You are Tetsuya Kinzou (鉄也金造), a fledgling cultivator and a resident of Fogtop, part of the empire's western frontier. You're also Commander-of-Ten-Tens Seven of your hive, also known as One-Who-Hops-Well. Or, well, you used to be. Your race, the Apoth, and their civilization have long since gone the ways of many others by now - extinct, at least in spirit. It is only by a great stroke of luck that your vessel, in the shape of a ring, managed to land here before it was destroyed or otherwise incapacitated in the void of space.Currently it's the first month of the 487th year of the Sheng Dynasty's calendar. A veil of snow has fallen over the village and the surrounding lands for some months, making it impossible for any group of a significant size to enter or exit the area. Hunger and unease are setting in, and you have your hands full just trying to keep above water right now.And, in a more immediate concern, you might just day today.suptg: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Ring%20Grandpa
"Wanna give death a try, brat?"The man takes one more step forward. Cluttered strands of black hair obscure your view of his face, but despite that you can sense his deepset eyes boring into you. Like you're prey. As a shiver travels down your spine every other thought you have converges into one: RUN.NOW.You kick off the ground and regain your footing after a slight stumble. Out of the corner of your field of view you can see the man's eyes follow you, seemingly curious. Then he smiles lightly."This kind of thing can be fun once in a while, I guess." The sound of snow crunching underfoot sounds out as you continue running. "I guess that's enough of a lead. Make this interesting, brat!" A second set of sounds can be heard faintly from behind you, running in your direction. You do your best to tune them out and focus all your attention on processing the input from one of the ring's night-vision cameras and choosing the best route forward.You run for a little while. You're not sure exactly how long. Bursts of sharp pain in your chest plague you as you run, your rib continuing its protests against your sudden activity. Occasionally you stumble on rocks or logs hidden in the snow despite your best efforts, not having the time to carefully navigate. As you run that sound from behind continues. The man chasing you. You think it's louder now, but you're not sure - you don't have much spare focus.At this point, it strikes you that you need to come up with something. Anything, frankly. Putting one foot in front of the other is important, but... what exactly are you aiming to do here?>Run. Run faster. Run further. Get out of sight and out of reach. Far away from here. [A vote for destination will follow if this wins.]>Hide. Manage to get out of sight and then find somewhere to lay low, until he's gone and you can get help.>Hide. Manage to get out of sight and then find somewhere to observe from, so that you can attack when he least expects it.>Climb. Build some distance and then find a tree to scurry up. Even if he sees you, he won't be able to reach you up there - it's a defensible position, at least temporarily.>Write-In
>>5672753>Hide. Manage to get out of sight and then find somewhere to observe from, so that you can attack when he least expects it.We probably have the better vision and know the terrain better, so guerrilla warfare it is.Maybe it's finally time for our bow and arrow crafting lessons to pay of.
>>5672753>Hide. Manage to get out of sight and then find somewhere to observe from, so that you can attack when he least expects it.This is probably the most effective tactic we could choose, even if it isn't great. Let's just pray to the dao that this guy hasn't tempered his senses (if so then RIP)>>5672765I don't (think?) we have it on us sadly, although it probably wouldn't be too game-changing since this is going to be a close-quarter fight. The spear we bought would have been real useful right now...
>>5672795Oh I know we only have the knife, I meant making one.But checking again, Huo Mi hasn't taught us how to carve one. Yet.
>>5672753>Hide, wait for a time to attack.Hitting his leg would do some time for us.
Rolled 24, 7, 79 = 110 (3d100)>>5672765 >>5672795 >>5672826Alright, the vote seems clear enough. I'm gonna try something out for this:I will roll three dice for [r]the hatchet-wielding man[/r]. Then you get to roll three 1d100s for yourself. Those three dice will then be compared to his rolls (in the same order) and the higher of each dice wins. If you win you gain distance on him, if he wins then the reverse happens. Depending on how much distance you have on him it will be easier/harder to hide. Will try and bang this out quickly so fun dice times don't slow stuff down too much, but can't do a 'real' update until later tonight anyways.TDLR; roll three 1d100s to compare against these
Oh, it's the full name of the color, isn't itthe hatchet-wielding man?
Rolled 30 (1d100)>>5672951
Rolled 34 (1d100)>>5672951So we have to beat a 79
Rolled 4 (1d100)That's two wins, let's see if you can get a third.>>5672955For this one, yeah. But it's three separate contests, not one best of. The more wins the better.(24 vs. 30, 7 vs. 34, 79 vs. this)
Rolled 56, 52, 82 = 190 (3d100)Alright, two wins and one loss, you gain some distance on him, which will make it easier to hide. I'll roll three 1d100s for hiding, DC of 32, the more successes the better. Update will be pretty soon afterwards.
Rolled 46 (1d100)>>5672998
Rolled 47 (1d100)>>5672998rollanso can we swallow our ring and make it an artifical dantian?plus can we still pull the soul atack move?
