Otome Game Review: Hyakka Yakou

I haven’t updated in a long time and I apologize (this feels regular now, hopefully that can be corrected). I’ve finished this game ages ago, typed this post up ages ago, but never seemed to have posted it!? This is me repenting by finally uploading this very, very wordy review of a game published a year ago. Maybe I’ll be on time someday…

Takamagahara – a city of entertainment and pleasure with its sky always covered by clouds, exists in perpetual night, straddling the pathway between the human and the ayakashi world.

Here, our heroine Izumo works as a pleasure worker. Just an apprentice in training at the moment, she will soon ascend to the level of physical service, all for the sake of attaining her dream of making money and a name. Someday, she’ll have enough to free herself from this place with what she hopes to earn. Hyakka Yakou is her story, one about her dreams of freedom and about the six men – or ayakashi – that are involved in helping her win back her future.

The game opens with Izumo as part of an oiran parade as a kamuro (apprentice under an oiran), walking along the streets as onlookers ooh and aah. A man wrestles his way to the front of the crowd and says he’s finally “found her”. At the same time, a hyakki yakou appears; a parade of a hundred or more ayakashi/youkai. This is a regular occurrence about twice or thrice a month in Takamagahara, where the story is set. Youkai from their own dimension will cross over Takamagahara, and disappear to god knows where after they’re done walking. Hakuren (CV: Sakurai Takahiro), a snake ayakashi, is in the crowd keeping an eye on Izumo. Besides him, there are two squads stationed in the vicinity to watch over the safety of those in attendance – the local ‘police force’, the onmitsu squad. The squad is split into two sections, one to deal with human conflicts (more physical) and the other to deal with ayakashi problems (more spiritual). Izumo’s childhood friends Tokikage (CV: Okamoto Nobuhiko) and Yukinari (CV: Hosoya Yoshimasa) are a part of the two squads respectively.

The next scene is of Izumo being woken up by Mizuki (CV: Ishikawa Kaito), urging her to head to her lessons or the headmistress-figure of the brothel will scold her 😦 Mizuki’s been looking after Izumo since she became a furisode shinzou (pre-oiran stage, will not bed customers but is getting there), and is her closest aide + little brother figure. He also happens to be a tengu.

While combing Izumo’s hair for her, Mizuki notices a bruise on Izumo, something that she got thanks to one of her seniors; something like that is common in life here. Izumo has to take in lessons in koto, dance, poetry etc. for the sake of becoming an oiran, but she doesn’t quite like all her lessons. She talks to Mizuki about the milky way (ama-no-gawa), a story about the human world wherein she was raised. They get to the story of Orihime and Hikoboshi and Izumo wonders if the two of them had any sort of situation they couldn’t overcome, that they could wait an entire year to see each other just once. Mizuki mentions that maybe it’s like the human-ayakashi situation they have in Takamagahara now, because despite them socializing together, the two sides are still different and have different thought patterns/ethics and cultures, so you don’t really get cross-species love stories. Izumo doesn’t know what it’s like to be in love, but thinks that if she can see stars (there are none in Takamagahara) with the person she likes, that would be nice. Someday she wants to leave Takamagahara and earn her own freedom.

There’s a sudden commotion outside and Mizuki leaves to see what’s happening. Tokikage enters later and says all seems well in Izumo’s room, it’s just that it seems someone has kidnapped an oiran. Tokikage is part of the Tenshou-ryou (one dept under the Amahara Onmitsubutai). This department is in charge of managing disturbances on the human side of Takamagahara (they use martial arts or weapons to subdue humans). There’s also the Tsukiyomi-ryou side that manages disturbances by the ayakashi (this side uses onmyoujutsu or more MP related things). The two work together to keep the peace in this realm, and Yukinari is part of this department. TOKIKAGE AND YUKINARI ARE RIVALS…KINDA…AND ALSO CHILDHOOD FRIENDS WITH IZUMO!!

Tokikage bums a little in Izumo’s room, but is soon found by Yukinari LOL. Given the topic at hand, their conversation steers in a really serious direction. Izumo has always wanted freedom. She is aware that there’s a huge punishment awaiting her if she breaks out of this place but there’s literally no other way to escape besides working her way up the ladder. Death is a common punishment for those who attempt to flee. In addition, she’s about to debut as a pleasure worker, and Tokikage asks Yukinari if he’s seriously gonna be okay with that, what with Yukinari’s constant nagging at Izumo to keep to her studies and not play around? In the end Izumo has her own convictions – her dream’s a far thing, but she has to keep working towards it.

The culprit is caught soon after and everyone leaves her room. Izumo heads to her lessons. Everyone is so mean in this place and she’s made to demonstrate her koto playing to everyone – the injury from yesterday begins to hurt and she recalls an incident when one of her seniors had hurt her by bumping into her on purpose omf 😦 However, Izumo has one great friend named Toshiha, who is a treasure that helps her out with her lessons and is concerned about her health and safety. Unlike the other girls who are angry about how the brothel lord had promised Izumo that she would be eventually promoted to an oiran, Toshiha isn’t like spiteful about that stuff at all. However, the headmistress (who’s also the teacher…and a gross old woman) gets angry at Izumo for not putting in effort when she already has a ~future~ promised to her.

After classes, Toshiha tries to cheer Izumo up by talking about the outside world, which Izumo has never seen. Toshiha came here when Izumo was ten. Even though Toshiha had been sold by her parents, she had always been a bright girl and they’re basically childhood friends too, aww. Izumo thinks Toshiha surely wants to return to her life outside because she always seems lonely when she talks about the human realm, and while Toshiha isn’t selling her body, as a performer she is also not allowed to buy her own freedom.

However, everyone bullies Izumo the minute Toshiha leaves to go see a client, wtf! Izumo isn’t happy about their attitudes and snarks that they’re just shitting on her because they have no confidence about themselves. The fight is interrupted by Izumo’s oiran mentor Kushina Daiyuu, who takes her to her private room and asks her what is up. She tells Izumo that having a goal will draw people’s eyes to her because she’d be aiming to the top with purpose, and tells Izumo to keep that in mind and to work even harder at her lessons. Because of her own dream, Kushina was able to achieve her current standing, not because she thought selling herself was the right thing to do. But she was able to make herself into who she is right now. If she cannot choose the world she was born into, she can choose the way she wants to live.

Kushina asks Izumo to take in a customer on her behalf and Izumo accepts, though it’s very sudden. :’) NEESAMA!!! In the wing where clients are taken in, Ryuuji (CV: Ono Yuuki), a human merchant,  is there selling his merch to the ladies. He introduces himself to Izumo as she passes by and says he has a hairpiece that would suit her very well (HE’S SO AWKWARD AND EXCITED ABOUT IT HAHA) but Mizuki, who is seeing Izumo off to work, says they’re in a rush. Mizuki sighs to himself about how Izumo is thick and totally couldn’t notice that Ryuuji was interested in her instead ww

When Izumo enters the private room to see her client, all goes well until her client attacks her physically. He shoves her to the ground midway through the convo and tells her to give up her body to him, as well as the “treasure of Kusanagi”. The man slowly begins to morph into an ayakashi before her eyes – an inugami that possessed the man!? Hakuren busts in and saves her by telling the inugami to scram, and says that Izumo belongs to him (???). Yukinari comes charging into the room too with others from his squad, saying that a large white snake was spotted heading in this direction – and he notices Hakuren and the Inugami. The Inugami tries to run but Yukinari subdues it, and Hakuren says why not stop that thing from ever laying a hand on Izumo then? and cuts off the Inugami’s arm. Yukinari warns him not to interfere because the issue is under their jurisdiction, not his. Hakuren just shrugs and escapes soon after out of the window.

Yukinari was supposed to give chase but Izumo stops him, explaining that Hakuren had saved her just now. She’s hurt by the inugami’s claws and is bleeding as well. Yukinari asks her about the white snake but she hasn’t seen any, and he warns Izumo that there’s been an increase in intruders and disturbances as of late.

On her way back, Izumo chances upon a man bringing a little girl to see the brothel lord and thinks that the girl will probably never see the light of the outside world again. Such things are common in this place. Shinonome appears on the rooftops right after and calls out to her. He’s not here for anything in particular. Izumo is frankly annoyed by his behavior because he seems to be picking a fight with her, saying that she looked really sick of this whole farce. She drops the oiran-speech and tells him that if he wants to blather he can do so in jail. She suspects he’s also an ayakashi and he avoids the question smoothly, saying he just came to see her face and will be back. Shinonome has something in mind for Takamagahara, it seems.

Kushina and Izumo have another talk, and she apologizes for letting that happen to Izumo. She should have noticed that the man was possessed, but it appears she might have fallen in love with someone else and hasn’t been paying attention to her own clients. At the same time, one of her close clients (but not lover!) has also sent requests to the lord to buy her freedom, and Izumo asks if Kushina’s okay with not living with the person she likes!? Kushina tells her once more that this is a place where love is worth nothing, and has no monetary value when it comes to something like freeing yourself. She can’t bring herself to tell the man she loves about any of this, because she wants to part ways with him smiling. Izumo can’t accept any of this and says that at the very least, Kushina should write to this person and let him know of what is about to happen. Izumo will personally deliver the letter and take responsibility should it be found.

Izumo doesn’t want to go to the man’s place directly because it’s highly visible and will get everyone in trouble, so thinks it best to arrange a meeting at a teahouse in secret. She has to get someone to call the man out for her first, and it has to be someone that won’t arouse any suspicions. She thinks Tokikage will cheer on Kushina’s love, and so barges into the dorms of his department and calls him out HAHAHA. TOKIKAGE MISTAKES THE LOVE LETTER AS HERS LMFAO. He’s all “my god take it to Yukinari or something, but everything might end with him yelling that having a lover ain’t good and he’ll tear up the letter!!” Tokikage ends up throwing a huge fit lmfofhdk but Izumo shoves the letter in his face and explains that it isn’t hers. Having calmed down, Tokikage agrees to help Izumo pass the message on to meet her in the teahouse’s back-garden. MY GOD HES HILARIOUS.

Izumo bumps into Toshiha on the streets on her way to the meetup point and Toshiha seems to be in a rush. She begs Izumo to pretend they never saw each other. Izumo wonders what’s up. Anyway she manages to meet the man and pass Kushina’s letter to him. Of course he’s distraught but what can he do tbh. Hakuren appears shortly after the man leaves and is all cryptic and shit to Izumo (can’t let his treasure be hurt, and how he’s here to see her). Izumo thanks him for his help before but tells him to lay off a little. Yukinari also appears suddenly and shoos him off her, and says they need to have some guy-talk while telling Izumo to head back first.

After Izumo leaves, Yukinari asks Hakuren who he is – there was no recorded white-haired male clients in the register, so how and why did he show up at the brothel? Hakuren just says he’ll enter the place the proper way next time LOL. Hakuren also says that Yukinari had better protect ‘that person’ properly if it is his duty, until the time comes for him to take them away. He’s probably talking about Izumo, and vanishes into the shadows after saying this.

Upon her return to the brothel, Izumo is caught by the headmistress-figure and scolded for her behavior (being out at this time, skipping class again?), and taken to be punished. She’s tied up and 50 buckets of cold water are to be poured onto her omf IT IS COLD AND PAINFUL. Midway there is some commotion outside as if something was destroyed and the sounds of screams can be heard. The headmistress goes to check on the situation and locks up behind her as she leaves, telling Izumo to stay here till the next morning. Mizuki then arrives in tengu form and saves Izumo, taking her back to her room and replacing her with a puppet made of wood (when she can return to pretend having never left). He’s been saving Izumo like this since she was young…he wishes she could rely on him more.

Over the next few days, rumors about Kushina sweep through the ranks. The person buying her over seems to have changed? Kushina herself comes to call Izumo out to talk to her. The man she likes has come to buy her freedom omg awhgjfkd!!!! She apologizes that Izumo took punishment for her sake as well. Izumo waves it off because she’s already used to it, and congratulates Kushina. The man had to beg his family for money, but they’ll now work together to earn it back ;_; Kushina thanks Izumo for all she’s done for her and says she hopes one day Izumo too can find someone to be happy with.

