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Welcome back to Tai Lung's path to self discovery, not only for himself but for those around him as well. In the last thread, Tai Lung and his friends continue their year within the Sacred Library. As everyone works to learn more about themselves, Tai Lung slowly increases his own workload by starting martial arts lessons for the public, art lessons for Bao, and continuing his own training along with Ming's. With only 43 weeks remaining, there's still time for the crew to improve but the clock is slowly ticking away.

Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Tai%20Lung%20quest

Bit of a rough ending in the last thread, sorry about that. It seemed like everything technological decided to rebel and prematurely destroy any semblance of stability I had for writing. Hopefully we can get a few more threads of peace.
>>
You awake the next morning and, much to your surprise, you're not blind. It takes you a few seconds to realize that not only is your rabbit friend is not napping ontop of you but you also were careful not to sit up quickly in worry that you'd fling them off. A small smirk of amusment tugs at your lips at the realization of you becoming accustomed to the routine of finding Xin Lan in bed with you. Stiffling a yawn, you get back into your routine of making your bed, meditating for a few minutes, and going on a run with Ming.

Your run is delayed slightly as you ask Ming to show you around the new area once more to commit it to memory. The Monk's dormitory is roughly the same size as the acolyte's but it's size felt much larger due to the reduced ammount of people living there. While it was not a drastic reduction, it still surprised you that there wasn't as many people here, roughly half of what you saw in the previous rank. You didn't have much trouble advancing but you do realize that your area of expertise was something you aquired a bit by accident. You're not sure how difficult it would be for the average person to advance.

"How long do you think Renshu will take to come back?" Ming asks as the two of you pay for your drinks. You and Ming had discovered a nice tea shop tucked away in one of the many alleys of the market district several weeks ago and it had become routine to end your morning jogs there for a nice cool drink. You had lost count of how often you realized how proud you were of Ming. From the scared young woman who nearly drowned on the deck of a ship now stood a confident martial artist who could run laps around a major city atop a mountain without running out of breath.

You take a quick sip of your drink, a strange blend of orange juice and a local tea made from the flower petals of a flower that grew natively here. It was quite sweet but there was a light tang to it at the end of every gulp, as if the drink wanted to leave an impression at every taste. "I'm not sure." You admit. "Xin said he'd be a few days late. I say we give him until Wednesday before we gather our things to drag the man back here." You chuckle. Ming gives you a rather absentminded nod while eyeing you. It was clear this wasn't really what she had in mind. You sigh. You should have figured you couldn't get away with it for long. You motion for her to actually ask what was on her mind.
>>
"So...you two are..." She pushes gently.

"Together? Yeah." You say as you begin to walk back to the dormitories to change.

"And...are you happy together?" She asks. That makes you pause momentarily. There was something in the tone of her voice that caught your attention. Of course it only took a bit to feel out the root of it. There was some hesitation but not due to her being wary of asking the question. It was something else.

"What do you mean by that?" You ask taking another drink. "I don't think happy is something either of us are capable of feeling." You say trying to make light of the situation.

"Well...I mean..." Ming starts as she tries to think of the words. "I dunno. It just feels a bit out of left field that you'd...fall in love?"

"I'm sorry?" You ask, now quite confused.

"No...it's just." She shrugs. "You just...didn't really seem the romantic type. Compassionate, yes. I don't think there's every been a time where you would ignore someone who needed help but not really someone who would look for love."

"It's...kind of complicated." You admit. "But there's something else is there?" You press, still feeling something held back.

"Yeah..." Ming admits. "I'm just...wondering if it's our fault? It's not like we made it a secret teasing you about you and Renshu being together. I just...kind of worry that maybe we pushed you into it? I dunno...it just seems kind of sudden."

"You're saying that the you never noticed the two people who prefer to keep quiet and to themselves slowly coming together? It's almost like we're used to just staying quiet." You joke. Ming pushes your arm, you think you actually felt that. You drop the act. "Like I said, it's...complicated. We're not...I mean we are but...I guess we're just testing things out. I'm not sure where it will go. We have feelings for one another but how it will pan out I'm not sure. But I decided that rather than try to ignore this...I would give it a try."

Ming places a hand on your shoulder. "I think its sweet. Your emotions are something you shouldn't ignore and no, getting angry and punching things don't count." She says with a smile. "Even if things don't pan out, it's a step in the right direction to figuring yourself out."

You nod, as you ussually do when you don't really know how to reply, before you come to discover that you never noticed how worried you were about what your friends would think about this. "So...you're ok with us being together?" You ask.
>>
"Why wouldn't I be?" Ming asks as the two of you arrive at the dorms. "If it makes you two happy, then I'm happy." She says as she heads to her room. She waves goodbye to you before lazily adding, "Besides, anything that would make An Bo's mother flip her lid is a plus in my book."

>Last thread voted for mastering Chaotic Meditation and after a bit of discussion, it was decided to try and master it in the spirit realm to save time. These votes are simply to decide what you want written up first. So, what do you want to tackle first?
>Mastering your meditation and teaching Bao.
>Training your new students.
>Ming's training (which is being handled by Xin. Votes to teach her throwing techniques over a kick based and weapon style won...I think)
>Write in
>>
>>4926872
Meditation
I've gotta see how this pans out.

Also welcome back Luo.
>>
>>4926883
Personally, I think that going down the list in that order is he best method.

Meditation so we can get some interesting exploration in the effects this would have, then training new shits into martial artists, then mastering the power of Ming.
Like hell, this is going to be really quite interesting.
>>
>>4926883
Good to be back. Who knew hard drive failure caused so much trouble? Or rather, I didn't realize how much of my stuff relied on my PC being alive.

>>4926883
>>4926887
We'll start with meditation then.
>>
You take a quick bath to was the sweat of and promptly make your way back to your quiet spot at the lake to meditate. You close your eyes and, as before, you're suddenly back in Shenlong's garden.

---

"...and that's basically the plan." You finish up telling Bao your idea for training in the spirit world. Bao tucks her feet under her dress as she sits gently on the grass.

"So you want to train here?" Bao asks. "Sounds like something straight out of a story book." She giggles and grabs some paints. "Well, I don't think it will be much of an issue." She admits. "So long as you don't break anything." Bao motions to the various objects decorating the garden. "Those are mine and I'll bully you relentlessly if you break my things."

"I will try my best to keep your things intact." You chuckle.

"Good. Now about my lessons." She says grabbing a brush. "I expect to be a master after this lesson."

You laugh. "I'm the most talented martial artist to live." You say. "Not the greatest painter. I can't promise miracles. That's your job." Bao gives you an amused smirk and throws a brush at you which you easily catch. You make your way over to Bao and sit next to her to begin her lessons.

You decide to start with the basics. Shapes and lines. "Painting is actually kind of like Kung Fu, in a way." You find yourself repeating your father's words. With a few quick swipes you begin to draw. First a line, then two, then a square, then a cube. "You start with a single line, a punch, then it leads to two. Two become more, become shapes, become froms. But it all relies on a steady hand. A house built on a shakey foundation is destined to fail and art build on shakey basics is destined to be muddled." Much like your students and Ming, you move over and gently move Bao's limbs to position them in the proper posture. "Now, we'll start with 50 lines. Horizontal." You say.

"Wait, that's it? Just lines?" Bao asks.

"Yeah." You say. "Most of your outlines are going to be lines. And you want to be able to draw your lines as steady as possible. As thin as possible as well, they're outlines not the actual picture."

"I figured we'd be drawing simple stuff." Bao says as she draws her lines. They're shakey and wavey. She furrows her brows and clenches her tongue between her teeth.

"Even the simplest shape needs solid lines." You say. "Belive me, I went through the same boring lessons as well." You say amused.
>>
Bao makes a grumpy noise but continues her lines. It takes her a few minutes as she slows down to do her best. Unfortunately, they're terrible, far more than you expected. From what you can tell, it looked like she couldn't committ to the pressure of the brush. The lines widen and thin in random areas as Bao pushes down on the brush, seems to realize she's pushing to hard then realize that she's not pushing hard enough. Rather than say anything, you decide to focus today on posture rather than technique. "Ok, now do it again this time vertically. We'll alternate to get you used to this." You say.

"Can I at least choose a different color?" Bao asks. You shrug.

"I suppose you can." You say. "It doesn't really matter so long as you get the lines done."

You spend a while doing basic forms and trying to instill some kind of basis for posture and brush handling into Bao's shakey hands. All the while, you decide that might be a good idea to ask her some questions like she promised to repay you for the lessons.

>What do you ask Bao?
>Write in.
>>
>>4926921
>Are you nervous? Start with slightly thick lines about your thum wide, then steadily try to go lower after you can do 20 of even thickness.

Then actual questions.

>So in keeping with starting with the basics, can you tell me about Shenlongs priestly order? I've not encountered any, so who are you more directly responsible with dealing with?
>I know Shenlong is the master of the air, but what is his uh, position in a celestial sense. He has his siblings but I've seen that he is not afraid to put his foot. . Coils down when confronting them so I imagine they are like most siblings in that way.
>I was also wondering, just out of interestest, how does that collective memory the spirits have effect you? Do you know what the spirits do without needing to be asked?
>>
Got a doctor's appointment so I need to hop off for a bit. Some good questions posted so I'll be using those at the very least. I'm just glad I got the thread up soon.
>>
>>4926972
I suggest you post an update in qst general. Get the awareness up rather than wait for people to find it.
>>
>>4927014
Why the duck does my ID keep changing. Fucking hell.
>>
Yeah good point. Never really posted on general. Guess I always worried about people just coming over to screw over the quest or something.
>>
>>4927075
Nah, people that do that tend to leave pretty quick.
>>
>>4926921
>Don't worry about not getting it right, most part of painting is painting over mistakes, or running with them and turning them into something else.
>Do you have any idea how a sprite turns into a spirit? When the chi that Kai held was releazed, Shenlong said that it would turn into sprites and spirits again, so it must have some cycle of renew and growth to it.
Sorry for being late boss, I had forgotten to check the catalog today.
>>
>>4927303
Oh, and we got to ask how her position works. There was no priest on her shrine, her family were descendents of the last one, but she was regarded as a witch instead of a holy woman, so at some point that temple was abandoned, the previous priest died while not tending the place, but also had a family while spending a lot of time split between the spirit and mortal world.
Was it the war or did another calamity cause it? I could buy that the village is new, or that it just never grew, because Shenlong place as a god of the wilds wouldn't attract many people interested in settling down, even if he blesses rain and agriculture, but somehow the last prieat had to go with no-one thaking their place, while also having potential sucessors.
>>
>>4927317
Good thinking man.
>>
>>4926940
>>4927303
>>4927317
>>4927330
Taking these then. Writing.

>>4927317
It's all good. As >>4927014 I should have probably posted in General. Plus it's been like 3 days since the thread died too.
>>
"Are you nervous?" You ask gently. "Start with slightly thick lines about your thumb wide, then steadily try to go lower after you can do 20 of even thickness. Don't worry about not getting it right, most part of painting is painting over mistakes, or running with them and turning them into something else."

"I'm not nervous." Bao says, tongue between her teeth. "Art is hard." She says.

"Right..." You say as you choose believe Bao can't be that bad at drawing. Changing the subject, you ask, "How do sprites become spirits? When the chi that Kai held was releazed, Shenlong said that it would turn into sprites and spirits again, so it must have some cycle of renew and growth to it."

"They just do." Bao says. You feel she's teasing you so you stay quiet and wait patiently. When you don't bite, she continues. "Sprites are like babies." She says. "They grow up to be Spirits. Either they begin to take on bigger resposibilties and are slowly given more power by their father to handle their tasks. Others simply...grow." Bao explains. "They simply evolve into spirits."

"Doesn't that mean they make more chi?" You ask. "If they do, then how would things become unbalanced because of Kai?"

"It's just a law of nature." Bao says. "It just is. It's something a bit difficult to explain...you just know it or Shenlong and I do." She thinks for a moment. "They don't make it really. More like they kind of pick it up, gather it the way unused things gather dust. They slowly grow and become more aware of the world around them. It's as if the experience itself feeds them. Makes their souls grow and they slowly pick it up from things around them. So as they help the world grow, so to do they feed from it. If none of that returned back to nature, even if sprites could make their own chi then the world would surely be unbalanced."

"The ones that just...grow. What happens to them when they become spirits?" You ask.

"They are given their own tasks. Spirits and sprites are the children of dragons but they are also bound to them. They are part of them. A spirit wouldn't simply wander aimlessly and not do anything. It's not in their nature. More often than not however, a spirit who evolved from a sprite naturally already had a task to complete. One they spent their entire life doing. So when they evolve, they continue that task and perhaps teach new sprites how to preform it as well."
>>
"How do they die?" You ask quietly.

"That is their greatest task." Bao says quietly. "Every spirit knows they must return to the world and become part of the cycle anew. It's their greatest duty. They return here and preform their final act. To simply give up on existing and to become nothing."

"That's it?" You ask. "Surely...the spirits must protest or find it offensive or something?" You could not comprehend it. Even the most stalward person, even the men and women who were not afraid of death would not simply give up on living. Yes, they'd valiantly sacrifice themselves but to simply...give up? You didn't understand.

"Life and death mean nothing to them." Bao says. "They don't understand it in those ways. To them, it's just the way the world works. To the most enlightned spirits, its an experience they would wish to try out. As an immortal, wouldn't dying be something you're most curious in? Once you've done all you believe you can, wouldn't death be the one last true experience? That is the closest approximation you'll get from a spirit. They don't welcome it, they don't fear it. They'll never understand it but they know it is their duty and the greatest task they can ever do for their father and the world."

"So...either sprites grow into it naturally or they are slowly fed more responsibilites until they evolve." You summarize. Feeling pangs of guilt, you ask, "Are the spirits forced to die? Do they get no choice?"

Bao looks at you for a moment. "Autonomy and choice are sometimes confused for one another. Spirits and sprites are the same in that regard. They have duties to do and give allowed to do it as they please but in the end, they will preform their jobs. Including their death. Don't mourn them Tai Lung, at least not in the way we do the mortals we know and love. I know it's hard but you must understand that our spirit friends do this the same way the sun rises and falls. It's just nature. If it helps you, they feel no pain and feel no fear. Their last thoughts are of how honored they are to have lived and to give life to their brethren."

"Have you seen spirits die?" You ask quietly.

"A few." Bao says softly. "If it wasn't for how I am now and how connected I am to Shenlong and the spirits...I don't think I could handle it."

"Can I ask...what it's like?"

"It's beautiful." Bao whispers, her voice a mixture of sadness and wonder, of melancholy and joy. "Words can't explain it and your eyes fail to show you the real beauty of it but in your heart, in your soul, there's nothing purer than seeing it happen. Only Shenlong disperses his children. It's only right as their parent that he does not dishonor their final act by delegating it to anyone else, even me."

You go quiet for a while, despite all you've been told, you couldn't help but feel sorry for them. "There's...one sprite." You say slowly.

"Yes..." Bao says gently. "In time, Little Fan will pass on too but rest assured, it will be beyond your time. You need not worry."
>>
"I'm sorry but I promised to keep you company." You say a bit ruefully. "I will see it happen."

"Maybe..." Bao says quietly.

"My friends and I...we were thinking of building a home..." You continue. "I was wondering...could he stay with us? I wouldn't build a home without a shrine to Shenlong and naturally it'd need a spirit to guard it right? Or something like that."

Bao smiles. "I can't promise you that." She says. "Little Fan might be assigned to another job but..." She say slowly and, if they were capable of it, you would have sworn they was a glint in her eye. "If not by then I can see about asking him a small favor."

"Thanks." You say, slightly relieved. The two of you continue to paint and practice. "I know Shenlong is the master of air, but...what is his uh, position in a celestial sense. He has his siblings but I've seen that he is not afraid to put his foot...coils down when confronting them so I imagine they are like most siblings in that way."

"It's funny like that isn't it?" Bao says vaugely. "Despite being celstial beings, they share many traits we consider humanizing. Perhaps it's them that imparted those traits unto us? Shenlong and his siblings are equals and they are not. Much like rulers, they have no one above them and no one to command them but no one reigns supreme over the other's dominion. When it comes to you, Shenlong's siblings can command you as they please. You are nothing in their vastness but if things come down to it, Shenlong has the ultimate authority over you. To ignore that fact, is to deny Shenlong his place in the universe and we all know that is a bad idea. The same goes for anyone under the mantle of the other dragons. Shenlong will not deny his sibling's authority over them." Bao puts down her brushes and pulls a basket of sandwiches from her side, a basket you swore was never there before. She takes a bite, rather unladylike for someone of her position, and chews. "But you don't need to worry about that." She says. "The Dragons aren't like politicians of the mortal world. You don't need to fear any backstabbing or subterfuge. If they want something, they'll be open about it."

"Thanks...I guess?" You say. "What about you? You're a High Priestess. So was your mom right? I never thought about it but what happened to your village? If was blessed by Shenlong and it never grew. Moreover, people thought you were a witch."
>>
"My mother...had lost faith." Bao says quietly. "Rather we all did. It's no real surprise honestly. It happens. A village forgets to hold a ceremony or holiday. Maybe they forget to offer sacrifice. Then they forget two or put it off for another day. Slowly but surely, the people forget to do rituals and they don't teach their children. Then no one remembers. Even my mom didn't do any real preist duties. She simply did the bare basics and I assume that's because it was all she was taught or was handed down to her. She wasn't a priestess in any offical regard, she simply had the scroll that told her what to do and even then she didn't really read it. I think you're assuming all high priestess are like me. That's not true. I am the only one of my kind. There are priestess and priests that may eventually come here but they do not have my duties."

"What do you mean?" You ask.

"When someone prays, when they seek inspiration or guidance. I am the voice they hear. When a temple prays for protection, when they seek enlightment or offer thanks. I am the one who offers and receives it. I am the voice of Shenlong. His mouth and his words. I am his eyes and his sight. His hands and ears. He and I are one but I am merely his avatar. He works through me and I enact his will on the mortal world. However, unlike his children, I have free will. I'm not just someone who presides over celebrations or ceremonies...I...I...I'm nature itself. I'm the wind and the rain. The soft breeze that offers a tired farmer a brief respite in the summer sun. The cool rain that feeds rivers and helps crops grow. There has never been anyone like me before and there never will be again." Bao says as she looks deep within you with her glowing blue eyes. The weight of her words hall heavy on your, and you feel like you can see eternity in her eyes. "But I'm also Bao. The scared girl who was chased away because she wanted to cure her father. The little girl who fell and scrapped her knee because she didn't listen to her father after eating soup. I am both of these and I always will. Unchanging, and unyeilding."

"Does that mean...you're the like sprites?" You ask. "Can you feel their collective memories? Do you know what the spriest do without needing to be asked?" Bao smiles at you.

"I told you. I see all." She says gently, playfully. "I know there's a stripped rabbit climbing a large mountain who misses you dearly. I know of the books the smaller rabbit is writing and I've seen what's inside them. Let me tell you, the sprites might not understand the words. But I do." She winks. "I know Little Fan is floating around the town we celebrated new years as eagerly waits for the bakers to make new sweets. The town of Xiqi's construction is proceeding apace. They have a few more buildings set up and the mill's secrets have been discovered."

"You know all of that..." You says, unable to really comprehend it all.
>>
"That's why I say there's no one else like me." Bao says. "Everything the sprites and spirits are capable of, access to a fraction of a Great Dragon's power, and the mind and soul of a mortal behind it."

"But how? What kind of magic did you do that night?" You ask. "Did you know this would happen?"

"Rituals are powerful." Bao says. "They're not just writing lines in the ground or saying funny words. It's the intent, the meaning behind them. That night...I wanted it all to stop. I wanted to save the kids. I wanted the townsfolk to go away and leave me alone...and I was willing to give up anything to make it happen. Maybe Shenlong heard me, maybe it was my innocent intentions, but something happened. He chose me for this and I accepted it. Even with centuries of pondering this. Even with all the knowledge I have...I don't know what happened. I'm not even sure the ritual or any ritual was made with that in mind. Right now, I believe with all my heart that what happened was a true miracle."

You sit there quietly with Bao, unsure of what to say, unsure of the magnatude of what happened that night. "I'm sorry." You say, unable to muster anything else.

"I know." Bao replies, placing a hand on yours. "More than even you can know."

>What do you say? Do you ask Bao anything else or do you move on to your training?
>Ask something else.
>Continue to your training.
>Write in.
>>
>>4927687
I want to hug the cat.

>I suppose I have two more questions, the first is what sort of rites and rituals does Shenlong ask of people?
>And the second. . What number am I thinking of?

Let's end on a joke, but also a way to test if she can read minds.
Then get on with our training.
>>
https://voca.ro/19JluWomubKm
>>
>>4927800
>I don't want to make one thing and fade into obscurity, so unless I die, I'm going to stay.

You tempted fate.
And you fool, you fucked the timeline!
>>
>>4927687
>Hug the cat.
>I guess both of us ended up spiritual after we sacrificed ourselves for the good of others. Maybe it has something to do with it?
>The fact that even after you did something so pure and noble, and you still show weakness and sorrow instead of arrogance and pride, shows that ypu are a good person. I'm glad to have met you Bao, and that my failure at your village wasn't the last time I ever saw you.
>>
>>4927704
>>4927805
Taking these. Writing.

>>4927971
>>Hug the cat.
Someday you'll be able to hug little sister Tigress.

>>4927800
You have fucked with time. Now time will fuck you. Xin dies while eating a bagel.

I never got to thank you properly for the previous omake VAnon. It was wonderful and I loved it. I've said it often enough but shit like that and knowing people are putting that kind of effort into some quest I happened to steal really brightens my day. So much that maybe I'll have Stripes keep a journal. It sounds pretty cool. Although who knows how safe it will be with smaller bun around. Keep up the good work and try not to push yourself. Seems like you have a lot on your plate right now. Namely the fact you have now indirectly killed all the side characters. This is now a quest based on An Bo's mother and her path to talk to the manger of Po's noodle stand.
>>
You wrap an arm around Bao and pull the cat into a hug. "The fact that even after you did something so pure and noble, and you still show weakness and sorrow instead of arrogance and pride, shows that you are a good person. I'm glad to have met you Bao, and that my failure at your village wasn't the last time I ever saw you. I guess both of us ended up spiritual after we sacrificed ourselves for the good of others. Maybe it has something to do with it?" You suggest. Bao wraps her thin arms around you and holds you tightly.

"Maybe. There are many stories of people being rewarded for selfless deeds and sacrifices. Perhaps the universe has it's own way of giving back to those who gave everything." She says.

"I'm not sure I would consider your position a reward." You admit. "As glad as I am to be able to see you again."

"Perhaps, but I choose to see it as a gift." She replies.

You nod and go quiet again. Rather than downplay or worse, give the impression of downplaying Bao's inner strength, you choose to go back to asking something else. "I suppose I have two more questions, the first is what sort of rites and rituals does Shenlong ask of people?"

"There are the normal ones most people do. Offer a prayer and some incense. Maybe donate some gold to a temple." Bao says.

"Gold? What would Shenlong do with gold?" You ask.

"It's not the gold itself. It's the thought that counts." Bao says. "A gift is a gift, even if the recipiant has no use for it. If your friends gave you a book you already read or weights meant for children. Wouldn't you feel happy? Not because you received gifts or that the gifts were fancy but because you know that your friends care for you and are willing to try to give you something? The same goes for prayer and offerings. It's not about the objects but the emotions behind it. It's why even the rich and powerful can not leverage their wealth against the dragons. Because they do not care for material things."

