Monstrous Compendium Ch3 bit – Physical

The shaman was already poking and prodding him with thick nails, gripping his cheek a moment to get a good look at his eyes and otherwise making him feel like a kid in the doctor’s office. “Half-grown man-cub with more heart than sense,” Tetsutora grumbled. “I know Stheno has taught ye better.”

Which dropped jaws all over Fuurinkazan. Kirito shrugged. If Stheno had wanted them to know she taught magic, she’d have told them herself. “She also mentioned that certain powerful shamans were too fragile to keep risking themselves on the battlefield. I notice that didn’t stop you.”

“Brat.” She flicked a finger against his forehead, then stepped back. “Ye were lucky. If ye’d not mastered enough shadow-casting with darkfire to make your spells bite the harder, ye’d not have had the strength to cast and fight.”

“That wasn’t luck.” Kirito glanced at Klein. “Would you stop looking at me like that? It’s not like I did you a favor….”

“Okay, fine.” Klein dragged up a stool, the better to look him in the eye. “Though I’m sitting here, not trying to eat small children. That’s got to be better than the alternative. What did you do? You dragged the curse out of me, made it real…?”

“Part of it.” Kirito sighed. “Lycanthropy is two infections, not one. One of them goes after your body. The other – it tries to take over your soul. Or at least your mind.”

“Nay; soul be the truth, indeed.” Tetsutora wove her fingers together, grim. “A lycan who kills, only kills. One who infects – ‘tis the worst crime among us. If ye find a human who wishes to join a pack, then bring them to the Elders, like any other youkai. To twist another’s mind and soul awry, so they only joy in slaughter, and the pain of those they love… ‘tis unforgiveable.”

Klein shivered.

“Easy, cub.” She patted the redhead’s shoulder. “Ye beat it. Mind, I think ye would have had the strength to beat it alone, did ye have enough time lost in the wilderness. But your pack would have been at risk the whole month ye fought, and even if they stayed careful – ‘tis a bit hard on the wildlife.”


22 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch3 bit – Physical

  1. >What did you do? You dragged the curse out of me, made it real…?”

    “Part of it.” >
    Here’s a fun part and I don’t think Kirito even realizes he said it. Sounds like what he wanted to do was yank both halves of the curse out. Instead all he managed to do was remove the part effecting Klein’s mind/soul.

    10 to 1, he considers his attempt a failure in that he didn’t really manage to save Klein, just his mind.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. How about, I don’t think Furinkaazan knew that Kirito was a Moonsword until this fight. But once they do some mental math, they should probably be able to figure out Kirito was the first.

    Also, you are not denying what’s been speculated about LC. This is not a good sign.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LC is /always/ bad news and anything indicating they exist is a bad sign. So even if Vathara were denying the speculation it would still be a bad sign because it meant you were completely /wrong/ about what they were getting up to, and that’s always worse than knowing.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. >…LC stuff is still a little up in the air. 😉>
        Of course for added Bastard points, it’s possible that when LC really get going, the Youkai lords involved in the game want them dead for multiple and varied reasons (see Tetsutora’s comments about crimes among lycans) . Unfortunately they aren’t allowed to do anything because of Beniryuu’s contract of what they can and cannot do with the players. And actions or not, the LC are still players. So all they can do is watch.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. It’s not like I did you a favor….”

    The lady doth protest too much methinks . . .

    “Part of it.”

    Quit being such a Debbie Downer, Kirito.

    Yes, Klein had his species involuntarily changed and that sucks. But you know what would suck a lot more? If he was turned into a monster that killed his friends and anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path until someone killed him. And knowing your terrible luck, Kirito, that someone would have been you.

    If your choices are Not Human Anymore and Rampaging Bloodthirsty Monster, most people would pick the former. It’s not a good choice. Or a fair choice.

    Sometimes you have to pick your battles. You barely had enough power to help fight the soul-changing part so I doubt you’d have enough power to fight both infections. Maybe NO ONE has enough power to do that considering how difficult getting rid of even one is. Trying to fight both battles at the same time might mean you lose both or the one over the soul – and since losing that one means the person you’re trying to save is a monster . . . well, I call that losing.

    Also, just because you would rather die than ever become not-human doesn’t mean that everyone sees it that way. Some people probably see not-dead as more important than not-human. Which is understandable.

    Yes, he’s right to be leery of said transformations and not just lycanthropy ones because there are some very serious strings attached that none of the players know about but still . . .

    And it’s his right to say no to youkai adoption for any or no reason.

    Through given that the point of this version of SAO seems to be trending towards either youkai or dead, that might get increasingly difficult for him to avoid. Not saying he can’t just that Kayaba (and others) isn’t going to make it easy for him to do so.

