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What do you get when you mix a grimdark superhero universe (Worm) with Derp doG (Ōkami)? According to author Unwelcome Storm, it's a hilarious romp through Brockton Bay with Taylor and her childhood friend, Sunshine the dog as they negotiate with gang leader and actually-a-dragon Lung, help revitalize the local Asian community, and drive the local superheroes insane.

Constellations can be read at Space Battles and Sufficient Velocity forums, as well as on Ao3.

Constellations provides examples of:

  • A Boy and His X: A girl and her doG. Or, more accurately, A doG and her Miko.
  • Adaptational Badass: In Worm, Danny Hebert was a vanilla human with a job at the Dockworkers Union. Here, he is the Protectorate Minion Master Chessman, on account of the Queen Administrator having never jumped from him to Taylor.
  • The Alcoholic: Played for Laughs, anime style; Sunny has an enormous affinity for sake, to the point that she can effectively be threatened by unplugging her minifridge (at least until she summons a mini-snowstorm overnight that only falls on temple grounds).
  • Always a Bigger Fish:
    • After Emma enjoys her last bullying attempt on Taylor, her mirth is suddenly stymied by the fact that several ABB punks are now on her case.
    • Lung also finds this out the hard way when striking Taylor is immediately answered with a Bolt of Divine Retribution.
  • Androcles' Lion: Taylor and Sunny first meet Kayden and Aster on one of their walks around the town, and they hit it off on account of Sunny playing peek-a-boo with Aster. Later, when Purity is tasked to destroy the shrine and draw Protectorate attention by Kaiser, she stops when she sees the girl and her dog in the courtyard playing her flute, and instead sits down and has tea with her.
  • And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating: Or exterior decorating in this case; Sunny dug hundreds of miles of underground tunnel, got Taylor to fix up the shrine, decimated the E88's cape roster, convinced Lung to buy up the shrine land and the surrounding properties and gift it all to Taylor... so that the dog could dig up a hot spring on the adjacent lot.
    • Sunny later engineered the takedown of Coil, including the Undersiders stealing a good chunk of his money before the police found it. Tattletale then turned over a tithe of the take to Brushstroke and Good Dog as thanks, providing them more than sufficient funds to build and furnish the hot springs, including the construction of a well-stocked bar.
    • After Taylor patches things up with her father, he, his pawns, and his fellow dockworkers provide Taylor with the manpower needed to properly get the structure built up.
  • Angel Unaware: For everyone unaware of Sunny's true identity. Which is pretty much everyone.
  • Animal Nemesis: Played for Laughs; after Armsmaster is stymied by Sunny/Good Dog, he gains a rather noticeable fixation on trying to figure out exactly what she is, aside from being a potential Master projection. His teammates are quite bemused by the idea.
    Battery: I know a probable new Master in town is a big deal, but I'm kind of having trouble moving past the fact that Armsmaster has a canine nemesis.
  • Anti-Climactic Unmasking:
    • Taylor is briefly surprised but overall nonchalant when Purity reveals her identity as Kayden to her, mostly because she's used to villains sitting down for tea.
    • Oni Lee removes his mask while sitting down to dinner with the Alcotts and New Wave, because it'd be rude to have it on. When one of the other guests asks about him being worried about his Secret Identity, he finds it amusing because even he doesn't know who he is.
  • Anxiety Dreams: After an argument with Victoria, Carol Dallon has one involving finding a wall between her and her family.
  • Apron Matron: The "baachans", a brigade of little old ladies who step in to make sure Taylor knows everything about being a local Miko. The leader is Yuuta's grandmother, whom Taylor also calls "Baachan".
  • Armor-Piercing Response:
    • Oni Lee to Lung - "I saw a shrine maiden." It has less to do with the response itself and more to do with the fact that Oni Lee actually interrupted him.
    • When Carol demands to know why Victoria not only did not inform her that their new kitten Chekov was given to them by the Master cape Brushstroke, but that she put him into the public eye by posting pictures online, Victoria answers that she didn't want her mother to give Chekov away out of paranoia, leaving Carol speechless.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Taylor asks Lung what made him, and what waterfall did he climb to become a dragon? Lung is forced to think about his defeat at the hands of Contessa and how he got his powers in the first place... and he's not happy about the implications.
  • Asian Fox Spirit: After more Youkai start showing up around Brockton Bay, several kitsune start hanging around the shrine. A couple try to get in with Taylor but are chased away by Sunny, and later, Assault gets waylaid by the same pair and even ends up adopting another one by means of inari sushi.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In-Universe, Carol is immediately suspicious when Amy demands that Chekov (the kitten) not be removed from his hiding place in a drawer... only to relax when she realizes Amy just wants a picture of a kitten napping on an oven mitt pillow.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In his talk with Taylor, Lung states that her idea of unionizing and inspiring his subordinates through care and compensation rather than fear is useless because the resources he'd need to do so are tied up combating the Merchants and Empire 88. When Taylor clarifies that he could afford to be nicer if the E88 was no longer a problem, he agrees. Sunshine proceeds to clear out the E88's cape roster over the next week.
  • Betrayal Insurance: Victoria tries to set some up in the possible event that her mother finds out that Chekov was given to the family by Brushstroke (a cape with a Master rating) and gives the kitten away out of paranoia, so she publishes Chekov's picture online and into the public eye to forestall Carol's reaction. Carol is stunned when she hears her daughter's rationale.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Amaterasu/Sunny is incredibly friendly and affectionate, but when Lung backhands Taylor, Amaterasu responds by smiting him with a literal Bolt of Divine Retribution. From a circle of clear sky on a cloudy day.
      • The skies were cloudy for the entire rest of the city before the strike, with only a small patch of clearer skies directly over the shrine for the meeting. Lung's only warning of the incoming bolt was the briefest glimmer of a spark in the clear sky directly above the shrine, before the lightning strike came down upon his head.
      • And just to drive the point home a little further - Lung was wearing his mask at the time. His metal mask. Which melted onto his face. Oni Lee had to cut it off him.
      • Another occasion is when Sunny goes after Skidmark and the Merchants for attacking the Hebert household. Let's just say the sun that morning was less "warming" and more "oppressive".
    • In a much more minor example, Chekov will bat at your face if he wants you to wake up. As Mark and Vicky have found out, though, if you don't wake up promptly, those paws contain *claws*. It's purely innocent, but it does hurt and forces them to wake up.
  • Big Friendly Dog: To anyone unaware of her antics, this is what Sunny appears to be, especially when she's playing peekaboo with a baby or getting random passers-by to pet her.
  • Big "YES!": Tattletale's reaction when she finds out a plan by Sunshine to take out Coil is in progress, and her part in it is paying off.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: Lung, feeling slighted, decides to backhand Taylor. Sunny takes this... poorly.
