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alfheimwanderer
September 21st, 2015, 05:11 PM
There was an age cap on the tournament in canon.

Not in past tournaments, actually. In canon, the rule was implemented for the revival of the Tournament given the whole matter of the many deaths that had come before, however, here, Britain has no desire to implement such a rule, given that the ones they see as their strongest contenders (Stone Cutters) are below the age of 17.

Likewise, the Goblet of Fire as a selection process for Champions is something new for 1994, and may or may not end up being used here.

Kuroyuki
September 21st, 2015, 05:57 PM
[X] Beauxbatons

Cute girls. No other reason :|

alfheimwanderer
September 21st, 2015, 06:28 PM
Cute girls. No other reason :|

Just so you know, in canon, Beauxbatons is a coed school, not an all girls school.

Abendroth
September 21st, 2015, 07:38 PM
If we are trying to arm ourselves for the spiders there is something else we can do that won't take much time. Proper defensive robes may not be available for sale in Britain but they are available in Japan. We can Owl Rin and ask her to buy some for us and ship them here. We will of course reimburse her for the expense. Considering that we are covering her room and board during her time at the Clocktower this is the least of what she owes us.

If for whatever reason we can't ask Rin or it won't happen in time there are a few other options to explore here in Britain but this is definitely the simplest.

EnigmaticFellow
September 21st, 2015, 07:43 PM
[X] Durmstrang

Going with this choice to make it harder for the coming events to be interfered with by the werewolves and giants.

alfheimwanderer
September 21st, 2015, 07:46 PM
If for whatever reason we can't ask Rin or it won't happen in time there are a few other options to explore here in Britain but this is definitely the simplest.

Would be decent except Rin doesn't know about Mahoutokoro, and Shinji doesn't want to imply he needs her for such things. He'd likely ask Touko about it, since defensive robes are useful, and Touko, if she's coming over, probably has everything covered by Atlas anyway. On the other hand, a lot of those use spider silk for durability and such, which might be problematic when trying to avoid getting attention.

Abendroth
September 21st, 2015, 08:08 PM
Would be decent except Rin doesn't know about Mahoutokoro, and Shinji doesn't want to imply he needs her for such things. He'd likely ask Touko about it, since defensive robes are useful, and Touko, if she's coming over, probably has everything covered by Atlas anyway. On the other hand, a lot of those use spider silk for durability and such, which might be problematic when trying to avoid getting attention.
I would've expected shopping like this to be considered a menial task and that asking would irritate Touko. If she's fine with it then having her do it is preferable. While avoiding the spider silk robes is certainly possible with our bankroll does it actually matter? Once we set the first batch of spiders on fire, or what have you, the rest of them are going to try and kill us no matter what. They are intelligent afterall. If we're all wearing spider silk it's not like they will be targeting one of us before the others since we're all wearing it.

alfheimwanderer
September 21st, 2015, 08:11 PM
I would've expected shopping like this to be considered a menial task and that asking would irritate Touko. If she's fine with it then having her do it is preferable. While avoiding the spider silk robes is certainly possible with our bankroll does it actually matter?

She'd probably just get Tomas to do it, which might irritate him, but he'd do it. And no, it probably doesn't matter too much - all depends on the enchantments you want on your gear though, whether its protection, or boosts to healing or so.

Velyoukai
September 21st, 2015, 08:13 PM
Durmstrang

Isn't Durmstrang, like, Russia? It's what I got from Krum and everything.

Doesn't that mean ~Makiri history time~? The first Makiri back into the homeland in generations?!

Edit: HP wiki says norway/sweden. I am less hype, but remain voting for Durmstrang.

alfheimwanderer
September 21st, 2015, 08:20 PM
Isn't Durmstrang, like, Russia? It's what I got from Krum and everything.

It deals with a lot of the Central/Northern European students, but no, its not in Russia itself - though it may be close enough there are stories. Koldovstoretz is the Russian School, which competes in the Potions Championship but not the Tri-Wizard (this is the school where students don't fly on brooms, they fly on trees).

Abendroth
September 21st, 2015, 08:24 PM
If both tournaments are next year, does that make them mutually exclusive?

EnigmaticFellow
September 21st, 2015, 08:29 PM
If both tournaments are next year, does that make them mutually exclusive?

I would imagine so.

alfheimwanderer
September 21st, 2015, 08:30 PM
If both tournaments are next year, does that make them mutually exclusive?

One will certainly not be named a Champion of both!

Tri-Wizard starts first and goes over the duration of the School Year.

Potions starts after Christmas, and occupies about a month, including opening and closing festivities, but champions of each are expected to be focused on their respective competition as they are not joking matters.

mr_Trickster
September 21st, 2015, 08:36 PM
Picking Hermione for the ball was always a bad choice, unless you wanted Shinji to end up with her. It creates a misunderstanding that Luna wouldn't have caused and because it's getting published pure blood lovers would take note of your partner choice as well and will view Shinji in a negative light.

I very much have to agree with this, it's why many of us went for either Grey Lady or Zelkova when it became apparent that Grey Lady might result in a loss of reputation caused by what might appear as dabbling into Necromancy. It was most unfortunate that it was a very close vote, and people decided to break the tie with sudden-death Hermoine votes.


If we are trying to arm ourselves for the spiders there is something else we can do that won't take much time. Proper defensive robes may not be available for sale in Britain but they are available in Japan. We can Owl Rin and ask her to buy some for us and ship them here. We will of course reimburse her for the expense. Considering that we are covering her room and board during her time at the Clocktower this is the least of what she owes us.

To my knowledge, Shinji has already secured the Dragon-hide Robes considering the letters he wrote around two chapters ago.

Abendroth
September 21st, 2015, 09:30 PM
To my knowledge, Shinji has already secured the Dragon-hide Robes considering the letters he wrote around two chapters ago.

Recall that Lockhart advised using both.

mr_Trickster
September 21st, 2015, 09:35 PM
Recall that Lockhart advised using both.

I meant on the short term, but I see your point.

Abendroth
September 21st, 2015, 09:59 PM
Chapter reactions:

Pansy

Pansy continues to offer a unique and interesting point of view.

If Pansy has been spending time with both the book of spells and the book of Potions her stats are probably considerably higher than expected.

I'm not sure whether to praise myself because one of my plans revolved around using Pansy to disseminate information that we wanted other people to have, or to condemn myself for underestimating her. You know, I seem to recall that when she was inducted into the Ourea it was speculated that the reason was because of her networking skills and contacts...



I nominate Pansy for PR minion. Her personality seems like it would mesh well with our group and we have a lot to offer her.

Zelkova

Shinji learns to listen and wait. :)

I wasn't aware Luna could fuse with Zelkova. So you can do this with more than just your familiar?


Hermione

Hermione has committed the greatest sin a fictional character can commit: she is boring. Any time I come across a Hermione POV section I have to fight the urge to start skimming because I already know what it will contain: "Woe is me, I'm so inferior, does Shinji like me?" I normally like her. Some of my favorite HP fics are Hermione-centric but this version of her has just gotten repetitive.

From the in character perspective she is our friend and we want her to be happy.

From the out of character perspective I suspect breaking her heart will lead to her doing something foolish/dangerous that will make our lives difficult later.

As a reader, as opposed to a player, I just want to not have to deal with her POV until she grows out of it.

Snape

And now it looks like Hermione isn't even candidate for the potions championship. Was she never in the running or did our decisions not to give her more time as a scavenger prevent her from developing her skills?

I would say that people are overreacting to what is fairly obviously a bout of hysteria but I suppose our reputation warrants it. I believe there were some mutterings in previous years about us going dark.

alfheimwanderer
September 21st, 2015, 10:09 PM
I'm not sure whether to praise myself because one of my plans revolved around using Pansy to disseminate information that we wanted other people that have, or to condemn myself for underestimating her. You know, I seem to recall that when she was inducted into the Ourea it was speculated that the reason was because of her networking skills and contacts...

That was indeed the speculation. She's a clever girl, that one, always one to seek advantage.


I wasn't aware Luna could fuse with Zelkova. So you can do this with more than just your familiar?

Do you remember the formal outfit she's been described as wearing a couple of times? That wasn't just an outfit. And yes, technically its possible to fuse with other spirits, depending on your compatibility with them - usually your familiar is the best suited for you, given element, mindset, and such. Luna's mindset, however, makes her more open to the practice in general - though even then, what she'd be able to use of Zelkova's power isn't nearly what she could use of Pandora's.


And now it looks like Hermione isn't even candidate for the potions championship. Was she never in the running or did our decisions not to give her more time as a scavenger prevent her from developing her skills?

She was in the running - she's a skilled brewer, as even Snape will note. Unfortunately, she never got the chance to develop and hone her skills as a scavenger and a leader, and now that she's failed a lesson, she's a lot less attractive of a candidate to Snape, compared to the others.

Abendroth
September 21st, 2015, 11:29 PM
Given that the existence of portkeys and other magical forms of transportation, such as whenever the various schools use to transfer their students to the host school for the tournament, I don't think that walking distance from Albania makes a difference in who gets attacked by Voldemort. Assuming he doesn't attack Britain directly his next most likely target is "wherever Harry happens to be." So the question to be asking is not "Where can we go to avoid Voldemort's army (if we want to avoid it at all)*" but "where do we want to fight Voldemort's army". Personally I would prefer the school not run by a Death Eater.

*(Honestly, if Voldemort's army does attack Beauxbattons I would rather he run into a school reinforced by the strongest elements of two other schools rather than a school whose best defenders are all elsewhere. Assuming he attacks with an army this year at all.)


all depends on the enchantments you want on your gear though, whether its protection, or boosts to healing or so.

Given that we players have no knowledge about any of this will you be handling it or will you be creating a vote in the future?

Cassius
September 21st, 2015, 11:52 PM
[x]France

alfheimwanderer
September 22nd, 2015, 12:04 AM
Given that the existence of portkeys and other magical forms of transportation, such as whenever the various schools use to transfer their students to the host school for the tournament, I don't think that walking distance from Albania makes a difference in who gets attacked by Voldemort.

Yes and no. There are certain limitations on magical forms of transportation, and those that go international usually have to be approved by governments given how rarely most wizards actually travel out of country (and given that to make a Portkey to somewhere, you need to have been there before). For many people, the Tri-Wizard trip will be their first - and only - time abroad.

Keep in mind that the army's last known location is not Albania - Voldermort's wraith was last seen there, but the werewolf and giant alliance was forged in Belarus.


Given that we players have no knowledge about any of this will you be handling it or will you be creating a vote in the future?

You already have - or will have - your dragonhide robes. There may be a vote about enchanted cloth outfits, later on, depending on how a couple of things play out.

Abendroth
September 22nd, 2015, 01:10 AM
and those that go international usually have to be approved by governments given how rarely most wizards actually travel out of country (and given that to make a Portkey to somewhere, you need to have been there before).

I don't think Voldemort cares about government approval, and he and his key minions have certainly been to Great Britain.




You already have - or will have - your dragonhide robes. There may be a vote about enchanted cloth outfits, later on, depending on how a couple of things play out.

Yes? I'm not sure what this is in reference to. You were just describing how different kinds of fabric could have different kinds of enchantment placed on them, except we players don't know what enchantments are available or what kind of fabric they can be placed upon. So I was asking whether we would choose the enchantments/fabric ourselves or whether you would just automatically make good choices.

Are you saying that there may be a vote on whether or not to get the enchanted cloth, or that there may be a vote on what enchantments we get?

alfheimwanderer
September 22nd, 2015, 01:15 AM
I don't think Voldemort cares about government approval, and he and his key minions have certainly been to Great Britain.

Great Britain, yes. The other schools, not necessarily.

As for the cloth, I'll mostly make good choices. I may leave a couple choices open to you later, enchantment-wise

All That Is Left Unsaid
September 22nd, 2015, 01:19 AM
[x] Durmstrang

I have to say Alf, I really enjoy your scenes that deal with the introspective and mystical.

Thedoctor
September 22nd, 2015, 02:23 AM
Has Shinji's ofuda making speed gone up and if so by how much?

alfheimwanderer
September 22nd, 2015, 02:25 AM
Has Shinji's ofuda making speed gone up and if so by how much?

Making speed has about doubled since beginning.

Thedoctor
September 22nd, 2015, 02:32 AM
How much higher can it go?

alfheimwanderer
September 22nd, 2015, 02:39 AM
How much higher can it go?

A good deal further still. Up to about 8 times more, but that's at later levels of mastery. During Hogwarts, you can probably squeeze out an extra doubling, maybe two if you really push.

Veldril
September 22nd, 2015, 09:53 AM
[x] Durmstrang

At first I was tempted by Hogwart choice but after some thoughts I think Durmstrang is a more interesting choice. It should broaden the Hogwart's student perspective about the world outside, getting them more experience. I also think going to the place where Dark Arts are taught openly should be fun too.

Caster
September 22nd, 2015, 09:58 AM
Shinji is very clever, setting up one of the stonecutters rivals for failure the way he did. Now the way is clear only for members of his group.

As for enchantments I just assume it's a practicality thing, only so much Alf could let us vote on and there are a lot of enchantments.

mAc Chaos
September 22nd, 2015, 12:58 PM
RIP hermione

alfheimwanderer
September 22nd, 2015, 03:56 PM
[X] Durmstrang

100%

Speaking of Hermione, what did we want to tell her about what we're doing over Christmas? After all, she was kind enough to invite us to spend Christmas with her family, and it would be somewhat (more than somewhat) rude to just say no without any explanation at all.

More to the point, our agent at Gringotts has also informed us that the final transfer of title to the Black Property must be done in person for verification of identity (deeds must be witnessed and notarized, after all), and to allow the buyer to perform a final inspection of the property to ensure it meets our requirements before the money in escrow is released to Black. A sale of this magnitude, we are warned, is likely to receive some attention in the wizarding press after the deed is signed and filed by the Ministry.

Choice 58: So what should we tell Hermione about our Christmas plans? (choose two)

[ ] Tell her about the house and how things related to it will keep us busy - better that she hear it from us than read about it in the paper
[ ] Tell her that our Master is visiting from Japan over Christmas, and as an apprentice, we have prior obligations
[ ] Tell her that a friend of ours is visiting from out of country, and we already agreed to show her around
[ ] Tell her we have already made plans to spend Christmas with Luna and Harry
[ ] Don't tell her anything
[ ] (write-in)

Choice 59: And do we do anything to make it up to her? (choose one)

[ ] Invite her to the New Year's Eve party we will be hosting at our new mansion
[ ] Arrange to spend a day with her at Diagon Alley during the holidays
[ ] Invite her to visit us in Japan this summer
[ ] Just get her a really nice gift
[ ] (write-in)

Kuroyuki
September 22nd, 2015, 04:11 PM
[X] Tell her that our Master is visiting from Japan over Christmas, and as an apprentice, we have prior obligations

[X] Tell her about the house and how things related to it will keep us busy - better that she hear it from us than read about it in the paper

[X] Just get her a really nice gift

Why did I choose master? Well it is true and we do have prior obligations. It doesn't brutally maul Hermione that we're obviously avoiding her. (More like I'm trying to avoid her meeting Rin and getting a bad end for her.) So yeah, that and the house. We're just sort of busy.

Nice gift instead of party/etc. No date options to make her think we're dating. Inviting her to Japan might mean meeting gramps also we're busy during the summer with Touko/training. Party with Rin, Luna, and Harry sounds like a GREAT (horrible) idea (if we're trying to kill everyone's points) at New Years.

Vagrant
September 22nd, 2015, 04:20 PM
[X] Don't tell her anything.
[X] Send her photos of you and Rin and Luna and Harry together at Christmas

[X] Don't do anything to make it up to her.

Malgos
September 22nd, 2015, 04:25 PM
I don't really see why it's such a big deal that the first time she hears about Shinji buying the house would be through the newspaper so not going to vote for that.

Also if Shinji tells her about his Master visiting then she'll just think of it as another obligation that can't be helped like Capture the Flag and will delude herself further.

So my reasons would be Rin and already having other plans for Christmas with Luna and Harry, although I sort of want to make a write-in option I can't think of anything good right now. So I might change that later or if someone else comes up with something I like.

Oh and to make it up to her... I guess inviting her to the New Year's Eve party would be good.

Caster
September 22nd, 2015, 04:43 PM
I vote telling her everything. At this point keeping things secret/vague/unclear is part of the issue we've had with her. I know that we can make things work with her as a friend, but in order for that to happen we need to lay things on the table. Which is important for Shinji too. He tends to keep things secret. Letting her know more is a sign of trust, and will likely be important for working with people he's supposed to care about.

And inviting her to the mansion is important I think, so she gets an idea of who all Shinji knows.

Malgos
September 22nd, 2015, 05:51 PM
I vote telling her everything. At this point keeping things secret/vague/unclear is part of the issue we've had with her. I know that we can make things work with her as a friend, but in order for that to happen we need to lay things on the table. Which is important for Shinji too. He tends to keep things secret. Letting her know more is a sign of trust, and will likely be important for working with people he's supposed to care about.

If by everything you mean all the options, then sure that would be nice but at the same time I don't think Alf is going to allow a write-in that's just "all the options" to circumvent having to pick two. Of course if you mean everything up till now, then the problem would be that Shinji doesn't even realize how Hermione thinks so explaining things to her wouldn't really do much I think, since he's not gonna assume that she likes him.

Thedoctor
September 22nd, 2015, 05:53 PM
Tell her how it is.

Don't do anything particular to "make" up for it.

Hermione needs to be shown how it is. Giving her gifts will just delude her.

alfheimwanderer
September 22nd, 2015, 05:55 PM
Tell her how it is.

Elaborate, if you could?

Caster
September 22nd, 2015, 06:08 PM
I think all the other things are more in line for what one would do for someone they like, which continues the mixed signals thing he' been doing. I think that not doing anything though sends the signal that he just wants her out of the way entirely. Definitely think that this is the make it or break it with Hermione though, so we should be careful and consider each option carefully.

As for my write-in, I figure it's fine. Most of those aren't especially time-consuming options, mentioning your teacher is coming up isn't all that much, nor should the house. The other two seem important to mention though.

Mint
September 22nd, 2015, 06:17 PM
[X] Tell her about the house and how things related to it will keep us busy - better that she hear it from us than read about it in the paper
[X] Tell her that a friend of ours is visiting from out of country, and we already agreed to show her around

[X] Invite her to the New Year's Eve party we will be hosting at our new mansion

Abendroth
September 22nd, 2015, 07:12 PM
Here's my interpretation of what each of the voting options will do, starting with the second vote first.

Choice 59: And do we do anything to make it up to her? (choose one)

[ ] Invite her to the New Year's Eve party we will be hosting at our new mansion
We're inviting her to spend time with us which shows we care, but she will simply be one guest amongst many so it won't have the same romantic overtones. This is the friendship/neutral option.

[ ] Arrange to spend a day with her at Diagon Alley during the holidays
This option invests more of our time in her, and we're spending it alone together. Still, it's just one day, and we didn't invite her to the New Year's party. Choosing this option would probably reignite the "he loves me/he loves me not" cycle.

[ ] Invite her to visit us in Japan this summer
This is the romance option. We invest a huge amount of our personal time in her .

[ ] Just get her a really nice gift
This is the option that says we don't care enough about her to spend time on her so we're just going to throw some money at the problem. This is the " break her heart" option

Choice 58: So what should we tell Hermione about our Christmas plans? (choose two)
This choice is a bit trickier.

[ ] Tell her about the house and how things related to it will keep us busy - better that she hear it from us than read about it in the paper
This is definitely something she needs to know, but if we choose to invite her to the new year's party at our new mansion then wouldn't she automatically be told this without taking up one of our two slots?

[ ] Tell her that our Master is visiting from Japan over Christmas, and as an apprentice, we have prior obligations
Diplomatic, but unfortunately not applicable. Our obligations to our Master are not what prevents us from staying with Hermione. She'll be disappointed but she won't take it personally as long as she continues to believe it.

[ ] Tell her that a friend of ours is visiting from out of country, and we already agreed to show her around
Similar to the above, we are showing a friend around but we already invited Harry and Luna to spend time with her so it's not really mutually exclusive. We could have invited Hermione but we decided not to.

[ ] Tell her we have already made plans to spend Christmas with Luna and Harry
This will probably upset her the most but unless we managed to swear luna and Harry to silence she will probably find out eventually anyway. I don't want to tell her, but if she finds out about this the damage will be far worse. If she is to continue to be our friend we will be spending too much time around here to be guaranteed the masquerade will hold up.

EDIT: I seem to have gotten a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day mixed up. Hermione invited us to spend Christmas Eve with her and we instead decided to go with Harry and Luna, but this vote asks about Christmas, when we are dealing with Rin and the gala at the Clocktower. I'm no longer sure which of these is the true answer.


[ ] Don't tell her anything
This is just being a dick.

As such a I'm going to go with
[ ] Invite her to the New Year's Eve party we will be hosting at our new mansion
[ ] Tell her we have already made plans to spend Christmas with Luna and Harry

And then either
[ ] Tell her about the house and how things related to it will keep us busy - better that she hear it from us than read about it in the paper
or
[ ] Tell her that our Master is visiting from Japan over Christmas, and as an apprentice, we have prior obligations

Depending on whether we need to vote to tell her about the mansion if we invite her to the party.

Caster
September 22nd, 2015, 07:40 PM
Apparently if we invite her to the party it uses one of our two information spots. So I suppose my vote is the same as yours assuming my write-in is too broad.

mr_Trickster
September 22nd, 2015, 07:41 PM
I have to admit that dealing with Hermoine has become a chore in its own right. And becoming far, far more delicate than it is worth.

As for the choices, I have to admit that telling her about the house is probably a good thing. It's very likely to stop her from worrying too much about her place in our lives.

Telling her about Rin would function much the same way telling her about our Master would. It would establish the existence of obligation while telling her that we care enough to tell her, but not enough to make her think that we care too much. Unlike Touko, however, Hermoine might get the idea of coming over to help us take care of touring Rin during the break by virtue of the fact that it's a "friend" and not someone of higher position such as our Master.

Now, informing her that we are spending Christmas with Luna and Harry (or by extension just not telling her anything) marks a very serious red flag considering all of the insecurity she is already feeling right now. Our objective here is to distance ourselves from her while at the same time prevent this girl from going off the deep end, grabbing a knife, and... You know what I mean.

