paid any attention to the trash and scum fighting, that these were no bandits.

They were trained soldiers. They fought with the same skill as their counterparts, and showed the same loyalty and pluck as they did. They had the morale and nerve of career warriors and battle with an iron determination and unshakeable resolve. They were no peasants in armor, or wealthy or lucky brigands. They were elites. The kind of soldiers that would only find themselves in the service of the armies or guard forces of the nobility, even though they were disguised as common thugs and thieves. Beneath their green cloaks and the mud on their faces, you could see they wore fine armor and the colors of...some noble clan or another. They weren't the Chuan or the Ling, so you didn't know them nor care if they lived or died beyond ensuring the safety of your precious disciple, friend and "robe". But, this did make you ask a question you would not ask if you had not realized these were the men of a rebellious lord.

And that was, "How exactly did humans decide which side to serve, when their loyalties between two masters or groups conflicted with one another? How did they decide which to stand by and which to betray?". For Beasts such as yourself, in the natural and wild world, the question was easy to answer. It had become more complicated as you grew more aware and gained great intelligence, but presently, you only had one loyalty and that was to your young sect and the world you wished to create with it. They were both your only comrades and your only family. But what of these men? Soldiers sworn to prop up the rule of their betters and service the realm, even giving their lives to either duty if they were asked. How did they choose to serve the lords whom commanded them, over the boss those lords had themselves betrayed, the emperor himself. The divinely appointed and approved, er, formerly divinely appointed and approved monarch.
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>>5409035

Wouldn't it make just as much sense as to turn their blades on their direct employer as it would be to remain in their service, when they rebelled against the man whom all citizens of the Celestial Empire obeyed and served, at least before he pissed off those with enough power to challenge his rule and declare him unfit. How would the gods in the nine heavens and those unseen deities of Buddhism judge both sides of this brawl? Which would they deem righteous? Which would the laws of men consider to be in the right? Which would you call just? Which would be in the natural world, removed from the intricacies of human life.

You lowered yourself down closer to the scuffle, as you pondered these questions deeply, and in the din of battle and the clashing of blades and breaking of armor, meditated on them as blood was spilt and the final breaths of life filled the air, as men became corpses and ghosts. It was clear, the imperial soldiers, officers, Weixiao and Yongzheng were going to emerge victorious, as despite being out-numbered, and fighting against other, properly trained and equipped soldiers, the armor they wore and weapons they wielded were simply of a higher quality, which turned the surprise attack in their favor. And doubtlessly, their loyalty to their cause and their duty to protect you and the women with you also boosted their prowess beyond that of the rebels they fought.

And as the rebels began to rout, you reached a realization and found the answers you sought concerning the loyalty of men.

"Loyalty is an attribute, and it is also a choice, as well as a principle. Some men have more loyalty than others, some men's loyalty is stronger than others, some have less, some have none. It is their three views that determine how strong their loyalty is, and who they give it to, and when they uphold or break from it" You whisper as the insight illuminates your mind "Some will betray their belief of justice and righteousness to keep their loyalty to a cause or master they'd deem unworthy or even evil, others will forsake their loyalty to do what they believe to be good and morale, even if it risks their own life or condemns them to be remembered as villains themselves."

You sigh, filling the air with the chill of the grave and the smoldering embers of the many grudges you carry.

"The loyalty of men, doesn't take one shape and cannot be truly defined, because it is just as varied as human's themselves. Loyalty to family, Loyalty to a cause, loyalty to a master, loyalty to a belief, loyalty to oneself, it has many, many forms, and none take the same shape as another" You say outloud, for only the ghosts of the corpses beneath you to hear. One of them nods to show his agreement with or approval of your understanding of loyalty

"it is, by nature transient and ever changing, like life itself, but it can also can outlast one's own life and become as steady and enduring as the stones of a mountain!" You say happily.
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>>5409037

And the moment you do, you feel the puzzle of human wisdom and understanding in your mind come a little closer to being completed and solved, as a bit of you becomes a little more human than before at this realization and advent of comprehension of the common sense of civilization and humanity as you learn another instinct of the beasts who separate themselves from the rest of the animals and take it to heart.

"And all humans understand this, as they grow into strong men and graceful women. That Loyalty can change as easily as one turns over their hand, and it can also be steadfast and dependable, it can fade in a blink of an eye and outlast even the lives of mountains" You say, feeling a bit embarrassed and foolish it took you any thought at all to realize something now so obvious "It all just depends on whose loyalty it is, their character and their circumstances"

And not long after you come to this conclusion, the battle ends and the danger abates. Mao Weixiao and his men have captured one of the rebels, and Yongzheng is praying for their souls, and you can hear the maidens who had taken to pampering you weeping and sobbing openly as Yuyi begins to wake up, confused as to why she's being held and coddled by half a dozen, beautiful girls.

What do you do now, Huanliuxue?

>Whenever you have the chance to during the journey to the Palace, question the men and women around you about their concept of loyalties and which of those they hold they consider most important, so you can expand your knowledge and understanding of humanity.

>Possess Yuyi and intervene on the rebels behalf, partially out of a whimsical benevolence and partially as an experiment to see if he'll hold loyalty to Yuyi for saving his life, and if it will be stronger than the loyalty to his lord [Good Karma]

>Allow Yuyi some time in her body, and repossess your own for awhile, watching the convoy from afar alongside Fu and Qiang. Also, when they make camp, sneak up on Yongzheng and scare him by dragging him out of his bed and granting him the honor of seeing you in all your glory

>Silently celebrate how much you've learned about humans and how well you know how it is to be one and how much you know of their thoughts and feelings, while comforting the still shaken attendants

>Write in
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>>5409038
>>Possess Yuyi and intervene on the rebels behalf, partially out of a whimsical benevolence and partially as an experiment to see if he'll hold loyalty to Yuyi for saving his life, and if it will be stronger than the loyalty to his lord [Good Karma]
Yes Huan, it's totally an experiment
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>>5409038
>Possess Yuyi and intervene on the rebels behalf
We certainly should show Yongzheng our true form, as it would be an eternal shame for him to hold so much fear without seeing the full breadth of majesty. But I can't help but think there will be a more dramatic opportunity to do so, within how the Emperor may attempt to deal with Yuyi.
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>>5409038
>Whenever you have the chance to during the journey to the Palace, question the men and women around you about their concept of loyalties and which of those they hold they consider most important, so you can expand your knowledge and understanding of humanity.
>>
>>5409038
>Possess Yuyi and intervene on the rebels behalf
I love an easy opportunity for Good Karma, plus we might be able to get some decent followers out of it if all goes well. Even if none of them have any cultivation potential, Fu's town can use more experienced guards.
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>>5409038
>Possess Yuyi and intervene on the rebels behalf, partially out of a whimsical benevolence and partially as an experiment to see if he'll hold loyalty to Yuyi for saving his life, and if it will be stronger than the loyalty to his lord [Good Karma]
>Check if any of the others still breathe and see if you can save them as well. You can command the guards to assist as needed.
Having them check the bodies is probably a bad idea since they may finish the job instead, but if we see them alive then they’d risk the wrath of an esteemed guest of the Emperor.
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>>5409038
>Possess Yuyi and intervene on the rebels behalf, partially out of a whimsical benevolence and partially as an experiment to see if he'll hold loyalty to Yuyi for saving his life, and if it will be stronger than the loyalty to his lord [Good Karma]
>>
You know.
I'm starting to get a feeling going for the [Good Karma] options every time, is gonna lead Huan into a trap sooner than later.
Or at the very least, keep us from something that's more interesting.

I don't know, I feel as if there has to be something more to this system beyond what we're seeing, and it's making me anxious.
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>>5409717
It makes us predictable, and will have some effect upon our super-tier cultivation when inevitably they have checks against people with certain evil karma/good karma.

But honestly, that's on them.

Doing good and treating others well, contrary to popular belief, is almost always the best path forwards since humans are social creatures and in the world of cultivation, reciprocation is usually quite important.

Strength is THE most important value in a world of cultivators, ironically making them operate under animal rules, but good reputation and having friends you can truly rely on is a powerful form of strength.

>>5409158
I will support.
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>>5409717
Quite often there are cultivation methods, medicine, talisman, etc that counters or become stronger or weaker depending on the karma, so it ca be both a blessing or a curse.
But I don't care, I'm choosing the [good karma] options because they make me feel happy, not for mechanical benefits.
I think I only voted against one or two of them when it was objectively a dumb option.
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>>5409717
We have skipped a few good Karma options since other options seemed better or were a higher priority. It makes me hopeful that if we fall into a trap then it’ll be one we knowingly spring.
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>>5409722
>>5409733
>>5409752
Fair enough!
And honestly, despite my worries, it's a fun look for Huānliúxuè. That despite her name, and how she follows the rules of nature and her own whims, these same whims incline her to be genuinely good, while still embracing the darker urges and instincts of living beings.
After all, if being good, benevolent, and charitable are privileges of the powerful, then why not embrace this privilege and flex on all the weaklings that can't and have to be nasty to obtain and maintain power?
It's Huānliúxuè's right as the one true peerless royal being beneath the heavens to be able to be and share goodness with the world as she wants, whenever she wants.

Goodness as a whimsical royal indulgence rather than a moral pillar or obligation.
Goodness because being nice and spreading happiness is a good time actually, rather than a burden that chains one's actions.
Goodness for goodness sake, effortless, pure, and simple.
It's a good time and I love our dear Huānliúxuè for it, even as I worry for her safety or us missing out on fun plot stuff otherwise.
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>>5409756
A good kingdom is a strong one, and a land reflects it's ruler.
Since Huan is majesty incarnate, her realm and subjects must be without peer, to outshine even Mount Penglai itself.
I think this may be Confucian philosophy and the explanation behind the Mandate of Heaven
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>>5409756
Yeah, it's one of those things that makes her fun to me.
That she, being a cultivator and a beastly cultivator at that, is compelled by her own sense of morality to be more upright and just than near any other human presently living.

though what you say IS true, we really shouldn't fall back into that way of thinking, that we are only good as a flex or because of noble obliqueness.
She's recognised that she is a benevolent individual at heart and follows through with that.

As for missing out of fun things, not much fun comes out of bad karma options. I guess blackmail and dark powers but daemonic cultivaion usually has more downsides than up.
>>
>>5409717
>>5409756
It is a danger, you're right. Good Karma/Bad are generally not simple moral lenses, but a system of consequentially potent feedback. The spectrum of Karma doesn't mean good acts put out come back to you as is, or are even directly beneficial to ourselves. Good performed by a strong soul can spiral out of control or intent greatly. For example, healing a mandateless Emperor during an ongoing rebellion in a region (Chuan) which largely despises him. It is good in itself, it's also an act which will be infamous among those who hate the Emperor, which is the majority of people in our home region.

Objectively, we've been pushed by the stream of good-leaning karma since we began, likely even before.
It's hard to tell exactly which kind this world uses, but it appears straightforward only in this worlds stories. Outside of the stories, children get burned alive by an army trying to meet a dipshittery quota and the act creates a demon whom corrects that path. We know there's more to it, a justification that rests within our lineage. Taking a step back to see the big picture, to put intent upon karma, the world effectively created a greater potential evil to snuff out the certain ruin that would be brought by a successful Ling campaign. Karma for this world appears to be a mix of taoistic karma. If so, that means it doesn't actually take sides.

Good and evil are not divisible conceits from the Dao. When it comes to overwhelming good, an opportunity to balance that act will present itself in the shape of the world or in the acts of souls. Whether a great evil takes root or not is still up to those who have agency within that situation. Pointed example, Monu considering us her end-of-life redemption rather than a tool to be trained for revenge. Framed to the above, Huanlixue healing the Emperor through Yuyi to gain her clout, to feel good, and in order to better understand Humanity. There is a huge difference, and that's the danger.

The thing about Karmas is that the path of cultivation will find oddly fated ways to test a persons perceived limits. A fun thing to do is reread the entire quest and see which good karma options Ping tries to take. I'll save ya the trip and tell you he really tried to pick too many.

The most telling thing about the scenario we're currently in, is that Cat Viper said he knows of Daoistic hermits, of the cultivation sects, and none of them have gone out of their way to aid the Emperor and fix his illness. Based on his word.

The Emperor spurned Heaven, troubled his lands with infidelity, and measured some unknown insult against the cultivation sects which has ensured they won't help him. Thusly, healing him will have Yuyi being sought out by those sects. For good and ill. Reputation attracts, and good karma isn't a two way reward street.

>>5409769
Really out there idea. What if we could be bestowed or restore the Emperor's Mandate of Heaven? Ya know, by mind controlling him into being a better human.
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>>5410029
I get a distinct feeling that the Orthodox sects stopped giving any fucks about mortals a long time ago.
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>>5410108
I've got a similar feeling. They've been reserved with recent events to our knowledge, and the long decline historically reinforces that. I'm hoping they don't care one way or another, their apathy will enable us great success.
>>
Ending the vote, tallying the result now. Love the discussion btw

Possess Yuyi and intervene on the rebels behalf, partially out of a whimsical benevolence and partially as an experiment to see if he'll hold loyalty to Yuyi for saving his life, and if it will be stronger than the loyalty to his lord:6

Whenever you have the chance to during the journey to the Palace, question the men and women around you about their concept of loyalties and which of those they hold they consider most important, so you can expand your knowledge and understanding of humanity.:1

Check if any of the others still breathe and see if you can save them as well. You can command the guards to assist as needed.:2

So You will Possess Yuyi and intervene on the behalf of the rebels that still live, protecting them against the fury of Weixiao and his men.

Update will arrive shortly
>>
However, as you pass over the site of the struggle, watching the ghosts of the dead linger and argue and a scarce few of them pass on and fade as motes of light like dust drifting on the wind, you cannot help but to feel pity for the survivors of the so called "bandits". They had fought nobly for their beliefs and ideals, and fought bitterly to the last handful of men, who have been so wounded their legs can no longer support them and their arms hang limp, the blood oozing from their limbs flowing in deep scarlet streams to soak into the brilliant green blue sashes and sleeves, before it pools and soaks into the earth beneath them. Grudges fill the air, burning as hot as freshly fried fish, the astringent aroma of spite and impotent fury filling the air like a spraying plume of a lady's perfume. And you can sense, surrounding the imperial soldiers and their commander, Weixiao, a deeper and black grudge, fermented like wine and allowed to sink its roots deeply into both heart and mind surrounds them all, almost so powerful as to be an existence of its own, shaped into stygian, tar black clouds of hatred.

You feel hesitation and concern. These men might have threatened Yuyi and innocents, but you respect their fierceness and their conviction. Few men can claim to be so steadfast in their beliefs to, without a moment's thought, give their lives for what they believe to be a moral and just cause. It would befit these lions among dogs to die in such a manner, tortured at the hands of men whose hatred goes beyond the realms of sanity, for you have only seen grudges so potent and refined as those held by ghosts long dead and maddened. In truth, seeing such resentment produced by living soul's is rather unsettling, you're surprised they could survive playing host to such amounts of spite so dense and pure. These brave men, who did not hesitate to gamble their lives, not for their master or out of obligation to their duties but rather their own personal ideals, will not die quickly if they are left to the care of Mao Weixiao or worse yet, the Emperor himself.

Rulers as a rule, view rebels with scorn akin to that of a swan looking upon a toad, or that you feel when faced with a slayer of children or wearer of Ling yellow. It would be undeserved for these plucky fellows to be condemned to such an unpleasant and gruesome fate. Cat's may play with their prey, but humans can achieve a cruelty beyond the whimsical sadism of any feline. You know this well.

So, without delay, you hastily flit back into the carriage as Yuyi tries her best to soothe and calm your shared attendants, and possess her without warning or pause. Blinking and adjusting back to the mousey frame of your student, you look upon the tear stained faces of the maids surround her and smile gently, patting the nearest one to comfort her as you stand.
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>>5410921

With a single flick of your hand, you comb the stray locks of hair back over your forehead and adjust the hem of your dress with a second waving motion of the same hand, before retrieving your fan. Taking a long step forward, you unfurl it, revealing a painting of cats at the play by the riverside, hunting ducks and other fowl. Fluttering the accessory as you plant your other foot against the locked door, and flick it open with a dexterous manuver of Yuyi's shoed foot, you march outside, hopping down to the ground.

A gust of wind pushes up your dress and the dirt surrounding the carriages wields, Yuyi's Chestnut hair taking a moment to fall through the air after you've landed. The sound alerts Weixiao, who turns to face you with a truly demonic look snarl on his lips, but only for a moment. Soon his "Cat smile" Returns, and he is slithering towards you, Gentle and courteous again, though you can still see clearly the grudge oozing from his every pour.

You hold your fan in front of your face as you glide around him, trying to circle around you, while he tries to block your sight of the men already being beaten by his soldiers. He bows low, locks his hands together, and looks up to you submissively, though you've spent enough time around Monu to see clearly still the venom lurking behind the placating look in his eyes.

"Lady Yuyi, I know you to be of fierce spirit and willful mind, but this is no matter for you to soil your hands and no business you must observe. I know, that a woman as strong willed as you and used to making her own way through life, would want to smack sense into these brats and force them to tell her why they'd dare to even think of harming her but, I assure you" He says, slithering around in front of you, with remarkable swiftness considering how low he's bowed and the awkward position of his neck craned up to look at you and his feet shuffling while maintaining such an unsteady stance "Me and my men can handle the punishment of these wretches, though you may not have the blood of nobility, you certainly have the demeanor, but there is no need for you to dirty your hands with the blood of such trash"

"Eh?" You groan, in a very delinquent and childish manner, as you snap your fan close and swing it through the air just above the "Envoy"'s head "What are you talking about? A doctor never blemishes their hands with violence. I have no intent to scold or punish these men. Has the rush of battle addled your wits, Sir Mao?"

"Huh?" He says without thinking, his face faulting and looking to you with confusion "Then why have you left your maids and stepped from the carriage, if not to personally exact a pound of flesh from those who threatened your life?"

"To save them from the brutes surrounding them, it is a doctors duty to save lives, how could one as great as I ignore the plight of these men?" You ask sweetly as you can see frustration and anger boiling just behind Weixiao's pleasant and handsome smile
Cont
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>>5410925

"Because they were trying to rob, kill or kidnap us? It isn't pleasant, but surely Yuyi the Jade doctor can turn away from such awfulness, just this once, and ignore the plight of these bandits who are soon to die at the hands of the people protecting her, just this once" Yuyi squeaks into your ears as you tap your foot and shake your closed fan just above Mao's head a few times as his lips purse and tighten together in a gross looking way, making him look more like a fish than a cat.

"Do you think the lives of these dogs are of equal value to the emperor's own?" Weixiao questions sharply. Well, you know each life is precious, but you've never thought about how much each is worth. Certainly, you care more about these rebels than you do some failure of an emperor, and your heart is telling you to save them. You might have let them die, if you hadn't decide they needed saving and were worthy of your intervention. Another whimsical act of a cat's benevolence, though you wonder if it can truly be called an act of whimsy, considering how much thought you've put into it. Though, it certainly is a self-serving good deed, at least at some level as you are curious if the debt these men will owe you will outweigh their loyalties to the cause, mission or master

You touch your fan to Weixiao's head, and look down into his eyes with all your fierceness and pride, wearing an expression of irritation and smoldering vexation. The air arounds you, already reeking of death and blood, grows denser with these invigorating scents as the winds traveling down from the mountains grows colder.

"who am I to choose who to grant treatment to and who to save from the cold embrace of death?" You answer coldly and sharply, speaking down to your lesser with all your natural majesty, trying to crush him like a bug beneath its weight "I have not insulted the son of heaven, nor have I compared him to these scoundrels, I am merely doing my duty as a doctor. So do not wag your tongue at me"

"And do not speak again to my master in such a manner" Yongzheng says, voice low and rumbling "Or think to threaten her beneath your simpering pleasantries, when you have hired her to perform a miracle against a man many will curse her for saving"

Mao Weixiao turns nearly as pale as a ghost, and swallows hard, adjusting his posture and stepping away, a single bead of sweat falling down his brow as you, without waiting for him to reply, step past him and flick open your fan, waving it as you lift your head up high and push out your chest.

"Move!" You bark to the soldiers "And cease your assault. I will treat these men and close their wounds. If one more blow falls upon their heads, I shall become cross"
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"And if single finger brushes against Lady Yuyi, the offending hand shall be broken to splinters and dusts" Yongzheng barks a moment later, and you have expect to see a tail wagging behind him as you glance back. One of the larger, more "intimidating" soliders, steps up to you with a drawling grunt like a pig eating shit.

He backs down the moment you affix him with your coldly piercing eyes, and glare at him like a hungry ghost cursing its victim. With him cowed, his cronies sulk away, retreating beneath their master's cloak.

Three of the soldiers remain amongst the living, and two are too weak to speak or do much else besides lift their spiteful eyes up to you. The one who has the strength to still grip his sword and kneel upon one knee, with a fresh bruise and lumps around his face, is clearly more wounded than his companions. Yet he's still trying to fight on and kill his enemy, even as the shadow of death closes around him.

"Impressive" You purr out loud as he snarls and spits at you.

"I shall not be saved by the same hands that will touch the false emperor" He growls, trying to threaten you away with a wide, clumsy swing of his blade. He keeps the flat of it directed at you, rather than its blade, clearly not intending or wishing to hurt a girl like you, especially one trying to save his life

"Let me die standing, against these dogs of that philandering beast, who has turned our great kingdom and lead it from the graces of heaven" He spits as you elegantly stride to him and kneel before him to look over his injuries "to die an honorable death is a fate I embrace, especially if it spits in the eye of that pig who forced my liege to wear a green hat"

You blink eyes wide, recognizing the term and remembering that the war that has splintered the entirety of the human's prized empire was caused by the young emperor cucking one of his subordinate lords. A cause for war so bewildering it is almost ridiculous. However, it is much more tragic than amusing as that single act of cucking ended up spelling the deaths of hundreds of thousands, including the nice children who took care of and played with you and all their families, so your frown remains stuck to your face.

"There is no honor in dying a dog's death, when one is a lion. Brave men are worth more than the corpses they leave behind, you shame your mother and father for being so willing to throw away the life they gave you" You scold, smacking him with your fan "And while I'm sure your lord will honor your sacrifice, I am also certain he'd prefer you to stay by his side. A corpse, no matter who left it behind, is worthless except for feeding maggots and crows or fertilizing the soil. You're far too heroic and skilled to be wasted upon a scuffle beneath the trees, besides, men loyal enough to be so willing to die are a commodity rarer than any jade"

You smile as the man look at you in awe, and then you prick him with a needle, to begin stitching his most grievous wounds shut
Cont
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>>5410929

"So sit still and shit up, this is no act of mercy and generosity but simple common curtesy. However, I expect you not to waste your lives so freely after I have saved them" You say kindly as the man bites down on the hilt of his sword and begins to cry from the pain of your treatment "And so obedient! truly, you are a rare kind of man. It'd be a waste of potential to leave you to die at the hands of my escorts, an utter waste of potential Mhm! And there's nothing more I hate in the world than throwing away talent without reason"

"NNnnrrgh" The man groans, as Weixiao and his men stand, stewing in their now toothless fury as Yonzheng stands behind you, staff planted in the ground. A cat's smile paints your lips as you continue your care, pleased to be saving a life and curious how this man and his comrades will react. Whether they will honor their pledges and oaths to their master, or if they will seek to repay a debt that can only be repaid by saving your life in turn. It certainly will be entertaining to see how this plays out! And on a trip as boring as this, a cat must find entertainment wherever it can!

What do you do after you have saved the lives of these men, Huanliuxue?

>Tell them they'll find safety in the forest, and direct them to where Fu and Qiang are right now.

>Remind Mao Weixiao that you are no puppet nor anyone to be trifled with by remarking a doctor can end lives as easily as they save them

>Just enjoy being pampered for the rest of the journey to the imperial palace, completely ignoring the cold treatment of Weixiao and the soldiers

>Check on the soldiers, and follow them as a ghost every night, so you actually know what they choose to do.

>write in
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>>5410930
>Check on the soldiers, and follow them as a ghost every night, so you actually know what they choose to do.
I'm worried that telling them to hide in the forest risks Fu and Qiang being discovered by the escorts, since I doubt they wouldn't be on the lookout or scout after them.
Also in no circumstances threaten Mao. Not because we I'm afraid, but because we just said a doctor does not sully their hands.
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>>5410930
>Just enjoy being pampered for the rest of the journey to the imperial palace, completely ignoring the cold treatment of Weixiao and the soldiers

>Check on the soldiers, and follow them as a ghost every night, so you actually know what they choose to do.
>>
>>5410930
>Check on the soldiers, and follow them as a ghost every night, so you actually know what they choose to do.
>>
>>5410937
+1
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>>5410930

>Just enjoy being pampered for the rest of the journey to the imperial palace, completely ignoring the cold treatment of Weixiao and the soldiers

>Check on the soldiers, and follow them as a ghost every night, so you actually know what they choose to do.
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>>5410930
>Suggesting this as an add-on to whatever action is voted for if we want to play around with Mao. Playful, coy prompt is below as well.
>Ask Mao Weixiao what his deal is.
>”When I stepped down from the carriage, I saw for a moment a look I recognize from many a man. A festering grudge that leads men to either despair or great action.”
>”I take an interest in what leads men to the rash actions that place them in my care. I have seen them sated, and those who would pass with the blackest of stains that will no doubt hold them in this life. But I have never seen such an intense look in a man who is not already embracing death and requires my intervention to save them.”
>”I would like to hear the story of your grudges one day, Mao Weixiao. I don’t believe you’ll tell me the truth. But that said, even a lie worthy enough to explain such hatred would be interesting to hear.”
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>>5410930
>Remind Mao Weixiao that you are no puppet nor anyone to be trifled with by remarking a doctor can end lives as easily as they save them
>Check on the soldiers, and follow them as a ghost every night, so you actually know what they choose to do.
>>
>>5410930
>>Check on the soldiers, and follow them as a ghost every night, so you actually know what they choose to do.
>>
>>5410930
>Check on the soldiers every night
>Enjoy our pampering

These grudges are. . . delectable. I simply must know more.

>>5411402
Support. Why is their potency so powerful?
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>>5411402
We understand grudges but this is a good opportunity to comprehend human malice from Maos perspective. +1
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Ending the vote now, Tallying the result. Sorry to make you wait, got distracted by the tribulations of Real life.

Check on the soldiers, and follow them as a ghost every night, so you actually know what they choose to do:8

Just enjoy being pampered for the rest of the journey to the imperial palace, completely ignoring the cold treatment of Weixiao and the soldiers:3

Ask Mao Weixiao what his deal is...etc:3

Remind Mao Weixiao that you are no puppet nor anyone to be trifled with by remarking a doctor can end lives as easily as they save them:

So you will check on the soldiers and follow them as a ghost every night, so you'll actually know what they choose to do

>>5411402
Liked this write in btw, shame it didn't get enough support
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>>5415562
Can’t win them all. Hopefully I get in a little earlier next time.
>>
Big ass update in coming!
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And so, seeing as your now being treated rather coldly rather unfairly in your opinion by Mao Weixiao and his men, and knowing that there's little point in pestering or irritating them until the react in a suitably amusing or entertaining manner and not wanting to risk Yuyi's health just so you can play with Mao and his soldiers like cattails or mice, you decide it would be best to leave them be to simmer and stew in their resentment and those grudges they were prevented from quieting with bloodshed and murder and hopefully calm down and see that sweet Yuyi isn't to blame for their impotence and inability to see their vengeance through. Besides, with them as grumpy and glowering as they've become, they'd make for rather dull conversation partners anyways and even if they did open their eyes beneath their brows furrowed with anger long enough to see you aren't to blame for their troubles and shouldn't be the target of their outrage, they still wouldn't have much to say besides praising your expertise and talent as a doctor and simpering at your heels in an attempt to curry your favor for their failure of a lord.

So, you decide, as you sit yourself back down on the comfortable cushions of the carriage, and are immediately surrounded by your adoring maids, who immediately return to to work brushing and preening your hair, painting your nails and powdering your face, that you'll just leave Cat Smile and his goons to their business unless they suddenly become more interesting and less grouchy and upset with you for something that was in no way your fault. If one cannot end their grudges or bury them deep in their hearts, they deserve to fester in their own enmity until they can clean it away. It would be interesting to find out how such a potent grudge could settle and grow its roots so deeply into and tightly around the hearts of so many, but asking Mao or his thugs why it is they possess a hatred you believed to only be able to be held by the dead and insane would prove rather annoying and extracting the truth from them while they're still smoldering with anger directed towards yourself would surely prove to be more difficult than its worth. Perhaps when they're no longer ready to slap you for the pettiest of reasons, you'll approach the supposed envoy and raise the question, to learn a little more about the grudges that have stained your path of cultivation blacker than most nights!

You frown, as a thought comes to the front of your mind, and you realize that you won't learn anything if you don't know what the soldiers do after they've been let go. And you can't really have Yuyi faint throughout the day or leave her around Mao Weixiao, who might prove perceptive enough to realize the differences in demeanor and personality between you and the meek village doctor.
Cont
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But, checking in on the soldiers at night, as unseen spirit, would be much easier to explain away, since Yuyi will just seem to have fallen asleep and no one besides her attendants will be around to notice the differences in how she usually acts and speaks!

And so, that is what you decided to do, since it is a rather shrewd plan and will certainly be more fun that starring at the stars or gossiping with your maids. And its not like you have anything better to do, unless Mao and his cronies suddenly forgive the slight against them and forget about the vengeance you denied them. If they aren't as stubborn as old oxen, they should forgive the adorable you before too long, at least before you're presented to the emperor, at least enough to be cordial and polite enough to entertain your bothersome and "pointless" questioning instead of snapping at you and scolding you for being naïve or some such nonsense.

So, smiling now, pleased with your genius and cunning, you relax and practice your Guqin playing with Ghost Empress Melody, waiting for the day to end and the moon to rise so you can spy on the rebels without arousing suspicion among your currently sour faced guardians and escorts

It doesn't take long at all for night to arrive, and you easily track down the soldiers, with a little help from Qiang and Fu, who point you in their general direction after you come across their ramshackle camp and spend awhile admiring your body and watching them care for it. Then, you shoot through the woods, dimming your ghost fire's carmine radiance as you search for the three men whose lives you had saved early that day.

You soon find them, traveling through the underbrush, slowly following after the convoy transporting you to the new imperial capital. And they're setting an impressive pace for three men covered in bandages, raw stitches and fresh bruises. They either had to train their bodies to endure that much strain, or they were blessed to be born with a strong physique, the kind that would be useful in the hands of low level cultivators or mundane martial artists. So, you creep up through the air, unseen and unheard, and listen in on their conversation as they limp through the bushes and brambles in their way.

"We should turn back!" One of the two who were beaten senseless wails "We're only alive because of the mercy of a servant of that randy dog, we've been shamed, we've already failed before we reached our target. There's nothing to do but turn back and beg forgiveness from lord Bǎo and hope he is just as merciful as the Jade Doctor! What hope do we have to reach the throat of the emperor if we cannot even best his servants?"

"Bo is right, we're finished, we'll be lucky to recover from our wounds. We should gather what those beasts left of our brothers in arms, and take them back home to be buried and honored. There's no shame in admitting you've lost, there's nothing to be done but turn back and run away" the other senseless one cries out.

Cont
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>>5415712

Their leader, stops, and turns on his heels to face them, his one eye exposed beneath his bandages burning with the fires of conviction and an unshakeable resolve.

"Cowards! Dogs! We would fail not only our lord were we to return without wetting our blades with the black blood of that wife stealing wretch, but if we were leave Merciful Yuyi to his clutches we would be no better than the scum we cut down this morning" He snarled, hand flat on the pommel of his blade "We would not only disgrace ourselves, but fail as men if we were to allow a young girl like her to walk blindly into that starving Lion's den. You shame our comrades who died this day by even speaking of retreating and forsaking not only our mission but our savior!"

"But big brother Gang! What can we do to help her! She's an innocent, pure maiden, in the clutches of devils, and we're but three brothers, weak and wounded! If we want to save her, we'd need all the Bao army" Bo cried out, covering his face with his hands in shame "Even though we've fought the imperials for years, and other factions have as well, they're still too powerful for three men to take down alone"

"Bo is right, the three brothers Dian would come to ruin if we were to continue on this task given to us! We're the last of our line! Our father would rather us grow old and grey than die in prison or for the satisfaction of that dog" The other one whines "Please, see reason! There's no honor to dying like dogs! Its as Maiden Yuyi said, men as brave as us have no place dying so pitifully"

"Silence your whimpering, Bo!" Gang bellowed, slapping his first younger brother, who reeled and fell to the earth, before turning and striking his other brother "And don't soil her compliments with your whimpering, Bao. We three brothers will be remembered, and not as failures, remember the oath we swore. Our lord commanded us to take that pig's bloated head, so we shall! Lady Yuyi risked her life to save ours, so we shall give our lives to protect her and free her from whatever cruel pact the dog shit emperor has forced her in! I will hear no more bellyaching from either of you! Either follow your big brother, or return home in disgrace and shame!"

"But Big brother! We should honor her choice to save us by living our lives!" Bo cried "She'd be sad if we gave our lives to rescue her! What can the three of us alone can do besides die against the might of the imperial family?"

"He's right, we can save her by telling our beneficent lord Bao about her kindness and mercy, he'd be sure to lead an assault to save such a woman! He's chivalrous and big hearted! He'd be sure to head our please!" Bao cried out, whimpering as he wiped tears from his eyes, as their words of care and gratitude towards you touched your heart deeply and brought you as much warmth as a wandering soul could feel. And here you thought two of the men you had called Lions were worthless, good for nothing cowards and cry babies.

Cont
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>>5415714

"Bah! Three men can accomplish much, when they're the three Dian Brothers!" Gang bellowed, rattling his sword in its scabbard and puffing out his chest "Yuyi will only shed tears of joy when she sees us again, cause we aren't gonna die! Not until we finish our mission and get her out of that hell! If we returned to our master, to beg despite abandoning the duty he has given to us and our fallen comrades, even a man of such a noble character as himself would laugh in our faces! And even if he was generous enough to rally the army at the request of three soldiers, the only way we'd return soon enough to save that kindly lady doctor from whatever machinations of the scum emperor she has fallen prey to is if the heavens themselves intercede on both our behalf!"

"Big brother" Bo and Bao cried, throwing themselves down at their elder brother's feet "Forgive us for our cowardice! Forgive us for doubting our cause"

You waited for Gang to hit them again, but were surprised when his expression softened and he flashed a bright, cocksure smile.

"There's nothing to be forgiven, its understandable for men to grow fearful after nearly dying, but I won't let my little brothers become cowards or forsake their manhood by abandoning their honor or the debts they owe!" Gang said proudly, lifting up his chin as he turned back on his heels and started marching again "We've wasted enough time, so lets sally forth and hope we haven't lost their trail"

You smile, as you follow after them. How curious, how curious! They were able to balance, or at least, the elder brother Dian was able to balance the loyalty he held to this Lord Bao fellow with the debt of loyalty he owed you for saving his and his brothers' lives. And, the familial and brotherly loyalty of the younger brothers to their elder, was enough for them to over come their own fears and in turn strength their waxing loyalty to their master and the gratitude they of course felt to their savior. You'd have to see if this continued and how and if these brothers would keep their three way loyalties to eachother, their lord and the woman who saved their lives without one overcoming and eclipsing the others. This was really interesting! You were right to guess they'd feel a sense of loyalty and gratitude to Yuyi as their savior, but you didn't know if it'd be equal to or even stronger than their oaths to their lord.

You had to see if it would be stronger yet! So, each night, you returned to watch these three brothers as they traveled and endured the hardships of the wilderness and robe. And each night you were impressed and very much pleased to see, that their loyalty didn't grow weaker and in fact grew stronger each passing day, as did their spirits! Their hearts burned with courage and bravery, as through Gang's own valor, Bo and Bao were able to conquer the universal fear of death and become as devoted as he was to accomplishing the mission given to them by their Lord.
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>>5415716

And not only that, they also grew more loyal and enamored with the idea of you that took shape in their minds, as some saintly, pious and incorruptible maiden of peerless virtue and mercy, which was not only delightful to you and appealing your pride, but also fascinating, as it was the reverse of watching a grudge form! The birth of gratitude and amity, as one sided as it may be. And it taught you much of not only the loyalty of men, but also their masculinity and brotherhood, which you had seen before between Feiqing, Ping and Lei. But to watch it from a distant perspective, to see two cowardly mutts be beaten into shape by their elder, to become the very image of fairy tale heroes, was entirely different from three men growing closer and stronger together as they stood by your side. And seeing the image they painted of you, in their collective belief, was as enlightening as it was amusing. You found that you understood humans and their ways a lot more than you did when you began your journey, but you knew you were still lacking vital parts of human wisdom and common sense. You still didn't quite understand what civilization truly was, but you felt that your audience with the emperor and your time in his court, would provide one of the last pieces of that puzzle.

After all, one saw all the world when they looked down upon it from high atop a mountain, so it only made sense you'd make sense of human society when you stood at its pinnacle and looked back down at all the rungs you had already come to understand and pass by , and saw the various and many ways of life humanity lead and all its countless aspects from both your memories of living amongst them and from your position above them! And surely, then, you'd at last understand what separated men from other beasts and reach the final insight of human nature seen from they eyes of a beast, that would allow you to step back, and see it instead as common sense and innate thought, from the eyes of a human!

Though you intend to always be the beast you are, even after you achieve human form, since you are a cat by heart, mind, soul and belief! And it'd be pointless to try to become human, fully, since you were born a demonic beast and would die as one!

"What's gotten you looking so smug all of a sudden?" Yongzheng asks, as he peeks inside the tent you were resting in, before the final leg of your journey to the imperial capital "you look like you just won a game of dice with buddha himself"

"Oh its nothing, I'm just excited for tomorrow" You purr, as two of your maids try to chase the bold monk out from the tent with brooms, puffing out their cheeks as they turn as pink of cherry blossoms "its not every day a girl gets to meet with the emperor, why would I be smug the night before my audience with royalty"
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"Ow, stop it! I'm her assistant and a chaste monk besides! There's no reason for you to, Ow!" Yongzheng protests as he is beaten by now four of your maids "And the way you said that was rather scary, Lady Yuyi! Ow! Stop! Not so hard! I just came to remind you to be war..OW! Fine! I'm leaving! I will speak with her before she's brought before the emperor! Just put the wok down!"

You laugh as Yongzheng retreats before the face of your maid's fury.
_

"Rejungui (忍俊鬼, Smiling Ghost), we're in the presence of pure evil" Qinxin (昑心, Bright Heart) hissed, clapping his hand to the hilt of his sword as he turned to Ping, eyes narrowed and wary of the forest around them, with danced with shadows that could not be made by the swaying branches of trees and the setting sun. And judging from how he reacted now, wincing and whipping around, chasing disembodied whispers and directionless giggling that echoed out from the shadowed depths of the woodland around him, sensed the Ghostly Yin Qi of the ghosts that gathered here, even if if he could not see them. Ping could, and the man who had stared down a demonic beast that he now called master, and had looked death itself in the eyes as he meditated amongst the bones and wrathful souls of the dead, was terrified of them. They were, cut apart, split open, torn asunder, lifted in the air like animal's hooked above a butcher's table. They were missing limbs, bones, organs and even skin. And each missing part of them had been precisely, and cleanly severed.

Not only from body, but soul. Ping beheld monstrosity, horror beyond his imagining, and at last faced with the "Demonic Cultivation" he had so feared once, before he had chosen the path of the heretic and outcast, to serve Lady Huanliuxue and her dream.

"I know" Ping replied, sensing Qi, living Qi, in the air, which his companion from that Ogress' sect looked up, reacting to the sudden arrival of others, as Ping tried to keep from looking in the faces of the spirits gathered around him, trembling as his thoughts began to name them, one by one. His once beloved and treasured elder brothers and sisters, his comrades in the Winter Blossoming Wisdom Sect, whom he had abandoned when he had received his ghoul arm. Whom he had already chosen to lie to, to protect the young prodigy and incredible beast they would name demon.