"So then what other rituals and the like are there?" You ask. "The kind most of the public don't know."

"Always looking for secrets." Bao giggles as the boops your nose. "Well, there is the fertility rites-"

"F-fertility?!" You interject.

"Not like that!" Boa says. "The rites of fertility are a sacred and rather rare ritual. Very few temples use it. To be honest I think only monastaries that are hidden deep in the wilderness know of it."

"Why's that?"
>>
"I think because such temples dedicate themselves more to the preservation of nature rather than people." Bao admits. "They hide away from civilization and tend to nature as a temple in a city tends to it's people."

"S-so...then what is the rite of fertility?" You ask, your face growing warm.

"A large ritual of self sacrifice." Bao says. "One only the highest of the order preform. 3 days and 3 nights of meditation and concentration as the participants eschew all forms of food and water."

"What do they hope to accomplish? I've heard tales of masters doing similar things in hopes of acheiving enlightenment but nothing like this."

"They offer their Chi to nature. Disperse it among the trees and plants in the same way the spirits do when they die." Bao says. "They wish to replicate the duties of the children of Shenlong and help nature flourish as they do. They believe by emulating the spirits and sprites, that they can become closer to Him. By eschewing the conventions of modern life and returning to nature and preserving it that they become more intune with him."

"Does...it actually work?" You ask.

"It does." Bao admits.

"Can't you tell them to stop? They could die trying that." You say.

"I cannot. I'm not allowed to interfere with the mortal world anymore than I already do. In the same way Shenlong and his siblings don't simply descend down upon it and exert their will upon your friends and family." Bao explains.

"I've always wondered that actually. The Dragons are all powerful. Why do they simply not do as they please?" You admit.

"For all their power and strength, even the Great Dragons still care for the mortals. The small fragile creatures that they are in comparison. It's because of that fragility and how fleeting their lives are that they care. It makes you all precious to them. They could force their will on you all but that would take away the beauty of life. In the same way a painting of a flower can't compare to the beauty of the real thing, taking away the free will of mortals would irreversably remove what makes them so precious. So the Dragons tend from afar. They nurture you and tend to you but they do not make you become like them. In return, they simply ask for respect and love in return. Like a parent to a child. Cherish everything around you because it was made for your growth and happiness."
>>
You stay silent for a moment. You hadn't thought about it like that. Everything in the world was made or at least tended by the Dragons for your benefit. The wild herbs and plants that fed you. The water that you drink. The air that you breathe. With that in mind, you wonder your place in the world again. For now you were content with protecting the weak and fending off evil but you wonder if you should try to rise above that. Or would that be arrogant to try and do so? Should you be ok with your position in life rather than risk arrogance rising once more. There was something in humility. You ponder for a while longer before Bao speaks up. "You said you had another question?"

"Oh...yeah." You say snapping out of your thoughts. "What number am I thinking of?" You ask with a weak grin.

Bao giggles and gives you a smile. "I don't know." She says. "You're not a wind sprite, just a blessed man." Bao wiggles out of your hug and stands up. "I need to go now. I have a few duties to attend to. They're asking for a blessing at a wedding and a few priests are being ordained. You won't break anything while I'm gone right?"

"No promises." You say with a small smirk. Bao plants her hands on her hips.

"Then you can't have any of my sandwhiches." She says picking up her basket and walking into the woods. Just like that, she was gone.

---

You spend the next few weeks training and trying to master your meditation. At first it was rather difficult, much more so than you expected. Much to Bao's amusement, the first few days of mortal time had you jumping between the spirit world and the mortal one as every time you tried to meditate you would lose concentration on staying in the garden which was something you didn't even know you had to do. Coupled with your other responsibilities, it took you a while to be able to do both at the same time. After that, you had to devise ways to incorporate what you had learned.

Luckily, if you ever needed something to distract you the wind sprites were the perfect candidates. You have some ideas on the culprit, but someone tipped the children of the wind that you were spending an extended time in the garden and thus you were soon surrounded in very boisterous sprites asking for games and stories. You use their eagerness to devise games for them that would allow you to train your meditation. First by trying to focus and remember things while they chattered, then by trying to walk around as they played tag.
>>
Unfortunately, you do end up getting knocked around quite a bit when the sprites choose to try and rush you. Even worse, sometimes you come back to awareness and find that you have various spots and stripes painted on you though Bao insists between giggles that she had nothing to do with it. Curiously, the colors painted on you always matched the colors on her palate.

Eventually however, your efforts begin to bear fruit. You often find yourself, pivoting out of the way of a stranger while you're walking without meaning to or you remember snippets of conversations you weren't paying attention to that you overheard while going about your day. You feel your mind ache somewhat akin to the days when you would spend hours reading up on new techniques back home and felt overwhelmed. If you were to be honest, it worried you somewhat. You felt like you had opened the floodgates to something and had no idea how to close it or staunch the flow. Every day, you would come to realize you were remembering things you had no concious memory of how you aquired it. Words and sights that you don't recall seeing or hearing but were just as vivd as the things you did. Training didn't seem to help but rather made the problem worse as it only extended the time you would enter this state. You worry that you'd soon loose your grip on what you were seeing and what you were merely absorbing. Most frightening was the fact that in terms of mortal days only about a week or so had passed but you could scarcely remember going through them and yet...everything was as vivid as it should have been.

But all was not lost as your salvation comes in the form of Renshu. A few days after his arrival, you awake to him kneeled next to you on your bed. You open your mouth to speak but he simply places a hand on your head. "Your mind is a mess." He says gently. "Luckily, I happen to have some experience with nonstop noise."

You spend the next few days in a vivid haze, both knowing and unknowing. Renshu takes you out of the city and an empty ledge on the mountain side. There the two of you spend hours meditating, never talking, or making a sound.

Just follow my voice. He says in your mind. Focus on it. Listen to it and nothing else. Push away all extraneous sounds and thoughts. You have taught yourself to open up to everything around you. Now you must relearn to focus once more and put the two together. Balance in all things, just as you have taught me.
>>
Slowly, the days go by and the haze slowly lifts. It is a strange sensation to go through. It was as if you were hyperaware of your surroundings and yet in a calm state, rather than a frantic one that would elicit the awareness. You slowly learn the opposite end of your training. To be able to put away the information for later use rather than access it immediately when you learn it. You come to see the world in a new light. Everything seems sharper and clearer but you are no longer drowing in overstimulation. You can pay attention to conversations while not actively listening to them or even while having another one. Your motor skills have increased farther than you ever had them before and you seem to be perfect sync with not only the rest of your body but with everything else around you. A month has passed and you find yourself to be a new man, far more in tuned with the world around you than ever before.

>What do you want to do next?
>Training your new students.
>Ming's training (which is being handled by Xin. Votes to teach her throwing techniques over a kick based and weapon style won...I think)
>Write in
>>
>>4928257
>Training your new students.
>>
>>4928286
shit. Sorry, I did some house work and sat down to take a break. Next thing I know, I've fallen asleep. Must've not slept as well as I thought last night. I'll get to writing.
>>
>>4928257
>Training students

You know, that didn't actually occur to me of what we were asking for. Thanks Renshu.
>>
>>4928584
Taking this as well. Again, sorry for the delay.
>>
You wait quietly at the tree outside of the city. Cross legged, you ponder what you could be doing wrong. It had been a few days since you started training but still you couldn't really grasp your new meditation. You were on the cusp of something, of that you were sure but it just didn't click. At least, not yet. You continue to ponder for a while before, moving out of the way. A small bead hits the tree where your head was resting. "You know, this is a habit I wouldn't like to get into." You say as you stand up.

"Oh calm down. I was only teasing." Xin Lan says as they wander over to pick up their bead. "You looked like you were napping. Is here yet?" They ask. It takes you a moment to figure out who "he" was but you shake your head.

"No. Renshu isn't back yet." You say. "At least I haven't seen him." Xin Lan's face takes on a look of disappointment.

"He's taking forever." They say, flopping down ontop of you. You gently catch them and pick them up.

"I'm sure he'll be back soon enough. Climbing the mountain isn't easy and no doubt it's harder alone." You assure them.

"They could just use the tunnels. He doesn't have to be so dumb." They reply grumpily. You play with Xin Lan's ears for a moment before setting them down. They stretch their toes a bit and yawn. "Think he's gonna show up again?" They ask. This time, you understood who they were refering too. Ever since you started teaching, you'd see them. A male rabbit with brown and black fur. They weren't a student of the order and they weren't a guard. They'd linger at the edge of the field and watch everyone train but they would never approach nor make any attempt to join. They would only stick around for about half the lesson before they simply left without saying a word.

"Probably. He hasn't missed a lesson yet." You say.

"Think he's from a rival school?" Xin Lan asks. "Trying to steal your secrets?"

You chuckle. "There's a rival school? Since when?"

"Since now. I'm using my woman's intuition."

"I didn't know Renshu had a little sister." You say amused. "He always told me he had a brother."

"Hush you. You know I'm the cutest girl you've ever seen." Xin Lan counters.

"I'll let you and Ming argue over that." You say.

"In either case, want me to take care of the guy?" They ask, knife in hand. Upon seeing the look on your face they stow it away. "I was only joking." They say. "But I can keep an eye on him if you'd like. I'm not sure I trust the guy."
>>
"It'll be ok. I'm sure he's just a curious observer. He'll join when he feels ready." You say. Xin Lan seems unconvinced but says nothing else as your students arrive.

---

You spend the rest of the day going over basic exercises with your class. You had taken the same approach as with Ming and rotated each lesson to give the classes a routine to follow rather than bore them with a single thing. Today, you were going for the class lesson of pushups and situps. Despite your class's protests, you all go through stretches and exercises to work up a sweat. It had only been a few days and you didn't expect any progress to be made but you were at least pleased to see that your students were taking the lessons to heart and coming prepared for them. A few of them even brought refreshments and snacks for everyone, preapproved by you of course.

Just like clockwork, you see the rabbit hanging around the edge of the field. It was a bit humorous to see them hiding within the tall grass. Often times you forgot that even Xin Lan, despite being the shortest of your group, was quite a bit taller than a regular rabbit which only put into perspective how gargantuan your partner was compared to the rest of his species. You keep an eye on the rabbit only to have your attention taken back by one of your students.

"Hey master, if we're supposed to use this stuff in self defense, how come we can't use it to protect other people? What if we gotta deck someone across the face in a bar? We just supposed to run away?" They ask.

>What do you say? How do you instruct your students to handle the situation of defending others?
>Tell them that while you don't approve your class using what they learn here to 'deck' someone, inaction is almost as bad as ignoring another in need.
>Say that your lessons are meant for your defense only, protecting others is the guard's job.
>Say that the most important thing they can do is to defuse the situation. Physical combat is something you have to use as a last resort.
>Write in.
>>
>>4928660
>There are many questions and thoughts on the matter, but I will give you mine.
>What you learn is self defense, defending yourself. Your moves and your training isn't designed nor intended for you to stop attacks directed at another, only to keep yourself from harm.
>This means then, that to help someone else, you have to step into harms way. And that, while admirable, leaves us the question of if you are capable of defending yourself against another opponent, or multiple if they have friends as you say. A question that can only be answered through action, but a gamble of your safety and lives, best left to others.

Then when questioned on inactivity and the badness

>But let us suppose that only you can help, any other is too far away or simply won't. In that event, there are three key words. Defusal, removal, defense.
>defuse the situation however you are able without resorting to violence. Words and preventative measures are a more efficient and safe weapon than martial arts.
>Remove yourselves and/or the threatened party from the situation, through convincing them to leave, step back, just generally remove the causes of the argument and the potential victims of such. Force is still discouraged but may be required.
>Lastly is Defense. Minimum force required to ensure your own safety is to be used and nothing more. Minimum force may mean slapping them and running away in the opening. It may mean throwing them through a table to render them unconsious. But it will never amount to needing to kill nor brutalise someone, that is not what you are here to learn. And without sounding like a threat, reputation for such things tends to mean others stop holding back and escalate their own force to meet yours. A destructive cycle.
>>
>>4928660
>I say that it's in self defense because it's the the most just reason for violence. The first hurdle that one has to whether one should to apply it in the first place, not only because it means putting yourself in harm's way, but also your opponent may sugfer more than you intended to. A blow to head always has the chance to straight up kill someone, should the one that does it not have complete control of his strength, and intricate knowledge of anotomy. Would you be willing to die in a simple confrontation, or kill a man for being a braggart?
>Although the protection of others is the noble use of violence, you must also question if it should be used to begin with. A confrontation that is avoided altogether is also one with no collateral damages after all.
>Only fight if you are willing and able, and if there are not another path that may lead to less pain. Seek to not be the one that starts the aggression. But don't be foolish, if you must fight, stack the odds in your favor and temper your fury.
>Like the folk saying goes, when you have a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Captcha is now refusing to load at all for me, this keeps getting worse.
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>>4929359
Holy shit, it worked.
I've been trying since yesterday.
>>
>>4928685
>>4929359
Yeah captcha is getting to me too. Takes me like 3 times as long to post multiple parts than it did before. I'll get to writing.
>>
"There are many questions and thoughts on the matter, but I will give you mine. What you learn is self defense, defending yourself. Your moves and your training isn't designed nor intended for you to stop attacks directed at another, only to keep yourself from harm. This means then, that to help someone else, you have to step into harms way. And that, while admirable, leaves us the question of if you are capable of defending yourself against another opponent, or multiple if they have friends as you say. A question that can only be answered through action, but a gamble of your safety and lives, best left to others. Although the protection of others is the noble use of violence, you must also question if it should be used to begin with. A confrontation that is avoided altogether is also one with no collateral damages after all." You explain and you find yourself walking around your small group of 3, looking at each one as you speak.

"But let us suppose that only you can help, any other is too far away or simply won't. In that event, there are three key words. Defusal, removal, defense. Defuse the situation however you are able without resorting to violence. Words and preventative measures are a more efficient and safe weapon than martial arts. Remove yourselves and/or the threatened party from the situation, through convincing them to leave, step back, just generally remove the causes of the argument and the potential victims of such. Force is still discouraged but may be required. Lastly is Defense. Minimum force required to ensure your own safety is to be used and nothing more. Minimum force may mean slapping them and running away in the opening. It may mean throwing them through a table to render them unconsious. But it will never amount to needing to kill nor brutalise someone, that is not what you are here to learn. And without sounding like a threat, reputation for such things tends to mean others stop holding back and escalate their own force to meet yours. A destructive cycle. Only fight if you are willing and able, and if there are not another path that may lead to less pain. Seek to not be the one that starts the aggression. But don't be foolish, if you must fight, stack the odds in your favor and temper your fury. Like the folk saying goes, when you have a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions." You conclude and give a small smile, "Of course, if you really are worried about someone else's safety, you can always reccomend them to join my classes. You all know the schedule. Plus it's free." You say with a tone of amusement. This illicits a laugh from your students.
>>
"Very funny, master." One of your students say.

"As I've said, this class is for self defence not vigilantism. We all hear the stories and we all know of The Five. But that path is not the path for everyone. It requires dedication beyond what I am teaching and often times requires you to forgo the things that are most important in life. Stick to the basics and they will serve you far more than any advance technique you might hear about. Remember, a solid foundation builds a solid home not the gilded windows nor archways. You have nothing to prove to anyone and your own safety will speak to the efficacy of your lessons. Now, if there are no more questions then I say today's lessons are over. Tomorrow we'll be doing forms, bring some comfortable clothing." You bring your fist to your palm and bow to which your students replicate and begin to disperse. Xin Lan drops from a tree branch and lands next to you.

"Well that went about as well as it could. Soon enough we'll have an army to take over China." They say. You poke them behind the head.

"Keep talking like that and you'll worry the others." You say.

"Ming is already in on my plan. She's gonna be empress." They reply.

"Funny, thought that was gonna be you." You chuckle.

"No. I'm gonna be Emperor." Xin Lan says. "I'm gonna marry her, duh."

"I thought you were the cutest girl I've ever seen."

"I am and you're just jealous." They reply a matter of factly. You chuckle once more and ruffle their ears.

"Why don't you go get Ming? I think she mentioned she was going to be at the apothecary she likes looking for ingredients. She might be trying to advance again." You say as you look at the sky. "It's almost time for her training."

"That reminds me. I gotta find some darts." Xin Lan says with a tone of hesitation. "I'll pick some up on the way. You gonna be here waiting?"

"I have nothing else on my hands so yeah. I'll let you know if your brother comes in while you're away though we both know he'd wait for you to come back." You say, easing their worry. For the past week, the smaller rabbit had been looking for any excuse to be at the training grounds to wait and you feel that something to keep their mind busy would do them some good.

"Right...alright then. I'll see you in like an hour or so. You know how picky Ming gets with her stuff." Xin Lan says, rolling their eyes.

"It means she's passionate about her work. You know this." You say with amusement.

"Yeah but she'd be better being passionate about clothing. Then at least I'd have someone to bring along." They say with a bit of exasperation.

"Well you can give her a few earfuls about it I'm sure."

"Don't you know it." Xin Lan says and with flick to your nose, they leave. You wait a few mintues while they're out of eyesight before you speak up.
>>
"So, how long are you going to wait? You're usually gone by now." You say as you gather up a few training weights. They were somewhat crude, made of stone and sticks, but they served their purpose in helping build your student's strength. "Did you need something? Maybe some private lessons?"

The grass at the edge of the field rustles for a moment and you feel an air of hesitation before the familiar face of the brown rabbit pokes out and they quietly wander over, fidgeting. While they don't say anything, it was clear something was on their mind. "I'm just a teacher." You say. "If you're hoping for me to fight someone, then you haven't really been paying attention to my classes." You say.

The rabbit nods as they seem to be trying to make up their mind, you're about to say something else when the young man blurts out, "CanyougetmeadatewithXinLan?!"

It takes you a few solid seconds to parse what you had heard, even so you reply with a simple, "I'm...I'm sorry?"

"Please?" The rabbit begs as they fall to their knees and bow. "You probably know her better than anyone."

You stare at the small rabbit flabberghasted as you try to figure out what words to say. All that you can think of is, "Why?" Not in regards to their reasoning or why you in particular just a simple confused "Why?"

"She...she's amazing." They say looking up to you. "Her soft, snow white fur. Her fluffy tail. Those scarlet eyes. They're like rubies lost in the mountain snow. The way she walks with her super natural grace. Like as if she's walking on the winds themselves. Like she rejects the forces that holds us mortals to the ground. Her confidence that puts her above us basic men. It's like she's royalty. I'd do anything to be with someone like her. Even just to have her look down on me!" He recites, his eyes glittering with awe and admiration. Even someone as dense in the ways of love and romance could see that the poor man was love struck. "So you gotta help me! Please!"

>What do you say?
>Tell the poor boy that Xin is not actually a girl. They're actually a boy. Maybe that will help clear the young man's mind.
>Say that you're not the best at romance. At best, you'll merely tell Xin exactly as he just said which at that point he might as well do himself.
>Say that Xin's not looking for a romantic partner and given what you know about them if they were, they wouldn't make a secret about it.
>Tell the rabbit that Xin is a master of nagivating the social life, if they wanted a chance with them then they best not try to out do them in subtly and just be upfront about it.
>State the obvious. What makes him think you're not in a relationship with Xin? The two of you are awfully close.
>Write in.
>>
>>4929539
>Apperance is only the beginning, and Xin is a master on fooling someone's perception on social life, so everything you know about her can be a lie or truth.
>You want to date Xin? Then go straight to her and ask her. She is going to deny you, but keep trying. Heaven's know she needs someone normal in her life.
>Oh, and a tip, she loves literature, specially Romance of the Three Kingdoms or other books like that. Don't chnge yourself for them, but it may be useful as an icebreaker.
Time for payback.
>>
>>4929554
>normal bun nat20's date check
>Xin get smol bunny bf
>Renshu commits murder
All according to plan.
>>
>>4929554
Guess we're setting the bun up for dating advice. Writing.
>>
>>4929554
This is perfect.
>>
Unsure how to handle the situation, you decide to leave it up to the rabbit. You had no idea about the first thing on romance, so you give the lovestruck young man as much information you can. You have to squat down to get even remotely close to coming face to face with the smaller mammal. "Apperance is only the beginning, and Xin is a master on fooling someone's perception on social life, so everything you know about her can be lie or truth." You say. "You want to date the- erm her? Then go straight and ask them. She's going to deny you, but keep trying. If you want to know more about her...she loves literature, her favorite being Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Books like that. I'm not saying that you should learn to love books from now on but it might be useful as an icebreaker. Heavens knows someone normal might do her some good." You mutter.

The small rabbit clings to every word you say as if it were life or death. "Ok...books. Persistence." He says standing on his toes and then falling back before going back on his toes again. All the while his tail flicks with excitement. "What else?" He asks breathlessly.

"What else?" You repeat. What else was there? You think for a moment. There was plenty you knew about Xin Lan but nothing you could or would say. It was far too personal. Thinking about it, part of you feels like this is rather cruel to set up the poor rabbit for failure. Xin Lan already told you their stance on relationships and this feels like turning your back on the promise you made. However, it was clear that the young man really wouldn't be convinced otherwise. You suppose they'd have to learn the hard way. "Well...she really likes food. Can you cook? They do say that the way to a man's heart is through their stomach. Maybe this applies to them as well?"

"Cook? I mean I can manage my way around a kitchen." The young man says before brightening up. "But I can go find more recipies in the library! Yes...while I study up on her favorite topics...I can look up recipies! I gotta get going!" He shouts running off suddenly and without saying thanks. You get the feeling this won't be the last you you'll hear about this. Scratching your head in slight confusion, you return to gathering your things and putting them away. There was still some time before Ming and Xin Lan return to start training, so you decide to enjoy what little free time you have. You sit under the shade of the tree and relax before closing your eyes to rest. Despite really wanting to continue your meditative training, even you knew to take a break when you're given it.
>>
You begin dozing off when you hear a serene voice call to you. "Sleeping while there's still light out? How unlike you. Mind if I join you?" You awake with a start when you recognize the voice. Looking around, you see the large sillouette of Renshu standing before you. The stripped rabbit was covered in thick winter clothing and his face was wrapped in scarves leaving only his eyes exposed and his ears poking out. A light dusting of snow covered his shoulders and head. Renshu pulls down one of the scarves to reveal his smile.

"I think your sister might murder me if turned you away." You say with a chuckle as you scoot to the side to give your partner some room. "They've been waiting for you for days."

Renshu makes his way to sit next to you and your face grows warm as Xin Lan's admirer's words echo in your head and you notice them in Renshu as well.

The way she walks with her super natural grace. Like as if she's walking on the winds themselves.[/g]

Out of habit, you try to keep the conversation going rather than focus on that. "Was the travel hard? Xin Lan made it sound like you were going to arrive soon after them." Renshu sits besides you and begins to remove the rest of his scarves and other extra warm clothing. Contentment emenates from him and you realize that you missed him more than you thought. It was a combination of an old friend arriving, your family of 4 being complete once more, and a part of you becoming whole once more. "My apologies." He begins as he pulls his soaked gloves from his hands and tries to blow warm air onto them.

"Here." You say as you stand up and begin to start a fire in the small firepit you and your friends made for lunches. Renshu kneels and begins to warm his hands on the flames.

"Thank you." He says softly. "I did intend to return a few days after Xin Lan but I stayed behind a few more days. I wanted to do some thinking."

