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Caster
October 20th, 2015, 08:46 PM
We really need to branch out some, we only have the Stone Cutters as friends now and it's going to start being a problem. Though I guess Harry only really had Hermione and Ron, it's not like we have anyone that close right now.

mr_Trickster
October 20th, 2015, 08:53 PM
On a lighter note, I kind of wish I could go back a few pages and make a better decision like I could do with the CYOA books of my youth. But that would spoil the impact of this story. Nothing we can do at this point but move forth and guide Shinji into being a better person by making better choices.

Agreed. Though I suppose I'm getting repetitive at this point, but I'm stressing this out as much for myself as for all of us here: We can consider this a learning experience on how the gravity of our choices can have as much bad impact as good. With this knowledge, we can watch out for the signs better. And Alf, for the record, thank you for warning us and giving us all those chances; we'll make sure to make better use of them next time.

alfheimwanderer
October 20th, 2015, 08:57 PM
We can consider this a learning experience on how the gravity of our choices can have as much bad impact as good.

Didn't you all already kill Dumbledore in book 2?

Caster
October 20th, 2015, 09:02 PM
Dumbledore isn't important, silly Alf. Though I find that a difficult chain to predict so I wouldn't count it as much. Hindsight sure but it's not like that happened in canon.

mr_Trickster
October 20th, 2015, 09:03 PM
Didn't you all already kill Dumbledore in book 2?

I.... was actually not aware it was a CYOA till near the end of Second Year, nor was I participating at the time. Which might be why what happened recently hit me a lot closer to home. But I do see your point.

Skull Leader
October 20th, 2015, 09:06 PM
Didn't you all already kill Dumbledore in book 2?

And we reap what we sow. We will make another bad choice sooner or later. And we will say the lines again and again. But I would rather us not try to push blame on to Alf or anyone else on the boards.

But hey no matter how bad we vote, we will be hard press to make Shinji a worst person then he was in the visual novel.

Abendroth
October 20th, 2015, 09:34 PM
Chapter 31 reactions:
Sion's amusement at Shinji's antics mirrors the players' own.


Lots of world building here. I do feel it is worth noting that wizards in HP are actually getting better at magic rather than worse. A fairly mundane example being the ways broomsticks continuously improve, with newer models being significantly superior to older brooms. It could be said that while they are becoming less powerful, they are becoming more skilled at using the power they do have.


I'm not sure if the comment about wizards not being stupid is a reaction to some of my comments, but I do appreciate it.


So, Sion wants to meet Luna. Talk about a study in contrasts. I would be hard pressed to name two characters in the story who were more complete opposites. Sion is intellectual/logical/controlled while Luna is emotional/intuitive/relaxed. Sion practically radiated purpose; even when we didn't know what she wanted it was obvious she was moving toward something. If Luna has any goals I don't know what they are because they never come up. Sion didn't so much lead as forge ahead and pull others along in her wake unless they wanted to be left behind. Luna freely follows us. If Sion discovered a wall blocking her way she would study the wall and then strike it in exactly the right place to cause it to shatter into a thousand pieces. Luna would likley waft off in a different direction completely. True, they do both possess a certain degree of knowledge not available to the mainstream Wizarding World and they are both social outsiders, but even the way in which they are outsiders is opposite: Sokaris was an outsider because people looked up to her, while they looked down on Luna



Shinji's declaration of loyalty to Sion might seem extreme, but I suspect if it came down to a conflict the players would actually vote to support Sion.




But hey no matter how bad we vote, we will be hard press to make Shinji a worst person then he was in the visual novel.
Truer words were never written.

Vagrant
October 20th, 2015, 09:42 PM
I just want Shinji to pursue knowledge to the exclusion of all else. Having friends is for losers. I want him to walk that fine line as much as possible. That way interest lies.

Caster
October 20th, 2015, 09:48 PM
I want Shinji to focus on magical knowledge as well, but ignoring the social aspect is very unwise. It's why my goals are usually a more balanced approach. Losing people though cuts off routes for that for starters though, even if you want to ignore the rest of what could happen.

alfheimwanderer
October 20th, 2015, 09:51 PM
I do feel it is worth noting that wizards in HP are actually getting better at magic rather than worse. A fairly mundane example being the ways broomsticks continuously improve, with newer models being significantly superior to older brooms. It could be said that while they are becoming less powerful, they are becoming more skilled at using the power they do have.

Less powerful, more skilled within the limits they have set for themselves and the body of knowledge they do pass down. Thus the iterations on cushioning and acceleration charms, as opposed to looking at entirely new methods of propulsion and such (such as female magi researching flight via brooms - Touko being a notable one who created the "Touko Travel" method)

Abendroth
October 20th, 2015, 09:52 PM
I just want Shinji to pursue knowledge to the exclusion of all else. Having friends is for losers. I want him to walk that fine line as much as possible. That way interest lies.
By far the biggest improvements to our knowledge and power as a magus have come about as a result of the affection we have managed to engender in Touko and Sion. Our status as a Stone Cutter continues to open doors to advantages and opportunities to learn, such as the advanced Charms tutoring, and that too came about as a result of friendship. Networking really is the most important stat.


To put it another way, Dumbledore was right: Love(philia) really is the greatest power in the world. Friendship IS magic. :)

saki
October 20th, 2015, 09:55 PM
We really need to branch out some, we only have the Stone Cutters as friends now and it's going to start being a problem. Though I guess Harry only really had Hermione and Ron, it's not like we have anyone that close right now.

What is Luna?


I already asked Alf if he would be willing to clarify what was up with that, but he said no.

He is not going to clarify now or he is not going to clarify ever??


Also arent you overreacting about what will happen in the school. The rumor was that either Hermione or Luna were his girlfriend, he choose Luna so Hermione distanced from him. Not some earth shattering revelation like, i dont know, he has a basemant in his house in Japon full of corpses. And Hermione isnt in a broken state and i dont think she will be starting bad rumors to destroy us, so its just going to be some rumors. The Stone Cutters may even be a little relived that Shinji is no longer kind of two timing the girls.
And its not like he is alone, he is still the leader of the most famous group in the school and probably has a line of people trying to approch him, aka one of our chices: Parkinson.

Caster
October 20th, 2015, 10:03 PM
Luna is a Stone Cutter so she falls under that umbrella. She is also only one person.

And its bad enough Hermione is transferring. I doubt that we will get no fallout. It's really naive to think that it won't have an impact. If Alf really wants to drive the point of paying attention home with this vote then it's also a good idea. It seems like a lot of people are just seeing this as a minor little thing, would make it more weighty which is proper.

saki
October 20th, 2015, 10:23 PM
I have no doubt it will have weigth, having her meet the potion master would probably have unlocked some great chances and not having her surely close off a lot of porential paths that may have had a dramatic impact on Shinji but social suicide doesnt seems to be one of them, especially since Hermione wasnt that popular to begin with.
Also she is not transfering.


Other have already answered, but I will confirm - Hermione Granger is no longer available for interactions, including work-related things. She will remain at Hogwarts until the end of the year, and finish out her responsibilities as Consul, but that's about it.


Meaning next year she goes to some other school, she doesnt dissapear out of nowhere.

Wouldnt most interesting consecuencies be of smaller scoope with bigger impact. As an example Shinjis bigger influence (Sion) could just die and the rest of Shinjis world wouldn bat an eyelid.

Abendroth
October 20th, 2015, 10:59 PM
We picked Hermione over Harry for all our potions things. And that has a lot more impact since the assumed position was Shinji would support Harry, instead he supported Hermione.
Interesting. This is a good example of the difference between the common sense of a player (me) and the common sense of the GM. I had interpreted that as feeding her a " maintenance dose" of affection, so she didn't think we had entirely abandoned her. Until the dance I had thought we were doing a fairly good job of simply maintaining our relationship with someone who was supposed to be our friend. As a friend, naturally we should spend at least some of those votes in her favor, I thought.



Agreed. Though I suppose I'm getting repetitive at this point, but I'm stressing this out as much for myself as for all of us here:
I, at least, appreciate it, actually.





I have no doubt it will have weigth, having her meet the potion master would probably have unlocked some great chances and not having her surely close off a lot of porential paths that may have had a dramatic impact on Shinji but social suicide doesnt seems to be one of them, especially since Hermione wasnt that popular to begin with.
Plan for the worst, hope for the best. In the events that we do suffer our reputation hit for appearing to treat one of our friends badly we will wants to have a media strategy ready. Our best bets is probably a variation on "It's entirely my fault. I wound up hurting her through my own carelessness and I regret doing so. I don't want anyone to hassle her over it. No, I'm not going to provide any details because it really doesn't concern anyone else. I wish her nothing but the best."


Given that one of our biggest supporters has just abandoned us it is obvious that something has happened and this strategy makes us look gracious and benevolent rather than like someone who exploits their friends and then throws them away.

Caster
October 20th, 2015, 11:25 PM
It was what we did that we didn't do to Harry, which was what you asked. Harry expects our attention, the school expects us to see him and support him more than a number of other people, Hermione among them. We didn't though. We did something unexpected, and that carries weight. Hermione wasn't expecting us to support her over Harry, and that's more important than people get. I'm not saying she couldn't get any attention, but supporting her over Harry for the potions thing is big.

gesalt
October 20th, 2015, 11:47 PM
Well at least we've been consistent with voting up missteps and disasters this year.

[X] Pansy

saki
October 20th, 2015, 11:50 PM
Isnt that what makes stories interesting.

arsdraconis
October 20th, 2015, 11:58 PM
Ultimately, you have a choice: you can recognize that the common sense of the GM is not the same as your common sense, and try to keep a more careful eye on him and on those posters whose common sense is closer to that of the GM, or you can continue to insist that the GM blindsided us with no warning, when nearly half the players in the thread did see this coming and argued vociferously against it.


Like the main character in a story, or Hermione herself, the only person who can ultimately determine what path you will take is you.
There is different set of common sense, and there is flat out monkey pawing choices and engineering relationship to fail

I just find it fucking hilarious that every decision in regard to Hermione (hell, not even that on the fucking wand) somehow backfires well before this final straw.

Need a spare wand? Suddenly loses her first gift
Need to reconnect with Hermione and give her confidence and goal as potion champion? Give her mania and reduce relationship with Harry
Want to spend a day on the winter holiday with her? Commu break
Give her time to cool off? DEAD END

Yeah, totally not a monkey paw at all, meanwhile worst girl just worm her way into Shinji's heart in the way that would make even granddad proud

Abendroth
October 21st, 2015, 12:03 AM
There is different set of common sense, and there is flat out monkey pawing choices and engineering relationship to fail
You can't claim it was impossible to see coming when half the thread saw it coming and tried to warn you.


The question is: do you enjoy failing?
Because that is the result of failing to adapt to the way circumstances are, even if that is not the way you think circumstances should be.

All That Is Left Unsaid
October 21st, 2015, 12:04 AM
[x] Luna

arsdraconis
October 21st, 2015, 12:14 AM
You can't claim it was impossible to see coming when half the thread saw it coming and tried to warn you.


The question is: do you enjoy failing?
Because that is the result of failing to adapt to the way circumstances are, even if that is not the way you think circumstances should be.
Wasn't even reading much of the choice making on the last few chapters until now, I was just thinking "what the fucking fuck?" after reading the last chapter that I had to be obnoxiously vocal about it now

granted that wouldn't make a difference now, but whatever

Omida
October 21st, 2015, 03:52 AM
And so it ends Hermione route, R.I.P. It was, indeed a fuck up of great proportions, but I, for one am glad it ended. I guess we could be a little gentler with her, but hey, we got some more perspective on Tomas. His parallels with Zouken are indeed really strong.


[X] Pansy Parkinson

Social interaction and politics is Pansy's thing. She understands Shinji is not seeking romance, so there is low danger of that.

mAc Chaos
October 21st, 2015, 10:45 AM
Didn't you all already kill Dumbledore in book 2?

I don't remember that being related to a direct choice. It was just from giving the book to Snape, and that we could never have known would cause Dumbledore to bite the dust.

Mattias
October 21st, 2015, 12:26 PM
Speaking of Zouken, I thoroughly enjoyed the Zouken/Voldemort parallels shown during this chapter. Overall was a very good chapter. Got rid of Hermione and got interesting Tomas insights.

As for this whole "disaster" of choices with Hermione and whether it was destined to end this way or not, I think it was pretty obvious that we've been makinh choices that don't really help her out for a while now. Regardless of what people think of how forced (or how unforced) the romance with Luna has been, the collapse of Hermione has been a different issue. One in which I have no real qualms with Alf's offered options and choices. Players either fucked up or deliberately chose to drive her away.

I still think that Shinji's complete cluelessness is by now rather implausible, but I don't mind how it all went at all. That chapter of the book is done. Mechanically I hope it doesn't impact too much on how Sion thinks of us, but socially I don't really give a fuck since I think chasing a Sion route (romantically at least) is a silly notion.

Pretty much this, except the inverse on your Sion opinion. As far as I'm concerned she's the only route worth following as of yet.


I do wonder though, now that Hermy is leaving Hogwarts, what would be the outcome if Sion were to visit? She'd no longer be in the crossfire for our enemies so can we finally let her in on the secret?

skulkidcachi90
October 21st, 2015, 12:52 PM
I still think that Shinji's complete cluelessness is by now rather implausible, but I don't mind how it all went at all. That chapter of the book is done. Mechanically I hope it doesn't impact too much on how Sion thinks of us, but socially I don't really give a fuck since I think chasing a Sion route (romantically at least) is a silly notion.

This.
Also I am really dislike how much all the focus than Luna have in this book.

mAc Chaos
October 21st, 2015, 04:16 PM
It was what we did that we didn't do to Harry, which was what you asked. Harry expects our attention, the school expects us to see him and support him more than a number of other people, Hermione among them. We didn't though. We did something unexpected, and that carries weight. Hermione wasn't expecting us to support her over Harry, and that's more important than people get. I'm not saying she couldn't get any attention, but supporting her over Harry for the potions thing is big.

Yeah you can't treat each choice as having the same weight, picking 5 for Harry and 5 for Hermione and calling it a day. 9 of those could have been trivial and 1 of them super important.

Malgos
October 21st, 2015, 06:34 PM
I'm not saying she couldn't get any attention, but supporting her over Harry for the potions thing is big.

While it all lead up to that, I don't think it would've ended too badly there if people didn't vote her for the ball. The decision making there still confuses me.

Abendroth
October 21st, 2015, 08:14 PM
Wasn't even reading much of the choice making on the last few chapters until now, I was just thinking "what the fucking fuck?" after reading the last chapter that I had to be obnoxiously vocal about it now


granted that wouldn't make a difference now, but whatever
I feel your pain, my reaction to the previous chapter was very similar.

Caster
October 21st, 2015, 08:50 PM
While it all lead up to that, I don't think it would've ended too badly there if people didn't vote her for the ball. The decision making there still confuses me.

The question was if we were treating her differently prior to the ball than we were treating Harry, I agree the ball was the definitive breaking point. If we had taken anyone else except possibly the Gray Lady it wouldn't have gotten worse, not sure how that would have affected the dynamic.

Abendroth
October 21st, 2015, 08:52 PM
In the spirit of managing our future relationships better I asked our illustrious GM a bit about how relationships are handled.


[22:59] <Abendroth> Another question: do our relationships mostly maintain themselves in the background and we only really lose ground if we take action that specifically hurts our relationship, or do they naturally degrade over time, requiring us to devote actions to maintaining those relationships on a regular basis? I'm sure that if we spend enough time ignoring someone eventually it will hurt our relationship so I'm not looking for an absolute division here, just a general idea.
[23:00] <Abendroth> I have been leaning more towards the latter in my assumptions.
[23:00] <!Alftomine> More the former than the latter, though for limited time things like Ilya
[23:00] <!Alftomine> Assume the latter

saki
October 21st, 2015, 09:11 PM
Alf about that little bit about illya, does sending another person, like Luna this time, count as neglecting her or do we need to complety ignore her?

alfheimwanderer
October 22nd, 2015, 02:34 AM
[x] Pansy Parkinson

100%

Chapter 33. Calm Before the Storm

“I think it is best if you and Miss Granger do not see each other again.”

“What.” Shinji blinked at Tomas’ words, not sure why the puppet was saying this. “Why?

“Ah, Matou. You assumed that the two of you were friends, didn’t you?” And here the puppet laughed, the sound mirthless and cruel and cold, with Shinji shivering despite sitting close to the fire. “But only one of you believed that.”

“…what do you mean, Tomas?” the Matou scion asked. It was true that, from Tohsaka had said, Hermione had apparently called herself his girlfriend, but surely before anything else they were friends first, right? If there had been a misunderstanding somewhere along the line, surely things could be worked out. “Are you saying Hermione and I…weren’t friends?”

“Indeed,” the older teen confirmed, his red eyes staring at the boy. “What you saw as overtures of friendship and words of encouragement, she saw as professions and gestures of truest love. For this is the truth. She loved you, Matou Shinji, was drawn to you, as a moth to an open flame.”

“She…loved me?” Shinji repeated, his expression utterly blank at the puppet’s revelation. True, Hermione had confessed to him last year, but looking back on it, he thought it was mostly because she didn’t want to lose him – as she’d already lost Sokaris. That she would have been happy to simply stand by his side as a friend. “But…I told her I wanted to be her friend. That I cared about her as a friend.”

“And what was it you said after that, Matou Shinji? ‘Why don’t we start there, and see what happens?’” Tomas commented, with the boy wincing at the incisiveness of the other’s words. “While you held her in your arms like a lover might, reassuring her that she didn’t have to be alone?”

“Ah…”

The Matou scion opened his mouth as if to reply, only to find that he could not speak.

“And then we come to today,” the puppet continued, “with misunderstanding after misunderstanding building upon one another to reach the worst possible outcome. Her illusion that you were her lover was shattered by the truth – that you only saw her as a friend. Faced with that undeniable truth, she ran into the freezing rain, where at last, the tragic tale of Hermione Granger came to an end.”

Shinji felt his heart stop, a dread chill spreading through him as he heard what Tomas had said.

‘What. No…that’s not possible. She couldn’t have…Tomas wouldn’t tell me it was best for me not to see her again if…’

“Can you imagine what it must have been like, Matou?” Tomas asked, quite conversationally, the sly smile on his face a poor match for his words. “To feel so utterly betrayed that the world seems to crumble beneath your feet? To know that everything you believed in was a lie? To think it would be better if you simply vanished from this earth?”

The puppet’s smile sharpened as he stared at the boy, with Matou Shinji paralyzed, unable to look away.

“I think you do,” the youth whispered, as images from his past flashed into Shinji’s mind of the most terrible day in his life – the day when he’d discovered he would never been the Matou heir, that the adopted Tohsaka girl had been his replacement, that he was useless. The images came faster, faster, faster, until they vanished, with Matou Shinji finding himself on his feet, crying out “No!”

“…you…that was….”

“You should be careful, Matou,” Tomas commented dryly. “While you have some proficiency with Occlumency, a disturbed emotional state can leave your defenses weak.”

The boy’s face twisted into a grimace.

“Why…?”

“Because you needed to understand the treachery of human hope,” the puppet answered tonelessly. “And why it is best that you and she go your own ways.” He paused, taking a moment to shake his head. “It is true that Hermione Granger lived this time – due to my intervention – but such may not be the case the next time, or the time after that. That is, if you remain ‘friends.’”

“Oh,” Shinji said numbly. He could almost hear Hillard chiding him, reminding him that “hearts are fragile” – a warning he hadn’t quite taken to heart, with disastrous consequences. “But…”

“If you approached her again, the girl would surely come back to you – because she is too weak to push you away, as she knows she should. When she walked out of that door – she walked out of your life. For her sake and yours, do not chase her. If you do…” Tomas shrugged eloquently. “…well, I cannot be responsible for the consequences if you do not care about her. And you know as well as I do that you do not – not in the way she most desires.”

“…that…is true,” the boy admitted in a small voice. He’d thought of Hermione as a friend and nothing more, because for him, she could be nothing more. Not when Sokaris – Sion Eltnam Atlasia – the one who represented a path no others knew of in this land, was the one who was almost always on his mind, with Luna – his partner on that lonely road, and the one who kept him sane – occupying most of the rest. “I see your point, Tomas.”

Shinji sighed, shaking his head as he sat down again, sinking into the cushions of his couch.

“I guess it wouldn’t be a good idea to take Hermione to the luncheon on New Year’s Eve then,” he mused, recalling a letter that had come by owl that morning, inviting him and a guest to dine with Hector Dagworth-Granger, the founder and head of the Most Extraordinary Society of Potioneers, given his standing as one of the leading candidates for Hogwarts Potions Champion.

He – and the other Stone Cutters – had met the man in passing after Dumbledore’s death, but they hadn’t really spoken then, since their presence at the ceremony had largely been symbolic. A private luncheon, however, promised to offer much more of the man’s attention, and he had thought Hermione would be good to take with him, given her interest in the craft and the fact that it would be an interesting opportunity for her, but…

“I do believe Miss Granger would misunderstand the gesture,” Tomas noted. “You are free to do what you wish, of course, but it would be in both your best interests if you heeded my words.”

“…I understand.”

100%

Over the next day, as he observed his Master preparing to set up the second layer of defenses for his manor, Matou Shinji had found himself wondering who to bring with him, since Hermione wasn’t an option any longer – not with how much he’d hurt her. His first thought had been Luna, but the blonde had said that while she would be happy to go if he didn’t have anyone else in mind, it would be better if he went with someone who would appreciate the opportunity.

‘True. Luna doesn’t really care what others think, and I don’t think she’d have much use for networking…’

So he’d considered who else might want to go, his mind touching on – and instantly discarding – the notion of bringing someone from the moonlit world, given that Ilya would not appreciate being bored if there was much talk of potions and such, and Rin wouldn't quite understand everything that was going on. She had enough issues being introduced to one new world as it was, without him throwing another into the mix.

‘No…it has to be someone from Hogwarts.’

As he thought of that, the face of Pansy Parkinson came to his mind, with him recalling the words she’d said to him before the first Capture the Flag meeting – that she wanted power enough to walk her own path without being beholden to others. Truth be told, she’d helped him a number of times in the previous year, shown that she was someone he could depend on in Potions and in matters related to the Ourea.

But…would she misun—

“Matou,” Touko interjected a tad irritably, interrupting his train of thought. “You asked if you could watch as I worked today, so I would appreciate it if you paid attention.”

“…I’m sorry, Master,” Shinji replied, chagrined at the way his thoughts had wandered off. “I just…”

The magus sighed, taking a long drag on her cigarette.

“Whatever is on your mind is not my concern, Matou,” the puppetmaster noted coolly, her red eyes glancing at the boy as if he were but a lowly worm. “While you are here, you are my apprentice, with everything else being secondary. Do you understand?”

“Y-yes, Master,” Shinji replied deferentially, bowing to the magus.

“Though, I find it odd you asked to watch today and not yesterday, given that some of the foundation may have been at the edge of your comprehension. Today’s work is simply beyond your level,” Aozaki Touko commented, her lips curved into a thin, dangerous smile. “If you wished to understand what I am doing today, you should have watched yesterday, instead of…flirting.”

