Archived from the Ushi-Oni page, originally in response to a "What Do You Do" scenario posted by Mad Larry, presented here in mostly unedited form:

"You have just arrived in Zipangu and are walking thru a forest at th bottom of a mountain range.Suddenly your hear the sound of branches breaking.Looking to your left you see an Ushi-Oni coming thru the woods.It appears as if she will come out of the woods near your position.Lucky for you shehasn't noticed you. What do you do?"

I lower myself into a sort of half-squat, and start stepping into the woods in an exaggerated tip-toe, hoping to keep out of her sight. I step carefully and tread lightly, trying not to do so much as rustle leaves. It's going pretty well, too. I've made it far enough in that I can just barely see the road behind me as I look back.

I chuckle smugly to myself and, with my eyes closed, straighten up and start striding valiantly into the unknown. Which, in this case, would be a forest that I don't know. Clearly, my wits and cunning are enough to carry me through any and all potentially horrific encounters.

Or not.

I'm so full of myself that I blindly walk straight into...something. Guess I shouldn't have had my eyes closed after all. Whatever I walked into feels almost like a tree except...a little softer. Slightly. And in places a little furrier. Greatly.

As I've got my face buried in it, I can't really see what it is even though I've opened my eyes, so instead I start feeling around with my hands. Let's see. It's hard here, and soft over here, and right up over my head it feels like there are a couple of soft boulders.


squish, squish

There's something about this matter that just doesn't add up. What kind of tree had a trunk that's hard in some places and soft in others, with soft boulders attached? And why does it...keep...giggling...


I sloooooowly pull my face back, and find myself looking up into the eyes of the Ushi-Oni I saw earlier. Or eye, rather. She seems to have something wrapped around the other. She also seems to be rather happy for some reason.


squish, squish



I pull my hands off her admittedly pleasant bust and try to talk my way out of things.

"Eheh... I, uh, um, gosh, that was clumsy of me. I really should learn to watch where I walk! Well, it's been fun, and you're lovely. Really. I love that whole 'giant, furry spider' thing you've got going on. But I'm expected at the village up the road so if you'll excuse me..."

And I take off in a dead run back the way I came. And she takes off in a dead run back the way I came. I have two legs; she has eight. I know right off the bat I have no chance of escaping, but I have to try!

I'm doing my best to weave around, under, and over every tree, branch, bush and hole I come across. The Ushi-Oni, on the other hand, is just sort of tearing through them like so much tissue paper.

"I just wanna hug yoooouuuuuuu!!!"

I hear the words, but I note the words she left off the end. To DEATH! She left off the words to death, but they were implied! I know it! I've got to escape before she crushes me!

I burst out of the trees, and turn sharply to the side. I'm forced to hop on one foot to keep from over-balancing as I continue out into the middle of the road, but I finally manage to get myself centered and tear off down that road like my life depends on it. Because it does!

Just a few short seconds later, the Ushi-Oni comes skidding out of the forest, splintered trees flying all over the place. She looks side to side trying to figure out which way I went and, grinning as she finally spots me waaaaaaaay on down the road, jumps into hot pursuit.

I'm doing my best to dodge farmers and traveling merchants left and right. At one point, a merchant even looked out in shock as I was outrunning his carriage. I say the man was shocked because evidently, his horses were at a bit of a gallop.

I suspect he rather figured out where this incredible burst of adrenaline was coming from, though, because as I passed him he looked back and suddenly started yelling at his driver to make those nags move faster! A split second later, his carriage was smashed to smithereens and he, his driver, and the horses were all thrown off to the two sides of the road. I don't think he was very happy about that, judging from the way he was jumping up and down shaking his fists over his head, but I don't have time to worry about it because, clearly, my death is hot on my heels!

This carries on for what seemed like ages. I'm honestly not sure how to explain how I kept moving so fast except to state I've had practice, at this point. Lots and lots of practice. Which really should have educated me on the futility of the whole process, but I can't help myself. Monsters terrify me.

Anyway, I can finally see the village walls. I zip around a farmer pulling a small cart of some sort of green vegetables, and dive behind someone's fruit stand. Obviously, they're put off by the situation and start cursing me out with very colorful language.

That's just fine. I'm willing to put up with a bit of cursing, if it means I'm finally safe. But then I hear it. First, there's a loud SMASH! Then, I hear someone scream out, "My cabbages!!!" And finally, the stand owner just sort of stops talking and slowly backs away from me.

When the massive shadow falls over me, it doesn't take long at all to figure out why. I start to scream, but it's immediately choked off as I'm grabbed from behind and all the air is crushed out of my lungs.

You guessed it; she caught me. And she was hugging me so tightly with those gigantic, fluffy arms of hers. When she finally stops squeezing, I just kind of hang limply in her arms. I'm limp as boiled seaweed, and she has the biggest, dopiest grin on her face.

I hate Zipangu.