Making up to her is also another matter entirely. Once again, we have to find a balance that allows us to slowly drift away from her without making it too abrupt that it damages the both of us.

The party appears to be a good choice up until we find out that people like the Stone Cutters are involved and we already know that Hermoine does not get along with Harry Potter or the rest of our circle of friends very well. Please bear in mind what happened the last time she was at a party with us last year during Halloween. If we do this, we risk losing reputation with everyone else, which I think is far, far more damaging.

Daigon Alley puts far too much focus on her and that is, once again, not the direction we are trying to go. Taking her to Japan would cause similar damage - except potentially on a far greater scale. Between meeting Zouken, and discovering what kind of things we get up to when no one's looking, it would be best that she stay out of the Moonlit world, and remain ignorant of our involvement in it.

So in the meantime, my votes are:

[x] - Tell her about the house and how things related to it will keep us busy - better that she hear it from us than read about it in the paper.

[x] - Tell her that our Master is visiting from Japan over Christmas, and as an apprentice, we have prior obligations.

[x] - Just get her a really nice gift.

alfheimwanderer
September 22nd, 2015, 07:46 PM
As an FYI, other guests would indeed be the Stone Cutters - and Rin, since she'd be living there.

mr_Trickster
September 22nd, 2015, 07:54 PM
As an FYI, other guests would indeed be the Stone Cutters - and Rin, since she'd be living there.

That definitely cements my opinion on the matter of having Hermoine over for a party. Too much of a reputation loss, and we're already barely scraping by with Harry this year. No sense in undoing all of the work we've managed so far.

Abendroth
September 22nd, 2015, 08:12 PM
As an FYI, other guests would indeed be the Stone Cutters - and Rin, since she'd be living there.
Would there also be additional guests, such as Daphne and Pansy?

alfheimwanderer
September 22nd, 2015, 08:13 PM
Would there also be additional guests, such as Daphne and Pansy?

Probably not. Harry would be returning to Greengrass Manor before New Year's though.

Thedoctor
September 22nd, 2015, 08:39 PM
By tell her how it is I meant tell her about the house, Touko, Rin and the party with Harry and Luna.

Abendroth
September 22nd, 2015, 09:22 PM
we already know that Hermoine does not get along with Harry Potter or the rest of our circle of friends very well.

Too much of a reputation loss, and we're already barely scraping by with Harry this year. No sense in undoing all of the work we've managed so far.
Alf, can you confirm that Hermione does not get along with the stonecutters other than Harry and that we have been drifting apart from Harry this year?

Mattias
September 22nd, 2015, 09:25 PM
[x] Tell her that our Master is visiting from Japan over Christmas, and as an apprentice, we have prior obligations. Also mention we must attend a party at her behest.
[x] Tell her that a friend of ours is visiting from out of country, and we already agreed to show her around. True and stymies the inevitable jealous reaction when she spots us out and about with Rin/Ilya over the holidays.

[x] Invite her to the New Year's Eve party we will be hosting at our new mansion. In fact invite many people. Lockheart, Flitwick, Daphne, Pansy(?), the Ourea, etc.

Veldril
September 22nd, 2015, 09:28 PM
[X] Tell her that our Master is visiting from Japan over Christmas, and as an apprentice, we have prior obligations
[X] Tell her that a friend of ours is visiting from out of country, and we already agreed to show her around

This way we wouldn't exactly tell her a lie (although we would only tell her a half truth). I'm not sure telling her directly that we choose to spend time with Harry and Luna is a good idea or not. But we need to tell her soon so...

[X] Invite her to the New Year's Eve party we will be hosting at our new mansion

We are inviting a lot of friends (+seniors) to the party so it would not set up a romantic feeling and it would set up a friendly environment. It can also help her out making more friends (apart from Shinji). If things go well, we might even set up to have her talk with Hillard so that he can help straighten thing out between her and Shinji.

I'm also like the [ ] Invite her to visit us in Japan this summer because it would really help broaden her perspective and understand Shinji more. Is the choice really mutually exclusive? I guess it depends on what will we do in the summer this year.

I don't think getting her a nice gift is a very good choice as it can be easily misinterpreted by Hermione as a romantic feeling.

Nephirin
September 22nd, 2015, 09:29 PM
[ ] Tell her about the house and how things related to it will keep us busy - better that she hear it from us than read about it in the paper
[ ] Tell her that our Master is visiting from Japan over Christmas, and as an apprentice, we have prior obligations




[ ] Invite her to the New Year's Eve party we will be hosting at our new mansion

alfheimwanderer
September 22nd, 2015, 09:37 PM
Alf, can you confirm that Hermione does not get along with the Stonecutters other than Harry and that we have been drifting apart from Harry this year?

Hermione dislikes the organization on principle, given that it (like Potter in her mind), seem to be rewarded for basically not following the rules. That you are in a sense above the law, and she finds that disturbing. She has no personal beef with most of the others, however, and in general they are neutral to her, though they don't really consider her a suitable candidate for joining them.

Vagrant
September 22nd, 2015, 09:38 PM
You know you guys can write in on both choices, yeah? Now is the time you can unequivocally force "the talk" without Alf dodging around it if you can all agree on something.

As for the second option, just get her something related to Sokaris. A gift asserting your mutual position as friends with shared experiences and emotional value to each other but not able to be interpreted romantically. If you've sorted out a good write in for the first option ir shouldn't be misinterpreted anyway.

mr_Trickster
September 22nd, 2015, 10:15 PM
You know you guys can write in on both choices, yeah? Now is the time you can unequivocally force "the talk" without Alf dodging around it if you can all agree on something.

As for the second option, just get her something related to Sokaris. A gift asserting your mutual position as friends with shared experiences and emotional value to each other but not able to be interpreted romantically. If you've sorted out a good write in for the first option ir shouldn't be misinterpreted anyway.

I'll get behind that write-in for the gift option, Vagrant! Switching my Choice 59 vote to Vagrant's Write-in.

As for Choice 58, I'll take a crack at the write-in... (This replaces my second option which has to do with Touko being in down.)

[x] - (Write In) Establish with Hermoine that we have other obligations in place over the Christmas Hols such as addressing our new house and visitors such as our Master and friend from Japan. Also tell her how good of a friend you consider her and that you hope that she has a good Christmas Break, and very obviously friendzone her.

gesalt
September 22nd, 2015, 10:22 PM
[X] Tell her we have already made plans to spend Christmas with Luna and Harry
[X] (write-in) We are unfortunately busy this Christmas Break. Tell her how good of a friend you consider her and that you hope that she has a good Christmas Break, and very obviously friendzone her.

[X] Invite her to the New Year's Eve party we will be hosting at our new mansion

Vagrant
September 22nd, 2015, 10:26 PM
[X] Yo hermy, you think it be like it is but it don't *sunglasses, heelie roll out door*

Cassius
September 22nd, 2015, 10:39 PM
[ ] Tell her that a friend of ours is visiting from out of country, and we already agreed to show her around

[ ] Invite her to the New Year's Eve party we will be hosting at our new mansion

Nephirin
September 22nd, 2015, 10:42 PM
[x] - (Write In) Establish with Hermoine that we have other obligations in place over the Christmas Hols such as addressing our new house and visitors such as our Master and friend from Japan. Also tell her how good of a friend you consider her and that you hope that she has a good Christmas Break, and very obviously friendzone her.

I'll vote for this write in.

Kishou the Badger
September 22nd, 2015, 10:52 PM
But would Shinji even be aware he's friendzoning Hermione? I think it's clear by now we don't want the Hermione route, but I don't think even Shinji knows he's leading her on thanks to the choices made for him.

Magus
September 22nd, 2015, 10:53 PM
Vagrant makes an excellent point. Let's force "the talk" so that we can get Hermione to stop her downward spiral and move on while affirming our friendship with her.


X] Tell her we have already made plans to spend Christmas with Luna and Harry

Honesty is important.

[X] (Write In)- Establish with Hermoine that we have other obligations in place over the Christmas Hols such as addressing our new house and visitors such as our Master and friend from Japan. Also tell her how good of a friend you consider her and that you hope that she has a good Christmas Break, and very obviously friendzone her.

This will hurt her a bit, but it is necessary, and if handled properly the affirmation of our friendship should soften the blow / move her off a self-destructive trajectory.

[X] Invite her to the New Year's Eve party we will be hosting at our new mansion


We can't re-affirm our friendship and then exclude her from a gathering of friends without seeming insincere.

It's unfortunate that we have only one option here, as I also think it would be highly appropriate to [x] get her something related to Sokaris. A gift asserting your mutual position as friends with shared experiences and emotional value to each other but not able to be interpreted romantically.

Agh… I don't know. Maybe I'd actually favor the section option here [the gift based on our shared experiences], as it is more personal and avoids the possibility of Hermione seeming like an afterthought / someone who we're inviting to the party just so she feels better / avoids the potential fallout of her interaction with the Stone Cutters. So make this my vote instead. But really alf, do these choices have to be mutually exclusive? Can you let us elect one OR two options here?

Mattias
September 22nd, 2015, 11:14 PM
I'm normally the biggest Rinfag in the world, but fuck that bitch, she better stay away from the good ship SeaBeaver.


[X] Yo hermy, you think it be like it is but it don't *sunglasses, heelie roll out door*

Oh, how your tune has changed...

All That Is Left Unsaid
September 22nd, 2015, 11:31 PM
[x] (Write In)- Establish with Hermione that we have other obligations in place over the Christmas holiday such as addressing our new house and visitors such as our Master and friend from Japan. Also tell her how good of a friend you consider her and that you hope that she has a good Christmas Break, and very obviously friend-zone her.

For gifts, since Hermione is all about books, to the point of seeming to trust them over people, I'll say

[x] (Write In)- Get her some books introducing her to the Moonlit World and its dangers, and maybe something about Atlas style alchemy as well.

Basically some sort of Moonlit World For Dummies equivalent. It would help her understand a bit more of the dangers of the world Shinji and Sokaris came from, and bring her a bit closer to understanding Sokaris.

Hermione would either be scared enough to back off, or motivated to understand and appreciate just how different the world is from what she believes.

Vagrant
September 22nd, 2015, 11:31 PM
Only a fool resists the tides when they change direction.

Abendroth
September 22nd, 2015, 11:50 PM
The new year's party appears to have been an unlabeled stonecutter's party, in support of our efforts this year at focusing on the stonecutters. Inviting her to an exclusive party where she's going to feel like an outsider may not be the best choice. An incredibly insightful gift that shows we think of her and understand her as more than just a bookworm might prevent her from falling into despair but probably won't do anything to clarify that we view her as a friend rather than a lover on it's own.

That leaves trying to modify the shopping trip option. Maybe something like this:

[ ] Arrange to spend a day with her at Diagon Alley during the holidays. While there, apologize if you led her on by asking her to the dance. When she runs off crying arrange to have [incredibly thoughtful gift] sent to her.

I'm having trouble thinking of sufficiently momentous gifts though. If we could give her something that Sokaris gave to us...

Maybe this instead:

[] Arrange to meet with her before leaving for the holidays and show her the Come and Go room (but not the room of hidden things). Tell her that this is a secret that Sokaris shared with us, and that we are now sharing with her. Once we've shown her the room, apologize if we led her on by asking her to the dance and tell her that we value her as a friend.

Of course, she will likely run out in tears after this as well but hopefully by sharing a secret that Sokaris shared with us she will believe that we really do care about her enough to avoid having a complete permanent breakdown, even if we don't care in the way she wishes that we would. Or we could apologize first, then show her the room.

Nephirin
September 22nd, 2015, 11:58 PM
Changing my vote from inviting Hermoine to the party to giving her a Sokaris-related gift. Might be best to keep her away from Rin for the near future, what with the imminent friend zoning.

mangafreak7793
September 23rd, 2015, 12:29 AM
[ ] Just get her a really nice gift

[ ] Tell her about the house and how things related to it will keep us busy - better that she hear it from us than read about it in the paper

[ ] Tell her that a friend of ours is visiting from out of country, and we already agreed to show her around

EnigmaticFellow
September 23rd, 2015, 12:35 AM
[X] Tell her about the house and how things related to it will keep us busy - better that she hear it from us than read about it in the paper
[X] Tell her that a friend of ours is visiting from out of country, and we already agreed to show her around
[X] Just get her a really nice gift

Let's not invite Hermione to a party after friendzoning her. Give her at least Christmas break so she can get her mind in order.

Let's slowly get this over with.

mangafreak7793
September 23rd, 2015, 12:42 AM
Why are we inviting her to go the a party while we are friendzoning her?

Caster
September 23rd, 2015, 12:58 AM
Hmm. Sokaris-themed gift is best I suppose. Though what I can't begin to fathom.

Omida
September 23rd, 2015, 01:00 AM
[X] (Write In)- Establish with Hermoine that we have other obligations in place over the Christmas Hols such as addressing our new house and visitors such as our Master and friend from Japan. Also tell her how good of a friend you consider her and that you hope that she has a good Christmas Break, and very obviously friendzone her.

[X] Tell her we have already made plans to spend Christmas with Luna and Harry

If we are friendzoning Hermione, she will obviously need some alone time to put herself back. Who knows, it may work.




[X] Just get her a really nice gift

I can get behind this, especially if there really are some books of "So you are part of Moonlit World now. What to do to not get your head torn off." variety (probably not).

Kuroyuki
September 23rd, 2015, 01:23 AM
Hey guys. It's not a great idea to have Hermione attend a party with Harry and Luna. Let alone adding Rin into the mix. She has problems with the first two. She'll definitely not take too well to a Magus especially Rin when she find outs the TRUE childhood friend all along.

Also... Seriously guys. Have you guys not played Persona? You don't just drop people off the edge of a cliff into their despair. You wean them off and support them until they get better. If anything we're really going to break her and get a Nice Potion (Boat) end.

Also current votes are:


Choice 58
[5] Tell her we have already made plans to spend Christmas with Luna and Harry

[8] Establish with Hermoine that we have other obligations in place over the Christmas Hols such as addressing our new house and visitors such as our Master and friend from Japan. Also tell her how good of a friend you consider her and that you hope that she has a good Christmas Break, and very obviously friendzone her.

[5] Tell her that our Master is visiting from Japan over Christmas, and as an apprentice, we have prior obligations

[5] Tell her about the house and how things related to it will keep us busy - better that she hear it from us than read about it in the paper

[1] Don't tell her anything.

[2] Tell her EVERYTHING

[5] Tell her that a friend of ours is visiting from out of country, and we already agreed to show her around



Choice 59
[6] Just get her a really nice gift
[2] Don't do anything
[5] Invite her to the New Year's Eve party we will be hosting at our new mansion


Warning: Please note this Compilation is potentially bugged due to many choices and several write-ins and the compiler keeps getting confused. This does not represent the final votes in any way shape or form.

alfheimwanderer
September 23rd, 2015, 02:07 AM
[8] Establish with Hermoine that we have other obligations in place over the Christmas Hols such as addressing our new house and visitors such as our Master and friend from Japan. Also tell her how good of a friend you consider her and that you hope that she has a good Christmas Break, and very obviously friendzone her.

Too many things in one write in, compared to the others, especially for a choose two scenario. Edit, or be rejected.

mr_Trickster
September 23rd, 2015, 02:16 AM
Too many things in one write in, compared to the others, especially for a choose two scenario. Edit, or be rejected.

My apologies. Proposing a revision, then:

[x] - (Write In) We are unfortunately busy this Christmas Break. Tell her how good of a friend you consider her and that you hope that she has a good Christmas Break, and very obviously friendzone her.

Edit:

Officially placing here that I'm voting for...


[x] Get her a thoughtful, yet non-romantic gift, related in some way to Sokaris or the Moonlit World that we come from as a sign of our friendship.

Or [x] - Just get her a really nice gift ... should it be a tie between this and something else that isn't the write-in version.

mAc Chaos
September 23rd, 2015, 02:42 AM
Yeah the "write in" shouldn't just be a way to combine all the other available choices. Just an unproposed choice.

The thing is that we make all of these choices OOC with an eye towards how it develops Shinji's relationships, but the IC reasons Shinji ends up doing them doesn't have to be the same as our own. So as someone pointed out before, he's not aware he's even leading Hermione on, so how can he give her "the talk"? If anything any of these choices would just be Shinji doing the option we pick but not with the same goal.

All That Is Left Unsaid
September 23rd, 2015, 04:16 AM
Alright, I'll change to

[x] Tell her about the house and how things related to it will keep us busy - better that she hear it from us than read about it in the paper.
[x] Tell her that a friend of ours is visiting from out of country, and we already agreed to show her around.

I'll stick with my Intro to Moonlit World/Intro to Atlas books idea, provided the original gift option isn't something better.

Magus
September 23rd, 2015, 05:30 AM
Fine, I'll change mine to:

[x] Tell her that a friend of ours is visiting from out of country, and we already agreed to show her around.

[x] - (Write In) We are unfortunately busy this Christmas Break. Tell her how good of a friend you consider her and that you hope that she has a good Christmas Break, and very obviously friendzone her.

[x] Get her a thoughtful, yet non-romantic gift, related in some way to Sokaris or the Moonlit World that we come from as a sign of our friendship.

Of course, if it's a book, we'll most likely have to give up something precious in return again. But it will be worth it if we keep Hermione from self-destructing.

Malgos
September 23rd, 2015, 12:02 PM
Yeah the "write in" shouldn't just be a way to combine all the other available choices. Just an unproposed choice.

Yup...


The thing is that we make all of these choices OOC with an eye towards how it develops Shinji's relationships, but the IC reasons Shinji ends up doing them doesn't have to be the same as our own. So as someone pointed out before, he's not aware he's even leading Hermione on, so how can he give her "the talk"? If anything any of these choices would just be Shinji doing the option we pick but not with the same goal.

Both of these points bothered me a lot and I tried pointing them out. I commend both you and Kishou for sorta succeeding at it. It's not so much what "we" want, but what Shinji should consider doing. This is best showcased when there's ties cause sometimes it ends up being something completely different (Rin's owl for example.). Although sometimes the choices are also what we want to happen like with the Tri-Wizard stuff. I always try to think of these things from that angle, sometimes I may fail but whatever.

mAc Chaos
September 23rd, 2015, 04:47 PM
The only way Shinji is going to be able to talk to Hermione about this is if stuff happens in the story to make Shinji himself realize it.

Then it would be an available option.

So if we wanted to do that we'd have to pick options to make him realize it first. Which probably means pushing harder into Hermione territory (so it blows up).

It's kind of too late then though. Oh Shinji.

Mattias
September 23rd, 2015, 05:31 PM
I just want someone, anyone, to actually voice their opinions on Hermione and Shinji being lovers within his earshot. Because it seems like everyone thinks it in their POV sections. Maybe at the party, Daphne (Harry's +1) asks where his lover is and Shinji's only response is "I have a lover? Who? Well, it seems like I'd remember that? Harry, have you been Obliviating me?".

Omida
September 23rd, 2015, 05:53 PM
Right, then, changing one vote for:

[x] - (Write In) We are unfortunately busy this Christmas Break. Tell her how good of a friend you consider her and that you hope that she has a good Christmas Break, and promise her, that after the Christmas break is over and we have more time, we will find some time for her, even if it's only for something as trivial as trying to prepare her better for Potions Championship.


That way, Hermione, while sad, will actually have something to look for. And who knows, it may present us with opportunity to gently let her down?


If it's still too much, then just tell her we are busy, but after the break, we will make it up to her.

alfheimwanderer
September 23rd, 2015, 06:27 PM
Choice 58:
[X] Tell her that our Master is visiting from Japan over Christmas, and as an apprentice, we have prior obligations
[X] Tell her about the house and how things related to it will keep us busy - better that she hear it from us than read about it in the paper
[X] Tell her that a friend of ours is visiting from out of country, and we already agreed to show her around

Choice 59:
[X] Get her a nice gift

100%

Chapter 22. Truth and Reconciliation

Jubstacheit von Einzbern, the eighth head of the Einzbern family, frowned as he examined the missive before him, allegedly from the eldest scion of the Makiri. The Makiri…that was a name he knew well, the name of one of the two families that their bloodline had been forced to seek help from in their quest to regain their lost Magic.

Once, the heads of their family had numbered among the Magicians – those peerless ones who wielded miracles beyond any other. Miracles like the denial of nothingness – the power to create something from nothing at all and to utterly deny the void, to create something permanent, indestructible, eternal. The power to tap into – visit – make use of parallel worlds, drawing from an infinite kaleidoscope of possibilities for divination, power, and more. The power to transcend the limits of time and fate, to instantly realize one’s potential in the blink of an eye, to rewrite the world, revising past, present, and future. The Magic once wielded by the half-incubus they called the Highest Mage, transcending the boundaries of the world – every world.

And of course, their own Magic, Heaven's Feel – the materialization of the soul, changing those who used it into a higher form of existence, high-dimensional planar beings who did not need a physical form to interact with the world, and were immortal to boot, surpassing the limits and certainty of flesh. Those born as humans existed in this world as a coupling of body and soul: the soul contained the memories, mind, and magic circuits of a person, and the body was the anchor which kept the soul in this world. Once the body was destroyed, unless some action had been taken in advance or was taken immediately thereafter, the soul would return to Akasha to be recycled via reincarnation, making true resurrection nearly impossible unless one could turn back time, rewrite the laws of cause and effect – or change the very nature of the soul.

There were of course, a very few exceptions to this. The best known were the Heroic Spirits, souls freed from the constraints of time and removed from the ring of reincarnation by being remembered – and worshipped in a sense – by humanity at large. Essentially, this was the axiom that as long as a person was remembered, they weren’t completely gone, writ large.

Part-humans bearing the blood of the fey, youkai, or other similar species were also an exemption, as upon being freed from their mortal vessels, their souls did not enter the cycle of reincarnation, but passed to the Other Side of the World – the plane of spirits, in effect enjoying an afterlife.
The land of Avalon from Arthurian lore was one such place; it was there that the fey had gone after the Age of Gods ended, a place dense in mystery and power that the souls of normal humans of the current age simply could not reach, and could not survive in – save for the odd exception of Heroic Spirits with perhaps distorted natures and a pre-existing connection to that land and of course, the Magicians, but then neither of those could be said to be normal humans anyway.