"About what?" You ask. "Xin...Xin told me about the bandits. And while I don't approve of the way you handled it. I think you might have crossed the line when you threw that man through a post. I am proud of you two. Saving people you didn't know. Putting your lives on the line, despite such underwhelming opponents, without thought of compensation or getting some kind of advantage...I think that's a perfect sign that you're making the steps towards bettering yourselves. You two are good people."

Renshu goes quiet for a moment as he continues to warm his hands. "Thank you." He says again with genuine happiness. He looks at you and smiles. "I missed you." He says pulling away from the fire and looking at you.

"I...missed you too." You admit, face growing warm again. "Although I'm sorry to say I didn't realize it until you arrived though...I did hear of you missing me."
>>
Slight confusion comes over Renshu's face before realization dawns on him. "Ah, I suppose Xin Lan would have divined that from me though it wouldn't have been too hard." He says amused.

"Err...no. Xin has actually been quiet about you. I think he wanted to respect your own journey." You say and quickly explain what you have been up to in the last two weeks. Renshu listens patiently as he always does and gives you an amused smile.

"While I must admit overworking oneself is a coping mechanism for grief, you are...you so I doubt that was the case. You are the type to do this kind of thing and I think I must agree with Ming on this one. You might just be biting off more than you can chew." He says. "Although, given your stubborn streak, you wouldn't listen either way. Would you?"

You laugh. "No, I don't think so. If Ming couldn't change my mind then you probably couldn't either." You look at the flames before sheepishly adding, "Do...you need a spare shirt? Wearing wet clothing for too long is bad for your health. I can let you borrow mine."

Renshu laughs. "I appreciate the offer but I afraid I'm soaked all over. Barring a complete change of clothes, I don't think changing my shirt would help much. Though I appreciate the fact you'd want to be shirtless for me." He adds with a mischevious tone. He lets you stew in your embarassment for a moment before speaking up, "But you asked why I stayed behind. I just...wanted to think about things. About us. About why I travel. What have I been doing all my life." Your embarassment quickly dies down as you listen intently. "It's no secret that I haven't really been thinking for myself. At least I feel. I've been following you and even before that everything I did was for Xin Lan. I am...afraid of myself. Before I took care of them, when I was truly free, I was a monster. I killed and hurt to feel better but you've already felt a glimpse of that. You've already accepted me for what I am. When I was free once more, when I thought I'd never meet my younger sibilng again, I fell back on it and murdered once more. I told myself I was doing right but we both know I wasn't. I think...I'm afraid of what I'll do if I allowed myself to be free again. If I didn't follow someone. I was not in a good place when I was down there. I didn't want to return until I had answers."
>>
He goes quiet for a moment. "There was a lot pain in just accepting things and I guess deep down, I knew you were right." He sighs, "I had to reevaluate everything and be honest with myself. I love you and I'm glad that we are giving this a try. I'm sorry about everything before, more than I can put into words. But I want to say that if this doesn't work out then I understand. I can't let my fears control me or the people around me. I can't simply keep hiding or running away from things. If I want to be better not only for you but also for me. Inpending judgement aside, none of this matters if I only do it for someone else. I'll just be repeating the same cycle. What if something happened to you? Would I just go on to the next person? Would I stick to what you taught me? I told you I left so I can become the man worthy of your love and to do that I have to learn to do things for myself as well. I need to be free."

"Does this mean...do you want to leave the group?" You ask.

"No." Renshu says. "However, we were given a year to better ourselves. I intend to use the remaining time for that. That being said, I won't be spending my time in the order."

"Oh? I thought it would do you some good. Access to many books on spirituallity and the like. I think it would be good to find yourself." You admit. "What did you have in mind?"

"That shop the Exarch mentioned. I'm going to ask to live in it. I want to open a diner." Renshu says. "I want to live as a normal person. Without my abilities or training. I think it would do me good if I try to build and indentity that isn't tied to my bloody past. Perhaps following the one thing I can say is a passion might allow me to assess myself outside of fighting and harming. It might give me some peace...although I'd love it if you'd still visited me." He says.

>What do you say?
>Tell Renshu that it would be better if he stayed in the order. Speaking to others about philosophy. Discussing it with others of similar interest would do far more good than trying to live as a 'normal' person.
>Ask Renshu something else about his time away. Perhaps knowing more about it might help you with a decision.
>Say that you respect his decision even if you think the library would be a better choice though you must admit, you probably will be visiting his diner more than you want to admit.
>The hardest decisions are the most painful ones but often they are the most important ones. Tell Renshu that it might be best he leave the group. Not because you hate him or think ill of him but because if he truly wants to be free then he might need to travel alone to figure himself out. He is always welcome to return but this might just be what he needs.
>Write in.

(Yikes, that second post got muddled up by bad italics. Sorry about that)
>>
Grabbing lunch. Be back later.
>>
>>4929815
>Maybe it's a good idea for you to distance yourself from us and your abilities for a while, to give you a new view in your life. But then again, it's also what make you, well you, and it would just be running and hiding away from your problem again.
>Perhaps a middle ground would be the best? I know that the library still keeps associates and has plenty of normal civil works. Maybe staying as an acolyte or assossiate, and still talking about philosophy and the likes in your spare time, while tending your dinner in your day-to-day activities? The shops do close awfully early in this city, you would have plenty of time.
>>
>>4929815
>Respect his decision.
I legitimately think this is the best course for him. Talking philosophy and spirituality is good and all, but honest and earnest experience from a new perspective is invaluable. And I remind you, it is exactly what we prescribed for Xin.

>But shops close rather early, so dont think you can escape my philosophical ramblings that easy!
>>
>>4929903
Oh and when we are done with that.

>Tell him about Xin's admirer.
>>
>>4927805
>>4927971
https://voca.ro/1lHV7RNq9Rki
>>
>>4929860
>>4929903
So is the vote to compromise or just to let him do his own thing? It seems like of like compromise to me or at least allow Renshu to run a shop but stop by to speak philosophy now and again as a sort of in between?
>>4929931
Also asking for murder. Gottcha.

>>4930136
That's good to hear my guy. Last thing I want to do is to throw more on to someone's work load for fanfic stuff. Time line is still fucked though.
>>
>>4930307
This is me by the way. For some reason 4chan didn't autoadd my trip.
>>
>>4930307
Do own thing, but we will be bothering him in his free time.
>>
>>4930307
Basically, let him do his own thing, but suggest that he could still be affiliated with the library to talk philosophy or get more music sheets.
>>
>>4930591
>>4930866
>>4929860
>>4929903
>>4929931
Letting Renshu explore himself, but we're too stubborn to just let him go. Gotta tease him a bit. Writing.
>>
>>4930893
Eh, no matter what we said you would add teasing anyway boss.
>>
"I understand." You say with a nod. "Though I'd like it if you didn't completely give up on the order, I'll respect your choice. We were asked to improve by the end of the year but we were never explicitly told it had to be through the library. Although, shops close here rather early so don't think you've managed to get away from philosphical dialouging that easily. Still, if you could make some time to swing by the library every so often to talk to others about music and philosophy it might help as well. We've been pretty isolationist so far and talking to others in an educational setting might also give a third persepctive as well."

Renshu laughs, "I'd much rather do other things with you in our free time but I'll make an exception, just for you. Should my time allow it, I'll see about going to the library. I might find some recipies there as well that I can adapt too." He says placing a hand on yours. Compared to his, your hands were rather massive. "Although...that does give me an idea. Staying open longer in the night might give me a competitive edge." He says thinking. "Still...with the preperation required to run an eating establishment I'm afraid we won't have much time to spend with one another."

"We'll find some." You say, pushing past your embarassment to turn your hand over and hold Renshu's. Renshu's face blushes slightly and you don't need to ask how he felt. "You know..." You say clearing your throat. "I think there might be someone else who will need relationship adivce."

Renshu looks at you with a bit of surprise. "Oh? Who might that be?" He asks curiously.

"Well...seems like Xin has a bit of an admirer." You say. "Someone came to ask me how to ask Xin out on a date not too long before you arrived." You give Renshu a quick rundown of your rather short conversation with the brown rabbit. As you speak, Renshu's face remains neutral. Once you finish, he gives out a melodramatic sigh.

"Well...I suppose I can indulge in one more murder." He says. Despite his dark words, you laugh.

"I figured you'd say something like that. Actually, I'd be surprised someone as protective as you would allow anyone to ask Xin out." You say. Renshu smiles.

"It's not uncommon I suppose. After all, seduction is a method of assassination." Renshu says. "Though, it seems like this young man is absolutely smitten with them. Though I'm most suprised at you. It seems my cruel streak is rubbing off on you." He says amused.

"Me?" You say with genuine surprise. "What did I do?"

"You set the poor boy up for failure and made him think he has a chance." Renshu teases. "Frankly, I think he'd have an easier time defeating you in hand to hand combat."
>>
"Well I don't see it like that." You say as you scratch your nose. "Rather, I don't think I could have convinced him otherwise. So instead I gave him what information I could and let him see for himself. Sometimes, you simply have to face the truth yourself rather than be told it. He'll just have to see how hard it'll be if not impossible." You pause. "What if he succeeds? What if Xin Lan does fall for the guy? Would you accept him?"

To your surprise, Renshu maintains his smile. His eyes glint as he seems to remember something. "Have I ever told you what I would dream about if I could dream?" He asks.

"No." You say. "I honestly, never did think much about it but you can't actually have dreams can you? You just...close your eyes and wake up right? So you can't really get any respite from the voices."

Renshu nods. "You are right. However...if I could dream...I would dream of living a normal life with Xin Lan. We'd be farmers, ordinary folk. No training, no skill. We'd flee at the first sign of danger. Cower behind guards. I'd dream of us growing up, perhaps doing trival day to day things...of me not approving who Xin Lan dates. Perhaps we'd argue about it." He chuckles wistfully. "But I can only hope they'd be capable of falling in love. Still, if by some miracle Xin Lan does fall in love, then I won't accept them until they're man enough to look me in the eye and tell me they're dating my younger sibling regardless of what I think. If they're not willing to fight me over it then I don't think they're worthy regardless if we do fight."

"Wouldn't it be Xin's choice though?" You say. "I think they of all people wouldn't care who approves, let alone ask for permission."

"I'll admit it's a rather romaticized idea but I enjoy indulging in it." Renshu says. "I'll be honest, if Xin Lan told me the exact same thing that I wish their suitor to say then I'd be forced to conceed."

"Because you can't help but spoil them." You chuckle. "Even you have to admit you're rather soft when it comes to them."

Renshu laughs. "Yes, I can't help it." He says. "Still, I don't expect this young man to get very far. Given Xin Lan's skill set, it'll be ultimately up to them to decide. They can't be lied to and should they wish to be left alone they could simply hide their tracks. Should things go...sour. Not only do they have Xin Lan's skill to contend to but they'd have 3 other rather irate foes to deal with."

"I think Ming would be more than enough." You laugh. "Especially when she gets irate."
>>
"True enough." He says with amusement. The two of you sit quietly holding each other's hand. If it wasn't for the fact that Renshu seemed to squeeze his every so often as if to remind himself that the two of you were really doing so, you'd have forgotten while you were lost in silent contentment.

Moments later, the peaceful quiet is broken by Xin Lan screaming, "Stripes!" The white rabbit rockets form atop the city walls and bounds over to the two of you, leaping straight into their brother at full force. Renshu, with a mixture of reluctance and joy, lets go of your hand and hugs their younger sibling tightly. Xin Lan's tail is a blur as it waves in excitement. "You're back." They say happily before quickly adding, "You're late!"

"Hello little one." Renshu says softly as he kisses the top of Xin Lan's head. "I'm glad to see you made it back safe."

"Of course I'm safe!" Xin Lan says only slightly irritated. "You're the one we've been worrying about all this time!"

"I'm sorry." Renshu replies. "I did intend to come back sooner but I had a few more things I wanted to contemplate."

"Well you could've taken the tunnels. Look you're covered in melted snow." Xin Lan says though it's obvious they're more relieved than upset. "You're always doing stuff like this."

"I know. I'm sorry." Renshu repeates as he plays with Xin Lan's ears.

"Where's Ming?" You ask.

"I'm here!" Ming calls out as she leaps down from the wall as well. Her bags were heavy and laden with goods. "Xin wouldn't let me put my stuff away." She says as she hurries over to hug Renshu. "You're back." She say before immediately placing two fingers on his neck. "Your pulse is normal." She says. "Eyes are dialating correctly. Renshu you're completely soaked. Take those clothes off before you catch a cold or something worse."

"Whoa there Ming. I think you should be asking the big guy for permission before you ask to undress Renshu." Xin Lan snickers while you try not to look bashful.

"Oh shush you. You know I'm only saying that as a doctor." Ming says as she digs around her bag. "If knew you'd be arrive today, I'd have brought you some spare clothes. Why didn't I think you'd be completel wet from all that snow if I knew you'd be climbing the mountain? I'll make you something to warm up."

"Thank you Ming but I'll be fine. I don't think a few more hours in wet clothing will cause any issues." Renshu says politely. "Though I must say that you're training seems to be going well. Only a few weeks away and already you're leaping over city walls. If I didn't know better, I'd say you'd have some rabbit in your lineage."

Ming blushes, "Oh...It's nothing. Just hard work and being nearly worked to death by your boyfriend." She says casting a mischevious grin at you. At this point you really did have to look away as your face burned. "I have some old rations here. I'll cook you up something nice as well. It's been too long since we all ate together."
>>
"Good thinking. We can train later." Xin Lan says, still clinging to Renshu. "Let's have a feast!"

"In that case, how about I go get some more ingredients?" You offer. "Might as well celebrate Ming's progress along with Renshu's return."

"Good thinking. Xin, go and get your brother some spare clothes." Ming says. "I'm serious! It's better he gets into something warm and dry soon." She says when Xin Lan gives her a mutinous look over the idea of leaving their brother so soon.

"Fine. I'll see you guys in a bit." They say before dashing off.

"Same here. I'll be back soon." You say. You and Renshu share on last look before you head off to follow Xin Lan.

>What kind of food do you want to prepare for dinner?
>Get ingredients for something spicy. The extra heat should help fend off the cold.
>Get stuff to make something heavy. The best thing for a post travel meal is something that makes you sleepy for a good rest.
>Get things for a light meal. Maybe something light for now. Don't want to upset Renshu's stomach. Travel is pretty hard on the body and over eating might not be the best idea.
>Get something to camp outside. It's been a long time since you've camped with your friends. Maybe a night outside the city walls would be fun.
>Write in.
>>
>>4930973
>Get things for a light meal. Maybe something light for now. Don't want to upset Renshu's stomach. Travel is pretty hard on the body and over eating might not be the best idea.
Nothing worse than doing heavy travelling and than sleeping with stomach ache.
>>
>>4930979
Something light it is. Writing.
>>
You decide that something light would do. Probably some kind of vegitable stir fry but with less oils used. Given how well An Bo's dish went over with you and your friends, you think this might be the best choice. You quickly buy some ingredients and make your way back to the training grounds.

---

"Wait, so you're going to start a resteraunt?" Xin Lan asks as they grab another helping of dinner from the safety for Renshu's lap. The warm fire illuminated the training field in the setting sun and you all had crowded around the flames like your traveling days, eager to stay warm and get a bite to eat.

"No. I'm opening a diner." Renshu says as he takes a drink, careful not to spill any food on their younger sibling or their new dry clothing. "Although I suppose one could just say it's a smaller resteraunt. I've seen the building we were offered. It's not that large so I won't be able to house many people so I want to serve meals that can be eaten quickly or for someone to grab a bite to eat before work or after. Rather than run an establishment that caters to people who wish to spend a long time there."

"I doubt you could do that." Xin Lan smirks. "All your food is too good to simply scarf down."

"And still that's what you do." Ming points out. Xin Lan gives her a grumpy look. To Renshu she asks, "But where will you get the ingredients to run a diner? Those take quite a bit to start up."

"I'll have to look into that." Renshu admits. "I have some spending money but I assume I'll have to either take a few loans or perhaps broker some kind of arrangement with the local market. I'm hoping for the latter."

"Once you get a steady stream of customers, it should get easier." Xin Lan says. "Don't worry, I'll make sure people come by."

"Now I'm really worried." Ming says.

"You'll see. Stripes will be needing to hire some help soon enough." They continue. "So...what about discounts? We get to eat for free there right?" Renshu simply gives Xin Lan one of his ussual mysterious smiles.

"No. No, come on Stripes! We're family! We all are! You gotta let us eat for free!" Xin Lan protests. They turn to you. "Tell him! He's gotta! There's gotta be like some kind of rule about that right?!"

"If you want to support your brother, it'll be best that you pay him for his work." You say as you tried to hide your grin behind your food. "After all, he's gonna need it to start up his buisness." Xin Lan's mouth hangs open as a look of defeat slowly comes over their face and they return to their meal gloomily muttering something about sneaking in and eating all the food.
>>
"It will be interesting, to say the least." Ming says. "I can't really picture you guys doing anything other than martial arts and beating up evil people." She taps her cheek as she wonders. "But it has a nice image to it..."

"How long do you think it'll take to get it up and running?" You ask.

"I'm not entirely sure." Renshu admits. "Even if I am given permission to do so, it would all depend on how long it take to aquire the materials, not to mention cleaning up the building. It is rather dusty and run down though nothing a bit of hard work can't fix."

"Well, we'll be the first ones to try it out." Ming says. "And we'll stop by as often as we can. I'm sure you'll do fine. The stuff you cook is already on par with something we can buy in a resteruant. Give that you'll have as much time as you want to prepare, I think you'll have more than enough people wanting to eat from your place."

"Thank you. That means a lot to me." Renshu says. You and your friends spend a few more hours eating and catching up. You're quite happy you went with something light because by the time you all had to return back to the city, you're feeling quite tired and anything heavier might have had you run the risk of simply falling asleep outside the city walls. You all head back to your own dormitories and soon enough, you find yourself fast asleep.

---

From what Xin Lan has told you, Ming's training was going quite well. Perhaps it was her talent as a surgeon or maybe it was simply being used to handling knives from cooking and medicine, but she had taken to throwing object somewhat quickly. Her accuracy was rather poor given she had recently started but she handled the form and how to handle throwing objects quite well. For the first week or so, she was trained with slightly weighted sticked to get her used to the throwing motions and weight without risk of hurting herself. After she got the hang of throwing forms, she was moved on to more common knives. Although she wasn't expected to be using these often, it was good training to understand the basics on objects she was familiar with. Not to mention, getting used to heavier objects would build up muscle memory and muscles that were used for the techniques. Slowly she would work her way down to lighter objects as she became more proficient in the heavier ones. By the end of the three weeks which you had spend trying to master your own things, Ming was throwing regular kitchen knives quite well. Though she could hit a target in the general area, hitting precise spots was a point of difficulty for her regardless of the improper throwing implements she was using. Even so, you were happy with her progress and were glad she was in good hands.
>>
>What do you want to focus on now? 40 weeks remain.
>Try for advancement to the next level of the order. (Time is based on what topic you want to use as a basis for your application)
>Research another topic. (What do you research? Time is also based on what you want to know but generally it's 2 weeks to get a basic grasp of new information)
>Spend some extra time training Ming. (Up to you how much time you want to spend teaching her.)
>Try and figure out how to incorporate your friend's aspects into your new style. Ming's compassion, Xin's emotional detachment from the situation, and Renshu's defensive style. (Whopping 20 weeks.)
>Spend some time with the gators. Try to get to know them a bit and help them with their project. (4 weeks)
>Write in

>Do you continue training Ming in throwing or move on to something else for the moment?
>Continue training her in throwing.
>Try something else.

(Don't worry, Xin's admirer isn't being thrown to the wayside. I just want to get an idea of what you want to do next so I can structure everything that's going on.)
>>
>>4931222
>Try for advancement to the next level of the order. (Time is based on what topic you want to use as a basis for your application)
Time to keep on going for Chi and spirits, use our new knowledges to further everything. We now know that spirits die naturally as well, and that they have a cycle of rebirth too, and they both get promoted and grow, and that our thesis of their semi-idependence and collective knowledge is true. So i think we should try to go on how the chi itself flows. We know that it connect things, that kbowledge and emotions are a big part of it, that it gathers in the enviromnent too, it can link souls and can cause spirits to grow.
>Continue training her in throwing.
She needs to have pinpoint accuracy for her to properly use her potions in whatever style.
Than we teach her nunchuncks or tonfas, and end her training with chi knowledge and mysticism.
>>
>>4931258
Oh, and how chi flows is a way that is somehow provable, since we would be able to atleast teach Mida how to meditate, or influence him somehow, like showing that we can transfer wounds and heal them for example.
So that's a checklist. We leave the creating something new required for tge other advancement for our new style or something. Or maybe write a compedium of common rituals and types of spirits, how they interact and their jobs, and we go around Eureka interviewing them.
>>
>>4931258
I support this. We may want to do some experimenting on how Chi works with astral transcendence.
Because we know that people are able to copy spirits in their actions, so perhaps there is something there for us to innovate off of. Like discount bending
>>
>>4931258
>>4931265
>>4931266
You mean like seeing leylines or something like that?
>>
>>4931351
I mean, if Chi works like that.
But I was thinking on how it's obvious that Chi is prrsent on natural, and emanates from everything that's alive, and that it somehow is connected with emotion and knowledge, since sprites that are well travelled and knowleged naturally grow without the intervention of the Dragons. Not only that, but those sacrifices and ritual of fertlity does makes forests grow, so tge enviroment also naturally absorb chi.
So the thing is, how does it flows from being to being? How common are tge connections? We made a permanent one with Renshu, but in the fight with tigress, we made a temporary one. Can inanimate objects that are not alive, or made out of ornganic material, or ritually prepared can absorb chi? Like could a rock absorb chi alone? If it does, would it develop a soul? Or would it give birth to a sprite? If it does absorb, would have a limit? Would ut transfers from the rock to the ground and the trees? Or does a sprite or spirit need to go and manually transfer it?
>>
>>4931366
And also if the chi flow os present on mortals. If it flow between people too, in that case, Feng Shui would be real, and maybe there are difference between villages, towns and cities. Not only that, but it would lead that the Noosphere might be real, and maybe it could also link a mortal to nature itself. Maybe that is how the connection that inner peace allow.
>>
>>4931351
I was thinking more along the lines of working on the thesis that physically, astral bodies are functionally indistinct from spirits.

Meaning that anything a spirit could do, we could do in theory. Which of course, means that we'd have to try.
>>
>>4931373
>>4931351
Hell, we can use the scientific method and determine what chi IS.

Is it emotion? Is it carrying emotion? Is it a thoughless matter that is moved by conscious or unconscious thought?
though I hestitate to do that, because trying to science away magic in a quest always comes off as. . meh
>>
>>4931222
Changing my vote to
>Spend some time with the gators. Try to get to know them a bit and help them with their project. (4 weeks)
I think we should try to alternate between advancement, training and helping the gators. If we try to steer them away all at once, it won't work.
>>4931351
But I still want to know how long thag Chi research would take, just so we can plan around.
Actually Luo, I also have a question, how long would it take for us to do that battery of phyaics tests on Eureka, survey the place and interview a few actual spirits of the place? I'm thinking of tgis level we present what Chi is and how it flows, and the next is how the land of spirits is.
There are five nore ranks rights? I want to leave the new peaceful magic style for last.
>>
>>4931408
For sake of not creating a deadlock and to better create a plan for later, I will support.
>>
>>4931412
I just don't wamt a repeat of the Renshu debacle, where we spent months voting to solve our emotions until it ended, also I like to have eta so we can plan around.
>>4931381
>>4931373
Your idea of astral projection can also be put together spirit sensing and listening, we could make it a whole separate thesis on it. Maybe talk a bit with the other Eureka masters on their experiences, and we have a source of information other than ourselves and oyr observations.