>>5673130>>5673146I don't think he wanted us to rolll guysThe artifical dantian thing might be viable later on if the Shaping Dantian stage requires bullshit resources/pills but that'd be a long ass time away.Furthermore we can't really do any cultivation crimes against humanity mad science stuff until we both have resources, a supply of test subjects and the resources/cultivation techniques of the past world.
>>5673146Whoops, fell asleep.>so can we swallow our ring and make it an artifical dantian?You don't know what exactly a dantian is in-character but to avoid giving a complete non-answer the ring can automatically collect spiritual energy and help in providing it to you for cultivation, as it's already been doing. It cannot convert spiritual energy into qi though. (From your understanding qi is spiritual energy that is processed and stored so that you can easily use it for your techniques.) Stuff like the difference between spiritual energy and qi may warrant going into more detail when you're at a higher cultivation.>plus can we still pull the soul atack move?Your soul is a bit weaker after leaving the ring but it's still much stronger than the average person so you could definitely pull it off on a layman if you could form a stable telepathic connection to them. (The telepathic connection is 100% necessary because it's similar to a DDOS attack where you're trying to overwhelm them with as much bad information in as short a time as possible) But now that you're in a human body that is much easier said than done. You'd have to find (or research) some technique for telepathy in humans first.
>>5672765 >>5672795 >>5672826 >>5672954 >>5673130 >>5673146It'll be great if you can just get away, but what if you can't? Then you'd just be wasting time and energy by trying to run, exhausting yourself in vain and making it easier for him to see as the sun begins to rise. No, you need to do something now to gain the initiative. You could hide but that'd just make you a sitting duck so that's a... wait, no, you've got it. You SHOULD hide. You'll hide temporarily and then strike back afterwards. You've got the advantage in terms of visibility here, so why don't you take full advantage of it?For now though, you run with all your strength as you look for a good spot to hide. Every extra bit of distance you gain now is equal to more time you can use to hide yourself, so you should get as much as possible now. ...Although you'll forfeit all that gained distance by waiting to get the drop on him. That thought makes you second-guess yourself for a moment, but then your determination redoubles - the risk is worth it. You need to do something.While he may have gained a bit of distance before, he loses it now. Among the crunching sounds of feet over snow and the occasional snap of a twig comes a quiet, muffled swear from behind you. His footsteps are interrupted at the same time, drowned out by a louder noise. Although you probably shouldn't you use the ring and glance back, checking what's going on. You find the man some distance away regaining his footing after stepping through a pond that'd been frozen over. You gain a bit of breathing room as he does so, the light behind you growing dimmer.As you move forward you catch sight of a dense patch of bushes to your right. More than likely to be uncomfortable and have way too many thorns? Yes. The best hiding spot you're going to find on short notice? Also quite possibly yes. You make a split-second decision and change your route to rush towards them as fast as possible.Once you get there you fall to the ground and start crawling into the bushes. You resist the urge to groan as thorns and pebbles scratch against you. Once you're inside you get repositioned... and then notice the footprints in front of you once you turn around. Right, there's snow. That's probably how he's been following you given the lighting, actually. Seeing that you still have time before the lantern-light in the distance reaches your hiding spot you frantically mess up the snow nearby, doing your best to obscure your exact hiding spot even if it is obvious that you've been here. Probably for the best, since you'll need to lure him nearby to ambush him anyways.As the lantern light draws closer you take the chance to crawl out from the other side of the bushes and circle around to the back of a nearby tree, where you shouldn't be seen. You hold yourself close to it and extend your hand just past the edge of the tree, peeking at your pursuer's approach.
>>5673413He slows down upon seeing the mess in the snow, unsure of where to go. A moment later he fixes his attention on the nearby bushes and smiles. "You think you're smart brat?" He abruptly lunges forward and slices through the shrubbery with his hatchet... revealing nothing. Just as his eyebrows begin to raise you dash out from behind him.It's not a perfect ambush. The sound of your boots crushing the snow gives away your location and he does have the time to turn around and at least ready himself a bit. But at the same time, he'd just attacked and wasn't prepared. You should have enough time to get an attack in before he can properly respond.>Aim for his right arm. If you can make him drop his hatchet then it'll be easy going from there.>Aim for his left arm. If the lantern gets put out in the snow then he'll be left in the dark, while you'll be able to see perfectly.>Lean down and try to aim for his legs. It'll leave you a bit more open, but if you injure him there then running away should be a cinch.>Write-In
>>5673414>Aim for his left arm. If the lantern gets put out in the snow then he'll be left in the dark, while you'll be able to see perfectly.
>>5673414>Aim for his left arm. If the lantern gets put out in the snow then he'll be left in the dark, while you'll be able to see perfectly.If we manage to pull this off then killing him or at least surviving becomes way more viable. You can't fight what you can't see.
