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Lilian Rook     After everything that's happened, it's almost surreal, but undeniably a little therapeutic, to return to this quiet corner of once-and-may-be-again civilization. Though it remains a little eerily almost-empty, the rustic Japanese village (albeit now increasingly filled with small amounts of ultramodern clutter and unopened crates) by the seaside is hard to feel down on, especially with the creepy Antegent issues all put at bay (save the perpetual fog that seems to surround most of the main island, but that's far out to sea now).

    The 'almost' is owed exclusively to the little country manor house now thoroughly monopolized by 'Sakura's' companions, its insides largely transformed into an identical copy of the Mount Fuji sanctum (or, it may actually be the same place?) but its outsides now frequented by those who aren't strictly bodyguards. It's comfortable to be welcomed in, as long as one still pays no attention to the anomalous presence of warm sunlight, surrounded in the fragrance of out-of-season blooms and shinto incense.

    Though the occasion is technically a 'social meeting', it really has to do with 'strategy'. You'd be forgiven for thinking the opposite, because Sakura appears to have been busy literally sewing something like a tiny overdressed royal Japanese housewife, and greets you in with exactly the same sunny disposition as before; no, it's definitely sunnier.

    "Thank you for coming back-- ah; I wanted to say 'honoured guests', but I suppose I'm the guest here? Ahaha~ I'm so happy you're all safe and sound. Even though I had an idea of what would happen, I was still worried. I'm sure you have plenty of questions, so please ask any you'd like to get out of the way first. Today, I can answer them all!"
Muramasa Being back here was - unpleasant, Muramasa decides. It was for a purely selfish reason, too, he has to concede to himself; it's not as if he was actually bothered by anything tangible, rather ... it dredged up feelings he'd rather not dwell on. Yet, he had to. He'd made a promise to fulfill, and, that withstanding, even in his unmotivated state -

    He would be compelled to.

Pulling his haori closely across his kimono, he considers Sakura and her sunny disposition. She seems happy, at least - much more so than before. Somehow, it seems like she's been given some kind of hope.

"That's a very appreciated offer, Sakura-san." he politely nods, putting on a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. "Of course, without your support, things would have been very different ... yes, anything could have happened that day."

"But as far as questions go, there isn't much I'm curious about. I take it that the Oda clan has quieted down?"

Or maybe they just got more fired up? They are descended from that person, even if from another world - so I wouldn't be that surprised.
Gawain Gawain has been busy. Tired. Frustrated. A lot of this lately, and so, returning to Japan and Sakura's sunny demeanor sure helps. So much that he forgets his strategy questions about the giant horrors they fought and instead, as the knight in the suit and tie approaches and gives a formal greeting, instead asks something else.

"What are you working on?" It's in regards to her sewing. He's fascinated.

There's a sad glance to Muramasa, but he doesn't say anything. If Muramasa sees the glance, Gawain tries to pass it off and look back at Sakura to get his answer.
Tamamo     Tamamo has already made her feelings on a certain matter very clear to Muramasa, so she certainly isn't going to interrupt a wider meeting to repeat herself. She's even keeping a polite lid over it, rather than broadcast that sense of the unresolved. Other, similarly important, related developments have also happened since, and occupied more recent thought.

    But today, they're with 'Sakura,' and Tamamo is perfectly pleased, by every outward sign, to empower a sunny atmosphere. "Oh, so your need for holding close some answers have resolved? There have been many secrets, to be sure, but I do not so mind a bit of secrecy, here and there. If we are to talk of the blades, I did have some questions, that come to mind as I ponder further, on that subject. You said that you have knowledge of every blade's whereabouts, at all times, was this not so? Perhaps you also have knowledge of the ability and history of each of these blades, of what has been done to test what they may sever, and so on? Beyond this, I had also, in my wondering, a question as to whether some clan has never so succeeded in gathering many of the blades, before, in avoidance of the curse. It is only the number 'four' that has caused this, and not fourteen, nor twenty-four, yes?"
Arthur Lowell >Arthur: Hey, go back to that bit in the Japan sidequest

    Which fucking one, Arthur's been on this "make this right" shit for half a damn year and there's like three, four threads of this. The Odas? The Hojos? Sakura? What about the Dragon's Garden?