  • Broke the Rating Scale: According to Clockblocker's PHO post, Taylor's threat rating includes "Shaker: Yes" and "Dog: Dog." Normally this might be put down to Clock being Clock, but in this case this is entirely plausible.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Emma declares that she can't accept Taylor's protection from demons like the jorugumo that almost ate her. Yuuta clarifies that Taylor's actions have nothing to do with Emma and that he's never even heard Taylor mention her name (he had to ask Emma's dad what her name was), which leaves Emma stunned and with her mouth hanging open.
  • But Now I Must Go: After Kayden agrees to turn herself in to the Protectorate in exchange for safety for her children, she asks to say goodbye to Taylor and Sunshine before she is escorted to another city.
  • Call-Back: The first time Emma encountered Taylor doing calligraphy, she dumped ink all over Taylor and then smashed her inkwell. Many scenes later, Taylor and Emma encounter each other again at Yuuta's house, after Emma has gone through a Trauma Conga Line that included almost getting eaten by a jorogumo and being rescued by Yuuta. Taylor, riding in on Sunny, wants Baachan's help with her kimono as she's on her way to a meeting with the city's parahumans and doesn't even acknowledge Emma. After Taylor leaves, Yuuta (who's taken up ofuda-making) points out some simple facts about Taylor, and then asks Emma to pass him his inkwell. Emma clearly remembers the first situation when she gently sets the inkwell on the table.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Danny and Taylor's relationship is strained to the point that Danny cannot even ask an open-ended question about her. Even after outing himself as Chessman to her, his first question is if she got all her homework done. Things do seem to be improving after that incident, though.
  • Character Development: Quite a lot of it, throughout the story.
    • After Taylor's summer project of fixing up the shrine attracts the terrible attention of Lung (even though Sunny successfully chastises him), she tells Sunny that she doesn't want to be a hero and all she wants to do is hang out with her doggy friend. After the Merchants invade her home and Sunny goes to teach them a lesson, Taylor successfully negotiates with Oni Lee on her own and tells Sunny that it's not fair to let her do everything on her own and that she wants to help out with Cape business too.
    • Taylor initially doesn't want to play her mother's flute where her father can hear it, since she thinks that he doesn't deserve to hear it on account of how he tried to bury his wife's memory. Later, after they finally patch things up, Taylor thinks it would be nice to play the flute for him sometime.
  • Character Witness:
    • Mr. Henrick, is Taylor's older neighbor, whom she often helps out with yardwork and chores and such. As it turns out, he's also the former school superintendent. When Taylor gets accused of siccing gang members on Emma, everyone, even Danny, seems to not believe her until Mr. Henrick barges in and stands up for her, telling them how much of a good girl she is and how she sometimes comes home crying. The case against Taylor falls apart after this.
    • Alan Barnes tries to be one for Shadow Stalker. Unfortunately for him and Shadow Stalker, Danny Hebert, in this story a cape named Chessman, finds out about this less than an hour after the above encounter with Henrick, during which Alan accused Taylor of gang membership and drug use until Henrick shut him up. Sophia Hess isn't heard from again, implying that Chessman pointed this out to Piggot and had the Character Witness revoked.
  • Chekhov's Gift:
    • Throughout the story, characters have given Taylor and Sunny a gift of a handful of beads, some jewelry, or the like, which Sunny has had Taylor place in a partitioned box with segments corresponding to the 13 zodiac animals. Time will tell what significance this will play.
    • Earlier in the story, Danny is given a beautifully painted chimera model by Taylor. When Merchants attack his house, he grows it to full size with his power and uses it to fend them off.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Taylor soon becomes one for all of Sunny's antics, especially when they involve capes.
  • Crash-Into Hello:
    • Taylor meets Oni Lee this way when chasing after Sunny in the Asian district. Fortunately, Oni Lee confuses her for a Miko and not only spares her, but apologizes.
    • On a visit to the Protectorate HQ, Sunny plays fetch with Taylor by throwing a toy Armsmaster halberd from the gift shop, and when Taylor tries to grab it, she runs right into the real Armsmaster as he steps out of the elevator.
  • Cute Kitten: Taylor finds a box of abandoned kittens and ends up giving one to the Dallons. They name it Chekov, and he soon becomes a very influential part of the family. Amy Dallon, AKA Panacea, also has a new hobby: taking pictures of Chekov doing adorable things, such as sleeping on an oven mitt inside a drawer or trying to fight the Rodents of Unusual Size through the TV while watching The Princess Bride.
  • Death Glare: After the Protectorate has had a truly awful Halloween full of eldritch creatures causing trouble, Armsmaster strolls into the cafeteria in the morning, apparently without a care in the world, reminding everyone to attend a briefing in 20 minutes.
    The collective withering stare from the rest of the Protectorate killed three houseplants that decorated the far wall of the cafeteria.
  • Debt Detester: Let's just say that Lung's not happy about finding himself in an honour debt to the Miko and the Ōkami she serves, and is willing to do things like assault Coil's base under grounds of breaking the unwritten rules to repay it.
    Lung: (paraphrased) And I'm paying debt to Ōkami, if it's the last thing you do!
  • Declaration of Protection: Oni Lee says as much to the Alcotts and New Wave about Dinah.
    Oni Lee: My sister did not choose this, but others chose for her. Dinah has not chosen this. Others have attempted to choose for her. I do not agree with their presumption; that is why I do this.
  • Disapproving Look: Oni Lee levels one that's both incredulous and disappointed against his boss when he orders Lee to commission something from Parian: an Armsmaster speedo.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Miss Militia thinks about this trope as she goes to buy one. For all the stereotypes, donuts are great snacks for cops on the go, since they're cheap, compact, don't spoil at room temperature, and are full of energy-providing sugars, carbs, and maybe even pudding.
  • Double Take: Battery, Lung, and Purity all do this when they see Armsmaster with Sunny's head on his knee and petting her without even realizing it. Assault even does a Spit Take.
  • Due to the Dead: Sunny grows a red spider lily outside the shrine for Coil's mercenaries that tried to kidnap Dinah on the grounds, and who were killed by Oni Lee in retaliation.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Played for Laughs here; when Sunny gets the idea to dunk Taylor in the shrine's ceremonial fountain, Taylor threatens the dog that if she does, she'll unplug Sunny's sake fridge. The next day, Taylor finds the entire shrine (and only the shrine) buried in snow and Sunny sitting next to a wine rack made of ice, at which point she just sighs and starts making her way over to the fountain.
  • Entertainingly Wrong:
    • Pretty much everyone who thinks that Brushstroke (Taylor) is a parahuman and Good Dog (Sunny) is her projection.
    • Knowing Brushstroke's identity and her relation with the ex-Dockworker's Union member Danny Hebert, Kaiser assumes that the recent gutting of his parahuman forces is retribution for what the Empire did to the Dockworkers.
    • Coil starts out his plans to waylay Brushstroke and her interfering Good Dog thinking that she made a deal with Lung and the ABB for protection. But after Lung breaks into his base at the Ōkami's behest, he realizes he got it the wrong way round: Lung is the one in debt to Brushstroke.