Elder sister Tung-Mei! Ping bit his tongue to stop himself from crying out as he saw the mangled form of that inner disciple who had been so kind as to treat even talentless trash like him with kindness and respect. Tears burned in his eyes, as he lifted up his ghoul arm, and began to unwind his prayer beads. His back was to Qinxin, who had unsheathed his own weapon, sensing as Ping had that they were soon to be dragged into a fight against either members of Winter Blossoming Wisdom Sect (冬䓵智, Dōngfūzhì) or the great darkness they both sensed, lurking in the dense forest around them, sapping it of all warmth, joy and life.
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>>5415721

Ping could feel Jingyu approaching, he could practically smell him, taste his filth. This place was heavy with enmity and spite, gathered and condensed by the ghosts of his victims, who whispered dire warnings and desperate please for both men to run away and leave this accursed ground. They floated, as pale blue ghost lights, like stars trapped in lights, bobbing and swaying around them and casting the clearing where he and his unexpected companion made their stand together.

Whether it be against an abomination of a demonic cultivator or his own former brothers.

"PING! IS THAT YOU!?" A voice bellowed from above. Ping swallowed hard, and frozen, lifting his eyes, wondering if he'd see one of his former elders astride a flying sword, or find himself gazing in the eyes of a patchwork horror born from beyond the realms of sanity...
_

"You must follow these rules of protocol and etiquette, adhering to them without fault or mistake, the moment you pass into the walls of the palace" Some withered old and overtly proud hag lectured you as you idly batted a ball of yarn with your feet, as the two of you and an contingent of royal guards were parade in the gardens of statues and flowers placed before the imperial palace, which rose from the ground as a tower of red wood, polished gold and tiles of black jade and red agate of the highest clarity.

"When you enter their housing, you must then follow the guidelines of imperial curtesy established in the shadow dusk era, twelve generations prior" She rambled on "The Imperial customs established by the first emperor of the current dynasty at the beginning of the radiant dawn era, at the establishment of the Celestial empire, after the meeting between the gods and the emperor himself, and you must also observe the edicts of politeness and civility as well as the..."

You begin to tune out the old crone then, growing tired with her blabbering and rather bored with your tour through the strangely humble and scarcely decorated and barely cared for gardens, looking at the vines of roses and ivy that have been allowed to grow up walls and across the path. Some, skittish, mouse like servants scurry away from your sight as you look upon them, and Yongzheng walks besides you as stiff as a pole.

"There's no reason for you to listen to this old bag of wind" Mao Weixiao says sweetly, having grown genial with you again two days before you reached the new capital city's outskirts "The emperor will forgive any slight faux paus or breech of conduct you may preform, after all, you are soon to save his life. Just remember, a woman of your station and beauty would best keep her head bowed in his presence"
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>>5415723

You smile and nod along, feeling rather unimpressed by what you have seen of the courtyard outside the palace and the walls of the palace itself. This was no place for royalty to live, but that was to be expected, as you had heard, the previous capital that had served for ten generations of emperors, give or take, had been burned to the ground while you had been in deep grave side meditation. This wasn't a proper palace and it showed.

Some one came and whispered to your crone of a guide

"Ah, your audience with the son of heaven has been unfortunately delayed by matters within the imperial household that he must see to personally, despite his ailing health" The old woman said dully "I have been commanded to escort you to the guest wing of the palace, where housing has already been prepared for you, with amenities and comforts expected by honored visitors to the imperial palace"

Mao Weixiao narrowed his eyes, his lip lifting

"Could he not have restrained himself, for once in his life" He growled, low and venomous. And you only heard, because Yuyi ears had strangely grown sharper the longer you had spent inside her

"And my hunger for mice has only deepened, please hurry and find human wisdom already, before I sprout a tail!" Yuyi whimpered "And, please don't poke your nose into whatever is going on right now. I'm stressed enough just being here, I don't think my poor heart could take intruding in on the devil emperor's private affairs, just leave well enough alone, cure him and get out of here before I lose my poor head!"

'Oh! You've must have absorbed some beastly essence due to how long I've inhabited your body! Maybe even some Primordial beastly essence! You should be honored to receive such a gift' You think happily as Yuyi groans 'No wonder you aren't as weak as I remember you being! Maybe you will sprout a tail half as beautiful as mine!'

"Noooooo! My boy friend likes me the way I am! I don't want to become part cat!" Yuyi cries out, much to your amusement, which makes you giggle cutely as you skip after your guide as Yongzheng and Mao Weixiao follow after you.
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>>5415724

What do you do after being shown your quarters and wait for your audience with the emperor, Huanliuxue? two actions can be taken

>De-possess Yuyi, to allow her some time to herself to prepare herself to meet the emperor and steel her heart, and wander the palace as a ghost to spy and investigate the goings on and day to to day life of the imperial court and family. (Perception trial. DC 40)

>Sit on the bed provided to you, and study the effects of your soul's presence on Yuyi's body! Maybe she actually is sprouting a tail! You need to check! You need to check!

>Ask Yongzheng what his thoughts of the palace are, and if its anything like he expected it to be.

>Take the chance to grill Mao Weixiao about his unusually potent grudge, and the thing he said about the emperor "not restraining himself for once in his life"

>Escape your quarters, and interview the staff of the palace, from the maids and cooks, to the guards and weary eyed officials (Stealth trial. DC 60)

>Meditate on the insights of humanity you've already gathered, in preparation to attain human form (Lowers DC of the trial to come)

>write in
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>>5415725
>>De-possess Yuyi, to allow her some time to herself to prepare herself to meet the emperor and steel her heart, and wander the palace as a ghost to spy and investigate the goings on and day to to day life of the imperial court and family. (Perception trial. DC 40)
>Meditate on the insights of humanity you've already gathered, in preparation to attain human form (Lowers DC of the trial to come)
Some snooping, some consideration, and some foresight.
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>>5415725
>Take the chance to grill Mao Weixiao about his unusually potent grudge, and the thing he said about the emperor "not restraining himself for once in his life"
May as well recycle the write-in. I’m guessing the emperor’s concerns are carnal in nature.
>Sit on the bed provided to you, and study the effects of your soul's presence on Yuyi's body! Maybe she actually is sprouting a tail! You need to check! You need to check!
I’m also curious if this means we can channel more of our ghostly qi through her.
>Ask Yongzheng to interview the staff of the palace, from the maids and cooks, to the guards and weary eyed officials.
Delegate! Increase the action economy! I’m sure he won’t be as good as us, but he’s fairly handsome, intelligent, and a fellow doctor to boot. He ought to be able to get some information from the maids at the minimum.
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>>5415725
>>Sit on the bed provided to you, and study the effects of your soul's presence on Yuyi's body! Maybe she actually is sprouting a tail! You need to check! You need to check!
>>Take the chance to grill Mao Weixiao about his unusually potent grudge, and the thing he said about the emperor "not restraining himself for once in his life"
>>
>>5415725
>>Take the chance to grill Mao Weixiao about his unusually potent grudge, and the thing he said about the emperor "not restraining himself for once in his life"
Make that anon happy
>Meditate on the insights of humanity you've already gathered, in preparation to attain human form (Lowers DC of the trial to come)
>>
>>5415725
>Sit on the bed provided to you, and study the effects of your soul's presence on Yuyi's body! Maybe she actually is sprouting a tail! You need to check! You need to check!
>Ask Yongzheng what his thoughts of the palace are, and if its anything like he expected it to be.
>Take the chance to grill Mao Weixiao about his unusually potent grudge, and the thing he said about the emperor "not restraining himself for once in his life"
>>
>>5415721
Rejungui is such a better name for Ping than Ping. I hope he keeps it. But we'll still call him Ping.

>>5415724
I've been wondering about this for a while, what with the dual memory access Yuyi managed to get before. As expected, when a strong or influential soul inhabits a body for long enough the body will take after it, just as it is for ghostly possession. Doubtlessly our level of cultivation is playing a big part in its result. I'll bet if we had used some of our powers through Yuyi earlier we would be seeing more potent changes than just good hearing.

Transforming people from within is already something violent ghosts do, but making it helpful would be a big new chapter in our Law. With some experimentation, perhaps not with Yuyi, we could operate this as its own skill in a more controlled and practical direction to help out our students. Or curse humans into cats. No, not cat-mutants, just cats. Much easier to deal with.

In its current state it is an interesting limitation. Months of possession can't be without consequence, perhaps even mutual. As a certain fox likely knows well.

>>5415725
>Sit on the bed provided to you, and study the effects of your soul's presence on Yuyi's body! Maybe she actually is sprouting a tail! You need to check! You need to check!
>Take the chance to grill Mao Weixiao about his unusually potent grudge, and the thing he said about the emperor "not restraining himself for once in his life"
>Meditate on the insights of humanity you've already gathered, in preparation to attain human form (Lowers DC of the trial to come)

These seem like they could work together.
>>
>>5415725
>Sit on the bed provided to you, and study the effects of your soul's presence on Yuyi's body! Maybe she actually is sprouting a tail! You need to check! You need to check!
>Take the chance to grill Mao Weixiao about his unusually potent grudge, and the thing he said about the emperor "not restraining himself for once in his life"
>>
>>5415725
>Take the chance to grill Mao Weixiao about his unusually potent grudge, and the thing he said about the emperor "not restraining himself for once in his life"
>Escape your quarters, and interview the staff of the palace, from the maids and cooks, to the guards and weary eyed officials (Stealth trial. DC 60)
>>
>>5415725
>Take the chance to grill Mao Weixiao about his unusually potent grudge, and the thing he said about the emperor "not restraining himself for once in his life"
>De-possess Yuyi, to allow her some time to herself to prepare herself to meet the emperor and steel her heart, and wander the palace as a ghost to spy and investigate the goings on and day to to day life of the imperial court and family. (Perception trial. DC 40)
>>
>>5415725
>Sit on the bed provided to you, and study the effects of your soul's presence on Yuyi's body! Maybe she actually is sprouting a tail! You need to check! You need to check!
>Take the chance to grill Mao Weixiao about his unusually potent grudge, and the thing he said about the emperor "not restraining himself for once in his life"
Yuyi's interactions with Huan are the best
>>
>>5415725
De-possess Yuyi, to allow her some time to herself to prepare herself to meet the emperor and steel her heart, and wander the palace as a ghost to spy and investigate the goings on and day to to day life of the imperial court and family. (Perception trial. DC 40)

>Meditate on the insights of humanity you've already gathered, in preparation to attain human form (Lowers DC of the trial to come)
>>
>>5415725
>>>De-possess Yuyi, to allow her some time to herself to prepare herself to meet the emperor and steel her heart, and wander the palace as a ghost to spy and investigate the goings on and day to to day life of the imperial court and family. (Perception trial. DC 40)
>>Meditate on the insights of humanity you've already gathered, in preparation to attain human form (Lowers DC of the trial to come)
>>
>>5415725

>Sit on the bed provided to you, and study the effects of your soul's presence on Yuyi's body! Maybe she actually is sprouting a tail! You need to check! You need to check!

>Meditate on the insights of humanity you've already gathered, in preparation to attain human form (Lowers DC of the trial to come)
>>
>>5415725
>Take the chance to grill Mao Weixiao about his unusually potent grudge, and the thing he said about the emperor "not restraining himself for once in his life"

>De-possess Yuyi, to allow her some time to herself to prepare herself to meet the emperor and steel her heart, and wander the palace as a ghost to spy and investigate the goings on and day to to day life of the imperial court and family. (Perception trial. DC 40)
>>
>>5415725
>Meditate on our insights
First rule of cultivation! Always consolidate your gains in preparation for a breakthrough

>Grill Mao Weixiao
Grudge insights.
>>
Ending the vote now, tallying the result

De-possess Yuyi, to allow her some time to herself to prepare herself to meet the emperor and steel her heart, and wander the palace as a ghost to spy and investigate the goings on and day to to day life of the imperial court and family: 5

Meditate on the insights of humanity you've already gathered, in preparation to attain human form:7

Take the chance to grill Mao Weixiao about his unusually potent grudge, and the thing he said about the emperor "not restraining himself for once in his life":11

Sit on the bed provided to you, and study the effects of your soul's presence on Yuyi's body! Maybe she actually is sprouting a tail! You need to check! You need to check!:7

Ask Yongzheng to interview the staff of the palace, from the maids and cooks, to the guards and weary eyed officials.:1

Ask Yongzheng what his thoughts of the palace are, and if its anything like he expected it to be.:1

Escape your quarters, and interview the staff of the palace, from the maids and cooks, to the guards and weary eyed officials:1

So You'll study Yuyi's body, to see if your possession has affected in any visible way, such as sprouting a tail

Grill Mao Weixiao about his grudge and the thing he said about the emperor never restraining himself

And then meditate on the insights of humanity you have gathered across your journey, in preparation to attain human form, until you are summoned to the emperor's side

Update will arrive shortly
>>
This is the biggest update yet, had a real fun time writing it, cause Huanliuxue meets the son of heaven
>>
There is a pleasing silence, not unlike that of the grave or abandoned battlefield, that seems to have settled like dust and cobwebs over the halls and corridors of this newly built and decently well appointed palace. The scent of smoke and blood clings to the carpets, and you can feel ash settling on your toes as you walk across them, which has distorted the colors of the silks and cottons, the discoloring clearly trying to be hidden through constant brushing and washing, which has frayed the fabric and warped the scenes placed upon it. Yongzheng has his guard raised, and you can see the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end as he winds and wraps his prayer beads around his fingers in an effort to calm himself. Mao Weixiao however, is as much in his element in this shadowy manor lit only by a handful of hanging lamps as a trout in a stream or viper in the grass. You can sense the radiant heat of enmity soaked into the artifacts clearly smuggled from the ruins of the prior imperial palace, and can feel the gentle guiding cold produced by Ghostly Yin Qi, meaning that some of these fire and war touched treasures harbor the apparitions of fallen imperial servants or perhaps the remnants of failed traitors and assassins.

The gloomy, crypt like atmosphere within the walls of the emperor home relaxes you, tenderly draining your overflowing enthusiasm and reducing your spritely demeanor to quiet tactfulness. Though, you do not, however, embrace the etiquette lessons drilled into you by the old hag who has thankfully removed herself from your sight, and remained upbeat with a merry smirk on your lips and a sway to your step as you swaggered through the apartments and past the meek, weary eyed servant like a grey whiskered mouser marching through their territory.

"Lady Huanliuxue? Are the grounds of this palace haunted or cursed? I thought it only felt creepy because of the people who live here, but, with how lively and comfortable you have become, I started to wonder if maybe its because it has unseen residents as well" Yuyi asks frightfully, breaking the silence, though only between you and her, as you follow Mao Weixiao and Yongzheng up the stairs to the second floor of the uninhabited wing of apartments you had arrived to moments before

'it probably is, spirits and ghosts often cling to relics from their lives, binding themselves to the mortal realm' You say playfully, as goosebumps rise along your arms as Yuyi shudders 'and that's without taking into account anyone who the emperor has had executed here already, or his guards had cut down, or have committed suicide out of despair or'

"Please stop!" Yuyi yelps, as you sneer and cackle as you are led to the last room in the wing and Mao opens the door for you.
Cont
>>
>>5418353

"Your quarters, Lady Yuyi. There are five silver bells upon the dresser, that you can ring to summon the servants, there is a note there as well, that details the precise order they need to be rung to request specific services or assistance" He says, as you step past him, and take in the surroundings of your temporary dwellings "If Assistant Yongzheng would follow me to his apartment, we shall leave the emperor's guest to her privacy"

Yongzheng lifts his head, as if he was going to argue, but said nothing. Probably because it'd be rather unbecoming for a monk to share a private room with a girl. You smirk in amusement, as the two men meet the other's glare, and depart together, leaving you to the empty and quite room. A fresh pot of orchids sits below the iron barred window, and the walls are decorated with images of cranes in flight, painted with gold leaf. There is a sandalwood dresser in the corner, a silk couch and cushion stool dyed mandarin and pale yellow, not Ling yellow, thankfully, as well as a chest of Fragrant rosewood, freshly cut judging from its sour scent. But it is not the darker Hei suanzhi that your treasured Ghost Empress Melody was carved from, but rather Hong suanzhi judging by its more vividly red coloration.

"There's gold and green jade hammered into it!" Yuyi gasps in awe as you throw open the chest, and find a mirror made out of pure white jade, with glass of such clarity and purity that you expect it was made by an alchemist of some talent "Oh that's a relief, I was worried I'd see a furry face looking back at us...wait, why are you undressing"

"Eh? We're both girls, and I've seen your naked body plenty of times, there's nothing to balk at about me examining it now" You explain kindly as Yuyi stammers

"Examine!?" She shrieks as you smile and nod

"Yes! Your remark about furry faces reminded me about how your senses have sharpened in our time spent as one, and how your body has strengthened the longer I've spent inside of you!" You say excitedly "I wasn't joking when I said you might sprout a tail!"

"Nooooo!" Yuyi cries out "I thought you were trying to cheer me up then! That you said that in jest!"

"I wouldn't joke about something so interesting!" You exclaim with a shining grin and a twinkle in your eyes, as you, now nude sit yourself down on the gold silk sheets of the bed, in the center of two woven cranes circling one another, and with the jade mirror you had found, begin to closely and intimately inspect every inch of Yuyi's body

"I don't find it interesting! I find it terrifying! I've only just found a man who loved me both for my looks and personality!" Yuyi hisses, very cat like, so much so you had thought for a moment you had sat upon some fattened palace brat's tail "How will he react if I return home from my long journey with whiskers and fuzzy ears?"
Cont
>>
>>5418354

"With great delight if he has any taste, us cats are born with natural beauty and grace after all" You proclaim smugly, wagging your head back and forth as you find out that Yuyi is much more flexible before as you grab hold of one of her feet and roll over as you try and check if any claws are hiding in your toes.

Yuyi groans in discomfort as you remain in that position, curled into a circle as you prod and jab her feet, and rub her nails to see if their surface feels more like your own claws than the useless and dull nails of human hands. Unfortunately, your choice to cut her fingernails into mock claws, makes it so you can't tell if they've changed. Her feet haven't, beyond a slight increase in dexterity, but you don't find any paw pads on either her palms or soles. To Yuyi's great relief.

Then, rolling back upright, you lift up her lips and find that her canine teeth have lengthed, the sight of which causes her to whimper

"How monstrous!" She cries, as you smile, eyes sparkling with curiousity as you test their sharpness and draw blood from your finger with just a tap "How did you not notice that earlier?!"

"I was having fun playing with Buddhist monks" You blithely exclaim as you lift up your chestnut hued hair to see if any fur is sprouting from Yuyi's ears, or if they've tapered to points. You've never paid much attention to her ears, considering them useless due to their dullness of hearing, so you can't tell if they've become more catlike in more than their sharpness.

So, then, you begin pinching and prodding her arms and legs, confirming that her muscles have grown more taught and tightly bound, growing stronger but not bulkier, attaining a sort of feline svelteness. Indeed, Yuyi's frame has lost much of the chub and softness it had before, becoming lean and refined.

"Stop pocking my stomach" Yuyi grumbles in embarrassment as you move your legs to the side of the bed and leap off, striding to the nearest lamp, and prying open one of your eye's while holding up the jade mirror so you can see the shape of Yuyi's pupil.

Your train of thought it thoroughly trashed as Yuyi screams as the usually round dot in the center of her eye thins into a vertical sliver, like a cats.

"Cool! Cool! Cool! You've become more cat like than I thought you had! I never though my soul's essence would begin to bleed into your own, let alone begin to physically alter and transform your flesh! I thought it would have stopped at improving your senses and seeding feline instincts into your subconscious!" You exclaim excitedly as Yuyi herself continues to scream "Though I suppose, for your ears to sharpen, and for your weakness to vanish, your body would have to change as well. If it wouldn't kill you, I'd check and see how your insides might have changed! Your spiritual roots must've been completely reworked!"
cont
>>
"I wouldn't call this minor! My eyes! Mama! Papa! The eyes you gave me are gone" Yuyi whines and whimpers "At least I don't have a tail...Lady Huanliuxue! Tell me why I'm becoming a cat person!"

"Well" You say, wagging your hips, and tapping your nail on her chin, pausing to roll her tongue to see if it's become rough "If a powerful soul or particularly willful spirit or ghost inhabits a body for a long enough time, the vessel they inhabit begins to match its contents, like the stains left behind by tea. That's why victims of ghostly possession are often hidden from public view, you know"

You frown and tilt your head

"Of course, my level of cultivation probably had a part to play as well, both in the suddenness of the transformation of your body and that it began at all to begin with. I wondered if something like this would happen, when we began to share memories" You say quietly as Yuyi continues pouting and blubbering

"You owe me for this, Huanliuxue!" She growls "I'm happy to act as your robes, but not become your mirror! The moment you can depart from me, please endeavor to do so, before I start growing fur!"

"My my, have you taken on my sassiness as well" You tease, as you stretched back and guide your hands down her spine and freeze as you reach just above her buttocks

"I'm not being sassy!" Yuyi barks "Defending the body your mother and father gave you is not being sassy! It's just common dignity! I may not be very proud or brave, but I have to put my foot down here"

You had felt her tailbone poking out further than it should. She was growing a tail. But why a tail first, before claws, whiskers, or ears? This demanded further study, but Yuyi was your dear friend, and she had just made it clear she wanted to not be blessed with feline good looks for whatever reason. You decided to keep this a secret from her, since telling her would only further her mental strain and stress her out further. Which might make her ill, which would weaken her body to the Yin energy of your soul.

And your soul was already far more potent than the common hungry ghost. Hopefully the Ghostly Qi and Beastly essence wouldn't linger inside Yuyi and further the changes of her body

"I understand, I understand. Besides, I won't need to use you as a mask for much longer" You say appealingly, tenderly trying to soothe Yuyi and coax her back into a state of calm

"That is all I ask, Lady Huanliuxue" She says meekly, as you dress yourself and stride over to the dresser and after a quick glance at the not tucked beside them, ring the bells to summon Mao Weixiao to your quarters

Then, sitting on the edge of your bed, one leg crossed over the other, you begin to come your hair. Only half a minute has passed before their is a loud rapping on your door

"Do come in" You say happily, as the door creaks open, to reveal the smiling face of Cat Smile

"What service may I provide to our honored guest?" He purrs as you purse your lips, and tap a finger on Yuyi's painted lips
>>
"Satiating her curiosity, for I have two questions I've been dying to ask of you" You giggle as you throw up to fingers "Please step inside my quarters, so we may have some privacy"

Mao Weixiao's eyes narrowed suspiciously, but his smile remained on his face even when it fled his eyes. He slithered into your room, hands clasped together beneath the sleeves of his robes

"And what, may I ask, do you wish to ask me?" He asks curiously as he stalks closer to you, eyes so squinted they're nearly closed

"When I stepped down from the carriage, after the attack" You say slowly, as you unbind Yuyi's hair and allow it to fall so you can brush out its tangle and curls properly "I saw for a moment a look I recognize from many a man."

Mao becomes as still as a rigid corpse.

"A festering grudge that leads men to either despair or great action.” You coo as you lift up a long strand of Yuyi's hair and run your comb down its length

"And why does it concern you, that I, a faithful servant of the rightful emperor, hold traitors to his crown and throne with utmost contempt and abhorrence?" He asked sharply, a distant light smoldering in his squinting eyes "it is only natural to hate your enemies"

You snicker and turn to him, tilting your head and flashing a playful, placating smile at the "envoy"

”I take an interest in what leads men to the rash actions that place them in my care" You explain respectfully, which causes Mao to lower his guard somewhat, but does not do away with his wariness, at least not entirely "I have seen them sated, and those who would pass with the blackest of stains that will no doubt hold them in this life"

"What a macabre interest for a clever young woman to have, though, I suppose working with the dead and dying would inspire such a curiosity, even in one as lovely as you" Mao responds, speaking smoothly and politely as he moved to the corner of your bed, resting against its poster "Grudges are terrible things, even when they are righteous. So, what has made my justified spite and hatred so fascinating to you, Doctor"

"I have never seen such an intense look in a man who is not already embracing death and requires my intervention to save them" You purr, narrowing your eyes as you sharpen your tone to make your words into a dagger to strike at Mao's heart

"Truly?" he laughed "Then you are ignorant of how deep resentment can sink its roots. It can drive men to madness, after all"

"Mmm, nope. as I said, it is strange only that you weren't dying and I am well aware of the lunacy hatred can birth. I know grudges as well as the air I breath" You snap, causing him to jump "Grudges are treacherous and can be a poison, but most poisons, in the right does, can become medicine. Yours however, the enmity shared between you and the men under your command, in this metaphor, would be a venom so virulent it could kill stone!"

"Hmm, you truly are blessed with sharp eyes and divine perception" He said with a fake smile as he studied you
>>
"So, you simply wished to share your hobby with me? Do you research resentment? I know emotions can cause mortal afflictions on the body, is that why you called me, to diagnose me with a malady caused by my enmity" He then questioned, moving closer to where you sat

"No" You chirp cheerfully, shaking your head "I would like to hear the story of your grudges one day, Mao Weixiao. I don’t believe you’ll tell me the truth, of course"

"Perhaps I will, one day. Who can tell what the future will bring. I certainly wouldn't be opposed to satisfying your curiosity" He answered with a hollow laugh

"But that said, even a lie worthy enough to explain such hatred would be interesting to hear" You say politely, as you return to brushing your hair "Such a potent grudge is unusual, even among the de...ying"

"I must admit, most women who are more interested by my charm and good looks than the secrets I keep" He said teasingly "What an interesting girl you are. You'll have more luck than most would, but, you are here for a reason. Do your duty, and I shall reveal the cause for this "Unusual grudge" of mine, yes?"

"A fair trade" You hum "Though I did say I have two questions"

"What is the second?" Mao asked, genuinely curious

"What did you mean when you said about the emperor "not restraining himself for once in his life"" You ask innocently, and to your shock, he did not glare, glower, snarl or spit, or threaten to strike you. He just lowered his head and gave a resigned, and tired sigh.

"The emperor is a man of many vices, it is to be expected of a man of his position and power" He said somberly "We cannot judge him, for he is an existence beyond us, blessed and adored by the heavens and respected as equal by the gods within. At least, he was before this trouble started, because one man did not see the honor in the son of heaven taking an...interest in his wife"

The pitch black grudge Mao held, began to flow from his heart and fill the room

"And even more generously, took her, his three daughters with her and the man's own aged aunt as his concubines" Mao said with a forced smile "He should've been proud my brother in law was so taken by his family. But no. That dog Bao put daggers in the hands of cultists, and all the other dogs began barking, breaking their leashes and pouncing upon their master"

Oh. The grudge wasn't directed only towards those who had betrayed imperial rule.

"Luckily, many of those still loyal to him, including my brother, gave their lives to protect him, and we were able to whisk his imperial majesty away from the jaws of those slavering beasts, and bring him to safety" Mao sighed wistfully, one hand trembling behind his back "Oh, the law and ordered crumbled, as men sought their ambitions and took advantage of the attempt on the emperor's life and warred amongst themselves and the crown. But, the dynasty survived, it endured"

He paced towards the door, the room blanketed with the roiling clouds of his resentment.
cont
>>
>>5418360

"It lost its empress, its heirs. But that didn't matter. The emperor raised his favored concubine to his side as his new bride. That bitch of Bao" Mao said, as you can almost see his loyalty and hatred pulling him apart at the seams "I cannot forgive the traitors, for all the lives they have cost the realm and all the blood they had shed in their arrogance and short sightedness. I cannot forgive them, for fighting and extending the conflict as our empires rots and falls to anarchy. They who have taken all I had, deserve my malice. I might damn myself to hell, but, I can exact my vengeance while I draw breath. Every dog who stands against the emperor, is guilty of the crime of continuing the chaos that has consumed the world"

"You don't just hate them" You whisper, knowing he is not lying by the grudge energy bursting from him

"I cannot hate the man I named brother, nor can I forgive him for forgetting so quickly the sister my father gave to him or the brother who died for him" He said sternly and resolutely "But, a Mao's loyalty is deeper than words. Unlike the rest of the nobility, it seems. I am disgusted by both emperor and rebel, but, he is my brother and our fates are tied. Even if the heavens have abandoned him, I shall stay by his side until the end. He is the son of heaven, and can do no wrong. That is the providence he was born with"

He stood still, eyes transfixed on your own.

"I despise the traitor factions, because they have proven themselves without honor or loyalty, because they spit on the sacrifices of my family, generations of work, toil and humiliation. I hold such black malice for them, Yuyi, because they have ruined my life" He says with a voice frigidly cold it sounds as if it was spoken by a hungry ghost or Jiangshi "The emperor disgusts me, but I cannot hate him, for he has not ruined my life. Bao did. If he could have only swallowed his pride and smiled and thanked the emperor for cucking him, I'd have been the uncle to the next emperor, countless lives would have been spared, and the world would be at peace"

"Well that does satisfy my curiosity concerning you and your malice, Mao, it doesn't answer my question about" You say, wagging a finger before Mao chuckles and interrupts you.

"Oh, yes, sorry, your initial question roused my heart and made me reveal my true face, forgive me, Lady Yuyi. Do not speak a word of this outside this room" he purred "But, the reason for that shameful remark I made, was because the Emperor had taken another lover, abandoning the Bao bitch who caused all of my woes to begin with"

"Ah" You say as he nods and smiles manically

"Yes" He says, bowing his head "But, I must depart from your interesting company, Doctor, as if we remain together, troublesome rumors are sure to abound, and I would not shoulder you with such troubles"
Cont
>>
You frown and watch him leave, feeling a chill as you contemplate the outburst of his true feelings and come to understand human grudges. You knew Monu's well, of course. But, Mao's was different very different and showed you that men could redirect their feelings, when they could not satisfy their desires or their enmity on the actual target of their feelings. You knew that, this was something about Humans, that they could delude and trick themselves in a way no beast could, but you hadn't seen or understood it before now.

"How frightening" You whisper as you adopt the Lotus position and breath out, to begin to meditate on the many and varied insights you had gleamed of human wisdom and civilization

"I kind of feel bad for Sir Mao now" Yuyi sighs sadly "He won't meet a happy end will he?"

"How shall I know?" You ask as you begin your meditation and reflect on all you have learned while in Yuyi's skin, and all that you now understand about humans and even feel and see within yourself. This journey had changed you, and you would change further when it came to an end.

Thus, you must prepare and ready yourself, for that final hurdle to attaining human form.

You are interrupted, hours later, as the sun began to set, by a knocking on the door. Outside your room, two masked men stood, and bid you to follow them. You obeyed, and found Yongzheng already taken from his room. As the sun set and night approached, and the palace was swallowed by shadows, you were lead to a room deep in its heart

Lit and warmed by a fire, you were direct to kneel before a screen placed behind it, shrouded by smoke. Yongzheng sat beside you, sweat beading on his brow, as the shadows behind the paper screen shifted, and a figure formed of a fat bellied man sitting up on a bed

You winced, assaulted by the sickly scent of decaying flesh, the burning smell of Kaoliang wine that you so hate, and aromas you knew but refused to give names to. The room was rancid with the stench that rose from the emperor's lifted sheets, and immediately both you and your assistant realized how far gone the emperor was.

"Why are there two?" A croaking voice asked "I asked only for the pretty lady doctor to treat me, not her and some plain faced baldly"

"Lord Tiāntūnrì [天焞日, Heaven's Radiant Su] Please forgive us for our impudence, but The jade doctor refused to travel without her assistant, We assure you, he is just as skilled a doctor and knowledgeable of medicine as she is!" One of the soldiers shouts, fearfully

"Hnnnr, fine, you are forgiven for your arrogance, all who took part in bringing The Miracle worker Yuyi to me!" The emperor barked "Prostrate yourself, extra, and be honored to enter into the presence of the son of the nine heavens! The great emperor Lóng, grants you audience alongside your mistress! However, you may not approach me, monk, nor soil the air I breath, hold your breath!"

How pretentious! As if he himself was not already fouling the air with his stench
>>
>>5418363

"Saint Yuyi! Step forward, you are allowed to gaze upon my divine form!" He bellows, and you, after a moments hesitation and preparation of covering your nose with your sleeves, step past the screens hiding the emperor. And stare at him for a several, thoughtless moments, as you struggle to see him as anything besides a pig or disgusting goblin of some kind.

He was round, covered in a dense mat of black hair from his chest to his thighs. He sat, propped up against a pile of soiled silk pillows, decorated with images of dragons and rimmed with peacock feathers. His lap was covered with a tiger's hide, and his beady eyes stared from his heavy, shaggy brow. He had several chins, and his ear lobes droop to the end of his neck. His hair was greasy and black, and he kept a wispy and pathetic mustache and beard that struggled to wrap around his bloated face. He was pale, and turning green and purple in some places, where corruption had already set in. His blubbery arms sat on his lap, reddened and covered in rashes.

"Gout" Yuyi murmured reflexively "Diabetes, obesity, over abundance of Yin energies with acute deficiencies of Yang affecting several internal organs, in a clearly Yang aligned constitution. Master, I don't think poison is what's killing him. His lifestyle is"

'No, he's been poisoned' You correct, gazing at the wheezing and panting form of the...the man who was chosen by heaven to rule the mortal realm and

You feel tears welling in your eyes, as jealousy bubbles up within you. This, is what they chose to give their blessing to? Some bloated, horny pig in heat whose so self centered he can't see how disgusting he is, who has so little empathy or sense he does not care his actions have wrought calamity and tragedy upon his subjects! This is the ruler, the emperor they back! This absolute failure of a human being, who betrays his family and loyal subjects to satiate his own wild desires and hungers, who sneers down at a world suffering from the throne he was unjustly given. Only to beg and plead to be saved when his crimes come back to haunt him.

Visions of Siwang and Fu butchering this pig flashed before your eyes... could you even call him a pig! You might not have a high opinion of that greedy pig Yi Zhu, but calling this...thing a pig was insulting to him!

How...how dare the gods name this man their mortal agent, their chosen son and emperor when they name one as glorious and noble as yourself a demon! A mistake! And declare your mere existence and life as unlawful and heinous. Tears flow down your cheeks, as you clench your jaw and begin to shake with a rage you haven't felt since you first awoke as Huanliuxue. Insulted and outraged, cannot describe what you are feeling now, faced with the embodiment of the unjustness of the heavens and the world.
Cont
>>
>>5418364

That one as worthless as this scumbag was raised up, while you would be squashed down! Where your people were hunted for merely existing, this animal enjoyed a life of luxury and privilege so grand, he was able to get away with any crime no matter how vile. That a villain held the mandate of heaven, while you..you who despite being named demon, hunted like rabid dog and feared by all except your fellow outcasts, chose to be benevolent and good to the world that hated you!

You tasted blood, you felt faint, you wanted to cry. This wasn't fair! This wasn't fair!

"I know, it must be upsetting to see your emperor brought so low and in such a sorry state! but tears do not fit your pretty face, my dear servant" The fucking fucker cooed, thinking he was somehow charming or attractive to you rather than sickening. Gross! Gross! "But you must endure, I have faith you shall succeed, and preserve my noble life"

Noble? What is noble about this pile of lard and twisted hairs?! Aren't you a thousand times more noble than him! Why isn't he hunted for sport huh!? Baoli-Wuyawang was more noble than he was! And more pleasant to look at to! How could this be the emperor! The ruler ordained by heavenly mandate!

The world was spiraling as you stood, a fake smile stuck on your lips as you struggled to make sense of how you could be reviled for being born and this man could, until recently, have been accepted and permitted to act as he will by the heavens.

You wanted to kill him. To spite the unjust world. To free the kingdom from this boil that had poisoned it. To avenge the children of the village and all others who suffer because he was allowed to indulge himself in every vice and depravity! Cause the heavens loved him!

And hated you!

What do you do Huanliuxue?

>Compose yourself, force yourself to get close to and touch the wretched thing, and cure him, despite your personal feelings [Extreme good karma] [Crafting: Alchemy/ Knowledge: Alchemy trial. DC 30)

>"You had children, heirs. Do you shed tears for them, son of heaven?" [Composure trial. DC 80. Due to what the answer will be]

>Laugh and cry and rage.

>You have poisons that'll cause him a more painful death, administer them in a fit of pique.

>write in
>>
>>5418367
I am deeply torn. The karma doesn't interest me. But getting Yuyi out alive, unspoiled and above reproach is paramount. On the other hand I really want this guy to die. I'd even be willing to prolong his life solely so that we'll get the chance to personally bring him to ruin later, entirely selfish in the face of the fact that curing him will bring misery to more people. If only Yuyi weren't lending us her meat suit.

Though I suppose it is a bit meta of me to impose knowing that he doesn't give a fuck about his kids when Huan doesn't have definitive proof from his own mouth.

Well played, Grandfather.
>>
>>5418360
>>5418362
How very interesting. Mao, brother to the Emperor. Perhaps we will cultivate his grudge one day. He clearly just wants a divine heir to manage, though he'd not say it. And-

>>5418367
Can't blame him.

Fucking, what. My god. We have soul sealing pearls. That'll cure him. There's a lake nearby, right? Do we know teleportation spells? Let's see, can we get Yuyi to stall so our real body can get in range enough to use Spiteful Blood Legacy?

OKAY
WAIT
I've figured it out.

We heal him as Yiyu and leave. Days later
WE STRIKE HIM DOWN AS HUĀNLIÚXUÈ.

On top of the healing, can we attempt some deep Blood Refinement on the Emperor while within Yuyi? To transform into something more human and less like an insult to pigs and mankind. Like a true divinely inspired miracle worker. Good experiment too.

I had some other idea that involved trying to use our mastery of Blood Qi to literally reconfigure his passions or something to "fix" this thing, but I don't really want that. Not anymore. We don't need this.
>>
>>5418367
>Compose yourself, force yourself to get close to and touch the wretched thing, and cure him, despite your personal feelings [Extreme good karma] [Crafting: Alchemy/ Knowledge: Alchemy trial. DC 30)
We came here to learn, and learn we shall.
Let us engrave the image of this "emperor" into our mind, and learn what to never become.
While also learning how to do things we despise, something humans do quite often, I believe.

>Composure trial. DC 80. Due to what the answer will be
that's... ominous
>>
>>5418367
Heal him as Yuyi. Tell Mao something about the Emperor barely hanging on karmically. Then a bit later strike him down in a way that will make people think the heavens punished him.
>>
>>5418367
Of course this would be the hardest choice of the quest so far.
>Heal him now, but return later in your true body
I want to ask his about his heirs, but Huan’s rage would be courting death at this moment. It’ll probably be our first bad karma action, but 1000% worth it
>>
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>>5418367
>Compose yourself, force yourself to get close to and touch the wretched thing, and cure him, despite your personal feelings [Extreme good karma] [Crafting: Alchemy/ Knowledge: Alchemy trial. DC 30)
Ok, I hate this fucker, but I don't want Yuyi to het hurt.
So let's heal him, get out, go to our students and depossess her. Then we can either use our ghost form to tormemt him or our body to just kill him.
Either way, he will face judgement.
>>
>>5418367
Based on what everyone else is saying, how does this sound?
>Compose yourself, force yourself to get close to and touch the wretched thing, and cure him, despite your personal feelings.
>State that you will beseech Huanliuxue to visit and give the additional blessings of health as she is a divine beast that has stood against Heaven’s enemies and has power over life herself.
>Return as Huanliuxue and speak with the Emperor. Ask about his heirs and if they should be blessed as well so we can get even angrier.
>Judge the Emperor as unfit of the mandate of Heaven in your capacity as a “divine” beast, and kill him.
Yuyi is from the area Huanliuxue is from, so her knowledge wouldn’t be unusual. We could even claim to have a favor from her, for saving people she thought beyond rescue. What better use to spend it than sending the divine beast to assist the Son of Heaven himself?
The only reason we’ll be able to say this with a straight face is because we’ll be pouncing later. And burning most of this good karma since we’re only temporarily saving him, but who else outside the heavens has the authority to bring justice to the So. of Heaven beyond the Princess, Queen, and Empress of the Wilds?
>>
>>5418482
Sounds good, but doesn't state Huan is divine "beast", but the guardian spirit of Chuan region and the ruling family, since that's what we are being worshiped as.
The fact that our worship is associated with nobility, right to rule and wellbeing is a good explanation why Yuyi would call on Huan specifically, since the emperor is a noble of nobles, right?
>>
>>5418482
I'd rather avoid implicating Yuyi in any way.
>>
>>5418509
Thanks, I was trying to think of a better way to put that but couldn’t quite complete it. “Divine spirit” would work.
>>5418513
I’m worried about needing to fight our way in and killing innocents. I’m thinking being famous in one region of the empire isn’t enough to get us into the capital unless the Emperor can approve it.