When Izumo sends Kushina off, Kushina entrusts a small mirror to her. It’s something she bought on the day she decided to become an oiran, and looking at it has always reminded her of her resolution. She wants Izumo to have it so it can encourage her, and Izumo thanks her for all that she has done. From that day on, it seems Izumo herself has gotten more motivated in her goals to become an oiran, and her popularity increases with the amount of pride she puts into carrying herself.

Izumo also has something important to do – she makes the decision to become an oiran that refuses to take clients to bed unlike her seniors. She tells this to Tokikage and Yukinari in their dorm, and meets with support but mixed reactions. Tokikage happily supports her, while Yukinari is skeptical that the lord will grant Izumo permission, but is nonetheless willing to support her. After receiving well wishes from both her childhood friends, Izumo heads to the lord’s chamber to discuss this matter with him. She persuades him that it’s possible, quoting the words of one of her previous customers – as long as she satisfies the people that come here, she doesn’t necessarily have to sell herself. If her proposal doesn’t work, she can go back to operating by the old rules. People will still come to her even if she doesn’t use her body anyway: just look at her popularity now. Izumo isn’t even an oiran yet, but she’s been taking an increasing amount of clients in the ‘name’ of an oiran, and many clients have already asked her about the time of her proper debut as one. The lord then gives her his word that they can try this out.

After Izumo departs from work, she bumps into Ryuuji on the streets. He wants to gift her something, a hair accessory, that he believes really suits her. Izumo remembers him making such an offer to her before and is shocked, because there are few in this place that would keep such promises. Ryuuji explains that he’s a merchant from the human realm. He talks about the differences between Takamagahara (e.g. there are no boats transporting goods here, as Takamagahara lacks rivers, unlike Edo) and the human world, noting Izumo’s interest in the realm he lives in. She’s very grateful to him for the stories and gift, and he’s likewise happy he got to talk to her – maybe they can do this again some other time, maybe as her client. Izumo leaves and Shinonome sees Ryuuji after this. He gripes about how Izumo’s attitude to them is hilariously different, and jibes Ryuuji for falling for Izumo since Shinonome thinks all oiran are nasty liars or something. Ryuuji doesn’t know if he HAS, but…his behavior is obvious enough (CRY).

Later, Hakuren pays a short visit to Izumo as a proper client and leaves with some cryptic words about her “smell” being too strong. Izumo also sees Toshiha in the corridors after, and Toshiha reveals that she has someone that she likes, and has been meeting with them in the secret tea house for some time already.

There’s a short festival event later on and we learn a few things from it:

– Tokikage and Yukinari have this cool rivals relationship over Izumo; both of them are really proud of her and have come to see her perform at the festival.

– Yukinari leaves first and bumps into Hakuren, whom he suspects is the white snake that snuck into the brothel premises before when Izumo was attacked. However, Hakuren is here as a client with permission this time.

– Ryuuji wants to pay off Izumo’s debt for her and is chided by Shinonome, who says he doesn’t know the “real reason why she’s here”.

– Hakuren knows Shinonome is a kitsune, and while Shinonome jokingly proposes that they ‘join up’, Hakuren rejects him and tells him not to hurt Izumo with whatever he seems to be planning.

Days later, both Tokikage and Yukinari call Izumo aside – there have been rumors of one of the performer girls spotted behaving suspiciously around the secret tea house, and Izumo immediately recalls Toshiha. People suspect that it’s indeed her, but Izumo chooses to protect her friend and feigns ignorance. Yukinari warns Izumo to be careful anyway, because none of the higher-ups in the brothel know of this matter yet. Izumo, shaken, sees Toshiha during practice later and nothing seems wrong. Izumo worries anyway and asks Toshiha about it, and Toshiha just says that she had met up with the person she likes and talked to them, nothing more. She assures Izumo and tells her not to worry.

One morning, Izumo sees Toshiha in the corridors of the brothel early in the morning. Toshiha laments that she has probably forgotten what it’s like to see blue skies in the morning, since Takamagahara is always dark. She thanks Izumo for always being there for her and helping her; when she was taken here, she was scared to see Izumo being scolded by the heamistress, but had laughed when Izumo stuck her tongue out at the woman when she wasn’t looking. Izumo feels a little embarrassed for herself, but likewise thanks Toshiha for supporting her all this while. However, Izumo thinks that Toshiha sounds unusually down and wonders if anything had happened. Before she can say anything, Mizuki arrives to fetch her and Toshiha bids them farewell.

Days later – something’s up. It’s early in the morning and there’s many other girls gathered outside in the corridors: a performer girl has run away with one of the customers from the brothel just before dawn. Izumo has a bad feeling about this and rushes to Toshiha’s room, only to find that everything is gone. She hears another girl whispering that it had been Toshiha who ran and got killed, and Izumo rushes away to the main hall. There, she meets Yukinari and Tokikage, who tell her the truth. Toshiha had run away with someone, and they’d both been killed during their escape. Izumo is devastated by this news and even Yukinari, who tries to calmly tell her that it was breaking the law, is shaking with emotion.

The headmistress and lord of the brothel only grouse about how they have to find a new replacement for Toshiha, who was ungrateful to them, and Izumo snaps. She’s angry that they only think about Toshiha in terms of statistics when she was just KILLED. When they say Toshiha got what she deserved, Izumo takes it a step further and bitchslaps the lord in anger. Naturally, she gets taken to the punishment chamber for her behavior but Izumo doesn’t care – compared to whatever torture she will face, the pain of losing Toshiha feels worse.

The bantou (head clerk) who’s like a father figure to her comes to free her after, and comforts Izumo, but also tells her that Toshiha did break one of the rigid laws of the place. He’s nice ;_; Izumo can’t bring herself to work after losing Toshiha, and tells Mizuki to decline the work that is sent to her. Later, Tokikage sneaks into her room with her favorite daifuku that he’d stolen from somewhere…if he gets caught he’d be starved for a week, but tells her to eat up anyway. Izumo notices that he’s hurt, and grabs his arm to treat him. Tokikage, caught off guard, is super surprised and flustered (AHAHAHA) and Izumo laughs at his expression. He laughs too, glad that he made her laugh – it’s kind of his duty to, since Yukinari’s not the kind of person to make Izumo laugh LMFAO. Tokikage tells Izumo that they should now live fiercely for Toshiha’s sake, and get out of here fair and square. That’s why Izumo should stick to her beliefs, aim for the top, find someone she likes and leave this place. And after he sees Izumo gets out safely, he’ll leave Takamagahara as well.

A few weeks pass after that. Izumo has stopped weeping for Toshiha with time, but when she sees the same days pass by without her – she can’t help feeling sad. The lord calls her to his room suddenly; her debut as an oiran has been decided, and will be happening in three weeks. Her first customer will be some high-paying bigshot, and they’ve already let him know that she won’t be sleeping with clients. Izumo’s excited and very nervous about what is to come, and lets Tokikage and Yukinari know of this news. They’re shocked and a little worried too because of Izumo’s line of work, but support her – it’s the first step to achieving her dreams.

After practice, Izumo is passing by the lord’s chamber when she hears hushed voices discussing something. She stops, finding it suspicious, and eavesdrops. The lord and her future client are doing some kind of deal in money – the client pays even more to see her, and the lord thus allows him to sleep and ~play~ with her. Izumo is shocked by what she’s hearing; even though she was promised to not need to take clients to bed, here the lord is, selling her off. To add onto it, when the client asks how much it would be to pay off her debt, the lord says that he intends to keep Izumo as an oiran here FOR LIFE. There has to be a reason why he’s so keen on keeping her in Takamagahara. (Therefore the only way to get out is to destroy the place itself omg) Izumo, in shock, retreats to her room.

 

—- TOKIKAGE ROUTE —-

By this point, it’s like Izumo’s dreams have come to nothing since she won’t even be allowed to pay her way out. She had been able to endure all sorts of pain and humiliation as long as she had her dream to believe in, but now it’s further away than before. But she gets up to talk to the lord again – doing something is better than doing nothing. She’s aware of the consequences of admitting to eavesdropping, but a life of selling herself until she dies in this place is worse than physical punishment. The lord handwaves his ‘promise’ to her off because it wasn’t even written down or signed (BASTARD), she has no proof that he ever made such a promise. He won’t tell her why she isn’t allowed to pay her way out either, and basically subtly threatens her with death if she chooses to run, saying she’s well aware of what happens to those who leave.

Izumo leaves the room, running away. Her future now is incredibly bleak, and she bumps into Tokikage. She doesn’t want to worry him so lies that nothing is wrong, especially since he had been the one most happy for her when the lord had agreed to not let her sell her body. ;__; She doesn’t want to see him hurt if he knows the truth. But at the same time, to see Tokikage so worried about her – she doesn’t want to lie to him either, and tells him about what happened earlier.

Tokikage is pissed half to hell and rages about what utter bullshit all this is. He isn’t going to lie down and watch Izumo be toyed with until her mind and body breaks apart in this place. They’re going to break out together somehow. Izumo doesn’t like that he’s going to probably be persecuted as her accomplice should they be caught and tells him to stay out of her problems, but Tokikage insists – he’s also sick of this place. He promises to break her out someday. Caught between her desire to escape and her worry about Tokikage, Izumo’s feelings about his words remain complicated.

Tokikage drags Izumo to the back gardens one day and says it’s best to run before she debuts, because security on her will tighten after that. Izumo is still uncertain and Yukinari appears, having hidden himself in the area – he’s come to confirm that the two of them ARE intending to run away together, especially since there are RUMORS about this floating around already. Shit is getting real. It seems someone heard their conversation and reported this to the higher-ups, and even Yukinari and Tokikage’s workplace has been put on higher alert to pay attention to them. Yukinari warns them against whatever they’re planning because they know what awaits them…and while Tokikage gets angry over how Yukinari expects them to kick back and watch as horrible things happen, Yukinari says they cannot oppose the authorities. Tokikage insists he can break Izumo out and Yukinari gets angry, snapping that does he wish to kill Izumo!? Getting out of here is impossible to begin with.

Izumo feels both gratitude to Yukinari’s feelings, as well as bitterness that her escape is so sealed off. As Yukinari leads her away, Tokikage can’t do anything but seethe – and then Shinonome appears, offering to lend him a hand in his plans. Tokikage refuses and Shinonome sighs, adding that it’s not guaranteed that they will become happy even if they leave Takamagahara – after all, “you and I are cut from the same cloth”. Tokikage is shocked and wants to know what Shinonome knows about him, but Shinonome just dodges the question and tells him to be careful from now on~

Meanwhile, Mizuki is worrying over Izumo’s condition lately. Izumo thinks about how her selfish desires may affect even him when she leaves, and thinks that maybe it would be better to stay here and live quietly — but then Tokikage bursts in, dragging her aside and tells her that they should leave NOW, before security on them gets even worse (OI). Izumo refuses, but Tokikage sounds angry that she’s relying more on Yukinari’s words than his – doesn’t she believe in him? She was the one who had given him the strength to look forward when he’d given up on himself back when he was first taken here. Watching Izumo get up over and over again to escape as a kid was what made him rework his outlook as well – Izumo was the one who shaped Tokikage as a person. If she gives up now, what will happen to him!?

Izumo wants to break out with him more than ever…but. She can’t let him get involved, and basically pushes him away and avoids him. Putting distance between herself and him, the day of her oiran debut draws ever closer. during the parade, Yukinari warns that if Tokikage tries anything, he’ll stop him with everything he has. I FEEL SO SAD BECAUSE THIS IS BASICALLY A FLAG FOR THE INEVITABLE CHILDHOOD FRIENDS SHOWDOWN ;_; I WANT A HAPPY END FOR ALL THREE OF THEM DAMN IT. After her debut parade, Izumo has to take that old fart to bed and he almost does so until she realizes she can’t do this after all. Izumo calls for Tokikage, who arrives and basically kidnaps her. Izumo doesn’t want him to get caught up in the drama, but she decides that she does want to leave Takamagahara with him after all.