Talking about the masters in Eureka, we need to tell Sangpo abput the new club that formed, and invite him to come over to Turtle Mansion someday, he would fit right in witg all the obtuse riddles and tge like.
No need to abandon his position as exarch, but he spends most of his time meditating anyway, so no harm becoming another regular visitor.
>>
>>4931422
That's a good idea actually. Not sure how much he likes martial arts, but he would really get along with oogway.

The other master's experiences transcending could be useful, since their bodies disintegrated into Chi to form in Eureka. OHH! Here's another possible theory, trying to tap into the collective memory of the spirits. It may be possible, though we should probably ask if that's allowed.
>>
>>4931426
That's something that we could do, and Shenlong would maybe allow under some supervision, but I don't know we should give that knowledge to anyone except Sangpo if we pull it off.
>>
>>4931439
I think he would be the only man able copy it anyway, and is technically the only man we need to report the finding too so we can get it authenticated.

He speaks with spirits, so him telling one, then another and a third different things, then telling the not to tell us, means that if we get the information then we can prove it works.
>>
>>4931447
Actually, we don't even need to intrude on the spirit network and require Sangpo to prove it, we have a similar connection with Renshu don't we?
It's even better, because it means that it's somehow replicable by mortals, so therefore it has an application other than just more lore for the library.
>>
>>4931453
eeeeeeehhhhhh Not really?

Like we have a solid connection with Renshu which transmits thoughts, emotions, location and shit between each person and all. And this is great, it's fantastic.
But the spirit network is a bit bigger by a wide margin. Our connection is formed by our fates and souls getting repeatedly pushed together through mishap and misadventure, combined with a lot of empathy and affection making it immensely strong but also rather personal and evidently none replicateable for test purposes.

Actually there's another thought, so many of them tonight, why don't see see how far the soul sense goes? We'd need permission to go to the bottom of the mountain and get back up using the tunnels, but we couldn't sense Renshu's thoughts or location while he was off the mountain right? So maybe there are limits to the distances that our link will work at? Which means if so, then we have distance effecting the spiritual, which has wider implications on collective consiousness.
>>
>>4931459
controlled as you will see
Well, of course not at the level we have, but perhaps two spirit sensitive people could form a connection aithout all we've done.
Maybe running some test using Shenlong's Wi-Fi to talk with Sangpo and Remshu at the same time could help tests the limits.
>>
Holy Jesus. Those are a lot of thoughts, none which I remotely am prepared for. But I never want to downplay my players creativity as bad as that might seem. I got a thing I have to do tomorrow so give me Sunday to think things through and figure out how to mess all this together. From what I read a lot od 5his is trying to science out the magic which really isn't within the scope of the game but the whole soul net thing...seems kind of panda dragon warrior stuff. Which is exactly why I think it'd be cool for TL to learn. I'm not sure you'd be able to divine much with the time you have but you can always start on such a great journey. Like I said, give me some time to consolidate my thoughts. Could he a cool 5hing for the whole crew to explore.
>>
>>4931553
Although a bit of consolidation of ideas on a post or two would be appreciated.
>>
>>4931574
Ok, I will try to consolidate
We want to visit the gators for our next action, but we also need to know how long these ideaa for advancement would take, or if they would be accpeted, so we can plan our next moves.
>1) Study how chi flow through nature. What is Chi specifically. How does it work. Study how it connects living beings, thorugh memory and emotions. Study to see if there are connections on inanimate objects, other than plants since they are alive. See if sprites and spirits are always need for it flow, or if they are just a force that balance natural Chi flow. Ponder if Feng Shui is real, and other mystical apllications.
>2) Do the battery of test to see how time, gravity, air pressure and other physical forcea work on Eureka. Use multiple different instruments, over a long period of time. Travel through the lands, survey and exploring it, and trying them again at different places. Interview stronger spirits on how they view Eureka and the land of mortals. Even if the tests show that it follows no rules, and that Eureka changes shapes, it should be new knowledge, and help show how the sprites, spirits and dragon view the world.
3) Study the astral projection, spirit sensing and understanding. Study the concept of inner peace. Ask the other masters on Eureka about their personal experiences. See if tge astral bodies ismade of pure Chi, and if it works like a spirit. See if it can interact if mortal spirits, like the ones that Renshu has, so we can determine if the Soul is Chi.
4) Study connections work. Perhaps, mortals also have a subcouncios connection to eachother. If mortal spirits are also made of Chi, heaven and hell are separate from Eureka, even of subservient, than perhaps there is also a "mortal element". If so, than reincarnation might be real. Test our connection with Renshu. See if we can use Shenlong's spirit connection too, Bao has also connected her so, in a similar way we have bound ours to him. Perhaps our place as a friend of the wind might be able to also use that connection, if we ask. See how it would interact using the apirut connection with Renshu connection and his with the spirits. If we talk with Sangpo and teach him, addan extra layer. If the is a mortal connection, and it can interact with a elemental one, and if the dragons and spirits are also able to connect with one of different elements, than perhaps there is one that connects all of existance. One is all,and all is one, separate yet united.
>Optional) Invite Sangpo to the old men's club at Eureka. He and Oogway should click together perfectly. Also, if two friends of the wind back the place, it might make the place be more legitimate when they make their plea to the dragons.
>>
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>>4931553
I don't really thing it's that weird. We are using the scientific method in ancie t China because the library runs on modern academia somehow, probably because it's what we are accostumed to in the modern world, instead of however ancient chinese alchemist workes.
Anyway, magic is mystical and weird, however there are always some sort of rule, specially the chinese ones, they believed that tge world was organized and ordely, and that any crisis was someone messing with the order, eutger a magical being interfering, or the heavens punishing the dynasty for being unfit.
Etgo the rules of Feng Shui, talismans, rules for alchemy, and an complex system of elements, like pic related.
Even with all the different beliefs, like Taoism, confucionism, buddhism and folk religion, it's all somehow ordely.
Which make the lore you created actually very impressive boss, you managed to make something that would fit right in with all the others, without just copying them.
You don't need to destroy the magic, I would say that science faili g to explain it is just as much a success as it managing to do it, because it's proof that you are dealing with something otherworldly.
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>>4932019
Actually, that image is kind of trash on explaining how the five elemets work, here's a better one.
It's completly irrelevant to the quest, since we are using the four greek ones, but maybe someone will find it interesting.
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>>4932016
Oh, I also forgot some things
On number 1)if there is a limit on how much tge environment absorbs chi, and if for exanple, a rock or tree absorbs without an sprite or spirt balancing it, would it gain sentience and eventually sapiance? Would it develop a soul? Or wpuld a sprite be born of it, an promptly begin to equilibrate the chi? Or would some sort of evil spirit be born?
And on 3) and 4), study the limits of astral projection, and the limits of the connection. Bao only prjects herselves out of shrines prepared, and we can only go so far alway from our body, except Eureka, a place I believe might be made out of pure Chi. Also, our connection with Renshu has a limit on how far, however, Bao can see every spirit and sprite everywhere, so maybe a perfect connection between mortals could do the same? Since ours witg Resnhu is imperfect. Perhaps, if someone could that into that mortal connection, they could become an actual god, like a mortal dragon.
That could be a cool villain for the future actually. Kung-fu furries fight cultivator Jesus.
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>>4932016
These are a good consolidation.

Just let us know which ones are too much for you Luo.
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>>4932391
Thanks. I'll give it some thought and get back to you. There's a lot I like in that but I don't know if it's with in the time limit of your stay to study though certainly within the limit of theorising for your advancement paper. I like the idea of reincarnation being real and what the might implicate. If it means a person of the past can be different from the current self, think of what that means for Stripes and Xin. It means that they can truly change. If it every incarnation is the same, then clearly TLs group should be the fate breakers because they're defying the fuck out of it. Could introduce some neat lore for bats too. Still wanting to bring them back in but I'm working on that. Course it might also mean love can be carried between incarnations which is pretty cute but also a bit sad. Some might say that it means it implies Renshu and TL were lovers in
past lives but big brain intellectuals like mean see the bigger picture. It means harem route was always ment to be.


I'll post more of my thoughts as I come up with them but at the moment the ideas I have the most difficultly with is the over all idea of a chi network. While the idea of all people being both intrinsically connected by chi is something I had in mind, I didn't actually plan a like literal connection that could be studied and certainly not one that would mimic spirits. You and Renshus connection was kind of a one off thing that would be only between the two of you simply because of the crazy stuff you did. Baos connection with sprites was a result of her basically being a pseudo deity from using Shenlong power but I do like the idea of trying to expand on it. There's always instances of people who were always meant to be or people who just work together far better than with other people. What if that's just a matter of having stronger or more open spiritual connection.

As for inanimate objects getting a soul? Probably not. Taking Kai's chi statues, they have ton of chi but they weren't sentient they simply followed instructions. Mings theoretical grenades also work like that. She inbues the talismans with chi but instructs them to have a specific effect or task.

Still tons to think about which means some more fun for me.
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>>4932513
I mean, the object would take centuries to get a soul, an not be a container, but get it from themselves.
And the chi network for mortals, would be like the proposal for the noosphere, so it's not something that people can really use (since it's what some people say exist in the real world, and subcouncious)
Anyway, that just means no Sun Wukong or Ascendent God for us to fight in the future, and a thesis that is proven wrong and get a different result is as exciting as a correct one, as long as new knowledge ia learnt along the way.
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>>4932016
I'm stressed as fuck from outside things. Perfect time to run away at 4am and focus on this.

>1) Study how chi flow through nature. What is Chi specifically. How does it work. Study how it connects living beings, thorugh memory and emotions. Study to see if there are connections on inanimate objects, other than plants since they are alive. See if sprites and spirits are always need for it flow, or if they are just a force that balance natural Chi flow. Ponder if Feng Shui is real, and other mystical apllications.

This will take about 4 weeks. Mostly because it requires some more reading in the library to search for the information as well as personal investigation. Might lead to a few player choices. Finding out how much an object hold however? Probably impossible within any real semblence of the quest. That's like a life time's worth of study.

>2) Do the battery of test to see how time, gravity, air pressure and other physical forcea work on Eureka. Use multiple different instruments, over a long period of time. Travel through the lands, survey and exploring it, and trying them again at different places. Interview stronger spirits on how they view Eureka and the land of mortals. Even if the tests show that it follows no rules, and that Eureka changes shapes, it should be new knowledge, and help show how the sprites, spirits and dragon view the world.
Depends on how thorough you want to be. But for bare minimum? 3 weeks mortal time just to get a good sample size of islands.

>3) Study the astral projection, spirit sensing and understanding. Study the concept of inner peace. Ask the other masters on Eureka about their personal experiences. See if tge astral bodies ismade of pure Chi, and if it works like a spirit. See if it can interact if mortal spirits, like the ones that Renshu has, so we can determine if the Soul is Chi.

This one is a bit more complex. First half is fine and straight forward. Second one not so much. Figuring out if souls are Chi and if they can interact with mortal spirits is a weird concept I've not considered. Granted there was a one off mention I think that said the wind sprites could see the dead spirits that hang around Renshu and Stripes can speak to elmentals on a very basic level like beginner TL level but I left that more up to him being a talented shaman than any real connection. You can certainly do the first bit in a week or 2. It's basically an advanced history essay with philosophy mixed in. You're just writing about masters and their past as well as their notions of inner peace.
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>4) Study connections work. Perhaps, mortals also have a subcouncios connection to eachother. If mortal spirits are also made of Chi, heaven and hell are separate from Eureka, even of subservient, than perhaps there is also a "mortal element". If so, than reincarnation might be real. Test our connection with Renshu. See if we can use Shenlong's spirit connection too, Bao has also connected her so, in a similar way we have bound ours to him. Perhaps our place as a friend of the wind might be able to also use that connection, if we ask. See how it would interact using the apirut connection with Renshu connection and his with the spirits. If we talk with Sangpo and teach him, addan extra layer. If the is a mortal connection, and it can interact with a elemental one, and if the dragons and spirits are also able to connect with one of different elements, than perhaps there is one that connects all of existance. One is all,and all is one, separate yet united.
Yeah this one always messes with me because I get the concept but I"m not sure it's doable within the library and your time limit. I think you'd be able to write a theory on it but even getting started on it seems way beyond TL's intellegence. I'm just not sure. I can see it being a leap from being connected to Renshu but from there it's quite a leap to a whole network of connected subconciousness.

>Optional) Invite Sangpo to the old men's club at Eureka. He and Oogway should click together perfectly. Also, if two friends of the wind back the place, it might make the place be more legitimate when they make their plea to the dragons.
3 days. Tops.
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>>4933373
3 days to convince Sangpo to join a party. Man must be a real buzzkill.

Right, well I'm contented to drop connections as a subject for study. I do intend to return to the idea later when we get on the road again, if only to see how far our friend-sense extends, but it's not really that important.

The most concrete lead we have is 1, which would actually be really interesting to learn about, and I consider it to be rather basic building block of any further research. Testing emotions I have the idea of focusing on paticular memories and seeing if they have any effect on our astral self.
But currently 1 is my go too vote.

And 3 is the one to go for after. Advanced history essay aside, writing our own memoirs and experiences leading to revelation is going to be valuable information in a scholaristic sense.


Anyway, hope you get better Luo.
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>>4933373
Ok, dropping the idea for 4 them, we will just have to think something else for later.
So tge priorities for what Ithink we should do is like this
Invite Sangpo, it's a bit quick.
1 to know what Chi is
3 to complement it
I'm going to read the archive later to see if we had any ideas on the past thread and forgot about them.
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>>4933409
Oh, and it's after we talk to the gators that is the current vote, of course.
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>>4933409
Seems like a plan.
2 weeks for gaters
4 weeks for Chi research
2-ish? weeks for more gaters
2+ weeks for idea 3. That drops us by minimum 10 weeks out of our 40 remaining, so it's quite the time investment.
A week or two for advancement in here as well, since theories are all that we need to advance.

To recall from last thread, there are 3 advancement tiers, te one we passed being
>Show proficiency in a topic
The next is
>Offer a way to advance a topic of research, a thesis with evidence [not needed to be provable]
And the last is
>Advance the topic in a tangible way, provably.
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>>4933422
Don't forget the 3 days to get the cranky monkey to go visit the retirement home.
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>>4933438
I can just picture us trying to drag Sangpo out of the door as he grips onto it, arguing about the nessecity of talking to nice people and how books are better.
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>>4933446
"But I talk to sprites all day!"
"Talking to babies don't count as social interaction, take your pills grandpa!"
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>>4933450
"Just let me finish my book!"
"That book is your stream of consciousness, it is never going to be finished! Now come on, they have some Go in the spirit realm!"
"But I dont like Go, I like readinnnnnnnng!"
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>>4933466
"You got to strecth your legs, it's not good to stay cooped up there"
"I've been doing it this way for centuries and I'm still going strong!
"You are alive in spite of your isolation, not because of it!"
Oh, we should also add an addendun to our previous research when we talk to Mida on our next advancement meeting, we learnt that Spirits also die without being killed by dark arts, when they become extremily old and their duty has been fullfilled, so their Chi returns to the world to burth new sprites and bring a new balance. Also add a note that Shenlong does it personally because he is quite attached to his "children".
We can say that it's a rare occurrence, so we were never able to see it, but we have learnt of it recently due to our High Priestess contact. Be sure to descrube how Bao said in detail, so that way it can be noted down that although sorrowful, a spirits death can also be a beautiful and good thing instead of something evul and ugly.
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>>4933494
How Sangpo even lives this long is another avenue for interest. Because I think only turtles have a natural lifespan of hundreds of years.

Or maybe they dont, and we should ask Oogway about that too.
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Gators are 4 weeks gents. But that seems to be the vote. So I'll get to writing. Then we can murder all the men who want to headpat Xin.
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You awake to the familiar feeling of Xin Lan fast asleep on your chest. Pushing aside their ears, you see them buried under your blankets, their small nose twitching as they breathe softly. Part of you wonders if they can dream though the other part of you assumes they're afflicted with the same condition their brother is. You start to stand up and, just like clockwork, you hear them speak up, "Just 15 more minutes big guy. Come on..."

You smile and place the small rabbit on your shoulders to which they cling on tightly and rest their head on yours. "You know the rules. If you're going to share a bed with me, you get up in the morning with me. Besides, I need to get my bed ready. Ming will be waiting for our morning jog, then I want to spend some time with your brother."

"I bet the two of you would love to share a bed. You'd probably race each other to see who gets up earlier." Xin Lan says grumpily.

"I'll let you have your extra 15 minutes on the day Renshu opens up his shop." You reply with a smirk as you fold your sheets. Xin Lan makes an angry huff and one of their feet kicks as they sleepily try to thump the air. You pet their head and finish cleaning up your bed before the two of you head out and make your seperate ways. By now, your runs with Ming were merely a tradition. You were pretty sure that your jogs didn't really provide anything beyond helping the two of you wake up before beginning your days. Still, it was an enjoyable run through the city rooftops as you watch the streets slowly fill up people. "I'm almost worried that running at the base of the mountain will be harder. It's almost like we're weightless up here." Ming says. You laugh.

"No. You've just gotten stronger." You say. "Although I'm now wondering that too given that the air is thinner up here."

Soon after, you and Renshu spend some time together. Rather than your ussual quite moment with each other, the two of you spend your time looking around at shops for potential partners and ingredients. You're not much help given your talent in the kitchen but all the while both of you speak about philosophy, much to both of your amusement. Eventually, word reaches the two of you that Renshu has been allowed an audience with the Exarch. "I should get going." Renshu says. "Hopefully I'll be allowed to persue this idea of mine."

"I wouldn't see why not." You say placing an reassuring hand on Renshu's shoulder. "Then again, being told no never stopped us." You grin.
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"I suppose it hasn't it." Renshu laughs. The two of you say your goodbyes and split up to begin your day proper. All this time, you can't help but notice how much more clearer things were. Not in the sense that you can see smaller details or things in sharper focus but rather you're able to remember the smaller details perfectly in a single glance as if you had been studying an object for a while. Thanks to Renshu's assitance in staving off nearly going mad from an overload of information such information remains locked away until you choose to recall it. Even so, you find yourself acting upon said information without having to actively think about it. Your hand immediately goes to the ripest fruits in stalls at a single glance. You avoid stepping on a broken roof tile while looking back to talk to Ming after only giving your landing spot a passing gaze.

You still find yourself realizing you were acting in this state and when you do so you recall these small instances almost like when you notice yourself falling asleep only to wake yourself up to tell your self so. Renshu assures you this is the same as trying to teach your body something new. Soon enough such moments will pass into reflex and you will no longer stop yourself to notice them.

You pause for a moment to think about what you want goal you wanted to set yourself for now. Given how much time you spent improving yourself, you decide that perhaps it would be good to step away from that and help someone else. Your mind returns to the two alligators, Dampa and Akar, and you decide that it might be a good idea to check up on them to see how they're doing. A quick search of the acolyte's dorms reveals that they no longer reside there. Thoughts of them retreating to some kind of cave or hideout to preform evil experiements are quickly abated. You learn that the two have advanced quite a while ago and have been residing in the same dorms as you. Given how busy you have been and the rather tumultuous ending to your new meditative training, you're not surprised to have missed it. You make your way back to your new living quarters and decide how you want to approach the two when you see them.

>How do you want to approach the gators?
>Ask to help them in their studies.
>Invite the two to do something outside of the study halls and dorms. Maybe grab a bite to eat?
>You are teaching classes...perhaps they would like to join? you're not sure how they'd mesh with your other students though.
>Approach them under the guise of asking for help on a study topic. Perhaps they might be willing to share some information.
>Write in
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>>4933847
>Congratulate them on their advancement.
>Invite them outside of the study halls and dorms, if they are reluctant then they can consider it a lesson in nutrition and mentality.

A meal and some idle chatter is the best path I see.
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>>4933847
>Go congratulate them on advancing, apologize for missing it, and invite (annoy and drag) them to have a late celebration.
>Ask them what theories they presented and what they are working on now, offer some more help.
>Tell them of your own experiences and studies, tell them of your new students and Ming's progress. Perhaps having more people to compare the efforts could help.
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Getting my first vaccine shot today in about 30 mintues. So if I stop posting, I probably started developing the nausea symptoms and the like. So far, no on in my immediate family has gotten them but you never know.

>>4933861
>>4933868
In either case, we're doing the classic Tai Lung forced socializing. Writing.
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>>4933895
Doing socialisation naturally?
Without being bullheaded and hard to talk out of it?

Not my TL
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>>4933906
I think Ming is the only one not to be forced into socalizing with TL.
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>>4933920
Well, TL did invite her to a restaurant, ahe tought it was a date but it was just a thank you for your help thing.

Looked at the archive, the only ideas we haven't done yet were improving chaotic meditation (which we can't do in the timeframe) and making a codex for a new fighting style, which we would need to make peaceful fist work, unless we share tge Dragon Style (which anons have disagreed with), share a personal one (maybe how we fought before redeeming, a bad alidea since it's brutal and lethal) or create a new one.
But we only have three more ranks to go, so we could go all the way on Chi and Spirits.
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>>4933948
Dragon style shouldn't be handed over, not at all.

Leopard style. . I mean we could but that's not really a fantastic thing to boast about since I don't think we can claim to have invented it.
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>>4933965
So either spend time to make one from scratch, make the peaceful fist work and share it, or stay with cosmology, mysticism and philosophy
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>>4933970
That sounds like it, And we intend to finish the fist anyway so. . .
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You ask around a bit more and find where the two alligators are sleeping in your area. It doesn't take you long considering the smaller pool of residents and once you do find their dormitory, you find it just as messy as the old one if not more so. Papers are strewn about, though mostly crossed out and rendered useless, more are pinned to the walls as if to organize them. Several books lay open on the table with others stacked atop each other with bookmarks set between the pages. Ink brushes and bottles are scattered about as if the twins opened one then felt like moving it across the room was a waste of time so they simply opened a new one.

If there was a method to the madness you had no inkling as to what it is even with your enhanced perception but in the middle of it all you find the two twins working away as ussual, noses buried in a book. You knock politely on the door frame and it takes them a moment to notice that it's their door that's been visited. With a quick look up Dampa, the brother of the two, seems to acknowledge your existence with the slightest nod though even that seemed a bit socially awkward for him. Luckily for you, the two begin to speak.

"Ah, Tai Lung. How fortuitous for you to stop by. Had we had the time, we would have thanked you for your help in our advancement." He says.

"However, socializing gets in the way of progress and we have much work to get done." Akar, the sister, states. You nod, somewhat accustomed to their results oriented lifestyle.

"I also came to apologize. I missed your advancement but I also wanted to congratulate you. I'm sure your hard work was well rewarded." You say as you take a few tentative steps into their room. The two do not seem to mind or rather, simply don't care so long as it doesn't interfere with their work. "However, there is tradition to be held and we should go out to celebrate even if it is a bit late for that."

Unsurprisingly, the two aligators decline. "Celebrations are unessecary. We do not care for pleasantries or commemorations. This is merely a means to an end." Akar says.