Shinji found himself cringing a little bit in the heat of his Master’s scorn, as she’d never expressed such disapproval of him before – well, at least she hadn’t lately. The debacle with Hermione had been bad enough, once Tomas had laid bare the misunderstandings and what they had led to, but if Aozaki-san was unhappy with him as well…

“I’m—it won’t happen again, Master.”

The magus looked at her wayward apprentice for a long moment as if coming to a decision, then shook her head.

“No. It won’t,” she said flatly. For many moments – several minutes, perhaps, Aozaki Touko was silent. “To be a magus is to walk with death, Matou. To step outside the boundaries of humanity and become a pathway for a miracle, as you well know. The smallest lapse in concentration, the slightest mistake, can be lethal.”

“I know, Master.”

“Do you?” the puppeteer asked quietly, before taking another drag on her cigarette. “Then why are you distracted?”

Shinji didn’t answer. He couldn’t answer – not if she didn’t care what was on his mind. And being fair, it didn’t matter. Because he was distracted. And that was enough.

“I will give you a few minutes to get your thoughts in order. When I return, either be prepared to learn what you can…or leave. Because if you’re not paying attention, then your presence here is meaningless.”

With that, Aozaki Touko walked up the stairs of the basement into the main area of the house, leaving Shinji alone in the dark.

‘Zelkova, are you there?’

‘Indeed, Master.’ The kodama’s mental voice steadied him, as he considered what to do next – what he could do next. ‘Do you require my assistance?’

‘I…Yes. I would appreciate that.’

He explained to his familiar what had happened – how some of the things he’d done had caused others to suffer, how he was distracted by the things that might have been, and now things that would not be.

‘In losing one who was connected to you, you have become more aware.’

‘Yes. What should I…?’

‘Close your eyes.’

Matou Shinji proceeded to do just that.

‘And breathe, deeply.’

A long inhalation. A long exhalation.

‘Again.’

Once more.

‘Again,’

Thrice.

‘Continue, focusing on the breath and what it means. That you exist. That you are not alone. That you are here.’

The boy followed the spirit’s advice, focusing on the air moving in and out of his body, on the quality of it entering and exiting, on the way it flowed, connecting the inner world with the outer world. Slowly, steadily, he felt himself fading, his sense of self fading, his pain fading as he became the embodiment of a truth – that he was still here.

With each breath he found himself sinking deeper, deeper, deeper into his consciousness, to the seal that kept his weaknesses, his fears, vulnerabilities and more locked away. The door behind which lay imagination – behind which lay everything and nothing and a thousand others – behind which lay the world itself.

He opened the door…and everything changed.

He opened his eyes and he could feel the world around him. The subtle shifts in the flow of prana, the way certain runes anchored magical energy, and certain others amplified it, how the warp and weft of the wood and stone around him reacted to the layers of enchantment already placed on them, seeming to hum with strange patterns.
It was almost overwhelming, feeling so many constructs around him, with the house itself and its very foundations of stone serving as his sensory receptors.

And as his awareness reached out to the world around him, he felt a presence moving towards the stairs, with the door opening to reveal a rather curious Aozaki Touko, who studied the boy’s fusion form with frank interest.

“…I thought I felt a shift in the surrounding mana,” the magus commented. “How curious…you can see much in that form, can’t you?”

Matou Shinji nodded, but remained silent, awaiting his Master’s judgment.

“Very well then. We shall continue. Note the work that has already been done – and do try to keep up.”

The next few hours were very trying on Matou Shinji’s mind as he stood there, scribbling down notes as he tried to process everything his Master was doing through every sensory organ available to him, to pick out the pattern of her work and how her advanced protections worked amidst everything else. Complexity upon complexity, patterns interlocking with others, one flow linked to another, with wards of fire, absorption, confusion and more blending into a whole with seemingly no beginning or end, covering the house, wrapping around it, growing through it like the tendrils of a vine.

The How wasn’t important. Simply what was.

And the blood he shed to attune the defenses to his will, as his senses expanded, expanded, expanded, becoming aware of, of—

When he came to, he was laying on the cold ground, having slipped out of fusion form after the mental strain of trying to understand everything had become too much, with only a small portion of what he had experienced remaining.

“Increased awareness comes at a price, doesn’t it, Matou Shinji?” Aozaki Touko’s voice asked from somewhere out of sight. “Especially when you use it on something beyond your understanding.”

“…yes,” the boy croaked, as whorls and sigils and runes danced inside his mind, less the specifics of each one did and more of how the patterns felt, the nuances of everything compounding on everything else. “What…?”

“You desynchronized, Master,” Zelkova’s voice commented quietly. “While I commend you attempting to extend your senses so, I do not think you have attempted this level of it in the past.”

“If you had used that ability when I was establishing the foundations yesterday, you would been far more prepared for today,” the magus commented as she moved into view. “As it was, attempting to comprehend the work in its totality without any kind of preparation was perhaps foolish. But I imagine you learned something, nonetheless?”

He had.

Namely how far beyond him his Master still was, as it should be.
While he had some proficiency in at runes and charms, the whole of what his Master had done was not something he could comprehend. He could pick out bits and pieces of course, almost as if he’d were a student musician who who’d been asked to listen to a symphony orchestra during a live concert, and who could pick out what certain instruments were doing at certain times – but there was no way he could recreate the entire performance, understanding how each instrument interacted with the others, after listening to it once.

“Yes, Master. Thank you…for the opportunity.”

“Hmph. Good,” the puppeteer noted, stepping over and handing him a sheaf of papers, upon which Shinji saw what looked like scribbles of runes and diagrams – in his handwriting, no less, though with his merely human senses, he found them puzzling, at best, like a complex cipher. “You may wish to study this then, to ensure that your understanding is not just instinctive. Theory and practice must align, after all.”

“Yes, Master.”

100%

As he emerged from the Floo of the Brews and Stews Café in Hogsmeade, where the luncheon with the head of the Most Extraordinary Society of Potioneers was to be held, Shinji peered out into the main room of the restaurant from the antechamber, curious at who else had been invited.

To his utter lack of surprise, Harry was there, with Daphne Greengrass accompanying the Boy-Who-Lived, as well as a heavyset gentleman in his twilight years – Hector Dagworth-Granger – and a few members of the press that he thought he recognized – Rita Skeeter first and foremost among them.

His guest, however, was not yet—

With a whoosh the flames roared once more, with Pansy Parkinson stepping from them into the café.

“Quaint place this,” the girl commented, as she came up next to him. “I don’t think I’ve ever been here before. But then, I don’t go to Hogsmeade much. Hello, Matou.”

“Hello, Pansy,” Shinji replied, glancing at the dark-haired girl, who was dressed in conservative grey dress robes, matching his own. “Glad you could make it.”

“Happy to be here,” the Slytherin girl murmured, her gaze curious as she looked over at him. “Surprised you chose me instead of Granger, though. I was sure you’d be taking her, given how often you’ve worked with her.”

Shinji smiled thinly at this.

“I thought you’d appreciate it more,” the boy said frankly. “Hermione…she’s not the networking sort. And well, I remember what you said about walking your own path, after all. This is a start – and a thank you for all you’ve done this year.”

“Huh,” Pansy noted softly, shaking her head as she parsed the statement, or rather what was missing from it. “Then I was right. You and Granger were never…”

“…were never?” Shinji echoed.

The Slytherin girl chuckled ruefully.

“I thought that might be the case after what happened with the Boggart in the labyrinth,” she commented. “…I remember what you said too. About Sokaris, and how as long as you lived, you would never forget her.” The girl sighed, and harrumphed. “I wish I could be that special to someone. Someday. Without the dying part, hopefully.”

“I take it you don’t think ‘death is the next great adventure then?’” Shinji asked, raising a slim eyebrow.

“…and just what idiot said that?” the girl scoffed, shaking her head. “When you’re dead, you can’t change the world. You’re not off on an adventure. You can’t do anything. You’re just…dead.”

“Our late Headmaster, actually,” the Matou scion noted. “Albus Dumbledore.”

“Oh. Well then,” Pansy uttered, meaningless words really. “A lot of us thought he was getting senile anyway.”

“Or maybe he was just an old man staring death in the face, trying to come to terms with everything in his life before he passed on,” Shinji said quietly. “He did die in his sleep only half a year after he said that.”

“True, I suppose,” Pansy allowed. “He did lead an eventful life, no matter what one thinks of him. I wonder if he had any regrets.”

“Who knows?” the boy wondered aloud. “Most of his life was behind him, while people like us, young people, I mean, we have our lives ahead of us.”

“You’re right about that, Matou,” the Slytherin girl noted, smiling softly. “You certainly do at least. I wonder what it must be like, to know a world most of us couldn’t even imagine.” For a moment, Shinji wondered if she meant the moonlit world, before she continued. “You, Potter, and Lovegood, that is.”

“Heh,” Shinji replied, his expression distant as he remembered the Gala and his first sight of Mahoutokoro. “It has its wonders, to be sure. And its challenges.”

“I’ll bet,” Pansy remarked, a wry smile flitting across her lips. “Say, if you become Hogwarts Potions Champion, would you consider making me your Second?”

“My Second?” Shinji echoed.

“Oh, that’s right, you’re not in the Boot Camp, are you?” Pansy reflected. “Funny how you’ve risen to become one of the top two candidates for Champion despite that. Whoever is selected as Champion will be asked to appoint a Second, someone who can take up your responsibilities in case something happens to you before the Competition begins.”
“Huh,” Shinji noted, glancing over at Pansy with an unreadable expression. “There are privileges involved, aren’t there?”

The girl chuckled.

“Of course, Matou,” she confirmed. “The Champion – and his or her Second – is excused from all classes next year, and given exclusive use of the Book of Potions to prepare for the competition. And since the Tri-Wizard competition is at Durmstrang, it may mean that we get privileged travel back to Hogwarts for any tutoring we wish.”

“Interesting. Anything else?”

“…well, if you’re Champion, and the Book goes with you to Mahoutokoro, then as Second, I would have to follow.”

“…and you’ve always wanted to see another land.”

“Well. Yes,” Pansy admitted, shaking her head. “I’m not asking you to make a commitment now. Just to think about it, alright?”

“That much I can do, Pansy. That much I can do.” Gallantly, the boy offered her his arm, and together, they walked into the main chamber of the restaurant, with Harry and Daphne seemingly a little surprised at his choice guest.

“Lovegood couldn’t come, Matou?” Harry asked slyly, glancing up at Pansy.

“She thought I should bring someone who would appreciate it more,” Shinji replied, with Harry raising an eyebrow and sighing. “What?”

“Nothing,” the Boy-Who-Lived noted with a smile. “This should be an interesting day.”

And so indeed it was, as Hector Dagworth-Granger was quite pleased to meet such a young – and distinguished – selection of Potioneers, having heard wonderful things about them from Professor Snape himself.

“A most exacting Potions Master, Severus is,” the man commented. “Certainly a little less flexible than Lily Evans was. Your mother, I believe that was, Mister Potter. She would be very proud that you are a candidate for Potions Champion, I believe. Very proud, indeed.”

“I’d like to think so,” Harry demurred.

“As for you, Mister Matou, I have heard a few things as well,” Dagworth-Granger noted. “Among them your skill with Charms and a rumored affinity for the Eastern Arts.”

“Well, I am apprenticed to a Professor at Mahoutokoro,” Shinji admitted with a small smile.

“Mahoutokoro, indeed,” the head of the Most Extraordinary Society of Potioneers murmured. “A fine school, with a most fearsome reputation in the Wizarding Schools Potions Championship.” He glanced over at the Boy-Who-Lived. “I understand you’ve been there as well, Mister Potter.”

“I was,” Harry answered. “Though I wasn’t fortunate enough to study Potions there, sir.”

The man quizzed them on some aspects of potionmaking, and discussed some of the challenges that Professor Snape had given to them, seeming vaguely impressed by all they had done.

“Both of you would make fine candidates for the competition, it appears,” Dagworth-Granger grunted. “Good. I have certainly read about you, Mister Potter, and I’ve seen the articles you, Mister Matou, but I wanted to meet you both in person before I gave the press my verdict as to your chances.”

“Oh?”

“On behalf of the Most Extraordinary Society of Potioneers, acknowledged as perhaps the preeminent body of potion-makers in all of Britain, I would proud to see one of you shoulder the hopes of all Britain, whether the Boy-Who-Lived – the Hero who defeated the Dark Lord – or a son of Mahoutokoro.”

The man extracted four vials from his robes, with the room falling still as those gathered saw the contents of each vial – a liquid the color of molten gold.

“This is…” Pansy breathed, knowing very well what that potion had to be. One of the rarest and most valuable of all, as it was essentially bottled good fortune.

“Felix Felicis, young lady,” Dagworth-Granger intoned. “Simultaneously one of the most coveted potions in the world, and one of the most difficult of all to brew. Prohibited in most organized events…except Potion-making competitions, of course. Take these, with my blessing.”

He handed one vial to each of the four students present – the Champion candidates and their guests – all of whom were stunned by this unexpected gesture of support.

“And now, let us meet the press.”

With that, the waiting reporters descended upon the group like a murder of crows, all fighting for priority on questions and photographs, so they could get the meeting on the front page of their publications for the evening editions.

100%

After the luncheon, Shinji doffed the outer layers of his formal robes, and had visited Ilya at her penthouse, dressed in a tuxedo, wanting to extend her an invitation to come to his New Year’s Eve party, since he thought she’d enjoy it.

“You’re welcome to come too, Ilya,” the Matou scion noted, but the homunculus shook her head, a troubled expression on her face.

“I can’t,” the Einzbern replied distantly as she looked out the window at the grey sky outside. “I have to meet the Director of Atlas tonight.”

“Oh?” Shinji questioned, but the silver-haired girl waved him off, clearly not wanting to talk about whatever it was. “Do you want to come with me as I make preparations, Ilya?”

“Yeah. Let’s do that,” the girl whispered hollowly. Shinji was a little worried about her, as she looked like she hadn’t slept in a while, but he said nothing as they went down to the lobby and had Jeeves drive them around town, so he could pick up things like food and games.

Perhaps it was Ilya’s influence, and his desire to cheer the girl up, but instead of any particularly fancy fare – or just ordering food from the Hogwarts Kitchens, as he’d done for Christmas Eve – he’d decided to go for a simpler menu of pizza, hot wings, and milkshakes – all things that his friends would never had a chance to try out before.

“Jeeves, is there a Pizza Hut nearby?” he asked, with the chauffeur looking back and nodding.

“Yes, there is, sir,” the man replied. “I presume you wish to place an order, since your defenses make delivery service…impossible.“

“Indeed,” Shinji noted with a wan smile. “You don’t mind, do you Jeeves?”

“…of course not, sir.”

At this point, Shinji was almost used to the stares he received from people who thought he and Jeeves looked far too overdressed to be in a particular establishment, though not the extra stares that Ilya drew, dressed as she was again in her Santa Dress.

Still, he’d braved the slings and arrows of curious British youth, as he ordered several large pizzas: A BBQ Americano – with smoky BBQ sauce, extra chicken breast, bacon and sweet corn as toppings, a Philly Cheesesteak pizza, which claimed to be the true taste of America, with shaved steak, caramelised onions and green peppers on a creamy base, and a Hawaiian pizza, with traditional toppings of sliced ham and pineapple, each with Pizza Hut's signature pan-baked crust, crispy on the outside and perfectly fluffy inside.

And of course, quite a few milkshakes, an order of hot wings and garlic bread topped with mozzarella and crispy bacon.

Ilya had cheered up slightly as she bit into a slice of Hawaiian pizza and sipped from a strawberry milkshake, though she didn’t say anything about what was bothering her. Not that Shinji was surprised – he knew the Einzbern girl could be rather reticent about some things, even if she was quite vocal about most others.

“Ilya, are you sure you don’t want to talk about what’s bothering you?” he asked, hoping she would open up.

But the girl just shook her head.

“No.”

And that was that.

100%

The party itself was good fun, with Shinji taking some amusement in how the Weasley Twins stepped out of the Floo and stood around gobsmacked by the interior of his house, with Harry raising an eyebrow at the grandeur he saw, and Hillard following along with rather less in the way of shock in his furnishings, as they’d seen his house before, and more at how Luna and Tohsaka were already there.

“And you must be the lovely Tohsaka Rin,” Hillard said to the Japanese girl, bowing low, with the girl nodding to him in turn. “Harry was telling me all about you.”

“You came by the Burrow, didn’t you?” Fred asked, raising an appreciative eyebrow at the girl’s attire – which once again featured a miniskirt and thigh-high socks.

“Ronniekins was taken by you,” George added. “And Gingin gives you all her regards.”

“Miss Tohsaka, wonderful to see you again,” Harry added with a winning smile. “I have to say, Shinji. I’m…surprised at how much you spent.” ‘…especially to buy a house for a girl you aren’t dating.’

“Eh, it was nothing,” Shinji responded pleasantly. “Besides, it is a lovely house, wouldn’t you agree, Luna?”

“Mm, the bedrooms are certainly nice,” the blonde replied absently, causing the other Stone Cutters to turn with a start, each looking at her oddly, as the twins grumbled and turned over a box of Honeydukes’ finest chocolate to Harry. “Oh, and the kitchens.”

“Luna’s been helping me out quite a bit these past few days,” Shinji explained, noting the exchange and hoping to pre-empt any unexpected remarks could make things appear exactly what they looked like. “Tohsaka, these are the rest of the Stone Cutters – my comrades in arms. Robert Hillard, George and Fred Weasley, and of course, Harry Potter.”

As each was announced, they bowed as one, with Rin curtseying in turn.

“Nisu to meet you,” Rin replied. “I am Tohsaka Rin.”

“My childhood friend from Fuyuki City,” Shinji added with a slight smile. “She’s the Second Owner of the land, essentially its hereditary magical governor.”

“…huh, interesting,” Hillard noted, nodding. “I guess things are run a little differently than in Britain, eh?”

“Most certainly,” Harry said quietly, remembering his time in Mahoutokoro. “I wouldn’t mind going back there, though I’m not sure I’ll ever get the chance.” He chuckled. “Well, unless Matou is Potions Champion or something. Otherwise…”

…he had too much tying him to this land, with a lover, friends, and others who accepted him for who he was.

“Well, we saw the paper, didn’t we, Forge?”

“Yes we did, Gred. Harrikins or wee Matou will shoulder ‘the hopes of all Britain.’”

“Either way, it should be interesting,” Hillard noted. “You know, back when we all met, I didn’t think this outcome was likely. Much less that we’d all be gathered here on New Year’s Eve, in Matou’s new manor. Speaking of which…here you go.”

The Head Boy handed Shinji a sheathed dagger, with the younger Ravenclaw taking it and unsheathing it slightly to reveal a vaguely leaf-shaped blade of gleaming silver-steel, with gently curving edges.

“A knife is always useful in emergencies,” Hillard explained. “And this one is enchanted to only be unsheathed by the hands of its owner, unless you specifically unlock it.”

“…Goblin forged?” Shinji inquired, sheathing the blade.

“Naturally. In the modern day, their kind knows best the secrets of metal,” Hillard replied. “And with the adventures we go on, I thought this might be useful.”

Especially since blades of goblin-silver – the equivalent to the mithril of Tolkien or others – could not be easily destroyed, and absorbed the properties of what they slew.

Fred and George handed him a box, with a velvet cased object on top. Curious, Shinji pulled out the object inside to find that it was a mirror bordered by silver runes.

“What’s this?”

“A scrying mirror,” Fred replied. “We thought you might find it handy.”

“And what’s in the box?”

“A handmade set of tricks and treats for—“

“—rather nasty sorts,” the twins said together.

“Consider it a prototype prank set, based on how we first met, including notes on our very favorites,” George added.

“…thanks, guys.”

“If you or Harrikins becomes Champion, well…”

“…there is a certain map we won’t be needing since we’ll be…”

“…at Durmstrang.”
Shinji’s eyebrows surged up towards his hairline at the sound of this. The Marauder’s Map? Now that would be quite useful. Yet another reason to become champion.

And Harry, well, he gave Shinji a globe containing a magical model of the Milky Way, its ebon base inscribed with these words: To distant worlds and good friends to explore them with.

“Thanks everyone.” Shinji said warmly. “Now, why don’t I give you all a tour?”

So Shinji showed them around most of the house – though not the basement or his private rooms, receiving his share of “oohs” and “ahhs”, “dear Merlins” and “Blimeys!” as they took in the overwhelming opulence of the Matou Estate.

“…alright, I’ll give you this one,” Harry noted with a smile, nodding. “Didn’t expect you to buy the house, but I suppose making Miss Tohsaka happy is worth every penny.”

Rin blushed at this, as they continued going around, with Hillard and the twins looking boggled at Shinji’s rather large collection of alcohol.

“Hillard, you said you wanted a case of Blishen’s Finest, right?” Shinji inquired, with the Head Boy nodding. “Well, you can have a case when you leave.”

“…are you sure, Matou?” the Head Boy asked. “It’s your stash.”

“Freely given, Robert,” Shinji replied.

“Then, consider it freely received,” Hillard answered. “By the way, do you plan on telling us what kind of garment we needed to get fitted for?”

“We were kind of—“

“—wondering that ourselves.”

“…you know, I think I’d rather it be a surprise,” Shinji quipped, with the twins shaking their heads. "Though I do have a couple of things for you two. I'll give them to you later, before you leave."

A set of boots for one and a set of gloves for the other, as he thought they could use something to help boost their fighting potential a bit.

“I hope they're useful,” Fred commented. "You were right about someone on staff, after all."

“This holiday, we saw Hagrid going out into the Forest,” George added.

“Oh?”

“He had slabs of meat—”

“—and was headed towards the hollow.”

Shinji frowned at this, given that it matched too well with what Tomas had said about the spiders being descended from one of Hagrid’s pets. One who the giant apparently still cared for.

‘At least one member of staff is on their side then.’

“That’s troubling, but we suspected someone was involved,” Hillard mused aloud. “Though it’s hard to say if he’s working alone, as he might have a collaborator. We’ll have to be careful and focus every moment we can on this.”

“Agreed,” the other Stone Cutters remarked.

On finishing the tour, the group was introduced to pizza, which the Twins found to be an utter delight – especially the smoky flavors of the BBQ Americano.

“Huh, they don’t serve this at Hogwarts, do they?” Harry said softly. “I don’t think I’ve had a pizza…in years, if ever.”

“I never knew Muggles made food this good,” Fred commented.

“Neither did I, oh brother of mine!”

The hot wings and garlic bread were similarly a delight, as were the milkshakes – rich and cold and creamy, quite a change from the usual pumpkin juice.

Afterwards, they played a few games to pass the time while they talked of the years before, the years to come, and of some of their hopes and dreams.

Shinji had thought about suggesting the King Game, but discarded it as impractical – and unsafe for his dignity, given that his friends were not above hanging mistletoe about and betting on his love life, no matter how well that particular intervention had turned out for him. None of them, sadly, had heard of the muggle game called Truth or Dare, or “I have Never” game, so the boy from the east was forced to use the board game Jeeves had suggested.

…not Diplomacy, the first game the chauffeur had suggested, given that he had known Lords of the Tower to play it, but Machiavelli, a later variant of the game set in Renaissance Italy with added rules for things like bribery, assassinations, and rebellions.