They manage to get past the main gates but outside, Yukinari stops them. He says it’s dangerous for Izumo to be outside of Takamagahara – something that makes Izumo think that him trying to stop Toikage is more than just ‘doing his job’. There’s something out there that he’s hiding from her. When asked, Yukinari hesitates. He’s about to say something but the rest of the squad arrives on the scene and there’s no time to talk. The two of them are about to fight – even if they’re longtime best friends, and Izumo can’t bear to watch this. She tells Yukinari to let them go: this is what she wants, to see the world. Yukinari is still convinced something will happen to her out there but lets Izumo go anyway, yelling at Tokikage that they next time they meet, it’ll be as enemies (since he’d be a criminal). Tokikage curses at Yukinari under his breath as he runs with Izumo, but Izumo notices that he looks a little sad as he does. THIS IS BREAKING MY HEART TBH WHY CAN’T ALL THREE OF THEM BE HAPPY TOGETHER;;

Anyway there turns out to be more of the Onmitsu squad guys hiding out all over the mountain that they escape out to. Izumo’s happy to finally see light and the sky, but they ain’t free yet. They’re offered a place to sleep at night by an old man in a little village, but even that turns out to be a trap set by the squad to capture them while they’re sleeping at night. You can’t trust nice people (SOB). Izumo wakes up when she hears people and alerts Tokikage, who fends them off. They decide to hide out in the mountains till day breaks since it’s safer that way, and manage to escape the squad once more. Tokikage had his suspicions about the old man and the village all along, saying that he’d separated them both on purpose and people in such a small village usually wouldn’t be this nice to outsiders. Izumo thanks Tokikage for being so reliable, and says she’ll continue to count on him from here on, which makes him huff because it’s like saying she didn’t rely on him before this www They rest together for the night.

They head to another village hoping to find board the next day, but even then it’s not safe – Tokikage sees members of the squad that he recognizes in the human crowd. He thinks it’s like their movements are being read by someone, probably Yukinari. Izumo recalls Yukinari’s pained expression before they’d fled Takamagahara, and wonders if there’s any reason why he’s so hell-bent on pursuing them. Tokikage decides the only way they can escape is to hide out somewhere where Yukinari wouldn’t think of: his hometown. The only problem left is whether the people there would house him or not. Tokikage’s expression as he says these words is something Izumo has never seen him wear. It’s going to be a hard journey from here on, but Izumo doesn’t regret calling out for him. In fact, she’s glad that it was Tokikage that took her out from Takamagahara, and he likewise is glad that he did – he doesn’t want to give her up to anyone. (This is when Izumo begins to feel Things for him, but isn’t sure what this ~feel~ is yet.)

Eventually, they find their way to a village. This is Tokikage’s hometown – his parents had died a long time ago and he’d been looked after by a relative in this place. He heads to their place and knocks on the door – Izumo notices how both the man and woman who answer freeze over upon noticing Tokikage. They guess that Izumo is from Takamagahara and appear to not want anything to do with the both of them, fearing trouble…but they accept the both of them into their house anyway. They can’t turn away Tokikage who’s practically begging them, or Izumo who looks incredibly exhausted.

Later, Tokikage explains why his relatives had been so cold to him: he’s part ayakashi, part human. He’s grateful his relatives had bothered to take him in at all, but his existence is pretty much bad luck and they’d sold him off to Takamagahara after he had spent some time in the village. Izumo doesn’t know what to say at all – but Tokikage says it’s alright, since he had always been alone in the village anyway. Izumo understands the pain of losing your parents and not having anywhere to head back to, and thinks Tokikage might have felt worse outside of Takamagahara back then. Tokikage tells Izumo not to think of silly things (like blaming herself for making him come back here) because this may be their break – Yukinari knows of Tokikage’s past, after all, and may not think they’d returned to this village. Izumo thinks it’s strange that his relatives’ attitudes changed the minute they heard they had fled from Takamagahara, but they have no choice but to stay over and believe in his relatives for now.

The next few days are spent without trouble at the village. However, Izumo is experiencing intervals of bright flashes, making her lose concentration. One of these episodes happens when she and Tokikage are out in the mountains, and she ends up almost slipping off a rock and falling into the river. There’s a scene where Tokikage attempts to catch fish to eat and falls into the river instead, then Izumo wades in because she thinks he might have drowned — and she ends up accidentally falling on top of him LMFAO. While they make a small fire and wait for their clothes to dry, Izumo reflects on how fresh all these experiences are to her, and thinks she’s gotten closer to Tokikage now. Tokikage is flustered by this and says he too wants to see more sides to her, and make her happy. GUYS PLS. Both of them share a mutually embarrassed moment. Well, all’s good until they return to the village…and Yukinari appears. They’ve been reported by someone in the village, and both Izumo and Tokikage guess that his relatives might have done so. CAN’T YOU TRUST ANYONE IN THIS WHOLE GAME CRIES.

Yukinari says that Izumo’s life is connected to Takamagahara itself. He’s heard (FROM WHO!?) that she cannot live outside of the place. Tokikage draws his blades, saying he’ll cut Yukinari if he won’t get out of their way. Yukinari likewise answers Tokikage’s feelings – he wants to protect Izumo’s life, but by taking her back. I’m just like GUYS DON’T FIGHT LMFAO I NEED SO MUCH STOMACH MEDICINE WATCHING THIS. Yukinari suddenly decides to talk – Izumo’s power has been sealed by Takamagahara itself. Moving any further from the place means eating into her life force, and eventually draining her till she dies. Tokikage is shocked into silence, and Izumo likewise doesn’t get what Yukinari is saying. But that’s all Yukinari knows; he hadn’t managed to hear any more than this. Izumo suddenly recalls the flashes of light she’d been experiencing – she’d thought it had just been fatigue, but what if…? (She decides to keep this a secret from Tokikage first, afraid of worrying him even more.)

Tokikage gets angry and demands to know how to undo this seal. Even if Yukinari insists there’s no way out, he’s just going to find a way to solve this and crush whatever’s holding Izumo back. Yukinari, having been defeated by Tokikage in their fight, sighs and tells them to do whatever they want – and walks away. After he does, Tokikage tells Izumo to head to the ayakashi realm with him. They can’t stay in the human realm anymore, after this. On their way to the road to the ayakashi realm, Tokikage tells Izumo that he’d lied a little to her – his mother is still in the ayakashi realm. She’d apparently ditched him as a kid when his father died and returned to her home realm. Izumo doesn’t blame him for lying to her at all; the pain of losing your parents is one thing, but the pain of being abandoned feels so much worse. He doesn’t mind seeing his mother, if it means finding a way to save Izumo – Izumo is so pained by Tokikage’s kindness, and so am I omg. He’s a good man.

They decide to hide out in the futon storage of some inn. HAHAHA. Tokikage heads out to pinch some food for them, and Izumo is about to rest when she’s attacked by a gyuuki – an ayakashi with a bovine head and a spider’s body. She tries to fend it off but is about to be eaten when Tokikage bursts back in, and attacks the thing. However, it flees with Izumo still in its clutches. Tokikage’s leg was hurt in the scuffle but gives chase and manages to cut off some of its legs, snatching Izumo back. However, they’re in a pretty huge pinch right now and have no choice but to run…but Tokikage’s leg is hurting too badly, a crowd is gathering, and the gyuuki is going on a rampage. Suddenly, Izumo is grabbed by a woman who seems familiar even though they just met – the woman tells her to follow, claiming that she’s their ally. She appears to recognize Izumo as well; Tokikage is suspicious but they have no choice in the matter. Run first, talk later!

They manage to flee, but the woman warns them that they better treat Tokikage fast – the gyuuki’s poison has already entered his body through the wound, and his life may be in danger. She offers to treat them at her place but Tokikage is suspicious of her. They’d been betrayed twice already, and he demands to know who she is. The woman is unwilling to talk, but eventually says that – she’s his mother. She begs him to listen before he dies; she wants to save him. Izumo realizes that this is why she found the woman familiar, it’s because she resembles Tokikage. Izumo persuades Tokikage to listen to her as well, because she’s worried about his health if there really is poison.

After treating him, the woman explains – she hadn’t meant to abandon Tokikage. This is hard for him to accept as she’d been absent in his life, and she continues her story: if ayakashi and humans mate, the human partner would lose their life. This is the first time Izumo or Tokikage have heard of this, given that ayakashi-human relations are forbidden in Takamagahara. His mother explains that his father had loved her even at the cost of his life, and traded that in return for Tokikage’s existence. His relatives had naturally hated her, believing that she had stolen his father’s life away. She had regretted what happened until he was born – she thought of Tokikage as their treasure and wanted to raise him well. However, she had left him behind. She’d been told by the relatives to give up Tokikage to them as a replacement for his father’s life. She regrets what she’d done – as a mother, she should have brought him with her, she should have protected him. But she’d given into the pressure and let go of him.

Tokikage just comments that she doesn’t understand the first thing about his feelings – thinking he’d be happier in the human realm was her mistake. As a half-ayakashi, he doesn’t belong anywhere among humans, even if he has no powers of any sort. All he got was being treated like misfortune and an outsider. His mother looks ready to cry as she apologizes to him, but Tokikage continues to face her coldly. She had promised not to see him a second time when she’d left, but decided to break that promise to visit him one day. Even Tokikage sounds surprised at this. But by the time she’d returned, he had already been sold to Takamagahara – she had tried to buy him back, but was denied. There’s no helping if he thinks he’s been thrown away, since she’s this useless as his mother. I’M JUST CRYING I CAN’T STAND THESE STORIES GHHGHGH ;_;

Tokikage can’t simply accept all this so easily. He’d lived thinking he’d been thrown away, after all. Izumo doesn’t know what to say – she just knows that from his mother’s words…he is, indeed, loved. She tells him that she believes there isn’t a parent that doesn’t love their kid in some way – even her, as an oiran’s child, was born even though giving birth is no small deal for an oiran. She may not understand fully Tokikage’s pain, but she hopes that he can at least accept that his mother considers him important. Tokikage understands, but he just needs time to sort out his feelings.

Izumo later thinks about his mother’s words – if she gets together with Tokikage, who’s half-ayakashi, would she die!? She feels a little pained at the thought of not being able to be with him, and realizes that she likes him. Suddenly, they’re attacked by a gang of ayakashi. According to Tokikage’s mother, the strength of “Kusanagi’s treasure” has drawn them here, likely!? They manage to flee after a hard scuffle and hide under a bridge, and Tokikage’s mother explains to them what Kusanagi’s treasure is – it’s the power to bend all ayakashi to a person’s will. And that power rests in Izumo herself. She, like Tokikage, is half-human, half-ayakashi. His mother asks Tokikage if he’s noticed, and he cannot deny his knowledge of Izumo’s mixed blood. Even if they look like a human being, ayakashi can tell their fellows apart. Izumo must have been attacked because of this power that she holds.

Tokikage’s mother can sense power from Izumo that draws ayakashi to her – however, it’s incomplete. Tokikage guesses that this is due to it being sealed off by Takamagahara, as per Yukinari’s words. His mother guesses that the key to undoing the seal must also exist in Takamagahara, and this seal may have something to do with why this kind of power rests inside her. Before they can get any further, they’re attacked by the ayakashi from before. Izumo is caught and Tokikage is pushed aside – he’s about to be killed because he keeps getting in their way, when his mother covers for him and gets stabbed in his place. Izumo is shocked silent by what happens and Tokikage SNAPS. He beheads the ayakashi in front of him immediately, then sets about butchering the one holding Izumo. Later, he heads wordlessly to his mother, cradling her – she apologizes for everything she’s done, and wishes to let him know that her and his father have always loved him and tells him to protect what is important to him, forever. Izumo and Tokikage wordlessly see her off as she dies, and they hurriedly bury his mother in an off-the-path graveyard before they leave. All this while, Tokikage remains quiet.

Later, they finally get to talking again. Tokikage is grateful that he’s been given the chance to understand his mother’s feelings. It’s not like he can forgive someone who would just abandon him on his own and leave, but he couldn’t get anything he wanted to say to his mom out of his mouth when they’d met. Izumo feels terrible for getting his mother involved and killed in this mess, and begins to think about what will happen if she returns to Takamagahara now – who will she get into trouble next? Would it be better if she disappeared? But just as she thinks this, Tokikage hugs her tightly from behind. He says he’s glad he’d come here; if he had never, he would never have met his mother at all in this life. He would have hated her forever. But having talked to her, met her, and being saved – he understands now what a ‘mother’ is, even just a little, and has no regrets coming here. The death of his mother (he actually starts to call her ‘kaasan’ here ;_;) is Takamagahara’s fault, not Izumo’s, and he’s determined to settle that score so as not to let her life go to waste. His passion and determination lift Izumo’s feelings once more.