  • Evil is Petty: When Lung requests a meeting with the Miko, he has to engage in a full-on tea ceremony, which requires either hakama or a suit. Lung walks in with no shirt, takes pleasure in throwing off Taylor's rhythm for the ceremony, and is disrespectful despite being civil, which makes Taylor very annoyed and she demands recompense for the rudeness.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Tattletale's lavender bodysuit is extremely unsuitable for cold weather. The couple of times she meets Taylor outside Pawprint Shrine in November/December, she is noticeably shivering.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Danny, while mentally going over evidence presented during a school meeting of why Taylor is a good girl, realizes that Taylor walking her dog is unusual because he doesn't own a dog.
  • Extended Disarming: Oni Lee has to go through this when Mrs. Alcott finally agrees to invite him inside for dinner. Final count is four fragmentation grenades, two flashbangs, six knives, and one shortsword.
  • Face Fault: Sunshine does one when, even after confronting three Merchant home invaders, generating his portable army, blowing up the wall of his house, and outing himself as the hero Chessman in front of Taylor, all Danny can say to his daughter is to ask if she's done her homework.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • Armsmaster is so busy telling Brushstroke about certain rogue cape laws (including penalties for Master effects), that he doesn't notice Sunshine walking up to him, putting her head on his knee, and him absent-mindedly starting to pet her.
    • The sentries that Oni Lee placed around the Alcott home must not have been doing their jobs, if they failed to inform him that he'd be going to dinner with New Wave.
  • Fisher King: Sunshine's presence around Brockton Bay has resulted in the city still getting the spring sun even during the winter months, something Dragon has noticed.
  • Flat "What":
    • A frequent occurrence for the PRT when Good Dog is on the loose, ranging from finding a nose-print obscuring a camera at the top of a telephone pole, to Good Dog stealing a local heroine's motorcycle and going for a ride. While drunk.
    • Coil himself has nothing but this to say after Good Dog sneaks up on Aegis and Kid Win under a cardboard box, cons Kid Win into a ride on his hoverboard, then beats the crap out of a bunch of E88 goons with close-quarters combat. Especially when Kid Win lampshades the whole reference while riding with Sunny.
      Kid Win: Snaaaaaaake Eaaaaateeeeer!
      Sunny: Woooooo~!
      Coil: What.
  • Food as Bribe:
    • How Myrddin gets from Chicago to his bimonthly tabletop gaming session in Brockton Bay and back in any appreciable time: he pays for Strider's dinner and a movie nearby, Strider gives him a lift.
    • Taylor promises Velocity some dango if he convinces Legend to stick around long enough for an autograph.
  • Foreshadowing: One of the moderators on PHO, Bagrat, has an alternate account named "mots doux à l'oreille" who had vetted Brushstroke's account as "Verified Priestess". The Gratuitous French he uses may link him to a certain flute-playing character from Ōkami.
    • As a bonus, said Gratuitous French translates to "Soft Words Of The Ear" AKA Pillow Talk.
  • Friendship Trinket: As Taylor interacts with people around Brockton Bay and slowly helps them change and improve, a turning point in their relationship is marked by them giving Taylor and Sunny a gift of a handful of beads, some jewelry, or the like, which is then placed in a partitioned box with segments corresponding to the 13 Eastern Zodiac animals.
    • Nezumi, the rat: Oni Lee, in thanks for the Kami helping restore his damaged psyche.
    • Ondori, the rooster: Mrs. Martha Henrick, Taylor's neighbour, both in repayment for Taylor helping out in her garden, and also encouraging her husband George to resume his involvement in the schooling system.
    • Inoshishi, the boar: Baachan, Yuuta's grandmother, after watching the Asian community become revitalized around the restoration of Pawprint Shrine (and her family potentially reopening their old bakery).
    • Saru, the monkey: Haru, Yuuta, and Souta, as they each discover their paths in life away from the ABB (Souta becoming a mechanic's assistant, Haru joining the swim team, and Yuuta learning to draw and sell protective ofuda).
    • Ushi, the ox: Kayden, after she turns state's evidence for the Protectorate against the Empire and gets herself and her children out of Brockton Bay.
    • Uma, the horse: Emma, trying to make a clean break from Taylor, gives back the earrings they exchanged when they were kids (technically making this an inversion of the trope).
    • Tora, the tiger: Lung, to get Sunny to stop hounding him.
    • Hitsuji, the sheep: Danny, after he and Taylor rebuild their relationship, he helps renovate the hot spring that she now owns, and they share their family recipe for meatloaf.
  • From Bad to Worse: From Taylor's perspective. Having Oni Lee, Assault, Battery, and Armsmaster all show up at the shrine in short succession was bad enough, but then Lung arrives. And then Purity comes for a visit as well. Taylor asks Purity if she'd seen Skidmark was anywhere in the vicinity.
    Taylor: You didn’t happen to see Skidmark or any of the Merchants on your way here, did you?
    Purity: No, I can’t say I did... why?
    Taylor: Just checking.
  • The Gadfly: Sunny. Why yes, Sunny, staying out of trouble most certainly means hijacking the local superheroes' vehicles and having them catch a Nazi in the process. Twice.
  • Get Out!: What happens to Skidmark after he gets Sunshine on his case: she drags him to the highway, shoots some ink bullets at his feet, and basically runs him out of town.
  • Glad I Thought of It: Lung may try to take credit for some of Brushstroke's actions, like saying the Truce Zone of Pawprint Shrine is his land and his idea. But one look from Sunny reminds him who's really giving the orders around here.
  • Gone Horribly Right: When Yuuta notices someone taking down Taylor's flyers, he assumes it's anti-ABB sentiment and sets out to find the perpetrators and stop them. It turns out to be a Jorogumo that tricked Emma into helping her because the flyers had a Protective Charm on the back. Yuuta winds up saving Emma and killing the Jorogumo and then puts up Taylor's charms all over ABB Territory and the Shrine area after the encounter. His grandmother now wants to set him up with Emma, and Oni Lee has officially made him responsible for protecting ABB territory from further Youkai attacks. Oni Lee also threatened Yuuta with death if he does a bad job or fails to compensate Taylor properly for her talismans.
    • Then it becomes this trope for Oni Lee himself, since he didn't realize Yuuta wasn't a full member of the ABB when he gave Yuuta his marching orders. Conscripting an underclassman and someone whom Taylor considers a friend (and indirect subordinate) has put her on his case.
  • Graceful in Their Element: Maybe not "graceful" per se, but the rather chubby Haru, who's a swimmer, somewhat counts. More precisely, he may not have the speed for the speed trials, but he does have the stamina for the distance trials.
  • Grail in the Garbage: In preparation for her tea ceremony with Lung, Sunny gets Taylor a wall hanging for the shrine, an old painting named Zhou Maoshu Appreciating Lotuses. Considering this is a Japanese national treasure that was stored in the Kyushu National Museum, and exactly what happened to said island, Lung and the baachans have every right to be shocked when they see it right before their eyes.