For many years the heads of the Einzbern had been Magicians themselves, but a thousand years ago, the knowledge of the miracle had been lost, with what remained being woefully incomplete. For a millennia since, the one – the only – goal of their family had been to recover their Magic, but their quest had been in vain.

The path they had once taken to achieve Magic was barred to them, and though they strove tirelessly for eight centuries, their solitary efforts availed naught. So, swallowing their pride, they turned to the Second Magician, the Wizard Marshal himself, for aid, and he in turn had brought them together with the Makiri and the Tohsaka to establish the ritual of Heaven’s Feel two centuries ago.

But that ritual had been a failure, ending before its completion. For as the three families were constructing the Great Grail, they realized that when it was completed – when the ritual was finished, only one person would be able to walk the path. In Jubstacheit’s mind, that right belonged to the Einzbern, given that the opening of the path was only possible because of the Holy Maiden of Winter, who sacrificed herself to become the core of the Great Grail.

The Tohsaka had merely provided the land, and the Makiri the creation of the Master-Servant system that allowed them to summon aspects of Heroic Spirits as familiars, which upon death would be held in the Grail Vessel until all were released to return to the Origin.

…but those treacherous others did not honor the sacrifice of the Winter Saint, nor the millennium-long struggle of their family, as each believed they were worthy of the path.

So the first ritual of Heaven’s Feel was followed by six decades later by a Second, a Third after that, and a Fourth after that – three rituals that Jubstacheit von Einzbern had overseen – three rituals that had ended in failure.

Failure from the treachery of the ones they had once called their allies.

The Makiri and the Tohsaka, who coveted the path to Akasha, and the power it would bring. The Second Magician who did not enforce the rightful claim of the Einzbern to the Greater Grail, even though it was they who had come up with the idea for the ritual in the first place. And perhaps most painful of all, the betrayal of his son-in-law, the foreigner who had married into their family – who knew their deepest wish, who had vowed to help them acquire the Grail – but betrayed them in the end.

The foreigner Emiya Kiritsugu, who had won the war, and then spurned the prize, willfully destroying it.

For the Einzbern, this was the most painful thing of all. In the Fourth War, after two hundred years of pain and defeat, they had come so close to regaining their lost miracle…and then their agent threw it all away, throwing everything they had done for him in their face.

And so as that man denied them their deepest wish – they would deny him. Instead of punishing him through something so crude as torture or execution, Jubstacheit von Einzbern had decided instead to never again allow Emiya Kiritsugu into their forest's Bounded Field, to take that man’s daughter away from him and make that man’s daughter aware that he was a traitor to the family – a man who chose to reject her.

…for there was no way that that man could not have known that that was what would be the consequence of his choice.

So as fitting revenge, Jubstacheit himself had overseen the training of Illyasviel – that man’s daughter, as the next vessel for the Grail, and as a Master who might bring them victory, playing upon her beliefs that her father had abandoned her after betraying their family.

…which was true, from a certain point of view. The current head of the Einzbern saw no reason to mention that that man had had the temerity to come back to Germany after the War, begging to see his daughter again after what he had done, because it simply wasn’t relevant. When the next War came, he would certainly allow the man to see Illyasviel again, with the daughter that Emiya Kiritsugu had so loved being the instrument of his destruction.

Then, and only then, the circle would be complete, with the last thing that man would ever know being the pain of betrayal. Alas, the man had died a year ago, with the Japanese boy he had adopted after the War – who he had replaced Illyasviel with – vanishing under mysterious circumstances some months later.

Circumstances that had something to do with the Makiri, given that their oldest son had been seen at the funeral of Emiya Kiritsugu.

…the same child that had sent the Einzbern a missive inviting Illyasviel to a…gala at the Clock Tower.

A letter that had passed through several hands, including the Director of Atlas, Sion Eltnam Atlasia, if the presence of the seal of Atlas Academy was any indication.

How had the Makiri come to know the Director of Atlas? The scion of the fallen Eltnam family, who had left Atlas after an ill-fated mission involving the TATARI – and had returned after three years bearing the Philosopher’s Stone, the highest achievement in all of Alchemy, as its water of life was capable of granting immortality and curing even vampirism. With such an instrument in hand, she was immediately welcomed back to Atlas and granted the rank of Director, with her subsequent machinations throwing the hierarchy of the Association into turmoil.

The Einzbern knew this as they themselves were a family of Alchemists, known as the Masters of Northern Alchemy, and were unmatched in the art of creating homunculi and the transmutation of metal. The Alchemists of Atlas, however, were masters of a different sort, specializing in phenomena, not material, in their quest to prevent the end of the world.

The fact that this child of the Makiri was presuming on the name and seal of Atlas meant that his missive could not simply be ignored.

For the sake of diplomacy, he would have to send the potential vessel to London for this…gala, though there was no need to rely on Atlas for accommodations or travel. That Makiri would even suggest that the Einzbern could not take care of its own, indirectly reminding them of their failures, was unforgiveable – and yet Jubstacheit would swallow the insult, for now.

He would send the girl, without bothering with any homunculi as an escort so that he might ascertain Makiri’s intent. And why not? The lack of an escort might tempt Makiri into tipping his hand, and with that man was dead, and his adopted son gone, Makiri had robbed them of their revenge, meaning that Illyasviel’s only use was to serve as a Grail.

‘And if she dies, well, so be it.’

He could always coin another vessel, after all, and at least then, he would know the nature of his foe.

100%

Back in Fuyuki, Tohsaka Rin was hard at work packing most of what she owned into the old Tohsaka House heirloom called Zelretch's Treasure Chest. A gift from the Wizard Marshal to Tohsaka Nagato, her distant ancestor, it appeared in every way just a normal chest – except that it wasn’t. It was an artifact created by the Second Magician himself with his signature Magic, and could more or less be compared to what would be called a bag of holding in a role-playing game, as its internal dimensions would fluctuate according to the contents, with an additional time compression effect so that one hour inside the chest was equivalent to a day outside.

Normally, the treasured artifact would only be used only to hold the blueprints of the Jeweled Sword of Zelretch – which too had been a sort of gift from the Wizard Marshal. Well, more like long-term homework, in that he expected them to one day duplicate the sword, but that would be the work of generations.

Still, given that she was heading to Britain to follow in Matou Shinji’s footsteps, she had decided that practicality trumped sentimentality, as the number of suitcases required to pack everything she needed would otherwise be…prohibitive, at best. It hadn’t been an easy choice to leave behind everything she knew, but how could she not, when she had seen him go from being the joke of the Matou family, a powerless boy playing at being a magus with no circuits and no ability, to a charming, powerful member of a chivalric order who slew wyverns and apparently had access to a truly obscene amount of wealth, as his gifts to her over the years made clear.

The main question on her mind was how? How had he done this? Any of this?

Who had taught him? What forbidden path had he taken in that distant land to achieve what he had?

Surely he wasn’t the disciple of the Second Magician or some such – the very thought would be absurd. Granted, he had apparently had some talent at Witchcraft, given that he had left Fuyuki to attend an institute that taught it (though she had no idea what this might be, as the Association did not teach Witchcraft at all), but surely that wouldn’t have made him so…

Tohsaka Rin blushed slightly as she remembered their definitely not-a-date at Christmas and how kind he had been, how gentle. How he had come to visit her because he didn’t want her to be lonely, knowing what it was like to be a magus.

The Matou Shinji she’d known only a few years ago would not have been so considerate or cunning, or sly, but this one was different. He’d moved past his time of weakness, been tested in battle, had become so much more than he used to be.

In a way, their positions had been reversed. He had once envied her, and now it was she who envied him, seeing what he had attained as the embodiment of everything she wanted.

To be recognized. To be praised. To be respected.

(Unsurprisingly, Kotomine Kirei had been rather poor about offering her any of these).

To be free of the shackles of (relative) poverty, despite her magecraft. To become a magus her father could have been proud of, though she still hadn’t managed to decipher his will.

She didn’t know much about what to expect, except that London would be quite a change from the sleepy town of Fuyuki she’d grown up in.

Matou had been abroad before, at a boarding school during the Fourth War, but she hadn’t. All of her life she’d been in Japan, surrounded by the familiar.

Soon everything would change.

She’d find herself in in a place where people spoke English instead of Japanese, where there were different foods, different social customs, and if Matou was any example, a completely different scale of what being powerful meant.

Tohsaka sighed as she looked around her room sadly.

That would be different too. And while she looked forward to becoming better, she’d miss the comforts of her home in Fuyuki – one of the few things her father had left her. It might be lonely, but it had quite a bounded field and it was home.

Besides, whatever housing Matou had arranged for her in London, it would probably be a step down from this. Maybe it would be a room in one of the Tower’s dormitories, or an apartment in the city. She really couldn’t expect anything else when he’d already been so generous to her, after all.

100%

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.

Soon, months of utter aggravation would be finally coming to an end.

…well, until the Winter Holidays, given that the transfer of title had to be done in person at Gringotts, after the buyer performed a final inspection to be scheduled at his convenience, especially in a case like this where a good deal of renovation had been requested and where the seller had made arrangements to have the property furnished.

There were also some other official business that needed to be taken care of, such as writing the new owner into the property’s defenses and removing the old one, something that Gringotts would be sure to supervise to make sure no backdoors or such would be laid out, and of course, registering the deed with the Ministry.

His agent had informed him that a sale of this magnitude was likely to receive some attention from the wizarding press, but Shinji figured that was just the cost of doing business.

Besides, it would all be worth it when he saw Tohsaka’s face. Truth be told, there was a small part of him that enjoyed teasing the girl – ok, maybe not so small a part.

The sheer amusement of seeing her face aside, however, it had its practical uses too, of course, as he could see such a house being quite a decent base for the Stone Cutters in the future.

‘…I wonder if Tohsaka would like to see Harry again. And what she’d think of Luna?’

Perhaps he’d invite the two of them to join him at his new manor – well, soon to be his, anyway – for dinner on Christmas Eve, since he’d be busy on Christmas itself with the gala at the British Museum, come what might from that.

Then he frowned.

Dinner meant cooking, and as Luna had pointed out more than once, he was no great shakes in the kitchen. Plus, somehow, he suspected serving instant ramen and spam to his guests for Christmas might diminish his reputation by a hint or so…

‘Bah. I have money. I’ll figure it out.’

Maybe he’d find a good restaurant and order out, though he didn’t know anything good in the area, not having lived in London, unlike his Master or…Hermione, actually, though he didn’t think she was the type to eat out at restaurants, more was the pity.

Oh well.

100%

Later that day, Shinji found himself in the Ourea room, at one of his usual study sessions with Hermione, but the girl seemed distracted, as if something was on her mind. He figured she would speak up eventually though, and so she did.

“Matou…are you staying in Britain this Christmas?” Hermione asked during a short pause in their Potions work, biting her lip nervously as she glanced over at the boy, fighting to hide a blush. “Or…are you going back to Japan?” Those last words came out in a whisper, as if she was desperately hoping for the not to be true.

Shinji blinked and very deliberately set down his quill.

“I’ll be in Britain,” he replied, looking at his good friend. “Why do you ask?”

“Um…well, Christmas is coming up,” the bushy-haired brunette managed, pausing as she screwed up her courage to ask what she wanted. “And…” She failed the first time though, the image of the false Luna coming to her mind.

“And?” Shinji asked gently, reaching out and giving the girl’s hand a reassuring squeeze, bringing a smile to her face.

“I wanted to invite you to spend Christmas with me and my family,” the girl said in a rush, her eyes hopeful as she looked at the face of the boy who was so dear to her. “Unless you’d rather stay at Hogwarts…”

‘Christmas, huh?’

Shinji was touched by the offer, though he knew it didn’t have the same impact as such a thing might in Japan, and that she probably didn’t want him to have to be alone when so many people had homes to go to.

Unfortunately, he already had plans…

“I’d like to,” he found himself saying, “but I’m afraid I’m going to be busy on Christmas, and for most of the winter holidays.”

“Oh,” Hermione said, swallowing as her mind jumped to the most unsavory conclusion she could imagine. “You’re not…you’re not already spending it with Lovegood, are you?”

‘Stupid girl,’ she told herself, silently cursing herself for having waited this long. ‘You should have asked earlier. Of course he’d spend it with his childhood friend if you don’t speak up…’

“No, actually,” Shinji replied, surprised that Luna’s name would come up at all. The misunderstanding half amused him, though he wondered why Hermione would make such an assumption. “Actually, my Master is coming over from Japan, and has some things she needs me to take care of in London.”

Going to the gala, for one, which wasn’t something he could tell Hermione about, since it involved the Moonlit world, which he suspected she wouldn’t take well to. And well, it involved the Director of Atlas as well, which was something he didn’t want to go into…

“Oh,” Hermione said again, in a very small voice. “Even on Christmas?”

“I’m afraid so,” Shinji confirmed with an apologetic smile. “Otherwise I wouldn’t mind.”

“What about some other time during the holidays, then?” the girl wondered aloud. “I’m sure my parents would be happy to meet you. And well…if you don’t already have somewhere to stay in London, you could come stay with me while you’re doing things for your Master. It’s not easy finding a place to stay in London during the holidays.”

She looked down at that, her face almost beet-red as she realized how forward that sounded. She’d just asked a boy to stay at her house over the holidays.

“I would, but I actually do have somewhere to stay,” he murmured, his fingers reaching out and lifting her chin so he could meet her gaze.

“Y-you do?” she stammered.

“Yes. Don’t tell anyone this, but I’ve made arrangements to buy the Black estate. In fact, I finished the last of the paperwork this morning,” Shinji replied easily. It felt good to tell someone – the act of saying it made it feel all the more true. He was done. Finally done. “I just have to go to Gringotts to sign the deed once the holidays come around.” He chuckled. “You’ll probably read about it in the Prophet anyway, so I thought you should hear it from me.”

Hermione stared, her eyes – and mouth – hanging open in shock.

Matou was…rich enough to buy an entire estate? He was this wealthy, this powerful, and he still had chosen her as someone to be with?

Suddenly her doubts about whether he liked her seemed a little insignificant.

He could have anyone he wanted at Hogwarts, but he’d chosen her, thought she was special, and shared with her a secret. And that made her happier than anything else in the world might have.

“But why?” she murmured when she found her voice again. Surely he didn’t need a house in London if he was going to go back to Japan. Or… “Are you…planning on staying in Britain after Hogwarts?”

“I’m thinking about it. London isn’t such a bad place, after all,” Shinji replied simply. It was the home of the Clock Tower, and if he was going to be involved with the politics of the Moonlit World, he’d likely end up there after a fashion.

“Are you just leaving it there until then?” Hermione asked, unable to comprehend why he was buying it now then. “I mean, why not buy something then, not now?”

“Mm, well, the Black House would probably have been gone by then,” Shinji noted, shrugging. “You can’t wait on these things, after all. Besides, one of my friends from Japan is moving to London for school, and needed a place to stay. I figured this helps both of us.”

Matou…had bought a house that he didn’t need to help someone else?

He really was like a knight from out of the old fairy tales, someone who always had other people in mind.

A Champion.

A hero, brave and bold…and kind.

“Would you mind if I came by for a visit?” she asked quietly. “It doesn’t have to be for long,” she added. “I just…wanted to give you your gift in person.”

She’d been working on a hand-knit scarf for him in her free time, after all, since she wanted to give him something special, to show how much he meant to her.

“Of course,” Shinji answered with a smile. “Just owl me. That way I can give you your gift too.”

…which just meant he’d have to figure out a nice gift for her, aside from the gift credit he’d already arranged from Flourish and Blotts. Since she liked books so much, perhaps she’d like a personalized set of stationary and pen from Scrivenshaft’s Quill Shop, and a notebook so she could write her own?

100%

That evening, Matou Shinji found himself out of the castle entirely, sitting together with Professor Lockhart, Pansy Parkinson, Harry Potter, the Weasley Twins, and Cedric Diggory in one of the Ministry's green rooms. A bit of an odd configuration, but then, as the History Professor informed them, they were to take part in a press conference regarding the much rumored Tri-Wizard Tournament.

“What about, exactly?” Harry asked warily. This certainly wasn’t the first press conference he’d been dragged into, and he wanted to know what he was getting himself into so that he didn’t make a fool out of himself. “I know there was talk of the Tri-Wizard Tournament happening next year, but I didn’t think they were ready to formally announce it yet.”

“They weren’t,” Lockhart replied dryly. “And they still aren’t entirely, actually.”

Shinji frowned.

“What, are they stuck on the legalese and paperwork?” he questioned, the topic being something never too far from his mind.

“Yes, in a manner of speaking,” Lockhart replied, looking at the boy appraisingly. “Negotiations over where to site the Tournament have stalled.”

Cedric blinked, not used to being in this environment. If this was what the Stone Cutters dealt with all the time, then they had more nerve than he did. Then again, they had faced a troll and a Dark Wizard, so that was likely to be true anyway.

“I thought it was just going to be at Hogwarts?” the Hufflepuff chimed in. “Since they’re starting it again, and the first ever Tournament did take place at our school.”

“That is…one consideration,” the History Professor noted. “But only one among many.”

“Oh? And—“
“—what were the others?” the twins asked.

“Miss Parkinson, would you take that?”

“Oh. Of course, Professor. It is a bit more complicated than that. When the revival was discussed, the other schools wanted to impose a restriction on the ages of the champions to only allow seventh years to compete, but Britain said no,” Pansy explained, with Cedric looking puzzled at this.

Harry though, understood only all too well, cradling his head in his hand.

“Bloody Merlin. It’s because of us, isn’t it?” the Boy-Who-Lived groaned. “The Ministry thinks I should compete in the Tri-Wizard Tournament.”

“Or one of the other Stone Cutters,” Lockhart agreed, looking over the four – and then over to Cedric Diggory. “No offense intended, Mister Diggory. You are certainly a fine candidate for champion, and probably have the most desire to compete out of anyone in the room.”

“Oh?” Cedric inquired, curious why the others wouldn’t want a chance at eternal glory. And then it hit him. “Oh.”

“…right, we get into enough danger as is,” Harry filled in helpfully, gesturing to the Order of Merlin (First Class) medal he’d worn about his neck of his dress robes at Lucius Malfoy’s behest. “These aren’t for show, you know.”

“I never thought they were,” Cedric replied, chagrined. “I suppose the 1000 Galleon prize money doesn’t really impress you much either.”

“Not—“

“—really,” the twins answered, thinking that if they wanted a thousand Galleons, all they’d have to do was kill one Acromantula and harvest its fangs – and they’d be killing far more than one. “We—“

“—have fame—“

“—and have money enough.”

“That and you’re more interested in the Wizarding Schools Potions Competition, right?” Pansy asked, as all the faces in the room turned to her. “That one is a grander thing and happens on the world stage, after all.”

“…I am,” Harry admitted, remembering his time at Mahoutokoro and the wonders there. “I owe it to Professor Snape, who has been giving me so much help. I can see just how much he wants Hogwarts to win and how much he cares about Potions.”

“…and your late friend, Sialim Sokaris, was quite the brewer herself, wasn’t she?” Lockhart spoke up, as Harry tensed slightly, though the boy nodded after a moment, visibly forcing himself to relax.

“She was, sir.”
“No doubt Professor Snape would be most pleased if you were to make it to that final stage,” the History Professor noted. “As your grandfather would have been.”

Harry blinked.

“My…granfather?”

The Potions Master of Hogwarts had told him that his mother was once a brewing prodigy, but he knew nothing about his grandparents.

“Indeed. The great Fleamont Potter,” Lockhart recalled with a distant expression. “He made quite a fortune as the creator of Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion, a brew particularly effective for taming bushy, unruly hair, though he sold the company when he retired.”

“We’ve—“

“—never heard—“

“—of it,” the Twins said, narrowing their eyes.

“That’s because it’s not recommended for use by redheads,” Lockhart said dryly. “Apparently, it has…unique results.”

“Do you use it yourself, Professor?” Cedric wondered, eying the man’s wavy blond locks. “Or…?”

“Oh, no,” the History Professor responded with a slight smile. “My hair is quite natural. It simply pays to know one’s competition.”

Shinji blinked.

“Competition?”

“If you read my autobiography closely, Matou, you would know that I once created a line of haircare products,” Lockhart noted coolly. “One which used Occamy egg yolk as a primary ingredient and guaranteed lustrous locks and beautiful hair. Quite effective too.”

“So…what happened to it?” Cedric wondered aloud. “If it is so effective, that is.”

Here, the Professor chuckled ruefully, sighing despite himself.

“As it turned out, occamies are rather territorial, and their native habitat is in India,” Lockhart replied, “So, given the paperwork associated with operating in a foreign magical nation, on top of the dangers the creatures themselves posed, obtaining their eggs proved to be…troublesome.”

Given that occamies were plumed, two-legged serpentine-bodied creature with wings that could reach up to five meters in height and were extremely aggressive to anyone who approached them or their nests – and many people had tried, given that their eggs were made of pure silver – this was quite a cause for concern.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Shinji noted. “I take it that was when you decided to become an…adventurer?”

“Well, I have a taste for danger, you might say,” the Assassin replied simply, chuckling as if at a joke no one else knew. “Speaking of danger, Mister Potter, how do you feel about your godfather courting the Zabini widow?”

“…who?” was Harry’s quite eloquent reply.

“Blaise Zabini’s mother,” Pansy filled in, glad to be of help to the Heir. “Famously beautiful, though each of the seven wizards who have married her have died under mysterious circumstances, with her as the sole inheritor. You don’t know about her, Harry?”

“No,” the Boy-Who-Lived replied at once, a pained expression on his face. “Though I can imagine why she’s courting him.”

The Black family was known to be wealthy, after all, and after over a decade in Azkaban without company, his estranged godfather would probably have no defense against the charms of a skilled seductress.

‘None of my business anyway…’

Shinji found this interesting, but said nothing, as it wouldn’t contribute to the conversation.

“Maybe he thinks he’ll beat the odds, since he escaped Azkaban – and then was found to be innocent later?” Cedric asked, only to be met with shrugs all around.

“Maybe,” Lockhart noted. “That sounds about as likely as the old story where which Sir Francis Drake, a companion of Queen Elizabeth, switched places with her just before setting sail on his voyage around the world, as she could no longer go out in public due to receiving a wound on her face from Lucius Malfoy I."

“Who?” the Weasleys asked. The wizarding world didn’t have kings and queens, after all – excepting Grindelwald’s desire to crown himself Emperor all those years ago.