>>5673414>Take out his left armIf you can't see, but we can, then we're in better stead. Moonlight is an issue on the snow, but hey ho.
>>5673421 >>5673431 >>5673436 >>5673477You need to go for the arm holding the lamp. If you can get his vision, then everything else will become MUCH easier. In a split-second decision you thrust the hunting knife in your hand towards his left wrist. It jerks lightly, trying to get out of the way, but he can't quite respond in time. The smooth edge of your knife meets flesh and blood is drawn, staining the snow below crimson.The man lets out a pained grunt as your weapon comes to a stop quite literally in his arm. His grip loosens and the worn lamp he's holding swings unsteadily, his fingers barely able to keep hold of it. A moment later you hear a sudden woosh of air as the man's right leg swings towards you. You have only a split-second to respond.>You don't care about the knife or the lantern - you need to dodge.>Let go of the knife and grab onto the lantern. He barely has a hold on it so it should be easy to take and snuff out.>Pull your hunting knife from his arm - you need a weapon.>Put as much force as you can on the hunting knife - you need to wound him more deeply.>Attempt to do multiple actions at once. [Specify which.]>Write-In
>>5673606>Pull your hunting knife from his arm - you need a weapon.
>>5673606>Do multiple actions at once [Dodge and lantern]Methodology is simple, his leg is coming at us. grab that lantern and pull backwards, but let our body move in the same direction.We can roll to a kneel and a stand if we are quick enough. We are on his left side and he is swinging his right leg, that means there will be a few seconds where he stabalises himself and we can get up.I choose the lantern over the knife, because it's gonna be easier to grab it back if he remove it himself, or leaves it there so we know where it is.
>>5673606>You don't care about the knife or the lantern - you need to dodge.slow and steady wins the race. Especially since we got a good wound in, his arm is basically unusable so he's kinda fucked if we decide to run. I doubt he can carry a lantern AND a hatchet at the same time while running after us with his wound. I say we dodge and get the fuck out of here (I,E to our masters place or to get our spear/bow)
>>5673606>You don't care about the knife or the lantern - you need to dodge.overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer, and sometimes its really fast too
>>5673639 >>5673663 >>5674025 >>5674289You need to get out the way. Now. You ignore the lantern and your knife, opting to throw yourself to the ground behind you in a bid to avoid his kick. While your shirt suffers a liberal soaking by the snow and you get a couple more scratches, this works. Thankfully so too - getting kicked by a cultivator in what you've now noticed are metal-toed boots would be less than pleasant.As his leg sails over you you push yourself back to your feet and scramble to make some distance. Once the man's legs are both on the ground again he prepares to swing his hatchet, but seeing that you're back on your feet and a decent distance away he hesitates, just staring at you. He seems a bit less eager to pursue than before.>Try to run back home. More than likely he'll be held up here dealing with his wound and once you get back home you can re-arm yourself and make sure Nui is fine.>Try to run towards Huo Mi's house. The man doesn't seem much stronger than you so if you can make it there then she should be able to deal with him. She probably knows better than you what do in this kind of situation anyways.>Try to run until you lose the man and then circle around back to the campsite he showed you. He should be delayed a bit dealing with his wounds so you want to take the chance to investigate it before he can clean up the area, to see if you can figure out anything about what's going on.>Try to run towards Prosperity. In terms of where you're living you think it's a bit closer than your house, and you should be able to find help there.>Return into hiding and keep an eye on the man. You're not done attacking just yet.>Hold your ground and stare at him. If he attacks again then you'll try to dodge and then take advantage of the opening to either get your knife back or deal with his lantern.>Write-In
>>5674314>Try to run back home. More than likely he'll be held up here dealing with his wound and once you get back home you can re-arm yourself and make sure Nui is fine.
>>5674314>Try to run back home. More than likely he'll be held up here dealing with his wound and once you get back home you can re-arm yourself and make sure Nui is fine.It's really hard to determine how dedicated he is to killing us, but if he's smart then he could try using Rui as a hostage which isn't tolerable. I say we go back home, get geared up with our Bow/Spear and evacuate to Huo Mi's place with Rui.Does any anon have any good motive ideas? The first thing that comes to mind would be kanekatsu being worried about us potentially joining a sect and becoming powerful to enact revenge, but he could just do the job himself without getting some rando middleman to kill us.
>>5674314>Run to Huo Mi's houseGet to her as quick as we can and we can cut off his return to the camp.