"Access to more information comes with this new position and thus we do not mind ignoring any kind of outside persuits." Dampa continues.

"Nonesense." You say. "Even the hardest workers must relax and celebrate from time to time. Over work leads to exhaustion and exhaustion leads to errors. Surely you don't want all your work to be undermined because you neglected your own health." You say slyly.

"Do not worry about that." Dampa says as he puts a book down and scribbles quickly in a page. "We are aware of our limits and adjust our work flow accordingly."

"True but...wouldn't you like to know what kind of food I eat?" You say, thinking quickly.

"I fail to see the relavency." Akar says.
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"Come on, you of all people should know how important nutrition is to a balanced diet. Even the best workout is nothing if you don't have the means to sustain a healthy body." You continue doing your best to make Xin Lan proud. "You said it before. I have the perfect physique. Don't you want to know what I eat to maintain it?"

The two aligators actually pause at that. "Yes..." Dampa says slowly. "We cannot neglect the nutritional aspect of out studies."

"That's right." You insist. "See? Already you're forgetting some of the fundamentals of your work. Don't you think it's worth the risk to relax and celebrate if it means not making mistakes as simple as this?"

The twins look at each other and then at you. "Are you saying there is a correlation between celebration, nurtrition, and your body?" Akar asks.

You pause for a moment. "...yes?" You lie, unsure of what to say. The two aligators huddle up for a moment and whisper amongst themselves. Though you can hear every word of it, you pretend not to. After a few seconds they part and nod at you.

"Very well. If it means furthering our work then we will celebrate our advancement." Dampa conceeds.

"Excellent." You say as you wave them over.

>Where do you take the gators to celebrate?
>Take them to a bar. See if some alcohol will loosen their lips. It tends to do that for most people.
>Take them to a regular resteraunt. Perhaps a regular social setting will not arise suspicion and you can ask your questions there.
>Find Ming or Renshu. Buy ingredients that are part of a balanced training diet and have them cook it for you. It'll keep up apperances and perhaps one of your friends can help break through the gator's shells.
>Write in.
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>>4934103
>Take them to a regular resteraunt. Perhaps a regular social setting will not arise suspicion and you can ask your questions there.
Haha fish head soup time again, I'm glad that the suffering has a payoff. And be sure to order some drinks too. I've heard that wine is good for your bloodflow and pressure, so maybe we can bullshit them.
If only Renshu's dinner was open, we could have an ally on trying to make tgem open up.
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>>4934103
>Ask Renshu to help us with cooking.
One, technically isn't a lie.
Two, Renshu is a damn good empath.
Three, a chance for him to sharpen up his passion for differing palates.
Four, Damn that was some wonky but still smooth manipulation.
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>>4934129
To break deadlock, I'll go with this>>4934127


We can bullshit about picking from substandard offerings for the best of a bad situation. Use the "prime and prefered" meals for later.
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>>4934229
Fuck, I was going to suggest to mix both of them, ask for Renshu to cook and help, but fees tgem the food I suggested.
But them my friends pulled me into a political discussion because they fell for /pol/ "the ok sign and drinking milk is white supremacism" meme campaign of 2016 elections, and were using HWNDU memes as proof.
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>>4934233
Eh its fine, we have another card to play at a later date. Real 4d chess move.
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>>4934248
Fine, we can also go meet them as a "post food warmup"
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>>4934284
Sure, invite them along as support/chance for a load off.
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>>4934294
That was the idea, if we can get them to talk during the celebration, even when a bit drunk, than we drag the gators to also see our "post eating exercise routine that we totally always do and must be with Renshu who just happens to be have empathy powers" tm.
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>>4934300
Nah, that's a bit too manipulative for TL.

If Renshu is there, and I am actually having second thoughts on that one given he really doesn't like them or their ideas, then it's just having some celebration dinner.

If we drag them off to see our friends, there isn't much of a viable excuse for us to fall back on that keeps their interest.
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>>4934321
Fine, we leave it to another outing in the future.
Maybe by them Renshu will have openes his dinner. "The food is to die for" says a happy cuatomer.
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>>4934348
hue hue hue
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Just a regular restaurant then. With wine right?
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>>4934373
Of course.
Get some mid level one tough, we are here for the strength so tgey get a bit tipsy and open up, not to be fancy and taste it.
Oh, and we start with the disgusting fishead soup so we can stay with the healthy training excuse, once they stop noticing we can order something a bit more tasteful.
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>>4934381
sounds. Good. I'll get to writing.
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>>4934129
>Four, Damn that was some wonky but still smooth manipulation.
TL can learn a thing or two from his best friend. I think Xin Lan would be so proud of him. Ear scritches and heat pats proud.
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You take the twins into town and despite your assumptions, they don't look too out of place. The two walk with confidence or, perhaps more accurately, purpose as you all go to a pretty popular restaurant. It was clear their intent was to study your methods as thoroughly as possible. You all sit down around a table in the corner. "So...how does celebration assist you in your training?" Dampa asks.

You cough, not really prepared for questions. You were hoping they would at least wait until you ordered food before asking things. At the very least you'd hope it'd be related to food. "Well..." You begin slowly. "You can't argue that motivation is a key factor in progress correct? Even if it might be considered unessecary and emotional, motivation is somethign we all have. Celebration is used as a means to generate motivation. Positive reinforcement means a person would want to continue to receive it and celebration is a form of that."

"Motivation like that is rather weak willed." Akar says. "True motivation should come from wanting to progress not some emotional need to be gratified."

"True, you might see it like that but let me add something else." You say. "Stress is the enemy of progress. It is a slow and insidious enemy. Even if you do not acknowledge it. Even if you do not feel it. It will wear you down and force you to make errors. Regardless of your feelings on emotion, stress is a very real thing. Celebration is a way to combat stress. By relaxing and spending time with one's friends, you become at ease and relax thus lowering your stress. Though you may know it's still there or perhaps are still in a situation that causes stress, looking forward to another celebration or simply time to relax will allow one to focus more and lessen the chance of making a mistake. Wouldn't you agree that is a good thing?"

"I suppose so..." Dampa agrees, much to your delight. "Any chance to reduce the factor of errors is something that must be investigated."

You nod. "One of the main methods of course is to drink with friends." You say. "We'll have this and if you could some simple fish and fish head stew." The waiter gives you a funny look. "It's for a project." You say. Understanding immediately comes over his face and he nods. You had ordered a basic wine, something that was more alcohol than flavor and inexpensive.

"Fish heads are...not the most nutritive meal." Akar says, in the rare case of confusion.

"No. They're not." You admit. "While fish do have many nutritional benefits this is not the reason. It's about managing stress which is something food is known for. I was once stranded at sea for days with naught but fish to eat. Morale was important and to combat the fatigue of eating nothing but the same food for days on end, I had to think of different ways to prepare it. You would agree that one's mental health is important yes?"
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"While it is not our area of expertise, yes mental health is important. One cannot work if they are not stable." Akar agrees.

"It's all about making the best of a bad situation. Hope, though ephemeral, is real and plays a heavy role in many things we take for granted. However, in order to keep with what your studying. Fish bones and fish heads are actually quite nutritious. They contain acids and minerals that promote healthy muscles and brain activity." You say mimicking some of what Ming taught you and some of what you knew. "I'm certain you would agree that is at least interesting."

"Such things lay in...scraps?" Dampa asks as your meals arrive. "And of the wine?"

"Oh that's for the celebration." You chuckle. "Nothing really nutritional there. Well there are some that say it helps promote good bloodflow and pressure. Perhaps we should test it." You motion for everyone to dig in as you grab a spoonful of the soup yourself. You had to admit that despite you eating this stuff for a week on without end, the chef here had managed to make it somewhat edible. Had you not been stranded for so long, you might have even found it delicious despite it's simplicity. You look over to the two aligators and watch them as they eat it without complaint. They occasionally poke through the contents of the soup as if to discern any secrets with in it but they ultimately eat it well enough.

As you all go through your meal, you pour everyone some wine. Dampa speaks up as he holds his cup out for you. "Tell us, what kind of food did you eat while you were training? What specifically would you look for in a meal?"

>What do you say?
>Say you pretty much ate what you wanted. Your hard work and nonstop training didn't really make it an issue of what you ate.
>Say you focused primarily on healthy foods. While you are talented, food is a cornerstone of life and also for training. Though now that you are older, you pretty much eat what you want. There really isn't much more food can do for you.
>Say you kept a balanced diet. While you ate things that would promote good health, you also indulged unhealthy things. Not because it was some secret to body building but because as you metioned, mental health is important too.
>Write in.
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You know, I'd imagine Tai Lung would be an expert in nutrition given how it is tied to training. not at Ming's level but I think he'd know his way around a meal. Which makes it more ironic that he can't cook to save his life.
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>>4934521
>Back when I was focused solely on physical training, I kept a very specialized diet to bolster my growth. Than after spending 2 decades rotting in a cell eating gruel, and actually having friends to eat with, I have realized that enjoying yourself is as a good benefit for your body. So if now eating balanced meals between taste and healthy has made an impact, I haven't been able to tell.
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>>4934617
Back when we were training, TL was still in giga autism mode, so I don't see him doing anything else than those muscle growing diets full of protein and some carbs, after going full on ketosis diet for a few years. Probably switched around puberty to make use of the natural muacle growth.
But I also want to focus on how that perios of his life he was lonely, and that all that extra effort wasn't nescessary. He could have very well maintaines a balances one and reaches were he did with a bit of extra time and effort, without forgoing good food.
>>4934523
That makes sense, you are what you eat after all.
>>
>>4934617
I support. Then let's take this a step ahead.

>The chef in the jade palace was quite versed in what helped with healthy. I'm quite curious actually, where are you two from originally?

Turn the tables and get an innocuous question out of them.
>>
>>4934936
That's good, but instead of going directly to where they are from, do ot in a round about way, like what they used to eat and them ask if that type of food is common from where they are from, or something.
>>
>>4935086
Xin is going to give us such a big headpat for this.
>>
>>4935106
Tue bunny patting us instead? The tables really have turned now.
>>
>>4935126
We seem to switch roles for this time, so it is just as sure that they shall rise to take the position we have left. Like water that falls and rises anew.
>>
>>4935106
>>4935126
>>4935139
TL's gf is rubbing off on him. They did say the buns were a set...

Feeling a bit woozy from the shot. Gonna try to type up the write up but if nothing comes through, I probably just went to take a nap.

>>4934617
>>4934628
>>4934936
Taking these. Writing.
>>
"As I grew up, I focused on a very specialized diet. Helped by the fact that the chef in the Jade Palace was well versed in what helped maintained a healthy diet. Mainly carbohydrates and lots of protiens to build muscle. Once I hit puberty, I switched around to take advantage of that fact." You explain. "However, once I spent 20 years in a cell eating nothing but gruel and water then escaping only to eat what I want with friends...I realized that enjoyment is just as good for the body as a strict diet. So if now if eating a balanced diet between good foods and healthy ones has made an impact, I haven't noticed." You take a sip of your wine and invite the others to join. It tasted...well there really wasn't anything like Chuanli's brews and thinking back, you weren't much a wine enthusiast. Your father once told you that wine was all about the subtle flavors and the nuance of the fermentation though their face told a different story considering it looked like he had eaten something that had gone bad. "My point is that, while I did all I could to build up my body with the help of a diet, in retrospect I could have maintained a healthy social relationship with others than think of what to eat next. Forgoing others may have helped my focus more on what I wanted but ultimately accepting them into my life would have been even better. There are things beyond the physical that are part of becoming stronger and friendship is one of them. From the simple things such as a moral boost to more complex things such as support network for my problems."

You take another sip and take another bite of your soup before waving over the waitress and order some oatmeal. "Oatmeal is a breakfast meal for a reason. It fills you up and provides long lasting energy. Combine it with fresh fruit and it'll add some immediate energy to keep you going. Long lasting energy means less food needed to eat and less foods means less fats. However, that's just food from my part of China. Given how much studying you've done, I'm curious as to what the food was like from where you're from. Perhaps there might be something I could use next time I work out." You ask.

You watch the two aligators drink their wine. They seemed to be experienced in drinking it as they simply didn't just gulp it down. From what little you knew, they savored it and drank it slowly like one was supposed to if they wanted to enjoy the flavor rather than simply get drunk off of it. Nonetheless, their experience didn't prevent the alcohol form hitting their system. With your new found perception, you could see slight hints of their movements being sluggish but only just imperceptively so. A bit longer and then the wine would start to take it's full effect.
>>
"Well..." Dampa begins. "We had Shuizhu."

"And Liang Pi." Akar says. "Not to mention slight variation on noodles such as Black Bean Sauce noodles and Biang Biang."

You nod. You never have heard of these kinds of dishes before but you make a mental note of them. Perhaps Renshu or the library itself would have the answers of where they originate from. "Common dishes I'm guessing?" You ask. The two aligators nod.

"Not anything particularly special, however you could find them often enough in eateries and the like." Dampa says.

>What do you say?
>Ask the gators something else. Perhaps with a bit more wine they'll be willing to divuldge more info.
>Start on another topic. Keep the conversation rolling at least on your end. It'll give you all an excuse to drink more.
>Suggest, you go back to the dorms and help the two Aligators with their work. Maybe you could get a peek at their notes though you're unsure if you'd be able to make heads or tails of them.
>Write in.
>>
>>4935314
As much as I want to ask about them knowing how to taste that the wine is cheap and to properly drink it, it might make them self-conscious about it and drop the topic, so instead I say we.
>Start on another topic. Keep the conversation rolling at least on your end. It'll give you all an excuse to drink more.
Maybe ask what they presented as their advancement. Maybe mention that we had to do a in depth presentation with a member of the order because the theme we chose was rare, and ask them witg they had a similar experience.
>>
>>4935315
Ask them if, not with.
>>
>>4935315
Yeah that seems right. Seems like biology

Fucking Capatcha.
>>
>>4935315
>>4935517
Feeling slightly better. Taking this and writing.
>>
"How did your advancement go?" You ask. "For mine I had to speak to a memeber of the Brotherhood themselves and provide an indepth presentation though I was told it was because my subject was rather rare. What did you two present to the order? Did they have you argue your findings?"

"We presented our theory of biological superiority." Akar says.

"Because of our findings and your help, our papers were accepted quite rapidly." Dampa adds as he takes another sip.

"Biological superiority?" You repeat. "What do you mean by that? I think you mentioned you wanted to prove that some species are better than others."

"That is correct. Our findings have been quite fruitful though we've only dealt with the physical side of our theory. Mental aquity is something rather...difficult to prove." He continues. "For now we will continue on the physical aspects."

"I still believe that despite what could be one's short comings, they can rise to be something no one ever expected them to be." You say. "Such as Ming. She's one of the most intellegent people I know but that hasn't stopped her from acheive physical strength and gains."

"Perhaps, though it would be best that she stuck to inproving her knowledge base. Trying to become stronger is simply a waste of her talent and time." Akar counters.

"I don't think so." You repeat. "It's by broadening our horizons that we can understand each other. If we maintain a rigid outlook then it will lead to problems and imbalance. I'm no real philosopher but I feel like most arguements and fights are started by misundertandings and opposing ideals. If we don't understand one another or maintain this rigid mentality then people will never come to a consensus."

"Such things could be prevented as well if people learn what they are good at and use their advantages to their best of their abilitiy." Dampa argues. You frown. Perhaps this wasn't the best time to argue your point.

"Well that aside, what do you have planned next for your theory? I'm not sure how much more you can advance with your current ideas." You ask.

Akar takes a slightly bigger drink of her wine and her hand places her class unevenly on the table. "We wish to document the specific parameters of each species. Acheive a general consensus of each one's place in a hiearchy."

"Though, we are having trouble with...volunteers." Dampa admits. "Not to mention your species is rather rare. There were very few records of them in the lower levels and even in our current position there are only few reports. We are unsure if your kind is reclusive or near extinction. It is difficult to say. Records on wars have few mentions of your kind serving in them and there is no written documentation of a mass genocide comitted against snow leopards. Such gaps in our research is rather...annoying."
>>
You can't help but frown at that. Other than the raider commander, you've never met another snow leopard in your life. While you did have some thoughts about your heritage, your obession with training quickly overshadowed it. Now that you were here and studying things beyond fighting, the thoughts seemed to creep back. They made you feel...incomplete. You were raised by your father and you'd never think of him as anything else but he wasn't a snow leopard. Perhaps this was what Po felt as well. You recall him telling you about how his race was hunted down by the villian who gave him his scars. A flicker of doubt comes over you and you sense a feeling of concern in your mind from Renshu. You shake your doubts and put those aside. Perhaps some other time. "I'm afraid I cannot help you with that." You say. "I was adopted, perhaps abandoned even so I've no connection to other snow leopards."

The twins seems to perk up at this. "Adopted?" Akar says with interest. "And yet here you stand, the strongest of all."

"Perhaps there is could be more legitimacy to our claims. If one who wasn't raised by their own species can climb to perfection then it could be inherantly biological." Dampa says.

>What do you say?
>Say that your species had nothing to do with. It was your obessive drive. Had you been raised by someone else other than Shifu, you might have been something entirely different. Perhaps a politician or a merchant.
>Try and change the subject, you're not really liking where this is heading. Ask the two something else.
>Pay for your meal and offer to go somewhere else. You might have lingered here for too long and you do have classes to teach coming up. Perhaps one last trip will be good.
>Write in.
>>
>>4935760
>Now there is one thing I know, and that I reached where I was not because of what I was born, but because what I did. I was raised by a master of the Jade Palace, with an idea tgat I was the one that could take tge mantle of the Dragon Warrior. I spent every hour, every day, every week training, ignoring everytging else, focusing on strnehth and ability. It resulted in strength, yes, but I was also an unbalanced man, that knew nothing else, all because I believed I had the right, because I was superior to the rest.
>Now talking about training, I have recently begun teaching Kung Fu classes to a few citizens, and Ming has been progressing in leaps and bounds. Perhaps if you come to watch it, you might be able to study a few different species, and how they progress, I just ask that you don't interrupt the classes, atleast not too much.
>>
>>4935822
They dont actually want to see the training of the other individuals. It isnt our training so they dont give a shit.

And the first part makes sense. We want to put the point that "it isnt being without people, it is the motivation instilled in me early in my life."
I have an idea actually. Ask them what our name means, and use that to explain the expectation and pressure we were raised with.
>>
>>4936217
They said that they are having trouble finding volunteers of different races to document the different parameters, I'm offering them a chance to do so.
Even if they refuse, it's an attempt to help solve a problem they are facing. I'm basically trying to stop the argument from escalating by offering more help.
>>
>>4935822
So we're going with this then?
>>
"Now there is one thing I know, and that I reached where I was not because of what I was born, but because of what I did. I was raised by a master of the Jade Palace, with an idea that I was the one that could take the mantle of the Dragon Warrior. I spent every hour, every day, every week training. Ignoring everything else, focusing on strength and ability. It resulted in strength, yes, but Iw as also an unbalanced man that knew nothing else all because I believed that I had the right, because I was superior to the rest." You say.

"On the contrary." Akar interrupts, their hands unsteady. "It is precisely what you were born as that allowed you to reach where you are. You mentioned you were adopted yes? Then it goes to show that it was because of your brith that you are as strong as you are. Had you been born, say a duck or perhaps a rabbit, would you be as strong as you are now if everything else stayed the same? Would you have had the strength to do what you had done?"

"Yes. I belive so." You say. "That's exactly what I've been arguing. Not only that but I'm arguing that strength isn't everything. There are things outside of that, that are more important. Companionship, family, things that can't be measure directly but have an impact on a person as a whole."

"Strength isn't everything. Results are. Nothing more. Nothing less." Dampa says as he places his cup down a bit too hard, his eyes slightly reddened. "You say that anyone can do anything with enough effort but our work will show that it's not true. We appreciate the time you've taken to assist us and the information you've given us but I'm afraid we have work to do. If you'll excuse us..." With that, the twins stand up and give you a polite bow before leaving their share of the bill and walking out.

You sigh and scratch your head. You figured this wasn't going to be an easy task but now you're at a bit of a loss on how to proceed. Still, you had other things to attend to and you'd give it another thought once you had some more free time.

---

"Is she here yet?" A nervous brown rabbit says as his floppy ears flapped about from all the turning and looking he did.

"You mean you haven't asked her yet?" You ask as you set up your class's weights and tools. The small rabbit shakes his head causing his ears to swing about wildly.

"Nono. It has to be right! I had to do research and prepare!" He insist but you think you have the real answer.

"You couldn't find her could you?"

"N-no..." The young man says. "It's not that I didn't try! I looked everywhere for my snow queen!"
>>
"Err...maybe don't call Xin that." You say, worried about the boost to their confidence that would have. You stretch a bit and dig around you pack for snacks only to remember that it was Xin Lan's turn to bring them. As if the thought it self summoned them, you quickly stick out your arm and soon after you feel them grab on, swing around, and sit on your bicep.

"You know, I was gonna kick you if you hadn't raised your arm." They say.

"I doubt you'd be able to land the hit." You tease as you place them on the ground. "You know it was your turn to bring the class snacks. I hope you didn't forget."

"Like I'd forget food." Xin Lan replies as they roll their eyes. "Here, egg rolls. Courtesy of your special someone." They joke as they pull out a few tightly wound boxes and a few sealed jars. "Also some sauce to go with it. Stripes says he'll be here before classes end to bring drinks as well and then help Ming with training. He says, if you don't mind, he wants to sponser the classes with some snacks. My idea of course."

"You mean he'll make us food?" You ask. "I hope you're at least paying your brother back. From what he's told us, he's going to need all the money he can get."

"Yes, I'm paying him. Of course I am. Besides, this is a good idea." Xin Lan says. "It's free advertisement. When your students taste these, they're gonna wanna know where they're from. Then we tell them it's Stripe's making and that his place isn't open yet."

"How is that gonna help him?"
>>
"It builds up intrigue. Think about it. A new resteraunt- err diner, opening and one they can't have yet? These snacks will totally want them to try it out as soon as it opens. Then once it does, there will be a big crowd and that crowd will draw in more people. Not to mention, your class will talk and people will want to try these snacks out. That's when the caveat comes in. They can only have some if they join your classes seriously. We'll have some kind of trial or probation period. Weed out those who only want to be here for free food. Teach them about persistence and persverance. Those that say for your lessons are rewarded with food and those that leave will have to wait. Either way everyone wins."

You give Xin Lan a look. "I'm not sure I approve of you advertising my class like that."

They shrug. "I'm not doing it. It's just the nature of the beast and said beast we either tame and use or it'll come and bite us. Come on. Just give it a try. If you don't like it then we can ask Stripes to stop making snacks and we can give out free samples out on the streets. Different tactic same result for him."

You sigh, "Xin, you're a scary merchant."

Xin Lan grins. "Money is my game, and I happen to be the best in the buisness." They place the food next to the tree and stretch before finally noticing the brown rabbit, who at this point seemed have been frozen in place out of both fear and awe. It was somewhat comical to see the shortest member of your group actually be able to look down to face someone near their age. "Oh hey, it's you. Done creeping around? You finally gonna join the big guy's classes?"

The brown rabbit's pupils grow wide before they squeak in surprise and stare at you for guidance. You motion for them to say their part. Unfrotunately, the words that come out of their mouth are, "Y-yes! That's me! I'm here for the classes! Umm...right?"