Would it be acceptable to simply bless the Emperor’s health in Huanliuxue‘s name, and when he asks about who that is we just say she’s a divine spirit from our region that fights his enemies and wards off death? No indication that Yuyi is involved with us then, but it gives us the option of announcing ourselves to the city and requesting an audience with the Emperor to better aid in enacting justice on those who would defy heaven. We might sneak in anyway, but it depends on the defenses and if we want to openly spin our assassination as a blow from heaven itself.
>>
>>5418559
I think we should sneak in, a god doesn't request an audience.
Put not directly saying Yuyi is involved with Huan should be for the best, although a passing mention could work.

At least we are all in agreement of healing him and coming back to give this NTR fat ugly bastard a painful death, even if we can't agree on the method.
>>
>>5418559
We can sneak in (we've consistently had low DCs or even auto successes on it). We can come in as a ghost, possess him and do whatever we want. We do not need to ask for an audience.
>>
>>5418367
>You had chidren, Heirs, where are they now son of heaven?

If he killed children, he dies. No exceptions. No compromise, he dies.
If he just doesn't give a shit, heal him.
>>
I wonder, if we only just healed him despite our immense disdain for him, how would Huanliuxue's self-hatred from such an act develop her understanding of grudges? Would it push her to understand humanity in ways she'd never even considered before despite her wisdom? Doing things they hate because of their position and nothing else, how human-like is that?
>>
>>5418367
>>5418482
Updated write-in:
>Compose yourself, force yourself to get close to and touch the wretched thing, and cure him, despite your personal feelings.
>Give a blessing to the Emperor in the name of Huanliuxue, the Happy Bloodshed that wards off death for those blessed by Heaven and brings it to those who are not.
>Promise yourself to return and deal with the Emperor as Huanliuxue.
Reeling it back some since it’s admittedly early to vote on how to infiltrate. We don’t know what the DC is for anything, and sneaking in is the safer option in terms of reputation.
>>5418563
Yeah, definitely no doubt about circling back. It should reduce the good karma reward significantly, but I don’t think Huan can be true to herself by letting this go unanswered.
>>5418589
I’ve been thinking about it since it’d be public. Claiming to be associated with the heavens to the people of the capital, then striking him down, would imply he lost the mandate of heaven rather than being assassinated by wicked men. We may even have the excuse to appoint a replacement.
Is it actually worth it? Eh. Unless the DC were ridiculous, I think I’d still vote to sneak in. It’s a lot of heat attached to Huan. But I like laying groundwork where I can so other anons can come up with better reasons for/against something like that.
Besides, if we get caught maybe we just spin it as visiting the Emperor as a cat would. I’d hope we don’t need it, but better to have backups than not.
>>5418613
This is likely true! At the very least, it’ll help cultivate her core grudge. That ought to be worth a little bit of power.
>>
>>5418688
>Huanliuxue, the Happy Bloodshed that wards off death for those blessed by Heaven and brings it to those who are not.
If I know my Chinese mythology, there is a hierarchy in the heavens, and a guardian spirit of a province is NOT one who is allowed to punish the Emperor. We're NOT the one who can revoke the mandate of heaven. We'll only raise doubts about our status and likely bring cultivators after us.
>>
>>5418367

> Write in

Cure him, and lace him with poison and medicine make food to ash and perverse pleasure to pain. Send his body on a crash course toward purification that will either kill him or make him something worthy of the mandate of heaven.

Trial by fire, then observe the results.
>>
>>5418613
It indeed ought be great fuel, it is at least something that hasn't happened to anywhere near this extent before.
This is overlapping every measure of our hatred towards the heavens with the reality of the "royalty" that is supposed to embody their virtues.

To look at this Emperor and be disgusted with the Gods is truly human. To help this creature while still holding onto that is genuinely divine. This son of heaven is the physical embodiment of the spirit of our grudge, if that 80 dc is anything to go by. Props to Huan for not screaming out 'oh god it's all pointless, you're all fucking pointless!'.

In that, I believe killing him will also further our grudge against the heavens, rather than ameliorate it. We may be correcting a problem, but the heart of our resentment isn't naive and has already recognized that it's too late; this Emperor is proof we are right to hate, to be scornful, to build anger. If I'm thinking accurately, then to our grudge his death is just a muddy ripple upon the universal fabric of enmity, returning back to him from hitting the "bounds" of our formation and birth, which he'd greatly contributed to.

I'm beginning to wonder how many in our village were cursing the heavens with their last dying breaths. As people dying unjustly often will. Perhaps even cursing the son of heaven. All right before we were born.

But hey geeze, the world has placed our hard ideoethical counter in front of us. An enemy who actually deserves us, and they're helpless. The Gods themselves should only be grateful if we force them to choose a new son of heaven. Do we even have enough Qi to kill them hard enough in fair proportion to what is deserved? Guess we'll need to get creative.
>>
>>5418688
I also worry about the backlash. If we're cunning we can force the perception of the situation any number of ways. Most people despise the Emperor, including an apparent many of those loyal to him. If we succeed in a sneaking mission they'll believe one of their many enemies succeeded. Of course, we can't use our Guqin for anything in the assault if we want to be secret, since we've carried the instrument with Yuyi while practicing.

But If we want to send a message, or gain popular notoriety, or kill him in a super special way, I can see some potential in those. Though any gain will be tied to danger. And although the immortals are busy being clans doing stupid clan stuff, anything along the lines of a magical beast making proclamations to people is something they've sent people to investigate, like with the Ogress and our ghostly serpent student.

All it takes is one smart Daoist to look at the areas Qi after any of our destructive acts and think of places that match it best, and there are few. I got no dice on how many smart cultivators exist tho. So far, at least two sects we know of have no problem sacrificing outer disciples for marginal to none intel gains. We got lucky they've blamed each other.

Tricking the people here that we're a divine stand in would require at the least an appearance of humanity, if not human form. We can't fully expect they'd solidly believe their gods sent a ghost beast, even to "correct" the actions of a saintly doctor in our greater context. Not even a powerful dragon has the right to replace an Emperor, even if they're a crazed lech. The Gods changing their minds requires the Gods saying so. We haven't even got a list of Gods to pretend to be!

A crazy cultivator claiming to represent the gods is just a lying immortal on a power trip, though the sects might find such negative attention being brought to them by a rogue cultivator a concern. Doable, but I'll question the wisdom of any attention vs. leaving it a mystery.
If there is something to be gained through the acts' infamy it must be solid.
>>
>>5418730
Making it look like an assassination might work, could even make it so it looks like the brothers did it, so they can return to their home victorious. Might make the war even harder, and their lord could throw them to the wolves instead of rewarding them.
Mysterious spooky death is also possible, but there is a risk someone comes to investigate, or people think Yuyi poisoned him.
We can also try to possess him, haunt him and have him kill himself. Maybe even drag his soul to hell ourselves. Someone might notice and get an exorcist though.
>>
>>5418721
Fair enough! I didn’t know how valid that idea was. That’s a solid knock against going public even if the sneak DC is high since I can’t see any advantage to it now and the negatives are severe.
>>5418725
Thoughts from others? I’m hesitant to vote for it since it puts Yuyi in even more danger. He could fail, die, and then Yuyi gets the blame for killing the Emperor.
>>
>>5418733
Oh, the brothers! They're still here!

That's actually brilliant.

They've basically said they're going to try to strike the Emperor themselves, to save Yuyi. Even after we cure him, the leading brother may be emboldened rather than back down.

It would probably be ridiculously hard, but we might even covertly assist them to the point they succeed in killing the Emperor. Our hands, clean, and everyone gets what they want! Except him.
>>
>>5418734
Maybe only if Yuyi tell him that it's going to be the side effects.
But after seeing Mao, the coperial court would probably blame her anyway after he fucks himself to death because her solution wasn't good enough.
>>
>>5418734
I doubt we'd even need to sneak. It seems like all the cultivators have abandoned the false emperor as well. Unless there's a master skulking around in the wings partying there may not be anyone here who can stop Huan from literally just trotting in and stomping on his skull.
>>
>>5418725
I so badly want to torture him, but I also want to keep our promise to Yuyi.

>>5418740
As well this. He's a selfish spoiled brat. If he doesn't get what he wants, somebody has to be blamed for it.
>>
>>5418737
You know, maybe if we send one of our students to heal their wounds, give them with some spiritual medicine and buffing pills, they could be strong enough to overcome some of the guards. It could cause a distraction, and make it believable they could have been the ones to do the deed. But this risks revealing more of ourselves.
>>5418742
We can always try to steal his soul when we kill him, so we can give him the proper punishment later.
>>
>>5418747
>We can steal his soul
Genius. The ghost of an Emperor; a doorstop for the ages.
>>
You know what? Let's formalize this thoughts, since everyone that voted to heal him wanted to come back and finish the job
>>5418367
>>5418453
Changing to
>Calm yourself and heal the pig, but begin planning a way to bring him to justice without implicating sweet Yuyi. Perhaps the Dian brothers and a sealing soul jar could be of use? [No karma gain?] [Same trial and DC?]
>>
>>5418725
>>5418740
How about we state that we need to gather some materials and we’ll return shortly? In the meantime he can be brought to a sturdy flat bench as I’m sure acupuncture will be part of the treatment.

We can bring Mao with us to get the materials we need and tell him that he is poisoned, but his health is terrible (list everything Yuyi saw) so he may not survive the side effects afterward. Food will taste like ash, pleasure will be pain etc. Then we can seriously ask him if we should expect to be executed as a scapegoat if the Emperor doesn’t survive the cure.

We’ll do it either way on our oath as a doctor, but we’d like to know if we should also pass him some arrangements regarding our friends and kin.

I’m hoping that gets him largely in our corner if things go wrong. Curbing Emp’s hedonism through pain oughta make him happy to support us.

Then we give the Emperor a shortened version of that rundown (we’ll fix you, but it’ll suck) and do the deed.

Later on, leave a regimen of medicine for Emp to take that continue the terrible side effects regarding his hedonism but promote good health. Recommend he take it for 3 months.
>>
>>5418754
All good ideas all around for plans, this is why I want Huan to begin planning, so we can know in character what could be valid, and how hard it would be.
>>
>>5418754
>>5418758
Actually, It might still be too risky, I'm sure Mao would say to do it, and later on would let the emperor demand Yuyi's death anyway.
Or even worse, demand her to be his new concubine once he heals, so she can "pay back" the pleasure she "stole".
And that is if he doesn't skip out on the medicine one day and notices that he is better without the side effect and we were actually poisoning him.
>>
>>5418367
>>5418758
Agreed, though the poisoning plan is a little hard to square with the planning as we need to starting working on it almost immediately.
I think it’s between
>Calm yourself and heal the pig, but begin planning a way to bring him to justice without implicating sweet Yuyi. Perhaps the Dian brothers and a sealing soul jar could be of use? [No karma gain?] [Same trial and DC?]
and
>>Decide to heal the Emperor, but lace his treatment with poisons that will punish his hedonism with misery, depression, or pain. Your vengeance can’t wait until you are outside of Yuyi, though it can be tempered with a lesser punishment.

I’ll back the former. I’m not sure about what we’d do with an Emperor’s soul, but using the brothers is a neat way to bring everything full circle.
>>
Very caught between giving the Emperor one last opportunity to face themselves via medicinal cunning, or daring to possess his gross soul and force him to, or simply granting unto him the justice that is most appropriate.
What a test.

>>5418753
+1.

If only Siweng was around. If we manage to snatch it, I wonder what he'd say about the Emperor's soul and our actions.
>>
>>5418765
You can remove the part about using the brothers, maybe make it
>Calm yourself and begin his treatment, but plan a way to bring him to justice without implicating sweet Yuyi. You have plenty of ideas to chose from.
So that way Grandfather can say if we even can make a pleasure into pain medicine to begin with, and how hard would be to make it work, through the power of DCs
>>
>>5418404
>>5418768
Also, to be clear this +1 is a replacement of the first vote.
>>
>>5418765
>I’m not sure about what we’d do with an Emperor’s soul
Oh, I was trade for something nice in hell. I'm sure the man that broke the mandate of heavens would fetch a nice price, specially since there must be a lot of souls interested in him.
Or just torture him ourselves, if we are feeling petty enough.
>>
>>5418367
>"You had children, heirs. Do you shed tears for them, son of heaven?" [Composure trial. DC 80. Due to what the answer will be]
>Compose yourself, force yourself to get close to and touch the wretched thing, and cure him, despite your personal feelings [Extreme good karma] [Crafting: Alchemy/ Knowledge: Alchemy trial. DC 30)

I'm leaning towards abandoning the idea of correcting the Emperor forcefully our self, and leaving it in the hands of fate. Will the brothers bring about their promised retribution and rescue? Or will the Emperor be allowed to continue his reign? ...Or will Huanliuxue be unable to compose herself enough after learning of the Emperor's lack of empathy towards his own offspring. I understand if this doesn't get support though.
>>
>>5418776
You see, the problem is if Huan kill him we are breaking our promise to Yuyi to not put her in harm's way.
She is what stopping us from acting like the powerhouse we are.
>>
>>5418770
I don’t think it matters. The real issue is that any degree of poison implicates Yuyi. As you pointed out, the Emperor could decide to punish/execute her even if we’re successful. Saving him means execution is probably off the table, but he could still make us a concubine or otherwise imprison us if we refuse.
Though now that’s making me think we have to poison him so he doesn’t want to keep us as a trophy. Damn.
I guess I’ll correct to
>Calm yourself and agree to his treatment, but gather materials and plan a way to bring him to justice without implicating sweet Yuyi. You have plenty of ideas to chose from.
so we can step away long enough to speak with Mao and Yongzheng and determine if we’d really need to poison him to get Yuyi out of the capital unmolested. Dong brothers should help if she’s captured, but I don’t want to make them the primary plan.
>>
Wait, I just realized that the gather materials excuse might not fly, since it's the one we gave Mao to retrieve our body.
So we would need to we lie really well to explain why we would need to do it twice.
>>
>>5418779
Hehe dong brothers
>>
>>5418753
support
>>
>>5418778
And thus an element of leaving it up to fate. Will the dice be generous or spiteful? Only they themselves know.
>>
>>5418808
I think it's best not to complicate it. Simple plan. Save him, come back later, much later if need be and ice the fatso. No need for poisons or curses.
>>
>>5418826
I feel my plan was pretty simple, see if Huanliuxue can stomach the Emperor's feelings towards his offspring, and if so then heal him. If not, then whatever happens, happens.
>>
>>5418753
Supporting
>>
This has been a very big mess, but I’m happy with all the banter!
>>
>>5418367
>Compose yourself, force yourself to get close to and touch the wretched thing, and cure him, despite your personal feelings [Extreme good karma] [Crafting: Alchemy/ Knowledge: Alchemy trial. DC 30)
I want to heal him.
Let Yuyi get the recognition, praise, and any other boons that come her way.
But then
>Plot this man's death without implicating Yuyi.
>>
>>5418367
>Compose yourself, force yourself to get close to and touch the wretched thing, and cure him, despite your personal feelings [Extreme good karma] [Crafting: Alchemy/ Knowledge: Alchemy trial. DC 30)
Then
>"You had children, heirs. Do you shed tears for them, son of heaven?" [Composure trial. DC 80. Due to what the answer will be]
>>
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Don't worry, I am not dead. I'll tally the result of the vote in a few hours from now. Sorry for vanishing for five days, without any warning, I was very busy last week and had absolutely no free time. Forgive me, I shall kowtow and give you face if you so desire.
>>
>>5423031
It's ok Gramps, we forgive you.
And sorry for the mess we made with the votes.
>>
>>5423031
The holiday-family season approaches fast, eh?

>I'll tally the result
...好运!
>>
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Ending the votes now, tallying the results. This will be quite the tribulation.

Compose yourself, force yourself to get close to and touch the wretched thing, and cure him, despite your personal feelings: 12
- begin planning a way to bring him to justice without implicating sweet Yuyi:9
- lace him with poison and medicine make food to ash and perverse pleasure to pain. Send his body on a crash course toward purification that will either kill him or make him something worthy of the mandate of heaven.:1

Give a blessing to the Emperor in the name of Huanliuxue, the Happy Bloodshed that wards off death for those blessed by Heaven and brings it to those who are not.:1

"You had children, heirs. Do you shed tears for them, son of heaven?":3

So You will Compose yourself, force yourself closer to the wretched thing calling itself Emperor and cure him despite your personal feelings
BUT
Will begin plotting Long Tiāntūnrì's death/ punishment, without implicating Yuyi

Which well negate the [Extreme Good Karma], since you're planning on killing the guy even if you're saving him now. But since you are doing it to protect Yuyi and keep your promise, you will be performing a [Good Karma] Action

brining Huanliuxue to a total of 7 good karma points and 0 bad karma.

Update will arrive shortly, gonna be the first time in awhile where dice were rolled. Lets hope they haven't taken offense, lol

>>5423038
I enjoyed it actually, the intense discussion and decision making pleased me greatly

>>5423042
Yep!
And thanks, I will need all the luck I can

>>5418563
>give this NTR fat ugly bastard a painful death
Lol

>>5418728
>then to our grudge his death is just a muddy ripple upon the universal fabric of enmity, returning back to him from hitting the "bounds" of our formation and birth, which he'd greatly contributed to.

well put

>>5418770
Oh you could, especially if you had Monu help/ make it herself.
She does kind of specialize into poisons, and Huan is her daughter and student.
>>
But, like so many others, you swallowed the resentment rushing out of your heart to darken your expression and held back the furious and sorrowful tears that flowed freely from your eyes upon being met with the earthly incarnation of all of your woes and hatred. You composed yourself, as a lady of noble birth should, and taking a note from the stinking pile of garbage before you's own servant, hid the enmity and spite you held for the mortal son of the nine heavens behind a cat like smile, a pleasant smirk meant to set others at ease and comfort them with false niceties and mock warmth, to wear a façade of quiet concern and solemn reverence, all to hide the fire of hatred smoldering in your eyes. You adopted the coolness of the grave and death, and feeling as if you were once more in your own skin, you, with elegance and dignity undeserved of your patient, strutted to his bed side. Chin lifted and eyes averted from the mess of disease, sin and poisoned flesh mere feet away from you, the disgust welling up quickly inside you was swiftly suppressed before it could show itself upon your face.

"I am undeserving of such praise, given by a man of your pedigree and authority this humble doctor would prefer to not be spoken to at all. So vast is the difference between us, in both status and splendor, I am hesitant to speak to you at all" You say meekly, mimicking Yuyi's own manner of speech and demure nature, speaking an insult that sounds like awed admiration spoken by a respectful servant. When in actuality, you were talking down to Emperor Long, telling him without specifying, that HE was unworthy to even open his mouth to praise you in your regal presence.

The blubberous fool fell for the flattery, his ego as vast as his belly blinding him to the true intentions or the chill in your tone beneath the reserved and chastely hesitance you imitated to appease his misplaced sense of grandeur and delusions of charisma. Beneath the curling brambles of his thin black beard, and beneath the sheen and drops of sweat and further yet beneath the wine staining his cheeks, the pale skin of his face turned flush. It would seem this man is one who is charmed by being insulted, even if he is unaware the sweet words spoken to him were instead filled with the venom of contemp. How gross! Even his drooping ear lobes were blushing now.

Keeping from looking directly at him was the only way to keep the illusion of care and veneration from slipping from your face to expose your true feelings to this failure of an emperor and human being.

With a pompous expression and great show of needless pomp and dramatics, with great effort, Long Tiantunri lifted his arm, afflicted with poison, poxes and scabs and rashes of all sorts from the silk sheets of his sweat and wine clogged bed.
Cont
>>
>>5423176

Doubtlessly, there were other, unmentionable fluids and filth also soaked into the sorry piece of befouled furniture, you could smell them even through the appalling stench of the bloated creature sitting atop it, but you refused to consider what they were or acknowledge that they were there

You repressed a shudder of revulsion, and swallowed hard to keep down the bile rising in your throat, tasting it on the back of your tongue as daintily, as if beckoning to a lover, the emperor lifted his pudgy hand. It was nearly entirely violent, with internal bleeding caused by the poisons surging through his veins, bursting blood vessels and corroding muscles. The parts of it that were not, were dried, shriveled and bloodless or else bloated further and turned a pungent hue of green, gangrenous and rotting. Open wounds wept yellow fluid, scabbing grey and white where he had been cut on his fingers to gather his poisoned blood. Rings, bracelets and bangles, stuck fast to his bloated limb, shone with sweat even though they were caked with the filth oozing out of him. Rotten blood, drops of dried poison and flakes of dead skin.

"I have never cared much for social status, preferring to measure people by their qualities and ability, rather than their birth or supposed worth" He bleated drolly "a girl of a historied and wealthy family with a freckled and plain face has less value than a peasant woman who is beautiful and without flaw. A general who will listen, is worth more than one who will refuse your commanded, no matter the difference in their skill. There is no reason to be so uptight and aloof, Lady Yuyi, at least in my company. I care not about the breeding of my favorites! Only their looks and use to me! And as you are both pleasant to look at, and the key to my survival, you could spit on my face and I would only have one of your fingers broken for such a slight! Hahhahaha!"

How can he say that so cheerfully? His idea of worth and value is entirely twisted around his own pleasure and entitlement! You choose servants by ability and talent, not if they are subservient or loyal to you! And his metaphor about the two girls is just gross, so gross it makes your skin crawl more than having to touch his corrupted flesh and foul body.

"That may be your view, but you and I are still of different worlds, this is the meeting of a dragon and a dog" You say, never specifying which of you is the dragon and which of you is the dog "It is only sensible that I remain formal and cold, when the distance between us is so vast and in any other circumstances, a slip of the tongue would be a condemnation"

Just not for you.

"For me it would be" Yuyi groaned, sounding like she just vomited, and she had a point
Cont
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>>5423177

"A reserved beauty is more desirable, as a high growing peach must taste sweeter than a lower hanging one" The emperor said with a booming laugh "Though, it is stifling, I do enjoy a woman who knows her place! I've given too much freedom and allowances to the other women in my life! And what have they given me but treason and apathy!?"

He snorted, blinking and watching you intently as you began to poke and prod his hand, struggling not to quake with disgust with every contact between your fingers and his wretched body.

You really don't want to cure him, but you must for Yuyi's sake. And you realize as you begin to diagnose the lower than a Pig Emperor's condition, to identify the poisons and how far they've progressed, as well as the damages already done to his already unhealthy sack of flesh called a body, that doing something you hate is something you'd have never done before you deepened your understanding of humans and civilization. Doing things they abhor, because of their responsibility and position, is something only humans do, which you had not understood why until this very moment, but now you did and you were doing so.

And the revulsion you felt towards yourself, the self loathing of saving such a revolting and wicked man and hatred you harbored for your hands prodding and poking him, proves to you that you are right to harbor the grudges you do against the heavens, to be scornful and angry at them, not only for their hypocrisy and cruelty, but their apathy as well.

You hate having to touch and cure this sorry excuse for royalty, who is everything a ruler shouldn't be and is an afront to your own beliefs of morality, justice, and nobility. And for once, your bestial, natural laws align with the laws of heaven and men. This man, should not be allowed to rule or live any longer! He ruins everything he touches! From the silk beneath his wide ass, to the kingdom he was born to inherit!

Oh you'll cure him, but you shall also punish him, once Yuyi is no longer in danger. And so you began planning the down fall of the disgraceful son of heaven

"That's a relief! Almost makes it worth feeling his skin slough beneath my fingers as I smell all of his filth" Yuyi cheerfully remarks

"What are you doing with that needle?" The emperor asked, paling

"Acupuncture, to check which of your organs still function" You say soothingly, as you place a needle in the tip of his finger. He does not react or jolt with pain, merely watching as the sliver of metal slips through his skin, into his flesh and...and past his bone.

"Hmm, that's bad!" You announce, causing the emperor's piggish eyes to bulge open "the bones in your hand have the consistency of sponge! I only know a few poisons that affect bone in such a manner, and the cure for all of them are as painful as the poison itself!"
Cont
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>>5423178

"Will it be quick at least?" He asks weakly as you grab one of the veins visible through his violet skin

"Hmm, your veins are petrified, hardened, enough that I can grab hold of them beneath your skin and crumble them with my finger" You mutter, as the emperor starts to hyperventilate and whine, panicked by your observations and the hidden injuries they reveal "Very few poisons petrify veins and turn bones into jelly, I'll have to examine your belly to be certain, but I think I can narrow it down to four poisons of which I am acquainted to...Actually, open your mouth! The coloration of your teeth and tongue will help me identify what you've been poisoned with!"

roll 1d100. Best out of three. DC 30

Things are going to get very exciting very soon.
>>
Rolled 76 (1d100)

>>5423180
We can't possibly critical fail this thing that we are so well educated upon. Attempt to smite me, oh weakened dice gods.
>>
Rolled 32 (1d100)

>>5423180
>>
Rolled 73 (1d100)

>>5423180
>>
>>5423188
Incredible Success, 40 over Dc, nearly 50!

Update will arrive shortly
>>
I forgot that this is roll over and panicked for a second, lol
>>
Big update!
>>
Your disgust and discomfort only grows as you continue your diagnosis of Emperor Long Tiantunri and the poison crawling through his veins, ruining his already polluted and weakened flesh and organs. This man wouldn't have lived long even if he had not been poisoned and had earned the ire and hatred of what seems like the majority of humanity! You remain silent, as you continue the slow process of identifying the source of the man's fast approaching death by examining the signs it has left behind on and beneath his skin, signs easily missed by even the most knowledgeable and trained physicians, doctors and alchemists...at least among the mortal realm. This poison, is amongst the deadliest amongst those that can be produced outside of the world of cultivation, though it is not known by even the most successful of the world's poisoners. To know this poison, let alone acquire it, one would need knowledge kept by hermits in the mountains, "Wicked" martial art schools, and withered old alchemists struggling to surmount the hurdle of being born without the spark of potential that allows one to become a cultivator to begin with.

In the world of cultivation, while this poison remains deadly, it would be much more common. And that is because its creation requires spirit grasses and herbs that can only be grown in specific conditions and in few parts of the world, in soil soaked with an extraction of eleven lethally venomous insects and the guts of five toxic fish beneath the shade of an ancient tree in a location overflowing with spiritual energy. Preferably Wood Aligned Qi, enough to at least render the soil saturated with spiritual energy.

Then these spirit herbs must be crushed in a cold, steel pot, made out of Qi Rich Ores, and left to ferment beneath the light of a fool moon for four years, four months, four days and four hours exactly before being at last boiled. Usually, it is cut with putrid, grey water at this stage, so more than a few drops will be produced at the cost of weakening the poison. However, you can tell that whoever delivered this poison, beggared themselves to procure an undiluted batch of the virulent mixture. Or else had contacts in the hidden worlds beyond the mundane one experienced by most people who live and have lived. In fact, it could be that a cultivator had supplied the poison directly, rather than one of those mewling whelps who claw at the fence between the mortal realms and the world of cultivation, pathetically dreaming that can overcome being born without potential or any measure of spiritual power.

The emperor begins to grow panicked, the longer you are quiet, fidgeting and grinding his teeth as you prod his vast stomach with a long stick and run your fingers over his purple, nearly black gums to gaze at his yellow and brown teeth and pull at his tongue, which is covered with an unpleasant, stinking white film.
Cont
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>>5423243

He winces as you run your fang cut nails over his scabs, rashes and bruises, testing the consistency of his skin and the flexibility of his joints and tendons. Most of his organs are close to failing, his upper and lower bowels are weakened and will soon fall apart, his blood flows slower than mud and his heart struggles to beat, but that is because he is fat, not because of his poisoned blood. He also struggles to breath in and out, but again, that is because he is disgustingly obese. He, thankfully, does not speak or leer at you as you jab, prod, poke and lift his legs, and only squirms as you splay out the toes of his feet and stick needles into his heel and sole to keep his organs. He keeps squirming as you apply more pins and needles across the rest of him, charting the accupoints above his lifeless meridians, to strengthen his ailing body and its organs so he'll survive the cure you'll administor.

"Have...have you found what is killing me, lady Yuyi?" Emperor long hisses through his tightly clenched teeth, sweat beading down his brow and dripping down his ladder of chins "I do not think I can cling onto life much longer, nor endure the acupuncture in silence and stillness! Please, hurry!"

"Please hurry! He's losing his patience!" Yuyi cries out, as if you did not realize the obvious

"Of course, I just did not reveal its name, out of fear the shock would stop your heart! These needles are just to reinforce your body and strengthen it for the trial that is to come" You say, as you jab a needle just beneath his neck, just above the carotid artery "Otherwise, the treatment will kill you, swifter than the poison, but just as torturously!"

"Tell me! Tell me! I can not bare not knowing what it is!" The emperor barks, eyes closed tightly as he begins sweating faster and faster.

Which is not a trait of the Dreadful Putrefying and Petrifying Purple Mist Poison, One of the thousand fold terrible deaths and one of the twelve torturous venoms. There are two poisons inside of him!

"Hold still" You command, placing a hand on his forehead and clambering without hesitation onto his bed and atop his massive stomach. Yuyi's screams of disgust and panic fill your head, as you methodically move your head down from his neck, to his chest and down to his greasy, hair covered stomach and...near his heart, as it beats, you can hear the muscles spasms against something hard.

"THERE!" You shout, grinning ear to ear triumphantly "How cunning! They had a second plan to kill you, should you survive the poison and recover! Yongzheng! Bring me a long, thin knife...and cover your eyes and hold your breath, so as not to look upon to emperor or breath his air!"

"What!?" The emperor and Yuyi roar together as you sit up on your knees, hearing Yongzheng rush behind you, throwing you arm out to grab the knife he offers
Cont
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>>5423244

"I'm guessing its a long, thin needle, containing a poison that will only release upon sustained pressure to its tip. How clever, to place it just beyond where your weakened heart expands, but exactly where it will reach in its beating should your strength return!" You exclaim, amazed by the ingenuity of the poisoner "Forgive me for marring your imperial hide, your highness, but it must be done!"

"Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!" he screams, bellowing so much you almost bounce off of his stomach "I can feel it stabbing my noble, benevolent heart! Bleeding me of my life!"

You split open his flesh, just below his rib cage, and nearly faint from the odor that rises from inside of him. Yongzheng does faint, and collapses as he retreats from the emperor's palor. A guard peeks his head around the screen and falls atop the poor monk, fainting as well. The flames lighting the chamber sputter, as a dense miasma of rot and decay erupts from the emperor's stomach. You wince, and harden your resolve and empty your mind of all the thoughts of how disgusting it will be to slip your fingers inside of him and all the thoughts screaming at you to stop and run away, both instinctual and born from vanity and sheer disgust for the work that must be done.

Your fingers warm as they slip inside his skin, under his muscles and past his wobbly, jellified bones. Blindly, you reach, shoving your arm inside him up to your elbow, soiling the dress you ware as you get far closer to Long Tiantunri than you had any desire to be. Getting fainter and fainter, you feel around to find his heart, and stretch out your fingers. And brush against metal. Catching it on your nail, you pull it from his heart, and wrap it in your finger, and rip your arm out of the emperor's body, spraying blood and a grey liquid that you do not know what it is or where it came from, all over yourself, the emperor, the bed and the stunned doctor who had rushed to his side and was readying to pull you from his lord before seeing you weren't trying to disembowel him

"HAH! Knew it was there!" You boast, grinning as you turn to look at the guard, a man with five scars on his face and the rugged look of a cold hearted veteran, but the eyes of a terrified boy as he looks at you, soaked in blood and grinning manically, arm held high in the air, holding a glittering golden needle between an arm painted red with blood and shimmering with grease.

"Hah...hah...hah" The emperor pants, snorting and wheeze as he stares at you in adoration and amazement, awed by your expertise and...Yuyi's beauty? Wait, being covered in blood makes him see you as more attractive!? The hell is wrong with this guy's head!?
Cont
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>>5423245

You scurry and scramble off of him quickly, and grab the motionless guard's hand and open it to place the deadly needle in it. And only realize then he has fainted from the stench roiling off of the emperor. Shrugging, you stick the needle in the screen behind you, and quickly stick the hole you made in the emperor back up

"So..so I'm cured now?" The emperor asks drunkenly, from both pain and relief

"No, you still need to take the antidote for the first poison they put inside you" You say as you look for something to wash your hand and arm covered in warm, sticky blood

"But didn't you..didn't you say?" He mutters senselessly as you give up cleaning yourself and instead get to work making the antidote. There is a clamor past the screens, and it seems an audience has gathered and is now gossiping amongst itself, you ignore them and the emperor's winging to light a fire to cook up a pill to cleanse the emperor's body of the impurities and toxins within it

For, the Dreadful Putrefying and Petrifying Purple Mist Poison can be cured with two relatively simple pills, one that any sect could make. A pill that would be treasured by most physicians of the world. A Body Purifying pill and a toxin neutralizing pill! Which, actually, would deal with most poisons found in the mortal realm. It wouldn't be able to overcome the poisons made by cultivators, sages or alchemists, but, it was enough to stop the Dreadful Putrefying and Petrifying Purple Mist Poison, at least when used together with acupuncture used to activate the patient's internal energy and empower it enough to nullify the poison and heal the body.

Unfortunately, this brute force method did require a lot of energy, and could kill anyone without enough fortitude...or fat.

You handed the pills to the emperor, who swallowed them down greedily, and then began to turn bright red and steam, as his body began to cleanse itself of all impurity and poison the moment the two pills fell into his stomach.

You smiled pleasantly, hands held politely together, as the emperor's round belly began to shrink in on itself, and his skin loosened and gained new color as a drops of black filth and oil pushed through his skin.

"Do not worry, your body is merely expelling its impurities and emptying itself of waste, the poison is inside the impurities leaking out of you" You say as the emperor look as you, pleading for an end of the pain of feeling most of his body boil and burn itself away "You should take a bath the moment it is done, unless you wish to be poisoned again afterwards"

You walk past the screen, and see every servant, official, and noble in the palace staring back at you, covered in blood, soot and the residue of alchemy as you step out, messy and filthy.
Cont
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>>5423246

You smile, and see Mao Wēixiào at the front of the crowd, with his mouth open and jaw hanging and eyes bulging as he sees the wall of steam flowing out and over the screen and the screaming of his emperor. No one speaks, only stares as you strut to them, chin lifted.

You can hear a few whisper, wondering if the emperor will survive his trial, and some even conspiring to grab ahold of you just in case he does die, so you cannot run away and escape "Justice" You simply stand beside the awestruck Mao and try to ignore how dirty the treatment has made you.

Slowly, the stream of steam slowed and grew thinner, and the emperor's cries and thrashing grew weaker and quieter. Until, at last, there was nothing but silence and a horrid stench in the air, after near half a day of waiting. Then, just as Mao and a few other men made to surround you, a shadow rose from the bed, much thinner than before. And a soft panting could be heard.

You smirked and looked Mao in the eye as he began to tremble, watching his once brother in law stand as a different man, a man he perhaps knew before his gluttony and indolence reduced him to that obese cretin he was at the start of this day. The shadow moved past the screen, and the crowd gasped in astonishment, as a man, very unlike the ugly and fat beast you found on the bed emerged.

Muscled and broad shouldered, his hair was no longer greasy and he had a single chin. His earlobes still dangled, but his face was sharp and handsome, almost draconic in appearance. His beard was still wispy, but he looked like a man who could be called human and at least clearly stood above pigs in the hierarchy of life and standards. All that was covering him, was the sad tiger hide he wore to cover his shame. He felt his chin, rubbing it as he looked around at the shocked audience and smirked wryly. A few more people fainted at the mere sight of him, restored to health and having been reduced to about fifth of his prior weight and thus returning to the beauty he gave up with his lavicous and thoughtless lifestyle

"Eh!? What are you all staring at!" he barked, smacking his stomach as he moved as if trundling atop two tiny legs beneath a mountain of fat and blubber "Your emperor is hale and hearty once more! You should be cheering! Crying! Falling to your knees and prostrating yourselves! Not gawking like you've seen some kind of mysterious creature in a cage! And who summoned you to my side"

"You did my lord" Mao purred, slithering to his master's side and whispering his ear "Do you not recall? The moment you were given the life saving elixir by Saint Yuyi, you ordered all of the palace be brought to witness your rebirth"

The emperor picked his nose

"Hrrrn, I do remember that, yes" He said, looking away, clearly trying to save face, believing that he did order such a thing "Well! No reason to stand in shock! Here I am! Back to my old jolly self!"

The crowd exchanged glances.

Cont
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>>5423247

No one wanted to be the first to point out how he had changed, and how much weight he had lost as it seemed like the emperor himself had not noticed he had been made pretty and handsome once more.

He scratched his belly, grinning. Then he threw his arms up into the air, dropping the tiger skin. You looked quickly away, and noticed several other women doing the same, as, from the sound of it, he began hopping up and down.

"My god" An old, grey bearded man whispered "She even managed to cure him of THAT! I spent years trying to do away with those warts!"

You nearly fainted upon hearing those words.

"See! Its me! Its me! I'm not dead! The heavens sent a miracle girl to save me! Lets celebrate!" he says like an excited puppy "A feast, a feast in Lady Yuyi's honor! To Celebrate my miraculous recovery!"

You manage to slip through the crowd and escape into the hallway outside of the chamber, and find Mao behind you, and Yongzheng, who had stumbled after him, half conscious but seemingly sensing that Mao was in pursuit of you. Yongzheng, stumbled, trying to put himself between you and Weixiao, only for the man himself to fall to his knees and slam his forehead into the ground.

"I do not know what magic you used to renew my brother in law, but I am...the whole of the celestial empire is indebted to you. Do not worry about the feast. I will protect you from Tiantunri's...thoughtless behavior and whimsical desires as long as you remain in the palace. Doubtlessly, he'll think to take you as his new plaything, if he hasn't already and I can see that...no longer fat fool declaring you his latest concubine just as the feast begins"

You nearly vomit just hearing those words. Mao groaned on the ground

"And knowing him, it will last a week. Which should be long enough to forget about taking you as his woman, after he's distracted by some other fancy or sudden urge" Mao muttered "I'll have men loyal to me stationed outside of your room, where you should remain until his majesty's whims shift focus to another"

"So you're actually a gentlemen, after all?" Yongzheng gasps, after he recovered enough to hear and understand what was being said "I thought you were coming to catch her for him"

"I am many things" Mao said simply as he stood and dusted the front of his robes "and my family needs no new obstacles to stand in its way. A new paramour would merely...Hmph, I have no reason to explain myself"

He left, but as he did, you saw a genuine smile on his lips and true relief in his eyes as he allowed his shoulders to sag. He said he was protecting Yuyi merely out of self interest, but that smile told another story

"Haah" Yuyi sighed "That was much too stressful! Could you check my head for grey hairs? I don't think I can stand behind here for much longer! The stress will kill me!"

Cont
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>>5423248

How do you plan to bring the emperor to justice, Huanliuxue?

>Help the Three Dian Brothers' names enter into myth and legend, by playing the part of the damsel in distress...and having Fu and Qiang help them reach their target

>Decide that such a blackened soul would be worth a fortune in the underworld, and kidnap him with one of your nine sealing pearls, and take him to hell to see what he's worth

>There's no reason to be fancy. Escape the palace, reunite with Fu and Qiang, and leave Yuyi in their care as You, in your real body, return to the palace and have some fun!

>Delay his punishment for now, as you feel you are half a step to attaining your human form and need to find a suitable location to undergo the trial.