Play was slow at first, with each person claiming a faction and figuring out the basics of the game – how to move their pieces around, how to capture provinces, how each player gained income. Slowly though, as play went on, a bit more treachery and intrigue began, with Matou Shinji and Harry forming a faction against Hillard and the Twins, with Luna and Rin controlling a buffer zone of sorts.

This made them quite valuable, as both sides began paying them off to either remain neutral or come in and help in one dispute or another. In the early game, Matou quickly rose and became powerful, his brutal assault all but eliminating Fred from the board, with Hillard and George forced to take some of Rin’s provinces to shore up their defenses as the game progressed, who ceded the remainder to Luna’s forces.

Alarmed at the sudden shift in power, the two sides both tried to pay off Luna to keep her provinces out of the fighting, which worked for a time…

…until she used the very money they’d given her to bribe their units to join her side and cripple Hillard and Harry in one fell swoop.
Seeing the change, Matou and George attempted to band together with what remained of their allies to stop her, but it was too late, as the Papal war machine (for Luna played the Papal States in this game) relentlessly crushed the alliance of wizards.

“…and history repeats itself,” Shinji groaned, cradling his head in his hands. “Lovely. No hard feelings everyone?”

“…not really, no,” Harry said after a minute. “Except that I feel like I just got done having dinner at the Malfoys. That game was a bit…”

“…slimy,” the twins chorused.

“Wouldn’t mind another round, actually,” George added.

“And you had dinner with the Malfoys?” Fred asked.

“Last year. And I don’t really want to talk about it,” the Boy-Who-Lived commented. “Chief Warlock Malfoy is, well…”

“He’s a git is what he is,” Fred noted grimly.

“I wouldn’t put it like that,” Harry demurred. “It was…subtle is the best way I can put it. As for Draco, he isn’t bad at home, actually. Invited me to play a round of Quidditch with him, though he seemed disappointed I didn’t play.”

“We kind of all are,” George noted.

“Though part glad too,” Fred added. “Your father was a great Chaser, after all!”

“…well, I’m not my father,” Harry said quietly.

“No. You’re Harry Potter. Our friend and comrade, and that’s we really care about,” Hillard noted, raising a bottle of butterbeer. “A toast then. To good friends and a good year ahead.”

“Hear hear!”

“And here’s to not underestimating those we fight with,” Shinji added, with the others nodding slowly, remembering what had happened first year.

“I’ll drink to that.”

The party lasted until about an hour to midnight, when the group began to break up, with Hillard and Harry leaving for the Tonks and Greengrass residences respectively, with the Twins commenting that they just wanted to enjoy a New Year’s Kiss, and the Weasleys going to the Burrow, to ring in the New Year with their family.

100%

Late in the night, in the Room of Requirement, two figures danced to the light of the moon, to a rhythm all their own, the sound of their hearts beating as one keeping time with their steps.

A golden-eyed boy in a deep grey kimono, with a crown of horn-like branches, a filigree of thin vines twined about his limbs, and a cloud of dark prana billowing from his form.

A silver-eyed girl in a midnight blue dress, with pure white ears like those of a fox adorning her head, a fluffy white tail protruding from her derriere, and golden light trailing from her with every movement she made.

Sensually, languidly, daringly, they moved with passion, warmth, and trust, moving not simply on the ground, but on columns of earth that rose to meet their every step, as motes of foxfire swirled around them, so that suspended in the air twixt heaven and earth, their spun through a field of stars.

In part, it was an exercise in coordination and trust while the two lovers worked in fusion form, testing their awareness of the world and each other; partially, both simply wanted to experience the mundane through new eyes and new senses, aware of each other on a deeply intimate level they could not be when simply human; and in part, the two simply wanted to dance.

“I don’t like dancing most of the time,” Luna commented dreamily as they shifted their steps, their feet leaving the ground entirely and resting on a bounded field she’d spun into being. “But then, it’s not much fun, dancing alone. Except maybe in the rain.”

“Well, you’re not alone,” Shinji replied warmly, drawing her close as the patterns of the world became a music of their own, the sounds of life, the echoes of heartbeats, breathing, signs. “Not today, not now.”

“Mm,” the girl murmured, as the two stepped higher, higher, higher still, spinning in the ever tighter circles, and then by some unspoken signal, started to descend again, with the earth rising up to support them and lower them to the ground. “Something on your mind?”

“…I can’t get anything past you, can I?” Shinji asked wryly.

“Not really, no,” the girl said quietly, their prana trails mixing together to form a symbol much like yin and yang. “They say it’s bad to leave the old year behind with misunderstandings still afoot.”

Shinji sighed.

“…I guess I have worries about the year to come,” he admitted, pulling her close. “And some regrets about what happened to Hermione.”

Mm,” Luna commented, tilting her head, as silver eyes bore into gold. “People hurting themselves over misunderstandings is just too cruel, isn’t it?”

“…how did you...?”

“Her favorite story was Romeo and Juliet,” the girl whispered. “And the stories we tell ourselves sometimes have a habit of coming true. Even if we deny them, like your dreams.”

“…my dreams.”

“I see some too,” Luna answered, as they moved once more among the stars, as if they were the very sun and moon, her body lithe and warm and supple under his hands.

Full of life, full of passion, full of a joy to simply be.

“What do you see?” Shinji asked, curious.

“Things that may be. Things that are. A fire. A ghost. A grail,” the girl whispered, leaning close to him. “A man felled by his love of a ring. A spider screaming as it turns to dust. Oh, and I see this.”

And with those words, she closed the distance between them, her lips meeting his in a sensual, sultry kiss, as the orbs of foxfire around them burst into trails and streams of gold and blue and red as if to ring in a joyous New Year.

100%

Choice 82: In the morning of New Year, you receive a call from Ilya, who asks you to come over. When you arrive, a Gameboy lies on her bed, with the final scene of Link's Awakening on it, showing Link drifting in the sea, and the girl herself, clad in the Dress of Heaven, is looking out over the river Thames, a haunted look on her face as if she's spent the entire night awake, staring into an abyss.

"There is no more time," she murmurs as you approach. "No more time at all."

"Ilya, what's the matter?" you ask, as you come up behind her. She leans herself against you, and reflexively, your arms wrap around her waist as if to steady her.

She stiffens, but after a few tense moment, relaxes.

"All I've ever known in life is a single road, one I was born to follow to the end. All this..." She pauses, finding speech difficult. "...all this was just a dream I would have to wake up from. But now..." She shuddered once more. "There's another road. Another path, and where that goes I have no idea. Matou...should I...should I follow the will of those came before and wake up...or take a leap of faith?"

(choose one)

[ ] Wake up. You can't dream forever
[ ] Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads


Choice 83: With what you have learned from Sion, do you wish to tell Lockhart about the Hidden Blade?

[ ] Yes, when the term begins.
[ ] ...let's wait till after the spider hunt
[ ] ...maybe next year.

Kuroyuki
October 22nd, 2015, 03:03 AM
[X] Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads

[X] Yes, when the term begins.


Tell Ilya to go back to the Einzbern or not... Hmmm well on a objective view, we would be weakening the Einzbern, strengthening Atlas, and keeping Ilya happy. Which are well worth the downside of irritating the Einzbern further. So I see three ups and one down. Well worth the trade especially since Sion is likely to raise defenses due to our crucial convincing to keep Ilya around. Meanwhile, the "Wake up. You can't dream forever" option is the continuation of status quo as we know it. Except well... Ilya might have an actual grudge against us because we told her to wake up and deal with it essentially. So yeah, let's avoid that Fate route ending.

Okay the second choice, I honestly did consider after the Spider Hunt or even next year. But then I remember Zouken can instantly message Lockhart with the miniature Vanishing Cabinet Lockhart told us to give Gramps. And honestly I wouldn't be too surprised if one of the messages sent from dear old Gramps was "Hello Lockhart, how has my son been doing with his HIDDEN BLADE that I gave him for Christmas. Hopefully he knows how to use thanks to YOU." So I would rather get this off my plate and show the assassin that we have it before he founds out via secondhand sources. And well I can't be a hypocrite and say "Ilya you take this leap of faith while I sit back on mine."

mangafreak7793
October 22nd, 2015, 03:59 AM
[ ] Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads

[ ] ...let's wait till after the spider hunt

Omida
October 22nd, 2015, 05:00 AM
[X] Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads

I can't really imagine Shinji giving different advice. He came already to the conclusion that Ilya's situation had a parallels to his own, and I think he would encourage her to try. 'Better try and fail than give up and wonder about what ifs', after all.

[X] ...maybe next year.

Yeah, no showing Assassin a blade of his order. Not now. Sion warned us that he may just give us a trail or recruit us if we show it to Lockhart. And right now Shinji isn't in the right state of mind to have to worry about ancient order of pro killers scouting him up.

Magus
October 22nd, 2015, 05:54 AM
[x] Take the leap of faith.

Our Advanced Defenses will come in handy for the inevitable Einzbern reprisals. This is also a crucial decision with certainly irrevocable consequences, just like the decision with Hermione.

As for the Hidden Blade...

We have more leeway with this decision, but it is still pivotal. Since we know Lockhart will most likely give us some sort of test/trial, it would be the best to show it to him, if at all, after the spider hunt. A distraction now could be fatal. If we don't show it to him within the year, we may never get the chance again. Following Zouken's advice has opened many opportunities for us, and a magus walks with death, so I think we should soon see how deep the rabbit hole goes. Of course, there will be no way we can be fully prepared for what we find, but it may serve as a fitting climax to this year / stinger for next year. Besides, this follows the main plot line of one of the "Masters of Death".

[x] After the spider hunt.

skulkidcachi90
October 22nd, 2015, 05:59 AM
Fuck You Luna seriously fuck you.

[X] Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads
[X] After the spider hunt.

Magus
October 22nd, 2015, 06:04 AM
Actually, maybe I'm not quite willing to take the leap of faith for Shinji… it is certain that his life will never be the same again if we show Lockhart the dagger, and while we may gain much we may also throw away much of what we have built. Sion would also only think of us as foolish if we ignored her advice like this. We should not proceed with this unless we are absolutely prepared for the consequences, and while I at first suggested doing so, too much is at stake for me to be comfortable with the decision.

I change my vote to [x] Maybe next year...

Not all leaps of faith are equal. As the players, we can be certain that Illya's life will (mostly) improve if she takes hers. The future is much more dubious for us if we have Shinji take his.

Though I also think this will cut off Lockhart's route (e.g., now that the choice is given, I fully expect him to die between this year and the next). And what effect will just sticking with the status quo have on Shinji? That in of itself is not the way to greatness.

I have to go now, but I'll see where the discussion leads. Maybe I might still change my mind.

Abendroth
October 22nd, 2015, 07:37 AM
So I learned a bit from Alf about exactly what benefits associating with Luna affords us:


[23:07] <!Alftomine> Luna, while different from Sion in many ways, still worked as an outsider for Shinji, keeping him from succumbing to the world around him
[23:07] <Abendroth> That's an interesting observation.
[23:08] <Abendroth> What would " succumbing" actually look like?
[23:08] <!Alftomine> If Sion is his ultimate goal, Luna is kind of the one who is able to walk with him on that path apart from the rest
[23:09] <!Alftomine> Giving up. Assimilating fully with this place which gave him honors and glory, as opposed to seeking more
[23:11] <!Alftomine> Or at least getting annoyed enough to utterly blow up at someone in the worst way

So Luna prevents us from becoming ordinary, keeping our character based more in the moonlit world than the Wizarding world. Given how much more powerful the moonlit world seems to be I guess that's not a small benefit. I am not sure if Pansy, with her desire to see things beyond the world of the Wizarding Britain would offer some of the same benefits.

Veldril
October 22nd, 2015, 08:21 AM
[X] Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads


​The other choice going to take some time to think about it.

Abendroth
October 22nd, 2015, 08:47 AM
I don't want any additional training that would interfere with earning our potions championship nomination. When is that determined?

Cassius
October 22nd, 2015, 08:49 AM
[X] Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads
[X] ...maybe next year.

Caster
October 22nd, 2015, 10:44 AM
Leap of faith and next year. The first one is an easy vote. It's what I was pushing for to begin with. It means Ilya has a chance at living her own life. Whether it'll be good or bad is hard to say, but it's a risk that should be taken none the less.

Also Ilya got really good at games if she's beaten Link's Awakening already. Obviously it's a thematic thing but that's still an impressive level of game progress. Wondering if she likes it or if it's just a way to distract herself.

As for the blade, we could use it to get better before the fight. However, it would mean no potions champion, instead locking us into the Triwizard. Also looks like the reason for our summer guest is shown.

saki
October 22nd, 2015, 11:13 AM
[ ] Wake up. You can't dream forever
[ ] Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads


Choice 83: With what you have learned from Sion, do you wish to tell Lockhart about the Hidden Blade?

[ ] Yes, when the term begins.
[ ] ...let's wait till after the spider hunt

[ ] Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads. Shinji took the leap of faith and his life got better, its only rigth for him to advice the same. (Would Illya become dependant on Sion and the water of life or its only a one time thing to drink it?)


Choice 83: With what you have learned from Sion, do you wish to tell Lockhart about the Hidden Blade?
I don't know what to choose here, assassin training would probably cut us off from the potion championship which would be good for our interest in alchemy and Sion relationship, and apparently the island where is hosted is interesting in its own way according to what Sion told us. On the other hand... assassin training, how cool is that, plus Lockharth as a way to know things so i don't know how he would take us hiding something like a hidden blade(lol).
Im leaning more for the first one since Sion and alchemy but this is one of those choices where we will always be thinking "what could have been".

mAc Chaos
October 22nd, 2015, 11:17 AM
Do we even have a chance of winning the Potions thing without Hermione?

- - - Updated - - -

Going to a new place is interesting by itself though.

Mint
October 22nd, 2015, 11:18 AM
[X] Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads

[X] ...let's wait till after the spider hunt

saki
October 22nd, 2015, 11:39 AM
Do we even have a chance of winning the Potions thing without Hermione?

- - - Updated - - -

Going to a new place is interesting by itself though.

We have pansy, or even Harry if we manage to make him our Second. And since we were chosen im guessing that we managed to offset not using the Book of Potions when we had the chance or going to the boot camp.

Skull Leader
October 22nd, 2015, 11:59 AM
I highly doubt that Harry would be our second as he is very likely will be in the other competition. Do not think that we are not hurt by the lost of Hermione because we have other people. If I was the GM, I would be hammering into you at every turn when things go badly because you do not have her at your side.

The leap of faith choice is something we have been gunning for with all of our Ilya picks. However I will warn people that choice leads us down a path of Einzbern being our outright enemies. (other than Ilya). We pick Ilya to go to the gale to get the family off our backs because we ruined their revenge plans with Shinji. If we let Ilya take her leap of faith, we make Einsbern our enemy for life. We have shown our cards to them and they WILL come after us. Ilya's replacement for the grail war will go after us if we are also a Master.

Remember the Einszbern family knows more magic then us, have more allies then us and have way way more money then us. In a lot of ways, we are making them our true final boss.

Still I rather support Ilya, knowing fully well what we are getting ourselves into.

- - - Updated - - -

As for showing Lockhard the hidden blade. If we show him the blade when we go back to school, we will become his apprentice. An act that will take up more of our time, when he training us/testing us. Time that we need for us to work on making the Stonecutters a fighting force. If we power ourselves up now, it will be at the expense of the Stone Cutters becoming a unified group, that able to fight well together.

That's the stuff that will get people killed when we fight the spiders.

saki
October 22nd, 2015, 12:02 PM
That popular Harry, he cant go to one world tournament so he goes to the other.
Also, according to Tomas words wouldn't it had been bad if Shinji went after Hermione?

Thedoctor
October 22nd, 2015, 12:03 PM
Choice 82:

[x] Write in: Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads, make sure we will aid her as much as we can and that we won't abandon her.


Choice 83:

[x] After the spider hunt.

Mattias
October 22nd, 2015, 12:11 PM
[x] Leap of faith. Lets throw this Grail War right off the rails. Plus, we can backstab Berserkers master and not feel bad about it now.

[x] Next year. I prefer we never do though. Lets add another secret to our store. Who knows when it will come in handy...

Vagrant
October 22nd, 2015, 01:43 PM
[☆] Leap of Faith
[☆] Tell Lockhart now.

mr_Trickster
October 22nd, 2015, 01:54 PM
We're already aware of what Sion wants. We're also aware that out of all of our patrons, allies, and friends, she is the one whose opinion matters most to Shinji. Just two chapters ago, we swore our undying loyalty to her and this is an excellent time to make good of that:

[x] - Take the Leap of Faith

In that same vein, Sion has given us nothing but good advice every time we've asked - as have many of our other mentors such as Touko and Zouken. And it isn't as if Zouken had actually told us to approach Lockhart about it, but had merely presented it to us.

[x] - Maybe Next year

skulkidcachi90
October 22nd, 2015, 02:50 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL8e6P9rj2g

I wonder how Ilya react to this scene when she was playing the game?

alfheimwanderer
October 22nd, 2015, 04:19 PM
I don't want any additional training that would interfere with earning our potions championship nomination. When is that determined?

About a month or so after the conclusion of the spider hunt. The challenges will be ongoing until then, focusing on random partners - and then down to solo performance eventually.


Do we even have a chance of winning the Potions thing without Hermione?

If you do get to become Hogwarts Potions Champion, you will likely be interacting more with Mahoutokoro's champion during the summer, given that both of you would have some interesting insights to share. It will also be one of your main focuses this summer (as Occlumency was in year 1, and a familiar was in year 2).

Velyoukai
October 22nd, 2015, 04:47 PM
Leap of Faith

Tell Lockhart now before dropped for irrelevancy

Thedoctor
October 22nd, 2015, 05:15 PM
Who is mahoutokoro's champion?

alfheimwanderer
October 22nd, 2015, 05:47 PM
Who is mahoutokoro's champion?

Sajyou Ayaka.

Malgos
October 22nd, 2015, 05:56 PM
[Save Ilya.]

Also I'd have not tell Lockhart right now so maybe next year.

Magus
October 22nd, 2015, 06:06 PM
So it seems "maybe next year" is narrowly winning.

Again, I think that's the smarter choice at present, given how much we potentially risk by going to Lockhart now and how Sion specifically advised against it (hint, hint). But if people do want to present the blade to Lockhart, the next most logical choice is "after the spider hunt", so that there is less of a chance of one of the Stone Cutters getting killed.

But as Mattias said, let's just keep this one a secret. Even if it cuts off Lockhart's route from us, we can't succeed if we try to keep every route open, and Shinji would undoubtedly also lose much in becoming an Assassin.

And again, as for making the Einzberns our enemy by encouraging Illya to make her own leap of faith… aren't we glad we got the Advanced Defenses?

Vagrant
October 22nd, 2015, 06:11 PM
Assassin Shinji sounds legit as fuck though. Like amazing good story path continuing through four years.

Magus
October 22nd, 2015, 06:25 PM
Assassin Shinji sounds legit as fuck though. Like amazing good story path continuing through four years.

Admittedly, it has considerable potential, which is one of the reasons why this vote will be pivotal.

Omida
October 22nd, 2015, 06:42 PM
Actually, saving Ilya doesn't really change shit in regards of our reputation with Eiznberns. Because, hilariously enough, old Jubstacheit allowed her to go only because he considers Ilya expandable. He will just tell himself that he knew from the start that Makiris are treacherous fucks and will just go and prepare new Grail vessel. If anything it will cause more trouble for a Matou that will participate in a Grail War as Einzbern master will probably have instruction to punish them for Shinji's actions.

All That Is Left Unsaid
October 22nd, 2015, 07:36 PM
[x] Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads

Who knows? Maybe the Einzbern would appreciate Illya gaining a high station in Atlas. They lose a replaceable homunculus, but gain a family member with the ear of Atlas's director.

Not likely with our luck, but one can dream.

[x] ...maybe next year.

This one is harder. Getting assassin training would probably make Shinji more powerful, especially in the event of a war with Voldemort's forces, and a potentially hostile Einzbern family. Telling Lockhart right away might even grant a bonus in time for the spider fight, but the training would take time away from other activities. Presumably personal study time for ofuda etc. during the year, and possibly summer break as well, which Touko would not appreciate.

On the other hand, if Lockhart would only be training Shinji during the school year, then there might be some merit to telling him, as Shinji could simply lower his focus on another class to compensate, or however Alf chooses to handle it.

EnigmaticFellow
October 22nd, 2015, 07:41 PM
[X] Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads
[X] ...maybe next year.

Caster
October 22nd, 2015, 07:42 PM
I do want to repeat for people going Assassin that it'll lock Shinji down. Sion, which makes it an Alf warning by extension, said as much, that showing him the blade would lead to training and such. It means no Potions either way, if we do it now or later, and would likely be the thing that eats up our summer. This is a big, mutually exclusive choice. Unless that is the one thing you're dead set on Shinji being, I'd advise voting against it. Worst case scenario and we don't get into Potions we could use it to back things up for Triwizard. But if we do it now, it will hurt potions and the Stone Cutters training.

Skull Leader
October 22nd, 2015, 07:53 PM
[X] Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads
[X] ...maybe next year.

Abendroth
October 22nd, 2015, 10:53 PM
[X] Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads
[X] ...maybe next year.

Kelnish
October 22nd, 2015, 11:02 PM
Tell her to wake up, Shinji's grandfather who has done soooo much for him is depending on that tool doing its job dammit.

Tell the dude immediatly. There were two masters of death this story's title could have been referring to, the dude who talked to a discworld expie and the guy who is literally a master of dealing death. By embracing the potions thing we're getting closer to one and this could get us closer to the other. Lets get into some trouble and lose a limb!

- - - Updated - - -


Sajyou Ayaka.
That's p awesome tbh.

All That Is Left Unsaid
October 22nd, 2015, 11:32 PM
Actually, that raises an interesting question: will helping Illya help or harm Shinji's relationship with Zouken? Assuming Illya goes to Atlas, this would make Sakura the only vessel for the Grail, unless the Einzbern can produce another one in time. The question is if this would draw more negative attention to Zouken himself, or do more to stack the deck in his favor.

If Zouken connects this to Shinji's influence he might actually be quite happy with him.

mAc Chaos
October 23rd, 2015, 12:00 AM
Why would Zouken care? It's the Einzbern's problem to produce a vessel. Imagine if she got hit by a car tomorrow.

- - - Updated - - -

Unless you mean he specifically wants Sakura to be the vessel. Then, maybe. But the Einzbern will probably just churn out another doll easy.

saki
October 23rd, 2015, 12:01 AM
Actually, that raises an interesting question: will helping Illya help or harm Shinji's relationship with Zouken? Assuming Illya goes to Atlas, this would make Sakura the only vessel for the Grail, unless the Einzbern can produce another one in time. The question is if this would draw more negative attention to Zouken himself, or do more to stack the deck in his favor.

If Zouken connects this to Shinji's influence he might actually be quite happy with him.

In the Illya grandfather POV he says how Illya is dispensable, so im sure he can make another one.


In the last story, didnt Tomas said that following Hermione would have been a bad idea??

mAc Chaos
October 23rd, 2015, 12:04 AM
It sounds like she would have clung to being in love with Shinji still even though she'd be massively butthurt. Or at least want to be friends.