>>5674323 >>5674325 >>5674382There's no reason for you to take risks right now. You're lucky to have made it this far and you don't want to wreck this chance for survival you've carved out by pushing your luck. The bastard can keep your knife, his lantern, and his life - you just want to get out of here with yours intact.You break into a full sprint and, after making sure the course ahead is clear, turn your hand so that the camera you're receiving visual input through is facing towards the man behind you. He's still standing there with seemingly no intention of chasing after you. Instead he merely stares in your direction with a slight frown as you run away, cutting a bandage from part of his robe. Before long he blends in with the rest of the forest behind you, disappearing from sight.Even after that you continue running through the forest at full-tilt, occasionally tripping over obstacles hidden in the snow or stepping in ruts in the ground you can't see. It's quite some time before you decide to give into the pleas of your injured rib and slow down, not wanting to risk hurting it further. Instead of a frantic dash punctuated by occasional tripping your journey becomes an anxious slog home.You do get lost a bit on the way back, but after reorienting yourself once get a grip on where you are and find your way home without further trouble. A faint light leaking out from the hut lures you in, the fire inside still burning in the hearth. You stop yourself from approaching immediately though, quickly going around the area once to see if there are signs of the man making it here before you. Once you're satisfied that there aren't any you let out a sigh of relief and step inside, thinking about your next steps.Those thoughts are interrupted by a light cry of surprise from inside as you push open the door. You instinctively swivel towards the source of the noise, still on edge, but both your eyes and ears confirm that it's just Nui, sitting at the table near the hearth. You thought she was asleep when you left... although it's been a while since then. Maybe she woke up to feed the fire and noticed you were gone.You decide to grab your spear before talking, still not fully convinced that the man from before won't suddenly burst through the door when you let your guard down. This doesn't stop Nui from talking, however. "You're hurt. And soaked. And..." she trails off, perhaps unsure which point of attention to comment on next. "Well, for now you should change your clothes, before you catch a cold.
>>5675851In response to her remark you shiver slightly, reminded of how wet everything you're wearing is. You pick up your spear, adjusting your grip a bit as you feel its familiar weight in your hands. 「Not right now mom. We're in danger.」Nui blinks at you a couple of times, her expression turning even worse than before, but she only makes one short statement. "Is there time to explain?" You go to find your bow.「There's a man who probably wants to kill both of us. Beyond that, no.」Nui takes a deep breath in. "Alright then." Out of the corner of her eye you see her walk a few steps and pick up the fire poker, thrusting it at the air a couple of times. You comment as you grab your bow and arrows.「I expected more concern.」She forces a light smile in response. "That can wait, for now. What's next? Should I pack?">The two of you need to go to Huo Mi's, now. She'll be able to get the situation under control.>The two of you need to go to Char's, now. His father is strong enough to help and their house is closer than Huo Mi's - time is of the essence.>The two of you need to go to Huo Mi's, but it can wait for a moment. Until some food and clothing is packed, at least. Otherwise, if he comes by while you're out, the two of you may end up destitute.>Nui can go alert Huo Mi that there's a situation by herself - you need to stay here to look after the place. If he comes back... well, you're armed now, and won't be taken by surprise.>Nui can go alert Char's father that there's a situation by herself - you need to stay here to look after the place. If he comes back... well, you're armed now, and won't be taken by surprise.>Write-In
>>5675853>The two of you need to go to Char's, now. His father is strong enough to help and their house is closer than Huo Mi's - time is of the essence.>Once Nui is safe with them, we can go warn Huo Mi.
>>5675853>Wait until the food is packed then get to Huo Mi.Don't be a damn idiot guys. If we are evacuating, we need to take our food with us. There is zero good things to come from abandoning our stockpile, which we've tried our hardest to maintain. We have our bow, we have our spear and the element of surprise and better vision. If he attacks the house while we are packing then he's doomed.His trail will go colder, but if it's between our families continued survival or getting the man, I pick our families survival.
>>5675988I don't think food is that much of a issue, worst, WORST case scenario we can heavily ration and hunt if they take it just to piss us off. Plus his camp suggested that he may other people working with him and we'd be completely screwed if the time we spent gathering food resulted in them being able to gang up on us.Safety comes first. I don't think they would take it, they have much bigger issues to worry about right now.
How about a compromise: Pack the food, and only the food, and head to Char?We might have to share the food if we go to Char, since they aren't part of our planning scheme. But they are rich, so maybe they have enough?
>>5676002Packing the clothes might be important too thinking about it, since it's winter.
>>5675853>The two of you need to go to Char's + pack foodnow im wondering if we could have dumped nui at chars place since way earlier when it was decided she would live there eventually anyways.also the camp really makes me feel like this was a setup to make us look like we're conspiring (aka being a rebel). i dont know tho which of the two (huo mi/chars family) are less on the could be rebels scale. probs char's, if someone found out about huos guest/patient.
>>5676026>now im wondering if we could have dumped nui at chars place since way earlier when it was decided she would live there eventually anyways.That's an offer if you get into the sect and she in particular wants to instead of living on her own, which depends greatly on her. You could ask if you want, although something on a related topic should come up during the next vote.