>write in
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>>5423249
>Help the Three Dian Brothers' names enter into myth and legend, by playing the part of the damsel in distress...and having Fu and Qiang help them reach their target
>>
>>5423249
>Decide that such a blackened soul would be worth a fortune in the underworld, and kidnap him with one of your nine sealing pearls, and take him to hell to see what he's worth

I don't want to put the Dian brothers into danger either. Also, underworld torture!
>>
I also must say, for such an intricate composition, that poison was quite weak. The Emperor was still alive and even in the presence of mind to thing about earthly delights.
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>>5423249
>Help the Three Dian Brothers' names enter into myth and legend, by playing the part of the damsel in distress...and having Fu and Qiang help them reach their target

I like this one for its cleverness so I'll vote. But it contains some holes.
I would initially think it'd be a tad remiss of us to throw Fu and Qiang in with the Dian brothers. Fu's name and fighting style are well known. But having an assassin, Qiang, go with them may greatly mollify their risk of discovery in the first place, having experience they clearly lack. And I sincerely doubt anyone here would survive after engaging Fu. But even with backup, we already know those brothers make poor choices of engagement.

At the same time it feels awfully poor to command our students to execute our desire while taking little to no risk ourselves. Despite that being what, assuming they are undiscovered, will be what protects them most. Thankfully, we can move pretty fast in our body or as a soul, so there's still stuff we can do.

>write in
The Dian's are brave, but not exactly proven reliable. We should enhance their bodies with Blood Qi's natural boosting effects just before their assault, effects which have proven mostly temporary. We'll just need to be in our body at that time to do it.
Depending on how much time we have we could even prepare simpler pills to enhance them further, which can then be given through our students. It's just a logistical matter of knowing when they want to strike, which ought to be possible through our students. I'd assume they'll disguise to some degree and then try to convince the brothers to allow them on their mission. If not, then that's what they should do, because helping them "at a distance" would endanger our students being discovered in more ways.

Might seem elaborate, but simply summed we should empower the brothers in one or two ways to ensure that Fu and Qiang don't get endangered by the Dian's weaknesses. And we can accomplish that without personal discovery.

>>5423264
To be fair to the poison, I don't think he's capable of any other kind of thinking.
>>
>>5423265
Easy plan, put the pills in a bag on their path, when they investigate we possess them one by one and force them to eat a pill. Or just whisper to them that it's a boon for those on the side of justice or retribution or something equally melodramatic. Then we don't even need to implicate Fu or Qiang.
>>
>>5423249
>>Help the Three Dian Brothers' names enter into myth and legend, by playing the part of the damsel in distress...and having Fu and Qiang help them reach their target
Oh, I would LOVE to bring the emperor to hell, I'm sure we could have an exciting auction among the demon nobility for his soul, but the above is just too fitting.
If anyone should end the emperor's life, it is those he wronged.
>>
>>5423249
>Help the Three Dian Brothers' names enter into myth and legend, by playing the part of the damsel in distress...and having Fu and Qiang help them reach their target
>>
>>5423272
pretty sure he'll go to hell anyway.
>>
>>5423249
>There's no reason to be fancy. Escape the palace, reunite with Fu and Qiang, and leave Yuyi in their care as You, in your real body, return to the palace and have some fun!
I still want to ask him about his children and if he mourned then, and I feel like leaving it up to the Dians will take away the opportunity
>>
>>5423270
That'll work excellently for the pills.
But I do think that they'll fail without greater outside experience, someone to temper their newfound strength. If not through Qiang and Fu, I can only think possession of the lead brother would suffice.
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>>5423249
>Help the Dian brothers
>Find out from Mao what happened to the kids.

I want to *SEE* what happens when someone this hated dies. Like. . . every grudge in the mortal world seems to be connected to him, so lets see what happens.
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>>5423249
>Help the Three Dian Brothers' names enter into myth and legend, by playing the part of the damsel in distress...and having Fu and Qiang help them reach their target
>Order Fu and Qiang to change their styles and wear disguises, they are famous heroes and you don not want more attention brought to the city beneath you sect.
>Have a few pills sent to the brothers, so they to will be stronger than the average man.
Ok, Yuyi's safety has been secured, now time for justice.
>>
>>5423265
>>5423270
I kinda want Qiang to hand them the pills with a story so they’ll take them of their own free will when they’re closer. I also want to hitch a ride in the lead Dong without actively controlling him so we get front-row seats on the valor of humanity. I have no idea if it’s even possible to be a passenger instead of the driver yet, but it’d be good to know.

It should be easy to get them to accept the pills. Have Qiang say that Lady Yuyi has saved many lives, even those who had been spurned by others for their “unsavory” reputation. While Yuyi would never accept it, Qiang’s master owes a life debt. A life for a life, Qiang is a shadow that now protects Lady Yuyi until she can repay her master’s debt. Qiang is certain she entered the palace to heal the Emperor and knows of his reputation, but is unsure how to proceed. With their help though, they can serve as a distraction by striking at the Emperor while Qiang assures Lady Yuyi’s escape.

The blood pills are an offering to the Dongs so they can fight longer and harder. Have them take weak ones so they test the effects. If they take to it well, they may feel as though another presence has entered them…

They’ll eat all that shit up since it plays to the virtuousness of Lady Yuyi and having an assassin master looking out for her secretly is a mirror of their own story. The deceit is also amusing, which is important as Huan is a cat and whimsical anyway.

If I can’t sell anyone on that, I’ll back the “roadside pill” plan since they deserve some assistance for wanting to do a virtuous deed.
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>>5423245
>Wait, being covered in blood makes him see you as more attractive!? The hell is wrong with this guy's head!?
For a rotten pig and a horrible excuse for a human, he has amazing taste.
There are very few things more attractive than a woman that's willing to get her hand dirty to the point where she's covered in it.
Very few things, indeed.

>>5423249
>Help the Three Dian Brothers' names enter into myth and legend, by playing the part of the damsel in distress...and having Fu and Qiang help them reach their target
I don't want Yuyi to be implicated, but I don't wanna cause trouble for Fu and his village or Qiang either.
Best to just help the Three Dian Brothers do what they came to do.
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>>5423368
I don't want any implication to Yuyi, so using Qiang to open the way through sneak kills, popping pills for them is fine, but lets not tell them anything.
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>>5423368
No need to reveal too much, Qiang is an ex-assassin, she should know how to convince people to serve as distractions without spilling the beans.
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>>5423368
No need to even mention Yuyi. Just say something suitably goofy like "The pig on the throne has many enemies and the empire few heroes. With this gift there will be three more to add to its storied history. So long as you have the mettle and skill to see his end.". Very witch in the woods mysterious.
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>>5423249
>Decide that such a blackened soul would be worth a fortune in the underworld, and kidnap him with one of your nine sealing pearls, and take him to hell to see what he's worth
>>
>>5423368
I'll +1 getting the pills to them through Qiang, it's wholly easier and uses less force. I think we can trust Qiang to concoct a fitting story herself without a connection to Yuyi.

Having it either a mystery or a dramatic lie is good. The context of her actions are expansive enough they can naturally be spun to have them take on many simple misdirections. We only need ask her not to implicate Yuyi, she'll understand.

We should try to find the poisoner, actually. They seem quite skilled and interesting. They put in a lot of effort and almost succeeded, that's worthy of some praise.
>>
>>5423431
Y’know, I’d been ad-libbing the assassin stuff to explain why she had the pills, but I forgot that was basically Qiang’s background anyway. Didn’t mean to be that on-the-nose.
>>5423568
I’m okay with that caveat.

>>5423249
To formalize my vote:
>Help the Three Dian Brothers' names enter into myth and legend, by playing the part of the damsel in distress...and having Fu and Qiang help them reach their target

I think the clarification of how and what we do will be a different vote. We’ll want to be sure Yuyi is protected from others if we’re going to leave her alone for any length of time too.
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>>5423249
>Help the Three Dian Brothers' names enter into myth and legend, by playing the part of the damsel in distress...and having Fu and Qiang help them reach their target

I feel like we can stealthily return to our body, shadow them on their mission and yoink the pig's soul when he dies so that we get both the heroic tale and to play the reaper.
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>>5423824
We should be capable of that. Yuyi being without us when the Emperor dies and us being seen at any point (lol, unlikely), would be the only risks.

Bit late to say it, but I'm concerned the Gods might know who kills him. The degree to which they care to interfere in the world will logically depend upon who that is. Basically I'm wondering if stealing his soul an acting as the agent of karma rather than allowing his karma to catch up with him past death is a trap option.
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>>5424556
Well, that is also a point in favor of having our three heroes do the deed and brag about it.

Besides the gods never cared what he did in life, why should they care what he'll do in death.
And it's not like we're denying him his just retribution, we're just going to profit from it! Win win!
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>>5424680
> why should they care what he'll do in death.
That's a good question. The answer is two posts of autistic speculation.
tldr; I'll support taking the Emperors soul. And getting some of his blood. We have a dimensional gourd so if we snag some random pot we can manage it.

It's a wariness that we don't comprehend their true moral compass and internal politics and possibility that the true breadth of their apparent disconnection with the mortal realm isn't just as it looks.
And meta. And that despite it all, they didn't go back on their choice no matter what he did. It's not necessarily about him the individual, but us and the Gods' ideals, and how we are considered an enemy by default that is a greater risk to their concerns than any form of lecherous empire destroying son of heaven.

Like uh, a bureaucratical indifference to mortals being flawed and not caring about that. It doesn't warrant action for an Emperor to be scum because they'll still want an Emperor and popping down to punish their chosen one is beneath them, but that apathy (I believe) only extends to mortal matters. Much like how the sects have their own concerns, so do the gods.

But in the context that we're about to create, we'd be a cultivating beast interfering in their matters directly via soul snatching. Mandate or not, his soul literally belongs to them in the grand scheme of things.

Speculating deeper, I can't believe they'd be intentionally unaware of him, so I have to believe their apathy is one of several forms of moralistic choices. They factually may be unable to take their choice back, which seems likely given his natural good looks. Then it's figuring out the degree of formality to it; an informal apathy wouldn't fit for a son of heaven throwing the entire mortal realm into chaos with their personal choices. If your distant grandchild is this fucky but you don't believe you should interfere, or you yourself made a law against doing so, that means it's entirely a mortal matter and its their trouble they earned, and theirs to solve. So long as that's as far as it goes.

If he's blessed he'll rebuild the Empire. If he isn't, the secret heir of an unknown lady that was taken to a far away village begins his legend. If the Emperor himself is not following a demonic path and sacrificing thousands for blood rituals or directly attempting to interfere with matters of immortals, the Gods' choices make sense.

The chaos the mortal realm is currently experiencing can be justly (by them) seen as "earned" or "warranted", and it's therefore beyond them, not merely beneath. They declared whole ranges of the Dao to be forbidden, they almost certainly have laws on how and when to interfere in mortal realms. Of course we don't truly know the extent, and we can't, this is just speculation on their intents. It's that a total lack of intent doesn't line up with how this situation has unfolded. True concern and taking no action at all is still valid.
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>>5424680
>>5424748
Deep speculation, there's potentially politics in why they're not helping him. Perhaps there is still an heir and they may be more fitting, and that they wouldn't choose to kill the Emperor but they can easily choose not to save him. Though that's neither here nor there for the moment.

The danger I'm wondering about is if the being that steals his soul is a demonic beast cultivator, and that soul has any remnant divinity in it (and it will, going by his looks) they get a casus belli to begin treating that enemy seriously.

In essence, they don't need to favor a repugnant mortal descendant but he is still theirs and they do not believe a beast cultivator should exist at all. The "fairness" they extend to him meeting a just end does not necessarily extend to their "true foe" stealing his soul. If it sounds weird, that's because it's Chinese.

On the other hand, I SUPER want his blood and soul so we can experiment with looking into his heritage with Blood Qi. And because it's like the best trophy we could ever possibly have, to bat around his soul pearl like a megalomaniacal royal cat. It's so fitting.
We'll get fun answers from such experiments, so if we get another vote to do that I'll support it despite the risks because he clearly has some inherited divinity (that he's wasted) and we've never held anything quite like it in our paws before.
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>>5424748
>>5424750
Huan did say he had a bit of dragonic features.
Maybe he has a dragon or cultivator ancestor, or it's part of the divine mandate blessing like what we are doing to Yuyi.
>>
>>5424757
Which brings us to
>heal the emperor
>now he'll drop better loot
Is this bad karma? Naaah.
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>>5424759
Alright so helping people is a good thing, right? So healing him is good. And then if we kill him and take his stuff it helps us, right? So since we're helping someone (us) it's a good deed too. The Karma companies don't want you to know this.
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>>5424763
No no, it's good because justice is good, and he committed a lot of sins.
We need the soul to bring to our little owl, going down the list of his crimes should be enough cultivation material for atleast two breakthroughs for him.
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>>5424763
>heal villains
>keel villains
Infinite Karma Exploit

>>5424769
ultraperfect
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>>5424769
Hmm. This isn’t enough to tempt me away from the brothers, but it’s enough that I’ll support having Huan or Qiang try to seal his soul on top of their efforts. You’ll have my write-ins on how to make it work when the time comes.
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>>5424781
The pearl is a secret weapon that they need to throw at the emperor or something? Actually, can a non-cultivator even use the thing? We can always try to use one of ours ghost sealing jars to just take his soul instead of kidnapping him wholesale.
And I'm glad I didn't convince you away from the brothers, since I voted for that option.
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>>5424788
If they can use it, it can be explained as something to strip away part of his divine protection. The gods haven’t killed him yet, so per>>5424748 they’re still protecting him since they picked him and can’t be bothered to un-pick him and strip away his protections.

Jar is the safer idea though.
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>>5424788
I am opposed to giving a monkey a nuke.Mortals cannot handle that shit, in fact we don't even know if they can stomach our pills without their puny hearts exploding or something. Might have to give them some watered down version, and shadow them for the eventual soul-snatching.
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>>5424794
>>5424998
Them soul jar nearby for when they cut down the emperor instead?
We can ask Qiang to do the ghost busting instead if we can't do it while faking being a damsel in distress, she follows out cultivation method and went to hell too.
>>
I hope Grandfather isn't dying again...
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Forgive me for disappearing for most of the week again, I've been occupied by RL. Also, happy to see Jade Sworn Quest is back and its second thread is up, and I'd suggest checking it out, if you haven't already

Anyways, without further delay, Ending the vote and tallying the result now.

Help the Three Dian Brothers' names enter into myth and legend, by playing the part of the damsel in distress...and having Fu and Qiang help them reach their target:8
-The Dian's are brave, but not exactly proven reliable. enhance their bodies with Blood Qi's natural boosting effects just before their assault:1
-Have a few pills sent to the brothers, so they will be stronger than the average man:4

There's no reason to be fancy. Escape the palace, reunite with Fu and Qiang, and leave Yuyi in their care as You, in your real body, return to the palace and have some fun!:q

Find out from Mao what happened to the kids.:1
Decide that such a blackened soul would be worth a fortune in the underworld, and kidnap him with one of your nine sealing pearls, and take him to hell to see what he's worth:2

So You'll use the Three Dian Brothers as a sword to bring down upon the Emperor's neck, and ensure they reach the throne room, by having Fu and Qiang help them along the way and supplying them with Pills to make them stronger than the average man

Update will arrive shortly

>>5427924
Not dying, just been busy and stressed, unfortunately. Hoping I won't be any longer, but who can tell what the future may hold
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>>5428038
Jade sworn quest is back up? Thanks for telling me
>>
As you are escorted back to Yours and Yuyi's room, along with the slowly waking Yongzheng, the beginnings of a plan start to take root in your head, between the whimpered pleas and worried questioning of your companion and host, who would like nothing more than for you to take her body and sprint towards the nearest exit to put as much distance between her body and the recently renewed emperor as is physically possible. And as she makes it known just how much she would give to be allowed to take a hot both to wash away the filth of operating on and just standing near the formerly fat monarch, the escort of men loyal to Mao, who the man himself has given to you and your assistant strike a very imposing presence, dressed in their black and pink dyed silks and armor and wearing their snarling tiger masks to hide their human faces, which is part of the inspiration behind the scheme brewing in the iron cauldron of your mind. The uniform is designed to make them an intimidating, inhuman presence, making them seem more like tigers who learned to walk on two legs than any man, especially considering the claw like protrusions on their gauntlets and the furs strapped to their wrists, shoulders and hips.

They look almost as bestial as your true, beautiful form, yet even more terrifying in ways, due to the mingling of the feral snarl of the tiger and the standing posture of men. Whoever designed their outfit understood terror down to an instinctual level. However, while that is good for cowing officials or common born yokels, the image of having half demonic, bestial seeming warriors as your servants produces, from you understanding, quiet the opposite effect in the hearts of brave and chivalrous men or those who have nothing left to loose.

Rather than fear, apathy is born, as those snarling masks make it easy to recognize your opponent as "Not human", which makes it easier to cut them down without thought or remorse. Even their scent is muddled by the tiger pelts they wear, and while humans don't realize it due to their weak noses, they like all creatures judge others by their scent. Whether it be a thick cloud of perfume, a musky air of sweat, or the stench of blood or alcohol, one's aroma gives an impression.

Of course, for a cat, that impression is much deeper and experienced consciously. But men still look down upon those who reek of liquor and are more amiable to those who smell pleasant, instinctively.

Yes, while men stand apart from most beast, they are still animals and the more you learn about them, the more you realize just how short the gap between them and the other creatures of the world truly is, once one comes to understand their queerer behavior and the strangeness of civilization and ordered society compared to the natural world and its unspoken, instinctual laws.
Cont
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>>5428116

And that realization, is what gives you the inspiration that forms your budding plan. The guards, employed by the emperor or his toadies, are made to dress themselves to appear less human and more monstrous, and even the emperor's own (former) brother in law realizes the danger a young girl like Yuyi is in by just stepping into the palace's grounds. It doesn't help that the palace itself is imposing, and dressed on every outer wall with black jade and blood red agate, which, while you quite enjoy both the colors of freshly spilt blood and moonless night, humans are naturally adverse to both and find them foreboding, especially when placed beside one another.

Even if you are a honored guest here, your circumstances appear dire and are rather volatile, due to the whims of the childly indulgent Tiantunri. and the Three Dian brothers, already think you were being taken against your will, to be imprisoned by a man who they imagine to be a demon born anew in the realm of mortal men. Even though you've been given a lavish apartment, and a squad of servants and handmaidens waiting on your every desire and whim, the men guarding you appear to be faceless monsters, and your room, as well appointed as it may be, must appear to be a prison.

Rumors surely are already spreading to the city outside of the palace's towering, black walls, and servants do gossip. If Saintess Yuyi is not seen wandering the halls, exploring the gardens, or partaking in the feasts and celebrations thrown in her honor for the miracle she performed to save the lecher emperor, they'll begin to whisper and prattle that she has been caged or worse by the emperor, who must be so greedy as to deny the rest of the world her talents, hoarding her gifts as if she were a preserved root of ten thousand year old giseng!

And these rumors will spread further, out of the city, where they shall be heard by the three Dian brothers!

"Does your master usually smile so brightly and cheerfully while covered in blood and filth?" One of the guards whispers to Yongzheng

"She has...peculiar habits, some may call them eccentric, but they are the mark of a truly peerless physician, I assure you" Yonzheng mutters back angrily

"She's a daoist, isn't she? My brother went a daoist doctor once, but ran from their shop when he tried to cut his youknowwhat out to cure his near sightedness" Another guard whispers back "Do you think she'll use that blood in alchemy or some kind of folk ritual?"

"I thought they were mute!" Yuyi exclaims as you walk up the stairs to your shared room "I certainly didn't expect them to gossip, though I suppose even those men who guard the worst kind of villains are human to"

And that reminds you, the three brother's dian are not cultivators or even trained martial artists. And that three men cannot stand against the forces of even a fallen emperor. At least they couldn't by their own strength.
Cont
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>>5428118

Yongzheng and the guards continue their conversation, laughing together as you pace around your apartment, after checking Yuyi's hair from greying at her irritating insistence.

Fu and Qiang however, are just outside of the city, and surely could meet the Three brothers Dian if you commanded them to, and, while Fu and Qiang are still only in the Qi condensation stage of their cultivation, they are nearing the foundation establishment stage, and you are confident both they and Ping and Feqing will soon enter it, once they've all surpassed their respective bottlenecks keeping them from the later half of the initial stage. But even so, both of them were already more than a match for a dozen men when they were just martial artists and wandering Xia, now that they've cultivated both their bodies and spiritual energy, they could easily overcome the men guarding the emperor. Though, they wouldn't have to cut down all of them, or even involve themselves at all or dirty their hands

Just their assistance in reaching the palace would be enough for the Dian brothers to reach their target, though they still might have to occupy most of the imperial soldiers present at the time of the assassination attempt. You grumble, pouting and furrowing your brow as you throw yourself atop the the bed, frustrated by the weakness of the three dian brothers. You want to immortalize those three brave men into myth and legend, making their names storied and respected. But, you cannot imagine them accomplishing the feat of taking the demon emperor's head on their own, but you also don't want to endanger Fu or Qiang or ruin their own reputations, or expose yourself and your sect to the world.

"I could have them disguises themselves, but Fu's Scars and his incredibly muscular body, and Qiang's demeanor and vividly red hair would make that difficult" You complain outloud

"She could always dye it, or cut it? And Fu could hide his bandages, maybe dressing up as a veiled monk, like Yongzheng!" Yuyi helpfully suggests

"No, no. Fu is well known for his two axe style, and hasn't trained to fight with any other kind of weapon. And Qiang is well known in the world of thieves and assassin, and like Fu, her quick-draw style is recognized even by simpletons. The two of them are simply too famous to not be recognized" You sigh, kicking your legs angrily as you struggle to find an answer that'll satisfy both your desire for a dramatic end to Tiantunri's reign and your almost maternal desire to protect Fu, Qiang and your other disciples from the backlash of the reckoning that will surely be unleashed by the emperor's justified execution.

"Well, don't they know martial arts? Can't they like, use the Qi in their bodies to strengthen their blows?" Yuyi asks
Cont
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>>5428119

"They could!" You admit happily, before sighing and collapsing back to the bed "However, while punching and kicking their way through the palace would hide their identities, the spiritual energy they cultivate is, like the Qi I've cultivated within myself, forbidden and considered a sign of demonic cultivation due to its source and potential uses"

"So, the other immortal would take notice, and thus your school would be exposed and wrongfully hunter, just like yourself" Yuyi says quietly

"Precisely! When one is branded a heretic, they can't easily show themselves or reveal their powers or techniques" You groan, before, like a flash fire, you realize the answer to this difficult question "Medicinal pills"

"What?" Yuyi says, almost like she were yawning as you stretched out under the little sunlight seeping into the room

"I could have Fu or Qiang deliver them body strengthening pills, the sort often used by cultivators to help refine and fortify their bodies" You explain excitedly, whispering like a gossiping girl so no one besides Yuyi may hear you "Even the cheapest and weakest of the pills, would make them stronger than the average man, tougher, faster and more agile as well. I might be an outcast in the world of cultivation, but my teacher is a brilliant alchemist. I could supply them with Pills that could make them strong enough to fight a low level cultivator on equal footing, at least for a time its just that"

"It'd be dangerous to them?" Yuyi asks

"Yes, pills, even expertly made, can have disastrous side-effects on those who aren't blessed with sturdy constitutions or strong bodies through training" You say darkly "And my best pills can even harm the bodies of Cultivators as strong as myself, if used carelessly"

"Oh I thought it would drive them mad! Not just damage their body, I was worried they'd turn into demons or something" Yuyi says "But that is still bad, those brothers are noble, it'd be rather wicked to use them in such a manner"

You are already planning on using them as your personal sword. It'd be logical to make sure they were as powerful as possible, to ensure their success. But, if you gave them the Divine Blood Honey Medicines, they would as surely be crippled or even die as they would succeed in their endeavor to end the emperor's empty existence. And you are fond of them, and know how rare men of such benevolent natures are in the world. If you watered down the more basic pills, their bodies should be able to endure the strain of suddenly being so empowered. The tireless stamina drug, you knew could be taken by normal humans, since you fed it to the talentless companions of Fu, the martial artists who made up most of the ranks of your small ring of outer disciples, as well as Lei, whose parasitic devil kept him from cultivating despite his talent.
Cont
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>>5428121

So you could give them that, and some trash pills you kept around to refine at a later date or use as a component in a more complex drug or poison. They'd be safe from medicinal backlash then, though weaker than they would be if they were strengthened by the even the diluted Divine Blood Honey medicines

Though, the strain their bodies would take from the Divine Blood Honey Medicines, could be reduced in theory, if you gave them the medicines that strengthened their organs and body parts first. Though those were also not without their drawbacks, such as the temporary blindness inflicted by the Imperial Cat's eye Pill after its work was done

"Too strong of medicine is just poison" You hiss, grinding Yuyi's teeth over one of her claw cut nails

"I was worried you were going to send those heroic men to their deaths for a second" Yuyi says with a nervous laugh, as you stare blankly ahead.

Double vote!

What pills do you deliver to the Dian brothers

>Cheaply made ones, that will give them a slight advantage, without risking their bodies or lives. And the tireless stamina drug

>Diluted and weakened Divine Blood Honey Medicine, The Ox's strength Drug, Hare's fleetness drug, and other similar medicines, to significantly strengthen their bodies but also increase the strain upon them. And the tireless stamina drug

>Unweakened Divine blood Honey medicines and the Flickering Wind Pellet , to not only vastly increase their power but also give them the ability to mimic the speed of the phantom cast step, at the cost of great strain on their bodies and the chance the Ghost Princess' heart poison inside the wind pellet being too strong or weak...and the tireless stamina drug

>Sacrifice the Dian brothers's lives, after-all dead heroes are remembered more than living ones, and ensure the emperor dies, by giving them a regimen of Divine blood honey medicine, lesser pills and both the Flickering Wind pellet and the Raging Devil Stampede Elixir. [bad Karma]

>Write in

And what assistance do you command Fu and Qiang to give them, Huanliuxue?

>Just have them deliver the pills, and return to watching your body

>Have Fu accompany them to the palace, and use his axes to break open the gate and cleave a path to the emperor

>Have Qiang shadow them and lend her skills as assassin to clear their way, as well as protect Yuyi and Yongzheng

>Allow the two to do as they please. If they wish to massacre the imperial palace's garrison and guardforce, allow them to, if they only wish to lead the Dian brothers to their destiny, allow them to

>write in
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>>5428124
>Diluted and weakened Divine Blood Honey Medicine, The Ox's strength Drug, Hare's fleetness drug, and other similar medicines, to significantly strengthen their bodies but also increase the strain upon them. And the tireless stamina drug
>Have Qiang shadow them and lend her skills as assassin to clear their way, as well as protect Yuyi and Yongzheng
>>
>>5428124
>>Diluted and weakened Divine Blood Honey Medicine, The Ox's strength Drug, Hare's fleetness drug, and other similar medicines, to significantly strengthen their bodies but also increase the strain upon them. And the tireless stamina drug
Could we also give them one set of the stronger stuff to use if and only if they feel the need to use it? A fall back plan for their discretion. Inform them of the risks of using it but not force it upon them. If they don't use it Fu and Qiang can always retrieve it afterwards so no one can steal it and examine it.

>Have Qiang shadow them and lend her skills as assassin to clear their way, as well as protect Yuyi and Yongzheng
Just enough to get them inside. Getting over the walls and gates should be the hardest part for the brothers. Since they can't fly and climbing a sheer wall whilst being shot at is kind of difficult. If all goes well she shouldn't even need to protect Yuyi and Yong or intervene further in the brothers' story.
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>>5428124
>Diluted and weakened

>Have Qiand shadow them
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>>5428124
>Diluted and weakened Divine Blood Honey Medicine, The Ox's strength Drug, Hare's fleetness drug, and other similar medicines, to significantly strengthen their bodies but also increase the strain upon them. And the tireless stamina drug

>Have Qiang shadow them and lend her skills as assassin to clear their way, as well as protect Yuyi and Yongzheng

this should suffice. And Qiang should be able to pull this off while remaining unseen or at least leaving no witnesses which is the same thing.
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>>5428159
Also supporting this anons write-in of giving them some stronger stuff while warning them to only take it if there is no other way as it will probably kill them.
>>
>>5428159
+1
>>
>>5428124
>Cheaply made ones, that will give them a slight advantage, without risking their bodies or lives. And the tireless stamina drug
>Have Qiang shadow them and lend her skills as assassin to clear their way, as well as protect Yuyi and Yongzheng
>Shadow them ourselves as a ghost and orchestrate lucky coincidences to help them.
>>
>>5428124
>Cheaply made ones, that will give them a slight advantage, without risking their bodies or lives. And the tireless stamina drug
>Diluted and weakened Divine Blood Honey Medicine, The Ox's strength Drug, Hare's fleetness drug, and other similar medicines, to significantly strengthen their bodies but also increase the strain upon them. And the tireless stamina drug.
>Provide them with one Flickering Wind pellet.
The cheap medicines may be taken whenever. The diluted medicines may be taken if they need an edge and are willing to suffer damage to their bodies long-term. The Flickering Wind is to be taken as a last-resort, to save their brothers in a likely exchange of their own life.

>Allow the two to do as they please. If they wish to massacre the imperial palace's garrison and guardforce, allow them to, if they only wish to lead the Dian brothers to their destiny, allow them to
>Tell them you would prefer if they stayed safe, but won’t stop them.
Mother cat!
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>>5428124
>Cheaply made ones, that will give them a slight advantage, without risking their bodies or lives. And the tireless stamina drug
>Have Qiang shadow them and lend her skills as assassin to clear their way, as well as protect Yuyi and Yongzheng
>>
>>5428124
>>5428347


I'm ok with letting the brothers choose their poison, so i'll support this choice

But i would rather our proteges remain in the shadows
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>>5428124
>>5428347
This seems like a good choice.
Could lead to another valuable lesson about mankind.
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>>5428347
That's pretty clever, giving them a choice is smart. They'll more easily accept the medicine in the first place if one is presented as a lesser risk than the other. A helpful manipulation, though hopefully they can be made to understand the risk.
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>>5428124
> have them choose their pills so that they can make an informed decision
> take possession of one of them so that we ourselves undertake the killing
The Emperor's blood and the fullfilled grudges to be expected around him when he dies should be ours. The Dian brothers can keep the fame. We should not reveal too many things, not even our name. Maybe we play a hungry ghost?
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>>5428124

Assistance Write in:

Use the power of Empress Ghost Melody to give rise to an army of vengeful ghosts that assault the walls and provide a distraction for the three brothers.

Let us see how many of the dead will take arms against the emperor.
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>>5430982
I think this is a great idea.
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>>5428124
>>5428347
>>5430982
Adding this to my vote since people wouldn’t expect us to be responsible for it. Makes for a better story too.
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>>5430982
+1
>>
>>5430982
We've been playing EGM with Yuyi throughout our journey. Can we really expect a certain keen somebody to not recognize it? And wouldn't the act itself draw attention as an act of a cultivator?

...+1. Sounds cool.
>>
Gonna let the vote run a little bit longer.
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>>5428124
>>5428347
Support.
>>
Here's an attempt to count everything.

>Diluted + Qiang
rZ/mmCpF
QjUTD0KK

>Diluted + Qiang + Give them some stronger and warn them
v3SSFpNy
YR0jZ/4J
0NqT3NKb

>Cheap + Qiang + Shadow as ghost
QjUTD0KK

>Cheap + Diluted + 1 flicker + Allow + Safe
MpRmDQQF
A38+MSPk
Jia/y6S+
0NqT3NKb (?)
gLbK6SYF

>Cheap + Qiang
5e7gN/Wv

>Choose + Possession
kzpPmmTB

>Ghosts
ONjr7rAl
A2lHq5EY
MpRmDQQF (?)
AJ0WPUeJ
0NqT3NKb (?)

0NqT3NKb said that giving them a choice was smart, but never directly supported the write-in
>>5429254
and since his previous support also gave the brothers a choice, and involved sending Qiang instead of letting our students choose what to do, I put a question mark.

Also some anons are voting for the ghosts, but also mention that they want to give the pills as well, so I don't know if it's meant to replace or be an extra third actions
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>>5428124
New reader here, I've seen these threads pop up on the catalog but never gave them a second thought. Saw it again last week then thought "Sure, why not?" and it was totally worth it. Especially that fight with the Crow King, that was fucking awesome.

I'll back >>5428347 btw.

>>5430982
>>5431073
>>5431099
>>5431266
>>5431276
It's cool but is it worth the heat it will attract? Saintess Yuyi shows up to heal the emperor and the very next day the city gets stormed by ghosts... doesn't take much for any perceptive cultivators to put two and two together and start sniffing places they shouldn't.
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>>5431570
You could have just linked them and saved yourself some typing y'know?
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>>5431570
I missed one anon for Diluted + Qiang
>>5428158
Which I think might actually be me before my ID changed
>>5431574
And with this vote it's now 17 total votes
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>>5431575
I find that copying and pasting out the IDs actually makes it easier and faster to count in case there are vote changes, since I can quickly check instead of having to continuously scroll up and down
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>>5431574
Mm, yes. It may violate our promise. I'll retract that >>5431276 vote.
I've also recalled that we don't control the ghosts our Guqin calls, we only direct them musically and must do so ourselves. After that their own grudges take their direction. Getting a crit and having the Rooster General rampage is the very opposite of a discreet plan, and not a helpful complication if we need to jump in more directly, as we may need to due to unforeseen rolls or other parties, should we want to ensure we get the Emperor's soul and blood.
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>>5431580
Fair enough
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>>5431570

I'd intended it as a supplement to other actions, ensure that as few guards were around the emperor as possible.

I was thinking we launch our spectral assault in our own body after we get Yuyi out of there. Ideally no one would have any idea where the ghosts came from, I'd suspect that rumors of a rogue demon cultivator allied with the rebels might start, but it's hard to say. Mao's forces are most likely to take the blame...after all what strange doctor would heal their patient, then try to kill them?
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>>5431651
>after all what strange doctor would heal their patient, then try to kill them?
Maybe the one who is oddly okay and upbeat about death. Y'know like Mao has Yuyi and us pinged as?

I don't quite see the need for it. This is hardly an impregnable fortress.
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>>5431651
One small complication is the nature of this false palace itself. It is saturated in ghostly & grudge energy, as we pointed out when we entered, containing so many items suffused with death and resentment from what happened at the old capital.

I'm not sure we can control what happens when this many resentful people clash with grudge infused ghosts on grounds that are themselves recently cursed. To grade it, our catacomb kingdom would rank #1 in deathly yin. It's lethal for humans to tread there. This "new capital" is full of fresh resentment, active grudges, and the people who carry them.

We aren't mind controlling the ghosts we summon, we're aiding their access.
>>
>>5431591
I agree with this opinion
Calling an army of vengeful ghosts would diminish the heroism and heaven forbid if they possess innocent servants or get to kill the emperor themselves.
Other than that beyond the karmic value it would be a sure sign that heretic cultivators did this instead of mortals who suspiciously got their hands on enhancement drugs
>>
>>5431777
...wait won't that put suspicion back on Yuyi? We cured an ailment that's seldom known in the mortal realm, that's not a feat just any doctor can accomplish, is it unreasonable to think maybe a doctor that could do that could also create such enhancements?
>>
>>5431791
Pills making and doctoring are two very different branches of sciences

While yuyi is an incredible doctor she seems to not be a daoist nor have the equipment for pillmaking

It's like asking your doctor to make you a new drug on the spot

If anything they might think she has higher connections that want her freed
>>
>>5431796
A good way to explain it is like the difference between a general practitioner and a pharmacist.
>>
Going to update my count

17 total votes

>Diluted + Qiang
I5PZ+A+r (Yes, it was me)
rZ/mmCpF
QjUTD0KK

>Diluted + Qiang + Give them some stronger and warn them
v3SSFpNy
YR0jZ/4J
0NqT3NKb

>Cheap + Qiang + Shadow as ghost
QjUTD0KK

>Cheap + Diluted + 1 flicker + Allow + Safe
MpRmDQQF
A38+MSPk
Jia/y6S+
0NqT3NKb (?)
gLbK6SYF
ld10Lg1f

>Cheap + Qiang
5e7gN/Wv

>Choose + Possession
kzpPmmTB

>Ghosts
ONjr7rAl
A2lHq5EY
MpRmDQQF
AJ0WPUeJ

I think that the option for giving them cheap pills, some diluted with a warning and one flickering in case of a hail mary winds wins the assistance.

Letting our students do as they wish, but telling them we would rather then be safe is one vote ahead of asking Qiang to be a shadow.
Honestly, I don't know why we are saying to them be safe, they are cultivators against normal men, the risk is if they are recognized and our sect found out, not their safety. But I suppose that the mother cat comment is supposed to be overly worried even if they are at no danger.
I hope atleast one of them stay back to protect our body.
>>
>>5431879
You’re right, mother cat comment was meant as being overly worried. Though there is a chance of actual cultivators being here. I assume the capital is big enough that we may have avoided meeting them, but they may not have the same luck once the fighting starts.
>>
>>5431968
Well, this is the new capital, the old one got burned, and the emperor lost the mandate of heaven and cultivators seen to not meddle with mortals anymore.
But there is always the chance there is a cultivator hanging around watching things, even if it's a heretic. Someone did give him chi poisons and Yuyi just healed him, so it might have attracted attention already.
>>
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Ending the vote now. Tallying the results\

Diluted and weakened Divine Blood Honey Medicine:5

-Give them a set of unweakened divine blood honey, along with a warning: 3

Cheaply made ones:2

Cheap pills, Diluted Divine blood honey medicines, and one flickering wind pellet:6

have them choose their pills so that they can make an informed decision: 1

_

Have Qiang shadow them and lend her skills as assassin to clear their way, as well as protect Yuyi and Yongzheng:7

Shadow them ourselves as a ghost and orchestrate lucky coincidences to help them.:1

Allow the two to do as they please:6
-Tell them you would prefer if they stayed safe, but won’t stop them:6

take possession of one of them so that we ourselves undertake the killing: 1

Use the power of Empress Ghost Melody to give rise to an army of vengeful ghosts that assault the walls and provide a distraction for the three brothers.:4

So You'll give them both Cheap pills, and weakened Divine blood honey medicines (including the Ox's strength and hare's fleetness drug" and undiluted Tireless stamina drug, and one flickering wind pellet, so they can choose how much they're willing to risk, but withhold the Raging devil stampede elixr, so they won't go berserk/ mad.

And will have Qiang Shadow them and lend her assassin skills to clear their way, and to protect Yuyi and Yongzheng once the fighting starts an earnest, though you'll tell her and Fu (who'll stay to guard your real body) they're free to do as they please beyond these orders, but that you'd prefer if they didn't go wild and at least tried to stay safe.

Update will arrive shortly

>>5431570
>>5431879
Thanks for the assist, helped me make sure my tally was accurate.

I included the "Do what you will but stay safe" vote cause I wasn't sure if 0NqT3NKb had switched votes or just included it into his prior vote, so I decided to play it safe and combine the two anyways, since I thought that was the fairest way to handle the issue.

>>5431574
Glad you've enjoyed it and thanks for the compliments!
>>
Gonna be a bit longer with the update. Taking a food break.
Currently writing a cutaway to Ping, whose been fighting for days since we last saw him!
>>
>>5432428
oh he's actually in trouble
uhh, lol. guess we should investigate soon
>>
>>5432430
Nah, he’s good. Dude’s built to last since he’s made of iron. Or copper. Or whatever other ore he got his hands on.
>>
>>5432460
That's Feiqing. Ping is the one with the ghost arm.
>>
>>5432463
Even better! We know ghosts that have been fighting for probably centuries, and he’s something like 1/16th ghost. He can totally fight for a few years, that’s basic math.
>>
>>5432481
Truly, your wisdom is unmatched beneath the heavens

Also, HUGE update coming in
>>
Your eyes open wide, as like being struck by a stray bolt of lightning the solution comes to you just as suddenly and electrifyingly! Snapping your fingers with a triumphant grin and cackle, you sit down on the bed, and pull Ghost Empress Melody onto your lap. Reaching inside the Guqin, you pull out three concealed silk pouches, containing medicinal pills and spirit medicines you had prepared for Yuyi's journey just in case the two of you ran into trouble that couldn't be dealt with with sweet words, the enchanted instruments own power, or by simply running away as fast as Yuyi's legs could carry her. Most of them are the cheap, easy to make pills that novice alchemists would be drilled and forced to concoct for the first couple of years of their practice and training. Not effective for any cultivator of particular talent or whose more than an outright novice and beginner, however they would be invaluable to any person, beast or man, who did not possess the innate gift to cultivate Qi to begin with.