So I guess it would have been the solution we wanted: have her realize the truth but still be around. On the other hand it might have made Hermione be miserable or end up dead or something down the line if Shinji really did just ignore her.

saki
October 23rd, 2015, 12:28 AM
The second he made official his relationship with Luna we get the School Days ending.

arsdraconis
October 23rd, 2015, 01:19 AM
The second he made official his relationship with Luna we get the School Days ending.

implying anyone but Alf actually wants Luna route

it's almost obnoxious how hard that's being pushed despite there being hardly any votes for her interaction, in contrast to every vote for Hermione's interaction backfiring this year

skulkidcachi90
October 23rd, 2015, 01:31 AM
implying anyone but Alf actually wants Luna route
I think than some people in Fanfiction.net like that pairing, but yeah is kinda obvious than the autor is making favors to his favorite pairing and that could be Ok if not were for the fact than this is a rol game.

gesalt
October 23rd, 2015, 02:02 AM
[X] Leap of faith
[X] after hunt

Cremela
October 23rd, 2015, 07:15 PM
Sorry for introducing myself and then leaving for a while...

Aaaaaaah!!! :sader: I had to go away for a month and this is what I come back to! I was glad about missing the choices between Christmas and New Years (just reading the possibilities made my head spin) until I read what a dog's dinner the 29th became... ouch!

Some of the highlights I loved:


he simply wrote down: “All of it.”


In the Room of Requirement, Matou Shinji wept, though this time, his tears were not born of frustration or grief. This time, it was out of a sense of irrational joy, as the letter that had come with this batch of paperwork from Gringotts informed him it would be the last to be sent by mail.


...organic butterflies...


“You’re not? Why the house then?” Harry asked, raising an eyebrow. “You…you didn’t buy it just to impress Tohsaka, did you?”

“Of course not,” Shinji replied. That had been only one of his motives in doing so, though admittedly the prospect of seeing her reaction to the house was a very amusing one. “I’m just… I’m keeping my options open.”

“…of course you are, Matou,” Harry said, his lips twitching into a crooked smile as he thought of a different set of ‘options’ the boy could be holding onto. “I understand.”



Most of the magi of the tower would agree that there were three great disasters within the Association – encountering Gazamy the Wraith, receiving a Sealing Designation or otherwise raising the ire of the higher-ups enough that Enforcers were dispatched to…neutralize a problem. But among the clerks and receptionists who worked for the Clock Tower, magi of passable talent but would never amount to anything exceptional, it was generally agreed that an unexpected meeting with Aozaki Aoko was pretty much the worst disaster possible.


“There is the matter of the combined classes Iinstruct, and overseeing the appointment of a Champion after all,” he drawled,shaking his head. “If I didn’t have to deal with so many dunderheads.”

“Severus, you teach teenagers. What did you expect?”


“What.”

“I do not believe your auditory circuit isimpaired, Illyasviel,” the Director noted


Surely the Association wasn’t a pit of worms trying totear each other to pieces though, he thought.

and of course...


For a moment in time, all seemed right with the world, a feeling that extended through the evening, into the night and through the morning...


…until he found himself standing before his Master, who had arrived to set up the defenses, with Tohsaka Rin and Hermione Granger beside him. He’d invited them to join him for the day, as he hadn't been spending much time with Tohsaka lately and owed Hermione a visit to his house, but something was wrong. The two girls were looking at each other warily, as if wondering why the other was there at all, and the atmosphere felt rather tense, as if a single wrong move would send everything into chaos.

"So Matou," Touko quipped, looking between the two girls standing with Matou, her smile almost cruel as she took a puff from her cigarette. "Which one is your lover?"







Before I vote is it possible to confirm Alf, when the choice says "...let's wait till after the spider hunt" does that mean we wait 'till after the spiders to definitely bring it up with Lockheart or to reconsider whether to mention it to him?

saki
October 23rd, 2015, 09:11 PM
Before I vote is it possible to confirm Alf, when the choice says "...let's wait till after the spider hunt" does that mean we wait 'till after the spiders to definitely bring it up with Lockheart or to reconsider whether to mention it to him?

Thats an important semantic detail.

alfheimwanderer
October 23rd, 2015, 09:45 PM
Before I vote is it possible to confirm Alf, when the choice says "...let's wait till after the spider hunt" does that mean we wait 'till after the spiders to definitely bring it up with Lockheart or to reconsider whether to mention it to him?

Most likely bringing it up. This may change given what happens

Nanao-kun
October 24th, 2015, 02:54 AM
I support the ShinjixLuna ship.

Cremela
October 24th, 2015, 03:23 PM
It's probably because I wasn't able to vote while reading and so don't feel railroaded, but I think that the Luna relationship has developed really nicely. I'm torn between the Sion and the Luna relationships to be honest; the one thing I hate in a fictional relationship is where there in absolutely no obvious chemistry or romantic interaction, the only way we know they're a couple during the story is being informed (ie breaking the golden rule of "show, don't tell") and ending up together at the end of the story. To be honest, the Shinji/Luna relationship is miles better on this front than the canon Ginny/Harry one. However, I have to say that if Shinji really is still devoted to Sion, he is leading Luna on even worse than Hermione. I could see how an oblivious 13-year-old could mistake what he had with Hermione for friendship, but he's repeatedly kissed Luna. Is this him being the womanising canon Shinji or is he really being clueless? Seeing as Luna doesn't know Sion survived, is she just being really caring and from her point advancing her relationship with him while helping him to get over his previous love who's passed on... Whatever it is, I seriously suggest we find out about whatever imbalance or loss we've got due to trading the book as soon as possible.

I also think we should pay attention to the fact that we're gonna be seeing Luna a whole lot more due to her joining the Stonecutters and the spiders coming up, and for the short to mid-term, spending time with people seems to function more as relationship advancement rather than maintenance. There's also the fact that we do learn a whole lot from Luna, shapeshifting or otherwise and she keeps us from succumbing to the mindset of the mundane British wizarding world, helping with the Sion track.

I'm wondering if the Luna relationship route has us find out more about the elemental/spiritual heritage of wizards, which I'm really interested in, while the Sion route will have us focus more on potions, alchemy, necromancy and the nature of life, which would work more into the Grail War Servant system and the work of Chaldea.

As for choices at the moment I'll go for

[x] Take the leap of faith. See where the rabbit hole leads

and

[x] ...maybe next year

skulkidcachi90
October 24th, 2015, 03:55 PM
So Shinji and Luna are a official couple now?
That sucks, Luna is not the worst girl but its not good either, well at least the story is good and shinji is a likeable protagonist, i am just disapointed than we can not go for the Rin or Ilya route anymore.

alfheimwanderer
October 24th, 2015, 04:12 PM
i am just disapointed than we can not go for the Rin or Ilya route anymore.

Now I never said anything about that. It just takes much more time to build up such a relationship, which Shinji has not really had with Rin or Ilya - nor for anything lasting - as of yet.

As for Luna, he sees her as his partner on the road towards his ever distant utopia, the one who is closest to him at Hogwarts because of it. There is genuine feeling there, just as there is towards Sion.

Nephirin
October 24th, 2015, 09:42 PM
Okay, finally got around to reading the latest chapter. What a marvelous case of split voting getting us the worst combination possible. We screwed over Hermoine to stay with Touko, but then we didn't even get proper study points because a bunch of people voted to flirt with Rin instead. -_- And then Illya gives us the cold shoulder, so I guess we didn't even get a good amount of Illya points, and that's the real tragedy in this. :\

[]Leap of faith
[]After Spider Hunt

Caster
October 24th, 2015, 11:41 PM
Ilya asked us for advice still. I think we did a good job when it comes to Ilya points, that was the big thing I was pushing for. Anything else and it would have hurt things, though given what happened I wish we had done a third Ilya day instead.

saki
October 25th, 2015, 01:00 AM
Then we would have broke our promise with Hermione and changed a problem for another.
Btw, what happened with rin after shinji stayed with her after leaving Hermione go.

Caster
October 25th, 2015, 03:14 AM
Eh, might have been able to mitigate that better than what happened, but then again probably would have ended as badly.

alfheimwanderer
October 25th, 2015, 01:16 PM
Btw, what happened with rin after shinji stayed with her after leaving Hermione go.

They had hot coffee on the couch.

Tohsaka mentioned that Hermione had called herself Shinji's girlfriend, and that she had thought that if anyone was his lover, it would be Luna, the girl who came over and made breakfast and was identified as his training partner, since trust is a big deal for a magus. Shinji admitted he had a dangerous mission coming up, so his mind was perhaps not as aware of mundane things as it should be, which she accepted, given the whole wyvern skeleton from first year, and the nature of his familiar.

She was also surprised to find that Shinji knew her sponsor, Lord El Melloi II, though the context of where they met was not noted.

It seems like [x] Leap of Faith and [x] Maybe next year won, so I will try to have a chapter out by tonight or tomorrow. I've unfortunately been quite busy with Indiecade this weekend, so no time to write!

In the meantime...

Choice 84: With Hermione's resignation (and Luna's pending resignation, given that she is now a Stone Cutter), Lockhart has mentioned that it is time to nominate new members, if any. As the head of the Ourea, you are allowed to nominate individuals, who will then be voted on by the rest of the group, and your voice may have a bit more sway than the others.

So...who would you like to nominate? (choose up to 4)

[ ] Tracey Davis
[ ] Hestia Carrow / Flora Carrow
[ ] Su Li
[ ] Anthony Goldstein
[ ] Ernie MacMillan
[ ] Ron Weasley
[ ] (write-in)

mangafreak7793
October 25th, 2015, 01:41 PM
Su Li

Nominate
Anthony Goldstein (Ravenclaw)
Alicia_Spinnet (Gryfindor)
Hestia Carrow (Slytherin)
Justin Finch-Fletchley (Huffiepuff)

Malgos
October 25th, 2015, 01:53 PM
I'll only choose two.

Tracey Davis, cause I think I heard of her in this story before and I think it was something positive, if not I'll just redact that nomination. As well as Ron Weasley. His brothers would probably appreciate this and he seems to be starting to grow, going by his tournament results. So I hope that this will help his growth and improve the leading skills he probably has acquired during Capture the Flag. Also he go finally got it into his thick skull that Shinji isn't super evil, so that's good.

Edit: I shall add Su Li then.

Cassius
October 25th, 2015, 02:45 PM
[ ] Su Li
[ ] Anthony Goldstein
[ ] Tracey Davis

Caster
October 25th, 2015, 03:02 PM
Alf, counting the Ourea and Stone Cutters as a single group, is there any house that's lacking in representation? I'm likely to throw my votes to that house if it is unbalanced, since I liked the houses being relatively equal. Hillard and Hermione leaving are the only changes I can think of, Luna just upgraded.

alfheimwanderer
October 25th, 2015, 03:14 PM
Hufflepuff is not represented among the Stone Cutters as of yet, and Slytherin has one member.

With Luna's upgrade to Stone Cutter and Hermione's departure, Ravenclaws have one proper Ourea member remaining - Cho Chang.

At present, if you count the two as one, here's the breakdown:

4 Slytherins
5 Gryffindors
4 Ravenclaws (falling to 3 after years end)
3 Hufflepuff

Cremela
October 25th, 2015, 03:20 PM
We're having two Ravenclaws leave, so

[X] Su Li
[X] Anthony Goldstein

not sure about who else...

Ernie Macmillan was one of the chief people who condemned Harry for the Duelling club Parseltongue incident along with Ron in the first year, he was also in the group this year who managed to ambush Shinji, Hermione and Su Li, Petrificus Totalus-ing Hermione. Tracey is a friend of Pansy, Daphne and Millicent in the Harry Potter books. The Carrow twins are Slytherins invited to the Slug Club, the Carrow family being one of the 27 noted pure blood families and Alecto and Amycus Carrow being Death Eaters who didn't search for Voldemort after his defeat but joined him on his return but whose relation to the twins are unknown.

Edit: I'll support Justin Finch-Fletchley too, seeing as Hufflepuff is lacking representation

Malgos
October 25th, 2015, 05:12 PM
not sure about who else...

I hate to advertise for myself, but Alf seemed to have liked my write-in of Ron enough to add him to the list. So maybe him?

Also thanks for the info on some people! Could you also include some reasoning for Su Li and Anthony Goldstein? Maybe I'd add one of those two to my own list, if I think they would be good. Su Li, sorta rang a bell, but I couldn't remember any of the things she did in the story so far and I don't know the canon at all.

Vagrant
October 25th, 2015, 06:05 PM
In canon she's literally just a name that has been mentioned. She has worked with Hermione and Shinji on at least one potion challenge and overall appears to be competent at least.

Cremela
October 25th, 2015, 06:07 PM
Su Li and Anthony Goldstein are both Ravenclaws. Su Li was pretty competent in the Potions-Herbology team-up and she seemed to be a possible friend for Hermione (and her boggart took the form of an inferno). In the books Anthony Goldstein was a member of the DA and here in second year when Moody was having people face a boggart his took the form of people he knew (from synagogue etc.) saying “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live.”

Edit: Half Ninja'd!

Omida
October 25th, 2015, 07:13 PM
[X] Ron Weasley
[X] Su Li

Ron seems to slowly gain resemblance of positive image and I think that with his accomplishments this year, we can give him a chance. Su Li, as was mentioned already, showed herself to be fairly competent witch.

[X] Anthony Goldstein
[X] Flora Carrow

Those two, to be fair I choose randomly. Ernie didn't earn himself points in the past, and I don't exactly remember what Tracey did. Goddamn it Hufflepuffs, why do you have so little in the way of notable members? At least those not already in Ourea?

Malgos
October 25th, 2015, 07:39 PM
In canon she's literally just a name that has been mentioned. She has worked with Hermione and Shinji on at least one potion challenge and overall appears to be competent at least.


Su Li and Anthony Goldstein are both Ravenclaws. Su Li was pretty competent in the Potions-Herbology team-up and she seemed to be a possible friend for Hermione (and her boggart took the form of an inferno). In the books Anthony Goldstein was a member of the DA and here in second year when Moody was having people face a boggart his took the form of people he knew (from synagogue etc.) saying “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live.”

Edit: Half Ninja'd!

Thank you.

I shall include Su Li then.

skulkidcachi90
October 25th, 2015, 08:25 PM
[X] Ron Weasley
[X] Su Li

EnigmaticFellow
October 25th, 2015, 10:33 PM
[X] Ron Weasley
[X] Su Li

Can't really think of solid Hufflepuff picks at the moment.

Abendroth
October 25th, 2015, 11:32 PM
Chapter 32
This was a special chapter, so the commentary is a little more dense than usual. Somehow, I doubt you'll mind. :)


Ironically, I just got finished with a friend's wedding. Talk about emotional whiplash.




The beginning


I've previously mentioned how I misinterpreted our gestures towards Hermione so I won't cover it here. I do wonder if the political effects of going to the ball with Hermione, and thus our rejection of wizard norms also wound up boosting our stock with Pansy, similar to some of the counterintuitive choices for Sokaris in the first year.


Hermione seems to have picked up that Pansy is interested in us before we actually see Pansy make a move. I would say that this is ironic, except that given our romantic track record it is completely unsurprising that we are the last to know.


It was noted previously that she still thinks of the Stonecutters as people being rewarded for trouble making. Given that a number of them share the kinds of responsibilities that we ourselves do I think her crush is causing her to give us a greater benefit of the doubt than she does the others.


Thinking that we are making time for Hermione even when we are not making time for Luna is clearly wishful thinking. I thought we had been nearly inseparable from Luna this year. Last year I remember her more as the quirky friend.




Tomas Time


This may be due to my own forgetfulness but it never even occur to me that Tomas might not be teaching Hermione/Rin magic while he spends time with them. I have no idea if this is ultimately helpful or not.


Tomas is such a troll. I wonder if he knew Harry would be there.


You switch to Tomas's POV for a paragraph when he wonders about his early days of training Harry since he can't remember them. Hermione would not know this. With this being the only non-Hermione paragraph in the section it rather stands out, in a section that had otherwise been third-person limited.


Tomas's point about the name of Defense Against the Dark Arts raises an interesting question. If the continent is supposed to be more enlightened than Britain in teaching that these spells are tools rather than something to be fought against why do the schools on the continent still refer to them as the Dark Arts? What qualifies something as a Dark Art in this continuity?




"Unconscionable for him to forget," Tomas's you troll. This comment is so perfectly calculated to make things worse that I would suspect Tomas was doing it on purpose but he couldn't possibly have anticipated our refusal to follow her. This is just the GM rubbing it in.




And so, we borrowed Rin's owl to send a letter to Hermione? Stay classy Shinji. At least Rin knows it can be used to send messages now.


Hermione's hopes have been quite thoroughly set up so they can be knocked down later.






The house


Overall, Hermione displays a reasonable amount of the eagerness and uncertainty that I would expect associated with a fairly isolated teenage girl who believes in storybook romances.


Despite Emma Watson, book-Hermione is fairly unattractive at this age. Even knowing that we associate with Rin would probably be a blow to her self esteem, let alone finding Rin living in our house. If we hadn't already made our disastrous decision I would blame you for setting us up to fail here, with the way you interpreted the action.


Given that Rin just demonstrated that her English isn't the best, Shinji having good English when he arrived shouldn't be a counterexample.


Given that, when of Shinji arrives the only thing the two girls are doing is glaring at each other, and that Hermione immediately stops and runs to him, I don't think he would describe them as being at each other's throats. He wouldn't have had a chance to get a good look at them from the car, or hear Rin whispering in German. He might describe it as a tense standoff though. Recognizing them as being at each other's throats would require that he not be as a blind as he's currently shown to be.


I keep suppressing the knowledge that we actually bought our house for Rin because for much of the year the idea sounded flatly absurd, so it's always a shock to hear it brought up again. Naturally, Shinji mentions it at the worst possible time.




You left out "glance" in "reproving glance".


"Something hot inside of you"? Shinji's accidental innuendo seems to be stepping up its game, no doubt to make the coming fall more painful.


"The women though, radiated a sense of power "
women->woman



and it stunned Rin that Matou trusted enough to let her be there while the defenses were being erected.
I would like to point out, for the record, that we did not in fact trust her that much and voted to do the exact opposite.


As mentioned previously, I think our decision here cost us Touko points. She is very unimpressed. I had a previously mentioned that Hermione was my least favorite character to read about, but this was totally not worth it.


Though I must say, Alf, this is more interesting than the previous Hermione chapters.




In the Rain (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vcrb6365GsQ)


I had forgotten that Legillimency worked on a non-line-of-sight basis.


Tomas's thoughts about purity of thoughts been difficult to come by in this "modern age" are ironic, given that Tom Riddle is not that much older, on the scale of magical people. It's a lot more plausible coming from Gilgamesh.




Unsurprisingly, Tomas does not understand the nature of love as a power, nor how it influences people's decisions. "Love of the Greater Good." The fact that he can even think such a contradictory phrase shows he doesn't actually understand love, nor what actually motivated Dumbledore. Mao said that all power flows from the barrel of a gun, but he was wrong; in truth, power flows from the mind of the man whose finger is on the trigger.


I suspect being a master of Legillimency may have helped further degrade whatever empathy he might once have had, as he no longer needs to think about what other people feel even when manipulating them.


On the plus side, we have confirmation that Tomas really doesn't care about what we do in Britain. On the downside, I find it more likely that he may become a rival master in the Grail War.


I also find it hilarious that he thinks it is only the human-like characteristics of a wizard society that cause suffering.


Also, Voldemort's eagerness to return to an age of glorious inhumanity does not exactly convince me that the Wizarding World was wrong to move away from its inhuman roots. They would have been more powerful, true, but power to what purpose? That is argument Ad Hominem though: just because Voldemort says something doesn't automatically mean it's wrong.


That Tomas, the puppet who claims to have left his humanity behind him, identifies Touko as being better able to understands humanity, a woman who we are reminded repeatedly is a monster and one of the highest representatives of inhumanity, simply compounds the irony.




sadhermioneinrain.jpg


A very " Romeo and Juliet" death.



Awakening


Of course, her first thought upon waking just rubs in the magnitude of our mistake further.


" I can't be a bride anymore" in response to being seen naked is a humorous exaggeration, a girl overreacting to being seen naked as if it were the loss of her chastity, which, once upon a time, might have actually prevented her from being a bride. That kind of absurd line doesn't fit with the more serious tone.


Had Hermione become strong? I couldn't tell.


Metaphorical burning scarf is metaphorical.


While I can appreciate a good Blade Runner reference as much as the next person, you might not want to put it in a scene a that needs to carry so much dramatic weight. The original was deep and moving, but in this context it's just a geeky media reference. You went to an awful lot of trouble to make this an emotionally affecting scene, but a re-purposed media reference like this can only ever be faux dramatic. I don't think you want Tomas to be an object of amusement here.


As I mentioned on IRC, while I am sad that she was hurt I am at least glad that she's managed to achieve some degree of self actualization and live for her own goals rather than for the good opinion of others. It is a far more painful route than I would have chosen but I had hoped to see her grow into it eventually.

Overall, a well constructed guilt-trip and a demonstration of lost potential, with a convincing, if not precisely satisfying, conclusion.


Voting tomorrow.

All That Is Left Unsaid
October 26th, 2015, 02:26 AM
[x] Su Li
[x] Ron Weasley
[x] Tracey Davis
[x] Anthony Goldstein

alfheimwanderer
October 26th, 2015, 03:09 PM
Oh well, if we treat Ilya this bad, she will just out right kill us.

Indeed. Good thing you didn't tell her to wake up and stop dreaming, eh?

mr_Trickster
October 26th, 2015, 03:29 PM
Indeed. Good thing you didn't tell her to wake up and stop dreaming, eh?

It would have admittedly felt very weird for me to see Shinji tell her to wake up and stop dreaming. Especially when we look at how his life has developed until now, how much his own leap of faith had changed him so drastically and given him a life he would have never had. There's also the fact that Sion wants this, and the Shinji we have right now would do his absolute best to make sure his paramour gets what she wants; while I am aware that Shinji might not be aware of that right now, I'm quite certain that Shinji would regret not advising Illya into a position that favors Sion for quite a while - and I don't just mean because of the consequences for us as players. Lastly, he seems to have inherited Zouken's soft spot for Einzbern women which I admittedly find adorable.

Now as for the votes, I like the reasoning the others have used here and will follow suite:
[x] - Su Li
[x] - Tracey Davis
[x] - Ronald Weasley
[x] - Anthony Goldstein

Skull Leader
October 26th, 2015, 04:02 PM
Why do people want Ron?

While he has made progress recently, he would be more of a hinder if he was added. He would question everything we ever say or would be against anything the sytherins say. Also is Ron really considered a leader in his House? I would think Neville could suggest a better person then Ron if we asked him. Ron has, by his own behavior with his tales of his runin with Sirus, poisoned the well of being viewed as a leader by anyone.

[x] - Justin Finch-Fletchley
[x] - Blaise Zabini
[x] - Dean Thomas
[x] - Anthony Goldstein

I did not choice Tracey as she is friends with Daphne and would destroy the power balance between her and Draco. I choice Justin as there not many Hufflepuffs to choice from and he strikes me as the most Neville-like, the type that can really shine if given the chance.