>>5675995You know the size of the rations they are handing out, it's not enough especially for a cultivator like us.And if they have other people to come and fight, then we still have the advantage because we have a damn bow and superior line of sight.We'll be cold keeping watch while she packs bt it shouldn't take more than 5 minutes of hurrying.And I disagree on your assessment of other people coming to help him kill us. Organising stuff, maybe, but he lured up to the camp to kill us. If there was anybody else to take care of us they would have been at the camp and posed as another escaped convict.
Rolled 1 (1d2)>>5675858>>5675874Don't pack (1)>>5675988>>5676026Pack (2)
>>5676566You can count mine as packing, but going to Char, since I offered that compromise.
>>5676584Whoops, overlooked that. Thanks.That's a win for packing the food then.
>>5675858 >>5675874 >>5675988 >>5676026「Pack... just the food. As much as we can carry. We need to get out of here quick though.」You don't have any idea how much time you have left before that man or someone related to him comes, or even if anyone else is going to come after you at all, so you need to act as quickly as possible. Every second counts - the less time you take, the less you leave up to chance.You help stuff as much food as possible into a large burlap sack, carrying the heavy, mismatched assortment of food over your shoulder. What you can't see yourself carrying for a prolonged period of time you bag up and hide outside, covering with snow. All the active wildlife this close to the village has been hunted clean or scared off so it should be safe there, at least temporarily.Not too long has passed by the time you're done. Five minutes maybe? Not much longer at least. The two of you set off towards the village center in the darkness with you leading the way. You forgo a lantern to avoid drawing attention to yourself, the moonlight enough for Nui to follow behind you by. Your pace is slow, which frustrates you, but it can't be helped what with your rib, and load, and Nui. After what feels like a very long time the two of you do finally make it through the snow and to the Mu family's home. The large house and its battered garden sit in unbroken silence, still asleep.You reach for the front door and pull, but it doesn't give. You're confused for a moment before it occurs to you that they should have the money to get locks fitted. ...Perhaps you should've invested in that. After the moment your brain takes to process the obstacle you knock at the door instead, shattering the serene atmosphere. Loud thuds can probably be heard from the neighboring houses, your anxiousness making you knock more than a bit too hard. You shiver as you wait for the door to open.Just as you're considering knocking again the door swings inward, Mu Jing standing in front of you. His usual orderly appearance is gone, his robe wrinkled and hair messy. He must've been sleeping. Mu Jing stares at you for a second longer, perhaps still waking up, before chuckling. "They say it's dangerous to answer the door during the demon's hour. Are you a doppelganger?"「I, uh, came because I neededed help, actually.」Mu Jing's expression clears up a bit. "Urgent, I suppose?" You nod. 「There's not much time to explhain. Let's say that there's someone out for my life and leave it at that.」Mu Jing frowns as you continue.「I was, uh, hoping you could protect my mother for aa bit, while things are behing sorted out.」Nui steps forward and bows slightly. "I've heard a lot about you Mr. Mu. It's good to make your acquaintance." He does the same in response. "And yours. I'm not sure what's going on, but I'll do my best to help. Tell me if there's anything else I can do."
>>5676681You let out a sigh of relief. That's one problem dealt with.「Thank you. I, I'll leave this here as well.」You unload the bag of food from your shoulder and leave it in the entryway, leaving without another word exchanged. You think you hear Mu Jing say something else as you leave, but you don't pay much attention to it - not enough time. Now that loose ends are tied up you need Huo Mi's help.The trip to Huo Mi's home goes faster now that you're alone and unburdened, but it's still a while before you arrive. You struggle a couple of times as you pull at the door. Oh. It's locked. You let out a light sigh and knock a few times instead.「It's Kinzou. Kinzou! I need help.」No immediate response. You wait a bit and knock again, but nothing happens. Just as you're about to knock a third time you suddenly feel a hand on your shoulder. You jump away in fear and stumble to the ground, sharp rocks digging into your clothes. As you glance upwards you see that your assailant is Huo Mi, who's just staring at you while gripping her hunting knife."Sorry for the wait. Had to check that you weren't being held hostage. What's the problem?" You instinctively want to ask her how she got behind you without leaving through the front door but manage to put that aside for now and get on topic.「There's this guy. He's, he's after my lifee. Woke me up early-earliier and forced me to follow him into the trees place, but I ran. I need your help.」Huo Mi takes a second to process that before nodding. "Alright then. But I need you to get inside and get changed. Now." You look at her for a second, confused, and then tilt your head.「But there's no time! He'll get awaay if we wait, or maybe, maybe, steal our house. I said that wrong. Er, the stuff in it.」 Huo Mi snaps slightly, responding in an angry voice. "Just look at yourself for a second." Taken off guard, you glance down. From your overcoat to your socks your clothes are torn, stained, and soaked at this point, with small cuts and bruises showing through them. You don't really want to, but you guess you should get changed. You take a step inside, suddenly noticing that you feel really weak now that some of the pressure has been relieved from you. You stumble slightly and glance around once you're inside, not quite able to piece together what you should be doing next."By the fire. Now." You feel Huo Mi push you towards the hearth. Kai comments from the side. "Is it a demon? I can't see." Huo Mi answers the remark dismissively. "Just an idiot. Make sure he doesn't wander off." "How am I supposed to do tha- hey, wait, don't go. I can hear you walking away!" Huo Mi steps into the other room for a minute, leaving you sitting by the fire impatiently as you try to remove your overcoat and some of your other wet clothes. You need to get going.