However, because they were made with scraps and poor quality materials, even these cheap pills made by your own two paws, (since it'd be unseemly and shameful to take pills made by your students or mother, not to mention totally unbecoming of a cat of your status and prowess) would only provide a slight advantage over the natural limits of humans who are lacking in spiritual and internal energies. But, a little boost can go a long way.

You frown, as you pour out the bag and count the pills, all of them dull shades of red, orange or brown, flaky and dry. Except for the surplus of Bright blue and green Tireless Stamina pills, sleek and silky, that you stuffed in all three of the pouches, mostly for Yuyi's benefit since she very lacked in stamina at least before your feline essence began to strengthen her body.

"A little help goes far, but more can be done" You mutter to yourself as you roll the flacking pills around in your palm "Don't worry Yuyi, my late sister may have been a fox, but I am not so sly as to lead good men to a pointless and painful death for my own benefit, such things are unbefitting of a true ruler after all...however"

"However" Yuyi repeats heavily "You're planning something that will still be dangerous to those three brother's health, aren't you?"

"Only if they think they need a further push past their disappointing human limits" You sigh, as you open up the second bag, and pull from it a few pills you made by breaking up and diluting the much more valuable and potent divine blood honey medicine "Ox's strength...hare's fleetness, a few slightly better quality tireless stamina drugs I refined, but will that be enough for them to survive the heroics they're soon to carry out? Hmm...Hmm"

"It brings me much joy to see you so concerned with the safety of others, but...those pills feel heavier in my hand, won't they be dangerous to swallow?" Yuyi asks
Cont
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>>5432484

"But they might be necessary for them to live past killing the emperor" You answer with a long, drawn out side as you pull open the third and final bag and wince. The Qi inside these pills is so intense you can feel it through Yuyi's finger tips and palm, like a sphere of heat and electricity. Curious, so that is what those who cannot cultivate feel when in the presence of rich and dense Qi? Interesting

"What are those?" Yuyi squeaks, unsettled by the mandarin sized pills in the last pouch

"Pills that would kill them, rather than give them a better chance of living with a few drawbacks" You say, clicking your tongue as you reach in and pull out a small, pearl sized pill, colored silver grey and polished to a shine "Except this, Flickering Wind Pellet (闪烁风 丹, Shǎnshuòfēng Dān), at least, so long as I've neutralized the heart petrifying poison enough to keep it from stopping the heart...but not enough to that it won't slow its beating"

"What will happen if you haven't? And what's that slimy black and red pill there?" Yuyi asks, as you briefly mistake the other pearl sized pill for that pearl of condensed grudge energy and blood qi you made by accident, before remebering you keep that with your other, pearl like treasures and recognize the pill as the treacherous but potent Raging Devil Stampede Elixir (熊熊獝挤踏-仙丹, xióngxióngyùjǐtà-xiāndān), which could probably kill weaker cultivators or those who had neglected refining their body

"Their hearts will burst" You answer bluntly as you close the pouch "and that, is a drug that can greatly increase ones strenght, but drives them into a murderous and hunger induced frenzy. It can tear one's body apart, crushing it with its own new found strength, and even if it doesn't if one hasn't trained their body right, the growth it encourages will be anything but temporary"

"I can see why you wouldn't give it away without good reason, that'd be a cruel gift to give" Yuyi mutters warily before, as you collect the pills in a forth, much smaller pouch, she thinks to ask "How will you get these to the three dian brothers"

"Fu and Qiang have been following us, carrying my real body in case its needed. They'll find the brothers after I give them this pouch of medicine, and give them over...Uh, I'm sure they'll come up with a story to convince the Dian brothers to take the pills, even if Qiang isn't exactly the best actor" You say, as memories of the time you asked Qiang to pretend to be a wandering exorcist repeat themselves in your mind's eye "No, she's actually a terrible one! I won't mince words just because she's my treasured student! I'm not even certain she can lie! Despite her prior profession"
cont
>>
>>5432485

"And, how will you get the pills to them?" Yuyi asks playfully, pocking holes into your plan. Just then, a fat, grey furred, squished face cat who had made it a habit to follow you and "Protect" you by batting at the feet of anyone who walked too close to you, particularly Yongzheng, whom they did not like for a perfectly reasonable reason. Cause he stared at them for too long and walked too fast and too close by them while they were resting beneath the window in his quarters.

"I'll simply possess this old guard of mine, and walk to them, if that is alright with you, old timer" You say with a energetic smile as you pet the tired old lap warmer who considered you for a moment and meowed, saying "Anything for my monarch"

"And what will I do while you're gone?" Yuyi asked frightfully, her voice high pitched like a distressed meow would be

"Practice the Guqin?" You ask'

"Can't yours wake the dead?!" She shouts back, before fainting as you left her body and entered the body of your dutiful body guard and found yourself just as comfortable in it, as you were in Yuyi's human...well mostly human body! Though not as comfortable as you were in your own flesh and blood, bone and marrow. Probably because this cat was male and old.

At least you wouldn't be in it for long, and could return to your own sleeping body for a little while before returning to wear Yuyi like a nice, warm robe. Biting the strings of the pouch just above the beads keeping it closed, you lift it up, and hop down from the bed, to trot out the door and head towards the hidden place Fu and Qiang have put your beautiful self.
_
[Meanwhile, in a snow blanketed forest torn asunder by combat] < https://youtu.be/KOrXKiSy8ZY >

Ping's entire body ached, and felt weak. His lung's burned, screaming for rest and air, and his hearted pounded without rest as if it was trying to rip its way out of his chest. Blood soaked his white, hanging hair, and one of his eyes was closed and stung from either the brow dripping down his scalp or poison. He had been fighting for days, against his former brothers and sister, alongside the cultivator from the sect whom his master despised, whom he had actually grown closed to, even if he did not know his true name.

Qinxin stood at his back, as exhausted and wounded as Ping himself was. Ping winced, as clouds of powdery snow filled the air and the screams of flying swords and spears filled his ears. His normal arm hung limp, wrapped in part of his outer robe, bleeding from a deep gash that ran from its shoulder near to its wrist. Qinxin's golden robes were powdered with red snow, and had been torn open. A ghastly, red wound ran from his stomach, up his chest, which he had sealed with a gout of glittering flames.
Cont
>>
>>5432486

"My teacher made combat between daoist sages seem easy!" Ping snarled, trying to open up his sealed eye as he held out his now revealed ghoul arm "How troublesome this is! Are you alright, brother? That last barrage nearly brought me to my knees"

"What life have you lived, to be experienced in such things before the conflict between the east and west?" Qinxin asked with the manic laugh of a man drunk with adrenaline "And I am as well as I can be! To think our luck would be so rotten we would meet our monsterous prey, just as we were ambushed by the sect you abandoned, and wisely so, smiling ghost!"

"Tch, I was only ever part of the outer most ring of the winter blossoming wisdom sect to begin with!" Ping proclaimed, feeling the need to defend himself "And yes, it is as if the heavens themselves wished to punish me for daring to seek my own path!"

"Hah! Then all of the nine heavens can rot! You may be a heretic, but you're a better man than these dogs! Who dare to attack the men doing the duties they have forsaken! And continue to do so when the beast they've come to subjugate is rampaging carelessly" the other cultivate spat, and Ping felt his heart warm, despite the corpse like chill radiating from his unsealed ghost arm. He didn't trust Qinxin at first, and had tried to keep him at an arm's length, but he had proven a trustworthy ally. Not as much as Feiqing and Lei, or Lady Huanliuxue, but he chose Ping's side over his fellow Orthodox cultivators and seemed to consider him a true friend, despite his cursed limb.

And then, ghastly laughter echoed through the woods, as Jingyǔ, or rather, the abomination that used to be Jingyǔ , effortlessly repelled the attack of the four cultivators that had ambushed Him and Qinxin when they were busy fighting for their lives against the practitioner of some kind of horrid Patchwork, organ and limb stealing demonic cultivation. A clouds of snow settled, and Ping caught a glimpse of the multi limbed, stitched and grossly mismatched body of his branded and outcast former martial brother. He didn't look human, besides his head. And Ping could see the spirits of his victims, chained to each patch of stolen muscle and bone or thieved organ.

And he saw something Qinxin could not, fox tails, pale blue and cracking like ice, spewing out Cold Yin Energy and frozen water Qi. Not only had Jingyu turned himself into a bulging, ungainly monster but he was also possessed! Truly Possessed! He knew a fox spirit had beguiled him, but he didn't expect him to allow it to take up residence in his distended and ogreish body!

"He's coming back, be ready Qinxin! He's tossed aside the cowards!"Ping roared. as Jingyu, silent as a grave, surged forward, dragging four massive slabs of blood soaked iron hammered into the vague shape of meat cleavers
Cont
>>
>>5432488

"Ah! Brother Ping! lil brother ping! Stop looking so scared! Your elder just wants to take a look at that arm of yours!" The lunatic monster giggled, as icy blue fox eyes glowed over his own

"Rejungui!" Qinxin shouted "The other two have picked themselves back up! We'll have to leave our backs exposed if we're to survive that boar's next charge!"

"PIGFUCKERS! Can't you see we're not the threat here" Ping roared back, as he lifted his arm and adopted a defensive stance "Haaah, you're about as strong as she is... that isn't good"

"Oh?" Jingyu asked the fox on his back, who had said something Ping did not understand to him, turning his head around, which gave Ping and his unlikly comrade a chance to strike. Ping summoned all of the Ghostly Qi his arm could endure, causing the teeth and bone beads he wrapped around it to lift and turn black a pitch as four rings of energy glowed down his corpse pale arm, forming a black sphere of destruction in his palm

"The sun is in the sky! And my fiery blood reflects it light!" Qinxin bellows "Feel the heat of righteous, and taste its burn"

"VANISH FROM THE LIVING WORLD!" Ping screamed "BEGONE FROM THE LIGHT AND LIFE !

Jingyu moved like a whirled wind, sacrificing one of the arms he attached beneath the patchwork limbs he had made around his original arms, the sphere of destruction in Ping's arm tearing it apart down to its bones, which twisted and cracked and then was reduced to splinters

"Tch, how rude" The monster cooed, as he slapped Ping away. His head swam, as he saw Qinxin flying backwards from a solid kick of the Monsterous Monk's bear like feet, Ping's heart skipped several beats as he watched his new friend fly backwards, past the two veil wearing members of his former sect, who rushed forward to meet with Jingyu, ignoring both him and his ally for the time being

"I just want to ask you a few questions now! and How rude of you to interrupt! I was saving you four for later!" Jingyu snarled, lifting up two of his cleaver swords, and crossing the other two over his chest. Ping didn't watch those idiots fight with the beast, and took the time their distraction bought to pick himself up and rush to Qinxin's side, expending what little internal energy he was able to compose within himself to heal what wounds he could, as his only ally in this brawl did the same, wincing as he stood

"The Heavenly Stance of the First Gate" He spat, as Ping reached his side, to help lift himself from the ground and in turn share his energy to help him repair the intense internal damage he had just taken "He's stolen that from my sect! How unpleasant! Not only does he rob corpses! He also steals techniques!"
Cont
>>
>>5432489

Ping looked at him for a long moment, stunned into silence by his unexpected companions priorities, before the most terrible yell of pain he had ever heard pulled him from his mundane reverie.

Half of a cultivator, blue tinted robes sprayed red, fell beside him, her eyes wide with horror.

"Three" Ping whispered, as he lifted his head and raised his ghost arm, gritting his teeth as he saw that Jingyu held one of the now three ambushers by the head, lifting it up high as he slowly compressed his monsterously large fist around it and

Crack
Splurt

"Two" Ping said, almost sighing in relief as Qixin threw the silk sash he wore around his waste in the air, catching one end ablaze and the other crackling with brilliant gold electricity

"Less distractions for him, my unlikely brother" He said quietly "We need to put all we have left, if we'll have even the hope of surviving this encounter. Now that the beast has stopped playing with its food"

"Or winning" Ping remarked as Jingyu tossed the headless corpse their way, the burning and electrified sash held by Qixin cutting it in twain as the behemoth abomination threw itself forward

Four black spheres burrowed out of Ping's ghost arm as he raised it up to rain destruction down on the charging monster

"Haha! Yes! Lets dance, little brother! I'll only break most of your bones" Was said monsters reply
_

You yawned, stretching out as you settled into your body after far too long away from it. The cat you used to carry the pills lay purring in Qiang's lap, as Fu sat beside her, honing the edge of his axe

"So we'll deliver these pills to these Dian brothers you mentioned, telling them the risk of taking the higher quality ones" Fu Recounts, tossing and catching the pouch of cheap pills "And leave it to them to decide how many they take before they storm the palace to "Save" Yuyi from the emperor, who is no longer a bloated pig, so you can presumably reap the rewards from his blood and wretched soul"

"Yeah, that's about the gist of it" You say happily as Qiang smiles gently "Though I trust you, Qiang, as my sole disciple of the Ruler of the Great Wheel's law, to assist these brothers in entering into legend, by clearing the steps into story for them"

Immediately her expression hardened and all warmth fled her eyes

"I understand, I'll become their shadow and cut down any who'll stand in their way. Do you have any other orders for me, teacher?" She asked plainly as Fu frowned and returned to his work after catching the pouch one last time

"Protect Yuyi's body and the monk she's with" You say chipperly as you lay one paw over the other and look cute

"I don't have to act like a monk myself this time, do I? Playing pretend is so exhausting" She said dully, sighing as she slumped forward "But I'll do what ever you ask of me, Lady Huanliuxue"
Cont
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>>5432490

"I could just break down the gates for them" Fu offers "Though I don't doubt my sister's expertise in blending with the shadows and remaining unseen, It'd be quicker if I just create a path for them, rather than leaving Qiang to open one by slicing a handful of throats"

"Do what you will. Qiang has her orders, you have none. Do as you wish" You roar, lifting up your head "Stay here and guard my body if you wish! Or help your martial sister elevate the Dian brothers into myth and assist in cutting away the unpleasant boil of the Tianturni from MY WORLD"

You then, much less dramatically, laid your head down and sighed

"Though I'd prefer if you two kept away from needless danger and tried to be safe" You remark "And, no, Qiang, before you ask, I don't think you'll be in any danger at all doing what you do best"

"I was raised to be an assassin" She says, sounding unusually proud of herself

"Then I shall stay here, and guard your magnificent vessel, teacher" Fu says, bowing his head "Unless of course, the whim strikes you to join in the bloodshed, Lady Huanliuxue"

You roll your eyes, pondering the possibility.

"I don't need more people mistaking me for her child, Fu" Qiang snaps "If they see her fur and my hair they'll..."

"Wait what?" Fu asks, looking as confused as you are by Qiang's outburst

"Did you forget only demons and unintelligent beasts have made that mistake?" You say sweetly

"Hm? Oh, I expect you to be human by time the night is done, Lady Huanliuxue" Qiang said proudly "You must be close to a breakthrough, to being indulging freely enough to plan an assassination"

"She's been mistaken as your child?" Fu laughs, and earns himself a soft punch to shoulder from his martial sister

What do you decide to do, Huanliuxue?

>Return to Yuyi's body, and keep her company and out of trouble until the Dian brothers and Qiang arrive at the palace

>Decide that Yuyi is a big girl and can handle herself, and trail the brothers in your ghost form, to make certain they take their medicine

>The whim does strike you to watch the bloodshed with your own eyes, if not join it personally, just in case the palace is hiding something deadlier than Ghost Empress Melody

>Figure that, since Qiang is a very earnest and grave woman, that you probably could attain human form now. And what better distraction to keep the heavens on high from noticing you, than their disgraced son being butchered?

>write in
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>>5432493
>Return to Yuyi's body, and keep her company and out of trouble until the Dian brothers and Qiang arrive at the palace
>>
>>5432493
>Decide that Yuyi is a big girl and can handle herself, and trail the brothers in your ghost form, to make certain they take their medicine
I did want to see if we could possess someone without taking control, and doing it right after people take magic drugs seems the easiest way to excuse any lingering weirdness they feel. Maybe we can examine their thoughts directly and figure out this “valor” thing.
>>
>>5432493
>Decide that Yuyi is a big girl and can handle herself, and trail the brothers in your ghost form, to make certain they take their medicine
I think we need to make a point to avoid being in Yuyi's body when we don't need to, as to not trigger any more feline changes her boyfriend would be a fool not to appreciate.
>>
>>5432493
>Return to Yuyi's body, and keep her company and out of trouble until the Dian brothers and Qiang arrive at the palace
As soon as the Palace is attacked, concerns of the Emperor and Yuyi will be the focus of Mao. If there's something off about her demeanor/acting, he will notice in an instant.

Though I suppose leaving the soul collection to Qiang will be the optimal ideal, Qiang doesn't have Blood Qi training. Won't we need to position ourselves for it directly? Ah we'll figure it out. Just gotta make sure the Emperor bleeds aplenty.

It's cute that even though Jingyu is calling Ping by his name, Qinxin insists on using the name of Rejungui which Ping introduced himself as. Qinxin has a rather high degree of honor.

>>5432511
Honestly why not meditate on her transformation? Later, of course. Not to turn her into a cat or catgirl, but to control it meaningfully. If it's our own beast essence maledicting her, we should be able to influence it better. Though, this is a unique situation for beast essence so far as we know. Generally cultivators who take it in via the traditional dantian method don't turn into the beasts themselves. But if there's a way to prevent it from going too far, taking control just seems the logical first step.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that with a more purposeful alteration, far less random, she could gain the talent to cultivate as she's basically transforming into a new and different being. Or at the very least we could curb the worst of the obvious mutations, so she doesn't simply have a weird tail stub for the rest of her life.
>>
>>5432525
>so she doesn't simply have a weird tail stub for the rest of her life
I think the only way we can safely do that for her is by growing it into an actual tail instead. Unfortunately, she’s already shot that down.

Not sure why. Being considered our emissary due to shared characteristics would probably be a pretty cool gig. She’ll also probably live longer and retain more of her natural beauty as she infuses our qi. There are plenty of positives she’s just not seeing.
>>
>>5432531
Yes, it will be most unfortunate that we'll have to give her a tail against her wishes. For consistency of form's sake and to elevate her status of being into greater height. I mean for her sake. Yes. That's why. It's only for her benefit really.
>>
>>5432525
Honestly I think the only reason why she's changing is because she's just a regular person. Since she isn't a cultivator she has basically no defense whatsoever for any kind of essence or qi manipulating her body. We'd probably need to make a concerted effort to force our qi into a cultivator to overwhelm their control and force changes, but poor Yuyi can do nothing but take it via osmosis through proximity.
>>
>>5432562
So all the normal people in the world we could transform into cats?
Oh boy.
>>
>>5432566
It's only my theory. But if you think about it, people who are possessed tend to change based on what's in them. Ghost? They grow sickly, gaunt, pale, and eventually die. Demon? Their entire attitude can change, they may develop an appetite for human flesh, bodies twisting and disfiguring. And it would then logically follow that if a beast did develop a method by which they may possess someone they would change their vessel to be more like whatever beast they are.

Then you get the other weird shit like Jingyu being effectively a dead man walking already, with a dead beast latched onto his ruined roots and the only thing keeping him going is that he's a fucking soul cannibal god damn. And he's got the cunning of a fox and the cruelty of the dead both. Though it's hard to say whether that's because he's clinically insane or not.

But on the other hand we have Lei. He's definitely possessed of a sort. But less like an unwelcome resident and more like a tapeworm. Whatever is in him isn't leaking any essence back to him because it seems to need to eat all of his qi just to survive. Though who knows what's going on inside of him.

That's just my headcanon, tho.
>>
>>5432493
>Return to Yuyi's body, and keep her company and out of trouble until the Dian brothers and Qiang arrive at the palace

let's get her out first before we do anything else.
>>
>>5432493
>>Figure that, since Qiang is a very earnest and grave woman, that you probably could attain human form now. And what better distraction to keep the heavens on high from noticing you, than their disgraced son being butchered?
It is time!
>>
>>5432493
>Return to Yuyi's body, and keep her company and out of trouble until the Dian brothers and Qiang arrive at the palace
We have a duty to Yuyi to keep her safe now that we're put her into a potential danger.
>>
>>5432493
>>Return to Yuyi's body, and keep her company and out of trouble until the Dian brothers and Qiang arrive at the palace
Since we set this whole thing up, we might as well play our part of the damsel in distress seriously.

Ping will be okay, r-right?
>>
>>5432566
>>5432583
That is the forbidden path to the furry apocalypse and the real reason the beast cultivators have been slaughtered by the will of the heavens.
It's bad enough that with cultivators being as they are it's basically anime made real.
Earth won't survive adding the catgirls to the mix
>>
>>5432493
>The whim does strike you to watch the bloodshed with your own eyes, if not join it personally, just in case the palace is hiding something deadlier than Ghost Empress Melody
>>
>>5432812
Damn, the unjust heavens got a point.
>>
>>5432812
This gives me a the terrifying thought of forcibly turning people into cats as a punishment. It’d probably be very bad karma bait so I would avoid it in practice
>>
>>5436240
>Turned into a cat
>Is punishment
I’m not sure Huan would consider that a punishment. Is it evil karma if you honestly believe you’re making them better?
>>
Not truly relevant, but according to Monu her sect elder/lover revealed her efforts to raise Xuěbái, which resulted in the snow fox getting killed and then having her own cultivation ruined. Then the ghost of Xuěbái had Jingyǔ ruin the Winter Blossoming Sect Elders' breakthrough, for the understandable revenge, and now she is hunting cultivators through him. Monu heard about the latter, but did not suspect the ghost of her daughter to be the culprit, which makes sense if she believes she's fully dead.

But why did Xiaosi, whom we fought in the arena, imply that Monu raised multiple demonic beasts before she was killed? Was he simply misinformed? I would think Monu would mention any others besides Xuěbái. Would she not, in order to protect them, or as a matter of pride? Did they just assume a variety of magical beasts in their area were results of her efforts two generations following her supposed "death"?

According to Xaosi it's been roughly three generations since Monu was "killed" by their sect elder. This requires a passage of time to a point where Xuěbái, after dying and after Monu was ruined, returned to possess to Jingyǔ. But only after multiple generations did Xuěbái act out their revenge, so far as we can tell, as Jingyǔ's acts against their sect elder are what occurred just before he started hunting cultivators.

I can't quite put my finger on it, but it feels like there might be aspects that we've overlooked in the relationship between Xuěbái and Monu. At first I thought that they both believe the other is dead, that easily explains all of their actions and the situation is complicated enough. But the time difference and sequence is still questionable.
Just spitballing.
>>
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Do not worry, I have not died. My Keyboard did however, after I spilled water I had boiled to make tea all over it, and it took me a couple of days to replace it. Sorry to make you wait without saying what was going on, realized I could've phone posted, but I was a foolish old man and only realized that now.

Return to Yuyi's body, and keep her company and out of trouble until the Dian brothers and Qiang arrive at the palace:5

Decide that Yuyi is a big girl and can handle herself, and trail the brothers in your ghost form, to make certain they take their medicine:2

Figure that, since Qiang is a very earnest and grave woman, that you probably could attain human form now. And what better distraction to keep the heavens on high from noticing you, than their disgraced son being butchered?:1

The whim does strike you to watch the bloodshed with your own eyes, if not join it personally, just in case the palace is hiding something deadlier than Ghost Empress Melody: 1

So you'll Return to Yuyi's body and keep her company and out of danger's way until the Dian brothers and Qiang arrive to make a ruckus in the palace.

>>5436240
>>5436707
What if they were hairless cats, forever denied a luxurious, silken coat?
>>
>>5437835
Be careful, first it's the keyboard, then before you know it the cup is spilling itself on your hard drive.
The many iterations of the QM Curse are not to be trifled with.
>>
>>5437835
>What if they were hairless cats, forever denied a luxurious, silken coat?
That sounds like the sort of thing strange men from strange places far and away from these civilized lands might love. They'd probably even doodle on walls instead of writing. How bazaar.
>>
Having spoken your command and relayed the orders necessary for the success of your scheme to see the scumbag emperor fatally dethroned, once and for all, you bid Qiang goodbye and good fortunes on her mission, though as serious of a girl as she is, she doesn't linger to gossip or ask any unnecessary questions. With sword and pill pouch in hand, she simply walks from the cliffside cavern they had stowed away your precious and peerlessly beautiful body away in, and vanishes into the gloom of sunset, her red hair the last thing you see of her before she's gone completely, beginning her trek down the sheer cliff face, upon which the new imperial capital city had been constructed atop long before it was commandeered by the emperor now squatting inside it like a fattened toad. With the threat of reprisal gone, Fu begins to laugh openly about the misunderstandings that have routinely cropped up of your relationship with Qiang, amongst both devils and beasts, and he begins to idly press you for questions as he continues honing, sharpening and refining the already razor sharp edge of his axes.

You indulge his curiosity and recount the numerous times the girl had been mistaken for your kit, making sure to tell Fu of her outstanding performance as a fake traveling exorcist when you and her met the currently pitifully submissive Huli. Which Fu, rather childishly, pouts and complains that he was not there to see her perform personally. Its good fun, talking with Fu about the funnier parts of your adventures instead of the exciting but life threatening portions of them. Or the more disgusting things you encounter and face. The Crow King's mad glare fills your minds eye and sends a shudder crackling down your back. But, while you'd enjoy to wash the sour taste of that dead demon's mad obsession with you out of your mouth by laughing with Fu and teasing the absent Qiang until the sun rose again, you cannot stay with him in this cave for long. Or inside your own, beloved body! Yuyi, despite her recent improvements and how much her confidence has grown over the years you've spent meditating, she is still prone to panicking and worry, and you'd hate to leave her with a head full of grey hairs and jittery disposition after all she has done to help you achieve a human form, so you may equal your predecessors to the long empty throne of primordial beasts and the kingdom of the natural, wild world.

So, with a promise to discuss Fu's personal development and the progress of his self taught cultivation method and the techniques he has learned, you say goodbye to Fu as well, making a mental note to tell Qiang the embarrassing stories Fu's mother and little sister Ju have told you before. Though, she might not have an interest in hearing them considering her at times brooding personality. Eh, you'll figure someway to repay her for making light of her confusion of why she is always thought to be your daughter another day.
Cont
>>
>>5437877

Returning swift as the wind to Yuyi's gilded cage, you appear before her with a bit of a show, by making your spectral ghost like seem to crack open like an egg before transforming it into a ethereal imitation of your true and handsome self. Despite her skitish nature, Yuyi is unshaken though rather impressed by your ostentatious display, and simply watches with dull curiosity as you lick at your ghostly paw with your tail curled around your side, as your Ghostly Yin Qi fills the room and brings a grave chill to it. Which your companion doesn't seem to mind at all, even as thin sheets of ice begin to crawl from the floorboards, up the side of the bed she's languishing atop.

Pouting, having hoped she'd have at least jumped with fright or squealed in surprise if not terror, you pad closer to her and lean over her, pressing your intangible forehead to her own as she lazily twirls and curls a lock of her mouse brown hair around her finger.

"You've changed your make up" You complain with a huff, as you notice she has washed away the art you had painstakingly applied to her face every morning you have spent together. You swipe a paw across her brow, not extending your claws as she smiles

"It's better if I look plain, so I can better avoid the leers of the emperor. I don't like how he looked at us, it was so gross I swore I felt drool drip onto my back" Yuyi sighs, rolling away from you as you lay down on the bed and cross your paws to rest your chin atop

"At least he isn't a crow demon. There are worse people to have as your admirer than a...formerly obese, pig headed churl like as Lord Tiantunri" You snort dismissively "Besides, he is harmless, unlike the unwanted stalker I killed down in hell when I last went to visit. Oh I should take you some time! Qiang had quiet a unique experience down in the underworld by my side"

"I humbly refuse the offer, I'd rather avoid the yellow springs until I die, if its all the same to you, Lady Huanliuxue" Yuyi giggles as she sits up and begins to brush her hair, rolling her tongue over her cat like canines uncomfortably "Also, I don't think competing over whose unwanted suitor is more dangerous! Emperor Long might not be a threat to a Divine Cat, but he is to an ordinary woman such as myself! And he has guards and lackies to"

"So did the crow king, they weren't loyal, but there were there" You say with a flippant swish of your tail "Besides, if he did try anything, you're probably stronger than he is anyway because of your changes"

"I don't wanna think about that, I have no desire to be strong" Yuyi whispers, nearly squeaking "At least Yongzheng and Sir Mao are here to protect me"

You lean closer to her

"And you as well, of course Lady Huanliuxue! I figured I would not even have to mention your name among my protectors!" Yuyi hastily corrects herself "Considering both your awe inspiring power and how closely you guard me"
Cont
>>
>>5437879

You giggle and smile as you float back into the air, bobbing and bouncing around Yuyi's head as a dark, ghostly flame.

"Of course, of course" You proudly purr, as Yuyi fiddles her fingers and looks up to you awkwardly

"So how long must we wait until...you know" she asks meekly "And we will just wait in the safety of this room, yes? guarded by Mao's men and Brave Yongzheng? Not go out and cause mischief together, with me as an unwilling participant. Not that I'd ever accuse you of such a thing, of course, Lady Huanliuxue, but...I know how playful you can be when the mood strikes you"

"Shouldn't be long" You say quietly "The Dian brothers were close enough to grab for our...my tail the entire journey to this palace, and dutiful Qiang will help clear the path to the emperor for them, and if necessary, lend her sword to protect you"

"Oh well that is a relief" Yuyi sighs, falling back down on the bed, eyes closed contentedly, before the suddenly shoot open "Wait, you almost said our tails, didn't you!?"

"Just a figure of speech, my dear Yuyi" You say trying to reassure and settle her, not misplaced, worries "A slip of the tongue, I didn't mean to alarm you or imply anything, certainly not, certainly not"

She lays back down, pouting.

What do you do, while keeping Yuyi out of company and out of trouble, Huanliuxue?

>Discuss what she plans to do with her new found fame, and what you intend to do once you can take a human form, and then begin to ramble about how it will, of course, be more beautiful than the humans' it mimics

>Possess Yongzheng and wander the castle looking for secrets or something to keep yourself entertained, but not straying too far from Yuyi [Perception trial, DC 72]

>Rouse the ghosts of the palace so you can ask them question's concerning the old imperial palace's burning [Magic Trial. DC 30]

>Pester your maids, and try to squeeze any drop of human wisdom you can out of them

>Write in
>>
>>5437880
>Rouse the ghosts of the palace so you can ask them question's concerning the old imperial palace's burning [Magic Trial. DC 30]
>>
>>5437880
>>Pester your maids, and try to squeeze any drop of human wisdom you can out of them
The dead are going to be very eager to watch what's about to go down. It would be rude to deny them the satisfaction of seeing this false emperor die. Or tear at his soul as it leaves his body. And bragging about our looks we do not have yet is just begging for jinxing. I'd love to hitch a ride with Yong so he can feel what it's like and laugh at him but it seems unnecessarily risky despite the fact we won't stray far.
>>
>>5437880
>Pester your maids, and try to squeeze any drop of human wisdom you can out of them
>Discuss what she plans to do with her new found fame, and what you intend to do once you can take a human form, and then begin to ramble about how it will, of course, be more beautiful than the humans' it mimics
>>
>>5437880
>>Rouse the ghosts of the palace so you can ask them question's concerning the old imperial palace's burning [Magic Trial. DC 30]
>>
>>5437880
>Rouse the ghosts of the palace so you can ask them question's concerning the old imperial palace's burning [Magic Trial. DC 30]
>Pop into Yongzheng’s head to let him know what you’re about to do and make sure no one enters without being announced so we can hide the ghost in case the guest has spirit sight.
May as well play it especially safe. I also want to scare Yongzheng, but that’s a secondary reason for possessing him. The main reason is so we aren’t overheard. Yep, totally.
>>
>>5437880
>>Pester your maids, and try to squeeze any drop of human wisdom you can out of them
>>
>>5437880
>Rouse the ghosts of the palace so you can ask them question's concerning the old imperial palace's burning [Magic Trial. DC 30]

I love that we finally spent some quality time with our boy Fu, it's been too long!
>>
>>5437880
>Discuss what she plans to do with her new found fame, and what you intend to do once you can take a human form, and then begin to ramble about how it will, of course, be more beautiful than the humans' it mimics
>>
>>5437880
>Consolidate

I just want the death to occur and for us to escape the palace so ENLIGHTENMENT CAN OCCUR
>>
Ending the vote now, tallying the result.

Rouse the ghosts of the palace so you can ask them question's concerning the old imperial palace's burning: 4

Pester your maids, and try to squeeze any drop of human wisdom you can out of them:3

Discuss what she plans to do with her new found fame, and what you intend to do once you can take a human form, and then begin to ramble about how it will, of course, be more beautiful than the humans' it mimics:2

Pop into Yongzheng’s head to let him know what you’re about to do and make sure no one enters without being announced so we can hide the ghost in case the guest has spirit sight.:1

Consolidate: 1

So You'll rouse the ghosts of the palace so you can question them regarding the events of the old imperial palace's burning

Update will arrive shortly
>>
You invite yourself into her body, as she lays there pouting, she doesn't struggle or tense up, giving control of her body easily and willingly. She does however, raise a question.

"What are you planning on doing?" She asks, not accusingly but rather out of idly and innocent curiosity as you sit up and stretch your arms, legs and then yawn and pull your back as high up at it will go, to get the tiredness of her lazing around out of her bones and get her muscles unstiffened "If I may ask? There really isn't any reason to possess me right? No one here can see your spiritual form, and it won't be long until our "rescue" arrives, so there's no reason to go snooping around or looking for trouble? Do you just enjoy wearing my body that much, huh? Huh? Can't wait till you have your own human form to regally strut around as you look down at the world and do your weird daoist qi cultivation?"

"No idea why'd you think that" You giggle, as you pull Ghost Empress melody up onto your lap "I've already told you my reasons for this quest of mine, though I will admit, it will be tempting to impress your nobility with my superior breeding and graces? But, no, I'm not possessing you just cause I think being you is pleasant or fun, sweet Yuyi, I just find it easier to play my Guqin in the flesh rather than the spirit"

You tested the strings of the enchanted instrument, smiling happily as you heard its ethereal song fill the room with just a few twangs and pulls, and gingerly and lovingly trace your fingertips over its gleaming crimson surface, breathing in deep its scent of grave soil.

"Why exactly are you going to play your magic Guqin, now of all times? and here of all place? Isn't that a bad idea, to summon up all the ghosts lurking in Long Tiantunri's shadow? Like a really bad and dangerous idea? He has to have a whole host of hungry ghosts and devilish phantoms skulking around him right? With all the wicked deeds and evil he has done?' Yuyi asks panickily, speaking rapidly and without pause "You're just going to make an illusion to past the time right? Not call forth the slain and buried, or send out strings to play puppet master or...whatever else that creepy thing can do"

"It isn't creepy, it is beautiful beyond comparison and more valuable than even jade fallen from the heavens" You muse, nearly purring as you pull back the two of Ghost Empress Melody's strings "And, of course I'm going to do that! While I won't be able to control the wandering souls like I usually do, I can at least leverage a bit of influence over them by strengthening their hold on the mortal realm and bolster their ghostly Yin energies, so they'll have a reason to gather and talk to me...er us"

"Why do you want to talk to them! Surely all they'll do is curse the emperor and grieve for themselves" She sharply questions "Is there a purpose for this? Oh! You must be planning on recruiting them to help protect us! Or help those men slay the emperor! or..."
Cont
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>>5439820

"No reason in particular, OH~! besides my gnawing curiosity concerning the burning of the old imperial palace. Mao Weixiaos said some rather intriguing things about the emperor and the woes surrounding his fall from grace and the loss of his family! Very interesting things! So I figured I'll ask some of the dead who followed them here what happened and how much the emperor is to blame for what did" You whisper conspiratorially, making your student groan and whimper

"This is going to end badly, isn't there a saying about cat's and curiosity?" She says meekly as you begin to play a quite, forlorn melody, like the whispering of wind or burbling of a stream, or mewling of a kitten.

Roll 1d100. DC 30. Best out of three
>>
Rolled 98 (1d100)

>>5439821
Bring out your dead!
>>
>>5439821
>Sorry to disturb your eternal rest, but have you heard the good word of our lord and savior Huānliúxuè?
>>
Rolled 88 (1d100)

>>5439821
>>5439832
It’d help if I rolled…
>>
Rolled 70 (1d100)

>>5439821
We have a good roll but need two more
>>
>>5439824
Whew. Incredible Success! 60 over DC nearly 70 over

Update will arrive shortly

>>5439832
heh
>>
Closing your eyes, you strum, you pluck, you pinch the strings between your nails and run your hands down the length, creating dulcet, shrieking cords akin to the agonized wailing of the damned, you pluck the strings rapidly as the keening sound still travels down the length of Ghost Empress Melody and inside of it, creating a quiet, somber echo like the cry of a mother watching her children die. That is the music you play, or rather, the music that plays you, guiding your hands as you align and connect yourself and Yuyi's body with the ambient and potent resentment and enmity that fills and pollutes every inch of this palace's grounds and walls. Like smoke seeped into meat, it radiates outward, unnoticed but always present. Like the chill of dread most experience when faced with corpses, skeletons or graves. The dirge that ghost empress melody sings, is not so somber despite its unearthly noise and purpose. It is sweet and delicate, like moldering bones and festering rot, as fragile as a coat of mold and as transient yet lingering as dust. It hangs in the air, like cobwebs or stifled air, repeating itself and echoing off the walls unnaturally, as if the music itself is brought back from its demise to whisper and call out to the next notes rising from Ghost Empress Melody's strings. The air grows chill, as the silver strings glow so vividly scarlet, you swear you can feel cooling blood stick and smear across your finger tips as you play. The music plays, and the Guqin shudders as if gasping for air, the trembling of a last, desperate breath before all vitality and warmth leaves a dying body.

The streaks of pearl, black and white, seem to flow like milk and ink as they catch the queer crimson light cast by the strings. Slumping your head back, you look blindly at the ceiling, eyes firmly shut as if puppeteered by your instruments own ethereal puppet strings, you bring to life a melody of the dead and lost. An entrancing, bittersweet tune. Entranced, you play, and play, feeling the air grow frigid and dry, as ice coats the bed and frosty mist fills the air. You can feel your breath leave your lips, as Yuyi cowers and hides herself as far in her own head as she can go.

A vortex of pitch black Spiritual Energy, the essence of the dead and departed, pure deathly Yin Qi and Ghostly Yin Qi. Enough to sicken, weaken and perhaps even curse any mortal who stepped inside its tearing rapids. A perfect beacon to those lingering souls bound this place, by their fading attachments and grudges that persisted even death.

Slowly, you open your eyes, lifting your eyes lids drearily to see you are surrounded by an ethereal mist, grey and lifeless, sapping all color and motion from the room. Mist colored like the skies of hell. Yuyi is now terrified, so fearful she is unable to speak or do anything by whimper and cry, pleading with you without speaking to end your audience with the vengeful dead.

Cont
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>>5439898

Unfortunately for her, she must endure their company for awhile longer, as one by one, phantoms emerge from the grey gloom, with ice for eyes and the mist itself forming their bodies. Their presence alone is enough to numb your fingers and toes from the chill of death they exude like the living do warmth, but the ghostly yin qi radiating from within them is enough make it feel as if the blood in your veins is freezing and cracking. A ruined corpse, dressed in red silks charred black and fused to her flesh stands, her face skeletal and weeping with melted flesh and fat, as one eye hangs and dangles from its socket, still swiveling and turning around to see. At her heels, smaller spirits, the ghosts of five or seven children stand, clinging to her still smoldering dress. They are less visible and harder to make out than the spirit of their mother, as due to their youth and innocence, they have less binding them to the world of the living. Nothing but their mother's own stubborn refusal to past on. Another spirit, stands before them, dressed in full armor, riddled with arrows and with a spear forced through his jaw, with a deep gash across his stomach, out of which his bowels pour out and hang. There are dozens, perhaps hundreds of smoldering, black corpses, with piercing blue eyes of ice, staring at you and each other curiously. And there are just as many soldiers and guards, bearing terrible wounds that would've killed them at least three times.