Magus
October 26th, 2015, 04:47 PM
I don't really have a strong opinion on this vote, and I'm busy with some other matters like studying, so I'll abstain from this one instead of spending a lot of time trying to figure out or debate the best solution. While significant, it hardly seems like it's an utterly game-changing vote like Hermione, take the leap of faith, or wait until next year (or rather, if we had done the opposite) have been. I leave the decision to the others on this thread.

Malgos
October 26th, 2015, 05:21 PM
Why do people want Ron?

While he has made progress recently, he would be more of a hinder if he was added. He would question everything we ever say or would be against anything the sytherins say. Also is Ron really considered a leader in his House? I would think Neville could suggest a better person then Ron if we asked him. Ron has, by his own behavior with his tales of his runin with Sirus, poisoned the well of being viewed as a leader by anyone.

There was his near death experience with the spider, since then he has started to change his views. Also if memory serves he's doing well in CTF, so he should make for a good leader. I also think the twins would also like it if Shinji supported their brother a bit, although he has earned it himself in my opinion.

gesalt
October 26th, 2015, 06:42 PM
I also think the twins would also like it if Shinji supported their brother a bit, although he has earned it himself in my opinion.

And then people chalk it up to favoritism/nepotism. Let him win/place high in CTF this year first so he has something substantial to his name.

Malgos
October 26th, 2015, 07:07 PM
And then people chalk it up to favoritism/nepotism.

I suppose. But if they're going to chalk it up to that then shouldn't they wonder why he hasn't been included last year already?

Also I'd rather not have this stalled more, this year is almost over so I'd like for that to happen before sometime next year. Also in the end it's not a guarantee. Shinji is just suggesting people. Not sure, but didn't he pick out Hermione as well? So one could already say it was favoritism back then, even though it really wasn't as she's capable.

Abendroth
October 26th, 2015, 08:07 PM
I'm not sure all of these characters have even had speaking lines, so to a large extent this is basically a grab bag. I'm basically choosing by demographics rather than by personality.
[x]Su Li
[x]Tracey Davis
[x] Male Hufflepuff Justin Finch-Fletchley (Hufflepuff)
[x] Anthony Goldstein
[x] Hestia Carrow / Flora Carrow




Tracy is known it to be a friend of Pansy (who seeks our favor) and Daphne(who is dating Harry). I'm not sure if nominating her would strengthen Pansy's position relative to us or provide her with additional competition. We don't want Pansy thinking that the spot at our right hand is hers for the asking simply because Hermione is gone.






I did not choice Tracey as she is friends with Daphne and would destroy the power balance between her and Draco.
I'm not sure what you mean here. Could you elaborate?


Alf, has Ron dominated capture the flag, bar his early loss to Luna, or has he merely been reasonably successful?


If he is crushing all before him then it is reasonable to nominate him, but if he isn't it raises the question of why we aren't nominating the people who are ahead of him. It will be interpreted as obvious Weasly favoritism. Ron has potential, and he has demonstrated some personal growth this year, though being less prejudiced isn't the same as having much virtue. He has tactical skill and unlike some he has actual people skills too, but I'm not sure he's ready for the Ourea. How well has he brought his team together?

alfheimwanderer
October 26th, 2015, 08:38 PM
Alf, has Ron dominated capture the flag, bar his early loss to Luna, or has he merely been reasonably successful?

Reasonably successful. Still not a small feat, given many other captains are Ourea members and tend to have a bigger spell repetoire (Draco, for instance, is someone he consistently beats). He still loses consistently to his sister, though, with Team Snorkack being a tossup.

Skull Leader
October 26th, 2015, 10:05 PM
I'm not sure what you mean here. Could you elaborate?

Daphne, Harry and Draco formed a triumvirate as Consul last year. The power base was design so that Draco did not abuse the power because he is checked by the other two. The balance works the the other way as well, Harry could not do something the other two disliked and so forth. Granted with Harry and Daphne in their relationship the balance is already weighted towards them. But the idea is still important.

The same balance was done in the Ourea, only this time its Draco, Daphne, Pansy. Pansy here is the balance point as she is not completely in Daphne's camp (Harry's by proxy) but is friendly with them and she is not in Draco's camp, but still friendly with him. No side in Sytherin is more powerful then the other.

Now let's say you people vote Tracey into Ourea. Since Tracey is Daphne best friend in HP cannon (or is it only in fanon?) she is more likely will side with Daphne then with Draco. If they side together due to friendship then Draco is always blocked exept when Pansy votes his way. And only then do they cancel out.

That's why I did not vote for Tracey. Of course with the three other houses also in the Ourea, the balance of Sytherin might not be all that important but I see no reason why we should rock their internal politics.

saki
October 26th, 2015, 10:56 PM
ahh, high school politics. Is there anything more horrible in this god forsaken world?

Abendroth
October 26th, 2015, 11:17 PM
Reasonably successful. Still not a small feat, given many other captains are Ourea members and tend to have a bigger spell repetoire (Draco, for instance, is someone he consistently beats). He still loses consistently to his sister, though, with Team Snorkack being a tossup.
Is Ginny the doing better than he is, or is he just particularly weak against her? How many teams are there anyways?

Daphne, Harry and Draco formed a triumvirate as Consul last year. The power base was design so that Draco did not abuse the power because he is checked by the other two. The balance works the the other way as well, Harry could not do something the other two disliked and so forth. Granted with Harry and Daphne in their relationship the balance is already weighted towards them. But the idea is still important.


The same balance was done in the Ourea, only this time its Draco, Daphne, Pansy. Pansy here is the balance point as she is not completely in Daphne's camp (Harry's by proxy) but is friendly with them and she is not in Draco's camp, but still friendly with him. No side in Sytherin is more powerful then the other.


Now let's say you people vote Tracey into Ourea. Since Tracey is Daphne best friend in HP cannon (or is it only in fanon?) she is more likely will side with Daphne then with Draco. If they side together due to friendship then Draco is always blocked exept when Pansy votes his way. And only then do they cancel out.


That's why I did not vote for Tracey. Of course with the three other houses also in the Ourea, the balance of Sytherin might not be all that important but I see no reason why we should rock their internal politics.
Given that there are already 13 members of the Ourea, trying to balance the Slytherin presence off against itself offers no advantage. And any change to their internal politics is certainly not going to come about as a result of being able to win votes in the Ourea.

alfheimwanderer
October 26th, 2015, 11:27 PM
Is Ginny the doing better than he is, or is he just particularly weak against her? How many teams are there anyways?

Ron has bad compatibility with Ginny.

Currently, there are about 8 teams in the league, as more have signed up after the initial exhibition.

Currently leading the league is Team Snorkack, under its co-captains, Anthony Goldstein and Hannah Abbott, as their unconventional strategies tend to throw people for a loop. Team Thunder Crash (Ron's team), Team Firespark (Ginny's team), and Team Malfoy have generally hovered in 2nd - 4th, with Team Highlander tending to the middle of the pack. Other teams are not on Shinji's radar at the moment, given they haven't been doing well, from Pansy's reports.

Abendroth
October 27th, 2015, 12:07 AM
Ron has bad compatibility with Ginny.

Currently, there are about 8 teams in the league, as more have signed up after the initial exhibition.

Currently leading the league is Team Snorkack, under its co-captains, Anthony Goldstein and Hannah Abbott, as their unconventional strategies tend to throw people for a loop. Team Thunder Crash (Ron's team), Team Firespark (Ginny's team), and Team Malfoy have generally hovered in 2nd - 4th, with Team Highlander tending to the middle of the pack. Other teams are not on Shinji's radar at the moment, given they haven't been doing well, from Pansy's reports.
Thanks.


So in a competition composed of people his age and younger Ron can, at best, claim to be in the top 25%. This is not exactly the performance of a Tactical Genius. And given that Tactical Genius is the sole claim he has to merit inclusion I'm going to have to vote against him.

Inducting people who are less than excellent into the Ourea just reduces the status of the organization, and of us by extension.

alfheimwanderer
October 27th, 2015, 02:52 AM
[x] Su Li
[x] Anthony Goldstein
[x] Ron Weasley

There was a tie for spot 4, and I said only four...

100%

Chapter 34. Spirited Away

The moment Matou Shinji’s head hit the pillow, the boy fell into the pattern of a dream.

Tonight though, his dream was peaceful, lacking the visions of blood, steel, and shadows that so often plagued his nighttime reverie, with the boy finding himself walking beside a mysterious figure in black armor along the path to an ancient city.

He wasn’t sure how he’d gotten here, or what city it was, only that for some reason he found the sight of those sun-bleached buildings rising out of the desert sands nostalgic, as if he belonged there.

Around them the wind rose, with chips of mica glistening in the sun like diamond dust, forming a transient halo about the sun illuminating the path.

‘The road to a distant utopia…’

The name of it was on the tip of his tongue, as was the name of the one next to him, but he couldn’t recall it. Not even as the other spoke, and started to turn to him.

“I ask of you. Are you—“

—but whatever would have come next, he did not know, as Matou Shinji was torn from his dreams by the sound of a loudly ringing telephone.

‘Wha…?’

Not for the first time the boy found himself disoriented, given how jarring the ring tone was compared to the tranquility of the desert, and how dark his room was when the land in his dreams had been drenched with sun, but he shook off the cobwebs on his mind as he picked up the handset.

“Hello?” he asked, suppressing the urge to say something less than polite, given that he was sure whoever was calling him before the sun rose had a good reason. Or at least that was what he told himself so he didn’t end up snapping at whoever was on the line.

But there was no one there.

Or so he thought at first anyway, as no one spoke for nearly a minute, but slowly he began to make out the sound of breathing on the other end.

‘Who…?’

“Hello?” he repeated.

“Makiri…” a voice whispered into his ear. “…can you come?”

“Ilya?” he asked, but the girl on other end said no more, with the line going dead after another minute of silence.

A chill went down his spine as he wondered what was going on, as the Einzbern girl had never sounded quite like this before. And with what had happened to Hermione so fresh on his mind, coupled with his suspicions about what Luna’s dreams of a Grail meant, he had no intention of seeing harm befall Ilya – not just for her sake, but also for the sake of averting her family’s ire.

Thus the boy headed off at once, taking only what little time he needed to change into something more presentable, as he doubted Ilya wanted to see him in his black silk pajamas.

100%

When Matou Shinji arrived at the penthouse suite of Illyasviel von Einzbern, he found the door ajar, something that set off alarm bells in his head, as the girl was normally good about keeping her rooms secure, only opening the door once he identified himself.

So what had changed this time?

With a chill, the boy remembered how troubled Ilya had looked over the last few days, and yet how she hadn’t been willing to share whatever it was with him. He’d thought they’d gotten close over the last week, but perhaps he’d been wrong. Perhaps, in splitting his time amongst so many others, he hadn’t paid her quite enough attention, hadn’t earned enough of her trust.

‘Still, she called me here while it is dark out, so there has to be a reason,’ he mused. Something that couldn’t wait till morning, when the sun’s eerie light revealed all the imperfections and flaws of the world, made apparent how impersonal the world could be.

But what?

‘Zelkova, are you there?’ he asked silently, more to hear the other than anything else, since he could feel the other’s presence.

‘Indeed, Master.’ The kodama’s mental voice was as calm as ever. ‘You are troubled by the unusual circumstances.’

‘…I am,’ Shinji admitted, though he didn’t quite know if there was indeed something to be worried about, or if his instincts were just acting up due to how little sleep he’d had. ‘You’ve spent time with Ilya in the last few days. Is there anyone nearby who is not myself or her?’

‘Not that I can sense.’

Naturally, the reply didn’t do anything to steady the boy’s nerves, given that could just mean someone had taken great pains to conceal their prana. Though…

‘Would you like me to share what I see, Master?’

‘Please.’

A moment later, his view of the world changed, with the colors of everything around him seeming to fade to grey, save for his own form, which was wreathed in an aura of faintly gleaming blue, and a small orb of blue floating in the air.

‘…is that orb your natural form, Zelkova?’

‘I do not have a natural form outside of my tree,’ the other noted. ‘Likewise, what I am sharing is a pattern your senses can comprehend, with the prana of allies glowing blue, unknowns red, and that of your quarry in gold.’

That did sound…remarkably convenient.

‘Thank you.’

With that, Shinji pushed open the door, tensing – ready to leap aside at the first hint of an ambush. But nothing came. The antechamber was empty both to his eyes and Zelkova’s, and the entire first level of the suite was dark and silent as the grave.

Every other time he’d come to the penthouse, the silver-haired girl had been waiting for him, her red eyes lighting up with excitement at the sight of him. But this time, she wasn’t there, and without her liveliness and energy filling the space, the rooms felt far too big for comfort.

Far too cold and impersonal, much as he imagined a castle might seem.

…or a trap.

He stretched out his senses, trying to see if there was anything he’d missed. Any sign of movement. Any runes or prepared spells ready to fire? Anything at all.

But there was nothing, and that unnerved him most of all.

…nothing, save a faint trail of golden footsteps, winding its way up along the grand spiral stairs.
Whatever awaited him, good or ill, waited on the floor above, with no more clues of light or sound than there had been in the rooms below.

For several long moments, the boy was tempted to fuse with Zelkova, as in fusion form, a lack of light and sound would be trivial things, given how his mentality and his awareness of the world changed, but he dismissed the notion. If something indeed was planning to ambush him, they would no doubt sense the slight shift in prana from a successful fusion.

So instead, the boy steadied himself, recalling the training Sajyou-san had given him long ago about becoming one with the darkness, as well as Lockhart’s training about the art of movement as he let his presence fade.

And when his heart was calm, and his body ready to react, he made his way up the winding stairs, following the trail of footsteps to the door of the girl’s bedroom, where he’d half suspected they’d lead.

The door was closed, but through it, he could see a faint human-shaped shimmer of gold, with a thin line of silver moonlight seeping from the crack between door and carpet.

‘Ilya…’

Taking a deep breath, he pulled open the door, and froze at the sight before him.

The shuttered doors to the balcony had been thrown wide open, with a fragile girl in white all but glowing in the light of the silver moon as she recited lines in a tongue he did not understand.

“Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten,
Daß ich so traurig bin…”

She was clad in the gown she’d worn to the gala, a dress as dazzling as it was provocative, woven of white gold, fitted with seven rings representing creation and the soul, accentuated by a red stole with golden etchings that brought out her crimson eyes, and in the light of the moon and the vision of the spirits, her dress, her alabaster skin, and her silver hair shone with an almost holy light.

“Ein Märchen aus uralten Zeiten,
Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.”

On the bed lay the Game Boy he’d bought her, the screen frozen on a tableau of a youth drifting at sea – the final scene of Link’s Awakening, with the sheets rumpled and tossed aside, but the lights were off. Seeing the girl before him, Shinji stepped forward into the room, as she continued speaking the lines of Die Lorelei, as if unaware of his presence.

Until he came within arm’s reach and the girl simply stopped.

“…there’s no more time, Makiri," she murmured as he approached. "No more time at all."

"Ilya, what's the matter?" Shinji asked, coming up behind her.

But the girl didn’t answer. Instead, sensing his nearness, she simply leaned herself back against him, her back resting flush against his chest, with the boy’s arms wrapping themselves around her waist as if to steady her.

She stiffened at the familiarity of his touch, but after a few tense moments, allowed herself to relax, as she continued to gaze out at the river Thames, a haunted expression on her face as if she’d spent the entire night awake staring into an abyss, afraid to look away from whatever was staring back.

For a time, Matou Shinji didn’t say anything, afraid that his coarse words might shatter the fey mood.

And neither did Illyasviel. The two simply stood together in the cold winter’s night, only the gentle sound of their breathing and the fog of their exhalations betraying the fact that they were beings of flesh and blood, not stone.

Was it a minute they stood there? Five minutes? Ten? An hour?

It was impossible to tell.

But such moments never lasted, and so at last, the silver-haired girl spoke.

"I’m older than you, you know,” she said quietly, her voice unsteady. “But I’ve seen much less of the world.” She paused, suppressing a tremble as Matou’s arms tightened around her. “All I've ever known is the road I was born to follow, the same road my mother followed to the end. All this..." She halted again, swallowing as she groped for words. "...all this was supposed to be a dream I would have to wake up from. But…but now..." The girl trailed off, shaking her head as she gritted her teeth.

“But now what, Ilya?” Shinji whispered into the girl’s ear, as the Einzbern shivered, not entirely from the cold.

"It’s time to wake up. I’m supposed to wake up, but…”

“But?”

Illyasviel von Einzbern took a deep breath and closed her eyes, her hands balling into fists.

“…I don’t want to,” she admitted. “I’ve like I’ve wandered out onto a precipice, and in the dark below I see something. Another road maybe. Another path. But where it goes, I have no idea. I should go back. I should wake up, but…” It seemed almost like the girl was going to cry, but for the moment she manage to fight back her tears. “Makiri…you offered Kiritsugu’s son a choice, what would you say to the girl he threw away? Should she...should I follow the will of those came before and wake up...or should I take a leap of faith?"

“And what do you want to do, Ilya?” Shinji asked.

“I’m asking you because I don’t know.”

“…but you know what you don’t want,” the boy murmured, almost nuzzling her ear as he said so, all the while holding the Einzbern girl tightly, his fingers tracing small circles on her stomach. “And if you don’t want to go back, if you don’t want to follow a path that will end only in despair, why not see what the other holds? Why not take a leap of faith?”

His question was met with silence, and for a time Matou Shinji wondered if he had said something wrong, and if his premonition of disaster when he’d walked into the penthouse suite would be realized with his end.

The answer though, didn’t come with words. It came as the girl’s body relaxed against him, her hands coming to rest on his as she seemed to come to a decision.

“…ok,” Ilya said in a small voice. “Come with me, Makiri? At least as far as the precipice. If you don’t, I…I don’t know if I have the courage to jump.”

“Of course, Ilya,” the boy answered softly, struck by how fragile she seemed. “I’ll go with you and give you strength.”

They stayed like that for a while, until finally she shook her head and nodded.

Shortly thereafter, after packing away a few things into her luggage – mostly the things he’d bought for her in London, along with the two snow globes from the gala and a set of rather racy lingerie that seemed rather incongruous with Ilya’s innocent appearance – they departed the penthouse for good, with Shinji carrying the suitcase down to the waiting car and Ilya passing Jeeves a note.

When asked what it was, the girl only said that it was the location of “the Precipice.”

100%

They headed north in silence, with the silver-haired girl holding Shinji’s hand tightly, her fingers twined with his, as if she was afraid that if she let go, she’d cease to exist, or he would, as if they were both fragments of a dream coming to an end.

“They’ll come for you, you know,” she uttered as they left the metropolis of London behind, the Rolls Royce Phantom pulling onto the M11 motorway, with shadowy, spindly trees replacing buildings old and new in their sight.

“Hm?” Shinji asked, finding himself distracted by how the fingertips of Ilya’s free hand were sliding across the inside of his wrist in a teasing caress.

“The Einzbern,” she answered distantly as the car drove on and on. “Grandfather will say that Makiri was treacherous once again, tricking a daughter of the Einzbern as Makiri Zolgen tricked the Winter Saint.”

“…tricked?” Shinji didn’t know whether to be offended or frightened or merely curious. “Why so?”

“They sent me to see what you wanted, Makiri,” the girl explained, leaning against his shoulder, the warmth of her against him a powerful drug indeed. “They told me you were treacherous. That you would try to trick me, as Kiritsugu did mother.” She smiled then, a very brittle smile. “I was bait, you see.”

“You’re not bait, Ilya,” the boy responded with a sigh, looking into her crimson eyes with eyes flecked with gold. “You never have been, to me. You’re just Ilya. A girl who deserves happiness. A girl who deserves a better hand than you were dealt.”

“…treacherous indeed, Makiri,” Illyasviel von Einzbern whispered, squeezing his hand tightly. “And yet you are here, not caring that they will try to end you. Are you brave, Makiri? Are you simply foolish?”
She looked away, as if enduring his gaze was a painful ordeal. “…or am I the foolish one to believe your words?”

To Matou Shinji, Ilya’s words felt like a daggers being thrust into his side, as he remembered too late why he had brought her here – why he had invited the daughter of the Einzbern to London: to seek reconciliation with his ancestral enemies. And yet, just as she had been entranced by the new world he’d shown her, by the many delights, sensations, experiences, he’d been entranced by her, finding that princess in her castle was a girl who just wanted to be happy.

That even with all the power and privilege of her noble birth, her path was not a happy one.

And so he’d forgotten his purpose. Told her what he thought best for her, not for his purposes. In telling her to see what the other path held, had he not told her to abandon the teachings of her family?

…of course the Einzbern would want his head.

Suddenly, Shinji found himself quite glad he had gotten his Master to agree to install high-level defenses around his house in Britain, given that if they sought him, that might soon become a target – at least if they dared to start a conflict in the city where the Association ruled.

Otherwise, they were likely to simply attack the Matou house in Fuyuki…

‘What will grandfather say?’ he wondered, hoping the Archmagus would not be…over displeased with him if in fact the cold war between their families went hot.

Again.

“You’re not foolish to follow your heart,” the boy simply said, with the silver-haired girl turning back to him, looking at him with an odd expression on her face. “And what will be…will be.”

Sighing, the girl shook her head.

“…of course you would say that,” she murmured, as if realizing something. “You have a powerful patron, after all.”

Matou Shinji’s response was short and pithy, eloquently capturing his feelings on the matter, and why Ilya was mentioning the Director of Atlas at all.

“Huh?”

At this unexpected reaction, the girl’s jaw fell open in shock.

“Makiri. You…you don’t know?” she whispered, half-wondering, half-amazed, and utterly terrified. “Then you…all this time…”

“…what?” Shinji asked, confused, knowing there was something important he was missing, but not what.

“You’ll see,” was all the girl said, as the kilometers passed by, with the car eventually taking them to the VIP terminal of Cambridge International Airport, where a non-descript plane waited for their arrival.

100%

As he stepped out of the car and helped the Einzbern girl out onto the curb, a rather nervous Matou Shinji thought he was ready for anything, whatever awaited, whatever lay ahead. He took a deep breath and, holding Ilya’s hand, moved towards the doors of the terminal – only to freeze as they slid open to reveal a most unexpected sight.

…Sion Eltnam Atlasia in the casual clothing he’d last seen when they’d dined together, her hair streaming in the wind as she emerged from the VIP lounge, with no one else to be seen.

“We meet again, Matou Shinji,” the Alchemist intoned, her voice seeming slightly…amused. “But such was not unexpected.” And then, her purple eyes shifted to the girl besides the practitioner of witchcraft. “By coming here, you have made your decision, Illyasviel.”

“…yes,” the homunculus whispered.

Hearing this, everything finally fell into place for Matou Shinji. The other path Ilya had mentioned. The talks Sion had arranged with Ilya, the way the girl had seemed troubled by something she would not – could not – talk about, the way she assumed he knew…

“Atlas. That’s where you’re going, Ilya…”

“…the Director made me an offer, Makiri, after that first night we danced,” the silver-haired girl admitted. “I thought you knew, since you answered as you did. Knowing that you didn’t…”

She didn’t know whether she was more amazed that Makiri just wanted her to be happy, or terrified that he hadn’t thought about himself at all – that his words to her hadn’t been part of a well-scripted play, but what he truly felt. That he truly was…warm.