>Arthur: Yeah sure whatever. Just, like, any of those

    Okay, fine. Arthur's now back to Sakura's locale. Or, rather, her new one. Now that she's settled in somewhere, she can host this dumbass and his shenanigans. Specifically, he can fast-travel right back here, popping one of his gates near the village, and then sauntering his way to the sanctum. He keeps it smug and shitheady when he wanders in, enjoying his one bit of victory he has. The dangers of the Odas and their efforts, the raw and unprocessed confrontation of his own mistakes, well, it still leaves a fingerprint on his mind. So he needs a little bit of a victory lap.

>Arthur: Ask all your questions

    "Ooof. Not sure you can answer, for real. Half my shit is, like, why were Antegent tryin'a stop this? What the fuck were those three *dudes* that came through when Oda did that maneuver? They were like no fuckin' Antegent I ever seen in my goddamn life. Do we know anything more about that Pylon now? I'm just... I have *no clues*, on account of bein' hero-stupid and all."
Lilian Rook     Sakura smiles widest and most innocently of all at Muramasa's arrival, but that smile falters and its warmth becomes hesitant once she reads the vibe coming off of him. Her lips say 'I'm grateful' but her eyes say 'I'm sorry'. "Ah, well, none of the Clans would so readily admit that they lost even one Grave Blade, never mind two. Doing so would tell their rivals that their power has slipped through their fingers, and invite predation. They're trying to replace them already through whatever means they can. I'm afraid . . . well, poor Nobuko isn't doing so well. But the future you averted-- that more than anything is most important! Wounding the Oda Clan's pride couldn't be helped!"

    Sakura listens to Tamamo at rapt attention, like hearing a story from her favourite aunt. She glances around the closed room, habitually looking for a signal from a custodian or bodyguard, but none are with her today. She thinks on that quietly, then takes it as a sign to the affirmative. "That's more or less true. But, to be a little more honest, ah . . . um . . . There are a lot of things I can see, in the present. About people and places. I think, anything that's bound up in . . . a fate, perhaps? I'm no prophet, but with the things I see, it's easy to see how they weave together, and what will happen as they move." She nods firmly. "But the Grave Blades are the easiest. That's part of the reason I have to stay on the Mountain. The elders say that none of the Clans can know I exist."

    "But for the Clans; well, for so many years, there was-- what do you call it? A 'masquerade' to protect, so they could war only slowly. And the number of them was greater back then. Now just ten remain, but even that is a high enough number that even forty-four blades split so many ways makes it difficult to amass any. Those with few blades will tend to ally, and those with many blades will be mistrusted and targeted, after all. None have ever reached fourteen, but I don't believe there is such a curse for every number that includes a four. And . . . though I know much of what the blades have been used for, I only know within the last sixteen years or so. I cannot see the past itself. And I do not know the full extent of their abilities; those may only be unveiled by a superlative swordsman with an unbreakable spirit."

    However, Sakura actually blanches when Arthur asks *that* question. She drops her sewing and begins fiddling furiously, glancing down and back up in nervous rhythm. It takes her a while to draw in a breath, and say, "I did promise you . . . no secrets. But please understand, the only answer I have to give is . . . nnnn . . . private to me, and I'm not sure if it's right. No, I know it's partly right, but some of it must be wrong. Just like those swords. I'm sure I won't know for certain until then, but . . ."
Lilian Rook     "Part of me thinks . . . those monsters never came here by choice. That the only reason they would fight so ferociously, so . . . heedless to everything else . . . even humans, even yokai, won't fight like that unless there is no alternative less terrible than their own probable death. A great general said that to ensure your soldiers fight their hardest, you must block their means of retreat. It's . . . it may be a mistake, to believe the monsters and the Rivets are . . . just because they share intertwined fates doesn't mean that they share them willingly. What came 'through', back then, was like . . . something out of my dreams. Thankfully, that was a mere 'spiriting away'. But those . . . I don't think they were monsters, Mister Lowell. And the way they killed those men . . . have you ever known the monsters to *enjoy* what they do?"