They reach Takamagahara at last and…Mizuki is the one who greets them at the gates. He’d heard that they were heading back (HOW) and wants to lend them his help. He’d never let anything bad happen to Izumo 😦 However, Izumo feels a little uneasy at whatever she senses in Mizuki’s expression. He leads them into a quiet and narrow road to talk…and then just as Tokikage notes that there’s no escape route should they be cornered here, members from the Onmitsu squad arrive. Mizuki has betrayed them 😦

Anyway, they’re captured and thrown into jail. Mizuki comes to see them to tell them the truth behind his actions. He’d been ordered by Takamagahara’s higher-ups to attend to Izumo, so as to watch her actions. Her mother (human) and her dad (ayakashi) had a relationship. Her father had wanted to save her mother’s life and had no choice but to use the treasure of Kusanagi, that could bend the lives of others to its will. Her mother’s life was saved and Izumo, who was in her mother’s womb at the time, also received that power. Still, when Takamagahara found them out, they were killed anyway. They pulled her out from her mother’s womb (WTF) and intended to raise her as a human, ignorant to her powers, sealing it here.

Mizuki lets Izumo out of her cell after, leaving Tokikage (who’s really pissed). He brings her to the brothel where he’s ordered to string her up in a room. Meanwhile, Yukinari shows up to see Tokikage – and Tokikage yells at him not to be such a wet blanket about things; how can he just let all this shit happen to Izumo? There’s got to be a way to save her in Takamagahara itself – his mother had told him this and so he believes in her words. Tokikage’s unwavering attitude shakes Yukinari and manages to move something in him – if there really is a way to save Izumo, Yukinari will lend them a hand. I want to strangle something WHY DIDN’T YOU DO THIS EARLIER!!! IDIOT!!!!! Even Tokikage is all “Huh!?!??” about it, and Yukinari apologizes for getting in their way so much; he’d truly believed that Izumo would be saved if she remained here and couldn’t think of any other way at the time.

Yukinari and Tokikage stand off face-to-face for a little while before Tokikage jibes that he’d thought Yukinari was more cool and unmoving than this, and Yukinari likewise chides that he’d never thought Tokikage could be this strong-willed. They both laugh a little (aw) before getting back to business. Yukinari breaks Tokikage out and they soon alert the squad guys LMFAO. Tokikage gripes that all’s fine as long as he’s out, and Yukinari tells him to chill, he’s hurt isn’t he?

Tokikage: !? How did you know about my foot!?

Yukinari: I can tell by your movements. How many years do you think we’ve been together?

Tokikage: smh

Yukinari: Why don’t you just hide behind me?

Tokikage: I’d rather die than be protected by you!?

Why can’t this game give me more of these two and Izumo? Why??? I want to throw stuff at Yukinari but WELCOME BACK LMFAO. Anyway, they bust their way out and head to free Izumo. Yukinari asks for Izumo’s forgiveness, and…Izumo chooses to believe in him – the three of them have been together for so long after all. CHILDHOOD FRIENDS ARE JUSTICE.

However, Mizuki meets them in the back street that they run to, followed by more members of the squad here to get in their way. Mizuki taunts Tokikage and Yukinari, and Izumo senses that something isn’t right here – it’s like he’s provoking them to attack him on purpose. Tokikage clashes with him, saying he’ll make Izumo happy no matter what, and that it’s more important to him than Mizuki’s life, even. Hearing this, Mizuki says he’s glad – and grabs Tokikage’s dagger, plunging it into himself. He walks away after that, bleeding as he does. Izumo wants to chase after Mizuki but the other squad guys get in their way. The three childhood friends are about to be overwhelmed when an alarm sounds – fire is spreading rapidly through Takamagahara and they take the chance to escape in the confusion.

Upon reaching the gates, Izumo spots Mizuki in the streets. He tells them not to come near him – he’s about to die anyway. If he dies, Izumo will be given her freedom, and Yukinari guesses that: Mizuki is the ‘key’ to Izumo’s seal. As long as he exists, Izumo cannot be given freedom, she cannot be happy. That’s why he’d gone so far to betray them, to be wounded fatally, and to later burn Takamagahara down while they were fighting with the squad – all was for the sake of trading his life in exchange for Izumo’s freedom. He apologizes for not doing this earlier, for not killing himself sooner – he’d wanted to be with her more, and his feelings for her got in the way. But now with his death, Izumo can obtain happiness. He tells Tokikage to take care of Izumo, and walks away into the burning street. Izumo cries out for Mizuki but he doesn’t turn back, and has to be pulled away by Tokikage. He hugs her outside, looking like he’s about to cry himself – how can something so terrible be the only way to give Izumo her freedom? But still, he wants to make her happy. They have to get out of here. Izumo thanks Mizuki for his final sacrifice for her, and leaves with the other two.

Outside, Izumo tastes proper freedom for the first time – it’s a heavy and scary feeling, thinking about the future she has ahead of her. But now, she’s properly free from whatever had held her back before. Yukinari goes so far as to practically confess on behalf of Tokikage, saying he’ll be stepping out now because there’s something between him and Izumo that no one can barge into – there’s no way he doesn’t like Izumo since he DID risk his life for her countless times, right? Tokikage can’t even deny this \o/ Yukinari says he’ll be off on his way now ‘cos he doesn’t want to get in between them; he doesn’t know where to but he’ll find somewhere to live peacefully. NOOOO COME BACKKK. When Tokikage objects, he laughs and says maybe Tokikage will be lonely if he’s gone? Tokikage huffs when Izumo affirms that it’s more likely for Tokikage to be lonely over Yukinari leaving. I love the three of them together can I just have an end where they live together? No?

ANYWAY. Tokikage admits that it’s cos they’ve been together since they were little, after all…’sides, stop making it sound like they’ll never meet again wtf! Yukinari says that of course, if he lives, they’ll surely meet again sometime, somewhere. Tokikage makes him promise this before he leaves, and Yukinari bids them both farewell. (and Tokikage immediately regrets and thinks maybe they should all just live together or something, but gets all “DNW” when Izumo actually suggests it LMFAO) From now on they’re both gonna be together, and they’ll find happiness together. They kiss and confess mutually, and Tokikage promises to protect her from here on too.

They end up living in a nice village for about 6 months where no one bothers about each other’s pasts because everyone’s here for Reasons. It seems Takamagahara’s on the verge of being closed down for good after the incident, and the onmitsu squad’s about to be disbanded so there’s not going to be anymore people coming after them. Sometimes she still feels uncertain about this happiness – after all that struggling, finally she’s obtained something with Tokikage, and she’s scared this will turn out to be all a dream. However, Mizuki and Tokikage’s mother had both hoped for their happiness. Tokikage reminds Izumo to be strong and she agrees; she will live for the sake of those that had given their lives to pave the way to her present freedom.

Bad End: Tokikage dies fending off the squad guys when Mizuki ‘betrays’ them. Izumo’s heart and soul died that day and she gave up on her own life, submitting to the lifestyle of an oiran and taking men to bed every night. She understands that she’ll be thrown away eventually, but is no longer able to feel anything after the loss of Tokikage.

 

—- YUKINARI ROUTE —-

After the whole fiasco with the lord lying to her, Izumo goes to see the lord and is taken out by the head teacher to be punished for her insolence. Tokikage charges in to save her with a lie that he needs to borrow one of the girls to calm an angry client on the upper floors, and takes Izumo away…to the rooms of the Onmitsu squad, the one he shares with Yukinari (kinda). He asks her what’s wrong and Izumo doesn’t want to tell him until Yukinari comes in, having overheard everything. He explains the whole thing about Izumo being lied to about taking clients to bed. Yukinari says it’s just how Takamagahara works, you have to abide by the laws of the place – and Izumo feels a little hurt that he won’t take her side in the matter. This annoys Tokikage, who tells him to lay off a little. However, Yukinari thinks it’s better to hit Izumo with the harsh truth that she’s better off in this place, and this makes Tokikage angrier. He drags Izumo out to her room.

Izumo quietly accepts her fate to remain in Takamagahara, and tells Tokikage not to apologize for getting angry for her sake. She was an idiot to believe in such ideal dreams, and would never be able to escape with the person she likes. She leaves the room and heads to the streets, where she bumps into Hakuren who asks her what’s wrong because Izumo looks terrible. He’d taken an interest in her because she struggled without giving up on her dreams of getting out of here though she’d get hurt, and he’s not very happy to see her give up now either. Izumo thinks he’s kind of unfathomable – she’s never told him about her dreams, how can he guess them so easily? Hakuren doesn’t get her feelings so he’s not here to give her shallow words, but tells her one thing: he can take her out of this place. Hakuren offers a hand to Izumo, but they’re interrupted by Yukinari who tells him to buzz off. Hakuren warns that Yukinari won’t be able to handle Izumo someday, and should be careful he doesn’t get hurt in the process. Yukinari likewise warns him not to break too many rules before he gets burnt, and Hakuren leaves.

Izumo is scolded by Yukinari, who is SUPER worried about her. She tells him nothing happened before heading to work, sighing that Yukinari always treats her like a little sister. She wants their relationship to change, and realizes – well, Tokikage has probably realized it when Izumo talked about never being able to leave with the person she likes – that the person she likes is Yukinari. THIS WAS VERY FAST!? Izumo thinks it’s better to not hold such feelings after realizing the despair of her situation – and besides, Yukinari would never like her back since he’s always treating her like a sister/just a childhood friend.

On the day of her debut, something happens: someone (probably Shinonome) set fire to the city. Izumo can’t get out on time in the panic and almost dies of smoke inhalation until she’s saved by Yukinari, who stayed behind to look for her. When he carries her out to the gates, Izumo persuades him to let her escape in the confusion. Even once, she wants to see the outside world – staying in Takamagahara is as good as dying to her. Yukinari can’t hold her back after those words and tells her to go. Later, Mizuki sees him alone and while he’s glad he’s safe, where’s Izumo? Yukinari explains what happened – and the squad alarm whistle sounds; they’ve noticed Izumo is missing. Yukinari intends to give Izumo time to escape and is prepared to die stalling time fighting the squad, but Mizuki yells at him for being irresponsible. If he dies, who’s going to protect Izumo!? He should be chasing after her instead!! Mizuki will buy time by transforming into her, so Yukinari better get moving fast. Yukinari is worried for Mizuki’s safety if he gets caught, but Mizuki insists on doing it – he lies Izumo too and wants to give her freedom, but he can’t do it in any other way than this. That’s why Yukinari, who can protect Izumo in more ways, should live and give her happiness.

Yukinari finds Izumo and saves her from some squad members who’ve jumped her. Izumo feels bad about getting Yukinari caught up in this but is glad he came; at the same time, she wonders why he would take such a huge risk for her – she doesn’t quite understand his feelings. 😦 They hide out in the forest for one night after visiting a village, and Hakuren appears while Izumo sleeps. He wants to obtain Izumo – or more correctly, the power that she holds (Kusanagi’s treasure). Yukinari learns about the existence of the ‘seal’ on her, and is super displeased that Hakuren knows of Izumo’s ‘secrets’. Hakuren says Takamagahara is using her powers for their own selfish gain, and Izumo come to understand someday that she would be better off with him, using her powers correctly – even more so now that the seal on her is gone (AAAHHHHHHGH). Yukinari refuses to budge, because it’s his duty to protect Izumo. Hakuren says he reminds him of someone he knew – that person, who was an ayakashi, wanted to protect someone. However, those who get near Kusanagi’s treasure become affected by its power. Without telling Yukinari any more, Hakuren leaves, saying that Izumo will become his someday.

They move to somewhere he considers safe – the house his father used to live in. Izumo realizes that though she, Tokikage and Yukinari have been together for so long, she doesn’t know the first thing about their pasts before Takamagahara. This village is one where everyone has their own circumstances, and Izumo would be safe hiding out here. Yukinari intends to head back to Takamagahara to report her ‘death’, and in doing so will receive punishment for his betrayal. Izumo grabs him and practically shakes him for what he’s saying, how can he leave her like this!? Yukinari thinks he doesn’t deserve to receive these kind words from her. He tells her his past:

His father used to work as part of the Onmitsu squad’s Tsukuyomi sector like him. Izumo’s mother was an oiran at the time. Her mother had romantic relations with an ayakashi male, and thus broke Takamagahara’s rules. The person who had killed her parents when they tried to flee Takamagahara was his father. His father, feeling immense guilt over his deeds, fled Takamagahara right after and hid out in this house, later killing himself. He’d left Yukinari a letter telling him to protect Izumo no matter what, and never returned since. Yukinari is thus the only person who knows of this village hideout.