>>5676683After a short time Huo Mi re-enters the room, a man's outfit in hand. "These are Kai's. Put them on."「Nothing smaller?」"No. Now hurry up, I don't want you dying of hypothermia." Hypothermia? Hypo... oh. Something clicks and you much more frantically begin removing your clothes, finally realizing how weird you feel and how you can't move your fingers as well as you'd like to."You done yet?"「Yeah.」"Alright then, let me take a look. Hands and fingers." You hold out your hands and Huo Mi takes a look at them, turning them over and touching at them for a bit. Then the same happens with your feet. Not too much longer she delivers her verdict."Well, you probably won't have any permanent damage. But you need treatment. Now. ...I'll need Zhang for this. Don't move." Everything after that goes quickly. Zhang and Huo Mi come back in a minute later, dragging a round, wooden tub with them. You've seen it in the warehouse before, you think. Then Zhang tends to the fire, feeding it generously, while Huo Mi comes in and out with water, back and forth, back and forth. As you wait Huo Mi gives you something warm to drink. It's sweet, although you can't really pin down the flavor. You don't think you've had a sweet drink before actually, at least not as a human.The tub slowly fills up with warmed water that's just a little bit hot. At first you just soak parts of your body in it, but once there's enough water in there you just end up taking a warm bath. Normally you'd appreciate something this luxurious, but given the sudden, extreme pain you feel from the parts of your body that are warming back up, you can't really focus on it. Pain pain pain pain. You do your best to explain the particulars of the situation to everyone as you're being treated but, aware that you aren't quite all there, aren't sure how well it gets across.The answer turns out to be that it doesn't get across - at all. While, impressively, what you were saying wasn't complete gibberish it, uh, wasn't much better. Confusion, mental fatigue, and extended pain that might be worse than what you feel from the ring twice daily will do that, you suppose. You take the chance to explain things again as you sit by the fire.
>>5676688"I'll go check out that campsite then." You glance back at Huo Mi, the warm light coming from the hearth illuminating your face. Before you can say anything she cuts you off. "No, you can't come with me. I have a good idea of where it is from what you said anyways." ...Right then, that's what you expected. For the best really - you should stay here for now.Kai goes back to sleep and Zhang takes his leave for a minute. For now, you're left alone. You let out a sigh and turn your mind to the events of tonight. It has been a bad night. A very bad night. But what about after this? Can you just... go home and pretend nothing happened? Or do you need to make a fundamental change to avoid the chance of anything like this happening again?>There's no reason to leave home. Maybe to be a bit more careful, yes, but moving entirely... well, that's it's own set of problems. You can't just abandon the house and, well, that's not entirely your decision to make anyways.>It can't really be helped, can it? You're in danger with just the two of you. You should ask Char's father if he'd be willing to let you and Nui stay. Given what he's said before it shouldn't be too much of an ask. It'll probably be harder to convince Nui, actually.>It can't really be helped, can it? You're in danger with just the two of you. You should ask Huo Mi if you can join her growing set of boarders. With her around it'll be extremely difficult for anyone in the village, let alone that man, to pose a threat to you or Nui.>It's dangerous, but someone needs to watch the house - it's too valuable to risk leaving alone. You'll try to convince Nui to stay with someone else while you keep watch over the house. >It's dangerous with just the two of you, but maybe you could convince someone else to join you? Sure it'd be cramped, and it's not the nicest place, but... well, maybe someone you know would be willing to take you up on the offer. The more people the safer in times like this, really. [State which person/people you want to ask]>Write-In
>>5676689>It can't really be helped, can it? You're in danger with just the two of you. You should ask Char's father if he'd be willing to let you and Nui stay. Given what he's said before it shouldn't be too much of an ask. It'll probably be harder to convince Nui, actually.
>>5676689>It can't really be helped, can it? You're in danger with just the two of you. You should ask Char's father if he'd be willing to let you and Nui stay. Given what he's said before it shouldn't be too much of an ask. It'll probably be harder to convince Nui, actually
>>5676689>There's no reason to leave homeI'm gonna need some firm logic on this one here. We can fortify the house, and it's loss does us no favours.
>>5676703We can't supervise Nui 24/7 realistically and having her live with Char's family will ensure that she's safe and sound.
>>5676703We can fortify it as much as we want, but can Nui defend it? At some point we are going to go to sleep or leave it.