    However, Gawain asks something perfectly innocent, ending her awkward fidgeting with a nervous laugh. "This? I meant to give it as a gift to Miss Rook. I um . . . I feel close to her, for some reason. Ahaha, it's embarrassing! But-- for some reason I get the feeling that she's going through something very difficult. That an . . . that maybe she had a dream too, and it got into her head. That it's hard for her to see the real world. So I'd like to help her, when next I see her. I think our fates must be connected at least a little, if I can feel her too."
Arthur Lowell >==>

    "Yeah, they were talkin', and just... playin' with 'em. That was grim as fuck." Arthur mutters, rubbing his face and making a few uncomfortable noises. "Guess it would make sense for the radiofucker to not want that back. But... shit. Well, guess it's a good idea for us to keep that from happenin'. No matter what, I want that shit headed off for real." He shakes his head, as if trying to clear the mental image from his brain. That horrid ozone, that unnerving warmth...

    "Well, we got it solved. I, uh, kinda passed out after that, anyone know where the sword ended up?" He looks a bit sheepish. "Gotta say, I was hella focused on that fuckin', uh, the apocalypse-stopping stuff, and kinda forgot all the bloodline politics stuff. I got room for, like, two quests in my brain at a time, the rest go on that log for real."
Tamamo     "Oh, a gift for Lilian, is it? My, how thoughtful. I did notice something similar, between the two of you, on some prior meeting. For there to be such a thing, when she arrived from the opposite end of the world, was quite unexpected. Oh, shall I give the two of you a reading, together, when next you meet? Of fated meetings, I have quite some knowledge in their telling, I might say, should I be so bold as to praise my own talents." Tamamo nods along, going through that lattermost topic before pulling back to the earlier one.

    "I had some hope that observing the blades as they have been used in the last handful of years might reveal their capabilities, but if you do not well know more than their locations, it cannot be helped. There is another matter on which I tend to exercise an oracle's ability, and I would welcome anyone's aid." This is not said only to Sakura, but implicity includes Arthur, Muramasa, and Gawain. "It concerns the more distant past, however, and so, I shall understand should your own talents not so well apply. The local history of this place, you see, does remain a mystery, in many particulars. Even questioning the road guardians and several raised ghosts has yet to shed a great deal of light on what did transpire."

    And then, having shifted from bright meetings to twilit mystery, Tamamo touches on the darker topic of 'monsters.' "They were strange and different, but if one were to ask me, 'do the Antegent enjoy the slaughter they inflict?' I would say, 'I do not know, but of hatred I believe some are well acquainted, and also of rage, and they have seemed, at times, to kill in manners wholly needless in their cruelty, if not in accordance to some rules I, merely, cannot help but fail to comprehend.' Whether one who hates can also be said to enjoy the execution of a grudge, or even to find relief in it, I do not know."

    Half-turning to Arthur, Tamamo asks, "What was it the voice over the radio had said?" After a moment to register he'd asked another question, "Oh, do you mean the blades that Oda Nobuko had meant to wield? I have kept that pair safe, myself, having removed them at the conclusion of that battle."
Gawain Gawain smiles softly at the thought of a gift. For all that Lilian has concerned him lately, she still deserves nice things. "That's wonderful, Lady Sakura. About the antegent..."