“It surprises you, Illyasviel,” the Director of Atlas noted, the barest hint of a smile upon her lips for a moment before it faded away.

“It does, Director,” the silver haired girl admitted. “I…”

“You may have a moment to say your goodbyes,” Sion allowed. “But then it is time we depart, Vice-Director.”

Then she was gone, leaving Ilya and Shinji alone together…

“Makiri…can we dance?” the girl asked quietly, squeezing his hand tightly. “One…last time?”

“…alright.”

And so, under the light of the moon, on the curb outside the VIP terminal, the two ancestral foes came together a final time, their bodies moving to a rhythm all their own, saying to each other with their hands, feet, and movements what their lips could never do.

Worries. Insecurities. Pain.

…and hope.

“…will I see you again?” he asked, when their last dance came to an end.

“…maybe,” the girl answered, leaning forward against him as he held her close. “I don’t know where the path may lead.”

“Wherever it goes, I hope you’ll be happy.”

“…thank you…Makiri,” she whispered, inhaling his scent before stepping away – just as the door opened.

And with a last, fleeting look…she was gone.

100%

The ride back to his manor in London was a quiet one, as his companion Mashu Kyrielite, had little to say. Sion had asked that he give her a ride back to London, noting that the girl who had been her temporary aide knew of his offer of housing, and would likely be happy to accept.

“So you would be fine with working for me?” he asked.

Mashu simply nodded, offering a simple “Hai.”

Shinji raised an eyebrow at this, before shaking his head.

“…I’m guessing you’re going to be reporting on me to Sion?” he asked dryly, with the girl having a deer in the headlights expression at his query. “…I thought as much.”

It was odd, knowing that Sion had trusted him to reply as he did, had known him as well as she had – yet in a way it was comforting. And knowing that she wanted to keep an eye on him…actually made him happy.

He was…glad that he’d answered rightly when the moment came

“…you don’t want me then?” Mashu inquired quietly, leaning forward so that her hair hid one of her eyes.

“I didn’t say that,” Shinji replied kindly. “If Sion wishes to watch over me, that’s more than fine. I…just won’t always be at the house. You’ll probably be looking after my friend Tohsaka, the Second Owner of Fuyuki.”

“Mm.”

“…just to confirm, you can cook, right?”

Mashu nodded, with Shinji feeling greatly reassured. For if she was able to make a decent meal, then things would probably be ok – at least where Tohsaka was concerned. Otherwise, with her morning cravings, things could be quite bad indeed.

100%

Given that he would soon be leaving, he set the defenses to a standby state, showed Mashu to her quarters, and made to order food from Hogwarts, since he didn’t think there would be time for it on the day.

Tohsaka seemed not to notice though, but this wasn’t a surprise as she didn’t tend to notice much until her daily request for ‘Food. Coffee. Now’ was met – this time with a chicken and ham pie with a croquette on the side.

Only afterwards did she go “Ehhh?!” at the new arrival at the table.

“This is Mashu, Tohsaka,” Shinji said by way of introduction. “She’s going to be helping take care of the house. Oh, and she can speak Japanese.”

It made Tohsaka happy to have someone she could speak her native tongue with.

100%

The rest of the winter holidays went smoothly enough, with Mashu being introduced to Luna during one of her visits, and Shinji turning over some basic provisional access rights to his residents so they could use the defenses if necessary.

But holidays, like all good things, eventually came to an end, and it was with a clear mind that Matou Shinji reported back to Hogwarts, worrying about other things – like matters of the Ourea, the Potions Competition, and of course, how to defeat a horde of over half a thousand spiders.

Against one at a time - even a handful - victory would be easy enough. Hundreds, however, were a different story, and even with all the preparations they were making, they would need cunning, skill, and most of all, raw endurance. Especially if they wanted to preserve the most valuable parts of the spiders for later sale.

Hopefully Hillard had some ideas…

100%

Choice 85: Aside from other things, you realize that with Hermione gone, you need someone to help you out with Potions. But who would be a good choice? Pansy has made it clear she's willing to help, and the Twins are certainly creative, but none of them would be interested in your Eastern Herblore, unless you agreed they would be your Second if you became Champion. That aside, Harry is your main competition, and is working closely with Daphne already - and Snape. With that in mind, who do you want to approach for help? (choose one)

[ ] Pansy
[ ] Weasley Twins
[ ] Su Li
[ ] (write-in)

And what would you offer them in return?

[ ] Eastern Herblore (and a promise to be your Second)
[ ] Charms instruction
[ ] Runes instruction
[ ] Dueling practice
[ ] A future favor, to be determined by them at a later time

Omida
October 27th, 2015, 05:01 AM
Quite emotional chapter, but it was to be expected as it was culmination of our efforts with Ilya. It amuses me that she though Shinji was in the know and turned out to do all those things because he wanted her to be happy. That leaves powerful impression. And we very well may have acquired mortal enemy. Truly, Shinji works way faster on those things than his grandpa.

[X] Pansy

Right, if we are choosing someone to be our Second as well, then twins are no go. They probably work together and if they enter competition for championship, then they would do it as one. While we know Su, it's Pansy that we have the most knowledge about. We know that she wants to get out of Britain, that she sees opportunities associated with Matou Shinji. So why not try to show her a glimpse of the bigger picture with offering her to be our Second if we beat Harry for Champion?

[X] Eastern Herblore (and a promise to be your second)

Magus
October 27th, 2015, 06:09 AM
Hopefully Sakura will be okay in Fuyuki, insofar as it's possible to be under Zouken's care and without Shirou (shudder), if the Einzbern-Makiri war reignites. Then again, Zouken isn't the type to go down easily, and Sakura probably remains important to his plans, so I'd imagine he'd protect her as an asset/investment.

[x] Pansy, [x] Eastern Herblore

And thus, along with the earlier meeting, another route begins.

Abendroth
October 27th, 2015, 08:50 AM
What "help" do we actually need? Separately, if the skill of our Second actually matters, we should be picking whoever is in second place after Harry at pure brewing, unless Pansy has an awful lot to offer in return.

Despite favoring Pansy in the past I'm not sure giving her everything she wants at the first opportunity is a good idea. We can always invite her to be our Second later, if she does well. We are a year ahead in both

[ ] Runes instruction
[ ] Dueling practice

which I think would be good choices. Teaching runes might help us gain a better understanding of the more advanced material we've been exposed to, and teaching dueling would power up both ourselves and our student.

Nephirin
October 27th, 2015, 08:51 AM
Let's see. I kind of want Harry to be our Second, so let's grab

[ ] Weasley Twins

And I don't think they would benefit too much from us instructing them, so I guess

[ ] Dueling practice?

Well, I'm fine with Runes or Charms if the Twins would actually find it useful though.

mAc Chaos
October 27th, 2015, 09:13 AM
That Lockhart training might be necessary after all.

Cremela
October 27th, 2015, 09:37 AM
This potions competition takes place on a disappearing/moving island right? The mythological island most English-speaking people would be familiar with that fits the bill is Avalon, but of course in the Nasuverse that's a scabbard stuck in a 13-year-old boy/another plane of existence. Another one is from Russian mythology is called Buyan. One tale it appears in is "The Death of Koschei the Deathless", where the eponymous scraggy evil old magic user (who gains power from water and has a beloved pet he uses to get around) keeps his soul hidden in a needle hidden in an egg hidden inside a load of other stuff like a matryoshka doll. Sound like anyone we know? I've been thinking about writing something about the links between Koschei and Makiri Zolgen myself; Alf, should we be asking Grandpa about his old summer home? Also...

inb4 Kelnish suggests Zouken for Second :P

Abendroth
October 27th, 2015, 09:48 AM
We should probably tell Zolgen that the director of Atlas has recruited Illya, which was totally not our fault, honest, but they will blame us. He woudln't like being surprised by that.

skulkidcachi90
October 27th, 2015, 10:53 AM
[X] Weasley Twins


[X] A future favor, to be determined by them at a later time


I hope than Ilya send us some letters the time on time, i wonder how many points we won to reach the Ilya route.

saki
October 27th, 2015, 11:37 AM
Shinji doesnt need to worry about Zouken, gramps is gonna give him a mental high five for getting a step closer to tap some sweet Einzbern ass.

[ ] Pansy. As Daphne friend she can be a spy. Do we have any other good candidates for second?
If not: [ ] Eastern Herblore (and a promise to be your Second)

alfheimwanderer
October 27th, 2015, 12:27 PM
What "help" do we actually need?

Brewing and passing along things from the Potions Boot Camp, since you're not there. And only one of the choices (in terms of what you offer) has you select your Second now - the others are alternatives for what you can offer instead, so you have the freedom to choose later.

saki
October 27th, 2015, 12:35 PM
Are the choices something that they would accept? Like , if we choose pansy and dueling then she wont help us at all.

alfheimwanderer
October 27th, 2015, 01:08 PM
Are the choices something that they would accept? Like , if we choose pansy and dueling then she wont help us at all.

They might or might not, depending on what the combo is. Whoever you choose, make sure what you offer is acceptable to them.

On another note...

Achievements Unlocked for Winter:

The Snow Fairy
A Wanted Man

Achievements Missed:

Dollhouse Blues
A girl, a book, and mistletoe
Just Friends

Skull Leader
October 27th, 2015, 01:54 PM
I hate how I was right that us having Ilya make her leap of faith would make the Einzbern's our enemy. It the backfire choice that I had to be chosen.

Shinji, we need to talk. You have girl problems because you can not treat girls as just friends. You are always holding their hands, moving their heads by your hand to look into their eyes, having them lean into you, wispering into their ear, etc. Friends don't constantly invade their friends of the other gender personal space. You done it with Hermione, you done it with Rin and you done it with Ilya in this last chapter. Hell you do it with Luna but she starts its half the time and both sides are on the same page with that relationship This is the reason why they might think you have more feelings for them then you do. Stop it before the likes of Pansy, Mashu or whatever next girl wonders by fall also in love with you. How many more girl's dreams to you (we) have to crush?

On a more voting side, I rather not choice Pansy and where that will lead in the future. I would like to avoid a Pansy route as there are already too many routes as it is.

Also Pansy will try to squeeze herself into being our Second and more if we let her. She is actively spying for Lockhart and Snape, so she showing that she has no loyalties to others, only herself. She latched herself on Potter until he was no longer an option for her and now she trying to latch onto us. And if she becomes Second, she WILL learn a lot more of our secrets like the international travel Cabinets as we go back and forth from Hogwarts and Potions Competition. Do we really want her learning most of our secrets?

On the other hand, the Twins have proven their loyalty. They are stone cutters so them finding out more of our secrets won't be very bad. If we spend time with them now, transferring knowledge between the three, it should help with their teamwork that they are going to need to fight the spiders and whatever lies beyond that.

[X] Weasley Twins
[X] Favor

saki
October 27th, 2015, 02:08 PM
Achievements Missed:

Dollhouse Blues
A girl, a book, and mistletoe
Just Friends

A girl, a book, and mistletoe and Just Friends are Hermione, but what is Dollhouse Blues?

Skull, shinji womanizing attitude may also be because of the choices. I mean in the first year everyone choose not-Sion or Hermione over Harry or other male companions so maybe that sets a trend.

alfheimwanderer
October 27th, 2015, 02:09 PM
what is Dollhouse Blues?

Getting turned into a doll by Ilya if you told her to wake up.

Skull Leader
October 27th, 2015, 02:16 PM
A girl, a book, and mistletoe and Just Friends are Hermione, but what is Dollhouse Blues?

Skull, shinji womanizing attitude may also be because of the choices. I mean in the first year everyone choose not-Sion or Hermione over Harry or other male companions so maybe that sets a trend.

I know that. I am sure a lot of it is because of our "wonderful" choices. My comments were more of a observation on how Shinji interacts with females when he is alone with them. It is kinda canon for Shinji as he was a playboy in FSN.

Dollhouse Blues has to be the achievement if we chose for Ilya to wake up from her dream. Going back to a dull life of being a pretty doll in a large house.

- - - Updated - - -


Getting turned into a doll by Ilya if you told her to wake up.

Or that horrible outcome...

mr_Trickster
October 27th, 2015, 02:17 PM
Loved the chapter, Alf. Captured the feel of the end of the holidays with one door closing and another opening perfectly.

As for votes, are we permitted to ask how the candidates we have for our next mentors doing at boot camp? If so, how *are* they doing?

saki
October 27th, 2015, 02:20 PM
Then im glad we missed that achievement then. I we reach a bad end can we go back to our last choice?

We need to make choices to teach Shinji the wonders of male relationships. *Subtle yaoi hint*

alfheimwanderer
October 27th, 2015, 02:26 PM
As for votes, are we permitted to ask how the candidates we have for our next mentors doing at boot camp? If so, how *are* they doing?

Pansy is doing quite well in terms of brewing, given her extended time with the Book of Potions. Next to Hermione and Harry, she's spent the most time with the tome and has absorbed many of its lessons, in addition to boot camp. So in boot camp, she's pretty up there, though not quite at their level.

Twins have had more experience, but have not had much time with the Book of Potions. Their creativity tends to serve them well, however, so they are able to provide interesting solutions and absorb Snape's lessons well. Most of what you have to offer is probably not of interest to them, except a promise of Second or a future favor.

Su Li is not quite at either level. She's quite competent, but has not had additional experience with the Book or through the years of prank experience the twins have had. However, she would be the easiest to work with as well.

saki
October 27th, 2015, 02:33 PM
If not for their bad attitude Snape tough of the twins as possible candidates to the championship so we can ask them for a future favour and delay our choice for a Second.
On the other hand Pansy can work as a spy using her friendship with Daphne. But this would seem like switching Hermione for Pansy.

mr_Trickster
October 27th, 2015, 02:38 PM
Thank you, Alf.

I have to admit that this information more or less brings me down to either the Twins or Pansy for options. And while the Twins have the immediate experience, access to information from the Book of Potions seems too good to pass up for the shot at potions champion.

[X] - Pansy
[X] - Herblore and the position of Second

Edit:

I see your points:

[X] - the Twins
[X] - a favor

...it is.

Malgos
October 27th, 2015, 04:42 PM
I'd rather not promise Pansy to be Shinji's second. It sounded like Harry sort of wanted that, and also going to Japan again, but at the same time it might be better to not have Harry, despite being the best choice as saving him for the other cup might be wise. So talking such things over with Harry would probably be best.

Shinji is probably going to study with the book of potions anyways should he become champion so why choose Pansy based on that?

I choose the Weasley Twins not only does that net Shinji two people for the price of one (Sorta... Not really.), but it also allows him to spend more time with his fellow Stone Cutters, which was something everyone seemingly wanted to do anyways this year. I also think that they can teach him a lot of interesting things, not only were they favored by Snape but they can also think outside of the box really well. I'd like to make them Shinji's second here and now, but I guess for now they just get a favor as I want to make that decision later.

100%

Edit: For easier vote counting:

[X]Weasley Twins
[X] Favor

I just realized that it might have been really annoying for Alf to count my stuff in the past, cause he'd have to possibly read it all. Sorry about that Alf.

100%

Edit 2: Come to think of it getting taught by the Weasleys is sorta like choosing Lockhart movement option, so I'm even more behind that now. Unorthodox stuff most people wouldn't expect seems like a good ace in the hole.

All That Is Left Unsaid
October 27th, 2015, 04:56 PM
[x] Weasley Twins
[x] A future favor, to be determined by them at a later time

I would like to keep the position of Second open so Shinji can offer it to Harry if he manages to claim the role of Champion himself. Both of them seem to have personal reasons to want the position. Shinji to impress Sion and Harry to impress Snape, which is a motivation Shinji can appreciate. Further, since Harry is at the top, even above Pansy in terms of his skill with potions, having the ability to choose him as Second should give the school the best chance of victory overall, an excuse Shinji could use to avoid accusations of favoring a fellow Stone Cutter, or potentially wounding Harry's pride if he feels that he was selected out of pity.

I guess a part of me is concerned that if Harry is planning to make Shinji the second if he makes Champion, then Shinji not planning similarly might hurt the friendship a bit. However, Harry may be planning to make Daphne, or someone else his Second if he takes the Champion spot for all I know, as Shinji did not participate in the Potions Boot Camp. Is it possible to get any word on this Alf?

alfheimwanderer
October 27th, 2015, 05:13 PM
I guess a part of me is concerned that if Harry is planning to make Shinji the second if he makes Champion, then Shinji not planning similarly might hurt the friendship a bit. However, Harry may be planning to make Daphne, or someone else his Second if he takes the Champion spot for all I know, as Shinji did not participate in the Potions Boot Camp. Is it possible to get any word on this Alf?

Harry is currently undecided on the matter. On one hand, choosing Shinji would let him go to Mahoutokoro again. On the other, Daphne has helped him quite a bit as well...

saki
October 27th, 2015, 05:14 PM
Would Harry accept being our second if he loses??
Because if he would then i change my vote for the twins. (Like i said before the kid needs more male interaccion)

Nephirin
October 27th, 2015, 05:26 PM
Lot of people in on Pansy. We need more Twins support, cause creativity will probably serve us better at this point. Also, so that we can nab Harry as our Second. Gotta get Harry out to Japan to meet Shirou.

alfheimwanderer
October 27th, 2015, 05:32 PM
Would Harry accept being our second if he loses??
Because if he would then i change my vote for the twins. (Like i said before the kid needs more male interaccion)

Its hard to say at this point. Harry and Shinji have never discussed it. The only reason Shinji even knows about the Second thing is because of Pansy, since he's not in Boot Camp himself.

Kuroyuki
October 27th, 2015, 06:02 PM
[X] Weasley Twins

[X] A future favor, to be determined by them at a later time


To be honest, I was really really confused on who to choose for our new partner for potions especially since Pansy was noted to be the third best at brewing potions. However, I would have to eventually go off of creativity and experience for the edge. Creativity and knowing the best way to brew doesn't mean perfectly following the directions.

Read canon Hermione made good potions but was outdone by Harry in the Half Blood Prince. Due to him following some creative and practical ways to make them better. So if we want to be better, we have to someone who takes a more out of the box approach to potions on top of being in the Potions Boot Camp.

skulkidcachi90
October 27th, 2015, 06:57 PM
On a more voting side, I rather not choice Pansy and where that will lead in the future. I would like to avoid a Pansy route as there are already to many routes as it is.

The only routes we need are the Sion, Rin and Ilya routes (maybe a route with a female servant like Nero or something).


Its a shame than we can not advance more in the Rin route.

mangafreak7793
October 27th, 2015, 07:09 PM
[ ] Pansy

[ ] Write-in: Offer her the chance to take her to Mahoukotoro, buy her a plane ticket and a place to stay for the summer.

I feel she'll bite with this and will leave our second position open.

Abendroth
October 27th, 2015, 07:17 PM
Brewing and passing along things from the Potions Boot Camp, since you're not there.
Snape thinks we are one of the leading candidates to be the potions champion. The Society of Most Potente Potioners nationally endorsed us and Harry as acceptable candidates. The first thing we should do when we return to school is find Snape and tell him that we have reconsidered and are now planning on making a serious go at becoming the potions champion, so we would like to join potions boot camp.


Why should we do someone a favor just to get their second hand notes on boot camp when we could join for free. It's not like our failure to join earlier in the year will somehow make us unable to follow what they're doing now; if that were the case then having them pass things along from potions boot camp would have been worthless in the first place.


And we already voted to free up time for potions by slacking in Arithmancy, so this should fill up that time nicely.

[x]Join Potions Boot Camp

This should make the entire vote a nonissue.


If that isn't an option, well, given that the potions champion has been repeatedly and exclusively referred to in the singular, any extraordinary skill on the part of our assistant would be a pointless crutch when what we really want is to practice OUR actual skills. As such, the best bang for our buck comes from a finding the cheapest person who can give us access to the benefits of potions boot camp and is at least a reasonably competent assistant.


That is:
[x] Su Li
[x] Ancient Runes


Costs us almost nothing, gets us basically all of the other benefits, and we improve our Runes slightly.

EDIT:
Also, Shinji should totally talk to his best friend before deciding on his second. Seriously, we can just buy him a plane ticket to Japan if he wants to go that badly. We can buy him AND his girlfriend tickets anytime they like. HARRY can buy the tickets too.


The only reason I haven't been assuming they would become each other's second is because I had assumed that the loser would become the tri wizard champion. We should talk.

Cremela
October 27th, 2015, 07:25 PM
[X] Weasley Twins

[X] A future favor

Just hoping this favour doesn't involve calling in Touko's favour to us...

Abendroth
October 27th, 2015, 07:26 PM
[X] Weasley Twins

[X] A future favor

Just hoping this favour doesn't involve calling in our Touko's favour to us...
We don't have a favor. That vote lost. We have clothes instead.

Cremela
October 27th, 2015, 07:27 PM
Oh good! Thanks for the reminder!

Alf, will Snape accept us on to Potions Boot Camp?

saki
October 27th, 2015, 07:38 PM
I change my vote for:
[X] Weasley Twins
[X] A future favor

If we can get harry as a Second then thats better. Pansy is a double spy for Snape and Lockhart so its better to keep her at arm length. And more important:
TO MANY WOMAN PROBLEMS.
Lets stop this bad habit of always going for the first female that fits our needs. The Hermione drama should make Shinji a little hesitant to ask to much of his lady friends.

alfheimwanderer
October 27th, 2015, 07:53 PM
Alf, will Snape accept us on to Potions Boot Camp?

Its not a matter of if he'll accept you or not, but whether you have time to attend. Basically, the reason you're getting notes/someone to go over this one on one is due to you needing to spend time elsewhere - on spider and other such.

Omida
October 27th, 2015, 07:54 PM
So, we get a pair of Ilya achievements and dodged a bullet with her. Getting Einzberns out for Shinji's blood doesn't surprise me in the slightest. As soon as it became apparent that we can make Ilya happy(ier), it was forgone conclusion.

There are some good points about our second... Yeah better have some time to discuss with Harry since the two of us are ones of the best in the running.

[X] A future favor

Abendroth
October 27th, 2015, 08:09 PM
And if she becomes Second, she WILL learn a lot more of our secrets like the international travel Cabinets as we go back and forth from Hogwarts and Potions Competition. Do we really want her learning most of our secrets?

Alf has stated that the cabinets used to go back and forth between Hogwarts and the potions championships will be public knowledge. This is completely separate from the links between our house and Japan.



She is actively spying for Lockhart and Snape, so she showing that she has no loyalties to others, only herself. She latched herself on Potter until he was no longer an option for her and now she trying to latch onto us.

Our friendship with Harry Potter began as nothing more than a cynical attempts to exploit his fame for our own benefit, and that has worked out really, really well for both of us.


Perhaps someday she will earn our trust, perhaps not. Either way having an ally who is actually GOOD at social skills will probably prevent a lot of other disasters. If Pansy was already a part of our circle, she would have seen the trouble with Hermione coming and warned us.


We're a magus. Our relationship with Pansy doesn't require that we be friends, merely that we be useful to each other. Zolgen and Touko certainly don't trust each other, but they're perfectly willing to do business. Waver Velvet doesn't actually trust Rin, but he is willing to be her patron because he believes it will ultimately benefit him.