>>5676710>>5676719Fair enough. Then we can get the house sold, maybe?But I'm not sure the price is that great.Changing >>5676703 to >Huo MiI already feel indebted to Char and his family, I don't want to deepen this debt.
>>5676723We probably should try to sell the house after winter is over.I doubt people are going to pay well during this crisis.
>>5676691 >>5676702 >>5676703As much as you think about it you can't see staying home working out. I mean, sure, you can if you just assume something like this never happens again... but you can't just assume that. The two of you live in a single room house with one entrance, so you guess you could just put a lock on the door and call it a day, but that has problems of its own. Getting a lock fitted costs money you don't really have right now, and while it guarantees a bit of prior warning, someone could just break it. What if you were out? Nui couldn't put up a fight against a cultivator, regardless of if she had some time to get armed.While you hate to say it, you think you'll need to impose on someone's kindness here. Huo Mi... well, you'd ask, but she already has enough guests as is, and neither Kai nor Zhang will be leaving any time soon. Maybe Char's family, then? His dad mentioned in passing that, if she wanted to, Nui could room with them if you got accepted into the Verdant Mountain sect. Maybe he'd be willing to help given the situation, although it is asking a lot. You really do hate to ask after he's already helped you multiple times as is, but... well, you guess you'll just do your best to pay him back later. You have to do what you have to do.Although you'll have to sell Nui on the idea first, of course.As you think over how exactly to do that you consciousness starts fading a bit. It's only now that you realize you're exhausted. On top of it your legs hurt, your chest hurts, and you ache. You just want to sleep. Energy for other thoughts gone, that occupies your mind for a bit. Then, in a stroke of luck, Zhang reappears with a cot. One of several kept in the storehouse, apparently. Combined with Kai and Zhang's that means Huo Mi has at least... three? It makes sense if you're expecting something to happen, but...Rather than continuing to question the decision-making behind the purchase of so many beds, however, you simply accept the good fortune and go to sleep. Your consciousness fades and you fall back to a deep sleep. By the time you awake you faintly notice that it's dark. Is it dark again, or just still dark? You don't really know. Nor do you care too much right now. You feel tired, and aching, and your head is pounding and on fire. Not the end of the world, but you can't really feel like you can focus. Back to sleep it is then.A couple of days later your fever starts coming down. Apparently it was pretty bad but "nine hells less of a worry than nearly freezing to death". As you lie down, finally having enough energy to think again, you listen to Huo Mi reprimand you on how you shouldn't be running around wet in the snow at night, and how you owe her one for not charging you for medicine, and so on and so forth.
>>5678054Funnily enough, she doesn't mention your attacker during all this, so you end up having to ask how that turned out. Huo Mi stops her lecture temporarily, trailing off. Her reply comes in a slightly awkward tone. "About that, yeah... he was going to torture you."A distinct feeling of unease settles over you. 「What?!」Huo Mi glances around a bit before standing up. "One sec. Let me grab something." She disappears into her room for a moment before reappearing with a large metal box with multiple tiers. You sit up in your bed and stare as she opens the bottom shelf of the box, noticing Kai struggling to try and get a peek at what's happening out of the corner of his eye.From out within the box appear several peculiar metal tools, held up for you to view. One of them looks like it's used to grip objects, whereas the other is just... a tube with a piece of metal sticking out of it? You're confused. Just as you're about to ask what they're supposed to be used for, you notice that blood is caked onto one of the tools.You think you see where this is going.「What... what exactly are those?」You point at the tools Huo Mi are holding. She turns them over a couple times, examining them more closely herself. Then she holds up the one meant for gripping. "This is a pair of pliers. Or, well, something similar. It's specially built for some purpose or other. I think he might have been using it to pull teeth."An uncomfortable silence settles over the room for a moment. "Of course, that's just my guess. But almost everything in here is used, and most of the tools have dried blood on them. Even the box itself does, although it's all on the inside. Stuff for pulling, stabbing, peeling... quite the variety really." Huo Mi grins slightly. "I gotta say, I might've annoyed him more by stealing his tools than you did by stabbing him." Huo Mi rubs her chin and mutters to herself. "Speaking of, you'll need a new knife."「How exactly did you get those anyways? Did he leave them at the camp?」Huo Mi focuses her attention back on you. "Didn't I already... oh, yeah, fever. Guess you forgot. Yeah, that's the case. The place was already long abandoned by the time I got there. The guy was pretty decisive - left anything heavy behind and then left via the river. Probably went down far enough to avoid being tracked and then found somewhere to warm up. Or, well, he died of hypothermia, but I doubt we can be that lucky."
