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So word count has been pretty slow for the past two weeks. I am nearing the final battle where I am supposed to tie up all my loose ends, like:

Who is the mysterious tattooed homeless woman?

Does Mari love Oda?

What is the bond she has with Kosuke?

Why did Rokusaburo call up the giant snake to eat all the half-tanukis and half-tengus?

Will Mari ever find her way back to Herne and the greenwood? Will using her magic cause Jamie to try to kill her again?

Can Mari reconcile her robin hood self with her desire to be a normal Japanese citizen?

Truthfully, I don’t know the answers to most of those questions, and that’s why it is so slow going. I get ideas as I lay down with Maika for her afternoon nap, but by the time she falls asleep, I’ve forgotten them already.

Here’s a snippet of what’s going on now:

“You,” said Rokusaburo, his eyes blazing. Mari staggered back a step as salty wind hit her full on the face. She tried to call up tinglies in her belly to defend herself, but only succeeded in activating whatever link was between her and Kosuke. The wind shunted to the side, hitting Kosuke and sending him flying. He hit a tree trunk with a sickening thump and slithered to the ground, his eyes open, but dazed.

Mari kept her arrow trained on Rokusaburo as her heart fluttered painfully. What had she done? If she was linked to Kosuke, how could she defend herself without hurting him?

“Are you okay?” she said.

Kosuke grunted in reply. Oda slunk away from his position under the tree and pulled Kosuke to his feet. Kosuke wobbled a little, but stayed standing.

“This girl is the key,” said Rokusaburo. “She is half. The greenwood and Yamato are both alive in her. Without her, you could not anchor the greenwood here.”