    • For a Western equivalent, picture finding the original of da Vinci's The Last Supper on the wall of an American neighborhood church after Rome has been sunk into the ocean.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Armsmaster is hit with a realization when he finds himself demanding to see permits to do construction work on a shrine from a dog, for no reason other than to throw a wrench in Brushstroke's plans. He's put so off-balance by that thought that he returns to base and takes a sick day, and when Dragon checks in on him, he asks her if he's an asshole.
    • Carol Dallon's moment comes when she forbids her daughters from going to the new hot spring, even when it could cheer Amy up, and Victoria accuses her of never doing anything to help Amy. This brings Carol to think about all the little things that Vicky and Chekov do to cheer Amy up, then about all the little things Carol does to put Amy down, and how all those little things build up a wall between her and her family, brick by brick.
      You never do anything.
      Carol: No, I suppose I don't.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing: Chessman, Dragon, Director Piggot, and even the Chicago Protectorate cape Myrddin have a D&D tabletop group. And Dragon ropes Armsmaster into joining.
  • Heroic Build: Defied with Chessman a.k.a. Danny Hebert, who's tall but thin as a rail. When Danny reveals his identity, he points out that the Protectorate's penchant for portraying capes this way is not a good idea, and he is soon proven right as support for the Protectorate grows in the aftermath.
  • Humiliation Conga:
    • Let's just say the E88 capes have a very bad time when Sunshine starts going after them.
    • When Sunshine decides to go after Coil, the snake villain finds his escape plans and multiple timelines cut off one by one, until his only possible future is being arrested by the cops for speeding and then handed over to the PRT.
  • Identity Amnesia: Even with his memories slowly coming back, Oni Lee still doesn't remember who he once was, only bits of the sister he used to have.
  • Ignored Enemy: When Taylor runs to Yuuta's house to ask his Baachan for some help dressing up, she briefly notices Emma sitting at the table (due to Yuuta rescuing her and Baachan taking her on as a project) and is momentarily startled, before deciding that the invited meeting at Somer's Rock is more important. Though no words are spoken until after Taylor leaves, Emma is thrown for a loop at Taylor both showing strength and not acknowledging her.
  • Implacable Man: Coil finds himself on the wrong end of two:
    • Lung, when the ABB leader breaks into his base for apparently violating the truce.
    • Good Dog, when Coil sees her chasing after him on the interstate. And even splitting timelines just puts her right in front of him.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: Taylor keeps telling everyone that she isn't a cape, just a regular girl with a very weird dog. Very few people believe her. Even Danny is convinced that Sunny is just a semi-independent projection manifested by Taylor's power.
  • Implied Answer: After a Heel Realization at Pawprint Shrine, Armsmaster heads back to base and takes a sick day, and when Dragon checks in on him, he asks her if he's an asshole. The "Um" she gives is all the confirmation he needs, prompting her to quickly clarify herself.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: The reaction of everyone when they find out that clearing out the E88 to get Lung to buy up the land containing the shrine and the surrounding properties and gift it all to Taylor was all so that Sunny... could dig up a hot spring on the property. Several Protectorate members get very drunk indeed.
    Taylor: So I brought out some sake from Sunny's stash, does anyone want to-
    Lung: Yes.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: When Lung gifts the land properties for the shrine and the surrounding lots to Brushstroke, Purity comments that he got them cheap since his gang cratered the property values. A moment later, Sunny digs up a hot spring on an adjacent lot (that Brushstroke now owns), and the property value of the land suddenly isn't so 'cratered' any more.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Armsmaster comments to Taylor that Good Dog has a Master effect that coerces law enforcement officers to pet her. Taylor answers that Sunny doesn't need to coerce anyone to pet her — he's doing it right now. Armsmaster is... shocked when he realizes it.
  • Ironic Nickname: Sunshine's cape name is Good Dog, which Miss Militia finds highly inappropriate when Sunny steals her motorbike.note 
    Miss Militia: Hey! Stop! That is a Protectorate vehicle— stop, Good Dog! Wait, no-- Bad dog! Bad dog! Irresponsible dog!
  • Irony:
    • When Taylor first meets Oni Lee at the shrine, her first instinct is to find some way to keep the situation from escalating.
    • As befitting the irony that comes with getting parahuman powers, Danny Hebert, the union man dedicated to helping workers and labourers get good, paying jobs, triggered with the power of The Minion Master, giving him all the cheap, unpaid labor that anyone could ask for.
  • Kissing the Ground: After the insanity that was the Cape tea party at the shrine and finding out that Sunny went to the trouble of clearing out the E88 and manipulating Lung just to own a hot spring, Taylor is so happy to return to Winslow and normalcy that she hugs the building.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Taylor helping her nexto door neighbors with some yard work (such as painting their fence) in exchange for help with various things leads to the husband, who is her school's retired superintendent, acting as a Character Witness when she gets in trouble.
    • Victor tries to snipe the potentially troublesome Brushstroke, only for Good Dog to pee on him in his rifle and lead to him being caught by PRT troopers.
    • Taylor and Sunshine befriend a young mother with the former offering her an ice cream cone and the latter playing with her infant daughter. Days later, Purity refuses to destroy the Pawprint Shrine when she sees the young girl she befriended playing her flute there.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...:
    • Taylor makes the following statement after some of Sunshine's antics prove to have a very clear motive.
      Taylor: Sunny, did you wipe out the Empire, dig a hundred miles or so of tunnels, and then manipulate Lung into buying up the street… SO YOU COULD OWN A HOT SPRING?!
      Sunny: Mmmmmbark.
    • After Taylor finds a "Verified Priestess" tag next to her username on PHO, she starts looking into getting a mail-order degree so that she can officially become one to take care of the shrine. Dinah Alcott has this response:
      ...just to confirm: you’re looking into getting a mail-order college degree, from a country you don’t speak the language, so that your online cape forum title is more accurate. Is that what I’m hearing?
  • Letters 2 Numbers: The ABB members who are tasked with cleaning up the area around the shrine soon take to wearing jackets labeled with Local 433. Stylized a certain way, it's not hard to imagine how ABB -> 433.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than canon Worm. It's a world where Taylor is an unknowing Shrine Maiden in training for a trolling Wolf God of the Sun, and is attempting to revitalize the city through urban renewal rather than fisticuffs with random jerks on the street.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Sophia was this for Emma. With her reinforcing the "Hunter-Prey" line, and providing backup in the form of physical strength and numbers, Emma was able to bully Taylor with relatively little stopping her. Once Sophia is caught in her Shadow Stalker outfit, things rapidly go downhill for Emma. While some of this can be laid at the hands of Taylor getting a character witness and the ABB closing ranks around "the Miko," Emma notably worsens once Sophia is permanently out of the picture, undergoing a minor mental breakdown.
  • Miko: Between her red and white outfit and the shrine that she's clearing up, this is what everyone thinks Taylor is. (And considering who her companion is, they're not exactly wrong.) As the story goes on, she's been slowly accepting this role.