>>5678058Probably not. There goes your main lead. You let out a slight groan and think about the situation. And then your thoughts turn to something else.「Wait, you said he didn't take anything heavy. Did you find anything else at the camp then?」Huo Mi nods. "A bit. A canvas tent that he rigged to set on fire when I went inside, but that failed. Some bedrolls. Firewood. Food. Not much of note, really." Hm. While the tent is interesting, that doesn't really add much.「At least you got some food out of the deal, I guess.」Huo Mi just shakes her head at that. "Not eating it. Could be poisoned." Poison? Surprised and interested, you try to dig deeper - this could be an important survival skill.「Why's that? Did it smell weird? Look weird?」Huo Mi gives one short shake of the head, same as before. "Nope. Looks and smells just like normal food. I just don't trust the bastard, so I'm not eating it. Not that desperate."...That's it? As if echoing your thoughts, Kai chimes in from the side. "You're one paranoid old lady, you know that?" Huo Mi practically cackles in response. "May be. But I'm alive too, aren't I?">「...Can I have it then?」If she's not going to use it, may as well.>「Makes sense.」The guy clearly knew what he was doing, at least to an extent. You wouldn't be surprised if he did something to it.>Write-InYou mull over that in your mind.「...So he's a cultivator somewhere from the 1st to 3rd Tempering, experienced in torture, knows how to avoid being tracked, and has something against me?」Huo Mi thinks for a second before nodding. "Yeah, I'd guess so." Then she seems to realize what she just said and follows up that statement. "Although he might not have anything against you in particular. Maybe he just wanted to torture someone." Somehow that doesn't make you happier. Besides...「I don't think that's the case.」Huo Mi raises an eyebrow and leans back in her chair. "Why's that?"You give her an explanation of the night in question in more detail. This causes Huo Mi to go silent for quite a while. Neither you nor Kai say anything to interrupt her. A few minutes later, she finally speaks. "You mentioned that he mentioned that your father sold his mother's ring to help pay off Kanekatsu's debt." You nod. "How many people know about that? Did your dad ever talk about it?"That's a good question actually. But the answer is... not so good. At least not in terms of narrowing things down.「...He did. A lot, actually. To his coworkers, his acquaintances, anyone who would listen to him complain about Mu Bou or Kanekatsu really. Less after he started working for him, but... well, he held a bit of a grudge about that ring in particular even afterwards. Mu Bou had already sold it to a merchant who was only passing through, so he never was able to get it back.」
>>5678059Huo Mi grunts in response. "Guess we can't narrow it down to Kanekatsu then based off of that, if everybody knows about it. But he's a local at least. Besides that... well, I have a couple guesses, but no one obviously matches the guy's description. 1st or 2nd Tempering is enough to pass under the radar too, although there aren't too many of them. I'll keep an eye out and ask a few friends though.">Guess that'll have to do.>...Actually, I think I have an idea. [State your plan for continued investigation.] >...Actually, I think I know what might've happened. [State your suspicion about the attacker or night of the incident and why.]
>>5678059>「Makes sense.」The guy clearly knew what he was doing, at least to an extent. You wouldn't be surprised if he did something to it.>>5678060>Guess that'll have to do.
So, big clue to me is that he only knew us by our new name, not our child name, so it must be a recent addition to the village if it's someone we know.
>>5678059>「Makes sense.」i aint touching food an old crone doesnt either>>5678060>Guess that'll have to do.so yeah him knowing/calling us only by our new family name is notable, he might just have looked through some register but the question is in what register would we only listed by our family name, also how highs the chance its just some psycho who is out to torture peole who are new to the whole citizen thing?
>>5678060>「Makes sense.」>Guess that'll have to do.
>>5678060>>5678059>Makes senseWell what do we know;He knows our new name but not our old one, and he has the physical description down.he does mention that he "Recently" entered the first tempering, so it could be that was what he was told by his employer.Thing is though, why torture us. So let me just put a theory out there.>I think I have the motive. They want information or just to inflict pain with torture. The guy calls us annoying because we keep following him while not trusting him and he is almost gleeful to hunt us down in the snow. He's not motivated personally to hurt us, so he should be doing it on orders. His skillset and decisive actions paint him to be a mercenary.>If we follow this along, I reckon that Kane or Percival, probably Kane, dispatched him to find out why I can advance as quickly as I am able because only those two, and you Huo, know about my cultivation. Char's family does but they have expended too much to help me out to do this.Ie, I think they are after the ring/information about our current state. And THAT puts it firmly at Kane's door. Remember that he was the second lifeform we ever encountered? And suddenly afterwards Daddio starts cultivating, then his son is some sort of really low key cultivating talent?He can't tread on us, but he can definitely try and undo us through subterfuge.
>>5678268I don't think Percival gives a shit about us and we haven't really wronged him in any significant way. There was the rationing riot but nearly everyone sperged out there and we were just a bystander compared to the more active rioters. He certainly wouldn't waste valuable money on killing a kid, he's a merchant at heart no?
>>5678269He's also one of the only other people who knows about our cultivation AND has proven to be a man with a severe and distinct capacity for ruthlessness.I don't think it's him. But I'd be a fool to discard that he COULD be connected.