>What do you say?
>Bregudgingly agree and play along. You weren't going to ask Xin out for them. This was something they had to do themselves.
>Simply shrug and pretend that you have to go do something else. Give the two some privacy and perhaps the young man will speak his heart.
>Say no, and tell Xin what's going on. Say that the boy wants to ask them out and make him say it.
>Shake your head and tell Xin to not play along. They should know very well by know why the poor boy is here. Even someone as dense as you can see it.
>Write in.
>>
>>4936681
>Yes, you are for the classes, which means you have to catch up to your colleagues now, since you've been staling out instead of joining.
>So here's a quick first lesson for you, be confident, when opportunity presents itself, take it. Overpreparation can be as bad underperforming.
>Could you help him along Xin? I going to meditate for a bit.
It's on your hands now bunny.
Also we should probably just offered them to check on our students, the gators seem too prideful to yield to a direct attack.
>>
>>4936681
>A lesson in confidence perhaps.

>>4936692
support
>>
>>4936692
>>4936766
TL: Be confidant and be ready to take an oppportunity when you see.
Also TL: Holding hands in public? Fucking how?!
Writing.
>>
"Yes, you're here for classes, which means you have to catch up to your colleagues now since you've been stalking about instead of joining. So here's a quick lesson for you. A lesson in confidence if you will. Simply put, be confident. When opportunity presents itself, take it. Overpreperation can be as bad as underpreforming. All the information in the world won't matter if you never put it to use." You finish up setting things around. "Mind helping him catch up Xin? I'm going to meditate for a bit."

"J-just me and...her?" The rabbit asks nervously.

"Yes, we can't have you falling behind can we?" You insist.

"If you say so big guy." Xin Lan says before facing your newest "student". "Alright, give me 20 push ups. We're gonna fix up those noodle arms."

"Y-yes ma'am." The small rabbit says. He gives you a meaningful look before dropping to do as he's told and struggling to do so.

You make you way to the tree and sit in the shade to meditate for a while. You want to think about your new style but something keeps creeping back into your mind. Who were your parents? More broadly, who were your people? Where they all warriors as you've seen so far? Or where you the exception rather than the rule? Despite all these thoughts, the one you wanted to avoid the most manages to make it's way to the forefront of your mind. Why where you left behind?

Luckily for you, shouting pulls you away from these thoughts. "I'M HERE! READY TO TRAIN!" You open your eyes and see a small wolf pup march over to your training ground followed by a set 4 behind him.

"Tseten! Don't shout. Mr. Tai Lung can hear you just fine and he hasn't allowed you join yet." Amala says as she follows behind the pup with her younger siblings following close behind and trying to hide. Xin Lan turns to face the newcomers as well.

"See? That's confidence." They say. "You thinking of joining us then kid?" They ask giving Tseten an appraising eye. "I dunno. You don't seem like you're up to it." They tease as they look up to their face.

"Hey, my big brother is in the guard and he's been training me since forever! I'll be your best student!" Tseten says defensively.
>>
Xin Lan's eyes glint with amusement. "Oh? You got an older brother?"

"Yeah!"

"Do you love him?" They ask with a smirk. Tseten blushes and he clamps his mouth shut.

"What? That's not important." They mutter, embarassed. "I just wanna learn how to fight."

"Ooh...you're so brave and tough but you can't admit you love your big brother." Xin Lan says smirks and taps Tseten's nose. "Guess you're not so brave after all."

"I am!" Tseten shouts.

"Then say it and no lying. I don't like liars."

The young pup grows red in the face as they clam up and look away. "I...I love my big brother." They mutter.

"What's that?" Xin Lan asks. "I can't hear you."

"My big brother is the best in the world!" Tseten shouts. "He takes care of us and I want to be just like him!"

Xin Lan grins. "See? Not so hard." They say. "Gotta be open about your feelings kid. Bottle em up and they tend to be bad for you. Belive me, I think a few of us speak from experience. Besides, can't respect a guy who doesn't love their family. Now go and give me 20 with the bunny." Tseten's eyes brighten with excitment and they rush over to do some push ups. You decide that Xin Lan has had their fun and go to greet Amala and the others.

"I'm sorry!" She says. "Tenzin said you were holding classes and Tseten just wouldn't hear otherwise." You wave your hand dismissively.

"It's no big deal." You say. "I'm always willing to take new students regardless of age. His over confidence aside, I think it's good he wants to train and learn. If he wants to follow his brother's footsteps then it'd be best he start early and get a broad view of different subjects. That being said, is Tenzin ok with this? I thought he was training Tseten himself."

"Oh I don't think Tenzin will mind." Amala says. "It gives us reason to get out of the house and Tenzin only has time to train Tseten on his days off. Sometimes I think he feels bad he can't spend more time around the house."

"Hey! You gonna introduce us or what?" Xin Lan asks. You ruffle their ears.
>>
"Sorry. This is Amala and these are Tseten's siblings. They're all Tenzin's family. You know, the guard that first greeted us?" You say. "And this is Xin Lan. They're....well they're Xin."

"Used to be his girlfriend and wife too." Xin Lan says. "Then we got divorced."

"That's not true." You say, your face growing bright red. "That was only a cover and one you made up because everyone already thought that."

"And it was the most fun cover I had." Xin Lan insists. "We'll do it again sometime." They add and they head back to watch over the two newcomers.

"Will you join us?" You ask Amala. "It's good exercise even if you don't wish to put the training into practice."

"Oh no." She says shaking her head. "I get enough of a work out keeping an eye on all these kids." She says. "We'll just sit near the tree and stay out of the way."

"Sure. Ming should be around soon enough to talk to." You say. "And around midclass we'll have a break to enjoy some light snacks which you're welcome to join us for. We always have too much anyways."

While the younger two shout in excitement, Amala's face grows red with slight shame. "Thank you." She says quietly. "We'll get out your way then." She adds before quickly hurrying over to the tree. Soon enough, both Ming and your students arrive for the lesson.

It's a bit akward trying to teach essentially two classes at once. One for beginners and one for your veteran students. Eventually you settle on a simple rotation of setting up one set of students with a routine and once you were done teaching them, you leave Xin Lan to observe and correct mistakes while you go to your other group to continue their lesson. Part of you wishes that you had more newer students so that you could set up a day dedicated for them only but you were still glad that your class size was growing.

You had to remind yourself, that your two new students needed more frequent breaks but it doesn't deter you. Near the end of the class, Renshu arrives as Xin Lan mentioned with two large jugs full of drinks.

"It seems like your classes have grown." He says happily. "Luckily for us, I made quite a bit of juice. I've been practicing making meals in bulk." He places the down near the twin and serves Amala and her siblings before placing a meaningful hand on your shoulder for a moment and asking, "How are the lessons going?"

"Everyone! It's break! Come get some snacks before Xin eats them all!" You say with a smirk at your friend.

"Hey, don't tempt me. I'll do it." They laugh and head over to the tree.
>>
"Classes have been going well." You say turning to Renshu. "Been trying to figure out how to manage two levels of experience but I think I got a routine going now." You flick your eyes over at the brown rabbit who was holding a cup of juice in their hands, a look of pure terror on their face as they realize that Renshu is Stripes and that they were Xin Lan's older brother whom they mentioned they love very much. Renshu's eyes flick over to the terrified young man for a moment and they ask in your mind.

Has he asked the question yet?

Not yet. I've given them some space to do so but I think he lacks confidence. You say as you walk back to the tree with him. Though given how terrified he is of you, now I'm not sure he will. At least...not today.

Renshu makes no effort to hide his glee. How...disappointing.

Be nice. No scaring the small bunny on purpose. Or I might decide not to play with your ears next time. Maybe I'll even decide not to hold your hand. You say, amused.

Renshu can't help but laugh at that. "Oh please. I'm living my waking dream. I wouldn't do anything to ruin this moment." He says and in a rare moment of mischeviousness adds, "Although...if you decide to not hold hands there's plenty more of you to hold on to." You stand there trying to hide your burning face and waiting for it to die down before reuniting with your class and friends.

"You doin' ok teach?" One of your students asks.

"I'm fine." You say quietly. "Just had something I needed to contemplate on."

You all spend the rest of your class enjoying the egg rolls and juice. Just as Xin Lan predicted, everyone begins to ask where you purchased the snacks from or what the recipe was. Xin Lan has a great time keeping those facts secret and only hinting towards Renshu's new diner. Once everyone was stated, you end your lessons with some meditation. Once everyone parts, Xin Lan says, "I think it's time we add something new to our lesson plan. Gotta keep them on their toes or else they might simply give the minimum because it's routine."

"Xin Lan is right. While a routine is a great thing to have, if it becomes too familiar it might lead to stagnation." Renshu says as he gathers all the boxes and cups.

You think about it. You had been doing the same exercises and forms for the past month. It might be time to change it up. You did it for Ming, might as be good for your students as well.

>Do you add anything new to your lesson plan?
>Yes
>No

>If you do, what do you want to add or change up?
>Write in.
>>
>>4936871
>Yes, for the vets.

>Add runs and stamina excercises, and then add Sparring once everyone has a comfortable grip on the material.
It's all well and good practicing the moves, but eventually you have to use them against others. Nothing like a fist fight or anything, but a competitive match between the two to use their techniques to subdue the other.
>>
>>4936891
Seems good to me, support.
>>
>>4936891
>>4937002
Alright. Taking these. Writing.
>>
"Actually, that's a good idea." You say. "At least for my veteran students. I think I'll start having them doing runs and building their stamina."

"You and your running." Ming giggles.

"More impoartantly..." You continue while giving Ming a smirk. "I think I'll start having them spar with one another. Nothing major, just into submission I feel, but practice can only take you so far if you don't actually put it into actual use. Plus, it'll help them learn to react and anticipate rather than go with a set path of forms. Combat isn't just a series of the same moves in a specific order. They're gonna need to learn to adapt."

"I'm glad your classes are going so well." Ming says as she chews on an egg roll. "These are really good..." She swallows. "But I saw you had two new students and one of them was eyeing a certain bunny." She teases. "Someone's gonna steal Xin from you."

"Please." Xin Lan says as they setting in their brother's lap. "Stripes will make them disappear before that happens."

"Would that I could little one but I'm afraid I promised not to. Someone threatened to take away my hand holding." Renshu laughs.

"Ehh...the big guy has plenty of other places to grab on to." Xin Lan says.

"So I've said." Renshu agrees.

"Oh come on Xin. Aren't you a little bit interested?" Ming asks.

"Not in the slightest." Xin Lan replies. "I don't like him. If I'm gonna be honest, I'd kick him out of the class if it was my choice. Not the kid though. I kinda like him. He's got drive."

"You don't like him? As in you don't want to befriend him or you're not attracted to him?" You ask.

"I don't want to be his friend." Xin Lan says. "I mean, I find it hard to want to date or respect someone who can't even tell me to my face they want to court me."

"Wait but neither can Tai Lung and he's your best friend." Ming points out. "Oh...sorry." She adds quickly when you cough a bit louder than you should.
>>
"Yeah but the big guy was like 3 things going for him. First of off, he's drop dead gorgeous." They say with a smirk and you look away bashfully. "Ok that's not the real reason. For starters, the big guy simply can't date to save his life. It's not a matter of bravery. I've seen him punch three people with a single swing and face down an entire army. Anyone who says that isn't brave is lying. The big guy simply can't court anyone. But that's only a small reason. The bigger reason is that he got to know me first. And I know! I know! I don't make it easy for people to get to know me but that's kind of the thing. The guy didn't even try to know me. Everything he's done was been simply to date me not to actually get to know who I am. The big guy...well we did have a rocky start but even as we traveled he wanted to learn about me for no reason other than to know me or even better, to help me. There wasn't an ulterior motive or anything like that and I kind of like that. I just don't feel like I could enjoy the company of someone who wants to learn of me for their own benefit."

"But it's common for people to get to know each other simply because the other is attracted." Ming points out. "Even in basic friendships I feel like that's the point, right? You find something you like about the other person and you connect. Not everyone bonds over nearly dying or strife."

"Right." Xin Lan agrees. "Like...I like talking to Guang about food and booze. I can't cook but I can appreciate the taste and work that goes into his craft. I can say he's a friend and I didn't do much to help him. That was all the big guy. Even An Bo, I like. She's kind and wants to help others. She was willing to give up her luxurious life to be with the one she loves and even stepped up and asked to learn the trade to support her new family. I like that kind of loyalty. If the new guy simply asked me what I liked and we chatted I feel like I could respect him more like that. Even if he had asked me upfront that he was interested in having a relationship with me I could respect that. Again, the big guy can't do it but I know the kind of man he is so I guess I just kind of forgive it but then again, he'd rather not mention it at all and try to be cordial and friendly rather than snoop around and attempt to be sneaky about it." Xin Lan crosses their arms as they think. "I think what really bothers me is why he joined the class."

"Why?" You ask. "I thought you liked people who wanted to improve themselves rather than be complacent."
>>
"I do but...he's not doing right." Xin Lan says. "Like he's doing it to get to me not because he actually wants to improve. Like the kid genuinely wants to get better. He wants to be a guard like his older brother. Even if he quite tomorrow and said it was too hard, I could at least give him the fact he genuinely tried. He's a little loud mouth and very cocky but his heart is in the right place." Xin Lan rubs the back of their head. "I dunno...am I a hypocrite? I feel like I don't like this guy simply because he's doing what is exactly my job. I'm the sneaky one. I'm the one who lies and cheats and manipulates. I mean...I still want to be that but...is it wrong for me to judge someone like I am? Or do I have that right because I know exactly what he's doing and why?"

>What do you say?
>Say that Xin Lan is being a bit of a hypocrite but at least they're doing it right? Rather they know why it's bad and have ample reason and foreknowledge of it to make a decision.
>Say that they're not. Xin Lan simply has experience with this and know what they like and don't like. It's the same with you and martial arts. You hurt people with it but you also condemn others who hurt as well because you know what's right and wrong. Xin Lan is simply taking the social route about this.
>Say that it's not your place to say. This is something they should meditate on and think about. You'll always be there for them to air their thoughts but ultimately their decision is up to them as much as you'd like to guide them. Although you're very happy and proud that they're being more open and vocal about these kinds of things rather than simply making a decision alone.
>Write in.
>>
>>4937218
>I dont think this is hypocritical, you have given it thought and determined what you like or dont like about when it comes to a relationship. And I thank you for letting us hear your thoughts on it.
>>
>>4937218
>Yes Xin, that is an hypocritical tought. Fortunaly for you, it's something that normal people feel, to jusge others for doing what themselves do, to project guilt or your flaws onto others and look down upon them for it. I would take it as a sign of you developing a counciouss and leave it at that, at least for now.
>And about the little guy, he is obviously nervous and doesn't know what to do, but anyone can tell he is completly smitten with you. Who knows, maybe he will develop the determination and courage to impress you, or they will just keep failing. One way or the other, you should tell him personally what you think.
>>
>>4937676
That's a point to note.
I'll add to >>4937581

>But I gave him his chance to make his move on his terms, I think you should tell him what you think. A denial or what you would want is up to you.

Since I'm not keen to see this drag on for either Xin's or the bunnies sake. Lay the cards on the table and see how it goes.
>>
So would a combination of "yes that is a hypocritical thought but you're not being a hypocrite because you know what you want in a relationship" work? Adding in as well, "But instead of dragging it out, simply tell the small bun what you feel and then see how it goes?"
>>
>>4937798
That is good for me.
I didn't wnat to lie to them that it's not a hypoceitical tought, because it's a nornal thing and shows they are actually making progress in the feelings department, but therecis no shame in not wanting someone that acts like you, so adding it is good too.
But the most important part is to not lead the bunny on, if he decides to continue doing it anyway, be determined, confident and stubborn, than the guy might end up succeding in the end, because than he just becomes a small Tai Lung.
>>
Alright, getting to writing.

>>4937833
Small TL? Impossible. But floppy ear bunnies are kinda cute. The little guy still needs to overcome the second boss, big brother Renshu. Then the final boss, Ming.
>>
"Yeah, that is pretty hypocritical to think like that." You say as you take a swig of water. "But I don't think you're being a hypocrite per say. It's normal for people to feel like that. To judge others for doing something that they themselves do, to project guilt or your flaws onto others and look down upon them for it. I would take it as a sign of you developing a counciouss and leave it at that, at least for now."

"Yeah well unfortuantely for you, I don't think I feel guilty about what I do. I just don't like that it's the way he's going about it. Maybe it's just like you and fighting. I do it but I'd rather no one else does."

"Well, it certainly is something for you to think about." You say. "Best you don't drop it just yet. Although, the little guy is obviously nervous and doesn't know what to do. Size differences aside, you're pretty larger than life compared to most people. It's understandable he's a bit unsure of how to approach you but he's obvious smitten with you. Given time, he might end up gathering enough courage to impress you...that or they'll fall flat on their face and fail. In either case, I think it'd be best you tell him directly how you feel rather than lead him on or give him the wrong idea."

"Yeah. I mean I was gonna let him until he decided to do it but it's probably best to nip this in the bud." Xin Lan says as they stretch. "Poor guy. He really is smitten. Most guys are looking for something quick but he seems like he wanted to actually be a couple. I'll have to be honest with him then the ussual speech."

"How often do you have to do this?" Ming asks with a suspicious eye.

"Tons of times. Especially in the city." Xin Lan says as they lay upside down in their brother's lap. "Comes with the territory of where I tend to hang out and with info gathering. Although it's kind of changing considering we're not really staying anonymous and I'm not actually living the nameless/faceless life. In some ways I kind of miss it but I'd rather have you guys instead."

"Well maybe the little guy will stick it out and the two of you will get together." Ming teases. "Oh! Maybe you two will get married!"

"Ow! Stripes! Watch the claws!" Xin Lan shouts as they rub their back. "Geez, yours are retractable you know..." They mutter.

"Sorry." Renshu says in a rather restrained way.

"Anyways...I've already been married with the big guy. Don't think anything can top that so I doubt that will ever happen." Xin Lan says.

"That doesn't count and you know it." Ming says with a pout.

"I don't see what the difference is." Xin Lan says. "We slept together, we fought together. The only difference is that Hien would say it's offical or whatever and I'll have you know, he's your ruler not mine so even then it only half matters."
>>
Ming flicks a bit of potato at Xin Lan's face with surprising accuracy. "You never know. Love is said to work in strange ways. I've heard tons of stories about two people who say they'll never be together and they end up doing so. Happens in all the time."

"Well if that happens, I'll be sure to settle down here and the 3 of you can mourn the death of China's most eligible bachelor." Xin Lan repeats before pausing. "I should probably tell him I'm a guy."

"What happened to being the cutest girl I know?" You ask.

"Well that was a lie from day one." Ming says. "I'm the cutest. Xin is second."

"You know what I mean." Xin Lan says. "If he's gonna want to date me, he's gonna have to be used to being able to say he's with another man which incidentally, you two need to do as well."

"I fail to see the need to announce who I am with." Renshu says. "And should it come up, I think we're both prepared for that eventuality."

"Renshu is right." You say. "It's not really something everyone needs to know. But I think it is important that you tell the guy that you don't see yourself as either a boy or girl. It's an important detail to know if he wants to actually persue a relationship with you. More importantly, I am really proud of you opening up like this. You know we're always here to listen."

"Yeah don't make it all weird and mushy." Xin Lan says. "I'm just doing it because I promised you."

"If you two do end up being together, you do realize that means you can't nap ontop of Tai Lung right?" Ming points out.

"Oh yeah...people don't actually like that." Xin Lan says as they think then they shake their head. "What am I saying? I don't care. If I want to sleep with the big guy then I'll do it. Plus it doesn't matter because we're not getting together." They insist.

"I think you're actually considering it." Ming continues to tease Xin Lan with a grin.

"You keep this up and I'll end up dating you just to spite you." Xin Lan counters.

"I think we'd be a lovely couple." Ming says proudly. "Of course I'd be the pretty one and you'd be the grumpy less pretty one."

Xin Lan let's out a angry huff and you decide that perhaps it's time to get Ming's training started.
>>
----

Now that you had your abilities in check, you could actually watch and assess Ming's training for yourself. You were surprised at how much she progressed in the last month. Perhaps it was her training as a surgeon but she was able to hit her targetes dead on with regular kitchen knives. She wasn't particularly fast or precise but her accuracy was dead on. Every toss hit it's target somewhere near the center and her form was perfect.

"Are we gonna move on to smaller targets?" She asks as she gathers the knives. "Or smaller knives?"

"Not yet." Xin Lan says. "Your getting there but there's no power in your throws. Until we get that, there's no point in throwing anything else."

"What do you mean? I'm breaking the targets." Ming says.

"That's the weight of the knives carrying them. You're throwing them as hard as you can but even then, there's no really power behind them." Xin Lan replies grabbing a kitchen knife and flicking it at the remains of the target. It seems to blink out of existence and soon after the familiar 'clink' echoes as it hits the city's wall.

"I can still see your knife when you throw it. So clearly there's no power behind it." They say. "With smaller objects, you'll need more strength behind them. It's a double edge sword. Less weight means less strength required to make it fly faster but that also means it needs more strength for it to punch through objects. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it has the momentum to do damage. However it also meants your throws are more accurate in the fact that the speed makes it harder for them to deviate because of wind or whatever."

"Well then how do I build strength?" Ming asks. "How'd you do it?"

"Same way I learned everything else." Xin Lan says. "Either I learned it or I died. Which clearly we can't do with you." They think for a moment. "We can try harder materials to hit. Paper targets are good but they're too easy to break. We could move up to clay pots? But that might get expensive. Even after that, it'll get harder to find more things to throw at. Honestly if you can shatter a wooden or clay object with a needle or even just a regular knife then I'd say you're good for living targets. Armored ones would be trickier but I think that's where we'd train you to hit elbows or knees. Places where armor doesn't cover. They also tend to be nonlethal areas as well. What do you think big guy?"

>What do you say? How do you help Ming build throwing strength?
>Look for harder targets like Xin suggested. Maybe there's a place you can buy clay targets for cheap or clay pots.
>Have Ming build up arm strength through exercise. Weights and push ups. Not the fastest or specialized but it's certainly one way.
>Suggest that Ming not build strength but rather focus on precision. She's not trying to harm just hit people. So being able to hit unarmored areas even for minimal damage would be best.
>Write in.
>>
>>4938024
>Suggest that Ming not build strength but rather focus on precision. She's not trying to harm just hit people. So being able to hit unarmored areas even for minimal damage would be best.
The whole point of the throwing training is for Ming to needle to deliver potions, poison, suppress enemies and maybe even hit chi points.
>>
>>4938024
Suggest they use trees for strength training.

Better to know how
>>
>>4938223
I will compromise and say perfect precision first.
so support >>4938137
>>
>>4938137
>>4938223
>>4938326
Focusing on precision first. Writing.
>>
"I think you should focus on precision first. Strength can come next." You say. "You'll be using precision the most anyways. The strength to injure can come next."

"Since I'm on developing the terrible habit of honesty, I would honestly suggest that you'd learn strength first." Xin Lan says crossing their arms. "That and if you're going to focus on throwing, then I'd advise you to always aim to kill. These things are sharp but the point of throwing weapons is to stop the target from reaching you and killing is the most effective way to do that. What you're trying to do is really inefficient. That being said, the big guy does have a point. Hitting non vital points consitently would be best. You don't want to fling a sharp peice of metal and hit an artery by accident." Xin Lan juggles a knife in one hand before continuing. "Still, I'd simply rather you never get into a fight to begin with. You're fun Ming. Fighting does terrible things to people. I've seen it, Stripes has seen it, the big guy has seen it. I'd rather you stay on the side lines and be happy with what you got. Running around with you and seeing you do all these things normal people can't is fun. But seeing you get hurt...well even my crazy self can't see any fun in it."