He thinks back, to the time he tried to befriend one. "I may have spoken of this before, but they despise us. I asked for one to think of friendship, in my naivete, and with a remarkable intelligence, it attacked with only hate. A vivid hate. This has been confirmed before. Why, I do not know,'s quite sad if they're forced to be here, with those they hate, in an endless war. Of course, it's worse for us, but even so, I can pity the beast."

Moving off the sadder topic, Gawain shifts towards a probably-still-sad topic. "What is the fate of Oda Nobuko?"
Muramasa "I see, that's a shame," Muramasa says. Although what she was doing was excessively foolish, he still felt bad that she was having a rough time of it after the Elites had intervened. His amber, almost golden colored eyes crinkle wordlessly before he inclines his head and squints into a close-eyed expression. Sakura, after all, had nothing to apologize for.

Keeping mostly to himself over the following discussion, he introspects on the information passed around. Four is an ominous number, after all. But besides that, the entities that passed over into this world .. the impression I have is that it was like children prying the wings off of beetles, or burning ants under a magnifying glass.

    Muramasa shifts, lightly.
    As for the Grave Blades ..

"Mm," Muramasa intones to Tamamo without comitting to a real answer; but, it wasn't a no, and knowing the man's nature even as sour his grapes were these days, he'd probably pitch in if asked when the time came.

        Tacitly, he avoids looking Gawain in the eye.

In response to her explanation of her vigorous sewing, "If you could help her, then, that would be - nice. You're a very thoughtful girl, Sakura-san." he says, before folding both of his hands over his lap.
Lilian Rook     Sakura smiles a little thinly and sadly to Arthur, but at least it's not that terrible anxiety from before. "You did. And for that, I'll always be endlessly grateful. The Blade of Bonds and the Blade of Distortions are with us now. Ah! That is, with you. That was part of the way we extended our hand, wasn't it? That there were two blades with me and mine first was not the only part of leaving the Blade of Endings with you! Since our last meeting, my own friends have recovered the Muramasa Blade of Death as well. I hear it was very difficult . . . but that means there are six now."

    "Thanks to Lady Tamamo no Mae's generosity, my friends have just about finished building a place to keep them all here. Of course, the sanctum on old Mount Fuji is a very safe place, but it is also one that more people know of, and perhaps an obvious holy place to seek, eventually, for some reason or another, no? This place of yours . . . ah, besides being wonderfully calm, it's simply so well-hidden. My friends intend to keep it next to the 'way to the Dragon's Garden' you found. Even though it's very, very unlikely anyone should happen on this place at all, that place's air of divinity should conceal their cursed aura."

    "As for Nobuko . . ." Sakura can't help but lose much of her already waned enthusiasm. However, she is determiend to answer. "Ahaha . . . such difficult topics. I should have prepared myself better, instead of doing such childish things as sewing. Sorry, sorry. At the time, I think she's been stripped of her title, and is under . . . 'house arrest', do you call it? In shame of her failure to defend the Clan's prized possessions. Thankfully, they are far more concerned about such a massive and sudden intrusion from outside! Their security is more worrisome to them than one child in which they placed too-high hopes, though they will find no holes. Thank goodness she hasn't been disowned. I don't think she would recover from that."

    She makes a flustered little stammering noise for Tamamo herself, quick to add "I-I know some of them! Many of them in fact! J-just, not . . . all." The fact that Tamamo *hadn't* shown disappointment seems to have encouraged her to believe it must be too great for her to let be known, and thus Tamamo must be concealing it, and she really doesn't want to let her down "This place. Mmmm. Yes. Yes! I'd like to know that too. A village practically forgotten by time. A road nobody enters from. An old way of life, somehow miraculously free from calamity. And so few relics from outside! Even just one radio-- ah, but that's gone now, isn't it? I can ask my friends to find out what they can! There are a few onmyouji amongst them, and many very skilled in gathering information!"
Lilian Rook     The subject of the Antegent doesn't seem to depress her quite, or even nearly, as badly as Nobuko. They've clearly always been a far away problem for her. One she sees and worries of, but has never been confronted with face to face. "I believe you. The monsters have many temperaments, but what they choose to do, it can only be called irrational, no? Not something that they seek, but something that they cannot help but be drawn to. My friends say that nobody will call that time a 'war', for it was not. There was no army, no strategy, there were no leaders on the 'other side'. It was just . . . death. And hurt. And lonely souls colliding with one another. The way those creatures acted . . ." She hugs her upper arms, as if expecting to shiver. "It seemed like they were talking, right? Planning. Choosing. Working together. Doing it because . . . they wanted to."