Yukinari feels TERRIBLE at having kept silent about this all this while. He thinks of Izumo as something beyond a childhood friend; he wants to protect her of his own will as well, but has been lying to her all this time. He feels incredibly guilty and apologizes – he’d wanted to break her out many times, but he’d always remember what happened to their parents and get afraid that the same may happen to Izumo. That’s why he’d thought staying in Takamagahara had been the only way to protect her. However, Izumo’s feelings to him don’t change at all. The one who ordered this tragedy was Takamagahara. Yukinari shouldn’t need to blame himself. Yukinari can’t believe he’s being forgiven, but tells Izumo what he truly feels anyway – besides atoning for his father’s sin, he also wants to be with her. And to Izumo, that makes her happy enough. Yukinari also warns her about the ‘power’ she holds; neither of them know what that is at this point, but he guesses that to retrieve that, Takamagahara will pursue Izumo.

The next few days are spent in peace until members of Yukinari’s squad manage to track them down. Yukinari gets caught giving Izumo a chance to escape, and is taken away to be tortured by the brothel lord. Here, it’s revealed that the lord knows of his father’s suicide because it was he who ordered it – they’d found his father hiding out and ordered him to commit suicide via harakiri because taking him back for a trial would be too troublesome WTF. Yukinari looks ready to tear the guy apart but he can’t escape his torture, and in the end is thrown into prison for the time being so he won’t die…yet. Seriously this old fucker can burn down with Takamagahara.

Anyway, Tokikage comes to visit Yukinari and scolds him for being lame – if he can’t even protect Izumo till the end, why even bother taking her out then!? He got himself caught and Tokikage says he’ll be the one to protect her now if Yukinari doesn’t even have the guts to (since he’s too busy self-blaming over the thing w/ his dad and Izumo’s parents PLS DUDE). After Tokikage leaves, Hakuren appears LMFAO. Yukinari you are so popular. Hakuren basically gives Yukinari a Reason Why You Suck Speech and says well, don’t worry anyway, he’s going to take Izumo from Takamagahara. All the taunting makes Yukinari angry, and he begins to think of a way to save Izumo somehow.

Outside, Tokikage is clutching his head over how he hadn’t wanted to FIGHT with Yukinari back then – he’d wanted to talk to him but he’d gotten worked up. Ryuuji calls out to him suddenly; he’s here to check on Takamagahara’s condition and it seems the whole place is pretty much burnt up after the fire. Ryuuji is worried about Izumo, and Tokikage lets him know what happened. For the moment, Tokikage is sure Izumo is heading to Takamagahara to save Yukinari, and wants to save the both of them somehow. Ryuuji offers to lend them a hand in any way he can; he wants to become Izumo’s strength somehow as well (AWGH).

Izumo has indeed come back because she can’t live with letting Yukinari be tortured and killed for her sake. She’s found by Tokikage, who tells her to basically chill – he understands she’s anxious, but what can she do alone right now!? If she wants to save Yukinari, she should think about herself first and lie low, he’ll figure something out (I agree). She heads to the empty house that Tokikage points out to her and hides. Later, Ryuuji arrives with food for Izumo and explains that he’s here to help. He apologizes for not being able to do anything for her sooner, and appears to be pretty sad about the rigid rules of Takamagahara that have stolen her freedom. RYUUJI IS A GOOD MAN. Anyway, Izumo’s able to get a good night’s rest cos of his nice words.

The next morning, there’s some commotion outside. Izumo has a bad feeling about it and rushes out to see that Yukinari has essentially been crucified to wait for his execution the next day. Amongst the crowd of onlookers, Izumo calls out his name and is about to dash to him when Tokikage drags her back. Izumo doesn’t want to listen and seemingly commands him let go with her powers – but Tokikage manages to grab her again and take her back. They have no choice but to wait for security on Yukinari to lessen before busting him out. Tokikage says they may be able to make use of Izumo’s powers – he’s aware she’s a half-blood, and that whatever was holding her back before is now gone. Ryuuji is new to all this so it’s a bit of a shock HAHA. Izumo hardens her resolve to settle everything the next day somehow (Tokikage has a Plan). She wants a future with Yukinari, damn it!

The day of his execution is here and Tokikage turns out to be the executor LMFAO. However, he manages to draw Yukinari’s attention to Izumo in the crowd – and watching Yukinari’s expression change, the brothel lord catches sight of Izumo and orders her capture. This distracts everyone enough and Tokikage frees Yukinari in the confusion. They basically roughhouse their way out with Izumo (who’s using her powers by wishing very strongly for stuff to happen) and leave Takamagahara – but then Hakuren is the last boss standing in their way. He and Yukinari face off against each other and Yukinari says he won’t hand Izumo over; he won’t lose to Hakuren in terms of feelings. He wins the fight, and Hakuren wonders if things would’ve turned out different if he had some grasp on what “feelings” were; what you want can’t be obtained only through a sense of duty or impatience. Hakuren promises to lay off as stated, but if Yukinari fails in protecting Izumo, he’ll be back HAHAHA. Yukinari believes that in his own way, Hakuren also has something very important that he’s shouldering.

Anyway, the three childhood friends leave Takamagahara together after this. Yukinari ants to apologize for dragging Tokikage into all this but Tokikage hugs ’em both and tells him that WHATEVER, no regrets, ‘sides he prefers this option anyway. Yukinari had better protect what’s important to him now, for both Tokikage and Mizuki’s sake (Izumo had heard about Mizuki dying to let her escape from Tokikage earlier). I WANT A 3P END DAMN IT. But this is not to be as Tokikage says he ain’t gonna get in the way of the two lovers and wants to go his own way. Izumo and Yukinari are worried for him – but as Tokikage leaves, Yukinari makes him promise that they’ll meet again somewhere. Izumo yells her thanks after Tokikage as well. Yukinari says that surely Tokikage must have liked her to do so much for them both…(FAR LOOK) The obligatory confession scene happens after because neither of them need to put a lid on their feels anymore, and can live together now!!

Bad End: During the execution, Yukinari is freed by Tokikage but then Tokikage is caught and Izumo is threatened – if she leaves, he’ll be killed. She can’t bear to see that happen and so returns to Takamagahara. Yukinari is made into the next ‘key’ to the seal, and replaces Mizuki, trapping Izumo. To leave again she’ll have to kill Yukinari, which she cannot do. Izumo’s heart dies as she continues to take in clients to sleep with as an oiran, and Yukinari is made to watch this happen every day.

 

—- RYUUJI ROUTE —-

Ryuuji is a good man tbh, also a very intense guy when it comes down to it. Izumo is put into one of the display cages with the rest of the lower-class oiran as punishment for eavesdropping on the lord’s convo. She has to endure the shame of being put on display and Ryuuji, who has confessed that he likes her somewhere in the common route, is shocked to see Izumo there.

Later, Izumo is also told by Shinonome that the day of her debut has been decided, and she feels crushed that she cannot escape her fate of being an oiran. When the day ends, Izumo is about to head back to the dorms when Ryuuji catches her and asks her what was that all about, is she okay? She doesn’t have to force herself in front of him. Izumo doesn’t want to trouble him but she ends up crying anyway, because Ryuuji is too nice 😦 She tells him everything about her situation and he gets angry, declaring that it must be something to do with money; so the only thing left for him to do is to save up even more and buy her out of here. Izumo is shocked, but eventually accepts Ryuuji’s feelings, and realizes she must like him to be this happy too.

The next few days, she works hard to save up at work and also sells away the gifts that she’s stored up over time from her clients. Ryuuji is also in the human realm, asking around for loans. He keeps getting turned away, but he doesn’t give up. WHY IS HE SO NICE _(:3_ This pays off because the relatives he asked for help can see his determination, and eventually do lend him some money ;_; However, it’s still not enough and Ryuuji says he might have to resort to using his last option – then Shinonome arrives to see him, well aware of Ryuuji’s situation. He offers to help Ryuuji out a little, and later arranges to meet him at night. Shinonome then arrives with an INCREDIBLE sum of money (which shocks Ryuuji, because he wasn’t sure if he could trust Shinonome even as a friend) that he lends to Ryuuji.

However, the lord of the brothel, who is a piece of shit, will still not accept Ryuuji’s money because it doesn’t include the living expenses Izumo incurred since her birth. He ups the price on her head and says that if Ryuuji cannot get the amount by the time Izumo makes her debut, they can just call the whole deal off. But a few days later, OBVIOUSLY shit goes wrong because the lord pushes forward her debut without warning, and Izumo is hit with this fact suddenly. Mizuki doesn’t like what all this is leading up to and runs off, seemingly with a plan to set up something. Whilst preparing for the parade to mark her debut, Izumo asks Mizuki to help her put on the hair accessory Ryuuji gifted to her in the beginning – the only thing she has that connects her to him; she believes she will lose the right to see Ryuuji again after sleeping with clients.

Izumo’s parade is over and she’s about to spend the night with this gross old guy who booked her – then Ryuuji appears and grabs her, running away. He was told of the lord’s sudden change in plans by Mizuki. He asks Izumo while they are running away about her feelings – will she come with him? For her sake, he’s willing to do anything and even risk his life, and Izumo finds it very touching that someone would actually bother to listen to her feelings clearly. 😦 She answers that she will leave this place with him, and — a fire breaks out. I’m guessing Mizuki set this up so Izumo could escape;; She’s super worried for him and her friends, but Ryuuji can’t let her go; she’ll be caught. Their way is blocked by fallen debris and they’re going to be burnt up in the fire, until Mizuki arrives in his tengu form and clears the way for them. He yells at them to leave before they really die, do they seriously want it to end here!? Mizuki leads them to the front gate, but…doesn’t escape with them. He remains in Takamagahara while Ryuuji drags Izumo out in the panic. Izumo yells for him but the burning buildings collapse, obscuring Mizuki from sight after he tells her he will be okay. MIZUKIIII ;____;

Ryuuji takes Izumo out of Takamagahara to his hometown. On the way they’re caught by Tokikage, who of course lets them go because TOKIKAGE IS A REALLY NICE GUY??? Anyway Ryuuji has more or less given up his job for Izumo and after showing her to his relatives, he begins life anew with her, living together. Things are a little cramped and dusty in his solo home but Izumo is happy to live simply with the man she loves. However, this doesn’t go on forever because the onmitsu police people are after her. Hakuren arrives one day to check on them and he got lost on the way here LMFAO. He comments that Izumo’s smell has gotten weaker (hence less ayakashi attacks as well) and recognizes that while Izumo won’t leave with him, she’s going to be more or less okay with Ryuuji and leaves. Izumo follows along to buy stuff for dinner and to see Hakuren off, and while she’s away, the guys from Takamagahara bust into the home and take Ryuuji away on charges that he’d 1) abducted Izumo 2) set fire to the place omg. Rubbish LOL

Izumo is super upset to hear of this but receives support from Tokikage, who visits her to comfort her and to warn her to keep low for now. However, the tide isn’t in Ryuuji’s favor as he had previously tried to buy off Izumo, and part of the money he offered up turned out to be fake (SHINONOME…). Izumo cannot bear the prospect of Ryuuji dying for her sake and under false accusations even though he’d been glad she wasn’t caught, and decides to return to Takamagahara disguised as a merchant. She’s let in and shown to Ryuuji’s prison by Shinonome, who appears randomly and offers to help. There, Ryuuji is shocked to see them because Shinonome turned into his ayakashi form and leapt across roofs and through the window of the room LMAO. Ryuuji and Izumo reaffirm their feelings for each other and Ryuuji begs her to leave while she still can because he wants to give her her freedom, but Izumo refuses. She is here to save him. Shinonome as well chides Ryuuji for getting himself into this situation, and while he wants to break him out, he can’t do anything to the reinforced cell with talismans warding off ayakashi. Ryuuji asks him to take care and to protect Izumo for him just before Shinonome is about to leave with Izumo, and Shinonome appears angry at this request. When they get back onto the ground, Shinonome leaves Izumo and sounds super upset about something, telling her to leave him be, while questioning why Ryuuji would entrust her to someone like him before vanishing.