    Also if he’s going to continue the habit of blaming himself for stuff that isn’t his fault, we might need to borrow Sanzo’s Paper Fan of Doom. Because that thing has a proven track record for correcting people when they are being idiots.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. A little gloom is understandable for anyone . . . but sometimes he has a lot of gloom of the negative self-talk variety and THAT (negative self-talk) can get very nasty very quickly. And it doesn’t care about facts – to negative self-talk in your head, nothing is ever enough. You are never smart enough, strong enough, pretty enough, etc. And while you do have combat said negative self-talk yourself, it does help to have people who know and trust to call your brain on its BS. To remind you that you are smart enough, strong enough, just enough. That sometimes it wasn’t your fault, you didn’t do anything wrong or that no one could have anything better . . . and that sometimes everyone loses but that doesn’t make you a bad person.

        Just remember everyone that depression is when your own brain tries to kill you. And it can be very, very good at it.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Very good at it. Brr.

        What’s depressing is that I can see part of the possible biological advantage to the group of having someone not “right” get themselves out of the gene pool. And this is one reason I do not believe in Mother Nature as one of the Nice Guys.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Your Japanese has improved. Tetsutora definitely has the structure of a real Japanese word. That’s all I have the expertise to say.

    Thank you.


    1. Through the Cracks was written in and around 2008. MCO was written in the past year or two. Yes, I suspect what little Japanese I know has improved in the interim.

      Personal tip: If all you have the expertise to say is that it has the structure of a real Japanese word, you might consider that Lewis Carroll’s “‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves/Did gyre and gimble in the wabe” also have the structure of real English words.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Speaking of Japanese, you know how Klein styles himself as a samurai? If one goes by the traditional meaning, he is an incredibly bad example of one. After all, honor for a samurai meant serving their lord to the utmost. Their personal morals did not matter in any way.

        But for Fuurinkazan, they have no master and serve only their own morals and conscience. As such Rōnin would be a far more accurate title. Of course considering Klein’s view on the matter was probably shaped by media like Seven Samurai or Rurouni Kenshin etc it’s no surprise that his view on the role would be somewhat more romanticized then the historical fact.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Definitely more of a ronin kind of guy, our Klein. I don’t think anybody minds. 😉

        …Although, oddly enough, that may be part of what makes Kirito a bit reluctant to team up with him. After all, Klein’s noble, honorable, and saving people, while Kirito feels he’s just out to stay alive. And given what we know about the Kirigaya family property and kenjutsu practice in canon – it’s likely that back in the 1800s, they were samurai.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I could tell that “Tetsu” and “tora” were legitimate Japanese words and that they were in the right order. That is what I meant.

        Also, I thought you only had three chapters of Through the Cracks written before November. I’m positive you did editing work, though; I remember differences, which I also caught with Waking to Another Sky.

        By the way, Dad loves your writing, and he’s written professionally for decades, albeit as a journalist.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Klein thinks of himself as a samurai, but he acts a lot more like a lord. A D&D lord. (The tenth level, build a fortress, attract followers, kind.)

        Sometimes personal morals (or rather, a sort of righteous, honorable, gentlemanly behavior) did matter. A head retainer samurai or trusted counselor was supposed to be that sort of person. If you wanted to move up, a lot of lords wanted to see someone whom they could trust to behave well around the house and not make gratuitous enemies. Figuring out how to carry out orders in the best and most clever, graceful, most honorable way was a leadership skill. Samurai certainly liked historical stories of such decisions.

        Ideally, a lord planned and led well enough that he did not discourage good behavior among his samurai, and yet kept his domain safe. There is a lot of historian disapproval of trying samurai honor too far.

        But yes, there were an awful lot of people who would have said that samurai should just do as told, in the quickest and nastiest way. It was easier and safer.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Back on the soapbox for more, though Vathara probably knows as much about it as I do:

    Every culture and every time has fashionable virtues and vices, with their own take on things. Western culture keeps unity over time through religion and philosophy. Eastern cultures tend to use literature or educated culture for some of the same purposes. But you still get big differences in similar concepts between even the most similar cultures and time periods. “Noble action” to a Confucian or to a Zen Buddhist samurai was in the same ballpark, but different.

    Gifu Dodo!! Kanetsugu and Keiji is one of the few shows I can think of that dramatizes almost exclusively the sort of samurai morality/warfare teaching stories that are so popular in Japanese chronicles. The art style is pretty wild, and the morality is pretty different from even modern Japan, much less a few years separation forward or back in time. Nobunaga’ s time had a different way of thinking.

    These folks were high-up retainers and nobles, not ordinary samurai. But it gives you an idea. It is on Crunchyroll.

    Liked by 1 person

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