    That chill disperses in the face of uncle Muramasa's (restrained) praise and Gawain's sunny optimism. "Th-thank you! That means a lot to hear from you!" She quickly bows her head. "I, um, I get the feeling somehow that we must share something in common. Something that other people don't have. So . . . so . . . I'd like it, if we could be friends. And . . . I'd like it more if I could help her wake up . . . from that dream."

    Then she sits bolt upright. "Ah! That reminds me! Lady Tamamo! Would it be um . . . well, I couldn't help but find out what you intend with this place, so . . . You know of the unwanted who are sent up the Mountain, yes? The people there are no room for. Who please the daimyo the least. Would it be possible if . . . if, um, the next time . . . we could send them here? My friends are actually very close with our yokai allies --ah, that is, your 'ASIS'-- and many of the sohei and the hidden village on the Mountain as well."

    Then her gaze shly falls on Muramasa. "Are you . . . feeling well, Ma- Muramasa Sir? If something is troubling you . . . o-or if I've done something to offend you, I deeply apologize!"
Gawain The story about Nobuko gets a sad sigh, but a nod. He understood that was likely. But not being disinherited...that's a relief. "Well, hopefully she can move back up over time."

A pause. "From that dream? Ah, no, I won't ask unless you're comfortable sharing." Gawain moves away from the sad stuff to the happier stuff. "I would like to help you with that. I don't know what it is that you share in common, perhaps a determination of will? But, either way, if I can do anything for you to assist her, please, let me know."
Muramasa "I think," Muramasa starts, before a thoughtful pause, " ... I think that, waking up from a dream like that, is something she yearns for as well. If that's what you're setting your heart on, then, I'm sure it is possible."

That Rook .. she certainly has people who care for her, doesn't she? he muses, before turning his thoughts elsewhere. It's good to hear that that Oda girl wasn't banished. While her situation sounds unfortunate, it doesn't seem like something she can't bounce back from.

By the time his attention is snapped back to the here and now, Sakura is asking after him. It instilled a small pang of shame as he bows his own head about fifty degrees, or so. "Oh, no, -- there's no need for that. You didn't upset me or anything, so please don't apologize to me, Sakura-san."

A single hand is held up, with his palm flat, as he apologizes and politely reflects her own. " ... also, there's no need to concern yourself with my wellbeing."

There were infinitely more useful things for her to spend that brainpower on.

"And. For what it's worth, the idea you just proposed, regarding the exiled ... this is certainly a place that such people would be drawn to for comfort, I think. It's an idea with merit."
Tamamo     "I do not think it childish," Tamamo says, mildly. She doesn't speak again of the blades, considering it already obvious that she'll be transferring the two swords she's 'holding' to that other location, once it's available and can be safely done.

    "As for Nobuko... what can I say, but that she was filled with the vigor of youth, and the expectations of the aged? I do hope for her recovery, but I have little wish to meet with the Oda too soon, lest they find cause to object to my past involvement."

    Sakura has knowledge to share. Tamamo's eyes alight at that stammered correction, and she smiles. "Oh? Whatever you might like to share shall prove useful in our search, I am certain. If it is a lengthy list, shall we read through it at a later point? I would be glad to spare the time. And if you know of others who might assist, of course, I shall trust you to make no indiscrete motions. We all do wish for this place to remain just outside of knowledge, I think. I would like for those who would be inspired by such things to know that there are places outside their walls that might welcome them, and yet, I acknowledge those practical limitations in how many might be invited, without creating another walled city in entirety. I am, hm," wryly, "not quite suited to managing whole kingdoms, I think."

