Well, things are going quite differently in Imotina these days. Rikiyu has shown his face to Barukei and they're both now living in Feiyao's house. This I never expected, but it opens some new possibilities. For one, Akotai would never suspect his brother to be visiting Feiyao's home. Another is that Barukei is avoiding Rikiyu like the proverbial plague. He is not happy to find that someone whom he thought himself well rid of has returned to "meddle" in his life. Feiyao is trying to help them both. Poor Feiyao, caught between his love for Barukei and his respect for Rikiyu.
I'm doing things I never thought of before. I've had Akotai attack Rikiyu--which doesn't happen in any of my previous drafts. It's the reason why Rikiyu and Barukei end up staying with Feiyao. It means that Rikiyu can't provide the infusions necessary to keep Akotai's magic from working on Barukei. Oh, delicious twists. Yum yum. LOL
I actually wrote myself into a corner at one point. I had Rikiyu on the floor, his back injured, and his Zhiraikaovei basically powerless against Akotai. How does one get out of this situation? IIRC--I've been doing a lot of writing so I'm not too certain--I had Rikiyu drag himself around to grab Akotai's ankle as Akotai prepared to stomp on him. The landing provided enough of a distraction for Akotai that he lost his concentration and the spells he had on Feiyao and Barukei stopped working. It doesn't pay to be a half-trained Mage; I've decided they don't start learning how to multitask (so they can hold one spell while working on others) until their second year, when they've got all the basics down. Akotai never made it to second-year classes; he was given enough training so the magic wouldn't kill him, then sent home. He's been practicing illegaly ever since, with some reluctant help from his brother, Akiro.
I've determined that Rikiyu's going to have to infuse Akiro's refreshments every time he visits. It'll also be a good explanation for the memory problems he'll have in his novel. He needs to have them; it provides some of the conflict, with him worrying that his brother will find out what he's been remembering and "dreaming." It will also be a good reason for Pei Pei to present herself to him; she'll be helping him decipher everything and will be a buffer to distract Akotai until he kills her.
I'm really enjoying everything that's happening. :D So much fun.