"Well sorry to say but I'm sticking to this. And I'm not killing anyone." Ming says putting her hands on her hips before her face softens. She leans down and pet's the small rabbit. "But you're sweet. Why can't you be like this all the time?"

"Because your life would be just slightly too boring. Even nearly dying gets dull. I need to spice up your life." Xin Lan says. "Now, to make you stay on your toes. We're not heading back until you hit 5 bullseyes." They say. "So you might want to hurry up or we'll be left out here. Just a heads up, we'll slowly ramp it up. Soon it'll be in a row, then it'll be with moving targets, then it'll be with you moving. Gotta cover all bases and thats before we start swapping out weapons."

"I changed my mind. You're just cruel!" Ming says. "I want my pets back."

"No refunds." Xin Lan says with a grin. "Now get to it."
>>
You and Xin Lan stay for another few hours as Ming practices her throws. Over the course of the day Ming manges to narrow down her spread pattern by a bit but her aim time increased as a result. You don't push her to move faster, at least not yet. Ming eventually gets lucky enough to score her required hits and you all head back to the city for a well earned rest. As you pull the sheets over yourself, you think back to earlier in the day with the twins. Clearly this wasn't just someone you could talk out of in one go. You'd probably have to wear them down or at least continue to provide examples that proved your point. Perhaps if got to know them better you might be able to acheive you goal.

>How do you want to approach the twins next?
>Invite them out to eat again. Perhaps by simply socializing with them in a nonacademic way it might make them open up.
>Meet with them under the guise of helping them with their work. It seemed to work a bit before they advanced, it might still work.
>Think outside the box or rather like a rabbit. Maybe some of the other acolytes have information they can share. If the twins won't divuldge anything then others just might. Try and gather some intel before you meet up with the two again.
>Write in.
>>
>>4938425
>Ask the matron of the acolyte dorms
>Meet to help with their work.

Helping them with their work is going to be part and parcel of this endevour. But I'm interested in what the masters know about those who come here.
>>
>>4938425
>Meet with them under the guise of helping them with their work. It seemed to work a before.
We can always offer than to study our students if needed.
>Ask Renshu, Xin or Ming if he knows where the food they told you is common. Given how knowledgeable of wine they are, they must be from a affluent family of that region.
>>
>>4938430
>>4938458
Can take these. Writing.
>>
You decide that you should being by learning about the two before you talk to them again. Perhaps by knowing who they are you might be able to understand their line of thinking. You make a quick stop to speak to whoever runs the acolyte dorms. To your surprise, it's not one of the Brotherhood. It's actually someone from the rank bellow them, a female snake. Not only that but she looks after the dorms for every level below her. After asking around a bit, you actually find her in the acolyte's library helping organize some books.

"Oh hello!" She says with a bright, if fanged, smile. "I thought you had already advanced. Most people don't tend to come back to the lower levels." She says.

"You know I advanced?" You ask without thinking. "I'm afraid we never met."

"Oh, you tend to hear gossip here and there." She giggles. "You and that other girl. I haven't heard of people advancing that fast for a while actually. Most acolytes spend at least a few months here before moving on. You two did it in a few weeks if I heard correctly."

You nod. "Well...I suppose that was more luck on my part." You admit. "I just had some knowledge on what I presented. My friend, Ming, on the other hand is no surprise. She's the smartest woman I know and it wouldn't surprise me if she's the smartest in all of China."

"Oh, then I hope to meet her sometime. It's always nice to see new faces rise up in the ranks." The woman says. "Unfortunately, it seems like many tend to lose their drive once they hit the higher levels. Then again I suppose the requirements for advancement do tend to become more and more strict." She admits.

"Well, I think out of anyone of my friends she'd be the first to advance to the top." You say. "That is if she doesn't try to read the entire library first." You chuckle.

"Oh don't I know that." The woman says. "I remember my first few days here. You couldn't keep me out of the library. I think I might have skipped a few meals in those first few days." She seems to go quiet for a moment as she remincises before shaking her head. "So, is there something I can help you with? Do you need an extra blanket or perhaps need some other accomodation?"

>What do you say?
>Admit that perhaps a new lock on your room might help. You think yours might be broken.
>Ask about what she knows about the twins. Have they spoken to anyone outside of their studies? Have they shown interest in a hobby or perhaps somewhere they like to hang out?
>Ask about the twins but try to be indirect about it. (How do you word your questions?)
>Ask about something else regarding the order. Someone as high level as her would have more information.
>Write in.
>>
>>4938549
>Ask about something else regarding the order. Someone as high level as her would have more information.
Do the higher ranks get some new duties?
>Ask about what she knows about the twins. Have they spoken to anyone outside of their studies? Have they shown interest in a hobby or perhaps somewhere they like to hang out?
If she asks why, we been helping them for some time, and are just worried at their tunnel vision focus might be damaging to themselves, even if they are too proud to admit it.
>>
>>4938561
Sure.
>>
>>4938561
>>4938764
Writing.
>>
"Do the higher ranks get some new duties?" You ask. "I'm afraid I don't have much information."

"Oh yes." The woman says as she places a few more books on the shelves, a rather impressive feat for one with no arms. "Those that acheive the third rank as asked to assist around the city in some minor clerical duties. Others are asked to act as teachers and instructors for the children and adolescents. When you reach the 4th rank, we're required to take some position in helping around the order. As you probably already know, I'm in charge of the dorms for levels below me. I mostly handle things such as keeping track of food stores, keeping rooms maintained and well kept. I'm basically running a very fancy inn." She giggles. "In the event there are more of us than normal, then those left over are asked to serve in higher positions of the city. Typically as aides to the those that help run the civilian side of things."

You think for a moment. "How do you know if people are qualified? I understand that reaching the higher ranks does mean the person is intellegent but that doesn't mean they're experienced in the role they are given, no offense meant." You add.

"And you are quite correct. The positions are not guarenteed in the sense that you'll be there for your entire stay here." The woman explains. "Your extra duties are monitored and recorded by both your superior and the Brotherhood itself. If it seems like you're not cut out for the task, then the Brotherhood can be petitioned to remove you before your evaluation period. Of course, we don't simply throw you at job blind. There is a training period to get you aquainted with your new role."

"Doesn't this take away from the time you have to study and attempt advancement?" You ask.

"Yes but the library isn't about advancement." The woman replies. "While it is an admirable goal, the expansion of knowledge is our first and foremost goal. There are many who could advance is they applied themselves for a few months but simply choose to stay where they are so they can learn more or study other subjects. Of couse...there are those that don't advance simply out of fear of extra duties. Incompetence isn't the only way one is judged for their duties. We also judge character. After all, our secondary goal is to deseminate our knowledge to the people. We don't want those of poor moral character to do so. With that in mind, it only makes sense for people of our order to be expected to contribute to society in some way."

"I suppose that makes sense." You admit. "Then what does the Brotherhood itself do? I'm assuming they have even larger roles? I think Dawa was in charge of agriculture from what Mida told me."

"Sister Dawa and Brother Mida." The woman corrects politely.

"Right, sorry." You say.
>>
"But yes, those of the Brotherhood attend to the highest positions of the city. While they form a council that attends to the biggest aspects of the city, the day to day duties of running a city lay in the citizens who appoint a mayor every 2 years. Ontop of that, they are responsible for all the levels below them in the order as well. In some ways, the Brotherhood have less duties than those below them but in others their decisions affect the lives everyone in this city. I'm not sure if you have been told but to ascend to the last two ranks of the order there is also a judge of character and in case of the last rank, applicants must have proven their worth towards the development of the city as a whole and have provided some meaningful improvement to the lives of those who reside here."

"So each person in the Brotherhood has contributed something to the city?" You ask. "Could you give me some examples?"

"Certainly." The woman says as the two of you slowly make your way around the library. "Going back to Sister Dawa, for her contribution was in the form of a new strain of vegetable that both hardier and had bigger yields per harvest."

You nod. "Brother Mida studies spirits. I can't imagine what he did for his contribution. Do you know?"

"If you're interested in what each member contributed. There is a book that records every single Brotherhood member's contribution. As a commemoration for the advancement of the city." The woman says. "But back to your question, Brother Mida's contribution as actually not related to his spiritualism at all but rather he negotiated a major restructuring of the city's resource management."

"Really?" You ask. "I wouldn't have known. He didn't seem like the type...then I again I guess I wouldn't know what the type would be." You think for a moment. "Is all this information hidden somewhere?" You ask. "It seems like everytime I ask, there's always something new added to advancement requirements."

The woman frowns. "No. There should be a book with that information here."

"If there's a book about it then Ming would have found it." You say. "Perhaps it got lost?"

"It could be possible." The woman says. "I'll have to look into that. I don't like knowing that acolytes don't have the information available."

"Before you go, there is something I did come to ask." You say. "Do you know anything about the aligator twins? Akar and Dampa?"

"I've heard of them." The woman says. "I'm not sure how I could help you."

"Do you know if they have any hobbies or some place they enjoy hanging out? Maybe if they spoke to anyone outside their studies?" You ask.

"No...I can't say I've heard anything like that. Not from the other acolytes." The woman says. "Although...I have heard that those aren't their real names."

"I'm sorry?"
>>
"Well...the rumor has it that those aren't their real names. Dampa and Akar are names normally given here in the city but the two aren't natives of here so naturally they wouldn't have those kinds of names." The woman says. "Which makes it a bit weird. How would they know about the naming customs of the city?"

"I take it it's not normal to do that." You assume.

"Well...it's normal for members of the order to choose a new name for themselves. Brother Mida and Sister Dawa aren't natives to the city yet they have native names. Often those who spend enough time here in the city and advance far enough choose a new name for themselves as they now feel they are one of us. Those that don't are free to do so but they tend to be the ones that only come here seeking information then they return back to their normal lives. Everyone else is a native. Acolytes form outside don't tend to know of our naming customs and don't give it much thought."

"Meaning their names are deliberate and they thought of them before they arrived." You surmize. The woman nods.

"Granted, it's not illegal nor improper. They're not breaking any rules or offending anyone but it's simply strange for someone who knows." She says.

>What do you say?
>Ask something else about the twins. (What do you ask?)
>Thank the woman and leave. Go see your friends to ask about the food.
>Ask about something else.
>Write in.
>>
>>4939503
>Thank the woman and leave. Go see your friends to ask about the food.
Oh shit, so training the students might actually help us advance in the future, because we are improveing lives, we could even expand to train the guard in the future for the last big thing needed for brotherhood.
If Mida's thing is architecture and spiritualism, he definatly knows the rules of Feng Shui, he is going to love our next study on Chi and how it flows them.
>>
>>4939517
Neat idea.
>>
>>4939517
Wiat no, re changed the resource management, for some reason my mind saw reestructuring and went straight to archtecture instead of administration.
Although proposing ways to expand the city so the chi is harmonous or aupicious, and maybe saying to erect a few new shrines could be a good project too.
>>
>>4939517
>>4939520
Alright, going to speak our friends about food. Writing.
>>
Actually, I think that the gators might also be adopted, given how they perked up when we mentionned it.
They are obviously from a rich family because know how to properly drink and taste wine, and had acess to proper education. Now, how wpuld they begin their idea for biological superiority? If they belonged to a family were they obviously saw themselves more talented than others, but them getting passed over. So perhaps someone took oitybon the orphans and took them in, or a Issac and Ishmael situation, were they got taken in to be raised as heirs, but than a biological child was born.
Or maybe it could be a general idea tgat tueir family interacted with high society, but the ones that actually ruled were from a weaker or dumber species.
But I think the adopted noble has more weight, witg the whole false names, and not wanting their discoveries to be attributted to a family name, meaning that they dear discovery, or want to distance themselves from it.
Anyway, this has been my conspiracy theory, tune in next time when we diacover from where they are actually from.
Which should be the Shaanxi Province in northwest China, or more specifically Sichuan, if Wikipedia is to be believed.
>>
Shit, I forgot about something I had to do today. I need to get lunch then head out. I got my writings saved so I'll post them tonight. Sorry about that.
>>
"I see. Well thank you for the help." You say as you make a quick bow and head out. The fact that the twins didn't go by their real names intrigued you. Did they have something to hide? Perhaps but they also didn't seem to care much for familial ties. It would make sense that they would drop their family name given the chance. Or perhaps they wanted to hide their lineage as you did before. You do wonder how they knew of the naming customs of the city. Considering you had to look into the scrolls of forbidden imperial knowledge to find it, you wonder how they found the Library let alone know of it's customs. Could it be that they originated from here? You remember hearing there were people who would leave the mountains to start a new life in the rest of China. Perhaps they decended from them?


With your current information you couldn't make that guess but you did know other things such as the food they ate. Given that you never heard of them, you could guess they weren't from central China or at least from where you lived.

----

"Sorry. I've never heard of those dishes before." Ming says as she places another book in your arms. You had found her doing some research into alchemy as ussual though from the books alone you couldn't tell what. "You say that's what the twins ate?" She asks. "I could look up the dishes for you. I'm certain there's a couple dozen culinary books here."

"No. I don't want to take away from your progress." You say. "Are these for your advancement?" You ask.

"No. I submitted that a while ago. These are just for fun." She says.

"Fun? It looks like you're ransaking your second library." You joke. Ming bats your arm.

"You're one to talk. Last I recall, your idea of fun is beating Xin to a pulp." She retorts.

"Hey, it was a friendly spar." You say sheepishly. "And...we play cards sometimes."

Ming gives you a smug smirk. "Anyways, I've never heard of those dishes before. I've only lived in Soknan for a few years and before that I was from a small village. Ask Xin or Renshu. They've been all over the place haven't they? What if the aligators are from Japan?"

"I don't think so." You say. "They didn't have any strange accent and as far as I could tell, they knew of Chinese customs."

"I guess that's fair." Ming admits. "Well, if you do find out where the food is from tell me. I kind of want to try them out." She signs the check out book with the list of books she had in hand. "Was there anything else I can help you with?"
>>
---

"Oh yeah, I've had those." Xin Lan says. "You can find those all over northern China. Kind of surpised we haven't run into them actually. Then again...they're kind of city food. You should ask Stripes to make you some. It's great. He'd probably know more about it to be honest...well maybe. I'm pretty sure my experience as a gourmand trumps his cooking knowledge." They say proudly.

"It's from the north?" You repeat, surprised. "I guess that makes sense. We never had anything like that where I lived."

"Yeah but isn't the Jade palace in central China?" Xin Lan asks.

"Yeah, it is."

"Well there you go. Now I want some Biang Biang noodles." Xin Lan says. "Can we ask Stripes to make us some? I've been begging for him to show me what he's gonna have on his new menu but he keeps say no. If we both bully him a bit and keep asking I bet he'll crack and tell us! Maybe he'll give us some free samples."

"What? You didn't sneak into his room and dig through his notes or something? I thought you were a master of information gathering." You tease.

"He cheats by being a sensible person." Xin Lan says with a pout. "Has everything memorized in his head because he knows what I'll do. Doesn't even have any steamy love letters form bored house wives."

"W-what?" You ask.

"Oh please. You don't think he doesn't get all kinds of gifts and letters from the women who come for his services. I'm not the only one who gets all the attention you know." Xin Lan says. "I think he throws them away or burns them. Probably eats any snacks they give him."

"Right..." You say, unsure how you feel about Renshu receiving gifts from admirers. "Back to the topic though. Is there anything you can tell me about the food?"

"Besides that it's tasty?" Xin Lan asks. "They're all kind of spicy dishes?" They say with a shrug. "I mean, most of the time I've had it they had some spicy component to them. Don't really know much else to be fair."

"Right. Thanks for the info." You say. "By the way, are you still working on your books?"

"Yup! I already finished my first one. Waiting to see what Ming thinks of it before I ask for it to be published." They say proudly.

"What about the second?" You ask.
>>
"No. That one is taking longer. I have some parts I've rewritten and am still in the middle of working on other parts." They say a bit more seriously. "I'm not sure when it'll be done."

"Are you gonna tell me what they're about?" You press.

"Nope!" Xin lan grins. "First is for your own good and the second is a surprise for you."

"Can't I just have a hint?" You ask.

"Oh no. No, no, no." They laugh giddly. "I'm afraid I have to preserve your innocence on the subject. But I promise you that you'll like the second book or at least I like to imagine you'll be proud of it. First one is for fun so no way you'd enjoy that."

"I'm gonna keep my eye out for it. Can't be many new books that are published here, right?" You say stubbornly.

"It's your funeral." Xin Lan says. "I'm only trying to protect you but that does remind me that I have some things I wanna do." They tap your nose. "We'll have a date some other time. Maybe we'll go play cards again." They say with a wink. "Talk to Renshu though. He might have more information on like...I dunno. The cooking methods or something but considering you wanted to know the origin. I say you got what you needed." They flip off of your shoulders. "I can go digging around to see if I find more information on the two if you want."

>What do you say?
>Have Xin do some digging. They might come up with something for you.
>Tell Xin to stick to their own thing. You don't want to waste their time.
>Write in.

>Did you want to ask Ming something else or do something with her?
>Ask Ming for help with something. (What do you need help with?)
>Ask Ming if she wants to go do something. (What do you want to do with her?)
>Write in

>You figured out that the twin's dishes are from northern China. Do you still want to go talk to Renshu about it or do you want to do something else?
>Yes go speak to Renshu.
>No. Go try and get closer to the twins some other way. (What do you want to do?)
>>
>>4940197
>You dont have to Xin, just enjoy yourself.
>no
>Talk to Renshu, then get an Atlas and take a look at how many big cities there were in northen china.

Best to know where it could be. There should only be a handful.
>>
>>4940198
>Tell Xin to stick to their own thing. You don't want to waste their time.
If we show up with information that they didn't give, tgan they will.notices that we went around snooping. That is a good way to break any trust we build.
>Ask Ming for help with something. (What do you need help with?)
To search for that book of the achievemnets of the brotherhood, see if it's really missing or she never found it. Maybe if it's missing, the snake lady would have put up a copy in the library already.
>Yes go speak to Renshu.
1 of them originated from the Shandong province, 2 of them originated from the Shaanxi province, with one from the Sichuan Province, which is the odd one out because is from the southwest.
But them all being common together in the nother narrows things down, because they aren chinese, they can't be from the nomadic provinces, so that cuts out the part of Manchuria and Mongolia.
They therefore can only be from Beijing, Shaanxi, Shandong or Hebei.
>>4940383
Support for an Atlas. We should also ask if there are any important aligator families in northern China, or if they adopted them. Or if one of them has a scandal of a pair of twins disappearing.
It might help cut down the number of theories, and leave it at thendispleased servant if we get a hard no. If we get a don't know, than the conspiracy continues.
>>
>>4940666
>>4940383
Taking these. Writing.
>>
"I'll pass on that." You say. "Just do your own thing. No need to waste your time."

"Alright then. I mean worst case senario I gotta leave the mountain to dig around." They reply.

"I'd rather that you don't do that." You say. "I'm just trying to figure the two out, not dig up all their darkest secrets."

Xin Lan stretches a bit. "Well if you need me, you won't know where to find me. I'll find you." They grin.

"Sorry but I always know where you are." You reply with a grin as you poke one of their ears. "No more hiding from me."

Xin Lan sticks out their tongue. "I knew you couldn't get enough of this fluffy tail." They say. "Does my brother know you're following me all over the place?"

You cough politely and bat their ears a bit. "Shush..." You say.

"Alright, alright." They laugh and wave you away. "I'll see you around. Gotta go get a few more paper targets. Might push Ming extra hard today. She seems to learn better under pressure."

"Don't push her too hard." You say. "We need her alive to actually teach her."

"Hey, compared to you I'm a saint." Xin Lan says as they leap onto the nearest rooftop. "See ya later!" They shout and with another leap, they vanish from sight.

----

"You don't need to help me." Renshu says gently. "I'm sure you have more important things to do with your busy schedule." The large rabbit was busy stirring some kind of stew in the small kitchen of their new place. Despite your best attempts, he refuses to allow you in to see what it is though you assume it might be something for his new diner. Even so, you manage to see that the small space is packed to the brim cooking utensils and wares. Thought you say it was small, the back room was actually quite large and open meant for holding herbs, roots and the lab meant to create medicines. Now long gone, it was a great open space for cooking and storing food though the actual kitchen area was small in comparison, only meant to feed one or two people. Still, Renshu assured you that he could make due with what he had.

"I told you, you weren't getting away from my philisophical debates." You chuckle as you walk over to set down the table under your arm and the stack of chairs in the other. You had been moving furniture around in what used to be the store front of the old apothecary. The large space was perfect for a dining area and the old counter, one meant for purchasing items, would double as a bar of sorts. "But I won't lie that I wanted to ask you something regarding food."
>>
You don't hear anything for a moment but soon the small 'clang' of a potlid being placed ontop of it's pot is heard and you see the stripped rabbit coming out of the back room, wiping their hands on their apron. No longer wearing their usual white robes and clothing, they wore a simple shirt and pants with an apron over it. They watch you heft another round table up, sliding the single center stand under your arm and another set of chairs in the other arm. Renshu stands at the door way and seems to admire you for a moment before speaking up. "Place that one a bit away from the display window, I don't want the sun getting in customer's eyes." You nod and heft the table once more. "What did you want to ask about food? If you want to taste what I'm preparing then I'm afraid the answer is no. Xin Lan has been trying to sneak in all morning to get a taste and they haven't won yet. So get ready for disappointment."

You open your mouth to make a joke about bribing Renshu with affection but given the fact they were related to Xin Lan and where their biggest influence, you decide perhaps you weren't ready to unleash that upon yourself. Instead, you place the table down and set the chairs around it. "I was talking to the aligator twins and they mentioned a few dishes they used to eat. I asked Xin about it and they said it was from northern China but I was wondering if you could tell me a bit more."

Renshu gives you a curious look and smiles. "Maybe we can make a bunny of you just yet." He muses. "Seems like you're doing a bit of espionage yourself."

"It's not that big of a thing." You say sheepishly as you tug your ear. Renshu pulls back one of the chairs you set down and sits near you. You do the same and list off the various dishes you had told your friends. Renshu attempts to slip his hands into his sleeves only to realize that his sleeves were no longer big enough. Slightly embarassed, they place their hands on the table.

"Xin Lan is correct, those are northern dishes." He starts. "And he is also correct that they tend to be spicy, however, only in the costal cities. Spices are far more common in port cities due ships coming and going to trade them. The further you go back into the mainland, the harder it is to come by."

"Do the dishes use rarer spices?" You ask.
>>
"Not ussually, it is a Chinese dish so the more common spices to our nation are used. It's just that they are far more abundant is port cities that the dish tends to circulate there. You could probably find it in Zhengyi or even Soknan as well given their locations near the sea." He says.

"That's weird. Ming says she's never had it before and she lived in Soknan for a while." You say.

"Oh it's more than likely that she had a variation of the dish or perhaps she didn't look hard enough." Renshu says. "Biang Biang noodles are known for large noodles as they're stretched by slamming them on a table. It's quite possible to simply replace them with regular ones and name them something else. If you wanted authentic ones, you'd probably have to search for a niche eatery. Something I doubt Ming would have done living her comfortable life and working a job. I could be wrong of course." He says. "I remember sneaking Xin Lan out to go and eat them all the time when they were growing up. They never could finish it all." He says happily.