But, amongst these ghastly, terrible, and vengeful spirits that threaten to become hungry ghosts or full blown devils, stand much more peaceable and content looking ones, who bear no wounds or signs of their passing. Most of them are old, or bloated with fat. They are more confused than the parade of malformed and disfigured specters, who died only as recent as the sacking of the old imperial palace.

Except one of them, a man dressed very similar to Tiantunri was, complete with a sash of tiger's fur, who seems furious and stands with the ruined and tormented. The Empress moves to speak, revealing her tongue had been torn out before she was roasted alive, which surprises you. But before her hoarse and burned voice can croak out terribly from her charred throat, the old emperor, or at least that's who you're guessing the old man with the towering, beaded hat and sash of tiger's fur is, cups his fist and bows.

"I would be outraged to be taken from my restful repose, the peace I had earned for my diligent life and hard work running the empire" He says proudly, marching up to you
Cont
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>>5439900

"And would curse and condemn any necromancer, witch, sage or dabbling occultist who'd dare try to summon me from that pleasant stream I was wading in, searching for my next life with that beautiful cloud goddess, but I hear the most beautiful melody, and saw, far beneath me, my wrongfully, unjustly slain kin and descendants emerge from their painful recollections and horrid nightmares of their death to gather here in this gloomy and foreboding place" He continued, picking at his nails as he sat beside you

He pulled his beard, smiling as he looked at a man a little younger than Tiantunri, who had an sword shoved through one of his eyes, and several others who were clearly cut down without a chance to defend themselves, who looked very much like the scumbag emperor. But you could not tell if they were brothers or sons of his.

"Imagine my shock, to see a demon calling my family and servants, not to capture or imprison them, or turn their souls into fuel for its vile power. But to ask them of the tragedy of their death, and the shameful cowardice of my heir" He said smiling as he place a hand on your shoulder, an incredibly show of comradery and favor for a man of his station...er former station "To learn what truly happened that night that shall live in infamy, should my dynasty persist past its current scion"

You stare up at the former emperor as he stands up, smiles at the congregation, and cups his fist.

"You have my permission, daughter by marriage, to speak and reveal the truth of that night to this demonic beast" He says with a wave of his hand "Who, despite their nature, has become a virtuous and righteous soul! I will be certain to seek you out in my next life, Bloodshed, if only so I may ask how it is you overcame the evil nature of your birth and became a noble beast of strong ideals and conviction, or at least what made you so concerned with how your enemies by blood burned or who left their children to die alone and frightened. A curious tale it must be"

And with that, he vanished a cascade of golden sparks and motes of light, stunning you and all the ghosts present. You...don't think he was bound to the palace! In fact, judging from what he said, he had been in the middle of the wheel of transmigration, preparing to reincarnate before this gathering caught his eye, and he chose to come down and give his blessing. You blink, and look to the former empress, who sits on the other side of you, hands folded in her lap, and dozens of ghostly children now surrounding her, faceless and featureless. Not all of them are hers, but all of them are Tiantunri

"Then, as I have been given the former emperor's blessing, I shall speak my tale to the beast first" She rasps, turning to you "And fear not, child, we mean you no harm"

She must be talking to Yuyi

Cont
>>
>>5439902

"I shall not bore you, who has no concept of such things, of the sad and sorry story of my marriage to Tiantunri, though it started happy and blissful" She says, as if she was reading from a scroll "As I know you wish to know how the palace burned, and we all died while that useless excuse for a man lived"

"He ran away" Mao's brother spits "First chance he got! We could've held the gate if morale hadn't dropped! Didn't even wait for the first wall to fall, the cowardly dog!"

"Yes, I was getting to that, but this talented musician wishes to know what happened when the palace began to burn, not what happened when the siege broke" The empress said with a heavy sigh, pinching the bridge of her nose "or, at least, I assume that's what you want? The Old emperor seemed to believe or...know so? and I can't seem to be able to do the same, sense your intents or desires. Guess that's just a blessing of leaving the mortal coil entirely behind. So, what exactly is it you want to know about the night the seat of imperial authority was turned to ash?"

"Clearly she must be concerned with the children, I've heard the legends of the happy bloodshed, when the civil war was still in our favor"
"No, no, she must want to know who burned it and if they can be her ally against the heavenly powers"
"Fools! She, like any cat, is just curious by nature! Nothing more, nothing less"
"Perhaps she wants to be sure it is just and lawful to kill Lord Tiantunri!"
"Why would a demonic beast care about justice and laws"
"No! No! I got it! Empress! She wishes to immortalize our tragic ends in song!"
"Not in song, but to tell the gods themselves they allowed the wrong son to ascend"
"Why would a demon talk to the gods?"
"Maybe she wishes to prove she is not like other demons"
"What does that even mean!"
"Shut up!" The empress roared, turning rather cat like in appearance herself, feral and wild "As I was saying, gently devil, what do you wish to know of that wretched night? We have time to discuss it at length and for as long as you desire, we could speak until you yourself die of old age, so sturdy is the anchor you've created for us"
Cont
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>>5439903

Double vote
What do you ask the ghost of the empress and the other, hundreds of gathered spirits

>Ask if the emperor shed any tears for his children, and if he had left them behind to burn with the rest of them or at least tried to save them

>Request a detailed account of all that happened before and as the palace burned, who died when, and what role Tiantunri had to play with it all

>Who burned the palace and did they mean to kill off the innocent imperial heirs or not

>Since they don't like the emperor, and your character was just praised by the old emperor, surely they wouldn't mind revealing the location of hidden imperial treasures for you to take

>Write in (Due to the degree of success, you have unlimited time to question the ghosts and their presence is unnoticed, go wild)

And, what do you do after you've finished asking the ghosts questions, Huanliuxue?

>Allow them to wander freely and act as a distraction, and tell them the Dian brothers will avenge them if they want to help

>Offer to help guide them to what awaits them, be it hell or reincarnation, as thanks for satisfying your curiosity

>Seriously question how the old emperor appeared after moving on, and how he seemed able to sense your karma and know your intentions.

>Lay back and pamper/ treat Yuyi Kindly as you wait for the end of the imperial dynasty

>write in
>>
>>5439903
>Question EVERYTHING
But more seriously, the order of
>Kids, the one ghost knows of our true reputation
>Who burned the palace
>Detailed account
>Treasures

Write-ins:
>Any messages to pass on to the living? We can write some letters and have them delivered.
>Ask if any can relocate to our crypt. If they choose to do so, we can ease their rage when we perform our next breakthrough.
>What do they believe is the essence of humanity? That which elevates them above beasts? We have yet to ask the dead this question, when we are as much a princess of the dead and graves as we are of the wilds?
>Tell them about the daoist immortal you met and see if they recognize him by description. It’s unlikely he’s important, but why not?

Second vote:
>Pamper Yuyi, fluster Yongzheng… unless we are enraged by the children answer. Then let the ghosts loose that wish to play havoc.
>>
>>5439904
Questions
>Ask if the emperor shed any tears for his children, and if he had left them behind to burn with the rest of them or at least tried to save them
>Who burned the palace and did they mean to kill off the innocent imperial heirs or not
>Request a detailed account of all that happened before and as the palace burned, who died when, and what role Tiantunri had to play with it all
We can go wild, so why not? I have no interest in human mortal relics however. Our rulership is not bound to the mandate of heaven
After
>Seriously question how the old emperor appeared after moving on, and how he seemed able to sense your karma and know your intentions.
This one feels like just another question in my opion
>Offer to help guide them to what awaits them, be it hell or reincarnation, as thanks for satisfying your curiosity
We should repay the favour.
>>
>>5439917
Wait, the question of the emperor is to ponder, I'm an idiot.
>>5439904
Changin my vote to
Questions
>Ask if the emperor shed any tears for his children, and if he had left them behind to burn with the rest of them or at least tried to save them
>Who burned the palace and did they mean to kill off the innocent imperial heirs or not
>Request a detailed account of all that happened before and as the palace burned, who died when, and what role Tiantunri had to play with it all
>What do they believe is the essence of humanity? That which elevates them above beasts? We have yet to ask the dead this question, when we are as much a princess of the dead and graves as we are of the wilds?
After
>Offer to help guide them to what awaits them, be it hell or reincarnation, as thanks for satisfying your curiosity

I don't think we could pass the messages and have them be taken seriously, atleast not without revealing ourselves or sending one of our students and risk drawing even more attention, and since I want to repay the favour, I can't support let them move to our crypt or let them loose.
>>
>>5439928
Supporting
>>
>>5439904

I'll leave questions to others but...

>Offer to help guide them to what awaits them, be it hell or reincarnation, as thanks for satisfying your curiosity
>>
>>5439904
>Ask if the emperor shed any tears for his children, and if he had left them behind to burn with the rest of them or at least tried to save them
>Who burned the palace and did they mean to kill off the innocent imperial heirs or not

>Offer to help guide them to what awaits them, be it hell or reincarnation, as thanks for satisfying your curiosity

>Seriously question how the old emperor appeared after moving on, and how he seemed able to sense your karma and know your intentions.
>>
>>5439904
Grandfather, did you break through a bottleneck in your cultivation? Your writing seems significantly better this update.
>>
>>5439904
>Request a detailed account of all that happened before and as the palace burned, who died when, and what role Tiantunri had to play with it all
>Since they don't like the emperor, and your character was just praised by the old emperor, surely they wouldn't mind revealing the location of hidden imperial treasures for you to take
>Seriously question how the old emperor appeared after moving on, and how he seemed able to sense your karma and know your intentions.
>>
>>5439904
>Ask if the emperor shed any tears for his children, and if he had left them behind to burn with the rest of them or at least tried to save them
>Who burned the palace and did they mean to kill off the innocent imperial heirs or not
>Seriously question how the old emperor appeared after moving on, and how he seemed able to sense your karma and know your intentions.
>>
>>5440208
Seems his breakthrough took a lot of energy out of him
>>
I'm looking foward to the next Ping interlude.
Will the edgelord and paladin duo succeed against the actual demonic heretic? Is patchwork going to beat the shit out of them and we are going to have to go avenge one of our students? Will older sis somehow feel mom's influence and stop this family conflict?
>>
>>5439904
First Vote
>Ask if the emperor shed any tears for his children, and if he had left them behind to burn with the rest of them or at least tried to save them
>Who burned the palace and did they mean to kill off the innocent imperial heirs or not
>Request a detailed account of all that happened before and as the palace burned, who died when, and what role Tiantunri had to play with it all
>What do they believe is the essence of humanity? That which elevates them above beasts? We have yet to ask the dead this question, when we are as much a princess of the dead and graves as we are of the wilds?
Second Vote
>Offer to help guide them to what awaits them, be it hell or reincarnation, as thanks for satisfying your curiosity
>Seriously question how the old emperor appeared after moving on, and how he seemed able to sense your karma and know your intentions.
>>
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Forgive me for my week of absence and silence. I intended to let the vote run for a few days, like three, but an infestation of vermin kept me busy for longer as I spent all my energy dealing with it.

I really don't like ants, and they were in the walls.

Anyways, if you wish, I'll give face and kowtow. But I'll try to tally the vote and get to writing in a few hours. So very sorry to make you all wait for so long

>>5443422
Oh I spent every second I was battling against the vermin horde thinking about that

>>5440208
Thanks! and I have no idea why it is. I was actually in a rush when I wrote it. more so than usual
>>
>>5444960
>I really don't like ants, and they were in the walls.
Grandfather confirmed for hating Tiexingege
>>
>>5444960
>I really don't like ants, and they were in the walls.
Funny you should say that, there's a big fat one that got stuck when it tried to crawl out of a power outlet and died. They are in my walls, too. The pest guy is apparently fucking awful at his job. Or maybe he's actually an ant in disguise.
>>
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>>5444960
>>5444964
>>5444966
I miss Hive Queen Quest...
>>
Here's my own count

Total Votes - 8

Questions

>Children - 6
MpRmDQQF
v82co4T0
YR0jZ/4J
5e7gN/Wv
NXJ8NNOg
ld10Lg1f

>Who did it - 6
MpRmDQQF
v82co4T0
YR0jZ/4J
5e7gN/Wv
NXJ8NNOg
ld10Lg1f

>Details - 5
MpRmDQQF
v82co4T0
YR0jZ/4J
kzpPmmTB
ld10Lg1f

>Treasure - 2
MpRmDQQF
kzpPmmTB

>Message - 1
MpRmDQQF

>Relocate - 1
MpRmDQQF

>What is man? - 4
MpRmDQQF
v82co4T0
YR0jZ/4J
ld10Lg1f

>Immortal - 1
MpRmDQQF

Actions

>Pamper - 1
MpRmDQQF

>Distraction - 1
MpRmDQQF

>Emperor - 4
5e7gN/Wv
kzpPmmTB
NXJ8NNOg
ld10Lg1f

>Guide - 5
v82co4T0
YR0jZ/4J
ONjr7rAl
5e7gN/Wv
ld10Lg1f
>>
>>5444969
Just like with Crusty, the curse hit Drone hard.
>>
>>5444969
Well ain't that a blast from the past.
>>
>>5444969
Man, I hear enough about HMQ. Don’t hit me with more good quests gone dead like that. It hurts.
>>
>>5444969
>>5445027
... should i just try my hand at it?
I had half a mind to revive it..
But the way i wanted to would have been less hard sci-fi and more 4x game
>>
>>5444960
ETA on that update QM?

>>5445195
Idk mate, Drone is still alive so he might come back and, even if he didn't, you would have some big shoes to fill. HQQ is really special, you'd need to do it justice.
>>
>>5445195
>bugoid monarch quest or how I learned to stop worrying and fuck wasp women
People would probably be irked if you didn't spin it as a spiritual successor or inspired by rather than saying you outright want to do it but better (in your opinion). If you think you can manage a quest and you wanna do it, just do it. Make your dreams come true. Nothing is impossible.
>>
>>5445195
Don't directly try to revive, since you would have to deal with being in it's shadow, but you could try something inspired by it.
Good luck, all the others that tried also dropped.
>>
>>5445200
>>5445201
>>5445203
No, well, of course i didn't mean it as a redo or picking up the story, i still hope Drone will return someday

Just a tribute of sorts that will start from similar premises and evolve into it's own thing
>>
>>5445221
You said "revive it" >>5445195. Naturally, by "it" I assumed you meant Hive Queen Quest itself. If you meant otherwise then that was a rather poor choice of words.
>>
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Finally free to write, sorry for taking half the day when I said a few hours.

>>5444971
Appreciate that you tallied the vote for me, saves me a bit of time.

So You'll ask if the emperor shed any tears for his children and if he abandoned them or tried to save them, who burned the palace and if they had meant to kill the innocent imperial heirs, and request a detailed account of all that happened before and as the palace burned, who died when and what role Tiantunri had to play in the tragedy

Then question them as to what they believe to be the essence of humanity, that which elevates them above beasts, seeking the perspective of the dead whom you're a princess of on the matter

Then you'll Offer to help guide them to what awaits them, be it hell or reincarnation, as thanks for satisfying your curiosity and seriously question how the old emperor appeared after moving on, and how he seemed able to sense your karma and know your intentions

WHEW

update will arrive shortly

Sorry again for the week absence. Fucking ants

>>5444964
I actually really like writing her dialogue, as rare as it is.

>>5444966
gross.
>>
>>5443430

This might be the biggest update I've written yet. No Ping interlude, want the suspense to build a little more, lol.
>>
Like a writhing ball of maggots turning into buzzing flies, countless questions and curiosities fill your thought, clouding your mind and leaving you frozen stiff as you struggle to work your way through and contemplate each as quickly as you can. Which even with your peerless genius and razor sharp intellect and wit takes sometime. But, soon one question steps over all of the others, towering and casting them in its shadow. A question from the depth of your existence, dredged from your hearts of hearts. The flickering embers of your birth grudges, sputter and spit up black smoke that swirls around and gathers upon your tongue. Without thinking, acting on instinct and your innermost nature alone you ask what you consider to be the most pressing and important question that could be possibly asked of the household of lost souls you've gathered in one, now deathly cold, room.

"Did Lord Long Tiantunri shed any tears for his many children, be they born by marriage, illicit affairs or the wombs of concubines? Did he grieve for any of his progeny? Did he care that they died painfully, alone and afraid as the air they breathed burned their lungs?" You ask as if possessed, eyes opening wide and piercing as you question the emperor's late wife, who sat with an embittered and agonized expression wrinkling her burned, half melted face as your instinct to protect and avenge children burned so brightly within you that it demanded to be let out and make itself known. You lean closer to the malformed spirit, and bow your head respectfully and certainly not to hide the tears already welling up in the eyes you share with Yuyi.

"Tell me, weeping mother, did your be...devil of a husband even attempt to do his duties as a father? Did he dare to brave the flames to save his sons, his daughters? Did he even think to" You asked, the rage billowing up inside you now so potent it has become a grudge of itself, its dark clouds burning with hatred and electrified with disgust. It hiss as it churns and curls through the air, matching the chill of the dead with the heat of resentment

She remains silent, shivering with barely restrained rage as she struggles to retain her scarred but human form as her own grudge synchronizes and feeds off the newborn enmity flowing in the air with every syllable you speak.

"Oh was he craven? Did he forsake the duty given to him by the endless cycle of life, of nature and instinct themselves! Did he forsake his children abandon them to die in such agony, did he run when others even the lowest of fishers and farmers would fight tooth and nail to protect their own? Is he truly so pathetic a man, so unworthy of the power and crown he inherited, that he'd commit such a heinous act of willfully, purposefully leaving his...allowing his children to die!"

Your eyes meet with the ghost empress, as your fingers continue to play Ghost Empress melody seemingly by a will of their own.
Cont
>>
>>5445359

Yuyi shudders in terror at the horrific gaze of the specter, the spectral eyes you look up burning with such fury as only held by the long dead, cursed souls of the forgotten king's catacombs.

"He ran, before the second wall fell, before the palace yard was breeched. He was so confident, until he saw the torches of the army gathered outside the gate, so sure he still had friends and loyal subject, that he, despite being hunted like a dog for years would somehow achieve victory when he never studied a single book written by even the most useless of tacticians" She growled, her face the very image of a demoness, tusks, horns, pointed ears and all "While those pursuing his head, those after his life, broke open vaults and relearned the once lost art of war, raising up generals, strategists and tacticians where once their were none"

"We didn't know he ran" Sir Mao's brother says grimly "We thought he at least had the backbone to do his duty, and remain upon his thrown even in the twilight hour of his reign. But no, gathering his toadies and most trusted appeasers, he ran into the night, leaving a double in his place"

"A copy who was a better father and man than he ever was" The Queen said softly, shaking her head "But still a fool, naïve and idealistic. He'd have surrendered, when every man outside the gates was braying and shouting for our blood like wild animals"

"He was a good man!" Another servant shouted up "Had he been allowed to live long enough to actually try to appease the humanity of our enemies, many of us could still be among the living. But you killed him"

"I did no such thing!" The empress bellowed, eyes pits of black fire "I reprimanded him, and tried to find my children, that is all I did that night of horror"

"She is right, there was no way they'd offer us mercy. That fat oaf's blood and favor condemned us all to death" Mao's dead brother said bitterly, his eyes narrowed in contempt "I think he had his double killed, and certainly not by my brother's crafty hands. He'd have realized, just as the empress and I had, that surrender would mean death"

"Yes, yes, you heard rumors spread in the chaos, I remember, the empress sought her children with what loyal maids and concubines remained, to take them to the most fortified position in the old palace" An old, grizzled looking guard, missing half his head said, stroking his beard

"No, no, she died before she could find them all, the palace burned before they were taken the the sanctuary" A maid with freckles and bright, cheerful eyes chimes in

"I died carrying my youngest from their crib" The empress corrects "But the palace only began burning after my leg got hurt, I think I got hit by an arrow, but I did find them all

"Ah, so you survived through the first two nights of the assault, before the third dawn came" the Mao ghost says in amazement "Incredible"
Cont
>>
>>5445360

"Hold your gossiping tongues! What are you, a horde of spinsters? While all of this talk is enlightening, you need to slow down so I can ask the important questions!" You snap, clapping your hands together, and finding them stuck together with a thin layer of ice, which you melt with a bit of rubbing and hot breath "So its clear the emperor, the current emperor I mean, was so miserable he chose saving his own wretched, flea ridden hide over even giving a token attempt to save his children. But, I still don't know, who it was who killed them! Who burned the palace"

With well over a hundred voices, the gatherer ghosts all try to speak at once giving their answer in the most deafening and disorienting manner they possibly could even thought they all say the same name.

"Lord Bao! He's the leader of the coalition against emperor Tiantunri"

"Do not do that again!" You bark angrily, Yuyi's now more senstive ears aching from the din of their collective answer "So the lord of the Dian Brothers, the one whom the emperor cuck holded, that Lord Bao, right? I'm not mixing up the names and grudges am I?"

"The very same" Mao's brother answeres amusedly, his eyes twinkling and his grind sparkling

"So, did he intend to kill the imperial heirs" You ask innocently.

And soon the ghosts are arguing and shouting at one another

"Yes he did! He was driven mad by the humiliation! Only bloodshed could satisfy him, but one death was not enough!"
"No, Lord Bao was a good man, I knew him. The emperor forced him to take up arms against, he'd have never harmed a child, especially not the princess that had been promised to his eldest son. He had to seek retribution against the son of heaven, to regain his honor as a man"
"He didn't but I sure that rat who was always at his side, and turned his coat the moment the rebellion began did, to ensure he could make a power grab! That treacherous weasel Lu Fu! the blood of those sweet children are on his hand"
"Yes, but not initially. He was poisoned by the whispers of his harlot of a sister"
"Our resistances forced his hand. I've heard rumors of more wars beyond the scuffle between the Ling and Chuan and this rebellion, more lords acting as if they're now the top dogs fighting over the meat of our once proud empire!"
"He didn't know they were their"
"It wasn't Lord Bao Guang who ordered the airs to be covered in pitch and tar and set alight, nor did he command burning jars of oil to be flung in the palace"
Cont
>>
>>5445362

"As Princess and rightful ruler and empress of the dead and all graves, I command you all to silence" You snarl, rubbing your temple as their constant bickering begins to give you a headache "None of you know the whole story of what transpired that night, cause you died and your memories became muddled and confused. So, to see if killing Lord Bao is on my to do list, I shall politely request you to line up in single file, only the ones who died in the burning palace, ordered from first to die to last, so you can each present to me a detailed account of what you saw before and as the palace burned. So I can no who died When, what role emperor Long had in the tragedy and if Lord Bao is as much of a villain as the man he hunts, Okay?"

The ghosts of higher standing and finer birth look offended, but all of them eventually fall into line. And gradually, painfully slowly, a picture is painted of that fateful night. Lord Bao was allowed into the city by the lower officials, merchants and traitorous guard forces stationed their. His army was then bolstered by an uncertain percent the imperial army, who didn't want to die serving a fat lecher, but one loyal man sounded the alarm and the palace was then locked down before they could enter it unopposed. The household guard and the elites of the army then prepared for battle, lead by the two Mao brothers, while the imperial army battled against the rebels lead by Bao, but they did not last long, as the whole city turned against them and they were thrown into disarray, uncertain of who was on who's side.

The first gate held for a night and a half, the younger Mao died their, while Cat Smile accompanied the emperor in his flight. Chaos fell, the empress and what loyal servants remain tried to gather and protect the imperial children from those in the court and attacking army who would sell their corpses or vent their frustrations upon them. On the third night of battle, burning arrows and jars of oil were fired and flung at the castle, as the old guard trained by Tiantunri made a stand at the palaces gate and had successfully repelled a total of three full out assaults.

The wester, eastern, and northern wings of the palace became infernos, whose fire spread to the most fortified rooms and partitions of the palace's many buildings, including the sanctuary the children were ushered to. But this was no intentional, as if by act of god or demon, the winds shifted suddenly and fanned the flame, and encouraged them to spread and grow more fierce. The last of the ghosts died when the exhausted and furious soldiers charged into the now ruined palace, only to find a weeping double waiting for them in the throne room, instead of the villain they had killed so many just to reach.
Cont
>>
>>5445363

Lord Bao was then driven to such a rage, he struck dead the innocent doppelganger, lopping of his head with a single blow. and according to the the dead who gathered their wits quickly after they had died, walked through the burnt halls and rooms of the passages. Though they cannot agree if he wore a horrified expression of guilt and regret or one of sick triumph and exultation. Then after his mysterious, lonesome wandering ended at the former apartments of the imperial family he departed with the forces loyal to him and left the city and what remained of the palace to the crows and ghosts. He didn't order it sacked or looted, or even discuss repairing it with the other nobles who had gathered under his banner of revenge. He just returned to his home to, as far as you can tell, sulk and seethe and send out assassins to find where Long Tiantunri had ran off to.

The fate of the coalition as a whole is uncertain, though it is still active as far as any of the dead can tell, just waiting. Perhaps some of its members have tired of war, and were drained of their vigor when all they had to show for all the bloodshed was dead children and servants, and a fake emperor's head. Who knows? The ghosts certainly don't!

So, then, with chattering teeth and wrapped in a silk blanket, you question the ghosts as to what they believe to be the essence of humanity, what elevates them above common beasts, so you may know the perspective of the dead as is only right, considering you style yourself as their ruler. And the answers you receive are as enlightening as they are varied. None of them give the same answer, and many give two, that which they believed to be true in life and what they now believe in death. You are given a fresh and deeper perspective of humanity, as seen by those who have passed from the mortal coil and all of whom possess different views of the world and life they had left behind. But...when you hear these answers, one by one, you aren't surprised or baffled by them as you would have been when you began your journey. Many you disagree with, but their are none you don't immediatly understand, at least from an outsider perspective.

Even though, you know these thoughts and explanations would've been totally alien and beyond a completely bestial and feral mind, no matter how intelligent and awakened it was. And not only that, hearing learned scholars, trained philosophers and quiet intellects explain what qualities and flaws they view as separating men from beasts, allows you to finally after your long journey, to piece together all of the fragments of the answer you have been seeking concerning the difference between the civilized and tame, man and beast, the hidden essence of human wisdom. It isn't the answer they give, but an insight of a beast, who has stepped out of their hide and lived and laughed and cried with humans, acting as one of them.
Cont
>>
>>5445364

The difference isn't intelligence or the presence of a civilized and ordered society. It isn't delusion. It isn't truth. The simple fact is.
Beast and Men are as similar as they are different. But their worlds are so different, neither can realize. Humans are terrifying, with their fire, great cities and strange behavior. But they still live by their instinct, its just that, unlike beasts, their instincts have voices, and are known as consciousness. That they see the world clear and with more understanding than any beast besides the awakened like your magnificent self, doesn't really matter. They live, they love, they hate, they die. They eat, they kill. They are living creatures, same as any animal. Its just that instead of living alone or in packs, they choose to come together, choose to serve and to work and to rule, and their thoughts are more complex and their goals and ambitions grander than just finding their next meal or mate, they forge belief and faith from nothing, they misunderstand one another, they war, they forgive

Because that is human instinct. Human wisdom. You've always had it. Your instincts, some remain voiceless, but others awoke and began speaking, and became your sense of morality and conscious thought, they day your village burned and your grudge was born and you became Huanliuxue.

When your emotions deepened and became more complex and you could begin to grasp abstract concepts as well as the physical world around you.

What separates Men and Beasts is simply human wisdom. That men experience the world from a place of higher understanding than any normal beast, naturally. That they are always awakened, at least usually, their are exceptions, like Tiantunri probably. They can look at a chunk of stone and make metal, they can envision the future and pursue it. They can reshape the land with tools and diligence, they can contemplate the mysteries of the world, dream of gods that do not exists, and accept ideas that exist in thought alone!

Something you learned to do, no long after you woke up and realized you were Huanliuxue! And now you understand the purpose of the riddles, games and puzzles within the Bestial Edict to Attain- Human Form (兽诏书为高达-人类形式, Shòuzhàoshūwèigāodá-Rénlèixíngshì.). Niu Bingwen, the first Demonic beast to be purposefully created, understood just how close the mountain peaks most beasts placed humanity actually were, and how easily they could be reached!

All it took, was a beast, to shed its wildness and risk being tamed to walk and think like a human. To realize, once their intellects expanded and they became truly sapient, that they were already the same as the strange hairless apes they had looked upon with awe in their previous lives.
Cont
>>
>>5445365

Those games, those puzzles, those riddles, they were all put their to help break down the wall beasts like you put between themselves and civilized man, by instinct. They were their to teach what abstract and unintuitive thought could or had not been learned by simply being given an awakened mind and growing up, as you had under the guidance of Monu.

A continuation of the First awakening's emotional trigger, to reconcile newly found thought and emotion with the common sense of mankind, the common sense of civilization. How to feel human, to realize they are their equals and think and feel and live just as they do, now that they have become magical beasts.

And by this revelation, this insight of both yourself and those you had long held as others, you finally comprehend what you had been overlooking and missing. You are as far separated from the little snow white cat with a notched ear now, as she was from the children who played and cared for her. You're so far elevated above your prior self, not through your cultivation and self refinement and physical changes, but because the day you were soaked in blood, your enmity reworked and refined your mind to equal those of men.

The only difference in how you and Yuyi think...or what had been the only difference, was that you had different instincts and that your three views naturally differed. You may refuse to follow heavenly or human law, but you understand what law is, you just decide to follow natural laws, the order of the beasts and nature. Which, rules you have created yourself! Like the little unborn dragon spirit said, you seek strength to better rule and lead, it is the natural order of things after all. Might makes right and by your might you'd make a place for those outcast like yourself to live and flourish

But you've never believed the weak are prey to the strong, have you? Like that astute and clever little youngster knew. And as you had always felt. You awoke and became who you are now, out of rage that the weak were trampled upon and their corpses cast aside like trash by those stronger than them.

And it is this insight, that makes you realize, why no magical beast has become seen just how close they stand to humanity, despite their differences of thought, instinct, and world view.

Because of the tyranny of the heavens. Because of the Celestial Mandate naming them demons and beast. Because, they are hunted and kept from humanity, and never taught how to be more than the beasts they were, with just a little more cunning and wit. Your people are reduced to live stock and monster, because they can never realize they are more than that, because even though they are are smart and complex as any human, they are treated like the wild animals they were or worse! Like poor Yùjījiǎo!
Cont
>>
>>5445368

She was a child, who thought she was doing good and being rewarded for her service of protecting those who traveled to her oasis or past it. And she had her head cut off and never understood what she was punished for.

Huili wasted his potential, only ever seeing humans as prey as he always had, cause his only company was his pack of unenlightened wolves! Even now, he still acts more bestial than the rest, cause you recruited him by force. Like how a wolf takes control of a pack.

Chuandapo is lazy, like any other turtle and never realized the damages she caused and fear she spread by taking the catches of fishing boats or using her innate magic to churn the waters of the many rivers of the Chuan's lands to catch herself an easy meal.

But Siwang. Siwang was like you. the emotion that made him the bright child he was outrage. Indignant, horrified and saddened to see a man hanged for a crime he did not commit. And he, of all of your furred, feathered and scaled disciples, is the smartest and most disciplined! And in fact, he might've had an easier time obtaining a human form than yourself! He understood justice, long before you separated it from revenge and retribution. His first, conscious thoughts were "How could they be so blind, he committed no crime"

While yours were something like "I'll kill all of them for what they had done

Quite the difference.

Once you had processed this information, and dealt with the burst of rage and indignation that came to you when you realized the full extent of the cultivation worlds oppression of your people and subject, you gave the gathered ghosts an offer

"Please, allow me to give you the privilege to guide you to whatever awaits you, be it hell or reincarnation, as thanks for satisying my curiosity" You say sweetly. All but two of them accept.

The Empress and Mao's brother.

"I won't leave until I see my husband killed for what he has done...but please, guide both my and his children to the next life, they should not remain chained to me here" She said with tears in her one eye

"I have a duty to my brother, I never saw him have kids, so I shall remain until he does, or He dies to" He said plainly "Which ever comes first"

And so, you send most of them off with Ghost Empress Melody's ethereal song. And find yourself alone with Yuyi, the Empress, and Mao's brother.

And then, in the now much warmer room, you begin to deeply question how the previous emperor appeared to you. It is a question you have to meditate on and even then you find no answers, besides maybe his imperial birth allowed him privledges no other soul would have or that he in someway possessed inherent divinity by being emperor. That'd explain why he was with a cloud goddess. Maybe he hadn't found the great wheel at all, and instead became something of a petty god, and stepped down to speak on behalf of his slain descendants.
Cont
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>>5445370

That would explain how he could seemingly sense and measure the weight of your karma and read your intentions. He certainly seemed surprised you were, despite the circumstance of your birth and the world you found yourself in, a good person with her own set of morals and virtues.

There is a commotion outside your quarters and you find your maids have gathered inside it while you allowed Yuyi to have her body as you pondered the mysterious ghost of the last emperor. And that several hours had passed and it was now night.

And Qiang was standing beside you, with a fresh coating of blood, some of it dripping down her hair. And that she was dressed in the uniform of the emperor's household guard, black, red and ferocious

Oh! It had begun!

What do you do, Huanliuxue?

>Praise Qiang, and then follow the Dian brothers, to watch them as they make their way through the palace and have their fateful confrontation with Tiantunri

>Tell your student you've found your answers, and that you trust her to get Yuyi and her maids out of the palace alive. Return to your body and face the last hurdle between you and obtaining a human form (DC of trial lowered further by the write in question, and you still have that massive +135 bonus to your next cultivation or training role)

>Comfort the maids, thanking them for their company and care and try to find out what is transpiring without leaving the safety of your quarters

>Decide you need to know if Lord Bao is a villain or not, and possess one of the Dian brothers to ask...and take part in their fight

>Wait, where's Yongzheng! You need to find your assistant!

>write in

Going to do my damndest to shatter the void and get an update out by 24 hours or two days time. I'll strive to get a regular rhythm back to this quest.
>>
>>5445372
>Wait, where's Yongzheng! You need to find your assistant!
>>
>>5445372
>ask Qiang to escort Yuyi out
>look for Yongzheng

and if there's still time after that
>witness the emperor's demise in ghost form. Do not interfere.
>>
>>5445372
>Decide you need to know if Lord Bao is a villain or not, and possess one of the Dian brothers to ask...and take part in their fight
>>
>>5445372
>Wait, where's Yongzheng! You need to find your assistant!
>Praise Qiang, and then follow the Dian brothers, to watch them as they make their way through the palace and have their fateful confrontation with Tiantunri
>>
Also, after we deal with these loose ends, I think it's time to go back home and get that human form, the DC is tiny and the bonus is gigantic, even if we get a 1 we would still pass by leaps and bounds. I wonder if we would get something extra for preparing so thoroughly
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>>5445606
Start arguing about what we'll look like now to save the time for later.
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>>5445635
what's there to argue? We'll look like Qiangs cougar mom.
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>>5445635
Easy
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>>5445645
Oh no, you were quicker with the joke
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>>5445647
But I like your visuals lol
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>>5445635
I still am partial to Orin. She looks cougarish enough.
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>>5445635
>>5445645
>>5445646
I still prefer out girl’s human form more reminiscent of Huanliuxue's favorite coat.
I plan on getting something done that mighy help illustrate what I'm talking about, but we'll see when or if it comes out before the time comes
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>>5445651
>Cat ears and Human ears
Close, but I'd veto just for that if I had the ability.
>>
Does anyone know how to use one of those AI art programs? We could ask our machine overlords their opinions on how Hu(m)an should look like.
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>>5445655
I'm sure we both know what you'd receive if you asked for such a request...
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>>5445658
Actually, I don't want the giga boobs people are making. It doesn't fit Huan's style.
I just have no ideas and I'm morbidly curious what abomination asking for a royal cultivator redhead catgirl would make.
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>>5445658
It's simple, we EAT the Huanliuxue.
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>>5445645
kek

>>5445606
It'll certainly be exciting, been itching to write it since Huan began her studying for it

>>5445646
Oh nice!

>>5445658
The cat on the right cat girl's shoulder is surprisingly coherently "Drawn"

>>5445665
kek


Going to try and end the vote in 12ish hours, or the same time Sunday, so around 1 am ish.
>>
Goddamn, I finally caught up with the Quest and i'm loving it, but I have a question

Wasn't the plan to go with our body to the Lord's room with the soul sealing Jar and some normal Jar to grab his soul and blood? I mean, from the options I fill that the assasination is going to happen either option we choose off-camera, unless the Dian brothers struggle enough for us to go and have everything prepared when they kill him. Either way, I still like the idea to search for Yongzheng
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>>5445984
That was certainly an idea floating around. Though I don't remember it being a conclusive decision by everyone to do it. Even so, people may be more concerned about what has happened to ol Yonny boy than getting potential mats.

Besides, his soul is probably rotten from all the bad karma he has attained so I doubt it will have much if any inherent divinity left in it.
>>
>>5445388
Support

Gotta watch out for our people.
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>>5445372
Don't know if this is the right time for Yuyi to leave...
>Praise Qiang, then ask her to momentarily and discreetly look after Yuyi.
>Look for Yongzheng to both make sure he's okay and to inform him of the situation.
>Witness the demise of the emperor.
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>>5445372
>Praise Qiang, and then Comfort the maids, thanking them for their company and care and try to find out what is transpiring without leaving the safety of your quarters
Oh and find Yongzheng! Send Qiang to do it, as if she didn't do enough, but we can't simply leave all the loyal maids to die of fright.
>>
>>5445984
It's why I voted for what I did here
>>5445422
>>
>>5445388
+1
>>
>>5446116
While we wait for the update, let's talk about Yuyi mutations

I think we could completly cure her from her physical change, and maybe see if Huan theory about the remaking of Dantian and Meridians because of our essence it's true

We could use our Blood Qi, tap in her lineage (if we're curious enough) and modify her body to be exactly like before (except her more feline-like body and physic that she has now, maybe she would truly like that) After all, we did that with our first Blood Qi training to make some normal birds into predators because we tapped some thinks in their ADM. Plus, she's basically the "patient 0" with our essence in her bloodline, we could easily erase the Primordial Beast Essence from her and be cool
>>
>>5446121
Her boyfriend is probably going to like catgirl Yuyi, not only does the Chuan region worship Huan, but Fu's town does it even more.
>>
>>5445388
Supporting.
>>
>>5445422
+1. Still want the emperor's mats.

>>5446121
It seems a worthy experiment. Even if we do nothing to her, taking a look into her blood should inform us of how delicate or changeable these traits are.
>>
By the way this line
>And in fact, he might've had an easier time obtaining a human form than yourself!
Made me think again of giving the edict to Siwang after we are done with it, since he will have an easier time, and both getting a human form and better understanding human thoughts might help speed up with his self made justice cultivation by a lot.
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>>5445370
>She was a child, who thought she was doing good and being rewarded for her service of protecting those who traveled to her oasis or past it. And she had her head cut off and never understood what she was punished for.
>
>Huili wasted his potential, only ever seeing humans as prey as he always had, cause his only company was his pack of unenlightened wolves! Even now, he still acts more bestial than the rest, cause you recruited him by force. Like how a wolf takes control of a pack.
>
>Chuandapo is lazy, like any other turtle and never realized the damages she caused and fear she spread by taking the catches of fishing boats or using her innate magic to churn the waters of the many rivers of the Chuan's lands to catch herself an easy meal.
I feel bad about these students of Huanliuxue's. We should do right by them, as their martial teacher/mom and teach them better after we finish this adventure and achievement.
>>5445372
>Decide you need to know if Lord Bao is a villain or not, and possess one of the Dian brothers to ask...and take part in their fight
>Wait, where's Yongzheng! You need to find your assistant!
>>
Ending the vote now, tallying the result. The Cha Qi empowers me (I am drinking tea)

Wait, where's Yongzheng! You need to find your assistant!:10
Have dutiful Qiang find him: 1

ask Qiang to escort Yuyi out: 4
asl her to look after her:1

witness the emperor's demise in ghost form Do not interfere:5

Decide you need to know if Lord Bao is a villain or not, and possess one of the Dian brothers to ask...and take part in their fight:2

Praise Qiang:4

follow the Dian brothers, to watch them as they make their way through the palace and have their fateful confrontation with Tiantunri:2

Comfort the maids, thanking them for their company and care and try to find out what is transpiring without leaving the safety of your quarters:1

So you'll suddenly realize Yongzheng isn't around, and go looking for him, fearing he might've found some trouble

Update will arrive shortly
>>
Almost done with the update. Its huge. Titanic even. And includes Feiqing, Ping and...a surprise guest. Stay tuned
>>
So, counted up the number of parts I'll have to split this update into, as well as the total word count.

it'll take 13 posts, and consists of 6624 words. It is the largest update the quest has seen thus far
>>
And it sounded like more than the Dian brothers were fighting against the emperor's men, unless they had swallowed all of the diluted but still very valuable divine blood honey medicines you had instructed Qiang to give to them in case they were willing to risk their bodies in their bid to slay the flea ridden dog of an emperor Tiantunri was. Even with the flickering wind pellet, three men couldn't be moving quickly enough to make the song of steel meeting steel you hear just beyond the doors leading to the apartment you, Yuyi, your maids and loyal and brave Qiang are currently in, crowded into one far too small room with two ghosts that only you, Yuyi, Qiang and Yongzheng could see. Frowning, you lean forward and rest your cheek on your knuckles, quickly running through the information you've gathered from the surroundings and company you woke up to, feeling that something about all this was wrong but you were unable to pin down what exactly it was that was.