“A Muggle Queen of England from before the Statute of Secrecy,” the Assassin supplied. “But then, I am a Professor of History.”

“There isn’t any evidence either way, is there?” Pansy questioned, thinking he would have said something in class if there was.

“Not enough, though given Dark Magic and the way the Malfoy family once courted royalty, it’s not out of the realm of possibility,” Lockhart allowed, smiling just a hint. “But I believe we’ve been a bit sidetracked.”

“I believe you were discussing the location of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, Professor,” Pansy prompted, with the Assassin nodding.

“Thank you, Miss Parkinson. The other countries are willing to accommodate Lucius’ request to lower the proposed age restriction to include fourth years, but they want concessions in return.”

“What kind of concessions?” Shinji inquired.

“You mean, they want the prestige of hosting the Tournament themselves,” Harry grumbled, with Lockhart flashing the Boy-Who-Lived a winning smile.

“Correct, Mister Potter,” Lockhart acknowledged. “Given that England is hosting the Quidditch World Cup this year, they hardly think it fair for Hogwarts to host the Tri-Wizard Tournament as well. Still, if the late Headmaster Dumbledore were still alive, this would probably not be an issue, as he was widely respected as the savior of Magical Europe.”

“Forgive me for asking, Professor,” Cedric broke in, hesitant for the first time. “But why are we here then, if the negotiations are stalled?”

Lockhart chuckled.

“It is precisely because there is an impasse that you are here,” the Professor explained, shaking his head. “Lucius Malfoy knows he needs to make a concession of some sort, but does not want to appear to be bowing to foreign interests. Whereas if you – the prospective Champions of Hogwarts – state an interest in visiting either Beauxbatons or Durmstrang for the Tournament, then to the public, he is not making concessions to a foreign government – but honoring the wishes of Britain’s young heroes.”

In short, it was the convoluted mess known as politics.

“Tell us about the two options,” Shinji bade the man. “And any implications of each choice.”

“The French claim seniority, noting that after the death of Professor Dumbledore, Madame Maxine of Beauxbatons is the senior Headteacher, and that her school – the illustrious institution that Nicholas Flamel helped to endow – would be most well equipped to host the Tournament. The Norwegians on the other hand, assert that when the Tournament was discontinued in 1792, the next site to host would have been Durmstrang, and that the old order should be recognized out of a sense of fairness. Given that they have never won a Tri-Wizard Tournament, they are being rather aggressive about gaining at least some honor in the whole affair.”

“And gaining home field advantage, no doubt,” Harry added.

“Precisely,” Lockhart agreed. “I believe the record is that Hogwarts has won 63 Tournaments, Beauxbatons 62, and Durmstrang…a grand total of 0.”

“Well, I don’t want it to seem like we’re favoring either side,” Shinji noted cautiously. “Just in case there are some unsavory implications you haven’t mentioned. Especially in the press.”

“Fair point—“

“—I feel sorry—“

“—for Durmstrang,” the Twins chimed in, though Fred frowned. “Even if they do—“

“—teach the Dark Arts.”

“I think that makes us—“

“—want to choose—“

“—Beauxbatons though.”

“If the Tournament is to promote international cooperation, we should respect the old sequence out of fairness,” Cedric added, smiling slightly. “It might be just because I’m a Hufflepuff, but I think that it’s important to make sure things are fair for everyone, right?”

“Certainly a consideration,” Lockhart agreed. “Though of course, not the only one. I also think that it would be good to present ourselves as a united front though, agreed?”

“Mm,” Harry acknowledged. He had been idly musing about Beauxbatons, given the fact that Flamel had been involved with the school, and might have some notes, but if it came to an issue of fairness. “Durmstrang then. What about you, Matou?”

Shinji sighed.

“I don’t have a strong feeling for it either way, quite frankly,” the Boy from the East pointed out. “Like you, I’m not actually interested in participating in the Tri-Wizard competition, and I’ve seen another school before.” He glanced over at Pansy, raising an eyebrow. “Pansy, what do you think?”

“Well…” Pansy began, well aware that all eyes were on her. “Beauxbatons is rumored to be friendly towards half-breeds, given that their Headmistress is a half-giant, which is not something the pureblood faction approves of. But then, you don’t care about that, do you?”

“Not really, no,” Shinji replied. “Anything else?”

“Durmstrang is run by a former Death Eater,” the Parkinson girl related, her lips twitching downwards. “It’s also a much stricter sort of school, I hear, and…it was where Grindelwald went.”

“Sounds—“

“—unpleasant.”

“Neither option is ideal, but still, if you want to be seen as really impartial to all this, you should choose Durmstrang,” Pansy concluded. “Acknowledging the Ministry of Norway and conceding home field advantage to them will probably earn you points later. And well…hosting or not, they have never won, while Beauxbatons tends to win when they host a tournament.”

“Well, when you put it that way, I think I’ll go with Durmstrang,” Shinji related. “Thanks, Pansy.”

“Of course, Matou,” Pansy said, inclining her head.

“So, we are agreed on Durmstrang then?” Lockhart inquired, as all the people in the room nodded slowly. “Good. Then let’s go meet the adoring public, shall we?”

“…I can hardly wait,” Harry grumbled.

“Are press conferences that bad?” Cedric asked, never having been to one himself. Surprisingly, it was the Twins who answered, giving him a long-suffering look.

“You—“

“—have—“

“—no—“

“—idea.”

100%

Choice 60: Since the inspection and signing over of the Black Estate is rather important, do we want to take someone with us to spot anything we've might have missed? (choose one)

[ ] No. We can handle this alone
[ ] Take Hillard. He's been trained by Moody, so if anything is out of the ordinary, he'll probably note it
[ ] Take Lockhart. The man's intuition is scary and he'll find out about the house anyway
[ ] Take Luna. She sees things most people don't

Malgos
September 23rd, 2015, 06:52 PM
Tempted to with Hillard, but that's mostly cause he's a Stone Cutter so my votes goes to Lockhart.

Omida
September 23rd, 2015, 06:53 PM
Jubstacheit's perspective was quite informative. Not only on his feelings, but also on history. And now, I think I can see why he seems to be such an arrogant asshole. He earned his right to be arrogant asshole. He is ancient, though no info if he is older than Zouken, knowledgeable and powerful. Someone like that would certainly have reasons for being full of pride. Even if his reasons for doing to Ilya what he did are just petty.

Aaaaand Hermione is back to horrible, horrible infatuation and being special. At least she is stable for now.

Yay! Harry's ancestors were into cosmetics! Otherwise, nice scene there.

[X] Take Lockhart. The man's intuition is scary and he'll find out about the house anyway

Lockhart has the most experience, and with that, we may show him that we trust him with our matters even more. Who knows, maybe there will be some manner of confrontation to end the 'I know you know...' thing.

mangafreak7793
September 23rd, 2015, 07:01 PM
[ ] Take Hillard. He's been trained by Moody, so if anything is out of the ordinary, he'll probably note it

Take Hillard, it will help raise points with him I think and we don't spend as much time with him then the others.

- - - Updated - - -


Jubstacheit's perspective was quite informative. Not only on his feelings, but also on history. And now, I think I can see why he seems to be such an arrogant asshole. He earned his right to be arrogant asshole. He is ancient, though no info if he is older than Zouken, knowledgeable and powerful. Someone like that would certainly have reasons for being full of pride. Even if his reasons for doing to Ilya what he did are just petty.

Aaaaand Hermione is back to horrible, horrible infatuation and being special. At least she is stable for now.

Yay! Harry's ancestors were into cosmetics! Otherwise, nice scene there.

[X] Take Lockhart. The man's intuition is scary and he'll find out about the house anyway

Lockhart has the most experience, and with that, we may show him that we trust him with our matters even more. Who knows, maybe there will be some manner of confrontation to end the 'I know you know...' thing.

True, but Lockhart is not as time sensitive as Hillard is who will be graduating next year. I feel that Shinji will trust Hillard more since his Aurour training.

Magus
September 23rd, 2015, 07:01 PM
Well, Hermione seems stable for now. We can broach the topic later with her if given a plausible opportunity.

[x] Lockhart

I wonder when we'll see more of the Master of Death himself in this story - Severus Snape. The narrative seems more focused on Lockhart for now.

mr_Trickster
September 23rd, 2015, 07:06 PM
I have to admit that I'm glad the chaos is over - at least for now. That certainly felt a bit tense.

Alf, thank you for the patience! And apologies for the insanity.

As for the choices...

I was also tempted to take Hillard. We are spending the New Year with him, though, so I think we can take this opportunity for Hashshashin points instead.

[x] - Lockhart

Omida
September 23rd, 2015, 07:17 PM
True, but Lockhart is not as time sensitive as Hillard is who will be graduating next year. I feel that Shinji will trust Hillard more since his Aurour training.


Consider the place we are talking about. Even if Sirius actually cleaned the house, it's still Grimmauld Place. I would prefer to make it as safe and visitor friendly as possible. Hillard may be good, but I would prefer to be cautious in this occasion, especially if a certain locket is still there.

Nephirin
September 23rd, 2015, 07:21 PM
Hard choice. I'll vote Lockheart for now though.

Mint
September 23rd, 2015, 07:27 PM
[X] Take Lockhart. The man's intuition is scary and he'll find out about the house anyway

A very hard choice they all have very good points to them.

EnigmaticFellow
September 23rd, 2015, 07:31 PM
[X] No. We can handle this alone

Shinji can handle a simple house inspection himself. He needs some time to act alone every once in a while anyway lest he be too complacent.

Kelnish
September 23rd, 2015, 07:33 PM
Take Lockheart.

Cassius
September 23rd, 2015, 07:36 PM
[x] - Hillard

mangafreak7793
September 23rd, 2015, 07:41 PM
Consider the place we are talking about. Even if Sirius actually cleaned the house, it's still Grimmauld Place. I would prefer to make it as safe and visitor friendly as possible. Hillard may be good, but I would prefer to be cautious in this occasion, especially if a certain locket is still there.

Black Redecorated it, what is there to expect?

Mattias
September 23rd, 2015, 07:56 PM
making true resurrection nearly unless one could turn back time

Weird sentence here Alf.

As for the choice,

[x]Lockheart. I doubt anything physically threatening will occur, just the legalese of the Goblins, and in either situation Lockheart is who you want in your corner. Even if I still think he's going to try and screw us over eventually.

Skull Leader
September 23rd, 2015, 08:05 PM
I have to add my voice after following this fic for a while now and only now discovered it is a CYOA. I glad you all manged to stop the Hermione train from crashing for now...

[X] Take Lockhart. The man's intuition is scary and he'll find out about the house anyway

I am all for assassin Lockhart points. If he going to backstab us, there is nothing we can do to stop it with his skill set. Plus this option allows Lockhart to maybe apply the knowledge found in the books in the Black library to the stone cutter's new armor design. Completely hypotheically speaking of course. It was a part of the sale if I remember right.

Edit: My bad, no books then. Thank you for the correction Alf. Your story has been wonderful so far.

alfheimwanderer
September 23rd, 2015, 08:15 PM
It was a part of the sale if I remember right.

I do not believe it was. No house elf and no library.

Aodyssey
September 23rd, 2015, 08:17 PM
Oh, Hermione. You done dumb.

Take Hilliard. It'll be on the press, and we should be seen in solidarity with our Stonecutters more. Sides, Lockhart will just make us look less independent, I think.

OtherDark
September 23rd, 2015, 08:43 PM
Oof. Tough choices. I'm really not sure what would be the best option here...

Going alone reinforces an idea of independence and confidence, but also leaves us vulnerable.
Going with Hillard lets us get more interaction and closer bonds with him, as well as making the purchase seem more like a Stone Cutter thing rather than a Shinji Matou thing, which may or may not be a good idea.

Going with Lockhart lets us hopefully get closer to a point where we can actually WORK with the man, instead of doing the constant "I know that you know etc." This is either a good thing or a very bad thing. If he does not end up a Master, then we'll have a potent ally and on top of that, if we summoned Assassin, I think we'd be able to utilize them extremely well. On the other hand, if he DOES end up a Master, we'll be absolutely fucked.

Going with Luna really only seems to advance the Luna romance route, which I'd like if we hadn't just gotten in contact with Illya ('bout time). Hum.
Anyone else have more thoughts on these, specifically the Luna option? I'm a bit clueless as to what that gets us besides what I already said.

I'm going to say we should [X] Take Hillard. We're going to want a powerful group at our backs that we can trust and rely on when the Grail War rolls around and/or when Voldemort initiates his plans in earnest.

Caster
September 23rd, 2015, 08:49 PM
Hmm, I'll go with Hillard I suppose. If not for the romance bit and it likely messing Hermione up more I'd take Luna, as I think the odd perception would be nice. I'd rather avoid giving Lockhart more power if we can help it.

Also I believe Alf said that the Master of Death wasn't necessarily Snape and that a couple fit the title. I remember Lockhart being one of them.

AZURE
September 23rd, 2015, 08:54 PM
[X] Take Hillard. He's been trained by Moody, so if anything is out of the ordinary, he'll probably note it

Luna feels like it will get her to find the locket for us, but I am warry about advancing her romance route, so sadly I will go with Hilard. I don't want to depend on Lockhart too much right now.

Thedoctor
September 23rd, 2015, 09:28 PM
Hermione just feels painful.

Abendroth
September 23rd, 2015, 09:38 PM
Chapter reactions:
Rin

It'll be interesting to see how Rin interacts with our friends. On the one hand our new mansion is certainly impressive, and indicates that we have a great deal of wealth and power. On the other hand the average Mage Association Enforcer is supposed to be far deadlier than a wizarding Auror and the Mages Association in general is supposed to be able to crush the Wizarding World easily. Rin is an exceptionally powerful magus and a genuine genius and possesses both the obsessive dedication and the powerful magic crest suitable for the heir of an ancient bloodline. If the comparisons between the Moonlit World and the Wizarding World continue, Rin should stand head, shoulders and mini skirt above her witchcraft-using age mates. So the question becomes, is she going to be be more impressed by us or are they going to be impressed that someone so powerful is a friend of ours?

Hermione

Choosing to tell Hermione something that is nominally a secret seems to have been a sufficient demonstration of her importance in our life to stabilize her. Even if she remains a miserable pile of secrets low self esteem. Hopefully her role as a Consul and with the Ourea will help. We should make sure she spend more time with Su Li.

Stonecutters

You open the scene by describing it as "out of the castle" but we never get any more of a description of where they are. I can't tell if they are sitting on a hillside on the grounds, at a table in front of the school gates, or on a stage in an auditorium.

Cedric's admiration of the stonecutters' nerve seems somewhat out of place as nothing at all stressing appears to be going on. A casual conversation preparing them for a low intensity press conference does not seem to be the kind of thing that requires nerves of steel. Praise for the stonecutters is all well and good but when they start getting praise for things that aren't actually very impressive it rather undermines the other praise they get.

I meant to mention this earlier, but the twins only rarely do the " finishing each other's sentence" thing in cannon. Not to mention the constant line breaks make a long dialogues with them more irritating to read.

When you mention Harry wearing the Order of Merlin at Malfoy's behest you might want to use Lucius' full name, as he hasn't come up in this scene yet, and when potter says Malfoy it is usually a reference to Draco.

Also, Harry seemed unusually sensitive, defending his order of Merlin even though Cedric never questioned it.

I am surprised that the potions competition is described as grander. When Snape's chapter introduced the concept I got the impression that it was not well thought of, which was part of why the committee was trying to think of ways to raise its profile, and that of potions in general by extension.

It seems Hermione is going to be getting hair potion for Christmas.

It's interesting to note that none of the main characters are interested in the tournament. I expected that participating in it (or one of our friends participating in it) would be the plot for next year. I'm not sure if this means participation will be involuntary as per cannon, or if you have something else planned.

Pansy demonstrates her grasp on PR.Minion get.

gesalt
September 23rd, 2015, 09:42 PM
I feel like Lockhart will take the locket for himself, Luna will give us the locket (so we can give it to Thomas/Touko), Hillard may give it to the ministry or Moody and alone will mean that either Rin gets it or Touko will find it when she vists.

[X] Luna

alfheimwanderer
September 23rd, 2015, 10:20 PM
You open the scene by describing it as "out of the castle" but we never get any more of a description of where they are. I can't tell if they are sitting on a hillside on the grounds, at a table in front of the school gates, or on a stage in an auditorium.

Apologies. It seems I forgot to put a few words back when I merged the sentence. They're at the Ministry, in one of the green rooms before the press conference, and Cedric is nervous because he's never spoken to the press before. He would like the recognition of being a Champion - as opposed to the Stone Cutters, who've already seen the benefits - and price - of fame.

Anyway, the hair potion is the canon history of Potter's family and how they got their wealth. They've actually been decent brewers for along time, since the man who founded their line in the 12th century created Pepperup and Skelegro. The more you know, eh?

Potions competition is quite prestigious outside of Britain, but they're working on making it an even bigger event this year, given that a number of schools just haven't sent people for a while - like Hogwarts, due to the matter of its wars.

Veldril
September 23rd, 2015, 10:27 PM
[X]Take Hillard

I still not sure whether Lockhart will be our enemy in the future or not so Hillard might be a safer choice.

All That Is Left Unsaid
September 23rd, 2015, 10:37 PM
[x] Hillard

Abendroth
September 23rd, 2015, 11:40 PM
Workmen will have been in and out of the house renovating it. Therefore there can't be any traps or other unpleasantness in any of the readily accessible locations. If there is something unusual to be found it will be well hidden. And if it's hidden, that means it is probably something valuable that we may not wish to turn over to the proper authorities. Our master and Rin will be visiting, and we can always invite our friends over later, so it's not like we lack qualified help to unravel any protections.

Quite aside from anything in the house though, we will also probably get our picture taken with whoever we invite. Inviting Lockheart would give him too much implicit authority and inviting Luna would basically cement her reputation as our lover. If we do find mysterious Dark artifacts of power or some such Hillard will probably want to turn them over to the ministry rather than let us keep them.

However, having a second person along on something like this is a good idea even in the real world when dealing with simply mundane matters. Sirius is also probably better at ferreting out Black family secrets than we are, so if something here has escaped his attention we likely won't find it with a simple walk through. As such, I think the most important thing here is not what the person thinks of the house, but the person themselves.

I think going alone has some real merits, but since the current situation appears to be Lockheart versus Hillard, I will choose

[ ] Take Hillard. He's been trained by Moody, so if anything is out of the ordinary, he'll probably note it

gesalt
September 24th, 2015, 12:30 AM
I'll change my vote to:
[X] Hillard

Though knowing our Master is coming, we should make sure Hillard doesn't take anything that we might want to give to her instead.

Kishou the Badger
September 24th, 2015, 01:18 AM
[x] Luna

She has a very unique perspective on life so we might need it here.

Vagrant
September 24th, 2015, 01:21 AM
Lol fuck this shit. Shinji isn't an idiot. He's heard the rumors, he was there when she kissed him, he should have at least a vague idea of what's going on in her head. Ignoring the write in is fucking shitty writing. Don't offer an option if you don't want to deal with choices that aren't one of your own.

Again, I repeat, Shinji is not a fucking moron.

Thedoctor
September 24th, 2015, 01:50 AM
Hermione is gonna explode soon lol.

Kuroyuki
September 24th, 2015, 01:53 AM
[X] Take Lockhart. The man's intuition is scary and he'll find out about the house anyway

Thedoctor
September 24th, 2015, 02:01 AM
Seriously guys, Hermione is still running around in delusion land, this is really bad. It's gonna come back and screw us over real hard.

mr_Trickster
September 24th, 2015, 02:06 AM
Seriously guys, Hermione is still running around in delusion land, this is really bad. It's gonna come back and screw us over real hard.

I have to agree. I just cannot really think of a way for us to still save her in some way from where we are. That ball vote is biting back at us extremely hard right now - and it is punishing​.

alfheimwanderer
September 24th, 2015, 02:13 AM
Lol fuck this shit. Shinji isn't an idiot. He's heard the rumors, he was there when she kissed him, he should have at least a vague idea of what's going on in her head. Ignoring the write in is fucking shitty writing. Don't offer an option if you don't want to deal with choices that aren't one of your own.

I've said it once and I'll say it again - cramming everything into the write-in is not an acceptable thing to do. You want a write in, then propose an alternate path - not stack every choice together than add something new on top of that. As for your gift write in, it seemed similar enough to lump together, and I will take the Sokaris-related gift into consideration.

Thedoctor
September 24th, 2015, 03:07 AM
Oh god we're giving her a sokaris related gift too.

This is what hell feels like.

Magus
September 24th, 2015, 05:39 AM
I'm changing my vote to Hillard [x].

Omida
September 24th, 2015, 07:07 AM
Hmmm, Okay, I will also change for [X] Hiilard, then.


I have a feeling that friendzoning Hermione will be one of those extremely hard things to do, that can earn achievement in itself. Especially if it Shinji will give her another Sokaris related gift.

It's because we paid for extra wand with books from Hermione, right? It didn't mean loosing her affection in the end.

Skull Leader
September 24th, 2015, 08:39 AM
I will also change for [X] Hiilard.

I guess it more important to stand united here as Stone Cutters.

Vagrant
September 24th, 2015, 10:32 AM
I've said it once and I'll say it again - cramming everything into the write-in is not an acceptable thing to do. You want a write in, then propose an alternate path - not stack every choice together than add something new on top of that. As for your gift write in, it seemed similar enough to lump together, and I will take the Sokaris-related gift into consideration.

I don't do write ins. Others can handle that. I totally agree others tried to cram too much in to the write in option. I just think Shinji is being wilfully dense for the sake of drama.

- - - Updated - - -


I've said it once and I'll say it again - cramming everything into the write-in is not an acceptable thing to do. You want a write in, then propose an alternate path - not stack every choice together than add something new on top of that. As for your gift write in, it seemed similar enough to lump together, and I will take the Sokaris-related gift into consideration.

I don't do write ins. Others can handle that. I totally agree others tried to cram too much in to the write in option. I just think Shinji is being wilfully dense for the sake of drama.

mAc Chaos
September 24th, 2015, 12:32 PM
Lol fuck this shit. Shinji isn't an idiot. He's heard the rumors, he was there when she kissed him, he should have at least a vague idea of what's going on in her head. Ignoring the write in is fucking shitty writing. Don't offer an option if you don't want to deal with choices that aren't one of your own.