    Tamamo continues, "But should you guide those outcasts hither, I shall consider it a favor granted, so conveniently does it resolve that question of, 'oh, how shall I find those who would inhabit this village, for which we have taken such pains, but who shall not speak of every secret?' If they expect already to never return to that place that did cast them out, then they can be trusted to wish for new lives of worth, I hope."

    She pauses, then, at Sakura's question to Muramasa, and his response, watching and listening. But it's only as she expected. Should she say it...?

    Smoothly, and with traces of sorrow but none of irritation, "Our dear Muramasa-san does greatly discount his own worth, to the point of illness. I have chided him for this, yet he did not believe me, and chooses to persist. It is troubling, yet before his conviction I am but a powerless woman."

    Then wholly putting that aside, as if it requires no further explanation, Tamamo excitedly brightens once more. "The matter of new inhabitants does lead into another matter, about which I intended to ask for aid from others, including experts among the Paladins. The construction of a village does require more than homes. Though I am no expert, myself, I do know this much. There must also be seas, forests, and farms, and other such things as do provide the people their wealth, in all the forms it takes. The continuation of trades is accomplished by masters imparting their knowledge unto apprentices, but when there is yet none established, would it not be best to make use of any experts who might be willing to become teachers, if for only a small while?"
Arthur Lowell >==>

    Arthur regards the request to Tamamo, and his eyebrows shoot up. "Damn, we comin' straight back to the Hojo business? Shit, yo, we out here wrappin' every loose thread all clean. I was thinking I'd just be letting that guilt shit sit in the back of my brain for the rest of my life, we gonna get to do that really? You let me set a Gate down and I'll *make sure* that happens."

>Arthur: Hey, what about ya boy Nobuko?

    "Though, shit," He leans back and lets his head flop back in a heavy sigh. "Feel like I gotta figure a way to solve this Nobuko stuff too. Fuckin'... I *still* feel hella guilt, gettin' that sword back just to fight the girl and then take it again? Seriously... I mean, you take it, sure, but I gotta figure a way to get that girl her honor back and all. Fuck. This shit sucks, Sakura." He rambles, sort of recovering and shaking his head. "I'll figure it out. I *like* her, though, don't wanna fuck up her life about this."
Arthur Lowell >Arthur: Also answer Tamamo, stupid!

    "Uhhhh... shit, it's been a *long* time since I did that. One second. Where did I..." He looks like he's digging through old dialogue windows... "It was something about... hang on... Here! They were saying, humans were going to cause the end of the world with a sword that possesses a concept." He says, pulling up a rather distorted window. It says:

     "--HURT--" "--HURT--" "--HURT--" "--HURT--" ... "--HURT in--" "--the sword--" "--HURT in--" "--the sword--" ... "--Fire--" "--Fire--" "--Fire--" "--Fire--"

    "--careless or ignorant at--" "--Something is in the--" "--endless, incomprehensible chaos--" "--someone, somewhere--" "--HURT--" "--couldn't even begin to--" "--contend with--" "--too many of them for--" "--Kill them now!--" "--possess the concept of--" "--the end of the world--" "--Kill them!--" "--humans communicating--" "--wholly careless or ignorant--" "--mockery of memory--" "--can you see?--" "--year or two--" "--Fire--" "--kill every single one of them--" "--the end of the world--" "--sword is the only option--" "--posses the concept of--" "--for--" "--for--" "--for--" "--for--"

    And then a dialogue window containing the entire lyrics of hit Y2K Japanese single "Neo Universe/Finale". The utility of that is unclear.
Lilian Rook     "Please don't worry Gawain, Sir. Sir Gawain. But I don't really know how to explain it." Sakura replies. "They are . . . They *are* dreams, but . . . well, a 'dream' can be a lot of things, right? A thing you see when you're asleep. A thing you want. A thing you think will come to pass. A thing that is beautiful. A thing that people share. A thing that might be. A thing that is impossible. But it's always an idea. Even if it's a very strange one. I think she'd understand if I told her. Or maybe I wouldn't need to tell her?"