Your lovely maids are here, cowering like the tend to do, shivering from fear and the presence of the unseen dead. Qiang is here, dressed in the uniform of a guard she probably killed in some shadowy hallway, and the blood of at least a handful more of the unfortunate man's comrades. Yuyi is surprisingly calm and in good spirits, almost cheerfull. Probably because she was trying to comfort the maids you share, who after seeing how brave "she" was in confronting the trio of Bao soldiers, then to flock behind her like ducklings whenever something frightening or dangerous is going on. And she was still in a good, content mood, despite the fact that she, like you or Qiang could clearly here the din of the battle being fought just outside of the wing of rooms you had spent the most of the day and night inside to avoid the scummy pervert emperor's gross gaze. That was probably because she knew Qiang from Fu's Village, maybe not as a personal friend or all too well, but surely she had met her before and if not, Fu or Hong or maybe Lanfen would've told her everything about her if she hadn't already heard of the legend she had made for herself before she met Fu.

Okay, that explains one oddity that was bothering you, but the uncertain feeling of wrongess still persists. You run down the list of what you've noticed in the moments following the end of your hours long meditation. Trembling Maids, happy Yuyi, Blood Covered Qiang, sounds of a ferocious brawl, The ghosts of the empress and Mao Weixiao's brother. Wait, the ghosts. The maids can feel the chill of their Ghostly Yin Qi, but they cannot see them. Only you, Qiang, Yuyi and Yongzheng could. Yongzheng. Where is Yongzheng! He had his own quarters close by, but now he is no where to be found! And the maids slept in an entirely different wing of the palace! Where was your assistant!

"Where's Yongzheng!" You gasp, the realization of what or rather who was missing striking you like a hammer to the forehead.
Cont
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"Huuunh?" Qiang drawled, throwing back her head to look at you, her eyes glowing with joy as she realizes its you whose talking now, rather than Yuyi.

"Ah, Lady Hua...Yuyi" She says dully, sharply stopping to correct herself, while you scowled and furrowed your brow and scrunched your nose at her to show her your displeasure now that you had no tail to rapidly flick back and forth or fur to bristle "Is that the name of that young monk I ran into earlier? Shaved Bald, kind of rude and brazen for a Buddhist, smells of medicinal herbs, incense and cat fur, with a bit of spiritual energy working through his meridians"

Qiang lifted her sword in its sheath, eyes still alight with the simple pleasure of a pupil in the presence of their master. A dense silence fell, like old congee in a bowl

"Miss Huanliuxue? Did Qiang kill Mr Yongzheng?" Yuyi quietly asked after a few moments had passed. That is very much a possibility, or would be if Qiang wasn't a good girl who wouldn't randomly cut down a monk just because they met her eyes or crossed her path, even when she was a killer for hire

'of course not' You huff in your thoughts, crossing your arms and looking up to Qiang's tired eyes "And where was he heading?"

"How should I know? I only knew the layout of the old imperial palace and not even that well" she answers dryly, shrugging her shoulders "This one is confusing, built to confuse even trained assassins like myself. Well, those who most would considered skilled at least, someone like myself would have no problem finding their way through it but...well, I don't know which hall leads well. Sorry I'm not being helpful Lady Hu..Yuyi. I just saw him, and stepped past him, didn't think he was important enough to talk to"

"Qiaaaang~" You whine and pout as your student bows her head, looking a little ashamed "Why would a villain like the emperor have a Buddhist monk in his home~! of course he was important! Important to me! He's helped me save quite a few lives and made medicines I couldn't be bothered to dirty my hands making myself!"

"Ah, that'd explain the medicinal and cat smells that hung around him" She remarks dully, as if that was some great revelation "Sorry. I've never given much attention to monks or priests. They're like living shadows to my eyes"

"Its alright, there's no way you could've realized the brats true worth. So you have nothing to be ashamed of" You grumble, now standing and pacing atop your bed "Still this is annoying, he has something of an attitude, and might get himself killed if he's doing what I think he's doing?"

"Trying to play hero?" Qiang correctly guesses, her eyes following your closely as you pace back and forth on the plush bedding and sink into the soft mattress with every step "And, I could tell he had some experience with that staff of his, but that I could also cut him down with a single move if we fought. But that's the only kind of worth I can gauge instinctively, martial prowess and fighting ability"

Cont
>>
>>5447354

it was then you noticed the stares of your maids, who had distanced themselves from Qiang after she had offhandedly, and without thinking, refered to herself as an assassin. And were now wonder why their kindly and caring lady Yuyi would know such a crooked person as a hired killer. But they wisely bit their tongues and said nothing, fearing perhaps that Qiang was the sort to be easily offended and violent when insulted. She wasn't. She was a good girl after all, with a very even and calm temperament despite her brooding and dour looks. Actually, thinking about it, Qiang's kind of emotionless expression and cold eyes would make her seem like a thug to those who don't know her.

"Because he's my assistant and he's in touch with the world of spirits and gods" You say through your teeth, as Qiang rubs her chin under the loose fitting tiger mask she's wearing

"Yeah, that makes sense, sensed a bit of spiritual energy in him. But I couldn't tell if it was enough for me to, ya know, pay attention to where he was heading, forgive me for my lack of foresight" Qiang sighs, leaning her head and neck to the side "Is he a doctor like Yuyi?"

The maids now looked confused by what must seem like a hardened murderer with a heart of ice talking cutesy and childlike to their gentle natured saintess. When actually, Qiang just forgot that she is supposed to be talking to Yuyi and not Huanliuxue. She's wasn't a good actor at all. The poor things must feel like their worlds have turned upside down

"Yes, and he's very useful. And I was curious to learn why his eyes can see past the veil that blinds so many to the truths of the world" You complain, pouting still "And despite his sharp tongue, he was actually a very nice buddhist"

"Want me to find him?" Qiang asked "Couldn't have gotten far, and there isn't anyone in this palace who could really give me a challenge if they got in my way. Though, I suppose it isn't my place to wet my blade, this night of all nights"

The maids looked to you, having been staring at your student, and now are waiting for an answers of any kind, like they were watching some kind of trashy play like the kind Monu likes and were waiting for the next unnecessary twist in its plot.

"No I..I feel faint, please, protect me and my servants from whatever lies beyond that door, making that awful racket" You say, trying to sound like Yuyi does when she's on edge

"I do not sound so dramatic" Yuyi criticizes "or talk in so airy a manner, wait, are"

And Yuyi goes to sleep from the shock of you suddenly leaving her body. Qiang's attention follows you up as you rise from Yuyi's unconscious body, which relieves the maids, who immediatly set about fanning and touching Yuyi's wrist to measure her pulse. They must think she has a frail constiution with how often they've seen her collapse and faint with no apparent cause. Hopefully that isn't a reputation that sticks with Yuyi, like you hope the fame of saving an emperor will.
Cont
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>>5447356

"Understood" She says plainly, taking a single phantom cat step to clear the room and stand guard at the door. As you walk through the wall, her eyes follow you still

"By the way, Teacher" She whispers "I do remember where I met him, and what direction he was going"

"Oh thank you, that'll help me find him and get him out of whatever trouble he's searching for...hopefully, humans are such frail creatures" You say kindly, making Qiang beam with pride as you saunter past her

"Oh. I nearly forgot! why does Yuyi have fangs?" She asked, thankfully not raising her voice above a whisper, thus protecting Yuyi from the maids' curiosity

"Eh, it's a long story" You swiftly answer trying to avoid the question "I'll tell you when we've left this stinking den of sin! Okay! Then its decided! We'll talk about the mysterious changes of Yuyi's body at a later date! When I have time to waste on such a trifle. "

"Shouldn't she..." Qiang asks quietly, looking back at the sleeping Yuyi sprawled out on the bed

"She's noticed, trust me" You answer before she can continue "But its a private matter, and quite a complex subject, so it'll wait until we're back to the temple, and she isn't around"

Your disciple shrugs, accepting your decision without fuss. You leave her at her post, after she tells you where she had met Yongzheng and vaguely where he was heading.

And no sooner do you float out of the apartments, do you see some of Mao's men, fighting a bunch of weirdos in masks. Cultists of some kind? Well they aren't any of the Dian brothers, and some of them are missing their heads already which is probably Qiang's doing. In fact, you can trace her path through the mob rather clearly. Though how she convinced the rest of Mao's men she was one of them is a mystery that'd baffle even the most learned of scholars for decade. Maybe they didn't think to stop her and ask who she was in the chaos of the fighting.

Yeah, that was probably it. They'd have to be crazy to question a soldier who decapitated nine men in a single bound, who seemed to be on their side of the fighting. That didn't explain the masked cultists, but they weren't important, probably and far beneath the notice of one as great as yourself

Besides, finding Yongzheng was much more important than wondering why someone would want to murder Emperor Long Tiantunri. Even that kindly old monk Shoushan would probably have to hold himself back from strangling the worthless sack of meat if he spent any time at all in his company

Cont
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>>5447358

[Meanwhile, on the outskirts of the forge devil's furnace]

Feiqing, exhausted and delirious from his tireless work forging the fallen star and battling to break out of this piece of hell thrust onto the earth, marched triumphant out of the scorched badlands known as the forge devil's furnace. His diligent work to refine the meteorite worshiped as a god into a useable ingot of Falling Star metal, without stopping to rest or even eat, had allowed to cut the time of the refinement down from months to just two...or was it one. It was hard to keep track of time in a land where the sun was hidden by smoke and noxious fumes. It did not matter, it did not matter even if he was wrong and had instead spent years using his now blackened arms to shape the metal as it took in and absorbed the mystical and cursed energies of the land or even if he took decades as he removed those same impurities and refined the Qi of the fallen star iron as he condensed and reforged it dozens if not hundreds of thousands of times.

All that mattered, was that he held a polish sphere of the precious, Qi rich metal. The key to his breakthrough into the next stage of cultivation. And that did bring a smile to his face. With his steel claw artifact tied loosely to his free hand, he walked freely from the lands of cults and lingering devils, as proud as a king. How pleased his teacher would be, to hear of his success! How proud his brothers, Lei and Ping would be, to see him transcend and join Huanliuxue in the foundation establishment stage, in a fraction of the time it would've took any cultivator of his skill in any other sect.

'Yes', Feiqing thought to himself, 'the palace of natural laws sect is truly ascendant even though it was only founded a few years ago truly our success proves just how good of a teacher Huanliuxue is!'

He paused, looking forlornly back over the blasted hellscape that had been his zone for...who knows how long. He needed food and rest, but he couldn't fall asleep with such a precious material in his hand. He could rest when he was back home, at the underground temple, where no thief could take his prize. Where he'd be showered by praise by Grandmother Monu and Lady Huanlixue. So he kept himself awake with his own thoughts, deciding if he became desperate enough, he'd stab the fire enriched tiger fang claws he kept into his thigh, to force himself awake if thought his thoughts would not be enough to stave off the sleep he had chased away for...for a long time.
Cont
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>>5447360

'Ping has probably already gotten home now. My brother, once so suspicious, has truly become worthy of the mantle of heretic. He's grown so close with Lady Huanliuxue, once he realize she wasn't some man eating beast. He's probably styled himself under a new name, to cast aside his old ties and life, now that he's entered the same realm as our honored teacher. Maybe Monu has found a way to continue her advanced cultivation! Who knows, maybe their are juniors waiting for me, whom I have yet to meet'
Feiqing rambled in his mind, holding his core of star iron close to his chest 'Maybe Ping has become a teacher as well, he is certainly the type to teach and take some of the duties to do so from Huanliuxue, she wouldn't even need to ask, he is always willingly and happy to repay the debt he owes her. I can't wait to see what has become of him, after his journey!"
_
[Meanwhile, were corpses are piled, the Half Ghoul faces the Patchwork Demon, standing fiercely above the wayward of the radiant son, The showdown between the two forsaken disciples of the Winter Blossoming Wisdom sect becomes a duel between heretics]

"Impressive, little brother" Jingyu bellowed as his shadow fell over Ping, who was now the only one besides the monster left standing. He held Qinxin's sword in his normal hand, while his ghost arm twitched and roiled with negative Yin Qi, black lines running down it in scriptures mocking Buddhist mantra and Daoist code. The whispers of the dead whose breath Ping had cultivated upon. It was cold as ice, and marred with scars.

Ping spat blood and a tooth in the patchwork monster's eyes, snarling like an animal as he lifted the blade and ran his bleed dead arm over it, coating it in vile black blood that boiled upon the metal still infused with the golden Qi of his defeated companion, who laid at his feet. Broken but still breathing. The others...were dead, and Jingyu was already working two of their bodies into his to repair the wounds left behind by the hits Ping had landed. The legs of the lady cultivator, cut in two, were being reshaped into an arm to replace the one Ping had destroyed early. Bones snapped and flesh tore as Jingyu stood before him, only one monsterous cleave held in two of his grossly oversized hands. The other had been broken by Qinxin. He threw himself at the beast to guard Ping from an otherwise fatal blow, using that scarf of his to wrap around the Man-Cutter, before shatter it with a combination of fire and metal qi spells, fueled by not only his Qi reserves but his own eternal energy. His friend had given everything in him to protect him, even though he knew he should've been his enemy by all rights

"Oh fuck off, you have no right to call me, the student of the empress of the dead and wild things your brother, junior or elder" Ping spat back "Spirit possessed fool"
Cont
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>>5447361

"I'm trying to be nice Ping" Jingyu sighed, shrugging and stretching out his newly made arm and hand. It took a moment for Ping to remember that was his name, and not Rejungui "I am honestly amazed by your performance! You and I are the same, talentless, without a chance in the world to cultivate, tricked by those greedy, conceited bastards, to work and toil for those few who were blessed by the gods"

"Shut up" Ping hissed "You and I are nothing alike, you deluded animal. I was blind like you remain, that is true. I may be a heretic, but I am no practitioner of diabolism, such as yourself"

"That arm of yours says otherwise" the patchwork demon purred, leaning closer and daring Ping to strike "I want it! I want it. But my mentor says it would kill me, despite the eleven hearts I have beating in my chest"

"It was gift, and reminder of my youthful naivety" He said, transferring the sword to his ghoul arm. He had a plan. He'd make a night lantern with his living hand, and shatter it with the now Yin Infused Sword in his right, ghostly arm. A trick like the one Qinxin pulled off, use the opposed elements to create a backlash of chaotic energy, an explosive dissonance of Yin and Yang forcefully merged together. Fitting, considering the opponent he now faced

"Sure, sure, what ever lie you tell yourself. You're just like me, just too stupid to take power when its right there for the taking. That friend of yours...he has some marvelous spiritual roots, an uncommon physique. If you drained him of blood, or took the marrow of his bones, you could stand a chance to fight me. So why do you waste time protecting the one who is going to stab you right in the back when this is done?" Jingyu taunted as Ping waited for him to get close enough for him to try the technique he "or what of his eyes, with how they glitter like gold? they must be special...Eh, what do you mean focus!"

The Night Lantern was created, and then shattered, as being threw the sphere of flame butterflies at Jingyu's monsterous face, even they were enshrouded by Yin Qi, and began to lose their shape. An explosion of powdered snow, globs of blood and flesh and pink mist where the snow and gore met, exploded from the twisted mass that stood before him and called him brother. A shriek, inhuman and keening, pierced his ears. Ping, nearly, deafened, charged forward and began slashing. It was a fierce exchange of blows, claws and smaller hands wielding sickles burst from Jingyu's torn guts, as his larger hands covered his burning face.

Sparks flew, as sword met these sickles and claws, as the half ghoul fought like he was the one possessed by a demon. Half of his vision went dark, as his sword broke apart in half, slivers of metal flying as a hand emerged from the now clay like and flowing flesh of Jingyu as he cried and back peddles. It was coated in ice, and had grabbed hold of the blades edge freezing it while it was still glowing red from his lantern smashing stunt.
Cont
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>>5447363

The stress was too much, and when he instinctively pulled back his living arm to cover his face, the apparently retreating Jingyu had began his own assault, taking advantage of the opening to retaliate and give his answer to the dozen of bleeding cuts Ping had given him. Cuts that were sapping the malformed giant of not only his blood but his very life, as the Ghost Qi sapped away his monstrous vitality. Something even absorbing other's corpses could not heal

'Oh, I lost an eye" Ping thought calmly, as he stomped his foot forward, and without thinking, sunk his teeth into the titanic fist he had dodged by his aggressive movement and refusal to take another step back. Skin hard like leather tore a few of his teeth out, but, having learned from watching his teacher, those that resisted being torn out from Jingyu's punch moving forward, sunk into the stolen, patchwork of muscle and tore it free from its seems.

"RAAAAGH!" Jingy roared, sweeping his arm over, slamming into Ping and tossing him high into the air as blood sprayed from his wound, and bits of his lifeforce hung in Ping's mouth with the putrid meat he had bit off. Congealed blood poured down his chin and soaked onto his chest, dying the ends of his long, whitened hair red.

There was a snap. He hit a tree. It broke, and so did something inside him him. the world rolled around him, as he bounced off the ground several times and slid across the ground with enough force to create a trench.

Ping swallowed Jingyu's flesh, to absorb the Spiritual energy inside it. Like a demonic beast would. The ground shook, and he saw the great shadow of Jingyu charging him, on all fours, having forgotten about the defeated Qinxin, and driven to a rage to attack the man who had dared to wound him from a manner he couldn't recover from. Jingyu, despite being stronger than Ping, realized he held one advantage. As Jingyu didn't want to kill him, as the demon inside him had commanded him to take Ping alive, on whim or sick desire to do worse than kill him. And that allowed Ping to fight recklessly, Allowing him to wear down the brute by infusing his attacks with the Death aligned Qi in his arm. Like Huanliuxue could. She probably had a proper technique for it, but Ping couldn't follow her path, no matter how hard he tried to.

But that was not the advantage only advantage he held. Jingyu, so confident in his stolen power and monstrous form, would think that stealing away his lifeforce and killing his patchwork flesh with bursts of directed Ghostly Yin Qi was the only threat Ping posed to him, recognizing such a technique could be his downfall. And without understanding how his glancing blows and shallow slashes were making him feel so weak, no matter how many bodies he ate up or flesh he shifted around and repurposed, Jingyu's only counter would be overwhelming Ping with his inhuman strength. Risking killing him. Risking his patron's anger.

But Jingyu was wrong. That wasn't Ping's advantage.
Cont
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He had learned enough, from Huanliuxue and Monu, to figure out one of the techniques he could learn from the Sect's only "original" law. Happy to Shed blood's own Ruler of the Great Wheel's Law (统治者的这重大轮回法律, Tǒngzhìzhědīzhèzhòngdàlúnhuífǎlǜ), own form of the humble Barrier spell. the Dying Grudge Shield (垂死怨怼㕹,Chuísǐyuànduìfá)

He had looked on in wonder when she had first used it in his sight, fighting that bloated, dragon eating toad...whom she then glutted herself on for reasons that still allude the exorcist. This modified protection spell absorbed the forces thrown against it, before increasing and strengthening it within itself by several magnitudes, before releasing it again at its source, much more powerful than before. It was a simple spell to learn. All he had to do, was use only the Qi in his ghost arm to create it

He had a broken leg. His stomach was torn open. He had lost an eye. All the fingers on his pale arm were shattered. His left arm had a gash from his elbow to his armpit. Several pieces of his spine were severed. He probably had concussion if not a cracked skull. Several of his organs were bruised or damaged, and he could barely force himself to stand from the hole Jingyu had thrown him into and he'd only have one chance to turn this battle around from near defeat to surprise victory.

And all it rested upon the black shield he kept hidden, just for the moment of this desperate, final gamble. He only had once chance. He had been fighting this bastard for days, nearly a whole week. And no matter how much blood he lost, how much flesh was cut from him, he kept regenerating. Even when he had taken enough life force to kill a dozen men, Jingyu still stood tall, seemingly unconquerable. But, Ping had formulated a plan, once the interlopers from his old sect were struck dead and stiched onto Jingyu's patchwork body. While he and Qinxin fought alone against the body stealing demon, as fire, lighting and pitch black destruction filled the air, Ping realize.

They couldn't win as they were. Even two against one, or six against one. Jingyu would win the battle, even if the other four cultivators had decided to fight alongside Ping and Qinxin for the common goal of subjugating the corpse eating fiend. Ping glared at the shadow flying towards him, as the human flesh in his stomach began to break down and renew his waning internal energy and drained reserves of spiritual energy. None of them had a chance of facing this beast and walking away alive, together or alone. He was in the foundation establishment stage. Just like Huanliuxue. In the modern era of the world of cultivation, that was a rarity. Even in his own sect, only Huanliuxue and her mother had reached or surpassed it, and only he and Feiqing approached it. Worse, Jingyu was bloated with the organs, spiritual roots, muscles, viscera, skin, physique and bloodlines of who knows how many cultivators of Ping's level or higher.
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>>5447367

He just wasn't a foe that could be bested by anything besides another monster. Huanliuxue could do it, he was sure. But Ping? He was a novice to her prodigy. And had no demon teaching him vile mystical arts to steal the mystical inheritances and innate attributes of others.

Yes, Ping could not beat Jingyu. But Jingyu could beat Jingyu. And that was the one chance Ping had to grasp victory from the bloody jaws of defeat. It was risky, and he knew he was staring death in the eyes. But his pride as a student of the princess of beasts would not let him retreat, and his bond with Qinxin would not let him abandoned him to the hunger of this abomination. So he stood. Bruised, bleeding and broken. Feeling the earth buckle and break as Jingyu charged him like a bull, dragging his cleaver through the icy ground, as the arms that wielded it became shielded by an armor of smaller, arms that errupted from them like hairs, interlocking and weaving together with stiches that moved like lines of ant.

Ping held up his ghost arm and began to chant a mantra. Gripping the remains of Qinxin's swords, it stood in for the prayer beads he had lost sometime earlier.

Closing his eyes. He trusted his spiritual sense. Felt the hot breath of the corpse stealing ogre. And errected the dying grudge shield the moment before he swung his remaining Man cutter in an arc, to cut away Ping's lower half and ensure he'd stop struggling.

There was a loud crack, as crude iron met raw, destructive Qi. Ping opened his eyes, and Met Jingyu's and the pale blue ghost fox trying to hold the monstrosity at bay. It must've realized his scheme.

There was a flash of light and noise. And Ping felt himself lift from his body as it was tossed through the air by the gale winds and tearing forces whipped up by the unrestrained blast of the dying grudge shield breaking and unleashing its payload of explosive power. It had been cut in half by the cleaver. But the moment it had held against it was enough to gather, multiply and release the kinetic force of being struck. Which was so powerful, it flattened the forest and sunk the now cleared ground into the earth. And threw the helpless bodies of both combatants about, as if a tornado had taken both of them
...
...
Cont
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>>5447370
...
...
Ping opened his eyes, and saw a fox. He was sitting against a tree, wrapped in cotton bandages. half of his face, chest and one thigh and leg felt raw and he felt none of his skin in those place. His living arm was stiff, and when he clenched his fist, found he was missing half of his pinky and a quarter of his middle finger. The fox, ethereal, leapt from him and considered him for a moment. It held in its mouth, the strange charm Monu had given him, a pouch filled with dried toad skins and crushed centipedes. Something she told him not to show to Huanliuxue or anyone else. Enraged, he tried to stand, and take it back, but froze, as he saw Jingyu, still alive.

As he was before he made himself a monster, laying in the center of a twitching pile of flesh. His eyes, red except for a ring of black, fangs jutting from his jaw and fox ears on either side of his head. He was panting and glaring murderously at Ping. Except, his flesh was pink. Like a newborn. and his eyes were wrong, mis-matched. They were the eyes of an elder sister Ping had new.

Ping gasped in horror, turning pale as he realized Jingyu had turned his pathwork body into a demonic womb, when it was wounded beyond repair, and must've taken the best of the body parts he had pilfered to remake himself. Despite being blow apart, reduced to mushed guts and splattered flesh

Jingyu was still able to fight. Through some demonic technique. He had regenerated even from that mortal blow.

"You died" Jingyu said, sitting up, naked and covered only by his own entrails and sloughing flesh "I felt you pass. What a disgusting creature you....What do you mean, stop fighting? He can't stand, he died for four minutes and is missing half his fucking skin. He's finished. We can take him and...Okay"

Jingyu listened to the silent fox, that vanished inside his chest, and he stood and just...walked away. Ping blinked, feeling outraged, insulted and more than anything humilated.

He hung his head, and saw a second pair of legs beside his own

"Qinxin!?" He shouted, as he saw his friend, bloodied and wounded, but still alive, resting beside him.

"Rejungui...you must really be a ghost to still be alive" He said faintly "I don't know why that Fox Demon and its dog spared us but...we should be dead, we failed, and that monster still haunts the woods. We should kill ourselves, to maintain at least some of our dignity"

"Bright Heart, you're a fool" Ping laughed, a cold glint in his eye as he finally had the presence of mind to draw the connection between Monu, Jingyu and himself, beyond their former ties to The Winter blossoming wisdom sect and status as heretics, apostates and outlaws "We lost the battle, yes, but I've just realized...how we may succeed, when we next encounter the beast"

"You heretics are mad! They were right" Qinxin laughed, slapping Ping on the back "To face such a horror and be hungry to rematch it. It must be insanity! Insanity I can't help but admire. "
Cont
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>>5447372
_
Feqing has broken through his bottleneck and is ready to attempt to breakthrough into the foundation establishment stage. Ping's brush with death has broken his bottleneck, but he must recover before he can count up his gains and move forward
_
[Meanwhile, back in the Palace of the Trash Emperor, Huanliuxue found her assistant]

Yongzheng was in over his head, you expected as much. You however, did not expect him to be in as much danger as you found him in. It turns out, despite Mao's beliefs the imperial family had not been entirely ignored by their former allies in the world of cultivation. The righteous sects of the world had not turned away from them entirely, they were simply preoccupied fighting amongst themselves, apparently.

But they still payed enough attention to them and the mortal realm, to, say, notice if something strange was happening in around them. Like say, a divine soul briefly decending to earth or say a great quantity of Ghostly Yin Energy suddenly appearing and disappearing or perhaps even the arrival of three assassins. Yes! Yes! It had to be that! This wasn't your fault at all! they were just interfering where they had no business to. A little, much humbler voice beneath your boisterous and ever present ego wondered if that was true, then why did Yongzheng run into trouble instead of the three Dian Brothers, but you ignored this thought completely.

Why she was here, didn't matter, what mattered was the murderer of poor jade horn, the beater of Fu, Qiang and Hong and the daughter of Lord Ling himself, was standing, towering and red eyed in the hallway, breathing heavily like she was in heat, as she loomed like...well an ogress over both Yongzheng and Mao Weixiao. Who was confronting Yongzheng with several soldiers, as Yongzheng, unaware of your plan to kill the emperor, had apparently decided to stop being a pacifist for a night and had decided to try and lend his aid to the Dian brothers, who had wisely avoided the battle junkie bitch now panting like she was in heat behind Mao.

"Stand aside. I need to join my accomplices in their dark deed" Yongzheng said cheerfully "Buddha teaches us to forgive, but I cannot forgive a rapist"

"Come to your sense! You're helping criminals! You're a good, righteous man" Mao sighed, shaking his head and throwing up his arms in a dramatic shrug "What would Yuyi think, if she saw you forsake your vows to become a murderer! We may worship different gods, but look! An envoy of heaven has come to save the emperor! He still has the mandate! Come to your sense man, and join us in protecting the rightful lord of the world from those would be killers. If not for your own gain or soul, then for Yuyi's smile"

"Yuyi will smile when he's dead. She's not like you imagine her to be" Yongzheng said, rolling his eyes, unaware of the amount of shit he had found heaped up over his shoulders or the threat to his life grinning there, shivering in anticipation to begin killing.
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>>5447374

"I know she has macabre, somewhat disturbing interests. But she's a daoist! They're all a little touched in the head. You're delusional if you think a doctor of her level would condone the killing of one of their patients" Mao groaned, pinching his nose "I don't want to kill a buddhist monk, that's bad karma. Put down your staff, and I won't tell anyone you let in those Bao dogs"

"Huh? I just ran into them on my nightly walk, I didn't let them in" the monk said, baffled by Mao's accusation. They went back and forth, trying to speak over one another. Until the sound of an unsheathing blade silenced

The ogress narrowed her eyes, and without a discernable reason, swung her sword, and cut in half two of the men on Mao's right side.

The Monk and The Snake both froze, as the Ling Ogress smirked

"Shut up" She said cheerfully "And get to fighting, before I kill more of you, I wanna see which of you is worth my time to play with before I go about my work here, which has nothing to do with the emperor at all. He can boil in King Yanma's stew pot for all I care. I just saw two handsome men, and thought it'd be fun to see them kill each other <3"

"Huh" Mao squeaked, pale as a the ghost of his brother grinning over his shoulder chanting "Die, Die, Die" Like some kind of curse.

One of the guards, foolishly, tried to attack her, driving his spear up at her throat. She frowned, and thrust her empty palm at him. The man's chest twisted and began to spiral before, as if torn by unseen talons, was rent apart.

"Huh, that's different!" The Girl cheered as the room was showered in blood "Uncle said it was a nonlethal technique. Guess in my hands it isn't. Now, are you going to get to start fighting or do I just kill you now and get on with my day <3"

She smiled sweetly, like she were flirting with them instead of the threatening to cut them down where they stood

What do you do, Huanliuxue?

>Possess Yongzheng, and run away, trusting Mao to courageously give his life distracting her [Speed Trial. DC 65]

>Try and trick the ogre, figuring that she must just be chasing the nearest gathering of "Evil Qi", and that she's only in this hallway because Mao's brother and yourself are standing in it, unable to see either of you. Grab Ghost Empress Melody, and play it int he palace court yard, to lead her on a goose chase

>Remembering how she treated Fu, Qiang and Hong, possess Yongzheng without permission and GIVE HER a fight, both to make her spare the monk after inevitably winning, and also to measure her abilities, so you'll be prepared to actually fight her [Martial trial. DC 75]

>Remembering Yujijiao's death and your hatred for all things Ling, pick a fight with the ogress in your actual body, without thinking about the consequence or caring if the Dian brother's succeed in their mission

>write in
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>>5447375
>Try and trick the ogre, figuring that she must just be chasing the nearest gathering of "Evil Qi", and that she's only in this hallway because Mao's brother and yourself are standing in it, unable to see either of you. Grab Ghost Empress Melody, and play it int he palace court yard, to lead her on a goose chase
>But do it in your won body, to not put Yuyi in harm's way. There will be consequences, but you will just have to bear with them.
Huan is a good cat that cares about her followers.
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>>5447375
>Possess the ogre, and tell her that she can fight her superior in Blood Qi if she leaves the palace. Return to your body then, and put the Ling dog down.
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>>5447398
Wait, I think we were meant to do it as a spirit, not Yuyi, since Huan deposessed her. Forgot we can play it as a ghost.
That's better.
>>5447403
I'm pretty sure that possessing a cultivator would be way harder than a normal person.
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>>5447375
>Try and trick the ogre, figuring that she must just be chasing the nearest gathering of "Evil Qi", and that she's only in this hallway because Mao's brother and yourself are standing in it, unable to see either of you. Grab Ghost Empress Melody, and play it int he palace court yard, to lead her on a goose chase
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>>5447372
>pouch of dried toad skins and crushed centipedes
Second-chance Charm? Soul fortifying Charm? Bái may change Jingyu's immediate objective based on this.

>turned his pathwork body into a demonic womb
And Jingyu just gets more and more brilliantly horrific. If only he wasn't an unrepentant asshole he could turn his anime villain woes-the-world ass towards more practical crazy.

>>5447375
>Try and trick the ogre, figuring that she must just be chasing the nearest gathering of "Evil Qi", and that she's only in this hallway because Mao's brother and yourself are standing in it, unable to see either of you. Grab Ghost Empress Melody, and play it in the palace court yard, to lead her on a goose chase.

iirc, based on what Yujijiao said the Ogress' primary weakness was pride. Successful tricks and insults will enrage her, but we'll have to be careful that she doesn't realize it's a distraction and not a fight. It might be worth it to get some of the ghosts we call to possess the various corpses around here for a pseudo fight. She's a Ling, so I'm sure they'll leap at the chance.

As before, once Mao hears the Ghost Empress being played there's a good chance he'll finish making the connection to Yuyi.
Not like that matters much if he dies here, but he does have a sweet grudge we could cultivate that would be a shame to miss out on.
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>>5447375
>Try and trick the ogre, figuring that she must just be chasing the nearest gathering of "Evil Qi", and that she's only in this hallway because Mao's brother and yourself are standing in it, unable to see either of you. Grab Ghost Empress Melody, and play it int he palace court yard, to lead her on a goose chase
Goddamn, Jingyu will really be a pain in the ass now with the help of that Charm that Monu give to Ping

So, can someone explain to me what a Demonic Womb is? I guess it's some kind of ritual that when it's done, Jingyu will be reborn in a new body with functional Meridians, Dians and all that but with some twisted demonic heritage. In which case, I believe we should bring Monu with us when we look for Jingyu (plus Ping and that Ling cultivator, that now I have my doubts if Ping it's going to try and reclute him so they heal in our Temple or what), maybe Bái will deposses Jingyu and then we try to cancel the Demonic Womb and take out Jingyu from there. Or just Kill him and maybe take a look in Hell on what's happening to him, maybe he will have the same fate like Lei's ancestor and drive a bout

ALSO, ANONS. Because of this Quest and II Primarch Quest I got really interested in Xianxia/Wuxia stuff. Is there a page where I could read some good Manwha or something like that? Some recommendation on that Genre that's a Must Read?
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>>5447626
Also, know that I think about it: If my theory it's right about how a Demonic Womb works, that would mean that Huan power with looking and tapping into the Heritage of people with their Blood it's going to be useless with Jingyu, right?

Think about it. From my perspective maybe Jingyu with this ritual it's going to transform into the First of his line when the ritual it's done: If in his normal, mortal body he didn't have any potential to cultivate, maybe his ancestors didn't have any except of some past lives or some distant relative, right? So if Ping is renew and make himself a New Being of sorts, that means that any other sons he has, are going to carry this demonic womb trait, without taking into account the Old Jingyu heritage
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>>5447626
https://nyaa.si/view/1567253
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>>5447626
Jingyu already has been reborn using the demonic womb, He had his meridians destroyed by the betrayed, and the abomination was a way to create a new one that could cultivate. There is other ways to cultivate than the standard chi one, one of them is body cultivation, which strengthen the quality of flesh and bone itself, sometimes by infusing pieces of higher qualities parts hunted from dmeonic beasts in rituals, and mediating inside tombs. Patchwork's was a dirty, demonic way to achieve that. Ping defeated him using our technique, forcing him to have to be reborn while not perfectly complete to avoid death.
Also, I think Ping is already planning to bring Monu next time he tries to deal with Jingyu, since he put one and one together and realized that the fox demon is the spirit of Monu's first daughter, since her story was famous within his sect.
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>>5447626
Also, here's how some settings deal with body cultivation, it may help to understand
https://world-defying-dan-god.fandom.com/wiki/Body_Cultivation_Levels
https://martial-world.fandom.com/wiki/Cultivation/Body_Transformation
https://amazing-cultivation-simulator.fandom.com/wiki/Physical_Cultivation
That last one is from a game, I recommend it if you are interested in the genre. It's like Rimworld, so you can play around and learn through trial and error, like a true heretic cultivator should.
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>>5447638
My understanding is that it was a mix of things. Jingyu used up his patchwork body as a fuel & part source to be reborn free of the mortal and Qi injuries which were debilitating him, as he arose from the remnants of his old mutant body like it was a spent shell.

I believe it may be a technique that Xuěbái taught him or inspired him into, and that given the features of his reborn form her spirit has or had imparted/affected him greatly with her own beast essence.
So for what he'd done it's essentially a transformative rebirth through expending spiritually rich physical cultivation materials, saving/healing him from being dead & permanently ruined. It's possible he'd had this in mind as something planned in the setup of a breakthrough later after stocking up enough parts.

There's a lot a learned cultivator can do with good materials when they have no moral limits and just a bit of stubbornness and Qi.
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>>5447638
He did have potential, probably the same Ping had, but then he simped to the fox demon, betrayed the sect by poisoning Monu's old lover and the sect leader, and had his meridians ripped apart as punishment.
Now, why the sect was keeping potential cultivator stuck as outer disciples, it's probably the degeneration that the cultivation world was stuck with.
There is a chance that what he did made him immune to huan's blood technique by creating a new bloodline, or there is one that made him even more
Since he is a true demonic heretic, he is innovating in ways the orthodox haven't before. We won't know unless we try. Maybe Monu and Ping will end up recruiting him and older sis so we can test it in a controlled environment.
Talking about recruiting rivals, do you think we could try to get the Ogress? We have a lot of grudges with her, but there the idea of poaching her from the Ling, teaching her the true ways of blood cultivation and making her make amends feels too ironic to pass up. The heaven's ordained Ling sect related to her failis and raises a heretic, meanwhile the outcast magical beast with a vendetta agaisnt her and her family teaches her to be a virtuous one.
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>>5447678
even more susceptible since they are parts from multiple different ones*
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>>5447678
I think it's possible, but will be very difficult. Multiple of our students want to settle up with her. We can tell them no, but that's not very fair to them. Giving them a chance to do that without her killing them would be the simplest way to bypass that, but we'd have to "save" her and she isn't really the grateful type. She's mostly a cunning time bomb.

There might be a way to manipulate her situation to the extent she is declared a heretic, by finding a way to out her forbidden techniques to her own or multiple sects as Yuji informed us, and that would provide a springboard for other methods to accept her into our own.

Given how she is we'd have to provide her a mini-arc to meet the difference, but all her goals so far as we know involve fighting and crushing strong people. Even on our side she'll be a danger and she can't stand to lose face.

As well, Yujijiao and her meeting is sure to cause a fountain of resentment for our only ghost student.
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>>5447375
>>Remembering Yujijiao's death and your hatred for all things Ling, pick a fight with the ogress in your actual body, without thinking about the consequence or caring if the Dian brother's succeed in their mission
Ling dog!
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>>5447410
The possession was only to drop the line in her head about leaving the palace. Even if it’s difficult to take control, speaking to her should be easy enough. Then we don’t need to wonder if she’ll take the ghostly qi bait before maiming someone.
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>>5447678
Didn't we promise Yujijao we'd get her vengeance for being unjustly cut down? Add all the other shit that happened with our other disciples and the fact that she's L I N G and it's pretty much a non-starter to try and get her on our side.

Maybe if we didn't have an entire book's worth of reasons to put her in the ground. But we do.
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>>5447639
Thanks my guy.