Again, I repeat, Shinji is not a fucking moron.

> holds her hand
> lifts her chin

totally platonic

Vagrant
September 24th, 2015, 12:55 PM
Like I said. Wilfully dense. That's why my vote was don't tell her a fucking thing and drink her tears.

mangafreak7793
September 24th, 2015, 01:42 PM
> holds her hand
> lifts her chin

totally platonic
He considers himself a gentleman.

Thedoctor
September 24th, 2015, 02:34 PM
Like I said. Wilfully dense. That's why my vote was don't tell her a fucking thing and drink her tears.

Same.

- - - Updated - - -


He considers himself a gentleman.

A true gentleman does not hold hands with all women and lift their chin, to do so would be uncouth behaviour fit only a philanderer.

alfheimwanderer
September 24th, 2015, 03:03 PM
A true gentleman does not hold hands with all women and lift their chin, to do so would be uncouth behaviour fit only a philanderer.

What was the Japanese concept? More than friends, less than lovers? A state he currently enjoys with Hermione (the only one he's done the chin-lifting with) and Luna at best at Hogwarts, with one being more friend and one being more lover.

Of course, for Hermione, he's interpreting it as more towards the friend/best friend side of the spectrum (as with the death of Sokaris, he is the closest person to her), and she takes a different spin on it.

Thedoctor
September 24th, 2015, 03:49 PM
What was the Japanese concept? More than friends, less than lovers? A state he currently enjoys with Hermione (the only one he's done the chin-lifting with) and Luna at best at Hogwarts, with one being more friend and one being more lover.

Are you just making stuff up because that doesn't sound like Japanese concept.

alfheimwanderer
September 24th, 2015, 04:00 PM
Are you just making stuff up because that doesn't sound like Japanese concept.

Not making this stuff up. The expression is not exactly an uncommon one, especially when used to describe relationships like this...

Vagrant
September 24th, 2015, 04:25 PM
AKA friendzoned AKA why won't you bang me?

alfheimwanderer
September 24th, 2015, 04:30 PM
It's because we paid for extra wand with books from Hermione, right? It didn't mean loosing her affection in the end.

That's an interesting guess. Care to elaborate on why you think that might be?

Vagrant
September 24th, 2015, 04:33 PM
Nah. Witches just be crazy, yo.

alfheimwanderer
September 24th, 2015, 05:54 PM
Oddly enough, the man hadn’t asked for money or the beads of crystallized prana that served as such in Mahoutokoro, asking for something more than mere wealth. With his experience in the other shop where he'd had to pay an equivalent price guiding him, he thought it would be problematic to run - and well, he needed a second wand, so in the end, he settled for trying to make the best deal possible. In the end, he’d haggled the man down to accepting the Complete Works of William Shakespeare that Hermione had gifted to him – the first gift she’d ever given anyone - and nothing else.

...only, the man had seemed pleased.

“Yes…quite a bit of expectation bound up in such a tome,” the man had remarked after the trade was complete. “The folly of youth and emotion. Innocence, they say. A most interesting source of mystery and chaos. Methinks I got the better end of the deal.”

Then Shinji had been allowed to go, wondering why, even though he’d bargained the man down to a single tome in exchange for the wand, he felt as if he’d lost something…precious.

What amused me thereafter was how people seemed to think Hermione was the one who paid part of that price, or she would lose her feelings for him due to her hollowness in Chapter 6, when it was not her price to pay. And when Shinji sought a wand aligned with water, the element of emotion and connection...well...

Who knows, in the end?

mr_Trickster
September 24th, 2015, 09:47 PM
What amused me thereafter was how people seemed to think Hermione was the one who paid part of that price, or she would lose her feelings for him due to her hollowness in Chapter 6, when it was not her price to pay. And when Shinji sought a wand aligned with water, the element of emotion and connection...well...

Who knows, in the end?

Well this is certainly something that hadn't really come to mind when I read the chapter. I thought something related to Hermoine had been lost to Shinji that way, but definitely not what I think you're implying here.

Caster
September 24th, 2015, 10:00 PM
That's pretty far reaching. Really should have gone with water then, especially if the price we paid for the wand is part of why things are out of hand with Hermione. It's all kinds of botched votes early on it seems, though I'm kind of surprised it's been so messed.

mr_Trickster
September 24th, 2015, 10:21 PM
That's pretty far reaching. Really should have gone with water then, especially if the price we paid for the wand is part of why things are out of hand with Hermione. It's all kinds of botched votes early on it seems, though I'm kind of surprised it's been so messed.

I think it's more of a chain of decisions that lead up to it - with the ball causing things to truly come to a head. True, we could've gone water especially since we got a wand, and already invested into Zouken rep. Though for the short-term Earth was still a good choice - especially with all of the issues with the Acromantula crisis right now.

Caster
September 24th, 2015, 10:28 PM
I don't think Water would have been worse against the spiders, not like we have fire so the rest aren't as major, metal probably would have been decent too I suppose. But I think Water would have been good. I just think that if the wand had an impact on our relationship with Hermione it's pretty bad we didn't focus on water. Before it was just kind of wasteful. And I agree our votes hurt things a lot, but if I get what Alf is implying right, it's likely to blame for the way Shinji has been interacting with her.

mr_Trickster
September 24th, 2015, 10:32 PM
I definitely agree with you there. Although, weren't we told that focusing on water would be the long-route for us?

Abendroth
September 24th, 2015, 11:19 PM
Well this is certainly something that hadn't really come to mind when I read the chapter. I thought something related to Hermoine had been lost to Shinji that way, but definitely not what I think you're implying here.
Perhaps he lost his ability to not mack on her.

Or, more likely given Alf's description, his awareness of/ability to deepen the relationship. Though I'm hesitant to ascribe wide ranging personality and relationship dynamics to mystical mind control. Shinji's Shinjiness is no doubt all-natural.

I don't think Water would have been worse against the spiders, not like we have fire so the rest aren't as major, metal probably would have been decent too I suppose. But I think Water would have been good. I just think that if the wand had an impact on our relationship with Hermione it's pretty bad we didn't focus on water. Before it was just kind of wasteful. And I agree our votes hurt things a lot, but if I get what Alf is implying right, it's likely to blame for the way Shinji has been interacting with her.

Given that the last time we attempted to experiment with water spells without proper guidance we nearly blew ourselves to pieces along with anyone nearby, I'm going to say that choosing to study earth this year was a good idea. We will study them both eventually, but it's better to study water when we have a teacher and earth when we don't.

Caster
September 25th, 2015, 12:10 AM
I wouldn't be surprised if it clouded his awareness of Hermione, it seems odd otherwise how dense he is, especially when that's supposed to be one of his focuses. And what I specifically said was that it is especially unwise to have gotten the wand if it harmed our relationship with Hermione and we aren't making any progress with water stuff. I'm also pretty sure that wasn't trying to learn water magic in quite the same way. Also guessing the elemental thing influenced familiar stuff, but bit late to do anything now, just the hindsight makes it look especially bad now.

mr_Trickster
September 25th, 2015, 12:31 AM
Well, best we can do at this point is learn from it and try to really think on the choices as we make them. :)

Mattias
September 25th, 2015, 12:37 AM
Or we go the other way and make choices with no long term effects in mind, just whatever we feel like at the moment.

Thedoctor
September 25th, 2015, 01:50 AM
Or we go the other way and make choices with no long term effects in mind, just whatever we feel like at the moment.

I was under the impression this is what everyone did.

Caster
September 25th, 2015, 01:52 AM
That's not what I do. Though it's easier when you have an end goal in mind to work towards it.

Veldril
September 25th, 2015, 01:56 AM
That's not what I do. Though it's easier when you have an end goal in mind to work towards it.

The problem is, like real life sometimes, we don't know what the end goal is :P Or that the end goals for each of us are totally different.

mr_Trickster
September 25th, 2015, 06:50 AM
The problem is, like real life sometimes, we don't know what the end goal is :P Or that the end goals for each of us are totally different.

This is very likely our problem. We all either don't think of the long-term plan, or have different long-term plans in mind. For example, as far as pairings are concerned, I think we're more or less divided into either the Rin camp or the Sokaris camp, yes? :)))))

Omida
September 25th, 2015, 07:33 AM
Yeah, familiar hunt was an example of what happens when we don't really have any clear goal beyond the generic 'get familiar'.



Also, don't forget about those closet Touko campers who hide because their route is so ridiculously hard to even enter :)

Thedoctor
September 25th, 2015, 08:17 AM
This is very likely our problem. We all either don't think of the long-term plan, or have different long-term plans in mind. For example, as far as pairings are concerned, I think we're more or less divided into either the Rin camp or the Sokaris camp, yes? :)))))
I honestly don't think there's a sokaris route, at least not in any foreseeable future.

Magus
September 25th, 2015, 08:36 AM
Rin camp here!

mr_Trickster
September 25th, 2015, 09:01 AM
Yeah, familiar hunt was an example of what happens when we don't really have any clear goal beyond the generic 'get familiar'.

Also, don't forget about those closet Touko campers who hide because their route is so ridiculously hard to even enter :)

Aye, it was. The Kodama wasn't all that bad, and it did manage to work towards what we wanted for Shinji, but it could have been handled a little less chaotically. As far as developing Shinji's skills right now, however, I'd like to think we're managing fine. Points in awareness and min-maxing for movement with Ofuda now beginning to pick up again is giving Shinji quite the skillset. It's a little slow-growing but I'd like to think that it will pay-off in the long-term.

And yes, the Touko route is also really good! :D


I honestly don't think there's a sokaris route, at least not in any foreseeable future.

Well, a man can dream I suppose. I'd gladly help out the Touko train if that becomes viable, or even the Rin train after that. But I'll still put a great priority on Sokaris and Touko rep as that is as much for Shinji's own growth as a character as it is for shipping purposes.

Veldril
September 25th, 2015, 09:58 AM
I honestly don't think there's a sokaris route, at least not in any foreseeable future.

That's what I mean in my previous post(s). Things that we want might not be possible at all.

We might have a long-term objective but we don't know whether our objective is viable or not at all. I think Alf also has plan for how things will be, which might not be the same as what we think will be. And we also don't know what will happen in the future too. Sure our choice might alter the future somewhat but how much we don't really know.

So I kinda stick to the present more than long-term goal for now because I can't see a big picture. My long-term goal will be at maximum for things that will happen at the end of the year. It's only the third year and we still have until year 7 for long-term stuffs. Worse, we might not even survive this or next year so trying to make the best of the situation is my priority.

Omida
September 25th, 2015, 10:03 AM
Well, a man can dream I suppose. I'd gladly help out the Touko train if that becomes viable, or even the Rin train after that. But I'll still put a great priority on Sokaris and Touko rep as that is as much for Shinji's own growth as a character as it is for shipping purposes.


I think it's because Touko (and to lesser extent Sokaris) force Shinji to grow if he wants to have their positive attention. Canon Shinji Matou, or even one closely resembling him, would only force negative response. So if Shinji wants to keep those two interested in him (not even in romantic sense), he has to grow as a person. It would probably be more of a Shinji chasing after distant dream, trying to reach one of them, rather than just settling for someone easier to get. Because in terms of achievements, who are Rin, Luna or Hermione right now in comparison to Touko or Sokaris?

It may actually be a little similar to Shirou in Fate route (at least Realta Nua ver.). To reach happiness with Saber, he must chase after her for all eternity, while Saber must wait for him for all eternity. Their meeting would be a miracle. To smaller degree, Shinji going for Sokaris or Touko would resemble that dynamic.

mr_Trickster
September 25th, 2015, 10:15 AM
I think it's because Touko (and to lesser extent Sokaris) force Shinji to grow if he wants to have their positive attention. Canon Shinji Matou, or even one closely resembling him, would only force negative response. So if Shinji wants to keep those two interested in him (not even in romantic sense), he has to grow as a person. It would probably be more of a Shinji chasing after distant dream, trying to reach one of them, rather than just settling for someone easier to get. Because in terms of achievements, who are Rin, Luna or Hermione right now in comparison to Touko or Sokaris?

It may actually be a little similar to Shirou in Fate route (at least Realta Nua ver.). To reach happiness with Saber, he must chase after her for all eternity, while Saber must wait for him for all eternity. Their meeting would be a miracle. To smaller degree, Shinji going for Sokaris or Touko would resemble that dynamic.

And that is what makes me feel that it's quite a positive influence for him. Something to aspire to can be quite the motivator as far as improvement can go. It does not help that during second year, a recurring theme that Alf presented relative to Sokaris was the whole "I will see her again" whenever people asked him about her. Which is damn close to what I felt was Shirou's mentality in Realta Nua. (And admittedly romantic in its own way for me.)

Vagrant
September 25th, 2015, 10:53 AM
I just want Shinji to bang hot chicks. Is that too much to ask? Why you all gotta make things so complex?

Omida
September 25th, 2015, 11:01 AM
Cause he is 13? Give him some two, three years. Then, we can get him a nice hooker, if you want him to lose virginity so badly. Otherwise, it can happen off-screen(or not) as far as I am concerned. All depending on the author.

Vagrant
September 25th, 2015, 12:02 PM
Bang, kiss, fantasise about while masturbating, whatever. It's all the same really.

Magus
September 25th, 2015, 02:58 PM
Bang, kiss, fantasise about while masturbating, whatever. It's all the same really.

It's almost as if the people on Beast's Lair are fans of old eroges.

Thedoctor
September 25th, 2015, 03:03 PM
It's almost as if the people on Beast's Lair are fans of old eroges.

I assure you new eroge is like that too.

Magus
September 25th, 2015, 03:25 PM
I assure you new eroge is like that too.

No! That's not true! That's impossible!

Nah, just kidding there.

What I meant is that many of us are fans of Fate/Stay Night, Tsukihime, or Nasuverse works derivative from those.

Caster
September 25th, 2015, 04:54 PM
True, though not because it's an eroge. If it wasn't I'd probably have enjoyed it more. And I'm not in either of those camps myself. As for the familiar, I really think that, at least on a personal for me level, the kodama was best. I was worried we'd get something unexciting.

Kishou the Badger
September 25th, 2015, 09:50 PM
The only downside is that we'll need a new Kodama every decade. Though it's unlikely this one won't die within the timeline of the story, since Harry Potter is divided by a new year each book.

If we can make him the best Shinji he can be, I'm all for making him earning more points with Sokaris and Touko.

mr_Trickster
September 25th, 2015, 10:30 PM
To my understanding, Shinji will be getting the great tree, itself should the latter like what it learns from the extension (Zelkova). As for what would happen should Zelkova die prematurely, however, I'd imagine the great tree would be much less inclined to join Shinji permanently then.

Mattias
September 26th, 2015, 12:10 AM
If we can make him the best Shinji he can be, I'm all for making him earning more points with Sokaris and Touko.

I go for Sokaris points because Sion is best girl. She always gets top priority.

Touko gets points because I like her being our Master. Being her Mikiya/Shiki is all I want.

Stone Cutters get points for being Bro's. And Hermy does too, even if she chooses that to mean we love her.

Actually that's want I want us to say when she confesses to us. "Lovers? You're one of my best friends Hermione. That would be like sleeping with my own sister. And that's just gross.".

Nephirin
September 26th, 2015, 02:14 AM
Sion's top priority. Once Illya makes her debut, she'll be second priority. Shinji has that Zolgen blood after all, he needs his Einzbern waifu.

Vagrant
September 26th, 2015, 02:25 AM
Fuck you Rin is top priority and then Touko.

Dantalion
September 26th, 2015, 02:40 AM
You guys are all delusional if you can't see that Gramps is the only choice for Shinji.

Nephirin
September 26th, 2015, 03:13 AM
Fuck you Rin is top priority and then Touko.

Whatever happened to how hard you were gunning for Hermoine, Vagrant? I mean, I like Rin and Touko, but we've already established Sokaris as our main girl, and Shinji needs to start shaping up into the amazing player that his grandfather was during his youth.

Thedoctor
September 26th, 2015, 03:16 AM
You guys are all delusional if you can't see that Gramps is the only choice for Shinji.

Shinji and Zouken's harem adventure quest.

- - - Updated - - -


Sion's top priority. Once Illya makes her debut, she'll be second priority. Shinji has that Zolgen blood after all, he needs his Einzbern waifu.

I'm all for Illya too.

Magus
September 26th, 2015, 06:10 AM
True, though not because it's an eroge. If it wasn't I'd probably have enjoyed it more. And I'm not in either of those camps myself. As for the familiar, I really think that, at least on a personal for me level, the kodama was best. I was worried we'd get something unexciting.

I haven't actually read the H-scenes myself… though I hear that Nasu uses odd seafood metaphors. So I can imagine that reading the scenes may be cringe-inducing.

Vagrant
September 26th, 2015, 06:55 AM
Whatever happened to how hard you were gunning for Hermoine, Vagrant? I mean, I like Rin and Touko, but we've already established Sokaris as our main girl, and Shinji needs to start shaping up into the amazing player that his grandfather was during his youth.

Sokaris is total rubbish, I have to be honest. Good visual design but nothing else to offer.

I jumped Hermione because its clear that Alf isn't budging. Apprently our choices led to Luna so that's that. Which I think is kind of funny since I don't think I've seen anyone really express interest in completing an actual Luna romance.

Riiiiiiiin. I want the Touko route but just the platonic one where she.actually is proud to be Shinji's Master. She 2old just like Sion.

Caster
September 26th, 2015, 10:04 AM
I believe the choice we made in terms of what we like about Sokaris shaped how Shinji views things, which is why Luna got pushed more.

Magus
September 26th, 2015, 10:37 AM
Or we can just go with the tag for this thread: dat forced Luna lovin'

Or Caster's explanation above if we're feeling more charitable.

Veldril
September 26th, 2015, 10:54 AM
Or we can just go with the tag for this thread: dat forced Luna lovin'

Or Caster's explanation above if we're feeling more charitable.

Well, I kinda go with the "Luna" flow... for now. Shinji still has a long way to go and dating other girls along the way is not really a bad thing. If things doesn't work out then he can still find others that he might be more happy. Carpe Diem, guys. We don't know what will happen so take what we have for now.

Nephirin
September 26th, 2015, 11:36 AM
Sokaris is total rubbish, I have to be honest. Good visual design but nothing else to offer.

I jumped Hermione because its clear that Alf isn't budging. Apprently our choices led to Luna so that's that. Which I think is kind of funny since I don't think I've seen anyone really express interest in completing an actual Luna romance.

Riiiiiiiin. I want the Touko route but just the platonic one where she.actually is proud to be Shinji's Master. She 2old just like Sion.

I think if we had actually attempted to pursue romance with Hermoine, we could have. But most of the people in the thread are doing their best to break up with her, not romance her, so it's kind of difficult to manage, I'd imagine.


Or we can just go with the tag for this thread: dat forced Luna lovin'

Or Caster's explanation above if we're feeling more charitable.

dat forced Luna lovin' and dat forced yandere Hermoine.

Magus
September 26th, 2015, 11:51 AM
dat forced Luna lovin' and dat forced yandere Hermoine.

As I've said before, if we manage this right (or rather, wrong), we could have "Hermione Gasai" on our hands.

Shinji… Shinji… Shinjii...


Hermione (or rather her actress, Emma Watson) is cute and all, but I'm just more drawn to Rin in this story, and thus I would rather to have Shinji avoid romantic entanglements with the former.

Thedoctor
September 26th, 2015, 11:54 AM
As I've said before, if we manage this right (or rather, wrong), we could have "Hermione Gasai" on our hands.

Shinji… Shinji… Shinjii...

Then she's an obstacle and as a true magus we will remove said obstacle.

Magus
September 26th, 2015, 11:56 AM
Then she's an obstacle and as a true magus we will remove said obstacle.

Hopefully we resolve things before it ever needs to come to that.

Thedoctor
September 26th, 2015, 12:04 PM
Hopefully we resolve things before it ever needs to come to that.

Part of me hopes so too, but another part wants to see where such an event would take us and how it would affect everyone else.

Magus
September 26th, 2015, 12:15 PM
Part of me hopes so too, but another part wants to see where such an event would take us and how it would affect everyone else.

True. But I'm not going to intentionally drive Hermione to become a yandere.

- - - Updated - - -

I added a tag for it.

Vagrant
September 26th, 2015, 12:16 PM
I will though.

Thedoctor
September 26th, 2015, 12:23 PM
I will though.
What if Hermione kills Rin?

Magus
September 26th, 2015, 01:16 PM
What if Hermione kills Rin?

That would be very wrong, very wrong indeed.

mr_Trickster
September 26th, 2015, 01:20 PM
I believe the choice we made in terms of what we like about Sokaris shaped how Shinji views things, which is why Luna got pushed more.

Could you please explain this further, Caster? I don't recall us making such a vote - granted it might have happened before I joined in on the forum for voting.


Part of me hopes so too, but another part wants to see where such an event would take us and how it would affect everyone else.

I honestly don't know if we still even have the option where we can settle things with her amicably. Everything we do either sends her further in or reeling back. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground with this girl anymore. And that's what I find quite worrying. Lately we've been trying to somehow make things work in such a way that we could keep her sane in some fashion while still distancing ourselves in the way we want to and none of our attempts have managed to get the results we want at all. Mistakes were made... mistakes were made...

Vagrant
September 26th, 2015, 01:59 PM
She's a fucking 14 year old girl with a crush. She'll bloody well get over it.

Veldril
September 26th, 2015, 03:01 PM
Could you please explain this further, Caster? I don't recall us making such a vote - granted it might have happened before I joined in on the forum for voting.

I am not Caster but I followed the story since book 1 so I think I can elaborate a bit.

Basically, Sokaris and Luna have very similar atmosphere around them. During the first year, people gunned for Sokaris ending, which made Shinji prefer a person who has the same type of personality as Sokaris (people who has strange aura and thinking, not very good with interacting with other people). Come along the second year, Sokaris was gone from Hogwart and Luna joined the cast. Luna happened to have strange personality and air around her that remind Shinji of Sokaris, therefore making him comfortable to spend time around her more than other girls. That's why the chemistry between Shinji and Luna is very good (because Shinji feels that spending time with Luna is similar to spending time with Sokaris) and their romance seems to go further than other girls.

Abendroth
September 26th, 2015, 05:15 PM
And what I specifically said was that it is especially unwise to have gotten the wand if it harmed our relationship with Hermione and we aren't making any progress with water stuff.
Ah, fair enough.