Then, Izumo is caught by someone – who turns out to be Yukinari HAHAHA. He and Tokikage have been looking for her since they saw someone jump down from the cell tower. They agree to lend Izumo a hand in searching for the real culprit behind the fire to clear Ryuuji’s name. Turns out the fire had been set in multiple places at the same time, so how could Ryuuji have done it alone? They bring what information they have to Ryuuji in a few days – he’s super grateful to everyone for risking their lives to help him, but the news about the fake money and the fires seems to spark off some kind of suspicion in him. Upset, he reveals that the amount found to be fake was exactly the amount lent to him by Shinonome. He laments about what he’d done to upset Shinonome, because he had sincerely thought him to be a friend – and now that friend turned around to be the person responsible for everything? Izumo wants to pat Ryuuji but she cannot 😦

The day of Ryuuji’s execution arrives. The lord refuses to hear out Yukinari or Tokikage’s requests for more time to search for the real culprit, even kicking Yukinari when Yukinari begs him omg. PIECE OF SHIT. Izumo cannot stand seeing Ryuuji demand for them to end his life to let her be free, and reveals her true identity in front of the crowd. She lies that Ryuuji was not involved with taking her out at all, and has returned of her own accord. Ryuuji is shocked by Izumo’s actions (GURL WHY) but she’s all I CAN’T LIVE IF LIVING IS WITHOUT YOU. However, the lord is still going to kill Ryuuji off because they still think he set fire to Takamagahara LMAO. But at this moment…a real fire breaks out.

Shinonome appears on the scene while everyone panics, and sets Ryuuji free. Confused and hurt by Shinonome’s help…or betrayal…Ryuuji asks him what is up with his actions, and Shinonome spits out that he hated Ryuuji – he got along with everyone no matter what, unlike someone like him who belonged nowhere. Shinonome yells at Ryuuji and Izumo to leave before they die in the flames, snatching Izumo’s hairpin from her and saying he’ll return it later. Izumo makes him confirm that he WILL return it to her, before running off with Ryuuji. Among the flames, Shinonome corners the lord who begs for mercy, but Shinonome just laughs, deriding Takamagahara’s entire existence before stabbing him with Izumo’s hairpin.

Good End: Izumo and Ryuuji break free from the flames and leave Takamagahara, ready to start life again. Ryuuji is determined not to die this time; he ain’t got time for that shit anymore. He will live alongside her for the rest of his life, and feels truly blessed to have Izumo by his side. Their life together has been won with many sacrifices, and the both of them end up living together again, determined to be happy. There’s a CG of them in bed together because it’s winter and it’s cold but the epilogue is just largely married life stuff. I hope Tokikage and Yukinari survived in this end LMAO

Bad End: Izumo collapses, realizing the weight of her freedom. Many have died for her sake so far and she can’t take it anymore so more or less gives up on escaping suddenly LMAO. This is weird. Anyway Ryuuji can’t leave her so they just sort of accept that they’ll die together now. They head indoors to conduct some kind of marriage ceremony and wed each other, holding each other before the roof burns down on them. At the same time, Izumo realizes she’s happy to be with Ryuuji in her final moments. Outside, Hakuren sighs that everything happened way too fast and they had to go and die like that? Seriously? (yeah me too man me too) However because this is Hakuren he doesn’t forget to emphasize that whatever…Izumo is still his. TBH, a lot of mysteries.

 

—- HAKUREN ROUTE —-

Hakuren is persistent as always in his own route…but here, Izumo gets to spend more time with him like hanging out during the festival and stuff, so she warms up to him much faster. This comes much to Yukinari’s dismay, because he’s constantly suspicious of Hakuren’s motives for trying to take Izumo out of Takamagahara. However, Hakuren’s doing more good stuff here because he even comforts Izumo after she loses Toshiha. Hakuren meets up with Izumo in secret and she tells him about her dream to see the Ama-no-gawa, the famed river of stars that the two lovers cross on tanabata. In Takamagahara, there is only the moon to look at – there are no stars here. Hakuren promises to return to see her again and to eventually take her away from here. He’s also willing to pay off the lord for her.

One day, they put this plan into action and he heads to see the lord of the brothel to request to pay Izumo’s way out. The lord is a piece of shit as usual and is all ~oh no I cannot~ by making up a hell lot of bullshit excuses, mostly ‘cos he just wants the Kusanagi’s treasure to himself LOL. Hakuren is likewise aware of that, as his secrets also have something to do with the treasure, which he knows resides in Izumo. After the failed request, Izumo is more or less locked up in a room and a shikigami placed on her to watch her actions – neither Mizuki nor Yukinari can do anything to help her by this point, and Yukinari warns her again to not try to escape Takamagahara for her own sake. Izumo’s oiran ceremony is also pushed forward, with the lord anxious to chain her down before Hakuren can take her away.

On the day of the ceremony, Izumo couldn’t find any way to escape and so feels pretty terrible as she does the obligatory parade around town. Halfway, a Hyakki Yakou appears – a long procession of ayakashi, and leading it is Hakuren. It’s a rare sight to see because the hyakki yakou has stopped appearing for some years due to turbulence in the ayakashi world, and Izumo wonders what power Hakuren must have to be able to assemble one. When the two processions meet, Hakuren abducts Izumo and flees, leaving the other ayakashi to fend off the onmyou squads that try to give chase. Izumo is happy that Hakuren came to keep his promise about helping her flee from this place.

Yukinari catches up to them at the gates and starts fighting with Hakuren. He’s angry that Izumo is leaving and worried for her life, and tells her the info about her being in danger thanks to the Kusanagi’s treasure and the seal placed on it. However, Izumo still chooses to flee Takamagahara because it’s been her dream since young to see the outside world. Hakuren berates Yukinari for chaining Izumo down; what he’s doing is of no help to her, and is only contributing to rejecting her dreams. Izumo apologizes to Yukinari and stops Hakuren from landing the finishing blow after defeating him. zumo has chosen to believe in Hakuren despite knowing he is keeping secrets from her, and she will follow the path she herself has chosen. Hakuren likewise had also been moved by how she always fought against her own fate, and wants to take her away.

Hakuren proceeds to take Izumo to the ayakashi world, where they have barely a minute’s rest after changing Izumo into better sandals and a new kimono. The owner of the inn they stay at tricks Izumo and attacks her, and she’s saved by Hakuren – the smell she gives off due to the Kusanagi’s treasure can easily make ayakashi with less self-control go nuts for her. The ayakashi world has also lost a ruler that all the clans can pay their respects to, and thus conflicts and problems have been popping up lately due to the loss of a central power. They flee to a shrine in the middle of a quiet lake and spend the night there. Izumo is unable to sleep (thinking too much about Hakuren and realizing she likes him, THEN realizing the weight of the ‘human x ayakashi is forbidden’ taboo). Hakuren begins to talk to her about stuff like how he’s the oldest child of an old family line. His dad had been the chief of their village before but committed some kind of crime, leading to banishment, and his parents have both died by now.  Hakuren has some kind of thing going on with his village but isn’t willing to talk about it yet. He asks Izumo if she’s really okay with going off with him but she wants to grant his wish since he did the same for her, and this troubles him – why someone like him?

Izumo can’t keep it in anymore and confesses to him, though she knows they can never be together (or so she thinks). Hakuren’s troubled feelings only increase and he hugs her in reply, implying he likes her but can’t say anything for now – he tells her to wait for the moment and kisses her. That night, he has a dream of the past, where the adults in his village had thrown responsibilities for taking up his father’s sins and the weight of clearing their clan’s name now rests on his shoulders or something. Terrible! Hakuren wakes up and notices that something isn’t right because ayakashi have started to gather outside the shrine. However, he doesn’t want to wake Izumo up (LOL) so ends up letting them gather for…quite a bit…until the pressure given off by their presence is too much and Izumo herself wakes up. By that time there’s a whole crowd out there and she’s super shocked LOL. Hakuren calls on his clan to come help him and Suou arrives – he’s Hakuren’s half-brother and he and the other clanspeople butcher everything outside. Hakuren comes to confirm Izumo’s safety and they leave the shrine.

Turning back, Izumo is greeted by the sunrise over the lake – it’s a pretty sight and the first sunrise she’s ever seen in her life. She recalls the stories Toshiha told her about what the sun and blue sky was like, and wonders if Toshiha had wanted to see this kind of sight again, and whether she would be happy now. Hakuren assures Izumo about Toshiha’s possible reincarnation – hoping she would be able to enjoy that same sunlight wherever she is now, and lets her enjoy the sun abit more before leading her away.

On the way to the clan’s village, Suou supposedly has ~something~ he wants to tell Hakuren and Hakuren leaves to convene with him. Izumo is suddenly separated from them and hidden by some kind of fog and she panics, calling out for Hakuren and hurting her foot when she starts to run. The fog dissipates after awhile and Hakuren emerges, anxious about her safety – Izumo is fine but the fog bothers him. Suou comments that Hakuren seems PRETTY BOTHERED by Izumo’s disappearance and is chased off by Hakuren, who warns Izumo to not get close to ANY member of his clan. You never know what they might do, especially people like Suou.

They eventually reach the village where everyone rejoices that the treasure has returned to them and everyone wants to hold some party for it LOL. While Izumo is led to Hakuren’s room to rest up, Hakuren goes to have a meeting with the other clan people who all want to kill Izumo for the treasure. Hakuren warns them not to do so so hurriedly because of the seal, despite having some kind of ceremonial sword POSSIBLY able to retrieve the treasure out of Izumo by stabbing her with it LOL. Hakuren wants to let Izumo live out her lifespan and be happy since she had been confined in Takamagahara all her life 😦 Suou as usual is not happy about it, and after Hakuren leaves, reports to the others that Hakuren seems to have taken a liking to Izumo and is thus unfit to make a clear decision. Omg Suou you piece of shit

Later at the party, things seem to be going well but the bluster is interrupted by the sudden appearance of a huge snake. Hakuren takes it on and has his hands full, and realizes too late that it’s something controlled by a member of the clan and Suou is missing! Suou has gone to Izumo’s room, where she was almost attacked by other smaller snakes. He swats them away, “saving” her, and then more or less verbally harasses her about how 1) Hakuren only got close to her for the treasure 2) their clan used to live in the city and now have to lead the country life because they’d lost the power they had before 3) everyone still wants to kill Izumo for the treasure in her so why trust Hakuren LOL. Izumo is shocked to hear all this and Hakuren arrives, demanding to know what Suou did to her. Well, all he did was “save” her…he leaves after that, obviously planning something. Izumo is shaken by his words and is torn between needing some time or continuing to believe in Hakuren. Here, the options branch off into the Good and Bad ends.

Good End: Izumo chooses to believe in Hakuren and he apologizes for not being able to come clean with her but appreciates her belief. The next morning, Izumo woke up early and overhears an assassination plot against her while on the way to the toilet. In a panic, she realizes footsteps are getting closer and flees away from the house and into the forest. There, she’s caught by Suou who offers to ~help~ by taking her to Takamagahara to undo the seal on her first. Izumo is pulled there forcibly by him and on the path towards the place, Suou suddenly disappears when Hakuren and the other clan people catch up to them. He’s planned to have Hakuren confront Izumo all along, and chides that OH IZUMO BETRAYED THE CLAN’S KINDNESS AND WAS ABOUT TO FLEE TO TAKAMAGAHARA. Which is obviously bullshit.

Hakuren offers his hand to Izumo and Izumo takes it – then grabs her and flees HAHAHA. He’s going to reject the fate he’s saddled with and will help her, and Izumo is shocked that he actually betrayed his people for her. Hakuren and her hide out in the forest for abit and he tells her about her own past – her dad was the ayakashi who stole the treasure from HIS dad, leading to the whole downfall of the clan and about how Izumo is a half. Izumo is like !?!? obviously because this is News to her, but yeah it’s just like Tokikage’s route explained. She was saved when her pregnant mother was killed thanks to the treasure’s power, and was thus born with it and kept in Takamagahara as the human pillar to support the place omg. Hakuren apologizes for deceiving her all this while and he has no right to say anything, but he confesses that he had come to like her genuinely after approaching her for the treasure. He admired how she continuously fought against what people threw at her and thought to do the same for himself too. So now, he’s on her side and will protect her from both the people of Takamagahara and his own clan.

