“Tao Master’s Harassment Defense: ‘I Was Just Prophesying'” and Other Stories (Nippon Chronicles #1)

Agata Forest, Nippon – A religious official accused of harassing a young maiden was released this morning in anticipation of a court date next month. Tao Master Waka, 27, insists that the whole situation was a misunderstanding and that the victim, Kushi, 19, was overreacting.

“One of my many responsibilities as Tao Master is the speaking of prophecies,” Waka told us in an interview following his release. “I was simply telling that young woman what the gods themselves spoke to me. There is no crime in that.”

The victim tells a different story.

“He was very forward,” she says. “He didn’t ask for my number, he didn’t even ask my name. He just walked up to me and said ‘you’ll be having a thrilling log ride soon.’ He had this flute and he kept putting his mouth on it, and taking his sword in and out of its sheath. It made me very uncomfortable.”

While the general public has demanded the immediate resignation of the Tao Master, his attorney seems to think that there’s nothing to fear.

“My sources tell me that Kushi had been brewing sake that night,” the attorney says. “Also, someone overheard her talking to a wolf earlier that day and telling it that she thought it was good looking. Obviously, these totally unrelated incidents paint a picture of Kushi as an irresponsible young woman who deserves for significantly older men to bother her without any negative repercussions. Waka will be cleared before lunch.”

When asked if he would seriously consider resigning, the Tao Master only had this to say: “I foresee myself growing old in this position. Speaking of positions, I have a prophesy for YOU, interviewer – we’re gonna have a dog-gone good time sometime soon. But for now, au revoir!”

Okami Sakuya's Outfit

CHEEKY NEW FASHION TREND HAS PARENTS OF NIPPON CONCERNED
Kamiki Village, Nippon – Schools in Kamiki Village are under scrutiny today as they discuss policies around the newest fashion craze: dresses with the tush cut right out of the back.

“The kids call them Peachy Gowns,” says one parent, “on account of their exposed bums looking like a peach. It’s disgraceful, really.”

If you did a double take as you read that statement, you’re not alone.

“I honestly don’t understand how anyone thought this was a good idea,” says Mrs. Orange, wife of the elder of Kamiki Village. “When I was a little girl, I kept my fanny in my jammies twenty-four/seven!”

The fashion was popularized by Sakuya, a local nature goddess who watches over the village and protects it from evil. But while she may keep monsters at bay, most of the villagers wish her fashion tastes had stayed in the realm of the gods. Still, even the most controversial fashions have fans, and a few folks have said “bottom’s up” to this unusual trend.

“It’s a comfort thing,” says one student. “Take shorts, for example. Your heinie is constrained while your legs are free to move around and stretch out. It doesn’t make any sense! With the dress, your peachy posterior is free to breathe while your legs are tightly bound like you’re running in a sack race. There’s no better feeling!”

When asked to comment, Sakuya declined, but when she turned to leave we got a firsthand view of just what all the fuss was about. It tokus a minute to recover.

Okami Mr Orange Sake

LOCAL MAYOR REMOVED FROM OFFICE FOR 20-YEAR-OLD DRINKING SCANDAL
Kamiki Village, Nippon – The beloved mayor of Kamiki Village made a misstep when he broke his vow of temperance during a ceremonial dance. Now, twenty years later, the time has come to pay the price.

“I thought what I was doing was the right thing,” he said, “but I know now that my people are disappointed.”

The incident took place during the Konohana Shuffle, a sacred dance meant to bring life back to the village plants. Typically performed by the village elder, the dance is said to have magical properties. According to villagers, the dance was successful when it was performed, and much praise was given to Mr. Orange. But once they learned that sake was involved in the successful dance, they immediately turned their backs on their once beloved mayor.

“This single incident from twenty years ago completely redefines everything I ever thought about Mr. Orange,” says Susano, the village warrior. “How can I believe in him when I know that he broke a vow of temperance back when I was a toddler?”

Mr. Orange has a long and successful career as elder of Kamiki Village. He guided his people through the resurrection of Orochi, single-handedly restored the village crops using the Konohana Shuffle, and oversaw the construction of a trade route which allowed the village to distribute their sake across the world, boosting the economy. Of course, every single one of those accomplishments is now completely worthless.

“I thought that perhaps since my indiscretion was so many years ago, plus the fact that I didn’t try to keep it a secret and I have since publicly apologized for it, would allow me the forgiveness of my people,” Mr. Orange stated. “But I suppose my crime was truly terrible. After all, who else among us has given in to the temptation to drink a little sake when we had previously taken a vow of temperance? I’m probably the only person who has ever done that.”

Okami Merchant

MERCHANT PERMANENTLY CLOSES DOORS AFTER GIVING AWAY HIS ENTIRE STOCK
Kusa Village, Nippon – The front gate merchant of Kusa village closes his doors today due to financial difficulties. When asked why his business was so unsuccessful, the merchant blamed the local wildlife.

“I was robbed,” he said. “Wild dogs, stray cats, even the occasional chicken – none of these animals have any respect for the value of money.”

Other residents of Kusa Village have often commented that the only customers they ever saw at the store were animals, something that the merchant didn’t see anything odd about in the least.

“It’s totally normal for people to send their pets to run errands for them,” he says. “You know, it’s been a long day in the Taka Pass mines and you don’t feel like grabbing the exorcism slips you need for tonight’s party. So you send your dog with a fistful of yen to do the shopping for you.”

While the merchant considers this to be normal practice, none of the other villagers agree.

“I’ve never sent my dogs to go shopping for me,” says Princess Fuse, high priestess of the Gale Shrine. “I mean, sure, I send them on holy missions to defeat horrifying demons, but to buy the groceries? No way.”

When asked what the merchant plans to do next, he said he’s thinking of starting a bounty hunting business.

“Based on the interactions I’ve had with the animals at my shop, I think there’s a market for an elite team of wildlife mercenaries. I’m pretty confident that this business will be a lot more successful.”

Okami Blight Goldnail Quote

CITY WITH THE HIGHEST MURDER RATE CELEBRATES A SWORD CONVENTION
Sei-an City, Nippon – While Sei-an City reels from the latest tragedy, the Emperor decided to move forward with this week’s already-planned Sword Con, a celebration of all the unique swords in the land of Nippon. Folks who were affected by the city’s one hundredth murder earlier in the week are shocked and discouraged.

“After the fifth murder, I thought the Emperor might do something,” says Mr. Flower, the city’s landscaper. “After the tenth murder, I thought: surely now is the time! After the twentieth murder, I started to realize that this was just a part of our reality now.”

Many people are calling for regulations around the possession and use of swords, particularly swords that are disguised as inanimate objects such as flutes or paintbrushes. But local sword enthusiast Benkei says that he won’t let anyone touch his sword collection.

“I have 999 swords, and each one of them is more important to me than the 100 people who died because of swords,” Benkei says. “Swords are part of the culture here in Sei-an City. You can’t just take away our culture!”

Priestess Rao thinks there’s a different cause.

“Obviously it’s because of the books those children are reading,” she says. “They tell stories about so-called heroes like Nagi, who clearly uses a sword to violently murder the dragon Orochi. Kids grow up hearing stories like that and think it’s okay for them to do the same thing. We need to ban books so kids will stop absorbing that kind of nonsense.”

“It’s a complex issue,” says the Emperor, the one person who could very easily do something about this. “So I can’t do anything about it.”

When asked about the financial contributions of Sword Con to the imperial palace, the Emperor declined to comment.

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