While I'm normally the pessimist, the silver lining here appears to be that we have unlocked dual casting, possibly as an evolution of our bait-and-switch casting. If we can ever get to the point where we can use one of our mental partitions to control each wand we will seriously impress people.

I think it's because Touko (and to lesser extent Sokaris) force Shinji to grow if he wants to have their positive attention.
This is similar to my position. I'm not overly concerned with our odds for romantic success, just that attempting to live up to their standards produces a higher quality Shinji.

mr_Trickster
September 26th, 2015, 08:50 PM
I am not Caster but I followed the story since book 1 so I think I can elaborate a bit.

Basically, Sokaris and Luna have very similar atmosphere around them. During the first year, people gunned for Sokaris ending, which made Shinji prefer a person who has the same type of personality as Sokaris (people who has strange aura and thinking, not very good with interacting with other people). Come along the second year, Sokaris was gone from Hogwart and Luna joined the cast. Luna happened to have strange personality and air around her that remind Shinji of Sokaris, therefore making him comfortable to spend time around her more than other girls. That's why the chemistry between Shinji and Luna is very good (because Shinji feels that spending time with Luna is similar to spending time with Sokaris) and their romance seems to go further than other girls.

I see your point. Thank you!

alfheimwanderer
September 27th, 2015, 08:24 PM
[X] Hillard

100%

Chapter 23. Echoing Words

He stood alone, ofuda scattered at his feet as he breathed, focusing on the sensation of prana flowing through the world. Around him, all was cool and dark, but then, such was what one would expect when one was deep underground. And despite the slight chill in the caverns below (which mostly hovered around 54 degrees Fahrenheit or 13 degrees Celsius year round, though it was warmer in some areas), conditions were far more hospitable than conditions on the surface, for winter had come to Hogwarts, and snow blanketed the world above.

…besides, his robes were enchanted for maximum comfort no matter the outside conditions.

“Are you just about done resting your feet?” an irritable voice grumbled next to him, with a muttered Lumos illuminating the dark tunnel he and his partner found himself in.

“…for the last time, Weasley, I was trying to concentrate,” Shinji growled, feeling slightly disoriented from his awareness being pulled back to himself so suddenly. He had just managed to get a faint impression of what lay ahead in each of the three possible branches of the path they had come to, but had been interrupted before he could determine more.

“And that’s why you just dropped your little papers on the ground?” Ronald Weasley shot back sarcastically, bending down as he picked up one of Shinji’s scattered earth ofuda. “Anyone could see you were falling asleep.” He paused as he brought one of the papers up so he could examine it more closely. “Hey, and what do these lines even mean, anyway?”

Instead of replying immediately, Shinji took a deep breath before exhaling, finding himself quite thankful for his sessions with Lockhart and Zelkova, as both had drilled into him the importance of deliberation before acting, of not giving in to anger.

Wordlessly, he summoned his ofuda out of Ron’s grasp and from the ground below, with the paper talismans flying back to his hand, as his partner blinked, his jaw falling open with shock.

“…you can cast nonverbal spells? And was that a summoning charm?” the redhead whispered, hardly able to believe what he had just witnessed. “How? Those are…”

“You’ll find that many of the Ourea are above where the curriculum says we should be, Mister Weasley,” Shinji replied dryly, pocketing these ofuda. Since they had only been used to sense the world, not act on it, the prana within hadn’t been fully used up, so they were still good for now. “To say nothing of the Stone Cutters, of course.”

“…I’ll…take your word for it,” Ron said weakly. “Just…Snape is a wanker and these challenges are hard enough as it is, without…”

The Gryffindor trailed off, not wanting to offend his partner. Under normal circumstances, neither would have chosen to work with the other, but the Potions Master of Hogwarts hadn’t given them a choice.

He hadn’t given anyone a choice with the final challenge of the term, randomly assigning them to various partners – who for the most part, they’d never worked with before. And if that weren’t enough, the challenge was not set in the Forest itself, which many of the students had become accustomed to by now, but the network of caverns deep beneath it – caverns and tunnels which for the most part were devoid of light.

This meant of course, that one person in each group had to use Lumos to light the way, rendering that individual more or less useless in combat – an immediate source of tension in each and every group, made worse by the so-called safety measures that Professor Snape had put into place.

Emergency Portkeys.

Items assigned to each student to let them escape the maze, activated either through a specific incantation, if one was rendered unconscious, or at the end of the challenge period, given that even the Potions Master acknowledged that journeying into the caverns below could be hazardous. As such, these items were not only useful but necessary, the man had explained, given the impossible task of searching the cave system himself.

However, this effectively meant there would be no second chances for students incapacitated by a stray spell, with their stranded partners given the unenviable choice between pressing on alone in the depths, confronting whatever dangers that lay within without the free use of their wand, or simply bowing to fate and accepting defeat.

A number of the Gryffindors – feeling that Snape was being cruel for the sake of being cruel – had protested rather vocally to the entire affair, but the Potions Master had never been one to bow to the whims of the masses, and had simply proceeded to hand out assignments.

Some, like Hermione Granger, were rather fortunate, having been paired with Fay Dunbar, the Potions star of the house of lions.

For others, like Su Li, working with Lavender Brown wasn’t exactly what she’d hoped for, but at the same time, it was tolerable enough.

…and then there were the unlucky few like Matou Shinji, who had been paired with Ronald Weasley, a boy he considered a braggart and had absolutely no wish to work with, despite his performance as a Capture the Flag captain.

When questioned as to why, he had done this, Snape had merely replied that in an actual competition, one would rarely have the luxury of choosing who one would work with – that any partnerships were likely to be temporary, and that one would often have to negotiate the boundaries and parameters of any such relationship on the fly.

Thus, the Head of House Slytherin told them to consider this exercise a favor, before sending them into the dark – alone.

Back in the present though, Matou Shinji looked between the three possible paths before them. The one on the left felt…foreboding, for lack of a better word, and the flow of air into the one in the middle seemed weakest of all.

“We go right, then,” he declared, with Ronald Weasley repeating what he said silently with an incredulous look on his face.

“Well, if you were just going to pick one, you could have done it minutes ago!” the Gryffindor snapped peevishly. “Just because you haven’t failed a challenge yet doesn’t mean you get to be so bossy.”

“Oh?” Shinji asked, raising an eyebrow. “I’m not being bossy, I’m just trying to make sure we make the right choice.” He shook his head. “This situation is far more dangerous than anything we’ve faced in the forest above.”

But Ron was not done talking.

“That doesn’t mean you just sit around while everyone else is getting ahead,” Ron growled in disgust. “Bloody Ravenclaws, always overthinking everything. Just bloody pick one, Matou.”

“In case you didn’t notice, I did, Weasley,” Shinji responded, his voice gaining an edge as he had to deal with this rude, insubordinate—he shook his head, as if to clear it. “Look, if you want to lead, be my guest.”

“Uh…ok,” Weasley answered, thrown a bit off balance by how the other had just handed over leadership of the party. “You know that means you have to use Lumos to light my way, right?”

The smile on Shinji’s face, if Ron had been looking, would have chilled him to the bone.

“Of course, Ronald Bilius Weasley,” the Boy from the East noted, his voice dangerously quiet as he brandished his wand. “That much I am quite aware of. Lumos.”

‘Master, do remember our lessons,’ his familiar chided him. ‘Frustration limits your options.’

‘I remember, Zelkova. I also seem to remember pride doing so. So I’ll simply let Weasley’s pride be his fall.’

‘…if you say so.’

For a time thereafter, only the echoing of their footsteps broke the eerie silence that had descended upon the cavern. Perhaps Shinji was being a poor sport by not telling Ron what he had encountered during his last adventure in these caves – the many creatures that could be found here, and the dangers they posed, but in his mind, he rather thought that if the other boy didn’t want his counsel or experience, then Shinji would let the Gryffindor meet his ruin.

After all, if the Weasley boy suffered an accident in the caves, it would hardly be his fault, and it wasn’t like he needed the other boy to get through the caverns, not with Zelkova by his side. In fact, the presence of the other boy – someone he neither knew well nor trusted – was what was keeping him from using most of his abilities.

Still, he held his tongue.

‘Zelkova, find me some caches, if you could,’ he asked of his familiar instead. ‘The sooner I’m done working with this…person…the better.’

Through the mental link he had to his familiar, the boy from the east thought he heard what could only be a long-suffering sigh.

‘Is this course of action…truly wise, Master?’

‘Perhaps not,’ Shinji conceded, shaking his head. ‘But it is what it is. I can’t exactly work with someone who refuses to have an open mind.’

‘Mm.’

Zelkova said no more, and Shinji could feel the familiar’s mental presence receding as the kodama moved to comply. At least that would be one less thing to worry about.

And it wasn’t as if finding the ingredients for the Pepperup Potion and the Antidote to Uncommon Poisons would be terribly difficult, he supposed.

When they chanced upon a number of Fire Crabs after some time in the dark, Shinji was sure that he might be rid of the annoying Weasley child – but alas, it was not to be, as the other boy had a fair sense of tactics. True, the redhead’s robe had caught fire, and he had been forced to abandon it when the flames threatened to make their way up towards his face, but otherwise, he managed to deal with the creatures just fine, using a combination of Rictusempra – the Tickling charm - and Flipendo – the Knockback jinx.

“My robe…” Ron muttered in dismay, looking at the charred remnants of his school uniform.

“Oh don’t complain, you can just buy another,” Shinji commented off-handedly. “Those were hardly better than rags anyway.”

If the clothing had looked at all expensive, Shinji might have offered some shred of sympathy, as he too had suffered the embarrassment of losing his robes to Fire Crabs in first year. But Ronald’s clothing had seemed worn and second-hand, as if he’d worn his worst clothing to Potions class deliberately, expecting it to be damaged or dirtied.

‘…which actually wouldn’t be a bad idea,’ the Boy from the East reflected. ‘Since these challenges aren’t exactly conducive to survival of expensive things.’

“…easy for you to say,” Ron muttered, scowling at his partner’s dismissive words. Money had always been a problem for the Weasley family, after all, and even if things were better now, he hadn’t forgotten the way others would tease him, calling him raggedy Ronald, the boy who wore everyone’s hand-me-downs. “Everything I have is like this…”

Shinji was rather taken aback by this admission.

He was well aware that the Weasleys weren’t exactly rich, given his association with the Twins, but with the twins getting well-paying internships after the first year, and their father becoming a Professor after second, he thought things would have changed, with their family getting better robes and such. Then again, old habits were hard to break – he knew that only all too well himself.

“And why didn’t you help?” Ron blustered onwards, breaking the Ravenclaw from his reverie. “You could have done more than stand there with a uselessly glowing wand!”

“…and who was it that told me to use Lumos to light his way, Mister Weasley?” Shinji retorted, his voice quite even and dispassionate. “I wouldn’t be a very good teammate if I made you fight in the dark, after all.”

“Well. That’s true,” the Gryffindor conceded, brought up short by his partner turning his words against him. With a sigh, he stalked forward again, with Shinji trailing in his wake.

He didn’t apologize, but the Boy from the East supposed that the admission was about as much of a concession as he could reasonably expect, and as they continued, an invisible Zelkova pressed a vial of Chizpurfle carapace into his hand – one of the vital ingredients of the Antidote to Uncommon Potions, and a vial of bicorn horn – needed for the Pepperup Potion.

‘Thank you. No luck finding anything else?’

‘Not in this region of the caves, nor behind us,’ the kodama reported, with an almost pensive tone to the spirit’s mental voice. ‘I suspect some of the ingredients are not in caches.’

‘Fire seeds, certainly,’ Shinji noted, as he knew the cave system was home to a number of bushes. ‘Billywigs also…worry me.’

Given that Billywigs were small, sapphire-blue creatures only half an inch long, one would normally dismiss them as threats – until one realized that they were both aggressive and fast. Fast enough that most would fail to notice them until they had been stung, after which defeating them – or even leaving the area – would no longer be a concern at all, given the mind-altering properties of their venom.

To put it crudely, those stung by them would be catapulted into the heights of euphoria and giddiness, a transcendental state of pleasure and happiness – which would not ordinarily not be so bad, except that it was followed by temporary levitation, with the nigh inevitable additional stings increasing the height and duration of hovering.

…in some cases, this led to very nasty deaths when the hovering charm finally wore off, and practitioners without the ability to apparate or slow their momentum slammed into the ground with at terminal velocity.

Fortunately, as they were inside a network of caves, they wouldn’t fly up quite so high, but being placed into a prolonged altered state of consciousness where one was unable to act would still mean failure.

‘…and failure would be almost guaranteed if one had lost one’s partner, since one would not be able to break from the trap alone - unless one had taken a Calming Draught ahead of time,’ Shinji realized, his eyes narrowing at all the possible ways to fail. ‘That’s…’

He didn’t even know what to think. One part of him – the part that believed that one needed to be thorough, to ignore human sentiment and complete one’s objectives regardless of the cost, appreciated the elegance and cunning of Snape’s plan, given that twists like this made sure that neither party could simply coast to victory on the other’s coattails, since usually the stronger individual would take point and—

—sadly, Matou Shinji had no more time to think, as Ronald Weasley leapt into the air with a cry of “ow!”…and stayed afloat.

‘Damnit. They got him.’

Which meant there was no time to lose.

Drawing his second wand, Matou Shinji launched a wordless “Verdimillious” at where he remembered Ron Weasley to be, as an orb of glowing green energy shot from the wand-tip and exploded in a blinding flash of emerald light, with white sparks playing over the forms of the Billywigs, paralyzing them and halting the motion of their rapidly whirring wings.

One by one, they fell, their bodies sparking and twitching as they writhed on the ground.

If he were anyone else, the boy would have been faced with the unenviable task of attempting to hit over a dozen coin-sized targets before the temporary paralysis wore off and the Billywigs lifted off again, but fortunately, the Ravenclaw quite literally had a few tricks up his sleeve.

‘Bind!’

At his command, a flurry of paper talismans shot forth, one homing in on each of the small creatures and sealing their movements. Warily. He cast Verdimillious again, in case there were any other creatures hidden from sight – but there were none in the area. The entire encounter had taken mere handful of seconds, meaning that Ronald Weasley was still floating – and still in a blissful state of mind – unaware of his surroundings.

Seeing this, Shinji sighed.

‘Zelkova, watch the area, I’m going to harvest the stingers.’

He supposed he might as well do something constructive while he waited for the poison to wear off.

100%

Unfortunately, the Billywig venom had not yet worn off when Shinji finished, and by now, the Matou scion was slightly worried. A good deal of time had passed since they had entered the caves, and yet they had not finished gathering the ingredients to either potion, nor even reached a room with Fire Seeds.

Had they taken a wrong turn somewhere? Though he had entered part of the Hogwarts cave system before with Pansy during one of his first Potions-Herbology classes, it was becoming clear that he was in a different section entirely, and that his knowledge from last time would provide him little advantage.

Shinji shook his head.

‘This isn’t an accident. Snape already knows where I was last time, so of course he’d make sure I was assigned to go somewhere else…’

He looked around, considering his options. He could wait for his partner to recover from his stings, but who knew how long that would take? He could press on, which meant either abandoning Weasley or having to divide his attention by protecting the awake but unaware practitioner of witchcraft – though as long as Weasley did not become aware of his surroundings, Shinji could use his abilities more openly.

Speaking of which…

‘Zelkova,’ he asked of his familiar. ‘Is there anything I should know about these caves?’

The response came almost at once.

’Master, the caverns ahead are not stable,’ the kodama warned. ‘If you choose to continue, be careful of your footing and avoid using your explosive ofuda, given the risk of a cave-in.’

Shinji swallowed.

‘What about Earth elemental ofuda?’ he inquired, given that those as well, he’d have only his wand spells and his ofuda of sealing and binding to work with. ‘Would it be safe to use those?’

‘…only if you are cautious, Master.’

Zelkova’s answer did not exactly inspire confidence. Even without explosive and earth elemental ofuda, the Matou scion was more skilled than most students his age, thanks to his training in Charms and Defense, but he was also more aware of the dangers of the world, and having his arsenal become so limited troubled him.

Especially since he knew there were things resistant to wand spells. Trolls, certain youkai, Acromantulae and more…

‘Even so. I’ve come too far to fail.’
And as satisfying as it would be, abandoning Ronald Weasley – a Gryffindor – wasn’t an option either, not when people were already talking about his ruthlessness and some were wondering if he was going ‘Dark’ altogether. So far, none of the people he worked with had been struck down, a feat matched in his year only by the Boy-Who-Lived, so if the first one was this…loudmouth, it would probably hurt his reputation.

Especially if the Weasley boy were to embellish why he left, just as he had done with his encounter with Black the year before…

‘No helping it then,’ the boy realized, shaking his head as he doused his light with a silent ‘Nox’, freeing up a wand for combat as he summoned the other boy’s wand to him, and used his hazel wand to control Ron’s hovering. ‘Zelkova, can you provide me with light?’

The answer was affirmative, as an orb of illumination appeared on his shoulder, and with an insensate Weasley boy floating behind him, Matou Shinji went onwards.

Onwards over floors slick with corrosive acids, through tight tunnels where sharp rocks scraped at skin and cut at cloth, along a slippery rope bridge suspended a hundred meters over a subterranean river, dealing with Streelers, Mackled Malaclaws, and more.

Streelers – giant colour-changing snails that glowed in the dark, which left behind a trail of venom so toxic and corrosive that it burned all organic matter that it touched, were simple enough to deal with, as they were big and slow and not magically resistant at all.

Mackled Malaclaws were a bit more annoying. Light grey creatures resembling land-going lobsters about a foot-long, they were rather difficult to pick out against the grey of the stone passages. And while they were not usually deadly in and of themselves, a bite from their claws would have the unusual side effect of making the victim unlucky for up to a week, in addition to whatever damage they dealt, with an added week of misfortune for every additional bite thereafter.

One should note that this misfortune was not simply the absence of luck, but something like anti-luck, and it was advised that anyone bitten by a Malaclaw should call off all bets, wagers and ventures immediately.

‘Or retreat from this exercise at once,’ Shinji groused, decidedly unamused. How…thoughtful of Professor Snape to give many of his students misfortune for the holidays. There were many other things Shinji wanted to say at the moment, but he held his tongue, as if he started, he wouldn’t stop anytime soon.

And it wasn’t as if he’d been in any danger himself, as Zelkova had been kind enough to dispatch these the creatures. In his form as a materialized spirit, he was functionally immune to most poisons, magical or otherwise, and with his awareness of earth, could rarely be taken by surprise by landbound creatures. The kodama had also harvested their tails and claws for Shinji’s future, given that the tails had some use in potions brewing – and he could see quite a few possibilities for using the venom in the claws of the Malaclaws to weaken enemies he might encounter in the future.

‘Thanks, Zelkova. Don’t know how I’d manage to get through this without you around.’

‘Sometimes I wonder the same thing, Master,’ came the spirit’s wry reply. ‘Though perhaps you should be thankful that your partner succumbed to those creatures earlier. Otherwise, one of you would undoubtedly have been bitten here.’

‘…Point.’

They continued onward, their surroundings dimly illuminated by Zelkova’s spirit light until they came to a small chamber, from which several paths diverged, each descending into darkness, with no way to know what lay ahead.

…well, perhaps not no way.

Not wanting to waste time by blindly exploring each of them, Shinji cancelled his levitation spell on Ron, allowing the boy to simply float motionlessly in the air, while scattered ofuda about his feet, allowing their prana to seep into the ground as he closed his eyes, trying to sense where each path would lead.

‘Zelkova, douse your light and keep watch, please.’

‘As you wish.’

He could have asked the kodama to scout for him, but the Matou boy knew that if he didn’t develop his own skills, he would be too dependent on his familiar – and that would be bad, especially if he was to compete in a tournament or some such.

So in the chamber before the three passageways, he stood alone in the darkness, his awareness reaching out through stone and dirt, following his prana as it seeped down in the earth, following each path as they moved down, down, down.

The path on the right descended for a time, but twisted about soon after to ascend again.

The center path split into another handful of passageways – or crawlspaces, if one wanted to be more accurate – and from the way his prana flowed through the stone so readily, he had the feeling that the area ahead was the most unstable of the three.

As for the left-hand path…

‘Descending, descending…huh. A vast chamber? That—‘

Sadly, his ruminations were interrupted by the thud of flesh against stone, followed by a scream of terror and pain, as the Billywig venom wore off at last…with Ronald Weasley falling out of the air onto the rough cavern floor.

“Oh Merlin that hurts…” the redhead moaned in the dark. “My wand…where’s my wand? Why is it so dark?”

Growling under his breath, an annoyed Shinji summoned his ofuda back to his hand, gauging how much prana was left in these. Not enough for a major attack, that was certain, but then, with these lower tunnels fairly unstable as it was, earth elemental manipulation for anything besides sensing might not be entirely wise.

“Where are you? Matou?” the redhead called out. “Matou?” he repeated, louder this time, as another groan of utter misery escaped his lips.

“Stop shouting,” Shinji whispered harshly, as he cast Lumos and walked over to the redhead, looking him over for any serious injuries.

“Arghh, my eyes…!” Ron moaned, covering his eyes with his hands as the brilliant light of Shinji’s wand came closer and closer. “Too bright. Too…wha—?” Thankfully, his voice trailed off as he found something long and hard being pressed into his hands.

“Your wand, Weasley,” Matou Shinji replied, not seeing any obvious signs injury around the other’s face, or limbs. Well, aside from some abrasions and shallow cuts from being dragged unceremoniously through narrow crawlspaces, but that was to be expected. “Can you stand?”

“Ugh…I don’t feel so well…”

“Can. You. Stand?” Shinji repeated, as Ron’s vision finally began to adjust, with the boy cringing as he recognized the one towering above him. “Do you need help?”

He reached down to help the other to his feet, or at least to sit up, but the Weasley boy batted away his limb, as if the offer offended him.

“Don’t need your help,” Ron mumbled, as he slowly sat up, rocking back and forth. “Don’t want it either. Not from a bloody snake-friend who’s just a Boggart away from murdering us all.”

Shinji paused, frowning at the other’s words.

“You heard about what happened with the Boggart?” he asked mildly, curious what someone who hadn’t been there would make of it.