  • The Minion Master: Chessman's (Danny Hebert's) power. He can imbue little toys or figurines with his power and grow them into pawns — full-sized, animate versions of themselves that will follow his orders. And they can be anything from dolls, to toy cars, to toy tanks. For an added bonus, he plays tabletop games as a hobby and thus carries a lot of models around with him.
  • Morality Pet:
    • The Cute Kitten Chekov effectively serves as one to Carol Dallon after she inadvertently adopts him from Taylor. As she cares for the new family pet, she starts taking an uncomfortable look at how she's been treating her daughters, particularly Amy, and slowly starts to loosen up. She even allows the girls to visit Brushstroke's new hot spring after initially refusing.
    • To a lesser extent, Chekov's presence in the household also helps bring Mark out of his depression and keeps Amy from being so dour all the time.
  • Mugging the Monster: A trio of Merchants find themselves on the wrong end of this trope. Breaking into the home of Brushstroke, a known rogue with pacifist leanings, is one thing. Breaking into the home of Chessman, a member of the Protectorate known to keep literal armies in his sleeves, is another...
  • Mythology Gag:
    • One Word Of God from Wildbow stated that Taylor triggered with the Administrator Shard because, while her father, Danny, was earmarked to be the one who triggered, he wasn't suitable for it. Here, he actually did trigger.
    • As Taylor sets up the new onsen by the shrine, she starts noticing more than a few sparrows hanging around. In Ōkami, an organization of sparrows manage a hidden hot spring.
  • Noble Demon: Oni Lee may be an assassin, but he takes the safety and neutrality of the Pawprint Shrine very seriously and saves Dinah Alcott when she is almost kidnapped.
  • Noodle Incident: According to Word of God, Chessman is no longer allowed to field Ork armies.
  • Not a Morning Person: The whole Brockton Bay Protectorate turns into this the morning after an exceptionally bizarre Halloween. Except for Armsmaster and Velocity, much to the others' displeasure.
  • Not Helping Your Case: When denying Sunny is her projection, Taylor admits she first met the wolf when she was eight years old and lost in a quickly darkening forest. As Assault gently points out, such a situation would be extremely scary for a young girl.
  • Not So Above It All: Director Piggot is usually seen as a rather abrasive individual who is highly work-focused and unlikely to engage overmuch with her colleagues, given their dislike for her. All the same, she has apparently been taking part in bets over a shipping pool involving, at the least, Armsmaster and Dragon; potentially Chessman as well, since he was one of the subjects of the conversation she and Dragon were having at the time. She even takes part in regular D&D tabletop sessions with them.
  • No-Sell: Sunny shuts down Skidmark's slide fields with a flick of her tail.
  • Now You Tell Me: Oni Lee is tasked to deliver a message to Taylor that Lung is coming to the shrine in 30 minutes, and he delivers it... after himself, Lung, and three Protectorate Heroes have already sat down for tea. And even then, only after Lung mentions the message, not realizing it wasn't delivered.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Chessman (Danny Hebert) and his debut on the cape scene, detailed in a separate post: In retaliation for an attack on the Docks by the E88, he crashed an E88 rally with three fully-grown Sherman Tanks.
    • After Purity takes her leave from Brockton Bay, a throwaway line in the next chapter mentions the Protectorate arresting the last few capes the Empire has left, eliminating the gang as a threat to the city.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Lung's reaction when he learns that the E88 have been cut down to size, and that he now has to follow up on his deal to the Miko to clean up the ABB.
      • And especially when Oni Lee tells him what Kami the Miko serves, and he realizes that shortchanging either the Miko or her Kami on the deal, or potentially connecting them with illicit activities, is a Very Bad Idea.
    • Oni Lee has a minor one when he realizes that by conscripting Yuuta (whom he didn't realize was a first/second year) to get ofuda from the Miko, he accidentally poached both a minor and someone under her authority to do the work of the ABB.
    • Coil has several of these reactions in quick succession:
      • When Lung breaks into his base after the dragon is told by Oni Lee that Dinah's kidnapping attempt ended up on shrine grounds, and that Tattletale is cutting off his security.
      • When he realizes that Lung and Tattletale are attacking him at the behest of Brushstroke, and what that means:
        Good Dog was coming.
      • When he sees Good Dog chasing him on the interstate. In multiple timelines.
    • A pair of twins come visit Pawprint Shrine, but are suddenly terrified by Sunshine dropping back in and quickly take their leave. Perhaps the fox tails on their rears had something to do with it.
    • Miss Militia has one when Assault sends her a picture of Lung wearing an Armsmaster speedo in the hot springs and says that it's probably on the internet somewhere. The next time she's seen, she has practically shut down the base's internet and is shouting at Armsmaster not to open his email. The following is some of her panicked IMs to Assault, who notified her of it:
      oh god
      I have to stop this somehow
      after I destroy the internet I am coming for your ass
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Taylor has this reaction after she is dropped off at the Undersiders' base and Sunny goes haring off on her own, which leads Tattletale's power to infer something that causes her to react excitedly.
    Taylor: Well, if the pattern holds true, I’m here to regret yet inevitably benefit from whatever that is.
    • The Undersiders then rob Coil of most of his funds, and give Taylor a $3 million cut of the takings in exchange for Sunny setting this up.
  • One Degree of Separation: Haru, one of the ABB gang members that ends up helping Taylor fix up the shrine, has a cousin that turns out to be Bakuda.note 
  • On Second Thought:
    • When Sunny takes Taylor on a five-minute, high-speed wolf-back ride to the Protectorate Rig, Taylor is indignant that she could do this and yet makes Taylor ride her bike everywhere. Then Sunny runs across the bay and up the side of the rig to the meeting platform.
      Taylor: I take it back. I'm fine with the bicycle.
    • While Armsmaster is negotiating with Piggot for some actual time off, Piggot suggests that Dauntless get put in charge while he's away. Armsmaster initially balks at the idea until he thinks of "inexperienced, naive, totally unprepared Dauntless" being in charge of the Weirdness Magnet that Brockton Bay has become, and agrees that it's a great idea.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: At the conclusion that Taylor is a Master with a projection who triggered several years ago and never even knew it, Assault agrees that she is Chessman's daughter. Danny breaks his nose.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • A lot of characters have to be put through Master/Stranger protocols after they find themselves petting a wandering Sunshine or end up caught in one of her wild antics.
      • Even Director Piggot gets put through some, when she makes the request that the capes under her command get more therapy, because it would make them happier. The hosing of her office with containment foam may have been a bit excessive, however.
    • When the Workaholic Armsmaster finds himself trying to mess up Brushstroke's development plans for no reason other than sheer pettiness, he is so unnerved by what he's trying to do that he leaves and takes a sick day.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Sunny, AKA Amaterasu. Her powers and abilities are from being a goddess, but everyone outside of the ABB and Asian community assumes (because of their experience with Capes) that Taylor and Sunny are a pair of capes named Brushstroke and Good Dog.
    • In addition, the sudden influx of Youkai on Halloween leave more than a few capes stunned at the surge of weird occurrences.