>What do you say?
>Ask Renshu if that's where his old order was in northern China.
>Ask about the Gators drinking wine. Renshu seems well aquianted with Northern China. Perhaps he knows the more affluent families there.
>Ask him about Xin Lan's childhood outside the order. What else did they do?
>Ask something else about the dishes. Are they an expensive dish? Or something for celebrations?
>Write in
>>
>>4941960
>Ask about the Gators drinking wine. Renshu seems well aquianted with Northern China. Perhaps he knows the more affluent families there.
>Ask something else about the dishes. Are they an expensive dish? Or something for celebrations?
Port cities removes Shaanxi from the equation, Beijing, Hebei and Shandong left.
If Renshu knows about important gator families, or if one of them adopted some or if there was a scandal of a twin brothers leaving, it would narrow it down, but I doubt it he would be avle to know it without a bit of digging and gossip.
>>
>>4941960
>Ask about the wine
>Ask about the dishes, Are they terribly expensive?

Like even if they are cheaper closer to the ports, the spices still cost something
>>
>>4941973
>>4942002
Taking these. Writing.
>>
"Is the dish expensive? It sounds common enough but spices can't be cheap." You ask. "Is it like a celebration meal?"

"Well...We stole our food." Renshu says a bit too fondly. "But they're not anything special. At least not a celebratory meal. But they're not something you'd eat on a daily basis cost wise. It'd be the kind of thing you'd take the family out to enjoy once and a while. Perhaps a weekend meal or something of that nature. Although given how much we eat take out because of our traveling I guess it would be hard to put into perspective. But something prohibitively expensive? No, I wouldn't think so."

"They knew how to drink wine. Is that a common thing in Port cities?'

"How do you mean?" Renshu asks confused.

"Well they didn't simply gulp it down. They savored it and did all the wine tasting things." You say.

"I'm surprised. I didn't take you for a wine enthusiast." Renshu says.

"I'm not but my father taught me a few things. He wasn't much of an enthusiast either." You reply.

"Wine is still quite expensive. Its all because of how long it takes to age plus the mystique of a drink that seemingly gets better with age. For the uninitiated, simply hearing and older drink incites excitement and encourages paying any price. For those in the know its the craft behind it. Even cheap wines are expensive simply for being a wine regardless of flavor. There are some that claim to cook with the stuff but I've never experimented with the stuff." Renshu explains.

"You know a lot about the stuff...was it your drink of choice?" You ask gently.

"Alcoholics don't have a drink of choice, beloved." Renshu says quietly. "We take what we can get I hopes of not feeling anything so log as it get the job done. Even more so if you don't have to pay for it."

You pet Renshu’s ears softly. "I was just thinking that maybe the twins were some kind of nobility considering their mannerisms. You wouldn't happen to know any noble houses of alligators would you?"
>>
"Hmm...no. I don't think so. Though nobility isn't the only one with access to wine. Perhaps they belonged to a trader family? Affluent enough to afford both but not enough political strength or ties to secure noble status. There are plenty of alligator traders around."

"Any in mind?"

"I'm sorry but with out any additional information I'd be simply giving you random names. Was there anything else that you might have caught or heard?"

"No...sorry." You say. "Thats all I got right now. If I find out more then I'll let you know." You say.

"If you need a direction, assuming they are from a trading family, knowing their main trade goods would help. Also if they trade overseas or over the main land."

>What do you say?
>Ask if there are any particularly notable trade families. On the off chance you can guess at the answer while speaking to the gators.
>Ask Renshu to help you with this. He's certainly strong and a unique specimen. Surely he'd attract the gators attention.
>Ask if there is anything specific you should aim while talking to the gators for information.
>Write in.
>>
>>4942079
>Letting them strip and measure Renshu
>Implying Renshu wouldn't break fingers if they tried

Lets not. I also think this is as far as we can go from the information we have so far. So lets just finish off helping Renshu and then
>End week/move to next scene/ devise new method to gain information.
>>
>>4942089
I didn't even think of that. Stripes probably wouldn't like being poked and prodded by anyone other than the team. Though it it helped TL he'd probably do it begrudgingly. Maybe.
>>
>>4942077
>Ask if there is anything specific you should aim while talking to the gators for information.
Renshu dislikes their views, and is trying out not being an assassin spy, so better not involve him for his own good.
But that doesn't mean we can't get tips. Probably starting by not responding to their superiority spiel. We can't agree with them, but we also don't need to confront them about it everythime.
>>
>>4942089
>>4942156
Taking these. Writing.
>>
"Well, I'm thinking of trying to find more information or at least trying to learn more from them. Is there something I should be looking for?"

"Well...I ussually let people talk as much as they want. That tends to give you the most information but given how secretive the two are and their mindset, I don't think that will help." Renshu thinks for a moment. "Try and tie it to their work. If you make them think that it will benefit them more, they might be more inclined to share. One of the more...advanced techniques of gathering information is to make it seem like the person is getting what they want while in reality they're simply doing everything you want them too. In the roughest sense, convince them that the easiest way for them to get what they want is to do what you want all the while making them think it was their idea to begin with. That being said, other than them giving you their names outright, you could always see if they can give you their home city or perhaps something they have expertise in outside of their studies. If they grew up in a trader family then they might be unsually familiar with a certain product or item. Most merchant families tend to focus on one item simply because it's what they become known for. They might dabble in other similar items but they almost always have a staple good. Such as the Feng family's blacksmithing though they are nobility."

"That sounds...very convoluted." You say.

"And it's why the little one is so hard to read." Renshu smiles. "You never know when what you think is your own idea was something they wanted all along. If you'd like, I do have some free time from my reading in the afternoons. I could go and see if I can figure something out from them."

You shake your head and pull Renshu into a hug. "No. You're just a regular man. You don't know anything about espoinage or sneaking. Granted you're rather big for a bunny but you're normal all the same." Renshu, to your surprise, wiggles and kicks slightly before settling down.

"M-my apologies." Renshu says increadibly embarassed as he settles into your hug. "I don't know what came over me. I guess I'm more rabbit than I cared to imagine." You give chuckle and stroke Renshu's ears.

"Is it normal for bunnies to not like being picked up?" You ask.

"Quite." He replies, his face still quite red and a quite purr emenating from his chest. "We like to be on the ground for the most part. It's quite hard to run away when your in someone's arms."

"So you don't want to be in my arms then." You tease.

"Quite the opposite." Your rabbit says as they settle down. "I'm just surprised but a plesant one for sure."
>>
---

You leave Renshu's new home and get back to your task at hand. Before you contacted the twins again you wanted to think of a plan. Seeing as you had other things that would keep you busy for the rest of the week, you had ample time to think things through. First, would be to figure out more of the twin's past. Perhaps finding out their lineage would be best. To do that you'd need more info and it seems like the best way to do it was to find their parent's trade goods. There could only be so many aligator traders and even less that would have similar goods they traded in. The next thing would be to try and get the two to open up to you more. Even if you never find out their parentage, that was your top priority. It would seem like endearing yourself to the two would help you in trying to convince them that they were going down a dark path. Perhaps thinking of how to convince them of that would be best.


>How do you want to approach the gators this time?
>Help them with their work. Offer yourself for more tests.
>Ask them to go eat with you again. Perhaps you can get them drunk once more.
>Ask them to help you with something. You'd have to think of a project or fake project for them to help you with but it'd be only fair after all you did for them.
>Bring Ming along and have them measure her intellegence. IF anyone can debate with them. It could be her.
>Write in.

>What do you want to try and figure out? What do you talk about?
>Try and figure out more about their family. See if you can learn more.
>Try and learn more about them. They don't have much attachment to family but you could get them to speak about themselves.
>Try and debate them. You could always try to disprove their ideas. If you can show them that they are wrong then it would dismantle everything.
>Write in.
>>
>>4942321
>Help them with their work. Offer yourself for more tests.
I will shill offering to measure our students again. Having the specifics of the common man of different species is important to be able to know the improvements after all. And also, it they improve themselves, they will also be able to see how training can affect the results.
>Try and learn more about them. They don't have much attachment to family but you could get them to speak about themselves.
Knowing what they like or dislikes, or even personal experiences can also help determine their family.
>>
>>4942321
>Approach them to aid in the work
I think we should show off the perpetual awareness skill that we have cultivated for a few reasons.
It's a result of our biology, naturally, and a feat of the animal body. But more importantly it is also a learned skill. Which while we may not say it at the time, if we offer to show them how to learn, it could dent their idea of a single perfect being.
>>
>>4942582

And we want to learn about them. We can use the wine as a breaker before perhaps shifting to talk about their names.
>>
>>4942585
I don't think it's food to approach them directly about it, it might make them.aelf-counciouss about what they revel about themselves.
>>
>>4942679
Perhaps, but mentioning it offhand could make it seem easy.
>>
>>4942335
>>4942582
So. Do you want to show off your new meditation or do you want to offer to show them your student's progress?
>>
>>4942798
We can offer them the opportunity to take measures of ours students since they had a problem getting volunteers, but it's something they can only really do during classes anyway.
But what we can in that moment is show off the chaotic meditation and explain how it works. Maybe it can help they study reflex or something.
>>
>>4942804
Actually, how would one display that skill? I mean it'd be obvious that you'd have uncanny reflexes or would it be like doing one thing while talking normally and not looking at it?
>>
>>4942335
>>4942582
Writing.
>>
>>4942811
I have no idea, I barely even undesrtand how it worka.
All I know is that it's awesome.
>>
>>4942866
That really that's the most important thing.
>>
You figure that the best way to continue was to simply help them with their work somehow. Perhaps in doing so their research would start showing holes or perhaps they'd change their minds. As you go through your morning jog with Ming, she taps you on the shoulder and points down on the street. The two of you uncharacteristically slow down to watch and see a small crowd gathering around Renshu's home. As you continue to watch, you see Xin Lan leaping from corner to corner of the place's roof and covering the windows with sheets. "Is Renshu opening his place already?" Ming asks. "You were there a few days ago weren't you?"

"I've been helping him move furniture around and the like for our time together but no, it didn't look like he was ready yet. Last I checked I think he was still working on his menu." You admit.

"Maybe this is one of Xin's crazy schemes to make money." Ming guesses. "Probably has something to do with that."

"They did say they had some ideas on how to draw attention to the diner. Create interest and stuff. Maybe this is one of them." You say.

"It looks like it's certainly working." She agrees. "Hopefully he can handle the crowd when he opens."

"I don't know. I think he can. I hope he can find joy in his work." You say. "It's one thing to cook for us. It's another to keep up the tide of customers."

"It'll probably slow down." Ming says. "He just need regulars."

The two of you quickly pick up the pace again and finish up your jog. After a quick cool down, you're making your way to see if Renshu needs some help when turn a bit to catch Xin Lan on your shoulders. "Sorry big guy, but no seeing Stripes today."

"Why not? Are you trying to keep all the food for yourself?" You chuckle.

"Yes but also I'm stealing him back. I don't feel like sharing anymore." They reply as they poke one of your ears. You flick it about for a moment and look up at the rabbit.

"Ok, but really, what's going on?" You ask.

"Stripes is getting ready for his grand opening and the whole place is a mess." They awnser. "He's kind of embarassed about it and doesn't want you to see."

"A mess? But I just helped him clean up." You ask with confusion.

"Well...he's been trying out a few table clothes and decorations and it kind of got out of hand. Now he's narrowing things down. More importantly, he said to tell you that he'd be really busy finalizing some agreements he made with the local markets and he'll be kind of busy these next few days. Doesn't want you waiting on him. Says he's really sorry. Also that you owe me lunch...and dinner." They quickly add.
>>
"I see." You should figured that things would get pretty busy the closer it would get to opening day but it must have never crossed your mind that you wouldn't be able to see Renshu. It was just a routine to talk to him every morning that it was rather jarring to be broken out of that routine. "Well I'm afraid that you do owe me a few lunches so I guess that we're both even on that front." You chuckle.

"Hey, you can't do that! Debt doesn't wipe out debt!" They say.

"I think we both know that one of us is lying." You say amused.

"Yeah. You. So stop lying and let's grab some breakfast." Xin Lan says patting your head and leaning on it.

"Sorry Xin but I got a few things I wanna do today. Maybe some other time?" You say.

"Oh? What crazy thing are you doing now? Another class? Or maybe learning how to destroy people with your mind?" They ask.

>What do you say?
>Tell Xin that you're going to help the gators again. Nothing too crazy this time.
>Ask Xin what they think about the twin's research. Maybe they'd like to help or volunteer.
>Say you're still working on getting to know the twins. Renshu gave you some ideas, maybe Xin might have some as well.
>Write in.
>>
>>4942866
>>4942811
I mean I can explain it.

You'd have to put up several paper targets around the room then put us in the centre with a blindfold to get there. Then we take off the blindfold [facing an empty wall maybe] then open our eyes, turn 360 degrees incredibly quickly to face the wall again faster than most people could read, then tell them what was on the walls and their positions.

Repeat twice or until satisfied. I disagree with the students idea, mostly because I don't feel comfortable asking our students to be test pigs for the gators. Offering them the choice eases this, but still.

>>4942933
>No, just devising the power to walk on the air, I decided it looked fun when Shenlong did it.
>But seriously, I'm trying to learn more about the twins. I just can't leave the issue alone.
>>
>>4942933
>Say you're still working on getting to know the twins. Renshu gave you some ideas, maybe Xin might have some as well.
>A great writer like yourself must know how to get people to tell their stories, right?
>>
>>4942936
Well, they said that they needed people to measure, not to be labrats, otherwise I wouldn't suggest it.
And it's not like TL would order than to do it, just help them get a few volunteers by being the one that talks. Because it's obvious that the reason that the gators can't convince anyone is because of their incredibly charming personality.
>>
>>4942936
>>4942994
Asking Xin for help, we're just too stubborn to let things go. Writing.
>>
"No, just devising the power to walk on the air. I decided it looked fun when Shenlong did it." You say with a grin.

"Yeah then you should probably ask Stripes about it. That's all he does when he thinks of you." Xin Lan snickers. You moves your hand to poke them but the bat your hand away and swing down to hang from your arm.

"But really, I'm trying to learn more about the twins. I just can't leave the issue alone." You admit.

"Come on big guy. I'm all about helping the downtrodden and stopping evil but I'm starting to think this is a lost cause. They're not really even doing anything bad are they?" Xin Lan asks.

"No, I suppose not but...I just worry it'll cause them to do something drastic." You explain.

"Yeah but we're supposed to be improving ourselves not everyone else." Xin Lan says. "We only got a year to do this and it seems like you're kind of focusing on everything around you. Classes, teaching Bao, trying to help the twins. When are you gonna make time for yourself? I'm starting to see Ming's side of this. You might just be taking on more work than you might be able to handle."

"I'm not struggling to balance all this out." You say. "Besides, to get to higher ranks I need to contribute something to the city. So the classes are gonna be good."

"Yeah...7 people is truly a contribution to the library as a whole especially at like 2 hours every other day." Xin Lan replies. "I'm not gonna tell you what to do but you're all over the place and nothing is gonna flourish if you continue to simply give the bare minimum so you can go do other things. And we're not even talking about your studies. Ming told me some of what you had to do to advance. How are you gonna find the time for that?"

"I'll make do." You insist.

"Alright. I'm just giving you a hard time because you've given me one. Fair is fair." They say as they hang upside down from your forearm. "So what's your master plan now?"

"I just want to talk to the twins." You say. "But I don't really know how to get them to open up. Your brother game me some ideas but I was wondering if you had any? A great writer like yourself must know how to get people to tell their stories, right?"
>>
"I'm not a bard. My stories are fiction...well one is right now. However, I am the best spy you've ever seen so..." Xin Lan thinks. "These guys are super focused on proving something and won't listen right? Seems like they're pretty prideful. You can appeal to that. Hype them up. Make them seem like what you want to hear makes them seem better. Or make it seem like what they're doing right now is something beneathe them would do. That should change their act really quickly. No matter what everyone says, people...well normal people, really do care how they're perceived. Even if their idea of how one needs to be seen might not match up to your idea, they do care. It's how you play on that fear that you can use to get your information...or you can try and scare it out of them. You're really good at that."

"I'd rather not get in trouble for scaring members of the order." You say.

"Then it seems like you're gonna learn how to manipulate people." Xin Lan says as they stroke your ear with their foot. "So cute. The little cub is growing up. I'm so proud of you." They tease.

You poke their foot away from your ear. "You know, sometimes I wonder what kind of training you did to be able to use your feet like hands." You say.

"What can I say? I'm a super flexible bunny. Something I'm dying to test on you but Stripes has first dibs. Here I wanted to be each other's first too." Xin Lan says with a pout. You decide to put the rabbit down on the ground after that and take a moment to collect yourself.

"Anything else you can offer? In terms of talking to the twins." You add quickly as you see the bunny's grin grow.

"Well...blackmail is a thing. Bribey. You can offer them something they want and put it behind a payment. You know, you do something for me and I'll do something for you. If you make it seem like a normal transaction they might just go for it or lose their best test subject." Xin Lan says. "Sometimes you gotta play hardball before people bend over to do as you say."

"I see...thanks for the ideas." You say. "I'm gonna go see what the two are up to then. I'll talk to you later."

"Remember you owe me lunch!" Xin Lan shouts as you walk away. You wave back at them.

"I'll take you to eat at your brother's place when it opens!" You shout back.

>How do you want to handle the twins? The rabbits gave you a few good ideas.
>Ask for information in exchance for services.
>Play up their pride somehow.
>Make it seem like their getting their way when you're actually getting yours.
>Write in.

(slowly hating the new captcha more and more.)
>>
>>4943070
>Make it seem like their getting their way when you're actually getting yours.
>Try to find a way to make them feel at ease if you. If they are to ever listen to your advices, them they need to trust ypu, and the first step is for them to not close off.
Ok, so here's the idea, we offer them something they want, for something obvioulsy worthless, but make it seems like we nees it. Than we can sneak in more info gathering while they notice it.
Appealing to their ego would be good, but the whole reason for this is to stop them to start the eugenics wars, stroking their ego will just create new problems.
We want the information to understand them more so we can getvto the bottom of their obsession, not to sell it or blackmail them, so the i formation is itselve less important tham making them feel at ease and closer to us.
>>
>>4943081
I agree there, but I think Xin has the right of it.
After this attempt, if we dont get major information then let's put it on the shelf and focus on our own advancement for a while. Let things simmer.
>>
>>4943097
I mean, we are not spending extra time, we already inveated the 4 weeks this is all how we went about it.
We already planned on focusing on advancement for the next vote, right?
Or was it talking to Sangpo about the Eureka mansion?
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>>4943129
>I mean, we are not spending extra time, we already inveated the 4 weeks this is all how we went about it.

Yep pretty much but Xin doesn't know that. All they see is you running around trying to convince two very stubborn people when TL can be spending his time doing something else.

More importantly what exactly are you offering or saying? Doesn't have to be a full write in just something to get an idea of how you want to go about it.
>>
>>4943149
Either offering them to study we using the chaotic meditation, or helping put a good world to our students and letting them categorize the species, and being able to see how they progress.
The justification is that we don't know how the meditation works from a outside perspective, or even a scientific one, so we need someone to properly categorize it.
The one for our students would be that since they know a lot about biology and did study about the species, we need help to know how to train different species and how to judge their progress, since this is our first time teaching.
Both are tecnically truth, so easily checked, present themselves as someone with knowledge above us, and should ibtrigue them since it's what they need. But instead of asking for a trade, go to them to help with measurements and tests like normal, and offhandly mention it so they get interested, make them propose the trade.
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>>4943209
I'm sure with the chaotic meditation.

I also just think that they would have already catagorised the students species, given they would need a baseline to begin their work and are already well into it's stages.
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>>4943924
They specifically said that they xan't get volunteers to be able to categorize the species anon, even for the baseline.
>We wish to document the specific parameters of each species. Acheive a general consensus of each one's place in a hiearchy."
>"Though, we are having trouble with...volunteers." Dampa admits.
But I'm fine with either, I just think that making them interact with more people could help, as long as we are there to give a little nudge or two in the right direction for them to curb the autism.
>>
>>4943983
Oh right. I missed that, and overestimated their competence.

Sure, put the issue to the class like "Hey, the gators have asked to take measurements of you for their research, do you mind?"
>>
Getting to writing then.
>>
You find the twins in their usual location, buried under a mountain of books and papers. You knock politely again before walking in, knowing full well they'd probably ignore it. You look around and find a few papers on nutrition posted on the wall. The twins are both sitting in a chair reading a book.

"You two seem busy." You say outloud.

Neither of the twins look up to face you when they speak. "We are. Your talks on nutrition have intrigued us." Dampa says.

"Oh?"

"If we are going to find out what we want, we must consider all aspects of training. If nutrition is as important as you claim then we must endevor to learn all about it." Akar adds. "Perhaps they contain some secret we missed."

"I...think you might have missed the point of my discussion." You say. "Food might help but keeping a blanced life is more important."

"Yes, yes. We've heard it. There are many philsophical treatise on the subject. None which pertain to the advancement of the body." Dampa replies.

"And they only seem to a tangential relationship to the advancement of the mind." Akar continues. "Should we require more discussion on the subject of moral then we will consult you on this balance you talk about."

You frown but don't say anything. You didn't want to get into another argument with them and you don't like the brief thought of them needing to learn the hard way before your words made an impact that passes through your head. You shake your head and instead say, "If that is what you wish. I just came over to ask if you needed any more help."

"We've taken as much measurements of you as we could." Akar says. "I'm afraid that we may no longer require your help."

"Should we think of something then we will come and ask you. You reside here in these dorms correct?" Dampa asks.

"I do." You say. "However, I didn't mean in terms of body measurements. I might be able to help in other ways."

The twins nod in show of their attention.

>What do you say?
>Offer your chaotic meditation. That will surely interest them for an exchange of information.
>Offer more information on nutrition or training exercises. Get their attention and once you finish offer them your meditation as something more substantial for a trade.
>Offer to put in a good word with your students. You won't gaurentee they will volunteer but in return you want to ask them a few questions.
>Write in.
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>>4944147
>offer to put in a good word with your students/attempt to get volunteers for your measurement research.
>"I remember you had some issues with that."

Though if we do, there will be conditions on treatment and how you talk to such individuals.
If all they care for are results, we can slowly explain the concept of "if you make people feel bad, they dont want to help you and then others dont either."

Which they should know by now, but I am aware they dont.
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>>4944147
>Offer to put in a good word with your students. You won't gaurentee they will volunteer but in return you want to ask them a few questions.
As I said, don't put the trade directly, do something like
>Oh well, in that case could you be the onea that help me them? I recently started to teach a few of the residents in martial arts, but I'm afraid that I might go overboard with them. I'm underexperienced in actualling teaching someone, even less without putting them in a gruelling training, it seems that the theoritical of learning is a bit diferent from actualling teaching other, specially when theycjave different background and species. I thought that with your knowledge of biology you could have a few tips, and was thinking to propose a trade, but now I have nothing to offer you.
In this case, they will propose to measure them, thinking that it was their idea and that they are getting what they want.
And them we can haggle just a little bit to not make it seem fishy, like adding a clause to not scare oof the students or run invasive experiments.
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>>4944205
>>4944227
offering them to study our students. Writing.
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>>4944227
Fits.

Perhaps "Dont make comments on their weight or any unhealthy lifestyle choices" so they take their measurements and thay is it.
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>>4944318
Seems good for me.





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