“How you snapped at the sight of a dead girl and then blew up your grandfather?” Ron growled, recalling what he’d heard about the incident. “I don’t see why Flitwick hasn’t expelled you yet. You burned your grandfather alive with one boggart, and then you blow him up? You’re mad. If it wasn’t for Potter being there and stopping you, you would have probably just gone on and killed everyone else there too!”

Shinji flinched at the accusation. When he’d seen the Boggart turn into that false Sokaris and then his grandfather, it was true he had been overcome with rage. Rage enough to make him forget where he was. Rage enough that the only thing on his mind had been making the being before him disappear.

“You might have everyone else fooled,” the boy continued. “But not me. You’re as dark as they come.”

It occurred to Shinji that perhaps an overcharged Memory Charm would not trigger the emergency Portkey, but he put the thought aside. Fred and George would no doubt have questions if their brother was to come back as a drooling idiot, no matter how tempting the thought might be.
Instead, resisting the impulse to do great violence, the Matou scion smiled.

“Oh, perhaps I am,” he replied in a deceptively pleasant tone. “But if so, let me just ask you one question.”

“What question?”

“Why aren’t you dead?” Shinji asked beatifically, his uncanny smile widening.

Ron jerked back, a frisson of fear running through him at the question

“W-what?”

“After all, I’m dark, right? So tell me…why aren’t you dead?”

“…that’s…” Ron’s mouth went dry as he looked from the glowing tip of Matou’s wand to the easterner’s cold grey eyes. Instinctively, his fingers clutched at the Portkey at his waist and he began to breathe again. “You wouldn’t dare. Snape would know.”

“Relying on Snape then?” Shinji inquired mildly, his expression frozen in its smiling mask. “How things change. Didn’t you call him a wanker only a while ago?”

“You wouldn’t…”

“I wouldn’t have had to do a thing myself, you know,” Shinji inquired. “After you blundered into those Billywigs, I could have just floated you over to a bottomless pit and left you there, with you none the wiser. And when the sting’s effect wore off…”

Shinji shrugged.

“Well, accidents happen, don’t they?”

Ron scrabbled backward until he was up against a wall. He couldn’t breathe. He felt as if he were paralyzed, transfixed by the other’s cold stare as he clutched at the Portkey, all thoughts of fighting gone.

“You…you monster…” the redhead whispered. “I’ll—“

“You’ll what?” Shinji asked, stepping closer to the Weasley boy, his gaze intense and unrelenting. “Tell Snape? Tell him what? That I kept you safe and alive after you were stung, even though you’ve been a right prat this entire time? That I collected most of the ingredients needed for both potions while you were out? That the first thing you did when you woke up was accuse me of being a Dark Wizard?”

“I…”

“That you were stupid enough to have someone you thought was a Dark Wizard walk behind you, with his wand pointed at your back?”

Ron opened his mouth, shut it, and opened it again, but no sound came out.

What had he been thinking? Letting Matou walk behind him all this time, leaving him helpless if the other decided to ambush him.

“…and yet, here you are,” Shinji concluded. “Alive. Intact.” His eyes glanced at the way Ron’s hands were clutching the Portkey. “And a coward in Lion’s clothing who couldn’t even muster the nerve to run.”

A surge of indignation rose in the Weasley boy’s chest at the other’s hurtful comments, but Ron squelched it, as he didn’t think Matou would react very well, simply sitting very still and hoping the other wouldn’t actually hurt him.

“Hmph. Not even enough nerve to talk back, I see,” the boy from the east noted coolly. “Stand up, Weasley.”

‘No…please…’ Ron thought, but the other repeated himself.

“Stand up, unless you want to run away,” Shinji continued. “And if you do, go ahead. I don’t need you to finish this, Weasley. You’re just a burden. A load.”

As if to protest, the Gryffindor stood and looked at the Ravenclaw defiantly.

“I…I’m not afraid of you,” Ron claimed, with Shinji raising a dismissive eyebrow.

“Maybe if you tell yourself that enough, you might actually start to believe it,” Shinji replied. “Now, you go first, down the left-hand path?”

“Why that—“

“Just do it, Weasley.”

Swallowing his protests, Ron Weasley moved to comply, knowing that the faster they finished this nightmare challenge, the sooner he would be away from Matou Shinji.

Quickly, more running than walking, he made his way down the indicated tunnel, trying to stay ahead of his alleged ally, his feet scrabbling for purchase as he ran – until he ran into something solid and hairy.

‘What…?’

In the next moment, it was quite clear what he’d run into, as he found himself up against a giant spider blocking the way, its beady eyes gleaming in the distant glow of Shinji’s wand.

“…Merlin…”

No. It couldn’t be. No. Spiders didn’t…this wasn’t. It had to…it had to be a Boggart. Snape had used them before, and Ron’s deepest seated fear had always been spiders, ever since Fred had turned his teddy bear into a monstrous, hairy spider after Ron had accidentally broken his toy broomstick.

One moment, he’d been holding his bear for comfort – and the next, it had too many legs and was hissing at him…

“Fresssh Meaaatt,” the apparition before him hissed out, bringing him back to the present. Ron had one horrifying glimpse of eight shining black eyes and razor-sharp pincers before it was upon him, lifting him up into the air with its front legs.

“Riddikulus!” Ron shouted hoarsely, waving his wand about with frantic motions. “Riddikulus!”

But nothing happened. Why? Why didn’t it work? It should have changed. Should have been rendered legless. Should have let him go.

…and it would have, had it been a Boggart.

“Riddikul—“

His incantation was cut off by a scream of pain, as the pincers clamped down on his leg, and pain greater than anything he’d ever felt before flooded through his body.

Pain. Pain. Pain pain pain pain pain.

Fire raced through his leg, through his spine, through everything as the spider opened its pincers again—and with a jerk, he was pulled free, sent hurtling back by a wordless levitation charm, with one of Matou’s papers connecting to his leg and sealing the pain away.

‘Huh?’

He came a halt somewhere behind Matou, losing his grip on his wand as he struck the floor. And when he looked up, he bore witness to something…startling.

‘What…? Two wands…?’

Two wands – one in each of Matou’s hands, as the other boy lashed out with spells of all sorts. The red of the stunning spell. Black lightning. The blue of the Knockback Jinx and more. Even more of those little papers, which stuck to the spider, but seemed to do nothing as it charged with nigh impossible speed, slamming Matou backwards with its forelimbs.

‘This is bad…’ Shinji thought, as he faced off against the enemy – an Acromantula that was somehow here. Like the onikuma, it was deflecting his spells, but this time, there was no room to use the levitation charm to escape the spider – nor could he if he didn’t want it to go past him and kill Weasley.

Nor could he really sidestep it, as that would probably lead to the same thing.

All he could do was stand against it – something which he never thought he’d have to do. In his mind, there was always room to maneuver, always room to move, but now there wasn’t, and the spider, enraged at losing its prey due to Shinji’s intervention, charged.

Spell beams flew through the air, tearing apart the darkness as cutting curses, severing charms, knockback jinxes and more crackled against the spider’s hide and fizzled out – save for the ones which struck at its eyes, which caused it to stop short and rear up.

With force befitting a horse-sized opponent, the spider barreled into him, knocking him to the ground, its clawed front limbs pinning him down as its razor-sharp pincers came closer, closer, closer still, dripping with deadly venom—

‘Master…’

His sense of self faded. His sense of power faded. His anger faded, everything faded except the desire to reject the end. A magus walked with death, yes, but did not succumb to it. He was weak alone, stripped of so much of his power by the circumstances in which he fought – but he was not helpless.

Because he was not alone.

Matou Shinji found himself sinking deep, deep, deep into his consciousness, where a seal kept a hidden door closed. A door behind which lay every weakness, every fear, every vulnerability in his life. A door behind which lay his wishes and dreams – behind which lay imagination – behind which lay everything and nothing and a thousand others.

He in front of the door. The world behind it.

Undoing the seal, he opened the door, and everything changed.

There was no Matou Shinji. There was no world.

All was one.

‘I’m right here.’

And in that moment, Matou Shinji was reborn.

He returned to awareness in the moment the pincers closed with crushing strength, with the spider screaming as they broke against flesh hard and unyielding as stone itself. He could feel the tunnels, could feel the earth all around him, the flow of prana in the air, the vibrations of people moving upon the world, the patterns of life in all things.

The earth itself as far as his mind could reach were his sensory receptors, telling him everything about the area.

That beyond the spider was the cavern, where the ingredients he needed could be found. That Ron Weasley was injured and poisoned, but lived, with the poison sealed for now. That the spider raged and attacked him over and over, but to no avail.

An immense amount of data – overwhelming – overpowering as it rushed through him.

As if by instinct, he conjured up a bounded field, hurling the spider backwards as he rose to his feet, a scythe appearing in his hands as he wished for a weapon.

The arachnid charged – and was beaten back with a flick of the grim weapon.

It charged again, and once more, was beaten back.

“Maybe it be your end will come,” he intoned, drawing a line of light into the air as he himself rushed the beast – prana crackling around his weapon as he slashed at the great spider. “Maybe it be you will be shattered.”

The Acromantula screamed, a blood curdling scream, but Shinji did not care.

“Silence,” he bade, and the spider’s voice was taken away as he impaled it, the blade of his weapon, slicing through its body into the ground.

It wriggled, thrashed, sought to escape – but there would be no escape, not with everything in his hands – when the entire areas was as his fingers.

“From clay you were made, to stone you will become,” Matou Shinji continued, and from the point where he had pierced the other, something grey began to spread over its black carapace. Slowly, as if his prana was infecting – corrupting – the creature from within, it was becoming stone.

If he could not use the earth against the enemy, he would simply change the enemy into earth that it might be molded, injecting it with earth elemental prana and displacing its own. Its resistance to spells lay in its thick carapace – once beyond that, it was helpless before him, as the troll had been helpless when a mass of explosive ofuda had been crammed down its throat.

It thrashed, reeled, silently screamed, but Shinji just watched pitilessly as the petrification spread, and at last the spider was still.

“Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

And with a sound like breaking glass, the new statue crumbled away to gravel, leaving no trace it had ever been alive.

When the battle ended, Matou Shinji looked down at himself, finding that he was now clad in a deep grey garment that seemed very Japanese, not the robes of before. And the scythe…when he dematerialized it, he found he felt more complete, as if it was a part of him, as signified by its presence as a crown of horn-like branches.

This power…this immense awareness…

‘…this is fusion…isn’t it?’ he asked quietly. If he wished, he could command the earth to rise, for walls to take form or spikes to impale, for the cavern to collapse, for…

‘Indeed, Master.’

The mental voice came from within him, and sounded much like his own. Or perhaps what he recognized as his voice was different.

In the moment he believed he was about die, the boundaries had fallen, and yet, in the wake of battle, when the danger had passed, he could feel himself weakening again.

‘How much longer…?’

‘It never lasts – not the first time, Master,’ Zelkova related. ‘That takes practice. Preferably not in such a place. But you should attend to the Weasley boy.’

“Un,” Shinji acknowledged as he turned and walked towards the other, his extra awareness of the world fading away as he approached the other, with Ronald Weasley looking upon the golden-eyed form of the Boy from the East in raw, naked fear.

This…person…who he had called a Dark Wizard had saved him.

With whatever strange power he commanded – power enough to utterly destroy a spider, he could probably have just have abandoned him to the spider, but Matou had saved him instead.

‘Why?’

But Matou did not give him any answers.

“Are you alright, Ronald Weasley?” the other asked impassively.

“I…I can’t walk,” Ron answered, focusing on the details so he wouldn’t scream again at the display of power that was utterly beyond him. Somehow he’d seen Matou throw a spider off himself. Not all of the details, mind you, except that he thought the boy had conjured up something to stab the spider, and that he looked different somehow.

He couldn’t tell in the darkness.

Wordlessly, wandlessly, the other boy gestured and Ron rose up into the air trailing behind the other as Matou brought them to a vast chamber lit by seven burning trees, where he retrieved the last necessary ingredients, prepared the potions – including enough antidote to treat Ron’s wound before sealing it with a Reparo.

This unfortunately left a scar, but Ron wasn’t going to complain. Not when Matou had demonstrated the ability to effortlessly kill him if he wanted to.

And instead…

‘I owe him a debt.’

A thought which hung heavy in his mind.

“Matou, I’m—“ he began, but Shinji waved him off.
“Tell no one of what happened, Weasley,” he told Ron, his eyes once more cold and grey. “This last fight did not occur.”

The Gryffindor just nodded quickly.

“Of course, Matou,” he conceded. “This did not happen. I understand.”

He would not offend Matou again, if he could help it. For he was coming to understand that not only did the boy command the Ourea – and thus his chances of joining it – but that perhaps light and dark were not so easy to distinguish.

…and that perhaps if Matou was actually a good person, this meant Potter wasn’t just a fraud.

Shortly after they finished their potionmaking, and Shinji had fully reverted to his normal form, they were returned to the surface, where they were one of only two teams to pass the challenge, with Hermione and Fay Dunbar being the other, though their path had been somewhat…easier.

100%

That night, he told the Stone Cutters what he had seen, what he had encountered in the tunnels, with the others seeming troubled by this.

“I doubt Professor Snape would have made you fight an Acromantula,” Harry noted. “We are, after all, only third years, and for most, it’s not safe to fight them.”

“Do you think there’s a risk of more of them loose?” Hillard asked with some concern. “I didn’t think any had come so far out.”

“Mm, if there are, they won’t be active, not when there’s snow on the ground,” Luna commented, bringing a finger to her lips curiously. “Spiders hibernate during the winter. They’re cold-blooded, you know.”

“Maybe it wandered in the fall,” Shinji speculated, “and the heat of the fire seed bushes kept it from having to hibernate.”

“Perhaps,” Hillard allowed. “That seems as a reasonable an explanation as any. You said you defeated the spider though? That is…impressive.”

Luna looked at him, her wide eyes seeming to know what he’d done – what’d he’d seen.

“Will any of you be at Hogwarts this winter?” Shinji asked quietly, with all but the Twins shaking their heads. “I wanted to invite you to join me for New Year’s Eve at my new house.”

“Finalized that, did you?” Hillard asked. “I thought I would have heard more about that.”

“Well, I have to go inspect it and sign the deed in person, but otherwise its done,” Shinji explained. “Robert, if you have time, would you mind taking me over to Gringotts after the Express drops us at Platform 9 ¾? I could use an extra set of eyes to help me make sure everything’s in order, and you’ve been trained by Moody so…”

“Constant Vigilance, eh?” Hillard joked. “Alright, sounds interesting.”

“As does the New Year’s Celebration,” Fred noted.

“Indeed, indeed. Let’s go see Matou’s house!”

“I’m assuming Tohsaka will be there,” Harry asked dryly.

“Yes actually,” Shinji replied. “Speaking of which, would you have time to join us for Christmas Eve, Harry? I know you normally spend the Holiday at Greengrass Manor, but…its Tohsaka’s first Christmas in another country, and…”

“Well, I guess I could,” Harry answered, smiling slightly as he thought back to his first Christmas at Hogwarts. For him, that had been a wonderful experience, but for someone who might have had a more pleasant home life, he could see how they’d miss it. “Not on Christmas itself though.”

“Wouldn’t dream of asking,” Shinji said. “I have other things to do on Christmas anyway.”

“…no doubt,” Harry replied, looking between Shinji and Luna. “Anything else you have to say?”

“Only that all of you should drop by Twilfitt and Tattings sometime during the holiday for one part of my gift to you,” Shinji related, smiling ever so slightly at the thought of their surprised expressions.

“Oh?” George asked.

“And what would it be?” Fred chimed in.

“Now that would be telling,” Shinji replied mischievously, before his expression smoothed itself out. “You’ll like it though, I think.”

“We’ll take your word for it,” Hillard noted. “We’ll bring our presents to the party on New Year’s Eve, if that’s alright?”

“Certainly,” Shinji said graciously. There was a little more talk before the meeting ended, with the group bidding each other happy holidays, before each of them vanished back to their Towers.

Each of them but Shinji and Luna that was, with the blonde walking over to the boy and sitting on his lap, resting her forehead against his.

“Hmm?” Shinji asked, wondering what had brought this on.

“You nearly died, didn’t you…?” Luna asked, looking at him knowingly.

“…I did,” he replied after a moment. He could admit these things to her, where he couldn’t to the others, but it was still hard. “How did you know?”
Luna just smiled sadly, shaking her head as her palms glowed amber, and her yang prana washed through him.

“I know you, Matou,” she said simply, looking with him with an expression that made him flinch.

“I’m sorry for not telling you,” he whispered, but before he could say anything more, he was silenced by her finger against his lips.

“Don’t be,” Luna answered, pulling her finger away and rubbing her nose against his. “You came back, after all. Back to us.” ‘Back to me…’ She fell silent for a moment before sighing. “What was it like?”

“…like I could do anything,” Shinji replied. “That I could feel the world around me, know where everything was, feel how solid and how fragile the earth was.”

“I feel the wind. The sky and the beat of each human heart,” Luna said in answer, and Shinji rather thought he could feel her heart as well. “It’s lonely, seeing things when others can’t.”

“Mm,” Shinji murmured, knowing how that felt most of all. “I’m glad you’re as sane as I am,” he said, mirroring what she’d said to him when they first met on the train.

“I’m glad too,” Luna whispered, leaning against him. Glancing up, Shinji noted a sprig of mistletoe hanging above his seat and chuckled. Perhaps his first kiss had been stolen, but maybe it wasn’t too late to have a proper one – one that would really count, since the other didn’t…right?

“There’s mistletoe,” Shinji said.

“I know,” Luna answered. “But you don’t have to if you…mmm.”

But she said no more, as he leaned forward and sealed her lips, with the girl closing her eyes and kissing him back. It wasn’t an earth-shattering kiss, to be sure, not one of those found in the romance novels so loved by teenage girls, where sparks flew and the world moved, but despite the newness of it, it felt…right.

“Merry Christmas, Luna,” Shinji whispered, when their lips parted at last, as Luna opened her eyes, a little surprised.

“Mm, and Merry Christmas to you,” she answered, as they rested against each other comfortably, content to simply enjoy each other’s company as last day of the fall term finally came to an end.

100%

Choice 61: On December 23, Rin will be flying in to Heathrow in the morning (commercial - economy class), while Illya will be flying in that evening (on a private plane chartered by the Einzberns of course). We are committed to meeting Rin of course, but do we want to meet Illya as well?

[ ] Meet Illya. And why not? Rin will assuredly be tired and needing to sleep, and its better to make a good first impression.
[ ] Have Atlas' representatives meet Illya - we should spend the full day with Rin, and it would be safer to just meet Illya at the gala

EnigmaticFellow
September 27th, 2015, 08:55 PM
[X] Meet Illya. And why not? Rin will assuredly be tired and needing to sleep, and its better to make a good first impression.

Can't really argue against this vote. I would rather have Shinji handle this rather than some undisclosed agent doing it for him.

Kuroyuki
September 27th, 2015, 09:10 PM
[X] Meet Illya. And why not? Rin will assuredly be tired and needing to sleep, and its better to make a good first impression.

What EF said.

Magus
September 27th, 2015, 09:10 PM
dat forced Luna lovin'

We have Atlas representatives who can meet with Illya on our behalf?

[x] Have Atlas meet with Illya - it's safer / we can spend time with Rin. Granted, she'll be tired, so we shouldn't expect to do much, but we should just be there for her.

Skull Leader
September 27th, 2015, 09:15 PM
[x] Meet Illya.

While spending time with Rin after she has been hit by the "small" housing commendation that Shinji has for her will lead to oh so much fun, it is more important to make a good impression on Illya. We need to get Illya to move from her vindictive mode of operation. She is likely to be on guard with Shinji association with Shirou. We can not treat her half ways here if we want to be able to work with her. We have a rare opportunity here, in the fact that she is alone. Let's not waste it by spending time with Rin who we will see during most of the break.

Cassius
September 27th, 2015, 09:18 PM
[x] Meet Illya. And why not? Rin will assuredly be tired and needing to sleep, and its better to make a good first impression.

Kelnish
September 27th, 2015, 09:19 PM
[x] ignore both and go to mcdonalds

Nephirin
September 27th, 2015, 09:24 PM
There's no avoiding the Luna points.

[ ] Meet Illya. And why not? Rin will assuredly be tired and needing to sleep, and its better to make a good first impression.

AZURE
September 27th, 2015, 09:35 PM
[X] Meet Illya. And why not? Rin will assuredly be tired and needing to sleep, and its better to make a good first impression.

mangafreak7793
September 27th, 2015, 09:47 PM
[ ] Meet Illya. And why not? Rin will assuredly be tired and needing to sleep, and its better to make a good first impression.

Kishou the Badger
September 27th, 2015, 10:58 PM
D'awwwwwwwwww

(also, in light of Ron getting this tookus kicked (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX7wtNOkuHo))

[x] Illya.

mr_Trickster
September 27th, 2015, 11:30 PM
Well, most of what needs to be said regarding this choice has already been mentioned by the vote itself or everyone else.

[X] Meet Illya. And why not? Rin will assuredly be tired and needing to sleep, and its better to make a good first impression.

Veldril
September 28th, 2015, 12:35 AM
[X] Meet Illya. And why not? Rin will assuredly be tired and needing to sleep, and its better to make a good first impression.

And now, I feared that we didn't really get Luna point along the way but raised her Death Flag instead.

Omida
September 28th, 2015, 02:07 AM
Mm, it figures, that Ron would need a near death encounter to start changing... Snape was indeed, cruel, but probably had a point. At least Shinji learned quite a few things about himself.


[X] Meet Illya. And why not? Rin will assuredly be tired and needing to sleep, and its better to make a good first impression.

Thedoctor
September 28th, 2015, 03:31 AM
Meet Illya and take her to McDonald's.

alfheimwanderer
September 28th, 2015, 03:45 AM
Tis a good thing you chose ofuda over Hermione. Otherwise, you would not have achieved fusion at this challenge, which would have made Shinji sad indeed.

mr_Trickster
September 28th, 2015, 03:56 AM
Tis a good thing you chose ofuda over Hermione. Otherwise, you would not have achieved fusion at this challenge, which would have made Shinji sad indeed.

Indeed it was and I can certainly imagine so. Would we have ended up with a possible Bad End for this, had we failed to do so?

alfheimwanderer
September 28th, 2015, 04:07 AM
Indeed it was and I can certainly imagine so. Would we have ended up with a possible Bad End for this, had we failed to do so?