  • Papa Wolf: Let's just say that Danny doesn't take it well when some Merchants break into his house looking for Taylor.
    Danny: You think you can come in here?! You think you can come in here and hurt my family?! They’ll bury you in a shoebox when I’m done with you, you son of a bitch! You tell Skidmark he is fucked, do you hear me?! Now you get the hell out of my house!
  • Paranoia Gambit:
    • After having 7 of his capes arrested in one week, Max Anders would love nothing more than to retaliate and show that Kaiser and the Empire are nothing to be trifled with... if not for the snowy white dog, standing on the outside of his 20th-storey office window, looking right at him.
      • And when he calls his ex-wife Kayden, the next thing he hears after she steps away for a minute is the breathing of a very large dog. Kayden telling him that the dog and its owner are regularly over to babysit doesn't help his nerves at all.
    • Lung becomes uncomfortably aware that there's more to Brushstroke's gift of a hot spring voucher than meets the eye, especially after her Ōkami gives him a little wink.
    • An All There in the Manual example; Chessman's presence on the Brockton Bay cape scene is one of these, since it is well known that he can start animating and growing his pawns from a distance, and no-one knows how many pawns he has hidden around the city, just waiting to be empowered...
  • Pedestrian Crushes Car: Between her Power Slash brush powers and being strong enough to tear off bumpers, no car that Sunshine sets her interests on is getting away intact, especially not Coil's little getaway Prius.
  • Perception Filter: One of Amaterasu's powers. Nobody notices anything odd about an extremely large, pure-white dog buying things from stores, walking around without a leash or owner, sitting on a bench and drinking sake from a bottle, etc.
    • Unless Sunny WANTS them to notice the weirdness. Then people can absolutely see that there's a white wolf big enough to crush a man's head in her jaws walking around.
    • Taylor seems to be able to see the red markings that only appear for people who see Ammy as a god, but it's unclear if she can see them all the time, or only on occasion.
    • It seems to be weaker if you're far enough away, or if Sunny isn't paying attention; several members of the Protectorate point out that Sunny is way too big and clearly not a domestic breed of dog.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Armsmaster's first encounter with Sunshine is a literal example of this, as he stops chasing Taylor (whom he saw painting/vandalizing houses) to pet the white dog.
    • Every moment Oni Lee spends with Dinah Alcott is this, from rescuing her from kidnappers and walking her home, to getting invited to dinner by her and watching her build a snowman.
  • Physical God: Amaterasu, to an extent.
  • Poke in the Third Eye: Sunny's effect on Tattletale's super-intuition: not only does she stymie it to the point that all Tattletale can do is point at her and say "Dog!", she can actually photobomb it and keep the random information coming.
  • Politeness Judo:
    • Oni Lee finds himself treated to this by Taylor: after she sits him down to tea, she brings up an uncomfortable subject knowing he'd not be able to excuse himself without being rude.
    • Lung finds that Oni Lee has managed to defy him in one way — the tea ceremony that Taylor was taught for this particular occasion will force him to be in the seiza position for four hours, demonstrating his displeasure with his boss' former lack of any politeness. That, or Oni Lee genuinely didn't see a problem with this as he has frankly inhuman levels of patience. Lung's not sure which.
    • Lung becomes aware that something's up when Brushstroke gives him a voucher to her future hot spring built on his property, but knows there's no way to refuse.
  • Portal Door: A door in the new hot spring opens to the land of humanoid sparrow onsen-managers. Rather than enter, Taylor decides to close it and go for some tea instead.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
    • When a bunch of Merchants break into the Hebert household to look for Taylor, Danny a.k.a. The Minion Master cape Chessman has one order to give:
      Chessman: Queen to A7.
    • Oni Lee's response to several mercenaries holding him at gunpoint and demanding he turn over the little girl they just chased onto the shrine's grounds?
      Oni Lee: “I will need to clean my tools again.”
  • Pride Before a Fall: Lung, when he walks into the shrine and attacks the parahuman Miko for apparently encroaching on ABB territory. But he soon finds he got the context wrong: the Miko was tasked to care for the shrine by the Kami that is her companion, and he just encroached on her territory. And the Kami is not pleased.
  • Properly Paranoid: When she hears about all the evil spirits that come out around Halloween, Sunny panics and "encourages" Taylor to place protectional ofuda everywhere around the shrine, even on the backs of advertising posters for shrine parties. The next thing we know, we see a jorogumo get exorcised by some.
  • Psychological Projection: When Emma finally confronts Taylor at Pawprint Shrine at the end of a very long Trauma Conga Line, she makes a big speech about how she hates Taylor, that Taylor ruins everything she touches, is so needy, no-one actually likes her, is always clinging to the past, and that Taylor is the worst. The fact that Emma is sobbing throughout this whole spiel makes it fairly evident that it isn't Taylor she's really talking about.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Piggot has a generally terrible day and then a hysterical Chessman calls her to tell her he doesn't own a dog. While in context Chessman is right to worry, he phrases his concerns so badly Piggot immediately has him thrown in the Master-Stranger protocol holding tank.
    • After Halloween, the rest of the Protectorate are irate and angry from having to deal with Youkai shenanigans all night long. Velocity strolls up to their table, announces that he had a lot of fun the night before (essentially playing chaperone to the Wards attending the Pawprint Shrine party, met some nice people, and may either have a girlfriend or is engaged to be married — he's not sure which). When he leaves, the rest of the team starts plotting to throw him into Master/Stranger confinement.
  • Reality Warper: Sunny herself. Considering she is Amaterasu in the form of a wolf, this comes with the territory. The PRT eventually gives up and just labels her "Shaker: Yes".
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Taylor gives a short, but effective one to Lung when they first meet.
    "You can't answer me, and that is why you have no claim here. This shrine does not belong to you, it belongs to the people of this city. And this city does not belong to you, because you do not belong to it. You take, but never give."
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Lung demands to meet with the Miko (whom everyone suspects is a cape) of the newly-restored shrine in his territory in a tea ceremony. Taylor prepares a formal ceremony, has Lung sit in seiza for four hours and then demands two sidewalks from Lung as recompense for his rudeness and deliberate disregard for the tradition of the ceremony. With Sunny sternly watching him, Lung agrees.
      • Lung himself engages in this by showing up to the tea ceremony without formal wear or even a shirt. Mind you, this is after Lung found out the hard way that you don't trifle with Sunny or her Miko.
    • Pretty much every way Sunny gets the Protectorate heroes to take out one of the E88 capes; cause some havoc, draw the Protectorate and E88 into it, and leave the E88 cape in a very, very bad position.
    • The things that Good Dog/Sunny pulls are so weird yet inexplicably effective that several of the Protectorate submit themselves to Master-Stranger protocols (although given that Miss Militia had her bike stolen by a drunken dog, it seemed like a very reasonable step to take at the time).
    • Normally, walking uninvited into Somer's Rock in the middle of a Brockton Bay villain meeting would be a bad idea for anyone not a villain, but when you're Brushstroke, dressed in a kimono, riding in on a great white wolf, and stating that you were invited, especially after said white wolf subjugated, crippled, and dismantled the top three gangs in the city, there really isn't a way for the villains to kick you out.