The two of them head back to Takamagahara and bump into Mizuki in one of the back streets. Mizuki is happy to see that Izumo is safe; he was certain that telling Hakuren about Izumo’s oiran ceremony thing had been the best choice, as he had successfully taken her away from this place. However, he knows what they’re here for – to undo the seal…ah. They’re suddenly cornered by the onmyou squad, of which Yukinari is a part of. Yukinari hesitates in taking part in the attack because he doesn’t want to hurt Izumo, but the other mob characters shoot stuff at them and Mizuki covers for Hakuren and Izumo, suffering heavy internal damage for repelling their spells. It’s CHAOS EVERYWHERE when Hakuren’s people also engage in a pincer attack suddenly, with Suou all super ready to butcher them LOL. Yukinari chooses this moment to cast a spell that surrounds the area with fog/light, distracting everyone. In the mess he heads up to Hakuren and tells him to grab Mizuki and Izumo and run, and hugs Izumo and whispers to her to be happy. Hakuren thanks Yukinari for the help and jets out of the place.

In another back street, Hakuren explains to Izumo about Yukinari’s assist and WELL MIZUKI IS DYING FOR REAL NOW. He refuses all kind of help from Hakuren and Izumo, and explains that he’s the key holding her down to this place. He had been set up as a ‘spy’ to watch her movements but had come to forget his own mission after coming to like her ;_; Takamagahara has likewise begun to crumble after losing the treasure, and Tokikage has been helping the citizenry to evacuate. Mizuki chooses to die to free Izumo from her binds now, and Izumo is heartbroken that he cares about her so much – Mizuki is unable to grant her wish to leave Takamagahara himself, and so entrusts Izumo to Hakuren with his dying breath. Hakuren accepts that responsibility and makes to flee with Izumo as Takamagahara begins to crumble around the, having lost both the seal and the treasure. They cannot waste Mizuki’s sacrifice by staying here.

Suou suddenly emerges out of nowhere and slashes Izumo!? She collapses and Hakuren catches her, panicking that she’s going to die. Suou is all “I’m the one that should be the head of the clan smh!” omg bro sit down. Izumo can feel a kind of heat in her chest – the treasure – and is determined to pass it on before she dies, and does so by kissing Hakuren. He receives the power of the treasure before Izumo’s consciousness fades away, and she thinks that if this is how she must go, it isn’t THAT bad after all. Hakuren lays Izumo down and is PISSED AS HELL at Suou and his clan that comes chasing after him, and begins to cut everyone down even though they start to beg him for mercy halfway through. No forgiveness for ya’ll tbh. He finishes them off and lets the stragglers flee before returning to Izumo, and prays strongly for her revival – the treasure is able to affect the flow of life, and he begs it to return Izumo to him somehow. And she does wake up!! So sudden!!!!

Anyway they flee to the ayakashi world and grab some chill time in an inn where Izumo collapses for a few days straight. Izumo is later able to wander the town and eat/drink without worry, free of the treasure’s influence as she is no longer chased after by ayakashi! Hakuren on the other hand suddenly receives a lot of pledges of loyalty from ayakashi clans that gather under their room window at night, which is super KY considering that Hakuren was talking to Izumo about moving off to live someplace quiet after this LOL. He’s all “eh ok” about becoming the new head of the ayakashi world and forms a hyakki yakou with the ayakashi trailing behind him, taking Izumo to the human world to see the Ama-no-gawa and all. After the procession dissipates, Izumo thanks him for granting her other wish like this and Hakuren more or less suggests that welp now that things around them are quieter, they can do stuff like make kids woohoo. The human x ayakashi rules don’t apply to Izumo anymore since she’s a half, and Hakuren is pretty set on living out their lives together HAHAHAHA

…The next scene is them waking up in bed together okay don’t ask me why the pacing is so fast. Izumo recalls a song she heard when she was still in the brothel about oirans not wanting to wake up because you’d have to face the morning without your loved one by your side – and realizes having Hakuren by her when she wakes is like THE BEST THING EVER TBH. He gets woken up and asks her about the song and she explains it to him, and he seconds sleeping in abit more because he’s also sleepy LMFAO. THE END. THAT’S IT.

Bad End: In the scene where Suou does the whole “taking Izumo back to Takamagahara” bullshit, he’d expected Hakuren to take Izumo away but he takes her back to the clan house. There, Hakuren takes the ceremonial sword and kills Izumo, receiving the treasure’s power. He then carries her dead body around, having lost a lot of sanity over the past 10 or so minutes, and begins to kill all his clans people who had treated her like a thing. Suou flees and is later caught by Hakuren in the forest, and the fella is still carrying Izumo’s corpse around yo. Hakuren summons a snake which eats Suou alive and disappears into the forest.

The next scene is Ryuuji commuting to Takamagahara, and Shinonome spots him and goes to say hi. The place has lost a lot of glamor since the loss of Izumo and the treasure, and the rumors about what happened to her and Hakuren (more specifically: their deaths) have more or less been diverted by the fire incidents that occurred some time back during their leave. Shinonome spots something on the ground – a hair accessory, Ryuuji recognizes it which a shock as the one he had given Izumo and Shinonome returns it to him, oddly solemn about it.

—- SHINONOME ROUTE —-

Finally we get to learn more about this shady kitsune fella. After Toshiha dies, Shinonome visits Izumo and reveals briefly that like her, someone important to him had been killed in Takamagahara and tells her to turn that pain into hatred towards the place instead. Later, when Izumo finds out about the lord lying to her about permitting her to not take clients to bed, Tokikage bursts into Izumo’s room. He’d been tailing the lord for awhile since he was also suspicious about the promise, and was enraged to find out about the awful lie. He proposes to Izumo that they escape together and tells her about his past as a child thrown away by his relatives after his parents died. He too wants to get out of the place, and whether Izumo is interested in staying because she’s thinking about Shinonome or not, they are getting out of here. Izumo is persuaded to leave with him and takes a short nap after they agree to meet up by the gate tomorrow morning.

However, she wakes up to a FIRE. Oh man. Basically everything is burning up around her and Shinonome is in her room all “hey there”, because he wants to keep Izumo here so she can get burnt down together with the Takamagahara that he hates so much. When she tries to run from him, Shinonome grabs her and pushes her down to the floor, and begins to strangle her. Yo. Stop this. Izumo notices that he looks both angry, hateful and very sad at the same time – and wonders what is up with this guy, why does he look this way?? Shinonome’s hatred towards the oiran and prostitutes of the area is Not Normal, and the love-hate in his expression confuses Izumo, who tries to ask him about it but HE JUST TIGHTENS HIS GRIP ON HER. Just when she thinks she’s about to die, Tokikage and Yukinari burst in to help her but she faints.

When Izumo wakes up, she’s in Shinonome’s home – in the ayakashi world. He brought her here and refuses to tell her anything besides that he was the one who started the fire. Duh. Also, he really, really hates Izumo’s entire existence – especially her mother, who had stolen his father and his place to belong away from him and his mother. ‘Cause guess what, Shinonome’s dad is also Izumo’s dad. They’re essentially half-siblings. His father was a kitsune that had fallen in love with Izumo’s mother, who had been some legendary beauty as an oiran when she was alive. Shinonome’s parents had only been bound together by an arranged marriage, but to him who was still a child at the time his dad had the affair, his parents were still his precious family whether they had really loved each other or not. He doesn’t tell us what happened to his mother after the whole affair, but knowing the incidents surrounding how Izumo came to possess the treasure and its true purpose…Shinonome must have really suffered as a child over this. Obviously, he isn’t going to forgive Izumo or her mother so easily.

Additionally, when Izumo tries to object that Takamagahara was never somewhere she belonged, Shinonome gets AMAZINGLY angry at her. Izumo had always been looked after as a child – she was clothed, fed, given a home, had her friends, Mizuki, and the Toki-Yuki combi protecting her all this while. Being able to live a life of material luxury was readily available to her and people even admired her as an oiran. To Shinonome, Izumo is spoilt as hell and he really doesn’t think she could ever understand his feelings. And tbh while I think Izumo didn’t have a FANTASTIC life, she’s still really sheltered and doesn’t have the ability to understand Shinonome at this time. Izumo is locked up in his home because he wants to “bring her down with him”, but she begins to plot her escape by the toilet window soon enough because she can’t rot away here forever. When she makes it out, she realizes that 1) her sheltered life meant her physical stamina is shit 2) witnessing a fight between ayakashi without any squad to come and stop it is terrifying 3) she’s lost in a strange place with no money or knowledge of what to do beyond escaping from Takamagahara.

Thanks to the treasure inside her, all the ayakashi want to eat Izumo and she’s terrified. She gets cornered by one in an alley and Shinonome saves her – well he could just be taking her back to imprison her, but Izumo finds herself relieved to see him. He could have just let her be eaten but he didn’t! Anyway, she promises not to run off again when they’re back home, and Shinonome actually seems genuinely worried for Izumo’s safety. Later that day, Izumo muses while in the bath that Shinonome always helps out with maintaining the fire used to heat up the bath water outside and everything, and he’s probably nice in his own way I guess. She talks to him while separated from him by the bath walls, and wonders what Shinonome was like as a kid. Probably a brat? LMFAO. He gets all huffy about that and eventually tells her well she ain’t wrong, and he was also the kind of kid that had a hard time getting along with everyone thanks to his personality. At the same time, there were still alot of people around and the clan was still around. Now they’ve either died or moved away and he’s the only one left. Izumo feels a little sad for him because he’s also always alone at home and stuff too.

When Izumo makes to get out of the bath, she has a super bad fainting episode after putting on just her underwear. She collapses and Shinonome, who calls out to her from outside, starts to panic because she isn’t replying him. He rushes to the bathroom to help her and Izumo realizes he’s HONESTLY WORRIED which seems strange to her…she begins to slowly recover and the both of them realize what kind of bathroom scene they’re in. Shinonome gets up and says he’s going out and tells her to hurry and return to her room!!! Izumo, while ashamed to have been caught in that kind of state, listens to him. Later, Shinonome brings her water and asks about her faint episodes – he seems to have caught onto something, but doesn’t tell Izumo what he suspects.

The next day, Izumo manages to persuade him to let her out into the front garden to experience the outside properly. Suddenly, there’s a noise like glass cracking and the onmyou guys bust in, headed by Yukinari who demands for Izumo to leave with him and return to Takamagahara. Having noticed the commotion, Shinonome likewise runs out to confront Yukinari and they kind of have this “Izumo should return with me!” “No, she’s mine, I’m keeping her!” kind of show-down. Shinonome also yells that Izumo’s mother ruined his family and that his mother had been killed by the onmitsu squad for a crime she didn’t commit. Yukinari is all “!?” because there’s some misunderstanding here, but Shinonome doesn’t hear him out. Yukinari also yells that Izumo will die if she remains away from Takamagahara thanks to the seal thing, and Shinonome confirms his hunch – and now all he needs to do is to go to Takamagahara and destroy that seal with his own hands. I like how direct he can be sometimes!?

Izumo also chooses to reject Yukinari’s offer to leave; she wishes to live outside of Takamagahara. Returning is not the freedom she desires. While Shinonome grabs her and makes to escape, Yukinari tries to convey more information to them. There had been an ayakashi working as a brothel girl before, and she had been a kitsune ayakashi like Shinonome. She and another ayakashi male had made to escape from Takamagahara together for the sake of continuing their family line, and the female was already pregnant at the time. They had to receive the death penalty for escaping but the squad only found the male – the female had run into hiding to give birth to her child. That child had been Shinonome. WAIT WHAT IS HAPPENING!? Shinonome is likewise shocked because 1) he remembers his dad’s face?? 2) what about the thing with Izumo’s mom???