Don't think of her as an additional routes, think of her as insurance against our own romantic incompetence. Besides, Alf has already said that the one Shinji is really into is Sion. Not that I'm trying to select her here, unless Alf gives us more social leverage than I expect. At this point I'm not yet willing to accept her as more than patron and client, so to speak.

- - - Updated - - -


Its not a matter of if he'll accept you or not, but whether you have time to attend. Basically, the reason you're getting notes/someone to go over this one on one is due to you needing to spend time elsewhere - on spider and other such.
We already voted to slack on arithmancy specifically to get time for potions. How much more time do we need? It's not like the other Stonecutters don't have the same obligation, and Harry may actually also be a Consul.

Plus, the spider thing will be done in a month or so.

alfheimwanderer
October 27th, 2015, 08:22 PM
It's not like the other Stonecutters don't have the same obligation, and Harry may actually also be a Consul.

You also run the Ourea, have mornings devoted to Ofuda/Fusion practice, and such things, on top of Ancient Runes as one area you're focusing on since you're a year ahead - and special lessons with Lockhart, so you actually are busier than most people. By comparison, aside from the Stone Cutter Activities, Harry's activities are basically Potions Camp and special lessons with Snape.

That's it.

Cassius
October 27th, 2015, 08:23 PM
[X] Weasley Twins

Abendroth
October 27th, 2015, 08:25 PM
You also run the Ourea, have mornings devoted to Ofuda/Fusion practice, and such things, on top of Ancient Runes as one area you're focusing on since you're a year ahead - and special lessons with Lockhart, so you actually are busier than most people. By comparison, aside from the Stone Cutter Activities, Harry's activities are basically Potions Camp and special lessons with Snape.

That's it.

We already voted to slack on arithmancy specifically to get time for potions. How much more time do we need?

alfheimwanderer
October 27th, 2015, 08:31 PM
We already voted to slack on arithmancy specifically to get time for potions. How much more time do we need?

You voted on it to give you extra time to study and practice in more detail than you have been, not to take on a whole boot camp series.

Kelnish
October 27th, 2015, 08:47 PM
Zouken for second, offer him some family time and a chance to meet Lockheart!

Abendroth
October 27th, 2015, 08:51 PM
You voted on it to give you extra time to study and practice in more detail than you have been, not to take on a whole boot camp series.
I apologize if I'm coming off as confrontational. I just had a rather tense day at work. I have started ignoring quests the past because putting up with venom of from the other posters sucked the fun out of it, so if at any point I step out of line don't hesitate to say so. I don't want to be that guy.


This really seems to be a false a dilemma though. I admit, I am trying to get out of the choice but the ability to propose a novel solution is one of the reasons I play with live people rather than a computer RPG.


We will be done with the spiders in a month. Can we simply slack off in one of our other classes or reduce our extracurriculars for a single month?


After that month all of the, apparently massive, time investment that's been going into the spider hunt will be free for boot camp. Can we simply join a month from now without owing anybody a favor?


Even if we absolutely require someone's notes to look at during that month, surely borrowing someone's notes only requires that we do them, at most, an equivalent favor, such as lending them our notes on ancient runes. As opposed to tutoring them, which would take away from our potions study time.


An assistant would only be necessary after we have finished studying all the notes, which should take up most of that month anyway.

Kelnish
October 27th, 2015, 08:51 PM
Actually I take that back, ask Rin to be second.

alfheimwanderer
October 27th, 2015, 09:25 PM
We will be done with the spiders in a month.

...you're not the only one having a bad day, let's just say.

Anyway, I'm curious where are you pulling this figure of a month from? A month from now, the wyvern-hide robes and such will be ready, yes, but the Stone Cutters are not planning on going into the hollow without rigorous drills to make sure they're prepared for the onslaught. By the time you have time to join and participate in the Potions Boot Camp, given this investment and your other obligations, about half the term will be over.

What someone helping you gives you is not just their notes - its someone walking you through the most important points of what has been done in Potions Camp, with time to practice - time they could have spent on other things. And the whole being one of the two leading Potions candidate is not all beneficial - with others thinking you're presumably this skilled without the camp, why should those who have gone to the camp give you notes and help you? Unless you're willing to do something for them in return.

saki
October 27th, 2015, 10:43 PM
I think it was when we had to choose if we told Lockhart about the blade. Somehow "after dealing with the spiders" became a month or two.

Abendroth
October 27th, 2015, 11:52 PM
Anyway, I'm curious where are you pulling this figure of a month from?

My mistake. I seem to be combining the answers to two of my questions; the potions championship itself starts a month after Christmas (next year) and candidate's election is a month after the spiders. I seem to have combined them.


Your explanation for why we need an actual person to help us does make sense.


All right, I still think Su Li would be the best choice, as the twins seem to substitute creativity for raw knowledge on occasion, which makes them better champions but that is not something that they can really instruct us in. However, I am not willing to ask a Pansy for a favor yet. She needs to come to us. So I'll say:


[X] Weasley Twins
[X] A future favor


A month from now, the wyvern-hide robes and such will be ready, yes, but the Stone Cutters are not planning on going into the hollow without rigorous drills to make sure they're prepared for the onslaught.

If I may change the subject for a moment, we're not going to try and actually fight them are we? The first time we fought one it took three of us, including Luna in fusion form to defeat it. There are hundreds more of that size and larger in the forest. Discipline, training, and equipment can be tremendous force multipliers but we're talking multiple orders of magnitude here, against a human-intelligent foe. The only plan I would really feel good about would be creating an anti-spider bounded field around that whole region of the forest and simply turning it on. Maybe massive use of the area-effect potions. Of course, even if our sheer combat potential is high enough, that assumes the spiders don't simply run away when they realize that. Are you keeping some super-secret plan back as a big reveal, or are the stonecutters just doing shonen-style powerups? Or was that spider near the top end?

Caster
October 28th, 2015, 12:01 AM
Weasley Twins and whatever will get them helping us, but of the options I'd rather one of them be our second. Alf said it would get them to be more individual and less of a duo, and it seems like the option that will bind us the least.

Abendroth
October 28th, 2015, 12:15 AM
Given how much tutoring Harry is getting there's a chance we might not win the champion position. If that occurs, being nominated as his as second would still allow us to compete and would at least get us to the island. While less desirable, it would at least fulfill some of Sion's interest. Nominating someone else as our second would probably cause him to do the same, so even if we are not ready to enter a reciprocity agreement with him I think we should keep our options open. And even if we don't discuss it directly we want him to be aware that we're thinking about it so that he keeps his options open.

Vagrant
October 28th, 2015, 12:18 AM
[☆] Weasley Twins
[☆] Favour

mAc Chaos
October 28th, 2015, 12:24 AM
I change my vote for:
[X] Weasley Twins
[X] A future favor

If we can get harry as a Second then thats better. Pansy is a double spy for Snape and Lockhart so its better to keep her at arm length. And more important:
TO MANY WOMAN PROBLEMS.
Lets stop this bad habit of always going for the first female that fits our needs. The Hermione drama should make Shinji a little hesitant to ask to much of his lady friends.

this is what happens when you play it like a harem game

mangafreak7793
October 28th, 2015, 12:24 AM
Can someone explain why we're choosing the Weasley twins instead of someone who has the book of potions?

alfheimwanderer
October 28th, 2015, 12:33 AM
If I may change the subject for a moment, we're not going to try and actually fight them are we?

There will be a conflict of some kind, with the spider hollow (where the spiders are currently hibernating) surrounded by a large-scale field of runes so they can't escape - this is partially why its going to take a while to set up and get ready for it. As for the rest, that will be revealed throughout the course of the story, with things like improvised mines, AOE potions and such playing a role in the battle.

For reference, the large spiders they fought are around the high-middle portion of the spectrum. There are a number that are quite a bit bigger, but then more than half of the spiders are only dog to pony size, and may be more vulnerable.


Given how much tutoring Harry is getting there's a chance we might not win the champion position.

This is also true. It very much depends what the final challenge is - Shinji has an edge over Harry in combat, so one option is to engage him in a duel during the scavenging portion of any given challenge to decide things there, before it gets to a final brewoff. Of course, you'd still have to prove you were a competent brewer after...

Nephirin
October 28th, 2015, 12:47 AM
Can someone explain why we're choosing the Weasley twins instead of someone who has the book of potions?

A) If we become Champion, we will have access to the Book of Potions regardless. This, at best, will get us a bit more access just for this one semester.
B) The Weasley Twins are good at thinking outside the box. Taking a look at canon in Half Blood Prince, not just following a textbook and actually finding new and better ways to brew can lead to a lot of benefits when brewing potions.
C) Various interpersonal reasons; everyone thinks we're a player as is, Hermoine fiasco, want Harry as our Second.
D) Offering to train with the twins on something strengthens the Stonecutters as a whole (and who knows, maybe save their lives in the future).
E) The twins are older, and thus versed in potions of higher level grade than what Shinji or Pansy are probably used to.

Could probably come up with more if I needed to.

Caster
October 28th, 2015, 03:17 AM
I have zero desire for yet more relationship drama. Unless the twins turn out to be bi we shouldn't be getting anything complicated out of trying to get Potions training from them. They have more unorthodox practices, which I think will help us more than advanced but orthodox stuff. We stand out because we are different, capitalizing on that is better. I also would like to see us try and keep the Stonecutter theme going. It should help us with the preparation for the spiders.

Skull Leader
October 28th, 2015, 03:24 AM
I apologize if I'm coming off as confrontational. I just had a rather tense day at work. I have started ignoring quests the past because putting up with venom of from the other posters sucked the fun out of it, so if at any point I step out of line don't hesitate to say so. I don't want to be that guy.

First, I don't think you are coming off as confrontational here. Yeah, you gave a point by point argument against me on Pansy but I actually like you doing that. I agree with a lot of it. You behave civil and do not attack people, which makes you ok in my book. I agree that there has been some venom thrown around by people that has been sucking the fun out. The fact you are self-aware of your behavior is a sign that you are not the problem. I try to make sure that I am not the problem with my behavior but I do like bringing up counter points to get people to think more on various subject.

Skull Leader
October 28th, 2015, 03:38 AM
Given how much tutoring Harry is getting there's a chance we might not win the champion position.

For the longest time, I was running on the assumption that we were not going to be the potions champion since for the last 3 years we have never picked any of the numerous options that would have increased Shinji's potion skill. We pushed potion options to others (mostly Hermione) instead. Then we started to do strangely well in Snape's potion challenges, even with us not focusing on potions before this point.

And then the final nail came when someone had to tell Shinji that Sion wanted us to be the Potion's Champion. So now Shinji is gun ho for potions because its what Sion wants. Good luck with that Shinji, we haven't really helped you on the Potions front. We have just been really luckily with the potion challenges so far.

On a side note, I like how this year we dropped being a Consul, decline being in the boot camp so that we had more time this year. Yet we still are the most busy Stone Cutter (Hillard might be almost as busy) this year. Its a wonder that Shinji has time to sleep. Even if Shinji had access to the Book of Potions, Shinji does not have time to really use the book well.

saki
October 28th, 2015, 09:27 AM
I thought the same thing. I was even making choices while gunning for the Tri tournament. But is Snape tutor us then there may be a chance.

Caster
October 28th, 2015, 09:40 AM
We have a chance because it's not a pure brewing challenge, and we have eastern herblore, which helps a lot apparently. Oh, another reason I recommend the Twins is we already spent half a year under the guidance of someone our age with the Potions book, rounding out our Potions is better.

Also I was gung-ho for Triwizard until Alf basically made it out to be the worse but easier option.

Mattias
October 28th, 2015, 12:47 PM
So there was a Just Friends achievement? Goddamn it.

[x] Harry. We're the two best candidates, let's team up and crush this thing. I know he'll have to leave Daph behind, but it's only one class and he pretty much lives with her already. And to make it up to him...

[x] Favour at a later date. For ditching his girl for a few hours a week. Have I said it enough how it creeps me out we're talking about 13 year olds who are already in years long relationships? Or the fact were making out with Luna and she's 12?

Vagrant
October 28th, 2015, 06:34 PM
I don't know when you had your first kiss but I'd hardly say it was unusual. Not supercommon sure but not especially strange.

saki
October 28th, 2015, 07:20 PM
So there was a Just Friends achievement? Goddamn it.

[x] Harry. We're the two best candidates, let's team up and crush this thing. I know he'll have to leave Daph behind, but it's only one class and he pretty much lives with her already. And to make it up to him...

[x] Favour at a later date. For ditching his girl for a few hours a week. Have I said it enough how it creeps me out we're talking about 13 year olds who are already in years long relationships? Or the fact were making out with Luna and she's 12?

Well, shinji is also 12, so it legal.

Abendroth
October 28th, 2015, 08:26 PM
Chapter 33


In some ways, reading this chapter was harder than reading the previous chapter as here we get to experience scorn heaped upon our character.


Tomas


Tomas sums up what happened with such efficiency that I needn't have bothered.


Tomas may not be Voldemort but he's still a bastard. He certainly enjoys rubbing it in.


Analogizing Hermione's situation to Shinji's when he discovered he was not the heir is a nice touch.




Touko



“No. It won’t,” she said flatly.
These are the most frightening words in the story so far.


Unfortunately, the chill of fear is quickly countered with righteous indignation, since the behaviors in this updated that are pissing her off are the result of GM storytelling decisions rather than player actions.


I had wondered how we were going to be able to fuse since previously fusion required desperation. Fear of disappointing our master would certainly qualify.


I had hoped that spending time observing her might help make up for some of the loss from the Hermione incident, but we seem to have emerged even further behind then when we started.




Luncheon


In this case, Shinji's silver tongue serves us in good stead as he avoids having to explain to Pansy that we only invited her because Hermione isn't speaking to us anymore.



“I take it you don’t think ‘death is the next great adventure then?’” Shinji asked, raising a slim eyebrow.


“…and just what idiot said that?” the girl scoffed, shaking her head. “When you’re dead, you can’t change the world. You’re not off on an adventure. You can’t do anything. You’re just…dead.”
Given that fact the existence of an afterlife has been confirmed for wizards in HP, Dumbledore is actually right. Of course, such a thing may not be widely known. It makes sense that a man of Albus Dumbledore's caliber and experience would occasionally say things that would make no sense to the uninitiated.


As soon as we get back to school we're reading all the rules of the potions championship. Shinji won't want any more surprises.



Actually, this just says that the second will replace the champion if something happens to them. Does this mean that we only go to the island if Harry becomes incapacitated?





heard wonderful things about them from Professor Snape himself.
Snape said wonderful things about anyone? SoD... Shattered! :D





Prohibited in most organized events…except Potion-making competitions, of course.


This opens up an entire pandora's box of possibilities. I'm not objecting here, I just want to make sure I understand what to the rules are. I am surprised that we are allowed to use pre-made potions during a competition, let alone potions that were brewed by other people. If competitors are allowed to bring potions that were brewed by other people to the events then, given the age of the competition, at this point I would expect every competitor to come complete with a bandoleer of potions pre-brewed by experts. Felix is sufficiently rare that I wouldn't expect every competitor to have some but there's an almost unlimited a variety of other potions that might potentially be useful. Certainly, it might be seen as dishonorable, but much like allowing professional basketball players to participate in the Olympics, once one group does it it's only a matter of time until everyone else does it simply to retain the parity. Are there limits perhaps on the number or volume of pre made potions we can bring?




Ilya


You had me completely fooled here. I totally believe that we had failed to get enough Ilya points and that winter break was going to end with a complete a sweep of disasters. I had even the figured out what my comments here was going to be. I was going to say that since we had no real way to judge how many Ilya points we needed, or how many we already had it was basically a loss to the RNG. Contrawise, I must attribute our success to luck as well, which would continue our streak of accidentally lucking in to pro-Sion choices.


The Party


Thats knife's absorbitive properties will become important someday.



“He’s a git is what he is,” Fred noted grimly.


“I wouldn’t put it like that,” Harry demurred.
A nice illustration of the effects Harry's different social life is having on him.

alfheimwanderer
October 28th, 2015, 09:25 PM
This opens up an entire pandora's box of possibilities. I'm not objecting here, I just want to make sure I understand what to the rules are. I am surprised that we are allowed to use pre-made potions during a competition, let alone potions that were brewed by other people. If competitors are allowed to bring potions that were brewed by other people to the events then, given the age of the competition, at this point I would expect every competitor to come complete with a bandoleer of potions pre-brewed by experts. Felix is sufficiently rare that I wouldn't expect every competitor to have some but there's an almost unlimited a variety of other potions that might potentially be useful. Certainly, it might be seen as dishonorable, but much like allowing professional basketball players to participate in the Olympics, once one group does it it's only a matter of time until everyone else does it simply to retain the parity. Are there limits perhaps on the number or volume of premade potions we can bring?

There are two main phases to the competition:

First, the "survival" phase, which may last several days, in which one gathers ingredients, avoids obstacles, deals with magical beasts, other competitors, etc and generally makes one's way towards the final arena, where the final brewing will occur. In this phase, some premade potions are allowed - usually of the "buffing" or "healing" variety, given the hazards on the island, which may include trolls, Acromantulae, or a host of other things, up to and including an immense serpent with the spell-repellent hide of a dragon and venom very nearly as deadly as a basilisk. The use of premade potions neither grants nor costs any points - in this phase, one can only gain points by using potions brewed during the competition.

Given that not all competitors will encounter the same obstacles, one's final score (out of 10 possible points) in this phase is an average of their performance against the individual hazards they encounter. Death, or incapacitation, during this round, of course, means one is removed from the competition.

Those who survive the first phase and reach the competition arena on the island move on to the brew-off phase, when one creates the best potion they can out of the ingredients they have procured. Scoring is again, out of 10.

Each competitor's score from the first phase is added to the score from the second phase to determine the final score.

In case of a tie, the winning potioneer will be the one with the higher survival phase score.


Does this mean that we only go to the island if Harry becomes incapacitated?

As a Second, one is allowed to come to the island's common use areas and participate in some of the various ceremonies and celebrations - but otherwise is simply a spectator for the duration of the Competition, unless their school's Champion is incapacitated prior to the opening ceremonies.

saki
October 28th, 2015, 09:38 PM
So one can make a so-so potion but win because he has mad survival skills?
Then during summer Shinji needs another month in a mountain to practice.

alfheimwanderer
October 28th, 2015, 09:40 PM
So one can make a so-so potion but win because he has mad survival skills? Then during summer Shinji needs another month in a mountain to practice.

Its because during the survival phase, you are scored on how you used potions you brewed to deal with obstacles and challenges - and this of course, can use up some of your ingredient stock.

Abendroth
October 28th, 2015, 11:12 PM
It looks like our superior combat abilities won't be compensating for our weaker brewing skills as much as I had thought. Appropriate for a potions competition I suppose. At least our familiar's scouting ability gives us an advantage there.


This might be beating a dead horse, but if we dropped Ofuda practice would that free up enough time to do boot camp? They are both ways of storing power that we can bring with us to fight the spiders and it will probably be easier for us to improve our abilities in potions so it seems like a reasonable tradeoff.


Also I was gung-ho for Triwizard until Alf basically made it out to be the worse but easier option.
Likewise.

It is kinda canon for Shinji as he was a playboy in FSN.
I had forgotten that but you're right. It's been awhile, but didn't his first appearance feature girls literally hanging off of him? Even if he's not doing it on purpose, Shinji's "classy gentlemen" facade seems to appeal to the ladies.





There will be a conflict of some kind, with the spider hollow (where the spiders are currently hibernating) surrounded by a large-scale field of runes so they can't escape - this is partially why its going to take a while to set up and get ready for it. As for the rest, that will be revealed throughout the course of the story, with things like improvised mines, AOE potions and such playing a role in the battle.


For reference, the large spiders they fought are around the high-middle portion of the spectrum. There are a number that are quite a bit bigger, but then more than half of the spiders are only dog to pony size, and may be more vulnerable.
Thanks for the information.

Kishou the Badger
October 29th, 2015, 06:34 AM
Holy shit what the hell happened while I was gone? Illya saved, Hermione most likely at 0 or negative affection points, and needless bitching on votes?

Gah...

[x] Weasleys
[x] Favor

Because the twins are awesome, and a favor for them is like gold which may most likely benefit us as well.

alfheimwanderer
October 29th, 2015, 09:29 PM
[X] Weasleys
[X] Favor

100%

More Stone Cutter bonding time is always good, especially before a raid. Let's hope Harry doesn't take it as the Stone Cutters taking sides.

Choice 86: In the lead up to the spider encounter, Hillard has expressed some concerns about dealing with the Hollow, given the sheer quantity, even with the training and gear. You do of course know Britain's most famous adventurer - and have been learning the Art of Movement from him.

Still, while you have gotten advice from him indirectly, and he did give you the design for protective gear, you're not sure how much you want to let him know.

In the end, you decide to... (choose one)

[ ] Remain...indirect, getting general advice while not admitting to anything specific about abilities
[ ] Be up front. Lay out the situation and ask for advice on what to do
[ ] Ask for his help in dealing with the spiders, in return for...a consideration

EnigmaticFellow
October 29th, 2015, 09:34 PM
[X] Remain...indirect, getting general advice while not admitting to anything specific about abilities

Right now, a power balance between the Stone Cutters and Lockhart where both parties benefit. Informing him of the abilities of other members could well upset that balance in Lockhart's favor. That might not be the greatest idea.

skulkidcachi90
October 29th, 2015, 09:36 PM
[X] Remain...indirect, getting general advice while not admitting to anything specific about abilities

Cassius
October 29th, 2015, 10:08 PM
[x] Ask for his help in dealing with the spiders, in return for...a consideration

Kelnish
October 29th, 2015, 10:22 PM
ask for his help in return for head or whatever

saki
October 29th, 2015, 11:16 PM
[ ] Be up front. Lay out the situation and ask for advice on what to do. Now we know that he is not in it for money or fame i think we can trust him a little (but not enough to offer a favour).
Plus exterminating a nest of gigant spiders may impress him in a good way. And i dont belive that we can keep this a secret from him, he is a proffesional.

Caster
October 29th, 2015, 11:41 PM
It is definitely unwise to let him get a favor. It would have very profound consequences. I think being direct is best though. Even if we assume he has no clue about the spiders no doubt he will know we are asking with purpose. At best it'll amuse him, at worst could make things tricky.

I think letting the group know and decide how much to share with him is best though. They are involved too, if they want to keep things secret or not it should be their call. I can only imagine how much Shinji would object to people sharing his magic with a third party, he wouldn't want to do that to his friends. If they want to share then it's fine though.

Vote: Share with your fellow Cutters and ask their thoughts first.

mr_Trickster
October 30th, 2015, 12:01 AM
It is definitely unwise to let him get a favor. It would have very profound consequences. I think being direct is best though. Even if we assume he has no clue about the spiders no doubt he will know we are asking with purpose. At best it'll amuse him, at worst could make things tricky.

I think letting the group know and decide how much to share with him is best though. They are involved too, if they want to keep things secret or not it should be their call. I can only imagine how much Shinji would object to people sharing his magic with a third party, he wouldn't want to do that to his friends. If they want to share then it's fine though.

Vote: Share with your fellow Cutters and ask their thoughts first.