      • This even applies to villain hideouts. When Grue finds Brushstroke at the doorstep of the Undersiders' secret base, apparently having been dropped off there by Good Dog for no discernable reason, he decides to welcome her in rather than risk the divine wrath of her companion.
    • This trope is summed up in this line:
      Dinah: Hi Mom. Mr. Oni Lee saved me from kidnappers. Can he stay for dinner?
      • But that's not the end of it; since her mum refused to let Oni Lee stay for dinner, Dinah has resolved to 'get lost' at the shrine every day and have Oni Lee walk her home until her mum caves. It eventually works.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The glamor that Karen the jorogumo uses to manipulate Emma Barnes into helping her is described as being tall, with curly (albeit blonde) hair and a mouth too wide to be pretty, and Yuuta finds those features oddly familiar when he sees her. Those features are commonly used to describe Taylor, and it's obvious that the jorogumo picked up on some of Emma's hangups about her former friend and tweaked her glamor accordingly.
  • Sacred Hospitality: When two capes of the ABB, three capes of the Protectorate, and one cape of the E88 are in unexpected attendance in a Truce Zone shrine, Taylor really hopes they respect this.
    • "Tea time is courtesy time". This is basically Taylor's Survival Mantra, which she uses during particularly tense visits at the shrine (such as the above).
    • Oni Lee also adopts the above mantra when he is invited to a dinner with the Alcott family, only to also find New Wave in attendance as well.
    • One of the two reasons Taylor says she can't join the Protectorate or the Wards; since doing so would mean that the neutrality of the Shrine could be compromised. (The other reason is that she's not a parahuman.)
  • Sanity Strengthening: The damage Oni Lee gave himself through his teleports slowly heals after meeting Sunshine. For several days, his memories trickle back, though there are still enormous gaps, particularly in his older memories.
  • Security Cling: Yuuta wants to call his baachan after a harrowing experience, but finds it difficult because Emma, the girl he just saved from a jorogumo, won't let go of his arm.
  • Seiza Squirm: Lung isn't happy that as part of the tea ceremony he is taking part in with the shrine Miko, he has to sit in seiza for four hours (for which he blames the insufferably-patient Oni Lee for). By the time tea is served, Lung thinks that if he didn't have his power, his legs would've fallen off.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Yuuta and his friends initially remember Taylor as a bit of a "butterface"note  from their earlier interactions with her at Winslow, but after Taylor comes out in a kimono after asking Yuuta's grandmother for help, Yuuta concludes that the clothes really do make the man, or in this case, miko.
  • Shipper on Deck: Quite a few of the local PRT for Dragon and Armsmaster, if inference is anything to go by.
    Piggot: Piggot noticed the faint sound of disappointment in Dragon’s voice, and made a mental note to adjust her bet in the shipping pools.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: The story portrays polytheism much more accurately than normal in Fantasy. In particular, while the concept is not itself named or explained, the Do-Ut-Des principle is clearly shown in Lung's reaction to Sunny's actions, including the idea that you need to repay gods for favors given to you, even ones you didn't specifically ask for.
  • Shrines and Temples: Taylor and Sunny find an abandoned one and make a project out of fixing it up. And then they get the whole Asian community to help.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Taylor's outfit is this on the first day she met Oni Lee. He first saw her as a white girl near the site of an Empire drive-by shooting, and went to attack her... until he saw she was wearing a shrine maiden's outfit. He stops immediately and that kicks off a lot of changes for the ABB.
    • Mr. Henrick becomes this during the Barnes accusation of Taylor at her school.
      • This in turn makes Danny one for Alan Barnes's credibility as a character witness in Shadow Stalker's hearing.
    • Happens again when Armsmaster sends Velocity to ask around about Brushstroke. He promptly gets waylaid by the baachans, who distract him with dango. After Halloween, he also comments that he may either now have a girlfriend or is engaged, he's not entirely sure which.
    • Oni Lee becomes this to Coil's attempt to kidnap Dinah Alcott; when the girl runs into Pawprint Shrine to try and escape her kidnappers with Oni Lee in attendance, he makes short work of her pursuers and brings her home.
      • Extra credit for Coil trying to get rid of the obvious spanner, by getting the Undersiders to "officially" invite Brushstroke and Good Dog to the meeting at Somer's Rock, only for a different spanner to snarl up his plans.
    • Tattletale gets upset because Sunny somehow keeps photobombing her powers.
  • Squee: Taylor's inner hero fangirl often pops up in this fic; she has to hold herself back when Battery invites her into the inner workings of the Protectorate Rig, or when Armsmaster visits the shrine.
    • When Legend pays a visit to Brockton Bay, she wonders if he'll stick around long enough for an autograph. When she finds out her father is the Protectorate hero Chessman, she wonders if she can get all the autographs.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: After Good Dog goes on a spree of dismantling the Empire capes to be easily arrested, the Protectorate need to find out more about Good Dog and her apparent master Brushstroke. But after investigation proves inconclusive and surveillance is off the table, Director Piggot instructs the heroes to just go to the shrine and employ the one tactic they haven't used yet.
    Piggot: It's called... talking.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Sunny has pulled both on several people, often in places a normal dog has no business or capability getting to.
  • Survival Mantra: Or Sanity Mantra in this case: Taylor has to repeat "Tea time is courtesy time" to herself to reassure herself that nothing will go wrong, even when the Protectorate, Lung, Oni Lee, and Purity have all sat down to tea at her shrine. Given the procession of insanity that is her life now, it's not surprising.
  • Take Back Your Gift: Attempted by Emma when she gives Taylor the earrings that they traded when they got their ears pierced together so long ago, when they were still best friends, as a last means of making a clean break. Time will tell if this is successful.
  • Tempting Fate: As Armsmaster is leaving for his time off, leaving Dauntless in charge, Dauntless assures him that nothing will go wrong and asks "What's the worst that could happen?" Miss Militia, Assault, and Velocity instantly appear with a number of issues and Armsmaster quickly clocks out.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: After getting on bad terms with Sunshine, Lung finds himself and the ABB having to make amends to Taylor by means of monetary renovations. Between buying up the land for the Miko, and her new ideas of legitimately building up businesses around the shrine, Lung soon has this opinion - that even if the ABB will be much better off, he'll never get away from the Ōkami.
    • And when the Ōkami decides she wants something from him, she starts showing up everywhere he goes, in the bar having a drink, on his car outside his meetings, even at a strip club being fawned over by the girls, until finally Lung caves.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • Chapter 24 has one such moment for Lung. After Sunny more or less dismantles the E88, he tries to think of a way to weasel out of his deal with Taylor and Sunny until he realizes Taylor's technically a miko and the shrine is built in honor of a god. He asks Lee specifically which god the shrine was built in worship for. The moment he learns it's Amaterasu, Lung knows there's not a chance in hell he'll be able to skimp out.