Yukinari goes on to explain that the man Shinonome thought was his dad WASN’T his dad, it was Izumo’s father – his dad’s younger brother. So they’re cousins instead of siblings now! Izumo’s father had stood in to support Shinonome’s mother after the loss of the husband. Obviously this is hard for Shinonome to swallow immediately and he ends up fleeing with Izumo anyway to a little shelter in the woods. He’s familiar with the area as he used to play around these parts as a kid. There, he ends up having this “FML” moment because everything he’s believed up till this point has been rejected by Yukinari’s revelations. Like an idiot, he’d hated Izumo’s parents for causing his misery, and had believed in a misunderstanding born of his own assumptions. Confused and lost, Shinonome doesn’t quite know what to do with himself now and Izumo can’t bear to watch him like this. She places her hand over his and while he complains out of surprise, he doesn’t swat her away. She tells him she doesn’t want him to be lonely anymore, and that she will stay by his side. Shinonome grumbles at her but he’s just shy LMFAO

Anyway, they stay overnight and need to get supplies/food the next morning. Shinonome brings her to the same lake as in Hakuren’s route, but before they can catch fish or anything, they’re attacked by ayakashi who’re here to eat Izumo. They flee to the city to hide among the crowd, but even there they attract attention and Shinonome has to flee with Izumo again. They end up on the road connecting Takamagahara to the ayakashi world – from here on, there really isn’t any choice but to return. Shinonome says he’ll crush the seal holding Izumo back to bits; he hasn’t given up on their situation yet. Izumo, who was feeling insecure about whether they could save her own life or not, is lectured by Shinonome that it isn’t about whether they can do so or not. They HAVE to, if she wants to live, if she wants to be free. Shinonome asks her if she’s willing to become a criminal with him (tbh they already are) and Izumo thinks about it. Indeed, she neither desires death nor wishes to return to Takamagahara anymore, and chooses to walk down the same path as Shinonome.

When they reach the fields outside Takamagahara, they’re greeted by Tokikage and Yukinari. They demand that Shinonome return Izumo to them, but Izumo steps between the fight and explains her situation to them. Shinonome is a nicer guy than they think, has been through a lot of lonely shit too, and she has chosen this path of her own will. She apologizes for causing her friends worry and trouble, and asks that they let them go this time – and to run away, because who knows what might happen to Takamagahara after this? Tokikage and Yukinari aren’t quite convinced about entrusting Izumo to Shinonome, but choose to let them pass anyway because they just want Izumo to be safe and to attain happiness ;_;

Shinonome sets fire to Takamagahara again and they make their way to the brothel that Izumo was housed at. There, they meet Mizuki who seems not like his usual self – expressionless and cold, he seems to be holding something back and keeps denying knowledge of the seal when Shinonome demands that he reveal what he knows to them. Mizuki goes as far as to grab Izumo, threatening to kill her should Shinonome do anything. He whispers to her that she will not be hurt, and later apologizes before engaging in a fight with Shinonome. Mizuki eventually sets it up such that Shinonome kills him and Izumo is shocked. As he dies, Mizuki explains what we already know – he is the seal, and he has to die for her happiness. This disgusts Shinonome, who criticizes Takamagahara’s cruelty for making Mizuki play such a role. While crying, Izumo is dragged away from the scene by Shinonome, who yells that they have to both live out their lives to the fullest for Mizuki’s sake.

After escaping the fire, Izumo needs some time to regain her composure. As a form of support, Shinonome says that they both have sacrificed a lot to get where they are right now – the people of Takamagahara, Izumo’s childhood friends, Mizuki – and they have a duty to shoulder those responsibilities. There isn’t any turning back or regrets past this point, and they will have to face their future head on till the day they die. Izumo, comforted by the strength of his words, steadies her own resolve.

Flash to the future; she and Shinonome have begun to live together! It’s been a few months and Shinonome is still the awkward chinpira that he is, he’s hilarious. He’s just like a small kid 😦 Cousin or not, it’s like…they like each other anyway LOL it’s just never really said out loud. He brings Izumo to the lake they were at when she gets all sad thinking about Tokikage/Yukinari/Mizuki one day, and tells her the story about the lake being rumored to suck away the sadness from those who visit it, hence its blue waters. In addition, it also has the other rumor of…binding people with mutual feelings together forever. If their feelings changed over time, the person whose feels changed would have his/her soul sucked into the lake LMFAO OH MAN. He jokes lightly about what Izumo would do if he brought her here to be bound to him instead, and she replies that she is more than happy to be. 😉 They exchange a kiss before the lake and woohoo first-cousin incest ending get.

…Thinking about it, Shinonome’s actions at the end of Ryuuji’s route now seem really ;_; because we’re aware of his background…and in Ryuuji’s route, these misunderstandings had yet to be cleared…Shinonome…you are a good man (fox)…

Bad End: When Tokikage and Yukinari appear, they start fighting with Shinonome. To protect Shinonome, Izumo covers for him and ends up being stabbed by Tokikage. She dies as Shinonome runs up to her, and Shinonome basically loses it. That was a super short bad end but wow Kondou’s voice-acting here, top-class.

 

—- MIZUKI ROUTE —-

Izumo’s young ayakashi helper! He’s like a little brother character tbh I can’t see him in a romantic light at all. Anyway. As expected, the last route is Mizuki’s and it’s much shorter than the rest. After Izumo finds out about the lord breaking his promise to her, she intends to flee from Takamagahara. Recalling that Mizuki once mentioned that he hoped himself and Izumo could “stay like this forever”, she asks him to run away with her. However, Mizuki is shocked and refuses to do so for reasons we obviously know, but Izumo is confused. Mizuki tries to persuade her not to run, as her actions would hurt Tokikage, Yukinari and himself.

However, Izumo is unable to lead her life caged up and makes a decision to go ask the lord again about the promise. On her way to see him the next morning, Izumo bumps into Ryuuji, whom she talks to about her problems. Apparently, Mizuki had also been spotted looking really depressed, and Ryuuji says that he may have something else – a duty he cannot abandon, which was why he had refused Izumo’s offer to flee with her.

After parting ways with Ryuuji, Izumo is suddenly captured by the onmitsu squad and thrown into their highest security prison on charges of planning to flee. While not wrong, Izumo hasn’t even done anything yet and is confused as to why she has been locked up. Tokikage comes to visit her in secret and rages about the injustice of the broken promise, and on top of that, Mizuki had been the one to spill out Izumi’s plans to escape to the lord. He’s super angry for Izumo’s sake and TOKIKAGE IS SUCH A GOOD MAN. After he leaves, Mizuki arrives to see Izumo – and just as Izumo expected, he’s his usual self and obviously hadn’t wanted any of this to happen to her. Mizuki essentially spoilers Izumo for the entire overarching plot of the story, and it’s nothing we don’t already know. However, he doesn’t tell her about how he needs to die for her to be free. Izumo is still reeling from the shock of all these revelations when the lord enters. Izumo’s oiran ceremony has been pushed forward to today and her first client is already very eager to do the R18 with her omg.

Izumo is chained up and taken away, then forcibly dressed. Mizuki breaks into the room she’s held in and stops Izumo from strangling herself with the chains – this isn’t the ‘freedom’ she wants, right!? He then tells her to kill him, holding one of her hair accessories to his chest. This is the only way she can be free from the seal on the treasure, but Izumo doesn’t want to kill him! She says she’ll get used to oiran life but Mizuki refuses to listen. He asks her for her real wish – and Izumo eventually admits that she still wants to leave this shithole. Mizuki then agrees to break her out of this place because HAHAHA NO OTHER PATH LEFT NOW.

As expected, the onmitsu squad is alerted to their escape, but not after Mizuki already travelled a good distance carrying Izumo in his ayakashi form. They take to the streets to avoid detection, and bump into Hakuren who shows up to play antag because he still wants the treasure inside Izumo. However, he’s stopped by Yukinari who rushes in and holds him back, yelling at Mizuki to take Izumo and get out of here. BRUH YOU ARE HELPFUL FOR ONCE. After Mizuki and Izumo leave, Hakuren further spoilers Yukinari about Mizuki’s role in the story and how he has to die :’) Oh man. For the time being, Mizuki brings Izumo outside the gate but is racked by pain. He is unable to leave and collapses, but tells Izumo to head on without him, he’ll catch up to her. Death flag pls. (Mizuki is chained down to Takamagahara as well…the poor thing…)

Either way, the squad catches up to them and the lord is there too. He has this super long gloating moment about how ingrates will be ingrates who don’t appreciate when they’re fed and housed and how Mizuki and Izumo’s powers are linked – they can’t escape him. They’d be doing good for Takamagahara by staying inside it and maintaining it with the treasure’s power, and shouldn’t complain because he considers being housed ~freedom enough~ for them. You piece of trash tbh burn up and die. Tokikage is a part of the squad outside and he looks super pissed off omg. Anyway the squad has to suppress and capture Izumo+Mizuki, and Izumo is caught but Mizuki dodges and is faced by Tokikage.

Tokikage apologizes for raging against him earlier because he now knows Mizuki’s situation. He wants to know what he can do to save everyone, and Mizuki asks Tokikage to end his life, and Takamagahara will crumble along with it. Tokikage accepts, understanding that Mizuki is willing to die for Izumo’s freedom. Mizuki then breaks free and causes some commotion, then is eventually knocked down and Tokikage stabs him, much to Izumo’s horror. Takamagahara begins to crumble immediately, and Yukinari rushes onto the scene to join Tokikage, who yells about him being slow as shit – the lord has finally revealed his true colors and the squad conducts an impromptu coup against him LMFAO. Izumo however is too distraught over Mizuki dying; she holds him to her and cries while Mizuki apologizes and asks her to be happy before he dies.

While she grieves, Hakuren makes a random appearance to tell her about the treasure’s power – it can revive people if she wishes hard enough. He will come claim the treasure from her when she doesn’t need it anymore, and so leaves it in her care for now. Izumo tries to revive Mizuki, praying very hard – and then YAY HE’S ALIVE.

TL;DR they then basically end up living together for months and Mizuki has grown taller than Izumo in that span of time. They have moved to a quiet little village and parted ways with Tokikage and Yukinari. Tokikage was probably suffering over having to kill Mizuki once, and said he was going off on a journey. Yukinari chased after him so they’re out there…together…at least. Mizuki also takes Izumo to see some flowers in a field he’d found and confesses to her again, saying he isn’t content to always remain her little brother. He starts to call her by her name, and says he will work hard till the day Izumo can be certain that she likes him 🙂

Bad End: Outside the gates, they’re caught in the conflict as usual but before Tokikage can kill Mizuki, Izumo tries to help Mizuki. As a result, everyone rounds on her and Tokikage has no choice but to betray the squad and he attacks them, covering for her. I KEEP SAYING THIS BUT TOKIKAGE IS A VERY GOOD MAN. Anyway things are looking bad then Shinonome randomly arrives (he’d been watching over the action and can’t bear to see this shit anymore) and sets fire to EVERYTHING. Without having cleared the misunderstanding between him and Izumo, he grabs her in the middle of the fire and strangles her, saying that with this, both of them will finally be free. With her death, now no one has to worry about the treasure or seal anymore LMFAO.

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS

Hello this was the first vita game I ever bought and I’m not sure if I regret it or not. Hyakka Yakou isn’t a mindblowing game and some characters just make you want to throttle them at some point but it honestly isn’t terrible. It’s got a fairly solid group of characters (whose interaction in the drama CD was really good, but they didn’t really talk too much with each other in-game). I really like group things and it’s a little regrettable we don’t get to see that much here.

The music is stunning and so are the backgrounds, though Shimotsuki Kairi’s art really could have translated better into game sprites. They lack her usual coloring and style, since her color pages’ lineart is usually done in brush, not with hard lines…it’s kind of a pity.

Overall, I’d say this game doesn’t really have a strong slant towards “BUY IT” or “DON’T BUY IT”. It’s sort of in Otomate’s ‘average’ category. There were parts I cried at, parts I liked, but there were also instances where I found myself thinking “can this be over already”, which is sort of…well, really average!? Oh well!?!!?

Other points I liked: Sakurai fits Hakuren, Hosoya gets really angry as Yukinari, CHILDHOOD FRIENDS, Ishikawa Kaito as Mizuki calling Izumo “nee-san”, Kondo being in a game and as someone as interesting as Shinonome, also Ryuuji is hilariously nice (OnoY does such a good job at the Nice Guy thing). Also I think I said it like 38291320 times already but Tokikage is a very, very, very good man. I’m glad I played his route first thinking he wouldn’t be my favorite but he’s obviously my favorite now.

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