It is a possibility. You could also have used your explosives to invoke a collapse of the roof onto the spider - though that also seals the tunnels and fails you for the challenge - if you were quick enough.

Simply put, its not really Shinji's nature to run, if he can fight. He would rather die with his feet facing the enemy, not away.

Thedoctor
September 28th, 2015, 04:43 AM
Hah it was like the tent choice.

- - - Updated - - -

Do we gain magic resistence when we fuse with Zelkova?

alfheimwanderer
September 28th, 2015, 04:51 AM
Do we gain magic resistance when we fuse with Zelkova?

Indeed you do, among a number of other benefits, such as a general boost in parameters, elemental affinity, and such. You do need practice to use it effectively, however...

Omida
September 28th, 2015, 06:47 AM
Tis a good thing you chose ofuda over Hermione. Otherwise, you would not have achieved fusion at this challenge, which would have made Shinji sad indeed.

Yes, I can imagine that being dead would make Shinji quite sad. Because Hermione can't actually go all yandere over Shinji if he is dead.

Or she would become Dark Lady specifically to revive him with some forbidden arts. It would be a hilarious consequence.

It was also quite interesting how you described how Shinji's perception of the world changes when he is fused with Zelkova. It's quite... alien.

Magus
September 28th, 2015, 07:32 AM
Yes, I can imagine that being dead would make Shinji quite sad. Because Hermione can't actually go all yandere over Shinji if he is dead.

Or she would become Dark Lady specifically to revive him with some forbidden arts. It would be a hilarious consequence.



Failing that, she chops Shinji's head off his corpse, and then carries it with her so that they can be together forever. She might even take him for a ride on a nice boat.

Omida
September 28th, 2015, 08:02 AM
Keeping Shinji's head with her is Ilya's shtick. If she falls for him. Which, given his record, isn't implausible.

Hermione will, obviously, turn his body into a book and... read it. All night. Every night. Forever and ever~

mr_Trickster
September 28th, 2015, 08:06 AM
Keeping Shinji's head with her is Ilya's shtick. If she falls for him. Which, given his record, isn't implausible.

Hermione will, obviously, turn his body into a book and... read it. All night. Every night. Forever and ever~

I find this both sad and amusing.

The feel of a death flag for Luna is admittedly quite worrying, though.

Omida
September 28th, 2015, 08:13 AM
Death flags are good for one's character! Well, if they don't kill them...

If Luna does indeed has imminent death in her future, then all that forced Luna lovin' suddenly makes a little more sense. Shinji's girlfriends all die, it's their fate.

But Luna, if she dies, will rise from death as either: 1)another personality in her familiar, 2)Dead Apostle (somehow).

PS. Last line is in jest.

mr_Trickster
September 28th, 2015, 08:16 AM
Death flags are good for one's character! Well, if they don't kill them...

If Luna does indeed has imminent death in her future, then all that forced Luna lovin' suddenly makes a little more sense. Shinji's girlfriends all die, it's their fate.

But Luna, if she dies, will rise from death as either: 1)another personality in her familiar, 2)Dead Apostle (somehow).

PS. Last line is in jest.

If that somehow happens... I'd be gunning for the Sokaris-Luna Harem route. If Zouken had his holy grail as the love of his life, Shinji gets do spend eternity with his Dead Apostles!

Omida
September 28th, 2015, 08:22 AM
Sokaris isn't in the danger of turning into Dead Apostle anymore, though. And I doubt she would appreciate Shinji asking her to conduit some forbidden research to turn herself into one.

Besides, variety is the spice of life! We will have Dead Apostle, Alchemist, Homunculus (if Ilya joins in), Witch, Magus or two, and there is a chance for Mashu. God it's practically Tohno level harem.

Malgos
September 28th, 2015, 08:29 AM
Go to meet Ilya.

mr_Trickster
September 28th, 2015, 08:49 AM
Sokaris isn't in the danger of turning into Dead Apostle anymore, though. And I doubt she would appreciate Shinji asking her to conduit some forbidden research to turn herself into one.

Besides, variety is the spice of life! We will have Dead Apostle, Alchemist, Homunculus (if Ilya joins in), Witch, Magus or two, and there is a chance for Mashu. God it's practically Tohno level harem.

I meant in that she could have been, though I probably should have clarified that.

And yes, it would be, wouldn't it? I think that's what would make it so damn amusing. I'm sure Zolgen would be proud of him - as would all of the other VN protagonists in their universe.

Omida
September 28th, 2015, 09:03 AM
I meant in that she could have been, though I probably should have clarified that.

And yes, it would be, wouldn't it? I think that's what would make it so damn amusing. I'm sure Zolgen would be proud of him - as would all of the other VN protagonists in their universe.

Don't sweat it, I should probably know. There is always good old Dust of Osiris if we want two Dead Apostles, though. Shirou's harem is so small in comparison...

Mint
September 28th, 2015, 09:06 AM
[X] Meet Illya. And why not? Rin will assuredly be tired and needing to sleep, and its better to make a good first impression.

Makes sense.

mr_Trickster
September 28th, 2015, 09:18 AM
Don't sweat it, I should probably know. There is always good old Dust of Osiris if we want two Dead Apostles, though. Shirou's harem is so small in comparison...

So we get Sokaris and Sokaris!?

And for Shirou, I suppose it doesn't help that we've been kinda moving in on his bit by bit. I wish him the best of luck, perhaps moving out of Fuyuki might open some new options for him.

Magus
September 28th, 2015, 09:37 AM
So we get Sokaris and Sokaris!?

And for Shirou, I suppose it doesn't help that we've been kinda moving in on his bit by bit. I wish him the best of luck, perhaps moving out of Fuyuki might open some new options for him.

After all, Shirou, Rin is part of our harem now.

mr_Trickster
September 28th, 2015, 09:37 AM
After all, Shirou, Rin is part of our harem now.

Precisely!

Skull Leader
September 28th, 2015, 11:09 AM
Not only have we stolen Rin from your harem, Shirou but we are now moving to take your step sister. But don't you worry you can have Sakura. Oh wait...we moved you away from her before you could jump the BAR. So she can not fall madly in love with ya.

Maybe Shirou can find a Bar to jump in his new home, and attract all kinds of sexy kitsunes. You can't stop the power of the BAR Gland.

Or he can sweep in and save Hermione after she self destructs.

mr_Trickster
September 28th, 2015, 11:11 AM
Maybe Shirou can find a Bar to jump in his new home, and attract all kinds of sexy kitsunes. You can't stop the power of the BAR Gland. Or he can sweep in and save Hermione after she self destructs.

That would be convenient as hell​ for us, I have to say.

Magus
September 28th, 2015, 12:09 PM
Though one would have to introduce Hermione to Shirou (or vice versa) before that could work. He can't save her if he doesn't know she exists.

alfheimwanderer
September 28th, 2015, 12:27 PM
Maybe Shirou can find a Bar to jump in his new home, and attract all kinds of sexy kitsunes. You can't stop the power of the BAR Gland.

So far he has Kohaku - who may or may not get a kitsune familiar later on?


It was also quite interesting how you described how Shinji's perception of the world changes when he is fused with Zelkova. It's quite... alien.

This tends to be one of the difficulties of even achieving spirit fusion, given how different the mind of a nature spirit tends to be compared to that of a human. Which might be a clue as to just how oddly Luna, for one, sees the world and herself as someone within it.

Skull Leader
September 28th, 2015, 12:31 PM
All the reason to finally have Hermione go to Japan this summer. Granted no one wants to touch that option with a ten foot pole.

Alf - Why a scythe for a weapon, and not something more Japanese like a kama?

alfheimwanderer
September 28th, 2015, 12:46 PM
Alf - Why a scythe for a weapon, and not something more Japanese like a kama?

Partially reach. Partially because the scythe is more or less a staff with a blade, the two components representing the fusion. Partially because Zelkova is the aspect of the great tree that contains his curiosity about the West.

Skull Leader
September 28th, 2015, 12:56 PM
Partially reach. Partially because the scythe is more or less a staff with a blade, the two components representing the fusion. Partially because Zelkova is the aspect of the great tree that contains his curiosity about the West.

It is a earthly farming tool so it fits, but it seems more like something a Master of Death would wield.

*looks at title of story*

Touche.

All That Is Left Unsaid
September 28th, 2015, 01:16 PM
[x] Meet Illya. And why not? Rin will assuredly be tired and needing to sleep, and its better to make a good first impression.

So Zelkova seems to have been a good result as far as working with Shinji's earth alignment. Out of curiosity, would Zelkova being a tree help with developing Shinji's water alignment as well?

alfheimwanderer
September 28th, 2015, 04:17 PM
So Zelkova seems to have been a good result as far as working with Shinji's earth alignment. Out of curiosity, would Zelkova being a tree help with developing Shinji's water alignment as well?

To an extent. For a case like Shinji's, where his water alignment is heavy destruction focused, it is generally more ideal to begin with a more balanced element like earth, as the mindset developed during that work can help him work on water with less risk of...catastrophic instability.

Thedoctor
September 28th, 2015, 04:28 PM
Doesn't shinji have a decay element?

Decay = death = reaper = scythe?

alfheimwanderer
September 28th, 2015, 04:48 PM
Doesn't shinji have a decay element?

Decay = death = reaper = scythe?

One's other influences can alter the fusion to an extent, yes, including possible choice of weapons.

alfheimwanderer
September 28th, 2015, 07:49 PM
[x] Meet Illya. And why not? Rin will assuredly be tired and needing to sleep, and its better to make a good first impression.

100%

Choice 62: Its been a rather expensive term at Hogwarts, given the purchase of a house and furniture (1.2 million Galleons), a number of Wyvern-hide robes for the Stone Cutters (180k Galleons), and other miscellany (like a set of formalwear for the gala, a wizarding tent - just in case - and other niceties) that have dipped into the fortune you have managed to scavenge from the Room of Requirement so far.

Your current balance is ~1.2 million Galleons, with a projected earning rate of about half a million Galleons per term, though obviously, this will not be the case if you are sent to Durmstrang next year, and have no access to the RoR. Shinji would like to keep about half a million as a reserve in case he needs to buy something in the future, so with that in mind...

...what do we want to buy?

[ ] Commission a pair of Vanishing Cabinets for your use (10k Galleons)
[ ] Have your Agent bid on the Black Library (1k Galleons)
[ ] ...with the intention of winning the entire collection (+900k Galleons)
[ ] ...with the intention of winning just the core of the collection (+500k Galleons)
[ ] ...with the intention of acquiring a few of the more interesting titles (+100k galleons)
[ ] ...just to drive up the price (+2k galleons)
[ ] A version of Shakespeare's First Folio that has become available for purchase (+500k Galleons)
[ ] A writing desk and chair allegedly made from the timbers of the Golden Hind (+150k Galleons)
[ ] Don't buy anything. We've spent enough of our fortune for the moment


Choice 63: We meet Illya on the evening of the 23rd, after Rin has gone to sleep. After dinner and some time wandering around London, she expresses curiosity in seeing some sort of entertainment - perhaps to test your taste, perhaps to see where you take her. After some consideration, you think that perhaps a play would be something she'd enjoy - something with spectacle and pomp. Your options, then, based on what is playing tonight and what you think she might enjoy, are as follows: (choose one)

[ ] William Shakespeare's The Tempest
[ ] The opera Faust
[ ] Tom Stoppard's Arcadia
[ ] Andrew Lloyd Weber's Phantom of the Opera

EnigmaticFellow
September 28th, 2015, 07:56 PM
[X] Don't buy anything. We've spent enough of our fortune for the moment
[X] William Shakespeare's The Tempest

Picking the first one for just in case Shinji needs to buy something in an emergency. As for the second choice, I'm just picking it on a whim.

[X] Commission a pair of Vanishing Cabinets for your use (10k Galleons)
[X] Have your Agent bid on the Black Library (1k Galleons)
-[X] ...with the intention of acquiring a few of the more interesting titles (+100k galleons)
[X] A writing desk and chair allegedly made from the timbers of the Golden Hind (+150k Galleons)
[X] William Shakespeare's The Tempest

After some reflection, I decided to change my votes. Depending on what happens, Shinji may or may not get hunted down by the Einzbern depending on what happens, so acquiring at least one catalyst would be useful. Francis Drake has little moral qualms and is willing to follow orders as long as gold is offered. Meanwhile, Shakespeare is really only useful for masters who are already powerful, not something Shinji can take advantage of. Also went with commissioning a pair of vanishing cabinets to make it easier for Shinji to move about. Something that would allow him to accrue wealth even while he's at Durmstrang cannot be overlooked either. While having only 739,000 galleons is less than I desire, it's still a workable amount.

As for the play, I think people are over thinking it, and I don't really feel strongly enough to change my vote in that regard.

Nephirin
September 28th, 2015, 08:04 PM
[x]Vanishing Cabinets, but save the rest.

Apparently, we're going to be helping pay off Touko's debts soon, so we need to save up for that. Cabinets are (relatively) cheap and should leave us wiggle room while giving us some benefit in mobility.

[x]Tempest.
A story about an Archmage learning to forgive while his daughter finds love.

mangafreak7793
September 28th, 2015, 08:24 PM
[ ] Have your Agent bid on the Black Library (1k Galleons)[ ] ...with the intention of acquiring a few of the more interesting titles (+100k galleons)

[ ] Commission a pair of Vanishing Cabinets for your use (10k Galleons)


[ ] William Shakespeare's The Tempest

Vagrant
September 28th, 2015, 09:04 PM
[☆] Vanishing Cabinets
[☆] Black Library (core of the collection or just the most interesting volumes, whichever has more votes)

mr_Trickster
September 28th, 2015, 09:07 PM
So here we are presented with a mild dilemma: expend on future investments, or prepare for other opportunities to arise by saving the money we have right now.

While it’s true that we might want to limit our future expenses, keeping access to the Room of Requirement by means of a Vanishing Cabinet would allow Shinji the chance to continue his bi-annual income despite probably being in Durmstrang next year. If set up correctly, it will also allow Shinji to move from Durmstrang to Grimmauld, Grimmauld to Hogwards, and other such options – we may even want to look into setting up easy access to Japan, even.

As for the Black Library collection: I have to admit that it certainly shows to be a good investment – especially for those of us that want to give Rin access to some additional books for her to read during the course of her studies in London. Having Shinji actually use them himself, however is not quite something I expect to happen considering our own history of not quite bothering with books whenever we need to learn something new unless one of our own mentors gives us a very specific one to read themselves. (Though admittedly, I am unsure if Rin would find anything of note inside a book coming from practitioners of witchcraft at all.)

One could argue that one of the parts of the collection might include books on the Horcruxes or getting the entirety of the collection could get us the Locket of Slytherin as well, but I am unsure such an investment would be able to pay off in the long term in the manner that we want it to happen. Still, perhaps the cheapest option in terms of book acquisition might be favorable for us – just in case.

The information that Nephirim provided regarding the possibility of our assisting Touko in paying off her debts does not help at all. After all, I am certain that most of us in the forum are interested in acquiring more Touko rep – regardless of whether or not we are gunning for her route at all.

Now the play or opera that we decide to take Illya to is a far more interesting set of choices. Alf already mentioned that she is taking this as an opportunity to see what kind of person we are and gauge our intentions towards her and her family.

The tempest, as Nephirim has mentioned, will probably speak to Illya the most considering she very likely has acquired her grandfather’s mentality of having a birthright that was denied to the Einzberns.

Faust, meanwhile, details a man’s journey into damnation by means of trying to drag another down into hell with him after forging a pact with a devil. Part of me feels that I am actually missing something more about this opera, so enlightenment would be lovely.

Arcadia is quite interesting as well. A tale of many things such as continuing one’s work for a loved one and finding vindication after death could speak of relations with Illya’s father, mother, and adopted brother (granted, the last had disappeared, but still).

And lastly, the Phantom of the Opera – though I think I don’t really need to discuss this. A man hungers for love and some things that he can never have. There’s more to it, of course, but that’s generally how I feel about that play.

(Alf, if I may ask, what do you mean by running up the price? Would it be possible for some people to opt not to purchase anything anymore should we do so?)

As such, my votes are:

[x] – Commission a pair of Vanishing Cabinets for your use (10k Galleons)

(If we are only allowed to purchase one thing, please ignore this second vote.)
[x] – Have your agent bud on the Black Library (1k Galleons)… With the intention of acquiring a few of the more interesting titles (+100k Galleons)

[x] – William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

alfheimwanderer
September 28th, 2015, 09:15 PM
(Alf, if I may ask, what do you mean by running up the price? Would it be possible for some people to opt not to purchase anything anymore should we do so?)

Your agent would basically start a bidding war, using time-honed tactics to bring the price as high as possible - costing others who have an interest in the collection (like Lucius Malfoy) quite a bit of time and money if he wished to acquire it, or locking some out entirely.

mr_Trickster
September 28th, 2015, 09:28 PM
Your agent would basically start a bidding war, using time-honed tactics to bring the price as high as possible - costing others who have an interest in the collection (like Lucius Malfoy) quite a bit of time and money if he wished to acquire it, or locking some out entirely.

Well, it certainly could benefit us to deny Lucius additional resources - especially since we cannot simply acquire these resources ourselves at the moment. Besides, knowing Lucius's pattern for the past year, he will probably attribute this to Harry instead of Shinji as most of the Wizarding world is content to do so.

I'd like to add a third vote then (if this is permitted.):
[x] - with the intention of driving up the price.

Veldril
September 28th, 2015, 09:31 PM
[x] – Commission a pair of Vanishing Cabinets for your use (10k Galleons)
[x] – Have your agent bud on the Black Library (1k Galleons)… With the intention of acquiring a few of the more interesting titles (+100k Galleons)

[x] – William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Vagrant
September 28th, 2015, 09:43 PM
Add in [☆] Drive up the price as a third addition for me also if it can be done in conjunction with the others.

- - - Updated - - -

Alf, can i select the option for Vanishing Cabinets 4 times?

I want a network of pairs.
Room of Requirement <> Grimmauld Place
Matou Mansion/Tohsaka Mansion <> Grimmauld Place
Mahotokoro <> Grimmauld Place
Grimmauld Place <> Travelling Cabinet stored in Rin's Kaleidotrunk or one of those multiroom trunks Moody had that we can take anywhere with us for instant connectivity.

(What do you mean I'm abusing the system?)

Skull Leader
September 28th, 2015, 09:46 PM
Trickster, said most of what I wanted to say, but I will add a few points.

On the Black Library, we really should not just hand Malfoy the libary by not taking something from the collection and/or driving the price up for him. The tomes will make him a much bigger problem, plus his wife is a Black and thus knows the collection. They will grab the darkest ones. But we should not go hog wild buying books.

Arcadia is the only play that I think Illya would not know as the play is very likely in its first showing as it came out in 1993. I am not sure that Shinji could follow this play as it involves science and math concepts but Illya would.

Faust is the most Magus play out there, I love it for that but it would be a bad play for Illya.

As for my votes,

[x] – Commission a pair of Vanishing Cabinets for your use (10k Galleons)

(If we are only allowed to purchase one thing, please ignore these following votes.)
[x] – Have your agent bud on the Black Library (1k Galleons)… With the intention of acquiring the core collection (or at least a few books if that does not win) (+500k Galleons)
[x] - with the intention of driving up the price.

[x] – William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Cassius
September 28th, 2015, 09:59 PM
[x] – Commission a pair of Vanishing Cabinets for your use (10k Galleons)
[x] – Have your agent bud on the Black Library (1k Galleons)… With the intention of acquiring a few of the more interesting titles (+100k Galleons)
[x] – William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Nephirin
September 28th, 2015, 10:03 PM
And can we please vote against driving the price up? It's needlessly antagonistic (and probably makes our own purchases more expensive).

Vagrant
September 28th, 2015, 10:05 PM
presumably we won't drive up the price on the things we want. common sense.

Cassius
September 28th, 2015, 10:43 PM
I change my play vote to
[x] Arcadia

Kuroyuki
September 28th, 2015, 10:46 PM
[X] Commission a pair of Vanishing Cabinets for your use (10k (20k?) Galleons)
[X] Have your Agent bid on the Black Library (1k Galleons)
[X] ...with the intention of acquiring a few of the more interesting titles (+100k galleons)



[x] Tom Stoppard's Arcadia

Cabinets:
More RoR access. I would preferably would like another pair of smaller portable one for us to deliver notes to someone like in the Grimmauld Place or Zelkova to continue looting even if we aren't able to do it ourselves if possible.

Agent:
Okay I do want some of the more interesting titles in case it gets us certain things like spellbooks, history about the church/assassins/Zouken, or etc. Beyond that... Well I don't THINK we need the whole library or a 1st edition of Shakespeare. Unless we want to spite a certain Blonde Wizard Politician. But yeah.

Arcadia:
I did think about doing The Tempest, but there's a crucial thing we're forgetting. Our job as the host is to entertain. Ilya has either heard or known the other stories due to them being related to magi. So this story would be entirely new and different to her. Which in my humble opinion would have more of an impact.

Abendroth
September 28th, 2015, 10:54 PM
[ ] Commission a pair of Vanishing Cabinets for your use (10k Galleons)
Alf, if these are going to be linked vanishing cabinets could we leave one in the RoR and take the other with us to Durmstrang?




Apparently, we're going to be helping pay off Touko's debts soon, so we need to save up for that.

Do you know this for a fact or you speculating? Touko is capable of giving us gifts worth far more than anything we could otherwise buy, so we may want to save more.

Investing heavily in the Black library will also no doubt fuel our reputation as being Dark.


And can we please vote against driving the price up? It's needlessly antagonistic (and probably makes our own purchases more expensive). I concur. Lucius currently believes that he has a truce with Potter, but obviously hostile actions on our part will cause him to step up opposition to us as well. The best way to win a fight is not to have it.


If nothing else, he could easily respond by driving up the price of our own purchases as well, and I would like to have as much money as possible in reserve.

Skull Leader
September 28th, 2015, 11:23 PM
If nothing else, he could easily respond by driving up the price of our own purchases as well, and I would like to have as much money as possible in reserve.

You make a good point.

I change my vote to not include driving the cost up for the books.

Can we have write in if two of the plays are tied where we can buy both tickets and have Illya choice what play she wants to go to?