    Her smile becomes strangely rueful with Muramasa. Even wistful. There's not a clear reason why. "I like most of my dreams, Muramasa. But not everyone does. Some people can get stuck in them all day, after they wake up. Some people can get obsessed with one all their life. You know how a dream can tangle you up. How sometimes, you can drown in a dream. I'm sure you do."

    She claps her hands together in obvious delight at Tamamo. "How wonderful! I'm so glad! I'll be so happy to know that-- no, I'll even be able to see them here!" She nods vigorously, with enthusiasm that usually should be withheld from discussions of people never returning home. "I can get you, um, well a copy of my book! Well, it's not really a book. Just a lot of notes and drawings, really. But it's *like* a book. And I've thought a lot about becoming an author!"

    She tilts her head slowly in trying to absorb the last set of questions, making the jewels and bangles foisted on her tinkle softly. "That's true. I asked my friends what those things already in the village are, and they said it had to do with a 'global village kit'. Miss Rook already thought ahead. But if there's nobody who knows how to do these things, well, it will be hard won't it? But the people who are forced to leave; not many of them are highly skilled. Doctors will always find work, isn't that how it goes? Teachers . . . nnnn . . . maybe the Hidden Village? They must have their own, right? I'm not sure if . . . no, I definitely can't get them to let you go there --I asked once before, and they said that's why it's 'hidden'-- but surely you might be able to convince someone if I ask?"

    Suddenly struck by a certain realization, Sakura bows at her kneeling seat in that apologetic way, making all her hair and the layers of her sleeves sway. "M-my apologies! I completely forgot to explain! My friends; they're called 'the Higoromikage'. The people who live on old Mount Fuji, where the wisest of sages and the oldest of beings live, who were convinced together by a wise yamabushi, and the esteemed zenko, to protect the future of this nation from another age of bloodshed. The sohei monks, the Fuji onmyouji, our ayakashi friends, the tengu of the mountain, the shinobi clan hidden in the foothills, and many other wise hermits and skilled men have joined us.

    You were given a . . . f-frosty welcome before. Because you weren't supposed to know. But I want you to be my friends too! So I hope you'll all get along! After everything you've done for us, I'm sure we can do something for you! If you need to ear of the Higoromikage, or even a helping hand, I'm sure someone would be happy to help! I-It's better than having to choose sides in a war, right?"

    She shuffles uncomfortably, side to side. "Even if it's . . . about helping Nobuko. I'm sure someone would listen to your heartfelt plea."
Muramasa     " . . ."

Between the words passed to him - or about him - from Sakura and Tamamo, Muramasa absorbs it quietly. Something stirs behind his eyes, like a brief flicker into another world, but it's gone as quickly as it had come forth.

    "Drown in it, huh .."

After this, he largely tunes out the rest of the conversation, only catching sparks here and there - of her explanation concerning her friends, and her apology thereafter - as he contemplates something ephemereal.

" -- it'd be good, if we could help that Oda girl. Wouldn't it?" is all he says at the end.
Tamamo     Tamamo listens to, or rather, reads Arthur's dialogue windows with an expression crossing concern and confusion. "'Endless, incomprehensible chaos,' it said. I wonder if that is how our world does appear to them, as the land they appear to prefer does approach, for others.

    To Sakura, Tamamo nods. Pleasantly, "Oh? I have never authored more than a few lines, myself, but it does seem a worthwhile pursuit. I shall read as you provide, of course."