I stopped Karin sometime last week at the start of vol mmh seven, maybe? the flashback of young Yao Kuan meeting the pearl spirits for the first time and falling in love at first sight, in his prepubescent fashion, with the lip-quivery Bairin, the white pearl. De gustibus and all, but really he's far too good for her and it ends badly. (Though *very* far on in the series I seem to recall his making a tart rejoinder to her weepy implied criticism, and about time too.) So I went and read Irene Adler instead, which put me in a 'nothing ever changes' bad mood. Thus picking up vol 7 again and getting into the next bit, off at the Eastern Ocean, made me feel much better. We're getting to mid-series, which I express-train read the first time around, and consequently forgot much of or didn't catch at all. (Like thinking that the Taoist that Lee-an meets was fishing, not reciting a dragon-king-raising spell.)
I still had to go back this evening and do a fast reskim of vols 2-4 just to place people again. The twists and developments and revelations and what-all come fast and furious in this series, which is fantasy and err 'historicity' and bildungsroman all rolled into one. Have noticed that Lee-an moves directionally, south and north and west and now east, but that's only on earth. There are excursions to various unlocatable Taoist places and of course the action is always moving from him to follow the exploits of evil bishounen Louis. (Shrugs: that's what his katakana says. His kanji is actually the same as 100 Demons' Ritsu-- 律-- even if nciku says it's Lu. Lou. Whatever. A totally inappropriate name for the character, in any case: "n, law; v, to discipline." Louis knows nothing of either.) Louis gets to have sex a lot, amid his plotting. And then we shift to Yao Kuan and Kai the dork Jade Emperor of Heaven, who are also an item alas, because Kai is a possessive jealous hysteric with a destructive third eye. ('Jagan', like Hiei.) Why Yao Kuan puts up with him is a mystery; I think it's because Yao Kuan always tries to do the noble thing, which means he doesn't slap the emotional blackmailers around him nearly often enough for my liking.