    • Played for laughs when Colin a.k.a. Armsmaster joins his colleagues' tabletop gaming group, and game master Danny recognises his gamer personality type:
      Danny: He is going to min/max this to hell and back, isn’t he.
      Dragon: Godspeed, Dungeon Master. We appreciate your sacrifice, you poor, doomed bastard.
    • Assault's thought after he accidentally adopts what he thinks is a Case 53 girl with fox ears and tail (actually a young kitsune) by means of giving her inarisushi is that Battery is going to murder him.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • Haru is an ABB kid that likes to swim, despite his normally chubby appearance. After Taylor gives him a good-luck charm, he attends the swim trials; while he doesn't do well on the speed trials, the coach notices his stamina, and he makes the swim team for the distance trials.
    • Yuuta's family once owned a bakery in Kyushu, but lost it when Leviathan attacked, after which they moved to Brockton Bay. After some work fixing up the shrine and its surrounding properties, Taylor leases an old kitchen to Yuuta's father, allowing him to open up their bakery again.
    • Emma's Trauma Conga Line (as specified below) finally comes to an end when Yuuta rescues her and his baachan decides to help her get her head back on straight.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Things really haven't been going Emma's way at all. She was mugged, almost killed, latched on to her rescuer Sophia as her new friend, abandoned and turned on her old friend Taylor to prove her strength, had her bullying confronted by the ABB, suddenly had Sophia removed when her Character Witness came under scrutiny, tried to find a new friend in Karen only to find out that Karen was a Jorogumo wanting to eat her. Yuuta befriending her after rescuing her from said Jorogumo and not abandoning her is the first good thing that's happened to her for a while, and it's taking some time for her to rearrange her thoughts.
  • Truce Zone: Pawprint Shrine, where peace is enforced through strength of will of the Miko Brushstroke and her Good Dog, and if that fails, divine retribution.
    • When Coil's men continue to pursue Dinah Alcott after she flees onto shrine grounds, Oni Lee kills the would-be kidnappers for violating the truce and walks the girl home. Then Lung goes after Coil personally, trapping Calvert between a timeline where he gets incinerated and one where he gets arrested by the PRT.
  • Tsuchigumo and Jorogumo: A jorogumo shows up, manipulating and trying to eat Emma Barnes, and is promptly exorcised by some ofuda that Sunny/Amaterasu had had Taylor make in the lead-up to Halloween.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Justified as Serious Business in Lung's mind in that his bare chest is an icon of his strength and disregard for propriety; he is the dragon, and covering up for any reason would be a sign of weakness, of retreat. Taylor/Brushstroke/Miko takes offense to this.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 1 ends with the implication that Taylor's father Danny just had a Trigger event.
    • Chapter 9 - Emma bullies Taylor again, only to be confronted by the ABB members looking out for Taylor. Later on, Taylor goes out painting and is nearly caught by Armsmaster, putting her and especially Sunny on the Protectorate's radar.
    • Chapter 11 - Danny and Taylor get called into a meeting with Ms. Blackwell and Alan Barnes (Emma's father) about the incident in Ch. 9. Alan accuses Taylor of being an ABB member and sending gang members after Emma, even threatening to sue Danny, before being shut down by Mr. Hendrick (who turns out to be the former superintendent of the school district, and was there for a tour with the current superintendent). More importantly, the end of the chapter reveals that Danny is a Protectorate cape by the name of Chessman.
      • There's also mention of Sophia Hess/Shadow Stalker being arrested and potentially joining the Wards. Velocity mentions that Alan Barnes vouched for her personally while talking to Chessman... who had just gotten out of the above-mentioned meeting. While we don't see the aftermath, Sophia never appears after this chapter...
    • Chapter 12 - Lung finally confronts Taylor at the shrine, thinking that she's trying to muscle in on his territory. Taylor is understandably nervous at first, but eventually find her confidence, culminating in actually telling Lung off. Lung strikes her and orders Oni Lee to dispose of her... and is immediately struck by lightning in a way that makes it perfectly clear to Lung that this was the Kami's doing. The fallout of this act is shown in later chapters.
    • Chapter 13 - The Protectorate has taken notice of Sunny's stunt in the last chapter and the sheer Weather Manipulation involved, and have begun to investigate the shrine.
    • Chapter 33 - On Halloween, Yuuta catches Emma and her new friend Karen taking down the flyers/exorcism charms made by Taylor... and Karen turns out to be a Jorogumo, proving that Sunny wasn't paranoid and there are now Youkai prowling about Brockton Bay. The next few chapters show that this wasn't an isolated incident - Chapter 34 starts with the PRT dead tired from a night of weird encounters (heavily implied to be more Youkai), and Oni Lee mentions being followed by one on Halloween in Ch. 35.
    • Chapter 35 has Purity asking Taylor to set up a meeting with Battery at Pawprint Shrine. It's not until Chapter 38 that we find out why - Purity wants to get out of Brockton Bay, and she's willing to provide information on the Empire to do so.
    • Chapter 39 - A group of Merchant thugs break into the Hebert household, looking for Taylor/Brushstroke. A Papa Wolf-induced Curb-Stomp Battle ensues, after which Taylor finally finds out her father is Chessman.
    • Chapter 50 - Kayden/Purity finally leaves Brockton Bay, and Taylor finally gets some closure with Emma. Also, a pair of twins visit Taylor, and ask if they can tell 'a few friends' about the Shrine. Nothing special, except for the fact that the girls are actually disguised kitsune. Sunny's presence scares them off, but it seems like Taylor's Youkai troubles are just beginning...
  • Wham Line:
    • As early as chapter 2: "Amaterasu smiled."
    • Chapter 45 ends with one, mostly for the implication of who is saying it.
    Bagrat: Oh, that? Don't worry about it, just trust me on this one. The little pêche has earned it.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Oni Lee vows to give his men a talking-to for not warning him that the Alcotts, who he was going to see, were having New Wave over for dinner. All of them.
  • The Unsmile: "{X} did not smile—he/she showed his/her teeth." Used twice in the the same scene with both Emma and Souta, after the former throws ink on Taylor and breaks her inkpot and the latter (and several other ABB members) confront her.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Upon seeing that Good Dog apparently dropped Brushstroke off at their hideout and ran off somewhere, Tattletale's power instantly garners Good Dog's plan to fully take out Coil and she immediately runs for her computer to cut off Coil's electronic escape plans.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Thanks to the influence of the baachans, Taylor is slowly adopting the mannerisms of one during Shrine Business. How else would she manage to chastise Lung for taking credit for declaring the shrine neutral ground in front of the Protectorate?
    • Or when she convinces Dauntless to let her away from questioning at the rig and get to hosting Oni Lee at the shrine by simply asking if he's going to make her late for tea.
  • You and What Army?: Chessman's powers make him perfect at pulling this off.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Implied in the later chapters, as more of the Asian immigrants and refugees find out about the shrine, and Sunny's true nature. The presence of onryo and other Japanese beings of myth are reported throughout the Asian quarters.