>>5447649
>>5447656
Shit that's true. With all the second part I thought it was some kind of hallucionation, or maybe Ping got into some "spirit world" type of stuff we're he instead saw what was inside the Patchwork of Jingyu plus Xuebai ghostly form, but now I understand that we basically forced the ritual, in which case only makes you wonder what kind of Monster Jingyu could have become if that fight didn't happened... Oh and thanks for the links, and the game one I also wanted to try it thanks to Sseth video (damn, I really don't remember how one write that name). I tried Rimworld and It went smoothly, the problem is that with all those lights and effects I think my poor potato laptop might explode in the first fight that breaks from that.

>>5447669
>I believe it may be a technique that Xuěbái taught him or inspired him into, and that given the features of his reborn form her spirit has or had imparted/affected him greatly with her own beast essence.
If that's the case then it is worrying... I mean, if Xuebai was some kind of insect instead of a Fox I get it, because insects tend to do that kind of stuff in Nature. What's most possible is that Jingyu came up with the idea, which is something awesome, but the horrible part is on how wicked all turned out. I believe that unless there's a way to "reborn him" again in his next breakthrough is the only way we could morally accept him in our sect, because he had killed civilians and cultivators and chained them, and I doubts that know because of his rebirth that fact changed, and maybe because of the resentment those ghosts are still linked to Jingyu and all the Bad Karma he harnessed would go against Hua own morals and her Sect's. And it's the same theme with the Ogress like >>5447678 said

The Ogress it's naturally a maniac with to much power, a timebomb that's going to explote in your hands if you don't throw it (like her actual leaders are doing with all these solo missions they send her). For me, maybe her only way to be redeemed is if she tries a Breakthrough and fails, basically making her fall in her cultivator and humble her, and that a big IF that we don't know if it will happen. The Ogress and Jingyu are really far from Huan path unless one get depossesed and balanced from all his Bad deeds, and the other need some actually terrifying moment where she get's Humbled (that might be Huan if they two fight, maybe Huan is that force that might change her but we don't know.

And about Jingyu and his methods, >>5447678 you're right, after all before all this happened mortal world and the cultivation world we're stagnant, and I think either Ping of Feiqing says the same, that the cultivators didn't passed from Foundation anymore. In essence, all the protags are the moving force in this new era
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>>5447678
>The heaven's ordained Ling sect related to her failis and raises a heretic
And also, this point bring back an idea that I had when reading the part when Huan finds that the Ogress killed Yujijiao.

What if we snitched on her and the Ling sect? If Mao and Zheng get out of here alive (and Mao join us instead of snitching on Yuyi if he draw the conections between the Guqing and Yuyi) we have various eye witnesses outside of the Ling cultivators.

Once we make our Human form, we could pay a visit to the Sect with the 5 Qi Spring and talk to the Sect Master, see if he's as Cool as he seems and tell him about that. Then do the same with the Winter Blossoming Sect (using the name of the other cultivator) and tell them of the Ogress and the Heretic art he uses. But the problem is that we should tell the 5 Qi Spring Sect Elder to send someone to this palace we're right now, so he feels the Corrupted Blood Qi and make more witnesses of the use.

If we pull this off, we could make it so the Ling Sect loose a bunch of Face and maybe Kill their Elder for being Heretic and allow this, and if not, that could bring a lot of Focus and attention to that Sect and give us more time
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>>5447698
>>5447850
>>5447852
All of your comments are true, and I do have to agree it would be extremely hard, likely to get our other students angry and a bit weird for huan to do it, even if she has come a long way towards good karma. I'm mainly suggesting it because I'm a sucker for redemption stories, and that irony by spiting the orthodox and heavens I mentioned. Also the fact that since they were chargen options, it might mean they have some potential that could come close to Huan's, if we somehow managed to do it without (major) drawbacks, it would really pay off.
But if it's too hard or impossible, than getting rid of them might be for the best. I hope we can atleast save older sister, even if we kill Jingyu.
I thought we could appease Yujijiao by making Ogress be always her juniour, and make her obey her, as penance, but then again that type of humbling is what the Liing sect is doing to her and it's obviously not working, and I have no idea how to handle her unending bloodlust or pride.

I'm glad you all took time and effort to discuss the ideas, even to disagree with me.
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>>5447852
It's only speculation, though its part meta with the earlier cutaway scenes with Jingyu responding to her unheard suggestions. Xuěbái may be a snow fox, but they were a cultivating beast and blessed with talent according to Monu. We don't know the extent of their knowledge before dying. As well we don't know what they learned or where in all the time between their death and their utilization of Jingyu for revenge.

Given how we explored our own cultivation, and the context of her aims in action, I wouldn't be surprised they have a longer term goal than Jingyu and revenge or eliminating the majority of the Winter Blossoming Sect.

Not least of all, his cultivation method is the stuff of what would be one primer and research method to giving a ghost a new and living body. I'd wondered about it before, but it didn't seem likely because there wasn't any form of actual renewal using the materials. Then, Jingyu shows off a technique which does, and I get that little speculative lightbulb turning on.

Just the same as whenever an otherwise demonic spirit is getting someone to gain strength and attachment to them by giving them power through murdering other powerful people and taking body parts for them. Basically, my speculation is that Xuěbái would have to be a very kind fox to only want to use Jingyu for their mutual revenges against the world and nothing deeper.

>>5447860
If we're gonna fight and kill her or even anything else, I agree that we should snitch on her first and have her reputation destroyed. If only because the sects will not care to investigate as much the death of an outed Heretic. And if it's witness gathering and testimony, it may even be possible to sow those seeds without revealing ourselves to anyone.

I do want to meet Grandmaster Su face to face. It'd be nice to surprise a golden core that isn't our enemy.
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UNF. Wonderful update.
I'm glad that Feiqing continues to do well, even if his story isn't as exciting as everyone elses. He's such a good boy.
That fight with Ping was great. Glad Xuebai and Jingyu finally get the picture, but we'll see if Ping gets it in time to not cause any accidence before Huan can catch up with everyone.
And finally we come to current events with everyone's favorite Fighting Fujoshi, Yāonān!
God. I freaking LOVE Yāonān's characterization. What a charming young woman!

As for what we should do in this situation...I'm not quite sure.
Tricking her is the best option but it's the one that will all but expose dear Huānliúxuè's involvement in all this, which was, despite how poorly we've botched that so far, the whole point of doing things how we did them.
Kinda leaves me stumped on what to do...
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>>5447874
>I'm glad you all took time and effort to discuss the ideas, even to disagree with me.
I mean, for me that's the best part of a Quest, to have this kind of discussions, planning and just rambling between updates.

And I also like the redemption histories anon, they have something that's good, but it will be extremly hard to pull off like you said, maybe there's even stuff that needs to happen Off-camera where us like players we couldn't do, and more the sort of repercussions we make with the options we took (like the Old God going out of his garden to talk with the Geges and showed them how to write. That btw, that's actually a fun roadtrip we should make with all our beastly disciples, the only problem I see if we should do it before or after do our training, because we don't know how much time that's going to take us)

>>5447883
>I'd wondered about it before, but it didn't seem likely because there wasn't any form of actual renewal using the materials. Then, Jingyu shows off a technique which does, and I get that little speculative lightbulb turning on.
Oh yeah, I remember reading that some threads ago. There's something we could work with Jingyu, but I guess we should cleanse him first from any corrupting Qi first and then see what we could do with our Blood Qi and his work. A route we could take is like in the Daredevil Netflix series, where The Hand make some kind of incubator and used Blood to feed something ir someone inside of it.

>Basically, my speculation is that Xuěbái would have to be a very kind fox to only want to use Jingyu for their mutual revenges against the world and nothing deeper.
I hope that's the case, but with how much skin and organ farming they went until now and they didn't try it before Ping got there, something tells me it's not the case.

>And if it's witness gathering and testimony, it may even be possible to sow those seeds without revealing ourselves to anyone
I also think it could be easy to do it, but Elder Su and his Sect I think they will be the reason we could pull it off. Mostly because he is the only friendly figure we have in the Cultivation world, and if we redirect the Winter Blossoming Sect hate more focused on the Ogress and by association to her Sect, we could hit 2 birds with 1 Stone.
>>
>>5447907
Maybe a training arc for our disciples, especially our beastly ones, where we adventure to the divine forests and meet the geges with as many of our disciples in tow? Didn't know I wanted it until now.
>>
All I want right about now is for Huan and all her cute little disciples to hang out and do a training. All this traveling around has been fun, but I'd like to settle down for a bit after all this action.
>>
>>5447907
>I hope that's the case
Yeah it's a hopeful stretch. Being killed messed up Yuji so badly that I doubt Xuěbái has wanted anything but revenge for the longest time, and continuing the killing could just be adding notches to the belt so to speak. Ghosts with truly deep grudges typically don't divert on their own. The thing is, they've kinda succeeded against the Winter Blossoming Sect Head already, and so even if what they're doing here isn't any kind of research it still fits the bill for an angry ghost to always want more. I'm mostly wondering if we have any right to tell them to stop, outside of the obvious best thing we can being having them come over to us or get Monu over to her.

>>5447931
Same. Attaining human form and then spending time being with our people doing what we decided our destiny to be sounds p good right now.
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>>5447934
We are the rightful ruler of ghosts and beasts, we definitely have the authority to tell them to stop. But I would rather lean on being her younger sister and ask them to come home, we need to teach nii-san that you our family is above being slaves to grudges, we are the ones supposed to be in control. Kind of like we did with mom when she wanted to go off to kill the sect master.

I'm also ok with some rest and cultivation, we have been adventuring for quite a while, and learned much
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>>5447953
And we can also lessen her grudge given our current cultivation level, to make one big happy family of the ghosts and graves and heretics.
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>>5447375
>Trick her
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>>5447375
>possess a soldier in mao retinue to talk to her as a misterious third party.
And offer her the duel she wants after the emperor is dead.

She is too bloodthirsty to be swayed by anything else and too orky to understand anything but surviving and fighting.

Winning against her won't humble this battle junkie, if she wins she wins if she survives she will fight another day.

Besides she's the opposite of huan and the others, she's a heretic by her own will and not even really being discriminated against thanks to her connections.
She doesn't belong to our faction at all and i cannot see her as being truly convinced either, if we let her she will just use us then do as she pleases.
Can't change the nature of the scorpion.

I beg you guys to see reason and not default to waifu collecting!

Btw i really want to see a duel with the ogress and huan using her to test out her human form.
>>
>>5448260
>I beg you guys to see reason and not default to waifu collecting!

>[laughs in all the husbandos we've been collecting instead]
>>
>>5448260
Supporting this approach.
>>
>>5447375
>Try and trick the ogre, figuring that she must just be chasing the nearest gathering of "Evil Qi", and that she's only in this hallway because Mao's brother and yourself are standing in it, unable to see either of you. Grab Ghost Empress Melody, and play it int he palace court yard, to lead her on a goose chase
>>
>>5447375
>>5447403
Switching my vote to >>5448260 since it accomplishes what I was looking for too. We can directly speak to her without incriminating Yongzheng.
>>
(Phoneposting) for
>possess a soldier in mao retinue to talk to her as a misterious third party.
I like the approach >>5448260 voted and it will surely works, bonus points if we safe the poor bastard we take control of (But I doubt it)

Also, Huan's Happy Undead Orchestra when?
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>>5448601
FUCK, I meant to say

Switching >>5447626 for >>5448601
>>
>>5447375
>>5447891
>>5448260
Good idea Good Idea!
>>
>>5447523
>>5447375
Jumping on the switch vote train: >>5448260
A lot more subtle than spiritual bait.
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>>5448260
>I beg you guys to see reason and not default to waifu collecting!
Come on anon, you could have said something about this not being DBZ and we can't recruit every character, since we talked about recruiting Jingyu too.
Which I would ignore anyway, because it's what got us Ping as a student instead of him getting killed by the power rangers
>>5447398
However, I'll change my vote to support you. Because proving that not only we are a good fight, but know more about blood qi than her is exactly how to entice her to join us in the future!
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>>5448837
This is mainly a joke by the way. I still want to try and get the chargen options, but I'm not going to ruin the quest to. If it ends up impossible, than so be it.
For example, I would like to get Mao as an all, but I won't vote for it since he has no reason to.
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>>5448879
Mao is a cat so we have natural dominion over him anyway.
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>>5447375
>Try and trick the ogre, figuring that she must just be chasing the nearest gathering of "Evil Qi", and that she's only in this hallway because Mao's brother and yourself are standing in it, unable to see either of you. Grab Ghost Empress Melody, and play it int he palace court yard, to lead her on a goose chase
>>
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Gonna try to end and tally the vote in a few hours. Oh, and happy late Halloween.
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>>5449823
Halloween is probably Huan's favorite holiday.
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>>5449834
>inb4 huan institutes a new day for honoring and placating the dead
>>
Ending the vote, tallying the result. Had to gather materials for my sect

Possess the ogre, and tell her that she can fight her superior in Blood Qi if she leaves the palace. Return to your body then, and put the Ling dog down.: 0

Try and trick the ogre, figuring that she must just be chasing the nearest gathering of "Evil Qi", and that she's only in this hallway because Mao's brother and yourself are standing in it, unable to see either of you. Grab Ghost Empress Melody, and play it int he palace court yard, to lead her on a goose chase:3
-Return to your body first: 0

Remembering Yujijiao's death and your hatred for all things Ling, pick a fight with the ogress in your actual body, without thinking about the consequence or caring if the Dian brother's succeed in their mission:1

possess a soldier in mao's retinue to talk to her as a mysterious third party.:7

So you'll possess one of the random soldier's accompanying Mao and cowering before the Ogress, to talk to Ling Yaonan as a mysterious, third party

Update will arrive shortly

Clever write in btw

>>5447891
Thanks!

>>5450099
https://youtu.be/5OVufveVaRw
>>
And from the second her lips parted to form that smile, a feeling of revulsion and disdain rippled out from your heart, fanning the embers of your long buried grudge against Ling Meng and all his clan and kin. It isn't that your hatred for that bloodline had faded or began to molder, but seeing the cocky grin of the manic manslayer rekindled and brought the grudge that had created the name Huanliuxue back to its original intensity, a mind numbing, thought scorching inferno. The very same that had once dominated your existence and guided your every action and belief.

But, you suppress the surging outrage and seeping murderous impulses formed by seeing a daughter of that wicked family, dressed in that putrid stain of yellow they favor. In part by reflecting on the irony of how they spell their family name with the character for tomb and you live in a tomb and hold rightful dominion over all tombs. That funny twist of fate is enough to wrest your consciousness from the mire of cold fury and disgust it was swiftly sinking into, returning both clarity and composure to your thoughts. Or enough for you to concoct a worthwhile plan. There was still a flock of murderous feelings and thoughts, lurking beneath the veneer of calm you had established and command yourself to keep as is befitting a true and just monarch of the wild and dead.

It was clear, this bitch was going to kill either Mao, which you wouldn't shed any tears for if she did and whose spirit you might collect and keep just for the novelty, or Yongzheng, who you would probably mourn and whose soul you would most certainly not trap in a bird cage. Or both of them if they both continued standing there, gawking like they were watching a street performance. You could try and chase her off with your body, but that'd cause many more problems than the one it'd solve. One, she doesn't seem to be the sort to run without a fight, or even consider retreating at all. And two, doing so would reveal your presence and level of power to the wide, watching world. A world which still hates you for having the audacity to be born.

You could lead her away by summoning more ghosts, she doesn't seem particularly cunning, kind of a muscle brain, like an ox or mule. However, then you'd have to fetch Ghost Empress melody, and by then she might have already killed Yongzheng or he and Mao might've already started fighting. And despite his name, Weixiao seemed rather twitchy and nerve wracked at the moment, so it was likely he'd lash out at the poor young monk to try and save his own viper hide. How annoying. But this was a valuable learning experience, as the head and leader of a sect and destined monarch of the natural world, you would be expected to solve such tricky questions and overcome such obstacles as if they were but a stick in the road.
Cont
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>>5450222

A trickling of water and unpleasant smell inspired you and provided the solution to the conundrum of how to keep the tall, sword wielding maniac from harming your amiable assistant. There were others besides Mao, Yongzheng or Ling. The surviving retinue of guards Mao had backing him up, who were now trembling and weeping openly, struggling to hold onto their spears, swords, axes and bows as the gleefully grinning madwoman towered over them, her violent desires shining for all to see through her wide and wild eyes and of course, the still steaming blood dripping down the edge of her Jian. And while Ling would probably notice if the objects of her affection started speaking in a different tone or manner, she hadn't paid any attention to the extras standing in front of them, not even when she split two of them in half with a single, thoughtless swing of her blade. She might take offense that her toys were taken away by an unseen presence, but the standing corpses around her? She wouldn't care at all.

You wouldn't need to reveal your identity, just play the role of a mysterious third party interceding on the behalf of the terrified men or out of simple curiosity. Of course, a brute like the ogress won't listen about anything if bloodshed and violence isn't involved, so you deign to satisfy her craving for battle, and challenge her to a duel. If Fu, Hong and Qiang's encounter with her is at all reflective of her usual behavior, she'll jump at the chance to fight without thinking.

So that is what you do, usurping one of the men nearest to her, who has not lost his dignity or control of his bladder or bowels.

Taking in a breath, you adjust yourself to the male body's masculine anatomy, frame and proportions, noting immediatly how much stronger and heavier it is than Yuyi's was. But the moment you breath in, you feel a shock of pain and oddly pleasant rush of cold washing over your whole body, a fading of warmth and strength. Looking down, you find the source of your pain, and soon find your inhabiting a corpse as the man you possessed dies from a terror induced heart attack rather than the sword stuck in his stomach.

"Ah" You sigh, hanging your head, having inhabited corpses once or twice before as a form of practice, and finding nothing uncomfortable about wearing one. The shock of the sudden end of life had just made you startle, is all.

The Ling Ogress, like a confused puppy, tilts her head with a delicate frown on her blood splattered face. She was expecting the corpse to slump over, not remaining standing and staring, without so much as a shift in its expression or faltering of its composure

"You really have no grasp of proper etiquette, do you girl?" You huff and puff in the surprisingly gruff voice of the dead man "Weren't you raised in nobility? It is rude to kill someone whose just trying to get your attention"
Cont
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>>5450224

"It isn't a faux pas to squash an ant beneath the heel, and one should expect swift punishment for insolence. Not that I struck because I felt insulted, no, no, I just was getting a little bored of waiting~" She said sweetly, eyes narrowed and searching for an answer for what you are and how you are talking to her "Guess I stabbed you out of muscle memory, old man, teehee"

"That is the most disturbing thing I've ever heard" Yongzheng mutters

"Hey! Don't flirt with me yet, I don't even know your name pup <3" Ling coos, blushing and acting like an innocent little girl as you stare at her with quiet annoyance

"Ling Yaonan, the ogress of Ling, you're everything the stories made you out to be" You say gloomily, as blood spills and cools over your legs "Flighty, lustful, barbaric, self centered. A complete battle junky. Just as I hoped"

Immediately forgetting about Yongzheng, she turned to face you, twisting the sword in your stomach even though a corpse cannot feel pain.

"Oh, are you a fan of mine, grandpa?" She asked sarcastically, wearing a cute smile her nearly shut eyes hiding a truly dark malice "You seem to think you know a lot about me, for a talking corpse. And for once, that isn't a manner of speech or threat, you really are a talking corpse. Oh how fun, how fun! What a mysterious creature I've found, I should take you home in a cage, start a circus"

She leaned closer, eyes opening just a sliver wider as she leaned over you with her unusual stature.

"Or would it be a freak show <3" She purred, at last ripping out the sword in your belly

"Shouldn't a proper daoist be more concerned with banishing a possessing spirit like myself?" You ask coyly, smirking as you step forward, nearly pushing your just against hers in a show of defiance, telling her you are not in the least bit intimidated by her threats or the aura of barely restrained killing intent that dominates her smothering presence.

"Who said I was proper. Besides, its boring to kill interesting people too quickly" She answered back, looking down at you, her shadow now fully surrounding you "And something that doesn't die when it is killed is very interesting, even if you are just a passing demon or hungry ghost. Shhth, most demons are really boring, actually. At least other daoists are fun to fight for awhile, even if most of them have no skill or strength"

"You're a born monster, phenomenal, truly, you are all I hoped you would be" You say with mock praise, not even trying to hide the insult you speak

"Sharp tongue for a corpse, though I doubt that is what you are, even a demonic spirit starved for lifeforce would dare to appear before me" She spat with a haughty laugh, as befitting a girl of her birth if not her actual self "Say, are you a demonic cultivator? A heretic? Or are you actually just a really bold ghost? I know some necromancer's could puppet bodies, is that what you're doing, grandpaaaa <3"
Cont
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>>5450226

"Does it matter what I am, I'll offer you entertainment. A duel worthy of your martial prowess and power. A duel against the mysterious I" You cackle back as she licks blood from her lips, considering her offer

"And why should I do that, I came here on business, an official order given to me by my uncle. Why should I disobey when they've loosened my leash and let me test my blade on living victims, hm?" She asked, savoring the drops of blood by swirling her tongue around her open mouth as she yawns

"Well, I might be what you're looking for. Guessing the disturbance of Yin Qi, of the particular kind that comes about from hauntings or curses drew you here, rather than the ongoing attempt to end the emperor's life" You guess brashly, grinning audaciously as the ogress frowns

"Honestly, I had half a mind to kill him myself" She giggled "Just for the thrill of it, ya know? and the infamy. One can never have too many stories behind their name and renown is worth more than jade. But I am guessing you must be what I was sent to subjugate and seal, considering how close you got with that guess of yours. How fortunate you've already pissed me off with the shit you've said, eh? Dead Gramps?"

"Oh, I'm raring to beat your prideful ass into the ground to, girl, unfortunately, you can't cut a ghost" You begin before she howled with laughter

"Oh you think?" She boasted, grip tightening and eyes flashing with red light as she conjures a burst of Qi

Ignoring her interruption, you finish your sentence "and I won't fight you, until after the emperor is dead"

"Pain in my ass" She drawled, with a dramatic shrug and slouching of her shoulders "Stopped me from seeing two cute men cut each other apart before insulting me and all but spitting in my eye talking like you know me better than I do, and now you wanna make me wait to see if can back up all that audacity? How utterly mannerless. Were you a dog in a prior life?"

Somehow, that pisses you off more than anything else, making your lip twitch as you struggle not to snarl and hiss at her. There's a thunder of footsteps, and you notice Mao Weixiao and his surviving men, as well as his brother's ghost, fleeing down the opposite end of the hallway. While Yongzheng runs past Ling Yaonan's back, trying to catch up to the Dian brothers.

"But fine, I'll accept your terms, dead-y. Don't have anything better to do than shutting you up and informing you just how wrong you are by...well I can't beat you half or near to death, but I suppose I could kill you a few times to get my point across, eh, Old maaan? <3"

Cont
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>>5450229

How do you fight the Ogress, Huanliuxue?

>Just with the body you are in now, taking advantage of it already being dead

>With your actual body, reveal yourself to the daughter of Ling and tell her your name

>By trying to quickly overcome the trial to attain your human form, to use her as practice for your human body

>Use ghost empress melody and Ghostly Yin Qi to create a horde of shambling corpses, Jiangshi and zombies to mob her

>Wait until after you see the emperor die, to be certain he doesn't escape [can be taken with other options]

>write in
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>>5450231
>Wait until the emperor is dead
>Just the body we are in now.

I will BLUE BALLS YOU WOMAN!
The purpose of this fight isn't to win. It's to measure her, maybe reveal her heresy.
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>>5450222
>putrid stain of yellow
Btw, can Huan see colors post-awakening?

>>5450231
>Wait until the emperor is dead
>Just the body we are in now.
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>>5450231
So did he die from sheer fright from seeing the Ogress or us possessing him? Either way, Yuyi held up longer than him.
>Wait until after you see the emperor die, to be certain he doesn't escape
>Just with the body you are in now, taking advantage of it already being dead
And if/when this body starts to fall apart, we have to taunt her that this was just a taste of our true strength.
>>5450253
A quick search says that cats can see yellow, but in an ironic twist of fate they can’t really see red well. So yeah Huan got an eyesight upgrade
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>>5450231
>Wait until after you see the emperor die, to be certain he doesn't escape [can be taken with other options]

>By trying to quickly overcome the trial to attain your human form, to use her as practice for your human body
>>
>>5450231
>Wait until after you see the emperor die, to be certain he doesn't escape [can be taken with other options]
>Use ghost empress melody and Ghostly Yin Qi to create a horde of shambling corpses, Jiangshi and zombies to mob her
>>
>>5450253
>Btw, can Huan see colors post-awakening?
I'm pretty sure it has been mentioned before that she saw new colours and everything was more vibrant.
It even gets better as she goes further along her cultivation
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>>5450231
>Wait until after you see the emperor die, to be certain he doesn't escape
>Just with the body you are in now, taking advantage of it already being dead
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>>5450299
>Slowly, you gain an intimate understanding and knowledge of meridians and the flow of Qi. Your body feels lighter, every step more graceful and elegant, and your five senses become clearer! As if a fog was lifted from the world, colors have become more vibrant, the scents and tastes upon the air have become more vivid and you can feel deeper textures and sensations upon every material you set your paws upon
Yep all the way back in the first thread. Also happy late anniversary to the quest since it started in late October of '21.
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>>5450231
>Wait until after you see the emperor die, to be certain he doesn't escape
>Just with the body you are in now, taking advantage of it already being dead
>>
>>5450231
>Wait until after you see the emperor die, to be certain he doesn't escape [can be taken with other options]

Firstly we should take our prize, the emperor soul.
Then we can give it to her as a collateral for the duel in exchange for one/two day to prepare our human form so we can then take it back from her..
True confident evil style
(But i don't want her taking our gourd, there has to be a sturdy vase in which to temporarily trap his rotten soul inside.)

Also i'm actually intimidated by how quickly she reflexively shanked the body we possessed, being cocky could spell our defeat here.
Her other adversaries were small fries compared to ours, but we don't know the depth of her cultivation and how much it can develop under pressure.
Because she strikes too close to antihero shonen protagonist for my liking.
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>>5450448
>Because she strikes too close to antihero shonen protagonist for my liking.
Nah, she's obviously the psycho quirky "I kill people teehee" female character that follows the protag around
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>>5450453
Every time she talks there's a little heart at the end, so that's a spot on comparison.
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>>5450303
>Wait until after you see the emperor die, to be certain he doesn't escape [can be taken with other options]

Also yeah, supporting the idea of >>5450448 I wanna add

>Sneak out of the corpse and prepare everything for when the emperor is going to die so we can claim our prize
>Before that say "good, but if you could excuse me, I wanna see the Emperor's death myself, a little delight I wanna have so our encounter isn't a waste of my time. Then, I promise I will give you the pleasure to fight me"
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>>5450448
>thinking she's going to wait an entire day
Other than the fact she's an absolute murderhobo she isn't quite stupid. She's not going to just let us go and do whatever. Even if we give her collateral.
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>>5450477
From how I see it:

If you give a junkie a little bit of Meth, then tell him he will recieve a backpack full of it, he's going to stay there and wait. He might struggle to do so, but it's still a method to keep him waiting.

The second best option we could do is telling Qiang to be there with the soul sealing jar and once we fight with the Ogress we came back with another jar to get the blood
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>>5450486
Thing is that we didn't really give her a little bit, we just showed a container, opened it a little so they could see something blue and then said it was high quality meth.
She can very well just continue to get her very low quality meth instead of trusting this extra shady dealer.
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>>5450453
True but she's not just resting on her laurels, she's also a genius of her own who grinds daily to get stronger like a bodybuilder of murder.

>>5450460
I can second inviting her to spectate, just to be sure she behaves at least, keep her entertained with our staged play.
And if she gets uppity we can ask qiang to distract her long enough for us to fetch our body.


>>5450477
I won't be so sure, an emperor's soul is quite the prize, if she's skeptical we can tell her why it's valuable.
(That said it would almost be worth it if we did convince her to wait until her grampa comes around and angrily asks why she's standing there with the emperor's soul in hand and grinning like an idiot).
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>>5450448
Of the few things I fear her doing; switching targets to our disciples/dian brothers, Fu learning that she's here and acting on that (seems unlikely as he's wiser than he was before and will stay where he is to protect us), relaying information about us to someone more important and much smarter/greatly troublesome, etc. We still must have the followup of leave with Yuyi and must not be tracked by Yaonan through any means.

It still only takes one smart cultivator and one slip up for us to gain the focus of a sect, though honestly I don't see that being possible given who they sent here. We can utilize degrees of our techniques, but any hinting or dramatically superfluous methods we should avoid. Making sure she can't "connect" anyone to us will ideally take priority. That means not saving the others while shes in LOS.

Under different circumstances, were Yuyi/Yongzheng not a concern, I'd suggest leading her to Fu and our body so we can kill her 2v1. Or, most honorably, give Fu his chance to use the grudge he made for her. It's still possible to do even now, if we're pretending to run away. It would require leaving our two doctors to the care of Qiang.

Aside from that tactical stuff, if she was only given directions to the new palace to deal with what's here that's no problem for us, since we're not staying. However, she might have been given something that tracks "evil" Qi, which we should take the opportunity to destroy.
She doesn't seem to the type to rely on items, but it would be hubris for us to assume she doesn't have any binding or exorcist tools, but then it's just a matter of grade and I don't believe any low grade items would matter in those regards. Since our possession isn't really typical. Obviously if she's carrying around a high-level soul capturing or inhibiting talismans/devices then we can wind up screwing ourselves pretty easily. The soul of a Mid-Late foundation establishment cultivator is still vulnerable to things like strong arrays, and we'd have to be stupid to follow her into any areas she could have had prep time in. I doubt she'd bother, but again, that can just be hubris.

She did show her insight, and prove she isn't a moron, by attempting to bait us into saying what kind of possession/type spirit/control method we're using. That means she has the training to deal with at least those things she mentioned. The only danger there is that the more opportunity she gets to try things that don't work, the more obvious it becomes what we actually are or could be.

So it's a matter of cultivation vs. cultivation and our mutual martial focuses. If we get pressured we can just assume another corpse, but then she'll just pulverize them all. Should we possess a living person (or attempt to possess her, which could be fun but doesn't seem possible) the act makes certain things known.

>>5450494
>(That said...with the emperor's soul in hand and grinning like an idiot).
God that'd be funny.
>>
>>5450486
I think you're misrepresenting her in that analogy. Her mental state isn't compulsory like an addict's. She doesn't think she "needs" to fight she "wants" to fight and she understands that distinction. Her more likely response to "I'll totally come back and fight I swear" is "Fuck you let's fight NOW" and the doing everything in her power to piss us off and spite us enough that we'll basically be forced to fight.

I doubt now that she sees a potential fight worth having in front of her that she'll let us go anywhere without her and the further we go without fighting the more irate and likely she'll be to just stab us in the back and kick things off at her leisure. And this is already a fight we're likely not going to win without our actual body so let's not let her inevitably dictate the terms of engagement.

This also says nothing about her general impatience and that she could just wander off killing for fun while she waits if we give her too big of a time frame. We probably can only make her wait for at most an hour or so without risking her being a total bitch. Telling her we just want to see the Emperor die before we fight will probably work. Though she might decide to go and kill him herself to expedite the process, which undermines the three brothers. Which would be kinda lame but not a big loss.
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>>5450494
>I won't be so sure, an emperor's soul is quite the prize
Is it though? We have no idea. We think it is. And do you think she cares? If you hand it over for her to hold on to with the promise we'll come back she's just going to wave it around and tell us to fight or she'll snuff it out. That's the problem with collateral you do genuinely care about. She's not honorable.
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>>5450498
Oh, I forgot she has that early blood qi manipulation stuff. That means she can potentially bind any bodies we make use of for a little bit. That can be a problem if she thinks she needs it.

We could also use that against her by "baiting" her with better/stronger blood qi related techniques, whatever little we can accomplish through a corpse, as anything like that will keep her focus on us greatly since it's literally the heresy she's built herself. Or seeing a greater reflection of it would could spark that greed, hard to say.
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>>5450505
It is valuable to us, why else would we a powerful cultivator be here for after all?
Other people are, to her, just toys found a dime a dozen.
And she knows we known our soul stuff, we're possessing somebody!

We can still ask qiang to stay around her to check the prize, and that will be guarantee enough, but i don't really want her to connect anybody here to us.
The more she guesses the more she's wrong about us and our motives.
That's why i want her to fight us after humanizing, so we can claim deniability and maintain our two identities separate.
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>>5450673
>why else would we a powerful cultivator be here for after all?
That's a very long list considering how eccentric cultivators tend to be. Especially heretical ones. Jokes aside that just means she would immediately use it to extort us. She's not going to wait around if she can guaranteed force us to fight.

All I want to do is distract her long enough for Qiang, Yong, and Yuyi to get out. The brothers Dian killing the emperor is a really really nice bonus but secondary to getting our people out. Her only clue is we know how to possess people and corpses. Showing up to actually fight her in our corporeal form is of no benefit to us unless we straight up kill her. Because I for one refuse to give her any more info on us or ours.

Also rushing to breakthrough to our human form as quickly as possible sounds like a great way to waste potential. Absurd modifier be damned.
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>>5450685
I don't think there's really anything a worthwhile cultivator would want in this place, remember that they are under the "protection" of a sect.
I think they made extra sure not to leave even a thrashy pill behind.

And if she releases the soul there really is no reason for us to fight her, i believe she understands that.

Besides we can choose to confront her or not after we humanize, we can take our sweet time and if she throws a tantrum then it's her soul that ends up in an underworld auction.

I say we try this route, there's always time to kill her later if things go badly.
Maybe even Fu and qiang can do it if the duel doesn't go in our favor.
Not honourable but this is between cultivators and heretics at that.
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>>5450231
>Wait until after you see the emperor die, to be certain he doesn't escape
>Just with the body you are in now, taking advantage of it already being dead
If she gets impatient
>Promise her a “real” duel if she waits like a good girl and wins this one. We’ll reach out with a message when we’re ready.
I’d like to fight her for real and see how our abilities stack up against hers, but I also don’t want to rush. Cultivation can take a long time too, so arranging a later fight makes more sense.

How do I know we’d both be available at the same time and not cultivating? Fate, of course!
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>>5450755
I support this write-in
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>>5450754
>I don't think there's really anything a worthwhile cultivator would want in this place, remember that they are under the "protection" of a sect.
And none of that matters to a heretic who may have any number of reasons to be here. Personal, perhaps. Maybe there is a hidden artifact. Or they seek to rouse the dead. Who knows? No one does, and that's the point. But I shouldn't need to explain this because I was being facetious.
>And if she releases the soul there really is no reason for us to fight her, i believe she understands that
And yet you put it up for collateral means you care enough to not want that outcome. You shoot yourself in the foot by admitting you do want it, so her threat has actual weight to it. You see the problem? You're either giving her what she wants or you're not getting what you want. She just turns the situation on its head immediately. This is why collateral is stupid when you're dealing with psychotic, spiteful, mean bitches.

>Besides we can choose to confront her or not after we humanize
nigga why even put up collateral at that point? Just fucking run with the soul. You playing with half a deck of cards or what?

How about we don't fuck around with any of this goofy shit, do what we came here to do and leave. Always complicating things, damn.
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>>5450795
Friend please give me some face it is all part of the ruse.

The soul is valuable but not enough to fly in blind rage if she doesn't give it back.
If she thinks she suddenly get the upper hand we can just laugh in her face flip her off and leave.

The real game is so that she doesn't suddenly realize we have emotional stakes in the very fragile people all around us.
That would be bad and that's why we have to play coy and keep her focus on us until everybody else is out of her range.
Which is going to be hours at best for mortals.

If we just take the soul and leave she's going to throw a tantrum and kill everybody.
Even just disappearing a moment to fetch our body gives her too much time to herself, we were lucky we went looking for our monk at the right time.
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>>5450818
The problem is, even supposing she doesn't immediately call your bluff, by trying to convince her to sit still so you can prepare and humanize she'll just go around killing everyone to get worked up for a good fight. You can't expect her to sit still if you tell her she has to not move. Because she knows it wouldn't be hard to find her no matter where she went because of all the damage she'd be doing. To say nothing that she may instead try to follow/search for us. And no offense to Fu, I doubt he can handle her still.

It is just plain a bad plan. Either you make this big game and show and it doesn't amount to anything because she'll be bored and start murdering or you waste a bunch of time to get something just to immediately throw it away.

Quit fooling around, we need to keep her occupied and then bounce not try 5d chess with a pigeon poised to shit all over the board.
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>>5450834
Yet i don't see why can't we try this method since if it fails then it's a fight anyway?

And if we elect to distract her now who's going to get the emperor's toad soul? Qiang?
Besides after this distraction when she cleans out the ghost army or roflstomps our possessed body what do you think will she do to the people here?

And considering there's cultist around so she's not even the only interloper tonight it is imperative we don't lose sight of the whole picture. She can have her one on one after the play is over.

If you want the cake and eat it too you must play along and dance the dance.
Besides i'm sure she's curious enough to be entertained by us and the drama unfolding is bound to be interesting at least.

That said i will let you call me names all you want and not reply until the next vote because we are clearly suppressing the discussion and that's not healthy for a quest.
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Will Siwang be the best husbando once he achieves human form and grows up?
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>>5450885
Given how he was still losing his juvenile plumage when we met him, I think he is a teenager at maximum.
So more like a son really.
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>>5450890
Best son! Good enough.
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>>5450881
Because it would be self defeating. Either we say wait and she goes and risks finding our people or she just disrupts our collection efforts in some way. It's just a waste of time.

I don't even know why everyone is so obsessed with his soul. Fuck his soul and all the souls associated with the unjust heavens. They're less than dogshit to me. At least dogshit can enrich the soil. Fuck the celestial will.

Who gives a shit what she does to the people here? Only thing that matters is that we give our people enough of a headstart to get away. If she kills everyone here that's honestly fine for us, then we might be able to point some accusatory fingers towards the Ling.

Here's the thing though, I don't care about the whole picture. I have simple and concise goals as I have from the start. Get Yongzheng, Yuyi and now Qiang and Fu out. None of that other stuff means much. We have everything we came here for so there's no reason to get too distracted by everything else and increase the risk we put everyone at.

This is just a pet peeve of mine but the phrase is "eat your cake and have it" not "have your cake and eat it". But to address it, I already have my cake and I am trying to take it home to enjoy it. Not fuck around trying to grab frosting from someone else's kitchen.
Never bank on your opposition behaving in a way that benefits you. If you plan rests on their compliance it's a shaky plan.

I'll call you names even if you don't reply you damn poopyface.

This is part of the discussion. Even if it is super autistic. It allows people to look at the idiots arguing and choose which side they prefer, if either. Or encourages them to join in. And more engagement is always a good thing. But if you insist, then I suppose I have no choice but to shelve it. For now.
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>>5450902
While I agree with you, unless I've missed something, I don't believe you yourself have voted.
You're advocating for simply fighting her in the body we're currently in emperor's fate bedamned, right?
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>>5450910
I think the discussing is because one anon said to ask her to wait one to two days, not just until the emperor is dead.
I can't follow it very well because it keeps changing topics and most of the arguments are around assuming how a character will act.
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>>5450910
I just want to keep it simple and not get distracted, really. I don't much care what we do so long as we aren't changing our plans for the fourth time since this journey began. We've accomplished our mission and the Emperor is almost certainly going to die here. The Ogress might just kill him herself and blame it on any of the current bad actors in the palace, even. So I'm not worried about what happens to him.

>>5450919
Pretty much this. We just need to leave with everyone intact, not tarry and play games.
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>>5450231
>Wait until after you see the emperor die, to be certain he doesn't escape [can be taken with other options]
>Just with the body you are in now, taking advantage of it already being dead

Who knows what we can do with blood qi when the condition of our body doesn't matter tom us
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>>5450923
Curse you for making me renege on my word on this blast furnace pill making forum

How do you propose we collect all of our ducklings from the palace now that they are scattered around and we barely even know where they are right now?

Or you just want to get qiang, yuyi and fu and be damned the monk, the brothers and the innocents of the palace?
Right after saying how despicable the emperor was for running away with the people he cared about?

Here i give you a better option then:
Lure the ogress away closer to our body then gank her with fu and that's that.
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>>5451086
Yong can make his way out on his own. I have full confidence that he can deal with the weirdo cultists. And he'll likely reconvene with