I greatly agree with this, as we already owe him a favor, and - as warned by Sion - our goals and the Order of Assassins' goals might not match up and put us in a very difficult and dangerous position. If I may state, though, Caster: we do not have a write-in option for this right now, so I am unsure if we can choose that - if we are, though I'm all game for supporting you. The issue with being vague is that we also might end up getting people killed because of lack of advantages gained.

With these in mind, that leaves quite likely the second option as a decent middle ground. My one worry is that it might end up segueing into the third choice - which as mentioned isn't what we want, but that is a calculated risk I am willing to take.

[x] - Be up front. Lay out the situation and ask for advice on what to do.
[x] - Share with your fellow Cutters and ask their thoughts first. (If this is permitted)

Also, Alf, I wanted to ask if it would be possible for the cutters to capture a few of the Acromantulae and start our own farm for a steady income? This is more out of curiosity's sake and just to bring up the discussion at this point as I am aware that such an option hasn't been made available as a choice yet.

Mattias
October 30th, 2015, 12:21 AM
I agree with Trickster.
[x] Be upfront with both Lockheart and the Cutters.

Except for the spider farm bit. They're spiders. Kill them with fire. Fiendfyre if necessary (and lets be honest giant fire beast devouring spiders is the only real way to be sure).

saki
October 30th, 2015, 12:37 AM
Except for the spider farm bit. They're spiders. Kill them with fire. Fiendfyre if necessary (and lets be honest giant fire beast devouring spiders is the only real way to be sure).

800 gold coins per spider x 1000 spiders and you want to kill them??? Man this people with no business sense.

And i agree whith Caster and trickster.
[x] - Be up front. Lay out the situation and ask for advice on what to do.
[x] - Share with your fellow Cutters and ask their thoughts first. (If this is permitted)

Mattias
October 30th, 2015, 12:43 AM
It's still a spider. Any that are seen should be killed without hesitation or remorse. Like a Zombie. A creepy, many legged, multifaceted mouthed, skittering, Zombie.

mr_Trickster
October 30th, 2015, 01:17 AM
It's still a spider. Any that are seen should be killed without hesitation or remorse. Like a Zombie. A creepy, many legged, multifaceted mouthed, skittering, Zombie.

That's alright; I can respect that view. I just wanted to bring up the topic as something we might want to think about and sort-of suggest to Alf if he might find it interesting - if he actually hasn't thought of that already and I assume he has. A steady form of income could be good for us considering the fact that it was already brought up in a previous chapter that our normal form of steady income: The Room of Hidden Things is already tapering off in terms of income potential so we might want to start looking into alternative ways to make money for our future expenses.

alfheimwanderer
October 30th, 2015, 01:34 AM
There are some minor issues with the Acromantula farm.

First - where would you put it? Magical Britain doesn't exactly approve of such creatures hanging around, and they do need a considerable amount of meat and living area. Hogwarts happens to have a nice Forbidden Forest full of things like wolves, centaurs, and such for them to feast on. And do you really want to take the risk of being seen with one of those creatures and getting called out as the next Hagrid or something?

You could of course put it in Japan, where there are a few magi who have giant spiders as familiars, but do you really want to leave it unattended, or have someone else have to deal with it? Plus, when you say farm, how many do you expect, realistically speaking?

mr_Trickster
October 30th, 2015, 01:47 AM
It was more of a passing thought, honestly.

I'd imagine two or three to start with, but that would likely not be productive enough to be worth the investment at all(?). Yes, there are quite a few issues with setting this up, then, especially considering we're already being looked upon as the next Dark Lord which - while rather amusing - is likely to be very problematic in the long-term. A one-time payday it is, then. Though if I may ask, would there be possible investment prospects for us that could appear in the future?

My girlfriend - upon reading the forum posts over my shoulder - also suggests that we put them (the spiders) in the Room of Hidden things, but states that it is a joke.

alfheimwanderer
October 30th, 2015, 03:23 AM
I'd imagine two or three to start with, but that would likely not be productive enough to be worth the investment at all(?).

Too much of a pain to be worth the investment, yeah, especially as you'd have to raise them from eggs to make sure they're not hostile to you, and it would take a while for them to get to a big enough size to be milked for venom. For now, a one time payday seems more secure, though you could probably use help with processing the silk and carapaces, if you were to use them for another project, with a market beyond Britain. Spider-silk clothing is rather nice, after all, especially if enchanted, and should any unpleasantness in the next few years, I'm sure you could make some nice profits off of selling such things to people.

Or in clothing in general, should you find a good business partner. You could of course, forego the venom windfall and work longer term with the fangs, silk, and such.

mr_Trickster
October 30th, 2015, 04:48 AM
That certainly sounds interesting. Perhaps we might want to look into that more long term investment.

Thank you, Alf.

Magus
October 30th, 2015, 05:38 AM
[x] Be up front.

While what we are doing is clearly against the rules and there is the chance this could get us in trouble, it also seems like the sort of thing Lockhart would tacitly approve of. This also strikes the right balance between gaining information that could save the Stone Cutters' lives and being too indebted to Lockhart, which is a very dangerous thing given that he is an Assassin.

Malgos
October 30th, 2015, 12:40 PM
Be up front.

Thedoctor
October 30th, 2015, 12:57 PM
Be up front.

Caster
October 30th, 2015, 01:07 PM
Alf, was my write in fine? I think letting the cutters have a say in what Shinji shares is the best way to avoid a problem with them over this.

alfheimwanderer
October 30th, 2015, 01:24 PM
Alf, was my write in fine? I think letting the cutters have a say in what Shinji shares is the best way to avoid a problem with them over this.

Yeah. The write-in is acceptable

Malgos
October 30th, 2015, 02:24 PM
Yeah. The write-in is acceptable

Well, then I suppose I am for that as well then since you approved it.

All That Is Left Unsaid
October 30th, 2015, 03:17 PM
[x] - Share with your fellow Stone Cutters and ask their thoughts first.

Bringing in others without discussing it with the Stone Cutters first doesn't sound like a good idea. If they are okay with it, then I would vote to be upfront with Lockhart.

There is however, a potential risk that this, coupled with having shown Lockhart the tome from Zouken might be enough for him to try to induct Shinji as an Assassin anyway.

mangafreak7793
October 30th, 2015, 04:12 PM
[x] - Share with your fellow Stone Cutters and ask their thoughts first.

skulkidcachi90
October 30th, 2015, 04:56 PM
[x] - Share with your fellow Stone Cutters and ask their thoughts first.

Kuroyuki
October 30th, 2015, 05:38 PM
[X] Ask for his help in dealing with the spiders, in return for...a consideration
[x] - Share with your fellow Stone Cutters and ask their thoughts first.

Honestly, I think we need to be straightforward. Lockhart isn't our enemy nor does he seem to be our enemy any time soon. So in my opinion, I think we be straight forward so that we can go through the Acromantula fight with as little loss as possible. Because to be honest, I can't see us beating them without some kind of loss no matter how prepared we think we are without help. So I'll take any help I can get to make sure everyone makes it back. Especially if it's from a Hassan Lockhart who has lots of battle experience.

Caster
October 30th, 2015, 07:53 PM
I think if we get help from him the favor should be shared by the Stone Cutters.

saki
October 30th, 2015, 08:57 PM
I think if we get help from him the favor should be shared by the Stone Cutters.

That depends on Lockhart. Since Shinji is the one asking the favour, and he migth be more interested in him, he may ask a favor that only he can do.

mr_Trickster
October 30th, 2015, 09:22 PM
Something we might want to be aware of is that we already owe Lockhart one favor. We've also already received what I believe is an author-warning of how the Order of Assasins might end up being in conflict with the Atlas - which is something we really, really don't want to get caught between especially considering who Shinji considers himself most loyal to. And even if we didn't really want to do things that might bring us into conflict with Sion, we might not know what we're doing until it's too late.

saki
October 30th, 2015, 10:02 PM
More reason to put some effort into potions and alchemy. For our eventual deflection from the Order of Assassins to Atlas while doging Einzbern killers.

mAc Chaos
October 30th, 2015, 10:32 PM
I bet the favor will be to help him hunt down Voldemort or whatever Lockhart is doing with Snape.

Caster
October 30th, 2015, 11:11 PM
Where are you getting Lockhart working with Snape?

alfheimwanderer
October 31st, 2015, 12:53 AM
Shinji will [x] - Share with your fellow Stone Cutters and ask their thoughts first, and barring any objections, will [x] Be up front

100%

I would like to take a moment to wish you all a safe and enjoyable Halloween, wherever you are and whatever you may be up to. Chapter 35 No Win Scenario is currently in progress, with a very special mission co-created by Hillard and Lockhart for the Ourea's...enjoyment. Indeed, Lockhart is considering this as an initiation for our new nominees, to gauge their leadership potential.

Choice 87: Unlike last year Kobayashi Maru, this scenario is meant to be completed as a team, with each person choosing up to five others from the Ourea to lead into whatever might awaits. For Shinji, two of those five are of course, Luna and Pansy, given that one is not only his training partner, but has healing abilities, and the other he finds quite competent, but who are the other three?

[ ] (Choose 3 of the Ourea, remembering that Hermione is no longer an option)

Cassius
October 31st, 2015, 12:55 AM
[x] Fay
[x] Daphne
[x] Neville

Skull Leader
October 31st, 2015, 01:50 AM
The team we choose will say a lot about us to the others. Our team needs to include all four houses to show the strength of team work. If possible it should also have muggle born and pure bloods. I would be fine with Daphne instead of Anthony if the new members are involved in a run with just them.


(X) Neville
Gryffindor - He is their best Hero they have.


(X) Susan
Huffleuff - While Cedric is tempting, he would want to lead and for this group I think Susan would fit in better


(X) Anthony Goldstein
He's a halfblood I believe. All of the original members are pure blood (except Hermione) so I figured we should have one of the new members with us.

mangafreak7793
October 31st, 2015, 02:40 AM
Susan
Neville
Daphne

Aodyssey
October 31st, 2015, 06:08 AM
(X) Neville
(x) Susan
(x) Anthony

The Skull makes sense.

Magus
October 31st, 2015, 07:06 AM
(X) Neville
(x) Susan
(x) Anthony

The Skull makes sense.

Sure. This.

skulkidcachi90
October 31st, 2015, 08:37 AM
Susan
Daphne
Neville (because I fucking love neville)

Abendroth
October 31st, 2015, 12:44 PM
We wanted to get buy-in on the spiders from at least one professor. Has that been done yet?

mr_Trickster
October 31st, 2015, 12:51 PM
We wanted to get buy-in on the spiders from at least one professor. Has that been done yet?

To my knowledge no.

As for the votes, isn't it likely that Neville will want to be with Fay? If I may ask, Alf, are those two still joined at the hip?

I'd also like to ask the others what their thoughts are on possibly bringing in Cho and Cedric in.

alfheimwanderer
October 31st, 2015, 03:11 PM
We wanted to get buy-in on the spiders from at least one professor. Has that been done yet?

Hillard has been discussing this a bit with Lockhart, but has not given him a full picture, just that there is another dangerous venture they're headed off on. That and he has co-designed this year's scenario, perhaps as a combined test of leadership and strategy assessment tool. Lockhart has mentioned that if there is a threat that the Stone Cutters are going after, he'd be willing to cover for them afterwards. After all, what is right is not always what is permitted by the rules.


As for the votes, isn't it likely that Neville will want to be with Fay? If I may ask, Alf, are those two still joined at the hip?

They can work independently, though its true that they work together quite well. Each person will be given a chance to lead a team of 6, and in these teams you should consider skill, group dynamics, and synergy.

All That Is Left Unsaid
October 31st, 2015, 03:31 PM
[x] Fay
[x] Susan
[x] Neville

Would it be possible to get a rough idea of which members have good synergy with each other?

alfheimwanderer
October 31st, 2015, 04:20 PM
Would it be possible to get a rough idea of which members have good synergy with each other?

Well, that's part of the challenge of this vote, actually. We know that Neville and Fay work together well, Daphne and Pansy are decent together (given their Potions Challenge work), and Cho and Cedric are involved. By the same token, Su works well with Shinji, though her spell repertoire is not as great as that of the rest of the Ourea, due to lack of Book of Spells exposure. Anthony Goldstein, the new captain of Team Snorkack after Luna's departure, works well under her, but suffers the same lacking spell repertoire.

Others, you'd have to figure out.

Abendroth
October 31st, 2015, 05:33 PM
If we want to "win" then [x]Cedric.

Kelnish
October 31st, 2015, 06:12 PM
Take a bunch of random first years

Mattias
October 31st, 2015, 07:07 PM
[x] Daphne. Harry's girlfriend can probably handle herself, and Harry might be thankful afterwrads that you looked out for her. (or pissed that you let her die, since its called "No Win Scenario".

[x] Susan. Get her a little more used to working together, so she can become a competent Number 2 or 3.

[x] Hannah. We're taking Susan might as well grab her friend too.

Was going to choose Neville but I assumed he'd want his own team, just as Draco will, and Fey is Neville's partner in pretty much everything so I don't want to split them up.

alfheimwanderer
October 31st, 2015, 07:12 PM
Everyone will be getting a team of their own. Being on a team does not preclude you from being on another, as they're isolated (instanced) scenarios.

Kuroyuki
October 31st, 2015, 11:04 PM
[x] Fay
[x] Daphne
[x] Neville

mr_Trickster
November 1st, 2015, 01:40 AM
[x] Daphne
[x] Neville Ginny
[x] Cedric

As much as I'd like to discuss this now, I am short on time. I shall edit this post - or post again, to discuss my choices.

A most happy Halloween to you as well, Alf, as to everyone here. :)

As for the choices: Daphne looks quite a good choice considering her compatibility with Pansy and because of that not too bad a compatibility with us. While a large part of me wants to say that we want to look good politically with this, we might want to remember that this is primarily a test of our leadership skills and our ability to solve problems. We have more to gain - for ourselves personally and for ourselves politically - by showing that we are capable of facing these scenarios and succeeding. It's actually here that I find myself questioning my decision to go with Neville. While he has proven himself to be loyal in canon and quite heroic here, his emotions have proven to be a liability as we saw in last year's Kobayashi Maru that he allowed his connections to be people cloud his judgement. In light of this, I have decided to switch my vote from Neville over to Ginny Weasley as she has good compatibility (or at least I think she does - could you please confirm this, Alf?) with Luna Lovegood who is more or less our lieutenant in this as she is in most things.

Cedric is a voice of experience, and while he may want to lead, we have proven our effectiveness to him before and perhaps the change in viewpoints could be good for us. We might be losing out on the compatibility of having him with Cho on our team, but that might end up being the same liability it is as it could be with Neville. I am probably willing to switch this over to Susan, as some of the new experience she gathered working under Cedric for the Defense association might be good for us as well, but I'd like to see the thoughts of the others on this matter, first.

Magus
November 1st, 2015, 08:03 AM
Changing mine to [x] Neville, [x] Fay, and [x] Daphne.

Cremela
November 1st, 2015, 12:26 PM
So for a team of 6 we have Shinji, Luna and Pansy already.

The votes for the other 3 currently stand at:



[x] Fay
5


[x] Daphne
6


[x] Neville
9


[X] Susan
5


[X] Anthony Goldstein
2


[x] Cedric
2


[x] Hannah
1


[x] Ginny
1






So far we know groupings seem to be

Pansy & Daphne
Neville & Fay
Cedric & Cho
Luna & Ginny


A recap of the members of the Ourea:

Slytherin = Daphne Greengrass, Draco Malfoy & Pansy Parkinson

Gryffindor = Ginevra "Ginny" Weasley, Neville Longbottom & Fay Dunbar

Ravenclaws = Luna Lovegood, Cho Chang, Hermione Granger & Shinji Matou

Hufflepuffs = Cedric Diggory, Susan Bones & Hannah Abbott


We also apparently voted

[x] Su Li
[x] Anthony Goldstein
[x] Ron Weasley

for who we would put forward as Ourea Candidates to replace Hermione.




Alf does this mean that Luna is staying in the Ourea despite becoming one of the Stone Cutters? Also, this is a case of each person in the Ourea captaining a team of their own choosing and not just a 6-on-6 match?

alfheimwanderer
November 1st, 2015, 02:15 PM
Alf does this mean that Luna is staying in the Ourea despite becoming one of the Stone Cutters? Also, this is a case of each person in the Ourea captaining a team of their own choosing and not just a 6-on-6 match?

She'll be leaving once her ascension to the ranks of the Stone Cutters becomes public - she'll be considered an "alumnus" of the Ourea at that point, though welcome to participate in some events, since the Ourea was crafted to mold leaders - and the Stone Cutters are proven leaders. Shinji just happens to be the Stone Cutter rep who is in charge of the Ourea, which gives him some special statuses where everything is concerned (like people can't pick him for their team of 6, since Lockhart wants to see how they do as leaders without Shinji to fall back on - since it would be too easy to defer to the known leader otherwise.)

And yes, this is a case of each person in the Ourea captaining a team of their own choosing, as Lockhart wishes to see how each one does as a leader when sent against (nearly) impossible odds. Wouldn't be much of a Kobayashi Maru if they weren't in the figurative captain's seat.

Anyway, chronologically, this is happening fairly soon after the break and is partially what Hillard has been working on.

Cremela
November 1st, 2015, 02:54 PM
Thank you!

In that case I'll go for...
[x] Daphne (good friends with Pansy)
[x] Ginny (good friends with Luna)
[X] Anthony Goldstein (would be good to get to know more Ravenclaws and having an all-female team apart from Shinji might raise a few eyebrows!)

alfheimwanderer
November 1st, 2015, 04:01 PM
Thought of the Day: Wyvernhide, or why Magical Britain doesn't usually use armor.

Short version, while Wyvernhide is quite protective, it limits ones options on how to handle a situation.

Long version: Stealth and healing don't work as well. Since wyvernhide resists outside prana, disillusionment and invisibility potions aren't really effective, as neither will affect the garment, so if you wanted to retain the option of stealth, you'd need an invisibility cloak. Also, you can't really diagnose or countercurse someone wearing such a garment because the spell won't go through (you'd have to be hitting an exposed area), nor can you do fancy things like lifting someone into the air to reach something else.

Britain's tactical doctrine seems to be focused around reacting to the needs of the moment, which you can do rather quickly with wands - hence they don't invest much in armor, as its not a big need for them and they tend to prefer flexibility over power. Their main adversaries histoeically have been other wand users or beings that while physically powerful are not especially magically capable, so armor is more of a hassle than a necessity. This also one reason Goblins are banned from using wands, as they would be more powerful than most wizards if they were to have large scale possession of those tools.

Other places emphasize different aspects in the way of power and preparation, thinking ahead and controlling the flow of battle, or have different threats or conditions, necessitating different gear.

In Mahoutokoro, for instance, ofuda need to be prepped in advance, but can be quite an advantage if used properly, given that someone using them may become capable of things on a speed and level that a single wand user would not be able ro respond to. This is necessary as their usual foes were other ofuda users or youkai, which generally cannot be taken down by wand users, and worse, can use magic themselves. Fusion is another consideration to think about, as users of such are quite powerful - and generally will outclass those using wands.

In terms of tactical doctrine, instead of large teams, they tend to deploy singly or in pairs, with protective equipment being more necessary, since against what is out there, one cannot reliably cast a shield spell in time - or with sufficient power to blunt an attack.

Thus Mahoutokoro has a thriving gear market.

Russia does as well, given their tactical doctrine is more offensively oriented, plus well...it's cold, and if youre going to wear lots of clothing anyway, it might as well protect you and keep you comfortable in the frozen north.

Africa and Brazil tend to prefer limited use amulets and talismans that can be recharged, which be activated or deactivated, and swapped out depending on need. One might provide something like the bubble head charm, for instance, while another gives a speed boost or detect the unseen. These are lighter and more practical for use in those environments than full clothing much of the time, given the climes - but also the threats out there, which sometimes hide in the shadows, and sometimes are things as dangerous as nundu.

Cremela
November 1st, 2015, 04:13 PM
Oooh, interesting! I like the Africa and Brazil mojo/gris-gris bag stuff. What about the Pacific Islands/Australia and North America?

alfheimwanderer
November 1st, 2015, 04:42 PM
Oooh, interesting! I like the Africa and Brazil mojo/gris-gris bag stuff. What about the Pacific Islands/Australia and North America?

For North America, it depends where one is, since it is also a very large realm compared to a nation like Britain. A lot of blending and use of what is most useful depending on area - though there are powerful spirits that wander the land. Some can be partnered with, with wizard types using talismans that serve to invoke some of their power, and some cannot be, and are best left alone unless otherwise necessary.

Certainly, there are physical threats out there, given the contests of various secret societies, the actions of cults trying to summon old creatures from the depths, and other such, but largely their threats are magical, from spirits and such things. Generally they prefer working in small teams, and not always just with other wizards. In the US, there is also a closer connection between the Moonlit and sunlit worlds, with the government and Illuminati both straddling those worlds, with magi and wizards among their ranks.

Pacific Islands is more of a mess, given the attempted genocide of the Aboriginal Australians and the successful annihilation of the Tohunga, the magical natives (shamans) of New Zealand. What remains has a more British doctrine, as there aren't many dangers in NZ. Australia is a different story, given the land not being a friendly one, especially in the center of the continent, the more magically potent part of it.

On the surface, it is still mostly British with concessions to practicality, such as general protective clothing. Of course, there tends to be a tacit understanding between what Australian wizards and what aborigines remain about not to piss off the spirits still lingering in the land, or waking up those who remain asleep. You have an uneasy situation with the two cultures coexisting - European wizards and more traditional shamans, but generally staying out of each others way, given distrust - the Stolen Generation impacted more than the Muggle World after all, as the wizards abducted Aboriginal children and schooled them in wand craft at one point, before a bit of...unpleasantness.

Caster
November 1st, 2015, 04:52 PM
Are these musings by you or Rowling? Just kind of hard to tell how much other continents get talked about, so the source makes me curious. Interesting either way.

alfheimwanderer
November 1st, 2015, 05:05 PM
Mostly by me, extrapolating from what I see in Rowling's work, real life myth, history, and the Nasuverse. We see hints of what different regions specialize in from time to time, but it is of course, very Britain centric. Things like the genocides and such however, are part of Rowling canon, as is Britain having relatively little in the way of threats and not really having an industry for armor. Canoncically, you might have duelists in their "dragonhide", but largely wuch garments were a way for people to show off their wealth. What they did have was clothing which made one seem more attractive when worn or such, given their more political and social focus.

Caster
November 1st, 2015, 09:24 PM
I figured as much, but was curious. Mental/indirect combat being a bigger thing has interesting implications on how it would affect people, it definitely accounts for Shinji's competence in combat. Was neat hearing about other countries and how they cast magic though. Is a wand obsolete effectively with fusion or can it still help? I'm guessing the former based on how fusion has gone but I could be wrong. Guessing it might interfere unless it's the proper kind of wand, likely more specific because of the two as one aspect.

alfheimwanderer
November 2nd, 2015, 12:04 AM
When one is in a fused state, a wand is effectively obsolete. Of course, unless one is at a high enough level with it, and can sustain fusion for a long period of time, a wand does provide a measure of speed and flexibility when one is not fused.

Generally it would interfere if used in fused state unless attuned to the one being fused with, and then would have little benefit.